Proper pacing can make or break your race. Whether you’re preparing to tackle the full 26.2 miles of a marathon or trying to nail your fastest 5K, setting your goal pace and training to sustain it over the entire distance requires discipline AND pace intervals. Jared Ward just won the Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon with a time of 1:06:00 – with a negative split. He knows a thing or 2 about pacing, so listen up!
Set An Attainable Pace Goal. This should go without saying, but it is easy to get lured into wanting to finish at a certain time that you’re just not (yet) capable of achieving. So how do you know what is a reasonable target pace for the marathon? Pay attention to your longest training runs and take note of your pace. Most marathon training plans cap your long run at around 20 miles (or 3 hours maximum) so planning to keep that same pace over the final miles of the race should be attainable.
Remember that it’s the closing miles where physical and mental fatigue really set in. You may only be 4 miles from the finish, but if you blow your pacing, those 4 miles are going to feel like forever!
Train For Your Pace. A great way to train to hit your pace goal in shorter runs is to add longer intervals at slightly faster than your marathon pace. For example, during a run of 10-12 miles, throw in intervals ranging from 1 mile – 4 miles, repeat at 10-15 seconds faster than marathon pace.
Mind Your Pace. Training partners can be the best and sometimes worst thing for your running. If you’re training with a partner who has a different goal, don’t let their pace dictate yours. The warm up and cool down are great times for socializing. Stay focused on you.
This is especially come race day when the atmosphere is amplified with excitement and energy. So many people abandon their plan right off the bat either from excitement or nervousness about what lies ahead. You’re not setting yourself up for success if you try to bank your time at the beginning – running just doesn’t work that way. If you are able to run the second half of the race at the same speed as the first half, consider your run a pacing success!