The run started off pretty well, perhaps a little too well in hindsight, which might be part of the reason why I ended up pacing it so badly. It was one of those typical situations, running slightly down hill with a bit of a tail wind but not enough of either to be really obvious until you turn around. Fast enough conditions to get you feeling really good, urging you on to push that little bit harder.
I started the run with a bit of time pressure, I had been hoping to get in a nice round 10km, but in the end I knew I probably only had time for 9km. Knowing I was on a time line made me head out pretty solid and to my pleasant surprise I was feeling good so I kept on pushing.
The good feeling continued all through the outward leg of the run and even hung around for a while after I turned to head back to the car. However, after around 5km the headwind and the slight uphill started to pinch and then by 6km the wheels started falling off and I was in proper struggle town. To be fair I didn't end up dropping that much pace, but the amount of hurt necessary to maintain the pace went up rather significantly.
It was funny that after all this time I am still capable of making such silly mistakes. I guess it just goes to show that anyone can overestimate their ability and over-commit, experience apparently does not make you immune to over-confidence.
It was a good reminder of the importance of pacing, whether it is in training or racing. The longer the race, the more important the pacing becomes. We have all experienced and watched others go out too hard and then implode in the later parts of the race. It is never fun to either experience or watch. There are plenty of numbers to back it up how damaging poor pacing can be, but it is also pretty common sense. You can start too fast and end too slow, or you can start steady and build from there. While you may gain a bit of time at the start from going out hard, you always lose more once you hit the wall as most people completely fall apart at that point. Starting steady and within yourself may be frustrating as you watch others race away, but there are not many things more satisfying than watching those fast starters come back as you reap the benefits of your smart pacing strategy.
As I was reminded yesterday, starting steady and building will not only give you a better end result, it will also be much more enjoyable.
Perhaps I will remember the lesson for next time.