Pace Your Marathon

December 14, 2014 | By | Reply READ MORE...

Pace Your Marathon

What is Pacing?

Pacing is the speed at which a person walks, runs or exercises. During a marathon it is the speed at which each kilometer is run, keeping in mind the remainder of the distance. It involves managing the breakup of the energy resources as well as the muscle work as per the demands.

Why is pacing important?

A couple of important changes taking place while running a marathon:

  • Physiological changes such as dehydration and muscle breakdown.
  • Environmental changes such as temperature and terrain.

All these changes lead to an increased demand on the body. It is important to judge the running pace at which these changes do not affect your performance. Not knowing or working to your optimal pacing strategy will result in a less than desired outcome.

A classic pacing strategy that often results in failure is to start too quickly. It may be adrenaline, desire to stride out into clear road, or a conscious decision, whatever the reason it is unlikely you will get away with it. Too fast a start in race such as a half or full marathon results in early fatigue and a consequent slowing in order to finish. Another strategy is to start slowly and then get faster as you go. The distance is split into different segments, with an increase in pace in each segment.

Most of the world records from 1500 meters to the marathon has been set running the first half of the race slightly slower than the second half. This means that if you want to run the fastest time possible, you have to be conservative during the early miles of the race!!!
A steady running velocity throughout the race has been suggested to maximize your running performance. This is the hardest to achieve and sometimes even the most trained athletes find it hard to follow.

Pacing Strategies:

  1. Slow Beginners: this group starts the marathon at a pace slower than their marathon pace and make up these lost seconds by being able to close the last few miles fast as opposed to fading.
  2. Fast Beginners: this group runs the first half of the marathon about one to three minutes faster than the second half. By using a positive pacing strategy which is where you slow down a few seconds per kilometer as the race progresses, there will be an increase in the effort required to maintain the pace.
  3. Constant Pace: this group runs the entire marathon at a constant running velocity.

Know the right strategy for you:

This can be tricky but it can only be done by you. These strategies depend on the individual’s body composition and the demand being put on the body. As we are well aware practice makes perfect. Hence the best method to decipher which strategy suits you is to practice them in your training sessions and judge which gives you the best result.

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