Senior Interaction Designer
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a RUN supreme

Exploring what it takes to become an ultra endurance athlete

Pacers

This weekend my training plan has me scheduled to run 31 miles, or 50 kilometers. By typical standards, this distance is considered an “official” ultramarathon distance, but I’m simply running it as a training run on my way to a 40 mile race on May 1st. Typically I run solo, but with these longer distances I would really like to run with other people for a variety of reasons. In the past few days I’ve called and explored a variety of running groups in town to tag along with, but to no avail. Groups are either running too late in the day, too short of a distance (I never expected to join them the whole time, but joining up for a 5mi seems unhelpful), or they want me to pay a membership due to join them.

Frustrated with these options, I think I may have found a good solution this weekend. I found a 15k trail race just down the road from me put on by the Columbia Cycling Club, and quipped on DailyMile and Twitter:

“Considering running 35k to the starting line of a 15k trail race on Sat. When do I OFFICIALLY get on the nut job list?”

While it may seem crazy on the face of it, I think I really like this option. Although last week I was on a recovery week, the previous several weeks I have run well over 20+ miles on my long runs. So I think I’ll simply run 35k (~21.75mi) down south on the back roads to get to the start of the race. It should work out where I will have a bit of a break before the 15k (~9.32mi), I’ll run my first official trail run (in my Vibram FiveFingers nonetheless), then I’ll grab a ride home from my wife. Should be fun to run on the trails!

Whew! All of that to say, after this whole experience (plus recently driving my race course) has got me thinking about having a pacer to run with me near the end of my race. I think I would really like to have someone join me on the last let of my race, but I have no idea how to find and coordinate that person. Maybe during this race this weekend I’ll find someone to join me on May 1st for 10mi or so.

Here are some of the questions I have about having a pacer:

  • How do you find a pacer to join you?
  • What do you look for in a good pacer (maybe physiological or psychological)?
  • How long (time or distance) should you expect them to join you?
  • Any other tips/tricks or requirements on being, or having, a good pacer?
  • Want to be my pacer!?!

Thanks for your thoughts!