- July 23, 2009 at 4:38 pm #11588
i would like to know ( it has been discussed , but i would like to remind those stuff), do you think that its best to race by feel ( racing with no watch if possible) and racing against the others no matter if the time is not that good, or concentrate on goal time and if the opportunity of competing present itself then compete but with the watch(goal time and splits) as a priority.
i have adopted the watch-less approach the last year or so, and it has worked good for me, as mentioned : i can concentrate on my form, my breath , my feelings, the competition,etc.
- July 23, 2009 at 5:50 pm #28008
I think it's safe to say you know where I stand. For me, I see two angles but both are a pretty simple philosophically in the end.
First, it's a race. The head to head competition will bring more out of most people than what would essentially be a time trial would. Also, if you get to know yourself well, you'll better be able to set your pace based on what you are capable of by feel than by looking for splits. What if you're more fit than you realized or you're having a particularly good day? Running by splits may result in selling yourself short. Likewise, if you're having a bad day, running by splits might get you in over your head.
Second, it's a matter of personal experience. I used to run for a coach who would work with us to come up with our goal splits for a race. Both of us being a numbers guys, we took those goal splits a little too seriously and I essentially committed to running them. When I committed to them this way, I'd often end up with a subpar performance. When I'd essentially say screw it and just run, I'd surprise myself and Coach. I remember one 10,000m specifically where I was going a second per lap fast. Coach started off telling me I'm too fast, I'm too fast. By about 2 miles, he stopped giving me splits and just started cheering for me to pick off the next guy. I ended up with a 1:15 PR, essentially running over a lap faster than my old PR, and a time around 30 seconds faster than we had set for my goal.
- July 23, 2009 at 5:55 pm #28009
It is the race for me – by far! I couldn't get my Garmin to lock in to the satelites before Fish Day. I was planning on keeping at 8:00 minute miles by using the Garmin to keep me there. I thought that I was only capable of doing all 5 miles at the 8:00 pace. Surprise,surprise, surprise . . . I ran it in just under 7:00 minute miles.
- July 23, 2009 at 6:23 pm #28010
why dont you let your garmin at home, and at least try to do one race without the watch??
- July 23, 2009 at 6:30 pm #28011
you told me once that you always race without the watch for the reasons you just told, somebody has tried to convince yourself of using a watch during races? or have you ever felt the tentation of race with a watch to see your time in races when they dont call out splits??
it feels kind of strange when you use your watch always in training and in the race you dont wear the watch, however at some point in the race i just focus in the people around myself, after all i raced a half marathon last month totally watchless, and only knew the splits of the 1-2 first kms unintentionally , both people with their gps were calling out splits and i had to sped up to not listen to them and just run by feel, and not start to calculate ( i.e. 5:06/km is 1:47 half marathon,).
- July 23, 2009 at 8:05 pm #28012
Ed, I'd second Cesar's question. Just imagine if your Garmin was working at Fish Day. You most likely would have held back more than necessary and ended up 4-5 minutes slower.
Cesar, people have suggested that I might want to wear a watch for one reason or another but I can only recall one race where I did wear a watch. It was a race where there was no official timing – we were in charge of recording our own times. The only time during the race I looked at my watch was in the first few steps, to make sure it started. I didn't look again until after I crossed the finish line.
I've never felt the temptation to look at my splits on a race course. If splits are called out, it's a nice thing to hear, just for peace of mind. If not, it's more reason to work on that inward focus, which is probably better than listening to splits anyway. Seeing as I try to make a habit of not checking splits on training runs, I don't miss a thing on race day.
- July 23, 2009 at 9:00 pm #28013
What is “best” is not cut-and-dried, it depends on a number of factors. There is a time and a place for everything. Racing to run the best time possible has its place and so does running to place as close to first as possible. To do one to the exclusion of the other is unnecessarily avoiding the full experience and richness of running and competing.
- July 23, 2009 at 10:49 pm #28014
when you do strides at race pace as a warm up before a race , you measure a distance with time( i.e. 200m in 42seconds , that is 5:37 per mile ), or do it by feel,( what you think is your race pace).
- July 23, 2009 at 11:47 pm #28015
That is what I was saying – Race day should be free of Garmin or other watches. I will not bring my Garmin to Al's. I am excited at the prospect of yet another PR and the Garmin/watch would likely ruin that.
- July 24, 2009 at 1:49 am #28016
I always utilize a watch in road racing. It is good data for training later on.
- July 24, 2009 at 1:52 am #28017
Pre-race strides, for me at least, are a practice for the race itself. It only makes sense to me to do them just how I'll do the race.
Double, just out of curiosity, do you check the watch during the race or just use it to record data that will be reviewed later?
- July 24, 2009 at 2:04 am #28018
I don't have technical watches which record splits. I memorize them as best I can. I look at each mile split when a clock isn't available. I like to see the difference between my racing speed and training speed. When training improves, I get a better forecast of how I may race. It is part of finding my peak. That is if I can ever get around to running more than two races a year.
- July 24, 2009 at 2:39 pm #28019
Andrew, maybe you and I read the original question differently. There is a time and place to run the fastest possible. Of course, in my opinion, it's largely determined by the competition. If I can run away from the competition, that's my strategy. If I'm in a loaded race where I'm going to beat the most people possible simply by running as fast as possible, that's my strategy. However, you don't need to wear a watch and track your splits to implement that strategy. Using the watch to record splits and determine how hard to run, to me, just doesn't work no matter what the strategy.
Double, I should have known. I'm guessing, though, that you don't see a split and adjust your pace according to it – unless you see something like a 4:55 split during the first mile of an 8K, which I'm sure doesn't happen to an experienced runner like you often.
- July 24, 2009 at 3:10 pm #28020
ED, out of curiosity i saw a photo of you in fish day and saw you wearing a big watch, what was that? a pedometer or odometer?
- July 24, 2009 at 3:18 pm #28021
Given how it was written, there are perhaps umpteen ways to interpret that question. I saw it as asking which is “best,” which to me is akin to asking what the “best” running shoe on the market is and is simplistic, at best.
It is largely determined by your purpose for that particular run. For most runners, “[running] away from competition” or “running as fast as possible” is equally possible in any given race. Even someone like Pete Gilmore can choose that by how he approaches (via training) any given race. My preference runs towards doing time trials solo or with a group of focused training partners, not in the middle of a crowd of strangers doing whatever they want — seems more effective that way. However, some find it more effective (certainly if they do not care at all about competing with fellow runners, anyway) to do that in a pack of runners who as often as not will be running close to the same pace that they will and on a closed road course with aid stations, as opposed to trying to organize a group time trial with others on one's own. Running to run a fast time is considered the lowest of the four types of racing, and yet while that means it is important to master it first before proceeding to the other three it does not mean that it should be eschewed completely once one does ascend the scale to higher levels of racing.
It is also an individual consideration. Consider someone like Alan Culpepper, who rarely raced because for him it was best to store up the competitive fuel and let it flow less frequently than most — he could not go to the competitive well as often as many others do and still run up to his expectations, he needed to build towards comparatively more sporadic releases of competitive fire. As Jordan Hasay's coach puts it, “Let's be reasonable. Let's not get greedy.“
- July 24, 2009 at 9:54 pm #28022
That was my Garmin – it is a GPS device. They are nice to track what you do on training runs and help with finding a pace when doing things like repeats.
Where did you see a photo of me?
- July 24, 2009 at 10:12 pm #28023
yo go to runningintheusa.com,, then click photos, then there is a map, you click wi, then you click the event, and there are the photos, you will find yourself like in the 4-5 pages.
- July 27, 2009 at 1:13 pm #28024
- August 25, 2009 at 3:53 pm #28025
Ryan, the other day i suggested my friend to run without a watch in a 5k race and he did it , he did 21:12 and his Pb was 21:11( the first time he raced it ), he only has run 2 5k races so these times are the only times that he had run, he said he felt a little weird about not knowing the pace ( time), at the end he said that if he would have worn a watch, he would have run a new PR, looking at the watch at the very end to accelerate and run a PR, well, what do you think about that, you think that if you miss a PR by a second due to not wearing a watch, you would say that if you would have worn a watch you could probably beat that PR, or you just maintain what you say, running by effort and by feel?
- August 25, 2009 at 5:41 pm #28026
If he could have run harder after looking at a watch, why was he not running harder without the watch? It sounds to me like he wasn't giving a full effort, in which case you're not going to have an optimal performance regardless of whether you're wearing a watch or not.
- August 25, 2009 at 5:54 pm #28027
yea, exactly the same answer that i gave to him, but he said that looking at the numbers in his watch its an extra motivation to make a bigger effort.
- August 26, 2009 at 12:22 am #28028
Cesar, I agree with your friend on this one. There is all out racing against people and there is all out racing yourself against the watch. If I knew I was that close and had a watch I would have been extra motivated to make it. Motivation comes from lots of places and the watch is one of them. At the other extreme, it can be a cruel master.
- August 26, 2009 at 1:29 am #28029
Personally, when I see the finish line, that's all the motivation I need to get there as quickly as possible. Maybe it's different for some people, maybe your friend is right in this case, but I still wouldn't say that the watch is an overall benefit.
- August 26, 2009 at 1:35 am #28030
i am with you Ryan.
- August 26, 2009 at 1:16 pm #28031
I also agree that the finish line is my goal – once I see it I push as absolutely as hard as I can. In race where I know the route – I start pushing sometimes before I see the line – becuase I know where it is (somethime just out of sight.)
- August 26, 2009 at 1:53 pm #28032
In race where I know the route – I start pushing sometimes before I see the line – becuase I know where it is (somethime just out of sight.)
A good reason to warm up over the last mile of the course if you don't know the course. I always have my markers that tell me how far I have to go and, when I get to them, I don't care what the clock says or who's around me. I'm giving it everything I have.
- June 26, 2010 at 5:28 pm #28033
- May 3, 2011 at 11:12 am #28035
It is possible to race focusing on splits and focusing on competition/effort at the same time?
- May 3, 2011 at 12:13 pm #28036
I'm sure it's possible but most people only have so much focus to go around. Plus, what do you do when your splits suggest you're going too fast but your competition is pulling away and you are still feeling strong? Do you focus on your splits and slow down or do you focus on how strong you feel and go with the competition?
- May 3, 2011 at 12:56 pm #28037
- May 3, 2011 at 1:55 pm #28038
Ryan, Great post you just made!! exactly that happens when you go by splits, no matter if you feel strong, if the split says you are going too fast, you just let your competition to pull away, instead of give the competition a fight. No matter what splits say, of course, you are not going to challenge your competition early in the race if you are breathing like its late in the race. Now that you put those situations, I dont understand really well what Magil means in this article of racing strategies about “even effort”. Guess that you are head to head with a competitor, that competitor surge to drop you, but you can't surge because you have to maintain an “even effort”, I really dont understand very well the concept of “Even effort”, if you want to drop or a catch a competitor that is not too far away, you really have to surge, changing your effort level.
Andrew, nice magazine!
- May 3, 2011 at 2:57 pm #28039
Cesar, I think Magill's suggestion applies well if you're in the middle of a pack or running a large race where there are a lot of runners around. If you play surging tactics to go after one runner, you might get that one runner. However, in doing so, you might lose the opportunity to pass 5 or 10 other runners in the steady stream you're running in.
Personally and I hope this nobody takes this the wrong way but I don't often find myself in this scenario (Chicago Marathon being a notable exception). I'm typically in an area where the crowd has thinned out quite a bit and I find myself facing head to head battles against one or two runners more than in a mass of runners where a steady pace will lead to passing more runners. Even if one is in this steady mass, though, I'd argue that focusing on how you feel is more effective than splits. Same scenario, you're feeling great but your splits say you are going “too fast”. What do you do?
- May 3, 2011 at 3:07 pm #28040
Put the hammer down 8)
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