The importance of pacing

I’ve mentioned before on this site about how I think racing at the correct pace is one of the most important aspects to having a good run, and setting off too quickly can often lead to all sorts of problems later on in a race (which I have experienced to an extent).

Well, at the Osaka International Ladies Marathon this past weekend (well done btw to England’s Mara Yamauchi for winning) all eyes were on Japanese runner Kayoko Fukushi who was making her debut in the marathon. She has a number of national records at shorter distances and on Sunday set off at a flying pace – so much so that she ran off alone into the distance and created a very comfortable lead – or at least it seemed. After the half-way point she started to slow and her final lap inside of stadium to the finish is something that has to be seen to be believed.

Fukushi enters the stadium, falls flat on her face, stands up and soldiers bravely on. I timed her final 300m at 2 minutes and 21 seconds – a pace of 7:50/km! That includes two falls in the final 200m.

This quote, a link to a video of the stadium lap (well worth watching), and some interesting reading about how she ran her race can be seen at the excellent Science Of Sport website.

Athletics Weekly wrote…

What looked like being a dream debut for Kayoko Fukushi turned into a catastrophe. The Japanese record-holder at 3000m, 5000m and the half-marathon was on course for something in the low-2:20’s, after passing through halfway in 1:10:32. Fukushi even had a two-minute lead at 30km but the Japanese star began to toil badly. The Asian Games 10000m champion, who had been tipped to improve on the world-leading mark of 2:22:38 was swallowed up by the pursuing group by 35km, with the next 5km split taking a painful 24:48. Fukushi clearly hit the wall, as the last 2.2km took 15:37, to finish 19th in 2:40:54.

With my first marathon coming up at the start of April this is one mistake I don’t want to make (oh, and don’t worry, I won’t be trying to run it at 2 hour 20 pace!).

2 comments on “The importance of pacing
  1. Danny Boy says:

    Why did I find her falling over hilarious? I think it was the coupling of the excitable commentator that did it – like something off of Tarrant on TV.

    This is a great thing to see to really remind oneself to take it steady and not get swept up early in a swift pace on the big day.

  2. Romain Suinat says:

    I remember watching this live. The french commentators did mention that her pace was way too crazy. Dramatic moment, the beauty of sport. Well done!

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