Many of you are running your first marathon on Monday, many of you are once again attempting the formidable task and to you I say “Once more unto the breach, dear friends”.
The question many people have been asking and one I have struggle with myself is just how to pace yourself during a race. For my first marathon in Vienna, I went out strong. At the time it felt great and even at the half way point, I felt fresh and was looking forward to tackling the second half of the great race. When I got to the Ernst-Happel-Stadion, I felt my legs begin to cramp. Slowly but surely, my pace dropped and I almost grinded to a halt. The lesson learned from this, run negative splits for your marathon.
What are negative splits I hear you ask?! In the most simplest of terms, you run the first half of your marathon slower than the second half. As tough as it will be at the start not to get swept away at the start, the key is conserving your energy during those first few miles. While you’re holding yourself back, try take in the route as you leave Fitzwilliam Square, don’t pass people if you can, hold back and know you will pass those people out in the all important latter stages of the race. With the thrill of the race. this can be easier said than done so focus on holding back and taking it all in.
Other runners will be sprinting beside you, getting in your way and you might feel they are slowing you down. Don’t dip and dive to get past, the nature of a marathon is a gap will naturally present itself. From experience, such movements will begin to tell later in a race if you do it too much. Stressing over simple things like people running slow around you will burn up precious energy. The key is staying calm and run your own race, they won’t impact your time.
Coming into Phoenix Park and throughout the course, make use of the water stops. When you get past the zoo, begin to nudge your pace up ever so slightly until you get to the gates at Castleknock and then try build slowly. If you see a marathon paces for your desired time, try stick to them as much as you can.
The marathon will be tough, you’ll question why did you decide to do this, but stick in there!!
The best way to understand pacing and what kind of times you should be running is to view our article on pacing times for various marathons. All the times and paces were calculated for a negative timed first half marathon and a slightly faster second half. Follow the link HERE to see the splits you should be running for your desired time.
If you have any questions, leave a comment below and we’ll get back to you and help you out as soon as we can.