What Should Be My Race Day Pace?

by Neil
(Birmingham (UK) )

I am following a training schedule for a sub 1.45 Half Marathon 15th March. Using a HRM to stay in zones etc and things seem to be going quite well. Whilst on my Long Slow Run (LSR) on Sunday (12 Miles) i began wondering how all this training would come together on race day and what pace I would run etc.

I have just got myself a Garmin 405 with GPS so can monitor pace during the race.

So my question is basically: I'm training at a slower pace on my LSRs and obviously quicker pace over Intervals / Tempo and Fartleks. How do I plan a pace that will see me over the line within target, without burning out by going out too quick ?

Neil (Birmingham UK)

Answer by Dominique:

Hi Neil,
Thanks for your running training question. It's a very good one and very considerate.

Many runners do not do themselves any favours by not preparing for this question properly and just see how fast they'll go on race day. Often that means, they'll go out too fast, only to regret it in the second part of the race.

If you have done some recent races, you can use those to gauge how fast your half marathon would go via the race conversion calculator. Simply enter the time and the distance of the race you ran, enter the time of the race you are going to run and you'll get a reasonable estimate of your finish time.

For me this running calculator works pretty well. When comparing my 10k and half marathon times over the years they are usually all within a 30 sec - 60 sec tolerance of what was expected.

You say you are training for a sub 1:45. I would definitely also encourage you to do a few goal pace sessions to work out whether your goal time of sub 1:45 is doable.

For a half marathon race you can do either six miles slow, six miles goal pace (if you can maintain the pace you should be able to do goal pace on race day), or nine miles goal pace (if you can do that, then on race day you should be able to do the full distance at that speed).

I hope this helps. If you have a book like Daniel's Running Formula you can find tables that link training times to race times.

Hope this helps.
P.S. Good luck in your half marathon. Don't forget to check out a few race tips.

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