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Half Marathon Pacing Strategy

Half Marathon Pacing Strategy Brian sprints to finish

If you plan to run a personal record (PR), I recommend a negative split half marathon pacing strategy. Run slower at the beginning. Then faster at the end.

Half Marathon Experience

Running too fast at the beginning of a half marathon can be disastrous. I paid a painful price using this pacing strategy in my first half marathon. Having learned my lesson, I ran a smarter and more strategic St Pete Half Marathon. I had a much better racing experience waiting until the final 5K to sprint to the finish (photo above). 

Threshold Pace

Having learned from Dr. Jack Daniels, you can run threshold pace for about an hour. How far can you run in an hour? I ran a 10K in 49 minutes in my first half marathon at an average pace of 7:56 per mile. So, I could run about 7 miles in an hour at a threshold pace of 8:34

Alternatively, you can estimate your threshold pace by running a 30-minute time trial. Discover how to calculate your heart rate threshold and how the training peaks app automates the process.

Interval Pace

Dr. Jack Daniels says interval pace is at your VO2 Max. It’s the “speed you can race at for 10-12 minutes” on a flat course. Does your race have hills? My third half marathon does. 

In the last half of the marathon, is there a hill? If yes, it’s likely to cause your heart rate to spike into zone 5. Maybe you run over this final hill for a few minutes at an interval pace. That may only leave enough time to run the last 1.1 miles at your VO2 Max.

My Half Marathon Pacing Strategy

My pacing strategy for the Clearwater Running Fest Half Marathon:

I plan to run the first 5 miles at a 9:00 per mile pace. I will keep my heart rate in zone 3 on flat terrain. However, I will run harder up the first two hills with my heart rate in zone 4. After the first 45 minutes, I will increase to 8:34 (threshold pace) for the next 7 miles.

When I reach the last hill, I will run up into Zone 5. Then I will return to Zone 4 at 8:34 pace until I pass mile 12. In this final 1.1 miles, I will push into zone 5 at a 7:45 pace.

My new half marathon PR will be 1:53:31. Thus, I plan to beat my old record by 52 seconds.

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