First attempt at being a pacer!: While some... - Bridge to 10K

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First attempt at being a pacer!

Equi-geek
Equi-geekGraduate10
34 Replies

While some might be aiming for an end-of-year personal best at Parkrun, I decided to mark the end of this amazing year doing something I could never, ever, have imagined I'd be doing a year ago - taking it easy by being the 40 minute pacer!

I knew I'd have to be slower than when I was in fancy dress last week, but then, I also had to compensate for taking 33s to get across the start line, a medium incline at the end of the first and second lap, and the first km being mostly an energy-sapping gentle incline into the wind that can catch beginners out (which I know all too well!).

Nerves got the better of me a little - it's not comfortable being 'down' on the clock when you know there's a 'hill' towards the end I couldn't bring myself to drop below the 8min/km. I kept my eyes glued to my watch, tried to not run too fast on the declines, but didn't want to put the brakes on too much. In the end, I was about 60 - 90 seconds too fast - I think.

I have certainly run with 40 min pacers that set out at 35min pace only to realise they were too fast and had to walk - or even stop, or run back the other way (?!). One lady stayed on my shoulder as she wanted to break the 40min barrier for the first time. It was good to listen to her breathing as it helped me to adjust, since we were obviously 'up' on the clock - and she smashed it. Another thanked me for helping her keep running all the way for the first time. She said she glued herself in behind me and matched my cadence (a bit like I do with 'proper' runners!). So, I don't think I did too bad a job in the end!

I'm backup timer on Tuesday, so I will do a freedom run, and then next year I hit the intervals and start to pick up the effort again towards a 10k Resolution run on April. But, I've really loved just enjoying running over Christmas, and finally discovering a proper 'conversational' pace.

34 Replies
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UpTheStanley
UpTheStanleyGraduate10

Good for you for trying that, from now on you shall be known as Equi-Speed :-) .

I'm curious as to how it works, as we don't use pacers at Southsea. It should theoretically be easy if we did as it's dead flat, but there's usually a westerly wind to contend with, which can easily make "back" a couple of minutes longer than "out". Did you aim for a steady pace throughout, or slow down for the climbs and go a bit faster on the flat to make up? And given the inevitable delay at the start, did you aim to get home in an official "Parkrun time" of 40 minutes, i.e. getting the 33 secs back, or aim for 40 from you crossing the start to the finish?

I've noticed that when I'm running at an easier pace, I find it really hard to keep it steady, and I really don't trust the instantaneous pace Mr Garmin shows me, though the 500m splits seem fine. And my watch thinks our Parkrun is 5030 metres anyway ……. :-( . But it's a role I'd like to try one day.

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Equi-geek
Equi-geekGraduate10
in reply to UpTheStanley

Thanks UTS! Everyone starts at the same hooter, so the 33s it took to cross the start means a 7:53 pace, on average. I spoke with the people around me at the start because there are a couple of ways to tackle it in my mind; adjust for the terrain and help people keep motivated on the inclines and push on a bit when going downhill, or stick as close as possible to exact splits and be a barometer. So I spoke with people around me at the start, about what they were hoping to achieve, and decided on adjusting. I know when I was trying to break the 40 min barrier it was almost impossible to stay with the even-splits pacer on the inclines, and it can be disheartening to fall off the 'pace' when you feel you're running at your hardest uphill. On the 2 steeper inclines I deliberately dropped well below 8min/km, and tried to hit 8min/km on the 2 gradual inclines, but was faster than I thought on the declines, eek!

1 like
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Deals1
Deals1Graduate10

Well done!!

My local parkrun has Pacers once a month. Great idea

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Equi-geek
Equi-geekGraduate10
in reply to Deals1

It is - and a local running club volunteers to provide pacers at ours quite regularly. Those guys normally come in bang on the pace. Even so, having some pacers really helps everyone moderate their pace at the start and finish strongly, particularly!

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Equi-geek
Equi-geekGraduate10

Yay! Official time was not as uber-quick as I thought, 39:30 :)

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UpTheStanley
UpTheStanleyGraduate10
in reply to Equi-geek

And if anyone following you is unhappy with that, they can have their entry fee back 😀

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Equi-geek
Equi-geekGraduate10
in reply to UpTheStanley

🤣👍

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Equi-geek
Equi-geekGraduate10
in reply to UpTheStanley

The ladies that were with me got PBS and a small group a few seconds behind all came in below 40, so they should all be chuffed at finishing the year at that point 👏👏👏

3 likes
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Dexy5
Dexy5Graduate10

Well done Equi, that’s quite a responsibility and it looks like you did a brilliant job. 🏃‍♀️🏃‍♂️🏃‍♀️🏃‍♂️🐕🚶‍♂️

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Equi-geek
Equi-geekGraduate10
in reply to Dexy5

Thanks Dexy5 (nice Emoji 👏)

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Dexy5
Dexy5Graduate10

I was scanning for the first time today. Great fun.

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Equi-geek
Equi-geekGraduate10
in reply to Dexy5

I’ve done that too and messed up - that’s also a critical job! Hope your scanners ‘blip’ better than ours do!? My mistake was totally pilot error though 😬

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Dexy5
Dexy5Graduate10
in reply to Equi-geek

The trouble is you don’t know if it’s your scanner that’s beeping or the person next to you. And is it a beep or a Beepity beep. Back to marshal next time if I’ve messed it up.

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Equi-geek
Equi-geekGraduate10
in reply to Dexy5

I know - really difficult - we try to spread out bit even so... but don’t worry if there is a cock up because I scanned a finish token first, accidentally. I told someone, so at least they could work it all out. They said I was more than welcome to try it again, even though it took the scanner out of action for the rest of the run.

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MutleyShuffle
MutleyShuffleGraduate10
in reply to Equi-geek

I did scanning last week, I found it really scarey as never quite sure if I heard the bleep or not - but no one said anything so I'm hoping I didn't bu**er the results up!! My thumb hurt for two days afterwards as well! 😬

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Sybilw
SybilwGraduate10
in reply to Equi-geek

If you’ve a iPhone or the like you can download a parkrun volunteer app which lets you use your phone to record finishers. Super easy. I’ve used both and, like you, was confused by the beeps. The phone is idiot proof 😂. You then just send the results to the organiser (the only not idiot proof bit - I sent it twice!!). Happy New Year.

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Sybilw
SybilwGraduate10
in reply to Equi-geek

Please read my reply to Dexy5. Meant to send to you first!!

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Equi-geek
Equi-geekGraduate10
in reply to Sybilw

🤣👍

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AlMorr
AlMorrGraduate10

Do you have to pass some sort of test - run to be a pacer? These are the guys running with the big flag above their head with depending on the length of the event, say a 10K, there would be a 45, 50, 55 minute and a 1 hour pacer. At my local 10K event in September the four pacers finished EXACTLY at the time they should have.

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Equi-geek
Equi-geekGraduate10
in reply to AlMorr

Wow! That’s amazing pacing! We have bibs with the time on the back. No, I wasn’t asked to pass a test or anything, but they could look through my results to see I was easily capable of the time. I have also done a few Parkrun volunteer jobs now and run on Tuesday evenings with a few of the key organisers so perhaps I got a ‘pass’ without too much scrutiny. As it is all voluntary I think there is less pressure and an opportunity to practice for a paid event - if you’ve never done it before. It was very interesting to run with people trying to stick with me, when normally I am the one sticking to a pacer! Made me very aware of correct form and cadence, I was asked a few questions on the way around so I was honest about my ability, but talked about the technical stuff I’ve learned on here and about how I discovered glutes and the muscles in the back of my legs for tackling hills 🤣

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AlMorr
AlMorrGraduate10
in reply to Equi-geek

Thank you for the explanation Equi-geek, I will have to do a lot more runs just to enter a 10K, if I did I would 'try' and keep up with the 1 hour pacer 😊🏃.

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DressageRider33
DressageRider33Graduate10

Well done Equi, great way to end the year! 😁 and as a hill hater I’d be very happy with a pacer who slows down on hills!!

Sad I didn’t get to be there this morning, sadly the christmas cold has attacked and breathing is a struggle without adding running into the equation 🤧🤒

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Equi-geek
Equi-geekGraduate10
in reply to DressageRider33

Thanks DR! I hope the cold clears up soon - lot of it about. I’ve seen others have been injured when running with a cold so you did the right thing!

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Ang33333
Ang33333Graduate10

Well done. I was tail walker today, though I had to run to keep up with the back runners! No walkers today!!! 🤪🤪

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Equi-geek
Equi-geekGraduate10
in reply to Ang33333

Wow! Well done Ang - got the run and volunteer brownie points too! 😁👏👍

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Ang33333
Ang33333Graduate10
in reply to Equi-geek

I know! Didn't realise I'd get both..!

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MutleyShuffle
MutleyShuffleGraduate10

Well done Equi (you nearly got called Equipment - just spotted the auto-correct in time!), you are brave to be a pacer! 30 seconds too quick sounds fine, and sounds like you had a lot of happy customers! Fantabulous! 😁👏🎉

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Equi-geek
Equi-geekGraduate10
in reply to MutleyShuffle

Thanks Mutley! It was nerve-wracking but l did my best 😁👍

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Jay66UK
Jay66UKGraduate10

Brilliant! 👏👏👏

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Equi-geek
Equi-geekGraduate10
in reply to Jay66UK

Thanks Jay!

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over61andstilltrying

Really impressed that you did brilliantly as a pacer! Fantastic! I continue to marvel at how this running lark gets many of us doing things we would never have thought possible only a short while ago! Well done and thank you on behalf of those happy runners you helped to make their PBs. 😊🏃🏻‍♀️Happy running to you!

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Equi-geek
Equi-geekGraduate10

Aw thank you! Amazing world of running isn’t it! Wish I’d found it years ago now!

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theoldfellow
theoldfellowGraduate10

I'm in awe. Well done! What a great gift Parkrun is to the world. Good to be part of it.

👏👏👏👏👏👏

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mountaindreamer
mountaindreamerGraduate10

Sounds like you did great EG! Well done! 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻😊❤️

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