Pacing strategy

What pace race strategy should I adopt?

4 messages
28/03/2013 at 10:53


I will be running the Paris Marathon in 10 days (my 2nd marathon). My initial target was to run it under 3h30 and everything under this time will be a bonus. Training went well and I have been injury free over the last 15 weeks.

A few weeks ago, I did 1h27 at the Brighton HM which made me think I could aim for something a bit more ambitious: between 3h20 and 3h30. 

What would be the best pacing strategy? Stay with the 3h30 pacemaker until mile 20 and increase my pace over the last 6 miles or stay with the 3h15 pacemaker and try to hold it till the end? 

Thanks for your advice. It is my second marathon and I don't want to be too ambitious and miss a decent time (what I did for my 1st marathon...)


28/03/2013 at 11:26

IMO there is a big difference between 3:15 pace and 3:30 pace, which means that any benefits you think you might get from trying to stick with a pacer will be negated by the fact that you're either running too fast and will fade badly, or that you are running too comfortably within yourself and won't be able to up the pace enough in the closing stages to make much difference.

Having said all that, on paper a 1:27 HM (with a stiff breeze in the last 3 miles... I was there! ) might suggest that a 3:15 target isn't being over-ambitious.  If you know you'll be happy with a time of 3:20, why not set out at that pace, so aim for 1:40 at halfway, try not to get carried away and maintain that pace till the final 10k, then if you have anything left you can try and lift the pace.

BTW I've done Paris.  It's a great course but I was very happy to be running well within myself coming into the last few km.  The Bois de Boulogne is a lovely park but crowd support drops to minimal, and overtaking struggling runners at that stage was one of the things that kept me going, and I managed to run a small negative split.  Whatever you do, I'd recommend running your own race and try to keep the pace as even as possible for as long as possible.

28/03/2013 at 18:05

Hi Phil, 

Thank you very much for this advice. I think you are right, I should not rely too much on a pacer and should run my own race at a constant pace. 

3h20 would be a great result! Let's try to do it!


28/03/2013 at 22:40

I'm not as experienced as Phil but London will be my 10th. I'm trying to crack 3 hours. I have a half time of 1:26:40. My guess is I am still just the wrong side of the 3hr mark but my marathon pb is 3:04. There is no way I am running witht he pacemakers. It would spoil the psychological challenge of the event for me.

If you are over 40 sub 3:10 gets you a good for age entry to the VLM (there are other marathons though ) So you've done all this training, you are in good shape, go for the best time you can possibly achieve with sensible even pacing. Enjoy.


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