Q. How does pacing work in a Half Mararthon?

A first time half marathon runner posted a question on my Facebook page and I thought I’d answer it here for her…it might help others thinking the same thing… (thanks for the question Mandy)

Q Hi this is my first Half Marathon and noticed you said u might be a pacer? How does this work? as i would be keen to try keep to 2.15 if i can although it would be a challenge.. but might give me help along the way…all new to me though 🙂 The longest I’ve run is 7 miles but I do cross country running too.

Pacers run set times throughout the event, they’re usually club runners or experienced runners who know how to keep the same pace throughout and have the ability to finish in a set time. I was a Pace Maker in May at the women’s 10k and it was great to help so many people get their goal. The pacers at the Great Scottish Run are going to be at 1:20, 1:30, 1:35, 1:40, 1:50 and 1:55, (and I’ve offered to do 2:10 – 2:15.)

If you don’t see a pacer – you can do it yourself. All you need is a recent race or training time for a certain distance, then put it into The Runners World Race Time Predictor.

You said you did 7 miles in 57 minutes (that’s 8:08 minute miles)… the race time predictor comes up with 1:50 for half marathon… (8:23 minute miles). Remember it’s a longer distance… 7 miles plus almost 10k… so you might struggle to keep up the 8:08 pace you did the 7 miles in.

If I were you I would set yourself to maybe finish in under 2 hours… (120 / 13.1 = 9:09 minute miles)… and maybe even find a 1:50 or 1:55 pacer to stick with for the run.

1:50 is 8:23 minute miles and 1:55 is 8:47 minute miles. I think if you can do 7 miles in 57 minutes you should be able to do a half marathon in under 2 hours quite comfortably.

Say we go for 8:30 minute miles to make it easy, this is how your times per mile would look:

1 8:30 mins
2. 17:00 mins
3. 25:30 mins
4. 34:00 mins
5. 42:30 mins
6. 51:00 mins
7. 59:30 mins
8. 1:08:30…
9. 1:26:30 …
10. 1:25:00 …
11. 1:33:30 ….
12. 1:42:00 …
13. 1:50:30 …
13.1. 1:51:21 …

(You could print this and use it as a pace band if you’re really wanting to know what your target times are!)
(Or you could use the Runners World Pace Band Generator here.
Be careful to waterproof it like the insturctions tell you to or you’ll lose it half way!)

Then all you need is a watch with a timer on it, and if you hit the times above at each mile marker you’ll be well on your way to a sub 2 hour half marathon (remember to look out for the 1:50 or 1:55 pacers though – as if you follow them and stick with them you won’t need to worry about your splits. 🙂

As it’s your first half marathon, it’s important not to go out too fast and remember you are doing almost twice the distance of your longest run. Don;t worry though, I’m sure you’ll be fine – just take your time and you’ll finish fine. When you do your half try not to think of it as a long long event… just think of it as a 7 mile run, then a 3 mile run to take you up to 10 miles, then a 3.1 mile run to take you to the finish. 🙂

It will be a challenge but one that i’m sure you’ll do well in. And if you’re not sure… check out the positivity and mindset part of the top 10 tips post below. 🙂 or see here: Believe in yourself and think positively

For more tips on running the Great Scottish Run see my GSR half marathon top 10 tips...

And if you liked this post, you might want to ‘like’ my Lorn Pearson Trains Facebook Page to get updates in your newsfeed each time I post.  🙂

This entry was posted in Motivation, Pacing, Questions. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Q. How does pacing work in a Half Mararthon?

  1. mandy says:

    Most useful info thank you so much Lorn for taking time to help :)) Hope to see u sunday x

  2. shouldn’t you take into account the elevation of the course?

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