JENNY HADFIELD WROTE A WONDERFUL, SHORT, not-too-technical piece for Runner's World in 2013 on how to approach pacing in this 13.1mile race, "How To Pace Your First Half or Full [sic]* Marathon". She effectively uses colors to make her points.
It happens to be MY PERSONAL approach for every half marathon I run, even though Hadfield indicates this is mostly for beginners. Essentially it involves 1) finding a comfortable running rhythm on THAT PARTICULAR DAY in the first half of the race, then 2) once you are clearly beyond the halfway point, at mile 8, challenging yourself to pick up the pace to make it a real race, not just another run, and 3) finishing the last mile+ as strongly as is possible.
The reason this plan works is that foundation for each stage is built during your training. You are enabled to run the 1st stage by ALL the training days you got out on the road and ran, JUST RAN; not employing a particular strategy, but just ran short, medium, and long distances to get in the mileage. Over the weeks, not thinking too much during these runs, you established the rhythm that you can settle into on race day.
The 2nd stage can be entered because your training purposely involved picking up the pace during certain segments of some runs, even if it was to simply finish the last half of the run faster than the first half. Your strength and hill training also prepared you to kick into this stage and slowly, purposefully pass one slower runner at a time on your way to the finish line.
The last stage, for me, reflects the mental toughness developed whenever I accomplished a task/routine in the plan that I really, really, really did not feel like doing. It's the "nitro" that fuels my final surge (like "Fast and Furious" street cars). If I could push myself THEN, I can certainly push myself NOW, for this last 1.1 miles of the RACE which I've trained months to run.
Check out what COACH JENNY has to say, and think about your race pacing strategy as you run your easy miles this taper week.
* Word to the wise: it's not cool to use the term "full" marathon. Possibly RW editors forced it's use in the title. Experienced runners know there's "the marathon", and a shorter race that's half that distance.
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EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. I began participating in road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health.
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