Do They Teach Pacing at Hogwarts?

The wizardry of pacingWith the bike it’s revolutions per minute – use a cyclocomputer or count every time your right foot completes a revolution.  Easy peasy.  With swimming it’s stroke rate, for that I have a thing that I put into my swim cap that beeps – it’s entirely possible that this will drive me to distraction but until them it makes it easy to keep the predetermined stroke rate.  With running, it’s all about pacing which is…more involved.

Up until now I haven’t had to do this a lot – mostly it’s been about running a specified distance as fast as I can, or doing intervals of running and walking for a prescribed overall time or distance, or trying to run for a length of time.  Now I have a workout each week that asks me to run a series of half-miles at specific paces. In theory this should be very easy – I run with an old phone using an app that tracks distance and pace so I just look down and see what my pace is and adjust accordingly.

In practice, it might as well be wizardry – I run in my neighborhood which has plenty of uneven sidewalks, also, those brown balls with spikes on them that fall out of trees look like they would just crush under your feet but they don’t, as my shattered phone screen can attest, and it turns out that without a stage, spotlight, and audience I’m not that graceful so it behooves me to watch where I’m going.   All this is a long way of saying that when I look at the app to check my pace I end up slowing down.  Then as I try to adjust my pace I end up going too fast, then too slow, then inevitably I switch from from decline to incline and start the whole process over again.

It’s possible that this will be solved by switching from the app to a GPS watch instead of using the app, or just with practice. I continue to surprise myself with the number of  things that I am bad at that are related to this journey – comfort zone shmomfort zone. The good news is that the running is getting better and so, I imagine, will the pacing.  The important thing, as I’ve learned, is to just keep moving forward.

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Hi, I’m Ragen Chastain. Speaker, Writer, Dancer, Choreographer, Marathoner, Soon to be IRONMAN, Activist, Fat Person.
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7 Responses to Do They Teach Pacing at Hogwarts?

  1. pacing is tough!!! I use the map my run app. There is a setting that it can speak your pace to you every z minutes or portions of a mile. I think it helps 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. lsstrout says:

    Perhaps you need to imagine an audience when you run.


  3. G says:

    I have so much trouble with pacing too– it seems like whenever I’m thinking “yeah! I feel great! this is good!” I’m screwing it all up 🙂 Right now I have my GPS app set up for overall pace feedback every 5 minutes, but getting an instantaneous pace readout maybe every minute would be useful…


  4. Yes! Those little jerks!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Lately, I’ve been running with my Cyclemeter app (which I also use for my rides). It allows me to pace by time or distance and it’ll tell me every time I go off-pace, “increase/decrease speed”, current pace is… (I aim for sub 6:30/km). The one feature I didn’t know about until it made itself known to me was the default link to facebook. Everytime I run, it posts to my facebook feed — which I wasn’t interested in doing until a few months ago in one of our coldest Canadian winters and the automated app voice spoke over my running playlist to tell me, “Jane Q likes your run and says ‘You go get it girl!’. I broke out in the biggest grin and realized that it was reading my facebook comments to me, which felt like having my own personal cheering section. Now, even though I’m not crazy about publicizing my runs, my friends will post hilarious comments (often gibberish-based just to set me off in peals of laughter because the app can’t pronounce unusual words or names) and it’s so motivating to know that you’re not alone out there.

    I also use an app that speeds up my running music to 175 beats per minute so that I ensure my cadence is quick enough to avoid thrusting my foot out past my hips and landing on my heel, which is what I’ve previously done, and it’s landed me with chronic plantar fasciitis. After learning to speed up my cadence with this app, I’ve managed to stay uninjured and keep running.


  6. This probably sounds horrible, but treadmills are actually really great for training a pace. Yes, there is no escape, they’re relentless and boring (I think you’re right about time going backwards on one, too), BUT their sheer evilness is what makes your muscle memory kick in to save you on race day when the gun goes off and your brain goes off with it and you fly away like a frightened hare instead of the rock steady long-distance pace-setter you’ve been training to be. And for the rather long distances you will be running, the more you can “feel” your correct pace, the better, I think. I like to have a treadmill run and an outdoor run in the same week, so the differences are noticeable, and I can make as much of the movements and pace as intuitive as possible. I’m a neurotic in that a reliance on a device while outside running makes me nervous – what if it doesn’t work when I need it most? Eek! If my body can “feel” the correct pace for the distance I’ve trained for, it’s a relief to me.


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