Posted: 15/10/2015 at 14:49
Pacing is much easier said than done, as Dannirr is alluding to. Even working out what pace to aim for in the first place is quite difficult, it has to be based on a realistic calculation of how your training has gone, and on a well-timed half marathon race I think.
What do the experienced runners do to work out what pace to target?
And at what point should one be setting that target pace?
For me personally, my tune up race 4 or 5 weeks out from the big day. Only problem with that is that I have about 3 months of marathon training in the legs when I do the tune up, so I may never deliver my best performance in said tune up. So my calculation is based on how fast I ran in a half 5 weeks out. Use a calculator like macmillan to work out the marathon equivalent, do the race at that pace and hope for the best.
There are still variables that effect you on the day, a very slight headwind, you're maintaining target pace, but working that slight bit harder, burning that slight bit more energy, depleting your glycogen ahead of time.
As PJ Frizzle, says you could get a more scientific training plan, monitor the paces a bit more, monitor fitness, gains more frequently as well general improvements and adjust the plan accordingly along the way and then set your target based on a 5k time trial about 7-10 days out.
Then all you have is go out and execute, and boy that is hard, all the on the day variables come into play. It really is a test to run that close to LT for that time, for that distance, making the glycogen last for the full distance, so that when you cross that line, you have nothing more to give, you've done your absolute best to produce that performance. Most people can't, but you know you've had a good day, when your splits are even and you run a very slight positive or negative split. I love that stage in a race (it's only happened a couple of times) where you are well clear of 20 miles, and you want to push the pace on a bit, and just on feel your are able to divide up that energy you have left to last you for the distance left in front of you. It's very satisfying, because if you get to that stage, it means you've done everything right so far.