Having run in a few events with pace-runners and on occasion used them to my advantage perhaps I can share a couple of basic insights.
Know your objective
If running for leisure, have a great day and enjoy the occasion.
If you are out to beat a time, you should have a race plan.
Remember that the pace-runner is not running your race. Pace-runners plan to cross the line at a specific time having run a constant pace over the race distance.
If you plan a constant pace, you’re in luck, stick with that pace-runner and hope that he/she is up to the job (a risk in itself).
Most of us don’t run at constant pace. Every race I have entered had a start, middle and finish, so I plan for each. And the longer the event, the more complex the plan becomes.
Run your own race
I like to run a negative split. I do the first half with comfortable effort. I turn-it-up as I enter the second half of the race and decide when I am ready to push for a strong finish.
I’m not suggesting you should run negative splits, positive splits or any other specific plan. My point is that you should RUN YOUR OWN RACE!
Let’s not complicate this.
Think about how you would run the race if the pace-runners weren’t there, and then decide if you can use them to help execute your plan.
Short distances involve simple plans, but a lot depends on athletic ability. Some of Rocky’s super stars can run a constant pace for 5km, their plan in this case is “fast”.
If you are like the rest of us:
Set a realistic but challenging target.
Plan your race.
Execute your plan.
Whatever event you are competing in at this years Rocky River Run, have a great day, and be nice to your pace-runners.
All the best