How to Understand Pacing

Pacing can get a little tricky. This blog breaks it down!
By
Gabriel Rusher
August 18, 2022
How to Understand Pacing

As was brought out in last week’s blog, it is our goal to provide all of our members a clear plan with clear expectations. This is accomplished, in large part, by helping those attending class to understand the intended stimulus of the workout. An important aspect of a workout's intended stimulus is its pacing. When explaining the pace, we use three different descriptors; sustain, reach, and send. 

Send pacing (as in full send) is rather self explanatory, so we'll discuss sustain and reach pacing since the difference between the two can be more nuanced. These terms are often conflated with speed; sustain is slow and reach is fast. While this association does convey the general idea of pacing, there is a bit more to the equation. 

Rather than thinking of pacing as the speed we want to go, it helps to view it as the approach we want to take when performing a workout. Imagine a graph like the one below. The vertical axis represents work, while the horizontal axis represents time.

A sustained pace indicates that we should approach the workout in a way that allows us to keep our rate of work as consistent as possible. Conversely, a reach pace indicates that we should approach the workout more aggressively; we want to drive the intensity higher, and brief rests are to be expected. At times, the rest is prescribed, such as during interval training. 

You may understand the concept of pacing but struggle with its application. If so, you can perform a simple test. First, perform thirty burpees at a sustained pace. This means that you should pick a speed that allows you to finish the task without slowing down significantly or stopping. Take about five minutes of rest, then perform the same task at a reach pace. This means you should start with a significantly faster speed that will force you to either slow down or take a brief rest. If you want to geek out, you can even track your time and reps per minute for both and compare the two! This will give you a better idea of how to pace yourself in future workouts.

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