Race Pace


Im doing my first half marathon on the First of April, and trying to listen to as many experiences as possible to gather some useful information. image

I have been told that race pace on the day can get as fast as 1mim mile faster (on a 1/2). Seems a bit  optimistic to me but Im sure that the athmosphere and andrenaline on the day wil make me go a little faster.

Can you please help me reason a way round a race pace plan? Not sure what pace to do at the beginning, middle and end image

many thanks everyone 



  • I choose the pace I intend to run at, and stick to it - especially in the first few miles.

    Then if I'm feeling good, I'll take it up a bit, and see how that goes, until the last mile or so when I might push it a bit more.  I usually run a negative split.

    I always start conservatively, because it's very easy to get pulled along at a faster pace at the beginning, and be unable to maintain it.

  • I try and do what Wilkie says, but it's not easy.

    I always get carried away at the start and find myself covering the first 1/2 mile in 5 minutes (or something stupid). From then on I try rein the pace back in, and stick to my intended pace. At about 10 miles I try and pick up the pace a bit. At 12 or so I'll start trying to increase the pace further, so that it's all pistons going for the last 0.1 miles.

    If you can manage a steady pace throughout, you'll get a confidence boost from overtaking people who've set out too fast.

    Having run a few halves where I've started too fast and then struggled, I really don't recommend it - hurts like buggery!

  • Do you have a 10k pb ? Or even a 5k pb ? Just work it out from there - Assuming you've trained well and that your half pace will be slower than the 10k.

    There's a race time predictor on the RW site somewhere.

    I just pace mine evenly, and if I'm feeling good I'll give it a bit more with a few miles to go.

    Increasing the pace by a mile a minute from training pace ? I'd say thats more than doable - unless you race all of your training runs ?

  • Tim R2-T2Tim R2-T2 ✭✭✭
    Do some runs of about 5 miles. 1st mile at LSR training pace, then three miles at race pace followed by a mile at training pace. You'll get some idea of how hard you'll find it at that pace and whether you could keep it up for 13miles.
  • Hi  all tahnks for your replies. I know what you mean about starting too fast, when the race nerves kick in and feel the pressure to stay with the pack, before I realise that as Im being overtaken by all but injuried I give up and finally accept it that there is no point trying to keep up and finally happily settle into my own pace! image

    I'm hoping that my Garmin whatch will help me with my race pace, jsut the visual axpect will help a lot, but maybe I'll set an alert, Ill test if first as I dont want the beep to drive me mad.

     But basically it sounds as if I should listen to my own body and keep at my pb speed and go faster towards the end if I feel up for it. Sounds good to me. It's my first 1/2 so it will be my PB regardless lol image 

    Can I just add with another question please? I have 4 weeks till race day. This weekend gone I run my furtherst at 8m. In addition I also run twice a week with a club. Tue 5m slower- Thurs 6miles faster

    How should I use my 4 following weekends till race day:

    Last weekend 8m (first time)

    Weekend 1 = 9m

    Weekend 2= 10m

    Weekend 3= Rest

    Weekend  4=  Race day


    Last weekend 8m (first time)

    Weekend 1 = 10

    Weekend 2= 9

    Weekend 3= Rest

    Weekend  4=  Race day
  • Next week I'd run 10 miles.

    Week after I'd run 12 miles.

    (assuming that your body is holding up to it)

    Week before the half - I'd run 6 or so. There's no need for a complete rest, and if your body can't recover from a 6 miler in a week - then you shouldn't be asking it to race 13.
  • Hi Cougie, thanks for the advice. I think the 6m a week before wont be an issue. I didn't mean complete rest the week before but active rest, still run my club nights but at a slower pace.
    I can do 10 next week, but my worry is that if I do 12 with two weeks to go will I have enough rest time if I give myself an injury? Hence I was thinking of doing no more than 10 and soldier on the last 3 with my andrenaline and possibly iPod to block out the pain/tiredness of last 3.1m lol image
  • If you were running a marathon - a lot of people do 20 miles two weeks out ? I don't see why you'd get an injury just from running 12 miles unless you feel something is wrong already ? If that was the case then I'd not risk the half.

    See how you get on with the 10 miler - and I'd bin the ipod for the big day - focus on the racing - not the music. Training gets you through. Boney M is no replacement. image
  • The reason why Im scared of getting an injury is because Id be increasing  a lot of mileage in a short period of time. When I run my first 8m I was comfortable throughout. Took my youngest with me on his bike and could hold a conversation with him whilst running. I never had to stop, was really please with myself If I may say so image

    So is this my plan? Obviously I would be very aware of myself and if I feel a niggle or any kind of pain that feels like an injury, things will have to change but fingers crossed Im ready to compromise speed over completing my task!

    1st March 6m

    4th March 8m (first time)

    11th March 10m?? 

    18th March 12m??

    25 th March ?? What should I do

    Ist April =   Race day image
  • Tim R2-T2Tim R2-T2 ✭✭✭
    Well jumping from 10 to 13 is a fairly big increase isn't it? I would do as Cougie says. I dont think you should worry about a race pace given the info you have I would run it at training pace a just concentrate on getting round. If you were racing it you should have done a couple of 15s and several 13s by now.

    Good luck and enjoy the day, after about 5 miles find someone who is running at your pace to chat with. That will get you through and maybe you can use them as a pacer image
  • Thank you Tim. I had planned this from October last year but suffered injuries twice which in total put me put of training for about 8 weeks in total and hindered my training schedule as I had almost to go back to scratch and build up again image

    Thanks for the tip about finding someone running at my pace after 5m I will remember that. image
  • I did my 10m yesterday and managed without any injuries Yippie image

     I got another 3 weeks to the race not sure if do another long run next week or start to lower miles already.

    Weekend 2=?

    Weekend 1=?

    Weekend  0=  Race day

  • Tim R2-T2Tim R2-T2 ✭✭✭
    See how you feel tomorrow.

    Step up to 12 but don't worry if you have to walk towards the end. Listen to your body.

    Do 6 the week after.
  • thanks Tim, when I did the 8 miles it took me 3 days to recover. I know this because I went running on the Tue and had a recovery jog 5m amd felt tired. However on the following day I was better.

     Not sure if going running on Tue again, so soon, howeveri if I do 12 I will make sure I would have completely recovered.

     During the 10m run I noticed. My right calf was a little thight (not painful) and my right knee was playing up every now and then.

  • Which race are you entered in? I'm entered for Reading which is on the 1st April image

    If you look at the RWs Training Plans for the HM, the LSR peak in week 10 i.e. this coming Sunday. So I wouldn't worry about tapering down already.

    I agree with Tim - step up to 12 but take it easy, it's getting the distance in your legs that's important, not the speed hence why they're called Long Slow Runs. In an ideal world you'd have done 13miles + already but it shouldn't be an issue as the crowd and adrenalin will get you through come race day.

    The last Sunday before your race try a 10K time trial, from this you'll be able to gauge your fitness and it should give you a little confidence boost!

    Good luck image
  • Tim R2-T2Tim R2-T2 ✭✭✭
    I just meant see how you feel in general rather than necessarily going for a run.

    I'm not sure what a 6 mile time trial would involve but I would stick to slow 6 mile for the Sunday after.
  • Hi Runnerbean Im doing Paddock Wood 1/2. It will be my first ever road race! image

    I seem to have recovered faster after the 10m than the 8m somehow, so Ill try and run 12m this weekend and let you all know how I get on.

    Thank you all! 


    I did my 12m run yesterday as planned. It was really good trying the distance and did it as I would on race day (bar the speed!) tried out my camelback for water, energy gel for the very first time!! Which I hate in general but found one that I can just about manage! Clothes etc. All good.

     When I did the 8 and 10 mile runs I felt good throughout the runs till the end. When I did my 12m run I started feeling tired at 9m, not sure if it was psycological because I have trained less this week as I had a cold all week, which may also have had an impact. Anyway I still finished 'strong' as I did my last 2 miles 0.30sec min mile faster.

    I did it in 2.10 and I am happy with it as I only started running in October and had almost two months off in the meantime with two separate bouts of injuries. This will be my first ever road race.

    I dont think I was working too hard as my average HR was 150 and could hold a conversation and laugh all the way whilst running!... so hopefully I'll do better on the day.

    Im going to taper down next weekend wtih maybe 8miles? What do you think?

    Thank you all for the good advice so far! image

  • Tim R2-T2Tim R2-T2 ✭✭✭
    Ok it's a bit late for any more advice now but these runs should be slow so you may just be suffering from the cumulative effects of the last 3 weeks and your cold.

    SLOW 6 miles next week no hard sessions, you'll recover well and breeze the race. Have fun.
  • Thanks Tim,

     I did the 6m on Sunday. 

    Went swimming last night

    Going for a slow 3 miles in about 1/2hr.

    Cycle 13.1m tomorrow (Im going to cycle the course to familiarize with it)

    Not sure if I should do anything Thurs and Friday, Im sureIll have to relax the day before. image

    I will let you know how I get on, promise!

    Cheers for all the advice!

  • Tim R2-T2Tim R2-T2 ✭✭✭
    Easy 3 miles on Friday.
  • I did it! My time was 2:09:02. Im very pleased and thank you for your advice which has helped me a lot with my training image
  • Tim R2-T2Tim R2-T2 ✭✭✭
    Well done. That's a great achievement you should be pleased. How are you feeling two days on? Normally that's when it all catches up with me. Any plans to do another?

    I wasn't as wise as you and 'ran' 28miles with 3000ft of ascent (and descent) across the south downs on Sunday. The last time I ran further than 13miles was a November trail marathon. I don't have a specific injury, I'm just slightly broken all over.
  • Hi Tim, I went lap swimming on Monday evening and that helped a little. Then went running yesterday and did 5m at 11.30mm (as a recovery jog) but felt very tired and legs were a bit achy. Had a sport massage a couple of hours earlier too. Today is much better already. Funny thing I found is my right toes hurting me, the three in the middle only. 

    I started running to improve my overall fitness for triathlons but Im enjoying it so much I m goign to do at least 1 or 2 running events a month as well my original plan of one tri a month!. Im finding running so rewarding and addictive. I also enjoy xc perhaps more than road.

    I wasnt always this 'wise' I have learned my lesson well because I got injuried twice and am being ever so careful. I was trying to push myself below the 9.50mm but it was ever so hard so decided notto risk and stick to my rythm. It's my first running event so still plenty to learn and improve.

    See you mention the South Downs so you cant be too far from me. Do you belong to any club, are you planning any races? We might come across each other one day image

  • Tim R2-T2Tim R2-T2 ✭✭✭
    I'm worn out just reading that. I would alternate a tri and a running event each month. Running a 10k or half every 2 weeks and a tri as well will definitely see you getting injured. Assuming you are aiming at running your hardest.

    I live a bit North of London and just went down to the South Downs for a particular event. Have seen a couple of halfs in Surrey, Kent and Sussex but haven't entered any as yet.
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