A – Yep....many folks are like a beagle just let off the leash, adrenaline glands a wailing with the unique excitement associated with the crowds, the pomp and the pageantry at the many of the race start lines nowadays. Away they tear, with powerful strides, manufacturing copious amounts of carbon dioxide with every bound....tall and proud !!
Then it happens... other natural laws starting imposing their particular rules and regulations.....mainly, a severe need to supply and use the adequate amounts of oxygen that their magnificent running muscles are demanding for such intensity... but alas they cannot....and so they “turn in to pretzels” and fall far below their early pace and end up posting performances that are not doing themselves justice and feeling quite embarrassed...and moping in a corner at the post race reception...... so common.
So what to do.
You need to train the runner’s intuitive clock....his or her sense of pace. They have to learn what effort levels are associated with particular paces (e.g., running 8:30 per km. is easy, while running 5:30 per km. is full out, and so on...) ...They have to learn pace: a skill that can definitely be trained.
And a recommended way to accomplish this is to introduce repeated opportunities for the athlete to practise specific paces. This is why interval training can be so beneficial, as the athlete, over and over again in a given workout session, runs interval distances (e.g., repeat 800 metres), timing each one. It’s a biofeedback bonanza!
Also, particular designs of interval workouts are an excellent tool in revealing what a reasonable goal pace should be. For example, whatever you can average for 5 x 1000 metres, taking a 2:00 recovery, gives a good indication of what the runner might best try (within 5 or 10 sec.) as a race pace.
Such sessions can of course be conducted on 400 metre tracks, where the runner/coach can easily monitor the pace, even at intermediate points while doing an interval. For example, if the runner is wishing to do 800 m. repeats in 4:00, then pace at every 200 m. (60 sec.) can be checked to see if a speed up or a slowdown is in order.
With the advent of Garmin watches and the accuracy of Google Earth (my preference) you can conveniently do the timed session on accurately measured roads which is especially advisable for anyone road racing.
If you want to get to Juilliard, PRACTISE !