PuruTheGuru’s Strips and Bands

Pacer Strips or Bands
Pacer Strips or Bands

Quick Tip: I presented the PTG Pacing Model more formally in a paper whose highlights are here.

My Dream Wish – Your Gifts

For a few years of the SCMM, as a 2-hour pacer, I’ve had many of you achieve your personal best or first sub-2 in the half. I also told you in an earlier conversation why I do not really care about a podium finish (yours or mine) and how we all ought to focus on helping other runners. So, in X-thousand parallel universes, given my running ability, and attention to technical detail, I would have loved to pace 99% of you individually to your target finish times at the race you are about to run! Getting back to ground reality, things can be almost as wonderful with the next best gift I have for you…

Specifically designed for the Race Course you are going to run
If you would love to equip yourself with some more background and to know what makes these special, you should continue to the end of this short chat.

Why a GPS watch won’t solve all your pacing problems
If you have a simple stopwatch, and wondered if you are missing out relative to a GPS sports watch in a race, there’s no need to be especially envious. Although a GPS sports watch will tell you where you are and when, it will not easily tell you when you need to be at every kilometer of a specific route with its idiosyncratic elevation profile. Unless you have done all the calculations yourself and are carrying the results with you, you are more likely to either do some guesswork or remember just a few benchmark numbers. Moreover, you will not have a Km by Km guide of where you should be when, for achieving your target time, on that particular course, and for your own ability. That explains the need for human pacers and the inanimate pacer bands.

Human Pacers
I spoke to you earlier about the benefits of, and how to choose a pacer. Having said that, I also checked with you via an earlier poll regarding last year’s SCMM (2015) edition and found, not surprisingly that, in fact, less than 20% of you actually “ran with an official pacer and (were) satisfied”. Many of you were not satisfied with your pacer experience. In fact, 73% of you “did not run with a pacer at all”. One of the reasons would have been that the pacers are not synchronized in their distribution across the finish target range despite my having recommended this in the past. It is also not unlikely that the pacer you run with will fail to do the job as I highlighted in my report on Mumbai Marathon 2015 pacers and then again in 2016, 2017, 2018 and in 2019.  So then, might we be better off using inanimate wrist pacer bands?

Pacer Bands
Unfortunately, the typical pacer bands you get as freebies have a host of drawbacks:
– they have an implicit assumption that your course is flat
– and that even for a flat course your pace per km will be constant
– worse still, many of the ones you get handed at expos are illegible even when you are stationary in daylight
For these reasons and more, there’s unnecessary plastic and rubber wasted (let’s stop that everywhere please!) for something of limited realistic practical value. Use Puru’s pacer bands instead.

Puru’s Pacer Bands

PuruTheGuru's Race Distance-Time-Pace Model
PuruTheGuru’s Race Distance-Time-Pace Model

A lot of thought and action has gone into getting you these free gifts for your race success:
– they are calibrated for the specific route of the race you are about to run
– they account for the fact that as your target race time changes, your pace profile on the course also changes…
– so that the slower runners need more allowance for warming up in the initial stage of the race…
– whereas the fastest runners often bolt out from the start line to create a gap between themselves and others
– although we have might have an uphill where we slow down, we have a corresponding downhill where we go faster
– the downhill does not quite make up for the loss of time on the uphill
– the differential between uphill (slowdown) and downhill (speedup) varies across the running abilities
– in the final stages of the race, slower runners usually slow down further, especially for the full marathon, whereas the fastest runners have a strong finish, faster than their average pace
– all things remaining equal, even on a flat course, there is an underling trend to go slower as each km goes by
– this trend might be tiny for the fastest runners, but noticeable for the slowest ones

What next?
Simple! Just go to the bands and strips… print, cut, wear, pose and run!


Dr Purnendu Nath spends his waking hours focusing on helping individuals and organizations reach their goals, to make the world a better place. He speaks, writes and advises on topics such as finance, investment management, discipline, education, self-improvement, exercise, nutrition, health and fitness, leadership and parenting.