Controlling the ‘Race Horse’
‘The Art of Intelligent Pacing’
Many years ago my coach said to me one day “GP, sometimes you have to run slower to run faster”..he went on to tell me that he wasn’t going to explain what he meant but rather he wanted me to draw my own conclusions.
Several years later I wrote extensively of my conclusions in the First Edition of my book
Run Tall, Run Easy. At the heart of my conclusions is the need to remain as dispassionate and objective of self as reasonably possible during the act of performance. A skill easier said than done. Make no mistake this does not mean casual or a sense of not caring. Far from it. You care very much.
It is because you care about the process and especially about the outcome that keeps you measured, calculated and indeed focused. Think of it in terms of an assassin keeping an objective ‘ego in check’ perspective to better insure that the job gets done to its desired intent and satisfactory outcome. The key phrase here is ‘ego in check’. Running can create a state of euphoria, an endorphin infused response that forms a distraction causing a spontaneous excitement, indeed erratic style behavior that betrays the very path that we need to remain on. Think of it in these terms. A world class musician in a professional orchestra at the Symphony. The musician, whilst extremely talented must remain focused and undistracted by the surrounding musicians and their instruments sounds and indeed by the size of the moment, the arena, the spectators and the associated pressures. No, the musician must remain laser focused on the conductor. It is the conductor that affords the rhythm and timing and cohesiveness of the symphony. The musicians must remain focused yet singularly objective to the conductor and the conductor must remain locked in on the rhythm and flow of the symphony bringing the individual parts to one collective sum. This is the most efficient and productive way to achieve the results desired. And so it is with your running. There are a great many individual moving parts that must be coordinated and harmonized to achieve a collective end result. But when emotions are running high and ego gets involved this is easier said than done. This is where the image of the assassin must come to bear. Key elements: Exclude distractions Remain intrinsic Discount distance but rather focus on time and space I.e Remain in the present. To these ends one must pay attention to the ‘triangle’, a simplistic term I use to explain attention and focus to three key simultaneous factors, foot strike, breathing cadence and corresponding arm/wrist movement. For a closer look at the triangle you will have to read my book Run Tall, Run Easy but the intent today for this blog entry is to encourage you to understand that if you truly desire to reach your full potential, to reach the levels of the ‘elite in you’ you MUST pace. It is not always advisable, advantageous or beneficial to be regularly faster than pace, to get away from the plan or agenda of the run for that day.. it is not about how fast can you get the ‘race horse’ to run but rather how skilled are you at controlling the ‘race horse’ at speed. Don’t settle for average, don’t be that runner... be the assassin and calmly and cooly execute the mission. Be the pro and don’t be that weekend warrior. If you follow this advice your running and racing times will improve immeasurably.