A Tale of Two PARE’s

Pacing is a topic I bring up often with Redliners, and anyone looking for advice and tips for the test. And the reason I bring it up often is because of its importance to your performance.

When done right, pacing will yield your desired performance. When done wrong, things go south quickly.

Recently I ran the PARE to demonstrate a point, and to clearly show how much pacing makes a difference, no matter what fitness level you are.

Watch the video below. It’s a comparison video of my best PARE time where I paced myself (top video me – TVM), and the PARE test where I throw pacing out the window and try to run the course as fast as possible (bottom video me – BVM).

With BVM, you see how quickly I start, and for a moment it looks like I could sustain my effort. By the 4th lap, though, it’s clear I’m labouring. And by the 6th lap, there’s a definite deterioration in performance.

With TVM, the laps are consistent. There’s very little variance. I’m in a state of what I like to call “comfortably hard”. I’m pushing a good pace, and I’m working for it. But I’m not dying to maintain it.

By the end of 6 laps, TVM overtakes BVM.

If it wasn’t obvious how gassed BVM was after the 6 laps, you’ll see it on the machine. BVM takes a moment to start the push, and even takes several seconds after 2 rotations to catch a breather.

When you take a look at TVM, I went straight for the machine, didn’t even miss a beat.

Once all was said and done, TVM still had the time to get to the bag carry and complete it. BVM is writhing in pain.

So, how much did “sprinting” the course cost me? I ended up 17 seconds slower compared to my best, and well paced, PARE time.

17 seconds lost. That’s a large chunk of change.

I’ve been an athlete all of my life. Most people would think someone of my abilities can get away with “sprinting”. Clearly that was not the case.

If I’m losing 17 seconds by “sprinting”, just imagine how much more time is lost for someone that is not well trained? I can guarantee they’ll lose significantly more.

Below is a breakdown of the paced PARE (2:34), and the sprinting PARE (2:51).

Pacing Times Sprinting Times
Lap 1 17 Lap 1 16
Lap 2 18 Lap 2 17
Lap 3 18 Lap 3 18
Lap 4 19 Lap 4 19
Lap 5 19 Lap 5 20
Lap 6 19 Lap 6 22
Course 1:50 Course 1:53
Push 21 Push 31
Falls 8 Falls 12
Pull 14 Pull 15
Final 2:34 Final 2:51


Most people will look at this and go “Geez, even sprinting the PARE he still got under 3 min!” But that is not the point.

I am highlighting the fact that pacing is the key. Look at the times again. See how consistent the left side of the chart is vs the right. On the right side, there’s a clear pattern of persistent slow down. You see a much less decline on the left.

Because there’s less decline, the machine is attacked with vigour for TVM.

For BVM, I was just trying to survive.

If you sprint, you will suffer. No ifs, ands, or buts. You will suffer and you will pay for it. And you will pay for it more than what I paid.

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