Race Pace vs. LSR Pace

Hi all,

Looking for some advice on what race pace I should aim for next weekend, I am running the Amsterdam 1/2 marathon. This will be my 2nd 1/2 marathon, I ran Reading earlier this year in 01:58 which equalled to 9min miles. My LSR runs prior to Reading averaged around 10 min miles.

In prep for Amsterdam my long slow runs have been 11,12 and 15 miles and I average 9:40 min miles, I haven't been too bothered about my pace more focusing on getting the miles in my legs. I checked and they have pace groups and I'd like to start with the 1:55 group which would be around 08:45 min mile but I'm not sure.

What are everyone's thoughts? I'd love to run a PB but I am always wary of tanking off in races and fading at the end.



  • You aren't thinking about increasing your race pace by that much and you seem to have been putting the long miles in, so I'd say start off at that 8:45 pace and see how it goes. A lot will depend on how you feel on the day and what the conditions are like but you seem to have been sensible in your training and I'm sure you could improve on your Reading time.

    I don't think training at a slower pace than race pace will matter. In fact it's what most people recommend. Good luck. If it does feel too fast, just slow down a bit and you may well have enough left later in the race to get a PB anyway.

  • My LSRs were around 10-10:30 min miles, maybe I did a few longer ones than you ( a 17, 2 18's and a 19), but I was really surprised at my latest GNR time - I knocked 23 min off my PB which had been at 2h09 for 3 years running about 8:07 pace. I found the extra distance in the LSRs and therefore better endurance(I was training for my first marathon) made a huge difference to my speed, with no speed training at all during the run in.

    Not knowing your exact fitness etc, I'd say you should be able to go 8:45 or maybe a touch faster without trouble.
  • Thanks both for your responses! I think I'll start with the 1hr55 group and if it does feel to uncomfortable I can always slow down! 

    quite excited but nervous - only 4 days to go! 

  • Sounds reasonable.

    Have you maintained the training or increased it from your first half ? If so then a 3 min improvement shouldn't be too hard.

    If you'd trained really well for the first and then had let things slip for the second then it would be a struggle but I don't think this is the case.

    Enjoy your day.
  • Hey all,

    I didn't meet my 1hr55 target - finished in 01:56:36. I was dissapointed but at the same time pleased that I set a pb on the back of not the best training. The last 6k was utterly painful, my thighs were on fire and I slowed right down. My 5k splits at 15 and 20k were abysmal image

    On a positive note I now have a time to work with as I have entered Wokingham on Feb 10 and I really want to set a good time - I have read it's a good course for PBs but not the most scenic! So just under 4 months of training I could do and my aim would be to get to as close as 1hr50 as possible.

    I'd be interested to hear what people think are the best / key workout sessions for improving HM times?

  • Oh thats not too bad then ? A PB ?

    Rather than telling you key sessions - what did you do for this half ? What sessions per week and how hard and how fast did you go ?

    If you want to improve - you really need to train harder for the next one. 

  • Well done on the PB runnerbean. I enjoyed the run too - weather was perfect imo.

    If you want to beat that PB in Wokingham, you need to introduce speed training into your week. You need to condition your body to run faster than race pace so that race pace becomes easier. Keep one long run a week for your endurance.

    Use the McMillan calculator to work out your paces and then introduce it into your weekly schedule either by interval work, tempo runs, fartleks etc. I would suggest you introduce 2 of these session per week. You may want to enter some parkruns too as these are good speed sessions and can help you track your progress too

  • Runner bean

    +1 for what Johnas said.

    My two key workouts for improving a HM time (or a 10m time, or a 10k time) would be:

    1) more over distance runs ( so, regularly running 15-16 miles for a HM) , and

    2) tempo runs at or quicker than race pace (start with 3-4miles, and build to 7-8 miles

    Good luck!
  • Wokingham will also depend on which way the wind is blowing - out of town or in to town. It's a 'flat' course, though some lumps. On the return leg you'll hit the M4 bridge at mile 10, then some up/down and the next motorway bridge at about mile 12.

    These two lumps can take you unaware so you need to ensure you can remain strong until the end, especially if the return leg is in to wind.

    Are you local to Reading or Wokingham?

  • Thank you for all your responses, very helpful! 

    Cougie - my training for Amsterdam was very inconsistent and I was not as well prepared as I was for Reading. I missed about a month and then I did the classic cramming it at the last minute. My longest runs were 10, 12 and 15 miles. I run twice a week with a running club, speed sessions on Tuesdays and an out run ranging between 6-9 miles on a Thursday but again I had missed a few. I was very surprised at how painful the last 6k were, and I cannot decide whether it was down to lack of endurance or lack of practicing at race pace, or probably both! image Reading was my first HM back in April and it was much more comfortable!

    Johnas thank you for the links, really good articles. I do speed work with the club on Tuesdays, ranges from 200m efforts up to 1m efforts and sometimes fartleks. I don't think I do enough tempo running. I always thought that should be HM pace, if I want to run 1hr50 it would work out at 08:24 per mile. My tempo runs should be quicker?! image But as you say build up gradually!

    Ironcat - I live in High Wycombe so not far from Wokingham or Reading - I have actually entered both races next year! Wokingham is very popular with our club, and Reading because I loved it this year! Thank you for the advice on Wokingham, I hadn't factored in the weather. I guess with it also being in Febuary, the great British weather may have something special in store! I assume you have run Wokingham then?

  • Good stuff. If you run for HX make sure you go to the winter TVXC league runs. They'll be similar to 10k races, so great tempo runs that will really benefit your ambitions.

  • Bit of a Thames Valley love-in here then. Ex-Marlow Strider myself. That Wycombe HM course is one of the toughest starting miles in a race Ive ever ran.

    RE: Tempo running. Your tempo (or threshold) should ideally be somewhere between your 10k and HM pace (Mcmillan has it as 8.21 - 8.35 for you based on your HM time). I'd introduce some of these tempo runs: 3x 10mins @ threshold off 2 min recoveries; Progression runs 15mins easy/15mins steady/15mins threshold; 45 mins with last 15 @ threshold etc. They should help run faster for longer!

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