Friday, August 17, 2007

Pace Teams

I was recently on the Denver Marathon's website when I came across a reference to the CLIF BAR Pace Teams at last years inaugural running of the race. I was intrigued by this idea but could not find any information about whether or not there would be pace teams this year. It was at this point that I began the futile, life sapping process that is e-mailing the Denver Marathon. I wanted to know whether or not they were going to have pace teams again this year, because this webpage clearly references last year's race, and also if they would be available for people running the half marathon.

I filled out their 'contact us' form and sent them a message. Four days later I received a response that appeared to be automated which directed me to 'follow this link' to their website for more information. You'll never guess where that link took me? Yup. Right back to the page that caused me to have questions in the first place. I guess that this means that the information on that page applies to this year too, which is good news because they have a 4 hour marathon pace team which should translate into a 2:00 half marathon for me.

The more I think about following a pace team, the more it seems devious, or somehow unethical (those words are both too strong but they’ll have to do because my thesaurus is giving me stuff like 'Machiavellian' and 'depraved'). One of the toughest things about my training runs is being able to judge my pace, and knowing when I need to speed up or slow down. Running a race involves more than just physical strength, it requires some strategy too. Will you try to run even splits the whole way or will you go slower on the uphill sections and try to make it up on the downhill sections? Running with a pace team eliminates that entirely. You just latch on to a group and run. You don't have to think about it at all. While that sounds appealing on many levels something about it just doesn't feel right. It seems too easy.

Fortunately for me I'm too shallow to care about being labeled as Machiavellian or a cheater so I will run with the pace team if the opportunity presents itself. Your thoughts in the comments, is it wrong? Would you run with a pace team?

In the vein of keeping up Video Friday here's a video for all you swimmers out there courtesy of With Leather.

Weeeee! This is fun!

You know that once you get your spot in that wave pool you're not getting out. Not for anything. No, not even to pee. Hey, you were all thinking it, I just said it.


  1. I would absolutely hate to lifeguard that!

  2. That thought never even occurred to me. I bet 3 people drowned while we were watching.

  3. I think pace teams are a smart way to run a long race. And let's face it, are you a Kenyan? Will you possibly be in the contention to win this race? If not, then most likely, your goals are slightly different; thus, why not have someone else help with the strategy portion? Besides, I think that running either 13.1 or 26.2 miles is pretty grueling, so to label it "easy" with a pacer is a misnomer.

  4. People soup...that's gross.

    Do whatever you want in the race. If you're not trying to win the coveted $20k (or whatever they win), then who cares?

  5. Oh, The pace team dilema.

    I like the idea of them, just jump on and run and cross the line it the time you want .... however, I don't run an even paced race. I start out slow then (hopefully) pick it up.

    I think I would feel pressured to keep up, like I committed to this pace team and now I can't hang with the fast kids

    really what I am saying is exactly what Amy just said

  6. If enough people in that pool had beans, broccoli, cucumbers or similar foods, it could be a wave spa!

    Pacing? No problem! It would be finding a pace team that I could run with that would be my problem! For more than a few minutes, that is...

  7. You could never, ever get me in that pool!

  8. That's gross, pure piss soup right there. Come on, you KNOW more than half of them peed in the pool :P

    As far as pace teams go, I like the idea. But like ali said, I start off slow and work my way to a faster pace. So I don't know if it could work for me.

  9. I pee'd in your pool! I pee'd in your pool! Yaaaaaaaayyyyyy!!!!

  10. Why would you have to get out to pee?

    Knowing that, I don't really like public pools.

  11. Marcy is right about the soup...suddenly you feel a rush of warm water pass by you...

    Really good pacers know how to start a little slower and make up some time by the end. I've used them by keeping the group within sight, but not clinging to the actual pace leaders.

  12. I would use them, I got no problem with them.

  13. I like to run just in front of them and pretend that they are trying to get me so I have to keep just in front.

  14. Seems too easy???!!!
    Ha! Seems like you've been dropping acid again.

  15. Run where you are comfortable. I have been known to run on and off with pace groups, but never for an entire marathon. Like some of the readers above, I tend to start a little slow and then get into my groove.

    The two keys are choosing the right pace group and the actual pace group leaders. There are some phenomenal pace group leaders out there and they likely choose a strategy that benefits the groups as a whole, not just a few runners within the group. That said, sometimes pace group leaders are not so good.

    Great blog by the way!

  16. How can that possibly be safe? That gave me the creeps...

    Vanilla - do you think they would have pace groups if it was cheating? Someone must think they are okay.

  17. I would be that guy who dropped a snickers bar in that pool and someone would end up dying in the frantic aftermath.

    Then I'd feel bad for a day or two.


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