First HM - pacing

I am running my first half marathon on Sunday. Training hadn't quite gone to plan (calf injury/flu) and the 2h target I had in my mind seems unrealistic - I think I should be happy with 2.15.

However, considering the rallying factor of being in a race I am quitely hoping of being able to push myself to do better than that.

Would you suggest setting off at a pace based on 2.15 and trying to push it in second half, risking never being able to catch up, or start ambitious and burn out half-way through?

My longest run in training was 11 miles (yes -I did tell you preparation was suboptimal)

10k PB 53.30, 10M 1.30 - but this was last year when my form was a bit better

Many thanks in advance


  • 11 miles is fine for your longest run for your first HM.

    Whilst the "run hard & hang on" approach can work for 5k and 10k distance, its not a good idea to try this at longer distances.  If you start struggling half way through the half marathon you'll have more than an hour of pain & misery to endure.

    Your 10 mile time comes out at just over 2 hours for the half (based on mcmillan pace calculator), and there's over a minute a mile difference in pace between 2:00 and 2:15 finish times.  Can't you go for the middle ground and aim for 2.08 (9.45 min/mile)?  This would give you the opportnity to up your pace for the last few miles if your feeling good and target 2.05, or if you are suffering you can reduce your pace and try and stay within 2.15 (10.15min/mile).


  • Thanks kk and stutyr. That is helpful. perhaps a middle ground between the two paces is a good option. It usually takes me a while to settle into a pace so am likely to do better starting slower I guess. 

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