The obvious fact that marathon-running is tough on the leg muscles but also the fact of pacing and trying to negative split.

Runners hold their pace for 13.1 miles, but then slow dramatically. But wait. We all know The Wall doesn’t hit you until 20 miles. There’s no physiological reasons for marathoners to suddenly fatigue at the halfway point. What gives?

Why did the runners crash at 13.1 miles?

Runners rely too much on goal setting, HR monitors, GPS paces – we set out faster than plan to for our race day fitness.  It works, but only for half the distance, because when we reach the 13mile mark we evaluate how things are going.  Not only do we evaluate our muscle fatigue physical attribute and feeling but we also engage the brain to psychologically assess.  We’re tired, more tired than we had planned to be in our overall marathon goal, so we decide to easy up, not due to glycogen levels for the 1/2 marathon stage (we haven’t hit the wall) but you have gone out too fast and you start to pay the price.

So all the fancy data external equipment can be got rid of on race day, but training with them can be critical to be able to train the Perceived (RPE) effort or evaluation of your performance.  The fancy equipment can calculate an arbitrary pace that you can’t actually maintain for the full 26.2 miles.  Listening to your body right from the start, start believing that your body is capable of selecting your race pace from the start and that you control the pace and effort that you go out at and not gadgets.  This is what some people refer to as Brain to Body pacing.

Try running a race with no gadgets, run it to feel / “perceived effort”, this is like a 5km run, you have no time to look at watches for gps/pace/HR or stop watch and even if you did you have no time to adjust your pace or effort as a result of being up or down on what you pre-event planned to do.  Some people run marathons, longer than 5km, in this Brain – Body pacing, there is a lot of room for this to be implemented into any Triathlon distance.

Working with a lot of my athletes in Paradise Tri we focus on utilising the “gadgets” within training but not to be too fixated with these watches/gadgets.  They are there as a confirmation and support to the RPE aspect, day to day the RPE can change with athletes and getting to have an understanding is difficult.

Below is a few examples of running with use of Heart Rate and GPS pacing for races and training, when racing the athlete has only looked at their unit (Garmin in this case) every now and then with NO “alerts” on HR Zones or Virtual pacing.  So not entirely to RPE but more confirmed with sporadic glances of the Garmin.

Wymondham 20mile 20 Mile Run

5km Park Run 

13mile Training Run

13 mile Training run