How to Hit Your Half Marathon Pace
How can you hit your half marathon pace? Hitting your half marathon pace requires testing and exceeding its threshold during your training, specifically tempo runs. Why are tempo runs ideal for hitting your half marathon pace? Because tempo runs allow you to run 3 to 4 miles faster than what you are aiming for per mile split.
For instance, let’s say you are trying to hit 1:37:35 for a half. This equates to a 7:27 mile pace. However, during your three to four mile tempos, you should be trying to stick in the range of 7:20-7:23. Why? You are not running the full 13 miles so you should train both your body and mind to a faster speed especially one which may end up being your pace and kick through to the finish line of the race.
Also, more than anything, training your mind to see 7:20 mile splits can carry over to your half marathon race. Hitting faster mile splits will now not seem unreachable but rather natural. Here are some other strategies you can do to hit your half marathon pace.
PR on Your 5k’s.
If there is any race that gives you the opportunity to push the pace and go out hard, it is the 5k. The distance of the race is perfect for discovering what pace is in fact too quick for you. What pace makes you breathe to an uncomfortable level or makes your legs tighten too much?
Once you discover your threshold, then you can back off and find a slower pace that allows you to be still pushing yet feel strong both physically and mentally.
Why are 5ks good races to test your body and mind? Well, the distance is short and the races allow you to recover faster than 10k’s. So work your way up to 10ks after you PR on your 5k’s!
How to Pace Control Your 10ks
There’s a model for pacing 10ks which involves adding 20 second per mile to your 10k time since it is twice the distance. However, this pace control model is certainly not the concrete model to follow. Some may discover they have to add more seconds, and some may discover they can shave off that 20 second per mile pace by a good amount of seconds. Find out what is right for you, first and foremost!
How to Pace Control Your 10ks
Once you know your 10K pace, you can try again adding give or take 20 seconds per mile to determine your goal pace for your next half marathon.
How Can I Pair My Mile Splits to My Overall Race Time?
There are many ways to do this quick and easy without having to pull out the calculator to do number-crunching. One is using an already-created Half Marathon Pace Chart like the one used trackshack.com.
Another popular site is active.com which has a built-in pace calculator and allows you to calculate your running pace through the variables of time and distance.
Don’t Kill Yourself on the 1st Mile
Now, in a half marathon, one of the worst things you can do is go out so hard that you can’t sustain the pace and you drop off. And, it happens to even the best of runners who fall into the pack and aren’t even aware of how fast they’re going out, especially for the first mile. For instance, I often try to stick around a 6:00 flat mile pace for 13.1 which puts me around 1:18:36. However, from my prior race history, I’ve started out way faster for my 1st mile, sometimes even hovering around the 5:15-5:20 mile mark.
This would be ok if I was in the race for the 5k, but I wasn’t. What happened here was I had to slow my next mile to a much slower pace than 6:00 to let both my body and mind recover from such a first mile. Don’t fall into the 1st mile frenzy as I like to call it. You feel fresh and you have the crowd and often you feel great at a much faster pace. But, it catches up to you faster than you know it, at mile 4 or 5 in particular.
We want to know how do you go about hitting your half marathon pace? What do you do in your tempo runs to prepare you for your mile splits?