I am a data nerd so I combed through two years of 5K race data to look at my average pace at each mile mark.
The pace in the Mile 1-4 columns is the "Average Pace" data from my Garmin for the race while the Finish Time is the finish time per the official race results. Most of the time my Garmin is off by a few tenths of a mile in distance and a few seconds in finish time compared to the official race results.
2015 was injury free for me. I injured my foot between the Silver Lining and Acuity Health races in 2016.
What was I doing starting Acuity, the first run I had in a month, at the same pace as the race I set my 5K PR in?! Similar thoughts for Hank Aaron. The go-out-fast-approach does have some research behind it. My homegirl Lauren Fleshman suggests this:
"Try this next time: Run the first mile with your head, the second mile with your focus, and the third mile with your heart. In the first mile, you can’t let any emotion or excitement in at all. Start with a pace you are confident you can maintain and then relax a little bit more. Until you see that one mile marker, all you are allowed to think about is running smart. From 1-2 miles, focus on maintaining your form and start to look around you, taking a survey of which runners around you probably went out too hard, and which ones you should make your prey in the third mile. You are taking some time to strategize for the big battle, and you aren’t allowed to draw your sword until you pass the 2mile marker! The last mile, start to pick off your victims, and allow your mind to feel gratitude for how powerful and strong your body is. As soon as you can see that finish line, pretend you are Meb running down Boylston St in front of all of America and run with passion, tall and proud!"
This strategy advocates for even pace.
This article has different strategies for different runner types. For an experienced competitive runner the "strong start, middle float, strong finish" is recommended. I would say some of my 5Ks follow this. Annnnnddddd some do not.
2. ...and then my second mile is slow. Sometimes I can pull off a faster 3rd mile. Sometimes. (Definitely not post-injury this year!)
3. The second mile of Silver Lining SUCKS. I recall thinking this during the actual race this year. Hills and turns. Hills and turns.
4. Run Tosa Run 2016 was such a good race. I loved it during and I loved if after and I love it now.
I think this will help me set some goals for my next 5K race.
What about you - What pacing strategy do YOU follow for a 5K? Have you looked at your race data in a similar way?