Running to full potential

When I compete in events I am always unsure how far to push myself. Most weeks I tend to do at least 1 ( 9 mile run), in the week and other short runs. I have started to do park runs and try and push myself on a fairly fast 5K though this is still around 2 to 3 minutes outside my PB. Last week I did a 10K and it was hot so took it easier for the first 1 or 2 K. I have a running app on my phone,  my the last kilometre was around 40 seconds faster then my first one and was able to sprint finish.

I am worried about going off too fast in events but wanting to be able to push myself rather then coasting through a run and then going for a fast finish. I spoke to someone who sugested a heart monitor when training in order to see my potential. Any other advice would be appreciated.



  • Completely agree with KK. Find a race and set off real hard, you may surprise yourself just how long you can hang on for. It may hurt a little more than your recent races though.

  • Wexter, I can relate to what you are saying. It took me years to get the confidence to go off at a good pace. I think the caution is just a self-defence mechanism. You know all about going off too fast and crash/burning, so you err on the side og caution. Obviously this is of very little consequence when running the longer distances but 5k/10k you just can't afford to run a mile or 2 "warm-up".

    Yes, I think HR monitor may help, but the confidence will come eventually.

    I used to try and tempt myself into running a race to failure, just to see how far I got at a very aggressive pace. The thinking behind that would be I would learn more about myself and the distance/pace than I would if I just did another boring negative split.

    But it takes balls to go out with that in mind, and I train hard and race easy probably because I'm a coward.


  • Thanks for your advise, I may experiment on the local parkrun and see if this will help with my PB time , also this is only 5K so less margin for error at this event.

  • Do you know any other runners, a couple of minutes faster, who you could use for pacing. Look out for regular club runners, even if you only recognise the vest you could look up their times and if they are around your Target time then try to stick with them.
  • There is a guy who does regular park runs who is in the same age category as me, I never see him in the start but he always seems to pass me around the same point most weeks. His PB is 20 seconds better then mine and noticed he is a club runner. Also he was 1st in my age category on Saturday and I was 2nd but still around 20 odd seconds behind. Thinking about joining a club as possibly there would be more interval training involved.

  • If you're not in a club already then definitely find yourself one. I never joined a club till the start of this year, and so far I've taken nearly 5 mins off my 10k time and also improved my marathon time by 20 minutes and then by another 7 minutes.

    Interval training and tempo runs are much more fun to do with a big group - there's always someone who runs just a bit faster than you that you want to keep up with, and also you can't fanny about and make excuses to yourself about having to stop to adjust your sock or re-tie your shoelace like you might do when running on your own. Or is that just me!?!

  • Mind you, if you want to set off a bit faster and see how you go, it won't work to go with a guy who comes from behind to beat you every week - he clearly sets off slower than you!

    Just go for it in a race (not stupid like), but deliberately harder than you have been. So long as you have made the decision to do it, and know it might not be pretty at the end, it's just a learning experience. I did a half recently on a whim, and knew I hadn't really done as many long runs as I would like (nothing over 9 miles). I deliberated over setting off steady, so I would be fairly confident of it going okay, or going at a decent pace. In the end I went for it and just waited for the wheels to come off. They didn't really, and I ended up dead chuffed with 1:33:14, on 44s off my PB.

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