Half-marathon race pace

Can anyone offer some advice on judging half-marathon pacing by monitoring heart rate?

I'm running in the Fleet Half (20/03/05) as prep for FLM and for once have been pacing myself sensibly by using a heart-rate monitor. I'd like this to continue but would also like to score some PBs, mainly to build confidence.

What I'd like to know is what is the ideal/ accepted heart rate, either in terms of working heart rate or maximum heart rate, that is 'most efficient' for racing a half? eg is it 80% of WHR, 90% WHR, less, more...aaarrrgh!


the bat (gutted about not making the Channel 4 top 100 cartoons list!)


  • A well trained runner should be able to hold 92-93% MHR (not WHR) for a HM.

    With a HR max of 200 I ran a recent HM averaging 185-186.
  • I've only run one half since buying an HRM and didn't wear it for the race, but I guess I was at 75-80% WHR for most of the race (a bit more for my "sprint" finish).

    However, I'm training for FLM and doing a 1/2 this Sunday and plan to be 80-85% the whole way round. 90% would be much too high for me for any significant time, but I can run consistently at 80-85% for quite a few miles.
  • Yeah - I've done 88% of MHR for a half - that was pretty tough though.
  • Barnsley - 92% MHR is about the same as 85% WHR for me so I would agree with that.
  • Another point to make is not to try and get your HR at this level within the first 400m!

    Let it rise gradually into the right zone over the first mile to mile and a half.
  • excellent stuff folks - 85%WHR for me equates to about 6.15 -6.20 m/m according to my fastidious record keeping of threshold and other runs.

    That would bring home a PB if I can keep that up. My recent long run history is a lot better than when I set my current PB so I'm banking on being able to hang on through the pain.

    BR; good advice on not setting off at that pace - something I have been guilty of in the past

    the bat
  • Yep, the pattern goes - comfortable for 5 or 6 miles, dig in and start working hard from 6-10 miles then really hurt yourself for the last 3. Seems to bring even splits.
  • br - dontcha just love it!
  • Cheers BR, I held my hr at 90 % max in my last half, thought it might have been too high, but I like the thought that i'm well trained!

    Your pattern is spot on, first 5 were ok, and the last three were hell, not helped by the fact they were on undulating cliffs, and off road.

    What hr should i try and hold for a marathon?
  • 88% (Last marathon done at 177 ave).
  • Cheers, I might go for 80-85% then. Haven't used my hrm fo a marathon yet, left it at home last year, so could be interesting.
  • Yup - I can manage 92% of my max HR for a halfmarathon.

    Sadly, that equates to just under 10 min miles in my case....
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