When I take a business trip, I usually will overpay for the newest Runner's World magazine, or some kind of running magazine. So last week I picked up the newest edition and read an article on rabbits that I found very interesting. A rabbit is someone that elite runners bring in to help set a pace for them. The rabbit usually only runs about half the race and his only job is to set a pace and is never expected to win. Rabbit are well paid if they can deliver the pace requested of them, and by saying they are paid well, I am talking about a six figure income. On the other hand, if they cannot set the correct pace, then work is scare.
Rabbits go way back in history, but I found out that Roger Bannister, of the 3:39 mile fame, used rabbits to set that record. In fact, he used two rabbits. One guy set the pace the first two laps, the second guy set the pace for the last two laps, but neither one of them could win the race. Bannister defended using rabbits with two points.
- Physiologically, it's easier to run from behind than to run in front (which I know nothing about). Stats say that it takes 15% less effort to run from behind.
- Psychologically, it is easier to run behind someone than in front. Some prefer to jump out front like Steve Prefontaine, but most people would prefer to have a target rather than be a target.
Now, this makes sense to me in a way, but I also think that it is kind of wrong. The people that are setting these records are elite runners. To me, elite means the best, and I could argue that using a rabbit takes away from that accomplishment. I say, let them bust it out hard and see what they can do. I also think that with GOS watches and all the technology we have, there really should not be a need for rabbits. I know marathons have pacesetters, and this does not bother me, because I feel it is totally different. The corals are NOT setup for the elite runners. Anyway, I found it interesting.
Now for a shout out to Jeff from Dangle the Carrot. Jeff just completed the Galveston 70.3 Half Ironman. It sounded like a great race and I want to send a Daily Trainings "High Five" to him for battling through some issues we all have faced at one time or another, so go read his blog to find out what I am talking about.
Next up for me is the Herb Parsons Run the Trails 9.5 miler on Sunday April 17, 2011. I have no idea of how I will do on this race. I have been hitting the miles fairly well the past couple of weeks, but trail running is entirely different for me. I guess it is more of a mental thing for me because I know my pace will not be like a regular run pace, so I have to get the mileage part of it out of my head. I am trying to approach this as a good long run. I do have a goal time of 1:30. So it is out there, I will let you all know how it goes on Sunday and if I hit my goal time. I know, maybe I will find a rabbit on the trail that will lead me home!