Good mind-body awareness is a skill that becomes increasingly important the longer the race. Anyone can grunt through a sprint. 70.3 triathlon, IronMan triathlons, and marathons all require the athlete to tune into their body’s need for food, water, and proper pacing. The Blind Mile is a good way to check in on your ability to pace yourself.
Following a good warm up on marked course, like a track, set out to run a mile at a specific pace, say 7:45. Easy enough, right? The kicker is that you have to leave your watch behind, tune in to your body, and run the race “blind” without any time or bio-feedback like heart rate. Get it? Include a blind mile as part of your track workouts every few weeks throughout the season to see if you are become more in tune with your pacing and the factors that affect it, such as hydration, levels of sleep, and weather.
Get a group of your running buddies together and do the same drill over a longer distance. Both my youth team and one of my adult teams ran a Blind 5k. At the start of the “race” each participant declares their projected finish time. The “winner” is not the fastest, but rather the person who finishes closest to their predicted finish time. Over the span of 8 weeks the average spread between projected and actual finish times drop so significantly that half of the adults were within one minute and the vast majority were less than two minutes. If these were well tuned collegiate athletes that may not mean much. These were beginner triathletes, many of whom never have never actually run an open 5k.