Measuring Effort in Training & Racing.
Pace Judgment & Relative Perceived Effort (RPE)
In order to achieve the same (even) pace in a workout or race, expect RPE (relative perceived effort) to go up throughout challenging workouts, (see chart below). Instead of trying to judge pace by effort, measure it by cadence & rhythm. Warm up properly, do some longer strides & divide the 1st 400 (if doing track work) into 100m sections & check your pace against your target pace often & early. THE 1ST REPS OR MINUTES SHOULD FEEL ALMOST TOO EASY & SLOW in order to be able to hit the required target pace later on. Develop a keen sense of pace, this will be your biggest ally in racing & massively increase the effectiveness of workouts. Avoid "competing" in the early stages of a workout. Run on feel based on fact - how fast are objects coming up & being passed. Sense pace not through a tachometer (revs/effort), but through a speedometer (actual speed/pace) relative to your preset pace goal. Resist the temptation to show early what is available in the tank. During the 1st & early reps or miles, have a sense that you are running the whole workout's total volume without recovery-this will assist you with setting a strong but conservative and achievable pace throughout the workout. The repetitions/miles that cover the 75-90% range of the total workload are often the poorest/slowest. By focusing on pace feel, form, cadence & a naturally higher RPE during these reps you effectively counter the pace erosion and get the most out of your workout/race on ALL levels. The mental boost achieved through maintaining or even slightly beating your average pace at this stage (75-90% of the race or workout) is a huge confidence builder.
How I Feel Exertion
1 Resting Very slight
2 Talking is easy Slight
3 Talking is easy Moderate
4 You can talk but with more effort Somewhat hard
5 You can talk but with more effort Hard
6 Breathing is challenged/don’t want to talk Hard
7 Breathing is challenged/don’t want to talk Very hard
8 Panting hard/conversation is difficult Very hard
9 Panting hard/conversation is difficult Very, very hard
10 Cannot sustain this intensity Max