How do you check your pace round a marathon?

Hi all, running the Berlin Marathon this sunday and wondering whether it's better to:

a) Make a note of individual split times (e.g. aim for 5:26 per km, and don't pay much attention to the overall time, maybe until the last few km)


b) Make a note of target times for particular points.  e.g. 27:08 at 5km, 54:16 at 10km, 1:21:24 at 15km, etc. and not pay much attention to individual km splits.

Last time I went for option A, but this is my first marathon in km and trying to figure out what's most comfortable / easy to follow during the race.



  • Set your watch with your target Km time - use the timer that repeats. 

    When the watch beeps - you should be close to the Km marker. If you reach the post first then you're too fast. If you're not there yet - then you are too slow. 

    You need a decent idea of your target time though - usually a prediction based on a recent half marathon race ?

  • Maybe every 2k? 5k is perhaps to big a margin, as if it's started to unravel you may end up with a lot of claw back, but 1k will probably get a bit tedious, and you could end up if you're going well or badly being more than a split ahead or behind the target, and then it might get confusing.

  • I like to do every 500m on my garmin during a marathon, that way I can just aim for the next 500. By the end of the race I find that quite a comfort. "only 200m to the next beep" it keeps me going.

  • I would imagine that everyone around you would just want to punch you though. Thats about 80 beebs, enough to drive anyone crazy.

    Sorry, I'm no help I just set a pace and zone out, so long as no ones watch beeps near me.

  • I just decide the pace I want to run at, then keep an eye on the 'average for current lap' and 'average for run so far' figures.

    This helps me to not start off too fast, and usually leads to a negative split, as I tend to be a bit conservative on the pace and feel able to run a bit faster towards the end.

  • I've always ran my best marathon times based on aiming at target times in 5km splits. The splits are regular enough to see how you are progressing, but far enough apart to actually just get in the zone and enjoy your running.

    I do run better on "feeling" how I'm running than clock watching though. Both my half and 10km PB's were set this year by not even looking at my watch until I crossed the finish line.

  • Ran Berlin 3 times and also agree 5km splits worked for me each time..Good Luck

  • I usually just use the average so far pace! At london I used a pace band but it worked there due to the timers every mile! Usually I decide how fast I want to run, work out the average pace needed, start running too fast and check my pace and think oh well and carry on!!! It usually ends up with a fast first bit, followed by a lull in the middle as I think I have loads of time, followed by a fast panic at the end as I try and make up for the lull! One day I'll get it right image

  • Thanks all for your comments.

    I've printed out a pace band with 2km splits on it as I think I'm a bit paranoid to wait for 5km.  Though I can see that 5km splits would be more feasible on a flat course like Berlin than something hillier.  I'll record every km split on my watch just for the sake of looking at it afterwards, but won't pay attention to every km split.  Hadn't used a pace band before, but I think it will help prevent me from getting disorientated with km times, being used to mile times.

    Ultra cougie, the beep idea is a good one but there are over 80 live bands and a million spectators round the course, I'm not sure I'd hear beeping over the noise!

  • garmin and follow the average per mile function......I know if its slightly off because of hills etc as I know where i am in the mile..............

    T would have loved me in the race last saturday.........forgot to set the garmin differently to normal and so it was set to beep if my Heart rate went over beeped the whole way through the 10 mile race shattering the quiet of the canal run....didn't want to stop and faff for ages trying to find out how to change the damm thing as I was part of a relay team....image

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