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Why Should You Use a Pacer for Running?
A pacer when running is useful in more ways than one. Generally, a pacer is an experienced runner that runs at a set speed in a race, typically a long-distance event. This helps you finish at your desired time.
You don’t have to think too hard about your pace. In fact, the only thing you have to worry about is keeping up with your pacer. Undeniably, they help you reach your finish line goals. But why else should you use them?
1. They will prevent you from starting the race too fast.
You have probably heard the phrase ‘finish strong.’ Finish strong typically means not burning your energy right out of the gates. It means saving some for the rest of the race and that last kilometer or those last few hundred meters.
Yet, it’s a common problem where runners kill their energy within the first part of the race. This can leave you feeling exhausted and relying on a ton of mental toughness to get to that finish line.
Meanwhile, a pacer sticks to a steady, rhythmic pace. If you line yourself up with a pacer holding a sign with your desired race time, you will be more likely to finish the race strong. You will also have more energy throughout the entire race. In turn, this can prevent mounting exhaustion and fatigue in the middle of it all.
2. Pacers run even splits.
Running even splits refers to running both halves of the race at the same pace. More experienced runners may focus on running the second half of their race faster than their first.
However, for beginners, running even splits keeps it simple. And following a pacer allows you to stick to that. It also offers something to hang onto during that tough second half. You’ll keep going at the set pace simply to keep up with the pacer and their gang.
It’s motivating. Plus, it also offers a brief community and group that has the same goals as you – completing the race at a set time.
3. They can help set records PR’s or PBs.
Surprisingly, pacers are even used by more advanced runners to break records. Many record-breakers have famously hired pacers.
In this instance, the pacer usually only runs the first half of the race, then breaks off. This is because the pacer can’t maintain the pace for the whole distance. Yet, it helps the runner keep up with their desired pace for the first half. Sometimes, two pacers are hired – one for the first half and one for the second.
However, for the beginners out there, pacers can also help you reach those PBs, or personal bests. Perhaps you’re set on a particular time but you don’t trust your own pacing to get there. Find that pacer bunny!
A pacer can help take the stress away of constantly having to look down at your watch. All you need to do is keep your eyes on the pacer, listen to what your body is telling you, and strive to reach your goals, or as close as you possibly can.
4. You won’t be weaving in and out between other runners.
With big races come big crowds. Congestion and rubbing elbows during a long-distance event isn’t ideal. You might even spend a significant amount of time running around people than actually moving forward. As a result, you might burn more energy faster.
When you run with a pacer, you’re running with a group. Usually, when other runners see the flag or sign coming toward them, they kindly move out of the way. The pacer may even politely ask the people ahead of them to move to the side to allow their group to pass through.
This means you won’t have to find your way through any crowds. Again, you simply follow the pacer and the group. Usually, a clearing is made and you won’t have to do any weaving.
5. They are encouraging.
Pacers are usually very experienced runners. They have likely ran the race more than a few times. As such, they know what it’s like to be getting through that first half marathon or full marathon. It’s not easy.
Yet, you can use their knowledge. If you have questions or concerns throughout the race or are curious how to step up your training, later on, ask them. They are more than happy (and quite comfortable) to answer.
Along the racecourse, the pacer will frequently offer words of encouragement either way. This can provide motivation when you desperately need it. Further, don’t shy away from talking to others in the group. Maybe you’ll find inspiration through other runners’ stories. Or perhaps you might even make a new running buddy.
Find Your Pacer!
At the start line, find the pacer running your desired race time. Set yourself up near them and commit to following them as closely as you can. That way, you won’t run across the start line too fast, you’ll keep an even pace the whole way, and potentially even beat a personal best.
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