The obvious draw in marathon running is its huge degree of difficulty, which catches the fancy of many runners who are attracted by the gratification of overcoming such a physically demanding task of running the full course and winning it.
And yet there have been many marathon runners out there who have consistently been among the top ten finishers each time they join. The secret to the game has always been in pacing.
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Research has shown that some experience is necessary to rank high consistently. The human brain is such a wonder of nature. It’s the one that actually dictates on the body by alerting you to limits which may cause more harm than good. It makes you feel cramping and pain, and it even gives you shortness of breath, all of which make you slow down as it sees a risk if you continue on your path with the same level of energy.
Pacing yourself one race after another gradually makes your brain adjust and convinces itself that even with a consistent rhythm, you can survive running the long distance without harming yourself.
Most runners make the mistake of focusing their energy on the first half on the run, only to bog down for the remainder of it. The opposite is more advisable. Marathon runners who know how to win practice the discipline of not letting other runners run past them in the early goings of the race.
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The strategy really applies on the latter part, when the body is well-heated to go for a more serious grind, and when the brain welcomes this. Pacing in marathon running is truly a most powerful skill.