Marathon Pacing – Don’t Expect To Get It Right First Time
Until you’ve run 26 miles for the first time, you don’t know how your body is going to react. You could get to 20 or even 22 miles with no problems and then everything could fall apart very quickly. In your first marathon, your best bet is to read this blog on How To Predict Your Marathon Time and don’t attempt to go quicker than your target pace until at least 20 miles in. Once you’ve experienced 26.2 miles you’ll know how your body should feel at each different point in the race, then you can judge whether you’re running at the right speed and whether your legs can sustain that speed until the end of the race.
Pace Your Marathon: Ignore Everyone Else
At the start of a marathon you might look around and judge the people around you, thinking ‘I could run as fast as them,’ or ‘I could beat them’. Then when they go off slightly quicker than expected, you feel you ought to go with them. Don’t! Firstly, they might be a faster runner than they look. Secondly, they could be setting off quickly through nerves or the magnitude of the occasion – either way they’ll pay for it later on in the race. Just stick to your own plan and don’t let it bother you if people go past you in the first few miles.
Marathon Pacing Tip: Chat!
If your marathon target time is anything more than three hours, you should be able to carry out a conversation during the first twenty miles. To ensure you can do this and you aren’t running too quickly, have a chat to the people around you. This will also pass the time more quickly, and you might even make a friend or two.
Check Out The Course Profile – And the Wind Direction
To help decide on the correct pace your marathon, have a look at the profile of the marathon course. You will need to allow yourself some extra time for hillier miles.
If the wind is in your face, these miles will take longer too.
But remember, the benefits of a downhill mile don’t equal the hardships of an uphill mile. Similarly, you don’t get as much help from a tailwind as you do hindrance from a headwind. Life isn’t that straightforward!
How To Pace A Marathon: Practise
Practise running at marathon pace; that’s an obvious one. Also practise working hard later in your long runs. Throw in a few miles at quicker-than-marathon-pace in the last quarter of your long runs; get used to not plodding your way to the finish.