So apparently I have always struggled with determining a good “race pace” to set for myself at the beginning of a race. I inevitably start out too fast and run out of steam around half way… how do you determine what your race pace should be? Or is that just one of those rhetorical questions in life? (Is it also bad I had to think of that word for at least one minute before it came to me??)
This is my first virtual half marathon ran back in 2007. Do you think I knew a lot about pacing myself? Why yes, I did! Oh wait, was that NOT a 5K I was trying to run?!?!?
I’d like to think I am slightly better at pacing myself now that I have been running for 5+ years but seriously, how do you know what a good pace is? I always tend to run a little faster at races then on my regular long runs so I don’t want to necessarily make myself go TOO slow. For example, if I had tried to pace myself for the Turkey Trot last November, I would never have let myself run miles in the 8′s. After all, I am not a fast runner and to me, that IS fast!
On the other hand, when I start out too fast, I have nothing left by the end and that is the time you need the push the most. So what is the magical formula for determining a race pace? Do you just go as fast as you can for as long as you can? Or do you restrict yourself to a certain range for the first 75% and then gun it the last 25%? I am not really sure what the right strategy is but I need to try to figure out a game plan for my upcoming races. I really want to PR at my next half marathon, and I really want this PR to be under 2hrs. But I know if I stress out about it and TRY to pace for this, I will likely fail but if I relax and trust my legs and lungs, I might actually be able to do it! My last half finish time was 2:02:22. And I took a few pictures that required quick stops and had to take a break to fix my hat. Considering these things, it seems realistic to believe that I could succeed at these goals…but how do I go about getting there?
I have raced a few races and completed 5 official half marathons but every single race has gone slightly different than I expected. I want to keep working on being a smarter runner/racer but it seems the harder I try, and the more I want it, the further away the goal appears! Is this maybe something else that just comes with practice and with time? I sure hope so but sometimes I wonder!
And what about The Upcoming Race. How the heck are you supposed to pace for 26.2 miles? Still having issues believing I WILL actually run this far…
There are SO many variables in running, maybe that is why I love it so much? It’s certainly a constant surprise… (oh wait, I HATE surprises………)
Any theories out there? Tips? Success Stories?