Out & Back
A pacing exercise that tests runners' ability to run at a consistent or “even” pace and hones their skills for judging and controlling their own pace
- Assign a distance for the run.
- Instruct runners to run at their race pace, but to stop and listen for instructions if they hear your whistle.
- Start your watch and have your team begin running.
- When the middle of the pack is roughly a quarter of the way through their run, stop the group and simultaneously stop your stopwatch, noting the time.
- Instruct your team to turn around and continue their run in the opposite direction.
- When the same amount of time has elapsed, stop your runners again.
- Quickly discuss that the goal was for runners to run at the same pace going out and coming back so if they were on pace they should have ended up where they started.
- Repeat the activity one or more times with runners now aware of the goal and aiming for the same pace they ran in the previous repetition.
- Avoid giving too many instructions in the beginning.
- Have runners run at their race pace.
- Have runners run for the same duration of time in each direction.
- The goal is for runners to finish where they started.
- As the main workout or a shorter complementary activity
- Early in the season and repeated thereafter
- A track or looped course where all runners are visible and within earshot throughout
- A stopwatch
- A whistle
- Increases runners' awareness of pacing, testing their ability to run at a consistent, even pace
- Hones skills for judging and controlling pace
- Even pacing is often ideal for conserving energy, avoiding early fatigue, and performing one's best in middle and long distance running