We recently paced some runners we are coaching and found ourselves once again chatting about the same issues afterwards and on the way home. Put simply, we couldn’t believe how difficult some runners make it for themselves in the first few miles of a race.
There was the usual tension in the start pens before the gun sounded and then the bleeping of watches and GPS devices kicking into action as the race started. We were off and the fun had begun.
I was pacing a guy to around or just under 90 minutes and Phoebe was pacing a group of girls to sub 1.40.
So we eased into our planned race pace over the first few km’s and by 2 miles were on target, feeling good and not going any quicker.
However, and its a big however, there were hundreds of people already starting to slow down, breath heavily and show the early signs of a titanic struggle ahead. They had gone off too hard and allowed testosterone to take over yet had nearly 10 miles still to run.
If honest we passed lots of people every mile right up until the final 200m’s and nobody overtook us at all in the race once we had passed the first few km’s. My guys ended up with 86 minutes and Phoebe’s group all ran around 1.37. We were even paced throughout and ran to our own efforts and plan.
Indeed, in the second half of the race we even played a game of chasing the vest in front and focused on racing those around us deflecting any tiredness.
So here are some top tips for running a good half Marathon on race day:
1. Have a plan and goal time for each km and mile. Make sure you have practiced this pace in training and know it is realistic.
2. Start cautiously in the first mile or so and build up to your race pace gradually.
3. Don’t worry about others talking negatively around you in the starting pen. Be confident about your training and look forward to the test that lies ahead.
4. There will be harder and easier miles in any race. Stay calm and focus on even effort not just pace. This allows you to control any hills, headwind or turns. Consistent effort comes before consistent pace.
5. Focus on vests and trying to gradually pass people in the second half of the race and make sure you still feel strong.
6. Remember, you get your new pb or goal time at the end of the race and not in the first mile
7. Finally, remember its better to be the tortoise than the hare. Anybody can go racing off and we all feel good in the first mile. The wise runner is patient and just like the tortoise always consistent.
Good luck and we look forward to hearing about how well your next half marathon goes.