I had the BEST TIME EVER pacing the Disney Princess Half Marathon last weekend! I’ve ran lots of races…but it’s an amazing feeling to help others reach their goals and I can’t wait to do it again.
A lot of the time, pacers will “bank time” meaning they will go out a little faster than race pace to ensure they cross the finish line at their appointed time. I think this is a BAD idea.
In fact, it’s a recipe for disaster for the runners who are trying to reach a new PR by staying with you.
Instead of making this mistake, me and my fellow pacer decided we were going to use the best race strategy, negative splits!
Our goal time was 2:15 and our average race pace was 10:18 per mile. For me (and most people) the first mile always sucks. Your body is not warmed up and your legs are like “what the heck are we doing?” and for a half marathon, most people do not do a warm up. They usually just jump in and start running. When I am racing (even a half marathon) I always do a warm up mile or so to get my legs feeling ready…but in this situation it’s not really possible. We are in corals forever and well a lot of people don’t want to run a mile BEFORE they run 13.1. So…we needed a warm up.
Karen and I started the race around a 10:50 mile. We eased into the race and had a HUGE crowd with us wanting to tackle that 2:15 PR goal. We steadily increased our pace and by the 5K mark we had gotten it down to an average of 10:25. Well on our way to that 10:18 goal.
We were warmed up and ready to push it! We meandered through the streets outside of Disney chatting away and talking…telling our names and where we were from. The group was still together and everyone was feeling good!
By the 10K mark, we were right on point with our average 10:18 showing brightly on my GPS. The negative split strategy for the first half of the race worked…and now all we had to do was run steady and have fun.
We continued through the Disney parks, smiling for pictures and just having a great time. About mile 7-8 we had other runners join us. They had fallen back from the pace group in front of us…and guess why…yep the pacers had started out TOO fast. 😦
They had tried to “bank time” and lost runners along the way. These runners were not happy. They were tired and had reached their “peak” WAY too early in the race. We told them to jump in and hold on till the end.
We crossed the finish line at 2:15:47! My GPS said 13.36 so we were over…which almost alway happens in crowded races as it is very hard to run the tangents. So next time, I will keep this in mind and remember that the pace needs to be a tad faster than goal race pace in order to run the overage miles and still come in right at goal time. I know we still came finished within the 2:15 time, but those who were using us to break 2:15 needed that extra minute to come in under their goal.
Overall this was one of my favorite races EVER! We had about 15 people cross the finish line with us taking home shiny new personal records and feeling good! Racing for me is not just about beating my own PRs, it’s about having fun and helping others reach their goals. And the many sweating hugs and high fives after this race make it one I will remember for a very long time.
*Final thought: I paced this race fo Galloway and we used the run/walk/run method with intervals of :90 run and :30 walk. If you have not used this strategy before, check it out. It is awesome! I know a lot of people think it’s cheating to walk at a race. But let me tell you…the Galloway method has helped me knock over 30 minutes off my half marathon PR and I will keep using it to train and race in the future. Don’t knock it till you try it! It is a great way to run strong and injury free! Feel free to reach out to me if you have questions on how to make this strategy work for you!
Click here to read a testimonial from Erin Schovanec who crossed the finish line with me at the Disney Princess Half Marathon on 2/26/17
Erin is running next to me in the picture below and wearing bib#22196.
#StrongtotheCore #GallowayPacer #Chasing2017in2017 (330 YTD)