HM Pace

1st race advice needed please

17 messages
17/05/2012 at 22:12

I have only been running regularly since January and my only timed race was a park run last sunday.

I have run 30+ miles per week for the last 3-4 weeks and just started to ease off for a HM i have a week on sunday.

I have twice run 13.1 miles in training @ 1hr 52mins and 1hr 50min.

My park run was 5k@ 20.50mins

What pace shall I aim for at the HM. Calculators range from 1hr 35min to 1hr 45min which scares me. When I started training my aim was to beat 2hrs.

As this is my 1st HM should I take it steady and enjoy the day look for under 2 hrs or risk setting off at 8mm pace and see what happens-what would/did you do?

18/05/2012 at 00:29

Your 5k pace is pretty good, which is probably why calculators are giving you a good predicted time for a half marathon. If you came in comforatbly in 1:50 in a training run, I would consider a pace of 8:06, to come in at 1:46. As this is your first race, it's better to pick a time you could beat in the furture than pick something you won't achieve now.

18/05/2012 at 05:56

As Gez has said, your 5k time is much better than your 1/2's in training. That's understandable - I can never get near race pace in training, even when I really push. The other issue is that there is a big difference between the distances being compared - a 10k or 10 miler would give a much better idea of predicted outcome.

Assuming you have done the necessary long runs, I think I would go slightly faster than Gez says, under 1:45 would be nice. The worst that is likely to happen is that you get to 9 or 10 miles or so, and can't sustain it and have to slow down. Obviously it is up to you, you don't want to be stupid about it, but then it is about what you want your experience to be like. Do you want to go & enjoy the experience, finish strongly and relatively comfortably, or do you want to see what you are really capable of at the moment? The more you risk it, the greater your potential satisfaction at the end, but the greater the chance of an uncomfortable finish.

18/05/2012 at 07:49
I would say go for it. I did my first half back in September 11 in 1 33 with a previous best 10k time of just over 42 minutes. My typical training milage at the time was if anything less than yours
Also don't taper too much, you are only doing a half not a full marathon.
18/05/2012 at 09:09

thanks all that helps


18/05/2012 at 13:37

Hi Craig RM


I was in a similar position earlier this year. First race and no idea what to pace it at. Decided to sit inbetween the 8min/mile pacing group and 9min/mile pacing group. On the day this felt too slow and ended up dropping infront of the 8min/mile pacer. I ended up with a reasonable time of 1:41 happy to finish my 1st HM, but also a bit cheesed off that I didn't give it more from the start. Ran another shortly after in 1:28 now that I had a bit of race experience behind me. From your long runs (providing you took then easy), 8.00min/miling seems on to me



18/05/2012 at 15:40
Also-ran thanks good first HM time and wow what great progress to get to 1:28.
What training plan did you follow how many miles did you run per week and at what pace?
18/05/2012 at 17:51


I started off using a Sub 1:50 HM plan (Runner World Garmin plans) - started off with the pacing  and structure from this - that was the target I set myself as I had no clue what I could do.

Week5 of training, entered a HM just for a bit of experience in pacing, and following that, reset my target as 1:35, and updated plans accordingly

I also deviated from the planned Long Runs as I knew I was heading for a Full Marathon later in the year, and so some of my Long Runs were extended (there was a 16 and a 20 mile in there)

Mileage was in the low 30's to begin with, and peaked at 42 a couple of weeks before the 1:28 HM , mainly because of a longer Long Run, and increasing one of the Easy midweek runs.

My Long Runs / Easy runs were around 8:20 - 8:40

My Tempo Runs which I held for 4 to 5 miles were 6:50 - 7:10

None of my training gave me any indication of being capable of running 6:44 min/miles for 13miles.  I asked the same question as you on the forum at the very beginning - what pace to run the HM? It's really difficult to answer that and I am starting to apprecate that now. There are so many variable.

Edited: 18/05/2012 at 17:54
18/05/2012 at 19:01
Thanks again also-ran that a big help.
You must have had a good fitness base to get to those time as quick as you did

I am 42 and have had a good 15 yrs of very little exercise, a lot of hill walking but nothing compared to the demands of running.
Even so I have been surprised at how quickly my running as improved,
When I started training it was with the goal of a sub 2:00 hr HM this yr I think I will now try for 1:45 and see how it goes on the day.
As my fitness is still fairly fragile I still get variable training days for example yesterday 6 miles @ 7:40 pace which seemed comfortable but today 5 miles 8:00 pace which I found difficult and was glad to have finished.
Let's hope the HM will be a good day
18/05/2012 at 19:11
Hi Craig
Similar story here - 42, no exercise other than walking since school. Last couple of years I did a lot of walking, and shedded a fair bit of weight during that time.

Check out this thread - a few of us new but slightly wrinkly runners
18/05/2012 at 21:49
Great thread also-ran just spent the last hour reading it.

Do you taper for HM?
Have just over a week to go not sure what to run finding a lot of conflicting advice.
Last 13 miles was 5 days ago was not planning on going over 7 miles now.
Planning shorter runs but trying to be at 8 mm pace or just under- what do you think?
18/05/2012 at 22:06

I've tried with and without tapering, and tapering definitely helps me. It could just be psychological, but I feel faster and stronger after tapering and carb loading.

18/05/2012 at 22:17
How much do you taper Gez, same amount of runs, less distance, race pace?
18/05/2012 at 23:08

I do the same amount of runs (only 4 or 5 a week for me), but less distance (60% less miles in the week) and less intensity on speed sessions.

20/05/2012 at 17:36
Edited: 20/05/2012 at 17:38
21/05/2012 at 17:47
Great thread also-ran just spent the last hour reading it.

Do you taper for HM?
Have just over a week to go not sure what to run finding a lot of conflicting advice.
Last 13 miles was 5 days ago was not planning on going over 7 miles now.
Planning shorter runs but trying to be at 8 mm pace or just under- what do you think?
21/05/2012 at 20:04
I do a longish run about 9 - 10 days before, and after that do about 60% or less of the usual volume (less if I have any niggles). Tend to stick with easy runs, including a few miles at half marthon pace. You sound like you have it in hand

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