The easiest way, if you are a professional runner, to calculate the pace you should run for a half marathon is to refer to a grid calculation. Just input the time in which you wish to complete the race and the grid will work out how fast you should be running each kilometer.
However, if you are new to distance running and have signed up to compete a half marathon, you may have a time in mind that you desire. But how do you know this is achievable? And even if it is realistic? You need to have an accurate and defined time, so you can pace yourself, or you may find yourself with two kilometers to go and no gas left in the tank or, worse still, cruising past the finish line with plenty of power left. This blog concentrates on finding the right pace for your half marathon.
Know Your Limits
Training is key to determining your time zones, and it can be a combination of a lactate threshold test, lab test, a VO2 max test or a simple field test. A combination of one or more of these tests can assist in determining your pace for the race.
Rely on Past Performances
If you are a seasoned runner, it is pretty easy to calculate your running pace as you have past races to give you an idea. You may not have ever run a half marathon and have been building up to the race with shorter 5K and 10K events. This does not matter as you can use a mathematical calculation to extend your previous finishing times: (5K x 4.667 and 10K x 2.223).
Do Trial Runs
Time your runs in training, it does not matter if you do not complete the full distance, you can get a very accurate idea of your pace over different distances in training. When actually running a half marathon, you can use this data to evaluate how you are feeling and adjust the pace accordingly. The idea is that you try to run steadily with the same effort and gait, some specialists advise to slowly build up pace in the first few kilometers, plateau out over the mid-section then power on again for the last two kilometers. Even if you are adhering to such a race plan, it is key that the bulk of the race is run at a pace that you are comfortable with.
Trust Your Strategy
Once you have determined a pace that you can run long distances with, you can then start to work out your race strategy. You can allow for periods of speed bursts and also recuperation bouts when you may need to slacken off for a few kilometers. Training is key to all of this, you must be confident in your own ability for the duration of the race and not just a small portion of it. The race may be just too fast for you, and it is important you know if this is the case, then you can race against your PB and make improvements.