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my 1st half - race pace?

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my 1st half - race pace?

Post  Stephanie on Mon Dec 19, 2011 6:23 pm

I will be running my first half marathon in approx. 3 weeks (yahooie!!!) and have some questions about race pace. I am sure these questions have been asked extensively by newbies but I haven’t been able to find answers to my questions directly, so please humour me.

I know what my training pace has been for my long runs and I have also plugged a 10k time from this summer into the McMillian calculator but are there any other ways to know what pace I should aim for on race day? Obviously my goal is to finish so running the race at my LSD run pace will ensure I finish but I am sure race-day adrenaline will allow me to run at a higher intensity, but just how fast is this? Should I base my effort on HR zones? I will be running with a Garmin & a HR monitor.

Ultimately my primary goal is to make it to the starting line healthy – I am within reaching distance of this goal already and am ecstatic needless to say. Secondly my goal is to finish without a particular time goal in mind, but I’d appreciate any wisdom you have so that I run a good race, pushing my pace a bit while not killing myself my mile 8. It seems so hard to know what my race pace should be with this being my first half.
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Re: my 1st half - race pace?

Post  healdgator on Mon Dec 19, 2011 6:45 pm

Pacing at a distance you have never run before is really, really difficult. Is this your goal race? I don't know how it is for others, but the mcmillan calculator is basically worthless for me. I think your plan to start out conservative is a good one. You will probably find yourself fighting the urge to run too fast initially, given the adrenaline of race day. When to pick up the pace a little is always tricky at a new distance, but I would think by mile 8 you should have a good feel for how much you can open it up without affecting your ability to finish. I don't use an HR monitor, so I can't give you much input there. I would suggest you aim to finish this one (run conservatively, even if a little faster than your LSD pace) and target another one to see how fast you can go.
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Re: my 1st half - race pace?

Post  Chris M on Mon Dec 19, 2011 6:51 pm

i did not do this in my first half marathon but wish I had...

I would take that 10K that you did and plug the time into McMillan. That will spit out an idealized half marathon time and pace but rather than go for that, I would run the first TEN miles of the half marathon at 15 seconds slower per mile than that suggested pace. It will feel very easy. Then at the 10 mile mark, you've got 5K to go and you race it hard if you are feeling good or just hang on with that same pace if the distance is really getting to you. I think doing it that conservatively for the first 10 miles dramatically increases the chances you'll finish without a collapse in pace that kills your final time.

Or....do I what did and race out at a pace 15 seconds FASTER per mile than anything says you can hold and then have to walk the last mile when you blow up in spectacular fashion!
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Re: my 1st half - race pace?

Post  Jerry on Mon Dec 19, 2011 7:34 pm

My 5k-half times in Mcmillian align very well. I would start with that forecasted time or a little slower for the first 3 miles. For half, I do 4 phases: 3, 3, 4, 3 for the following goal:

1st:settle down to the desired pace.
2nd:I typically feel a little hard, thus try to stick to the pace.
3rd: I ususally feel smooth, not sure why.
4th: game time or just fade like my recent half. pirat
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Re: my 1st half - race pace?

Post  Stephanie on Mon Dec 19, 2011 7:44 pm

healdgator wrote:Pacing at a distance you have never run before is really, really difficult. Is this your goal race? I don't know how it is for others, but the mcmillan calculator is basically worthless for me. I think your plan to start out conservative is a good one. You will probably find yourself fighting the urge to run too fast initially, given the adrenaline of race day. When to pick up the pace a little is always tricky at a new distance, but I would think by mile 8 you should have a good feel for how much you can open it up without affecting your ability to finish. I don't use an HR monitor, so I can't give you much input there. I would suggest you aim to finish this one (run conservatively, even if a little faster than your LSD pace) and target another one to see how fast you can go.
Well it's a goal race in that it's my first half but I have my sights on a spring half to push/test my abilities. This one I really want to make it to the start & finish lines but yes, I can't help but have a time in mind.

Chris M wrote:i did not do this in my first half marathon but wish I had...

I would take that 10K that you did and plug the time into McMillan. That will spit out an idealized half marathon time and pace but rather than go for that, I would run the first TEN miles of the half marathon at 15 seconds slower per mile than that suggested pace. It will feel very easy. Then at the 10 mile mark, you've got 5K to go and you race it hard if you are feeling good or just hang on with that same pace if the distance is really getting to you. I think doing it that conservatively for the first 10 miles dramatically increases the chances you'll finish without a collapse in pace that kills your final time.

Or....do I what did and race out at a pace 15 seconds FASTER per mile than anything says you can hold and then have to walk the last mile when you blow up in spectacular fashion!
Hahaha Chris this is exactly what I don't want to do but could easily see happening. Razz
I like your suggestion to knock 15s of McMillian's pace and reassess at the 10 mile mark! I know I have the cardio endurance to push myself in the half but still being a newbie, I could see my muscles dying on me towards the end like they did during my 11 miler this weekend in a ton of snow. Uggh. Ouch.

Jerry wrote:My 5k-half times in Mcmillian align very well. I would start with that forecasted time or a little slower for the first 3 miles. For half, I do 4 phases: 3, 3, 4, 3 for the following goal:

1st:settle down to the desired pace.
2nd:I typically feel a little hard, thus try to stick to the pace.
3rd: I ususally feel smooth, not sure why.
4th: game time or just fade like my recent half. pirat
Ooo another good approach! I like the idea of smaller segments!

Great suggestions guys! Thank you!!
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Re: my 1st half - race pace?

Post  Julie on Mon Dec 19, 2011 8:02 pm

I agree with Chris's advice and just don't start out too fast, especially the first couple of miles when there are faster runners right with you getting into their ideal pace that isn't your ideal pace. Have fun and congrats on getting this far in your training!
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Re: my 1st half - race pace?

Post  Stephanie on Tue Dec 20, 2011 11:07 am

Julie wrote:I agree with Chris's advice and just don't start out too fast, especially the first couple of miles when there are faster runners right with you getting into their ideal pace that isn't your ideal pace. Have fun and congrats on getting this far in your training!
Awww thanks Julie - that means a lot!!
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Re: my 1st half - race pace?

Post  Julie on Tue Dec 20, 2011 2:55 pm

You're welcome! You'll do great and please be sure to write up a race report when it's done. I hope the weather cooperates for the race.
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