Half Marathon – The Best Pacing Strategy

The Half Marathon

The half marathon is a popular distance. Beginners see the half marathon as a huge milestone after tackling the 5k and 10k. For experienced runners, the half marathon is a tough test for all. A test of endurance for shorter distance runners. A test of speed for marathon runners. If you’re looking to improve your time, run a PB, or be competitive how should you pace the half marathon?

Half marathon pacing lies right on the edge of the infamous lactate threshold. There has been much discussion and misunderstanding over this threshold and what it means. What we can say is that the HM pacing lies at a delicate point. It requires a balance between speed and endurance. Too fast too soon and you will fade, with painful consequences. Too slow, and you will miss your target.

Pacing Strategy

So how do you pace the tricky HM? 13.1 miles or 21km is a long way but it is still run at a pace that you would consider ‘fast’. Do we run a ‘negative split’ where we run the second half faster? Or a ‘positive split’ where we run the first half faster? Or should we run an even pace throughout?

Coach and former elite runner Jeff Gaudette talks us through his approach to half marathon pacing. Jeff breaks the race into 3 segments: The introductory miles 1 to 3, the middle miles 4 to 11 and then the last 2 miles. Starting out under pace, the strategy suggests we wind up as the race progresses. Building up to ‘target pace’ after around 3 miles. Finishing fast and strong, powering through the field.

Jeff also gives some top tips on HM running. Including hydration, nutrition and using other runners to get you round.

Read the article below and let us know how you get on. Do you have another HM pacing strategy? Let us know!

Read the article here and let us know your half marathon pacing strategies in the comments below…