Cardio • 10.03.2017 • Herwig Natmessnig

How to Find the Right Pace for Your Half Marathon

You have signed up for a half marathon and been training for the last few weeks. You also have a desired goal time in mind. But how do you know if this goal is actually realistic? Before the race, you need to be able to estimate your goal time as accurately as possible in order to choose the right pace. This is important because it helps you to optimize your half marathon prep and select the best strategy for the big day. Today we have some tips for you on how to go about finding a realistic pace for your half marathon.

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1. Determine your individual training zones

The most accurate method for finding your realistic race pace is to determine your individual training zones. You can determine them by a lab test, a lactate threshold test, a VO2 max test or a field test. A sports scientist or experienced coach can also estimate the expected goal time with a high degree of accuracy. This is another way of determining the best pace for your race.

Two friends warming up for a half marathon.

2. Calculate your pace based on previous races

The easiest way to estimate your half marathon pace is to look at your race times over shorter distances. Using certain factors, you can calculate your expected half marathon time from your 5K or 10K personal best (PB).

Formula for calculating a realistic half marathon time:

  • 5K PB x 4.667
  • 10K PB x 2.223

Example: Your 10K personal best is 50 minutes. Multiply this time by 2.223 to get your realistic half marathon time: 1:51 h. This is equal to a 5:16 min/km pace.

3. Do several timed runs during your training

Another method for approximating your race pace is to do several timed runs during your training. The goal is to develop a feel for different speeds over different distances. You can then use this feel during the race to adjust your pace accordingly. This method, however, requires a lot of body awareness.

Once you have determined your realistic half marathon time, you can then divide this goal time by the number of kilometers in the race to find your race pace per kilometer. Try to run each kilometer at a steady pace during the race.

We have put together a pace chart as a pdf for you with the expected goal times and the corresponding pace times in min/km. This gives you a good overview of the pace you need to run at to achieve different goal times.

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Herwig Natmessnig

As a former professional athlete (white-water slalom), Herwig lives and breathes health and fitness. Whether in competition or just for fun, he can never turn down a physical challenge. And with his enthusiasm, the sports scientist feels right at home at Runtastic.
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  • Runtastic Team

    Thanks for your sugeestions!