Even after months of practising your pacing in training for a race, it can be easy to forget – and undo – all the hard work on race day, either through nerves or getting caught up in the race-day excitement. Follow these rules to keep your speed on track.
In big races, the crowds are likely to control your speed early on. Don’t panic about this, as wasting effort weaving around people could cost you later. Allow yourself to run with the crowd for the first 20-30 minutes, at which point they should thin out, allowing you to shift up a gear.
The longer the race, the easier your pace should feel, but as a general rule you shouldn’t be feeling in the red at all in the first half of your race. For longer races, such as a marathon or half, the first two-thirds should feel fairly comfortable.
Training with a GPS is a brilliant way to learn how to pace yourself. On race day, leave it at home – or change the screen so you can’t see your average pace splits. A simple stopwatch and mile markers will tell you whether you’re on track for your target time. It will also help you avoid stressing about finding a satellite signal, running out of battery or a woefully slow (or painfully fast) average pace showing up just because of a couple of steps out of time.