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Pacing for NYC Half Marathon (Read 91 times)

Fredford66


Running Musician

    I'm running in the New York City Half Marathon this Sunday and am seeking some feedback on pacing.

     

    In the past, I've been guilty of going out too fast and fading at the end, so I've worked hard on more even pacing.  The new course for the NYC Half, however, almost begs for starting fast.  The first two miles are a gradual downhill grade while most of the bigger climbs (i.e. Central Park) are back-loaded into the last 3 - 4 miles of the race.

     

    Since I know I'm going to have slower splits at the end of the race, how much faster than average goal pace can I afford to go at the start?  I've read about running at "even effort" but I'm not a skilled enough runner to select a downhill pace that approximates the pace of running up a long hill.

     

    Anyone have insights or words of wisdom for this kind of situation?  Thanks in advance.

    5k 24:47 (1/18); 4M 32:37 (2/18); 5M 42:33 (11/17); 10k 53:36 (5/18); Half 1:59:57 (9/18); Full 4:47:04 (4/17)

    Upcoming race(s): Turkey Trot 5M, Westfield, NJ, 11/24; Super Santa 10M, Madison, NJ, 12/2
    ilanarama


    Pace Prophet

      I prefer to think of the optimal strategy as banking energy rather than banking time. That is, you will probably start a little faster than you would on a flat course, but you shouldn't push the pace to the equivalent of a fast start.   If you have a heart rate monitor, that can help a lot, especially if you've run a few halfs with it and have an idea of what your HR is at different phases of a race; also Greg Maclin's HR chart at http://mymarathonpace.com can help.

       

      Here are a couple of my races on a course which is similar to yours, I think, in that it starts out downhill for several miles and then has some climbs toward the end - the Steamworks Half.   In a comparison between two years you can see that in 2017 I started out way too fast for my fitness (and ended up running 3 minutes slower than in 2019)

       

      segment 2009 2017
      mile 1 7:39 7:37
      miles 2-3 8:04 7:50
      miles 4-11 8:04 8:18
      miles 12-13.1 8:15 8:57

       

      Here is my course PR (by Garmin, which always reads short on this race due to the trees and curves) and an example of keeping the HR steady in the right range despite the course bumps.  I probably still started too fast!

       

      Distance        Pace        Avg HR       Max HR
      1.00		7:01.82	   142 (71%)	153 (80%)
      2.00		7:13.99	   153 (80%)	156 (82%)
      3.00	        7:19.24	   154 (81%)	157 (84%)
      4.00		7:35.13	   154 (81%)	158 (84%)
      5.00		7:25.71	   154 (81%)	157 (84%)
      6.00		7:19.37	   155 (82%)	160 (86%)
      7.00		7:22.45	   157 (83%)	160 (86%)
      8.00		7:25.79	   158 (84%)	160 (86%)
      9.00		7:32.28	   159 (85%)	161 (87%)
      10.00		7:29.05    158 (84%)	160 (86%)
      11.00		7:28.36	   157 (84%)	160 (86%)
      12.00		8:03.38	   158 (84%)	160 (85%)
      12.90		7:58.01	   160 (86%)	163 (88%)

      PRs: 10 1:12:59 (4/2014) 13.1 1:35:55 (10/2013) 26.2 3:23:31 (12/2013)

      bloggy stuff at http://ilanarama.dreamwidth.org

        Well, there's always findmymarathon.com.  It has both marathons and half marathons.  If you need pace information you can do the "Pace Band" pull down menu and select "Half Marathon Course Based".  Then find your half marathon and fill in the parameters that would best fit your race strategy.  Input your target time and it will display what your target should be for each mile based on your strategy and the course you'll be running.


        Ray

         

        Fredford66


        Running Musician

          Well, there's always findmymarathon.com.  It has both marathons and half marathons.  If you need pace information you can do the "Pace Band" pull down menu and select "Half Marathon Course Based".  Then find your half marathon and fill in the parameters that would best fit your race strategy.  Input your target time and it will display what your target should be for each mile based on your strategy and the course you'll be running.

           

          As this is a brand new course, what would they base their information on?

          5k 24:47 (1/18); 4M 32:37 (2/18); 5M 42:33 (11/17); 10k 53:36 (5/18); Half 1:59:57 (9/18); Full 4:47:04 (4/17)

          Upcoming race(s): Turkey Trot 5M, Westfield, NJ, 11/24; Super Santa 10M, Madison, NJ, 12/2


          an amazing likeness

            I'd recommend you think of the race as 3 segments: 5mi + 5mi + 5k.  From what you say, the course will be tougher in the last 5K than in the in opening 5mi --- so you'll have the double whammy of the course getting harder right when you're at your most fatigued.

             

            My experience tells me banking time in the opening 5mi segment will cost you dearly in that last 5K;  the 5-10-15 secs per mile you bank in the opening segment will haunt you for way more than 5-10-15 per mile in the last segment because of the convergence of the accumulated running fatigue hitting its max when you start working hard for the course.

             

            Aim to run even effort for those first 2 5mi segments. Open the first miles slower than target, then work the effort up as you get into things to "work", but not "hard". In the end, when you look at your splits -- you should see miles 3-9 just flowing with the terrain. In the last segment your effort will go from "work" to "hard work", even as your pace slows because now you're fighting the course in addition to your own accumulated effort.

             

            You note you have a proven history of 'start fast, fade to the finish', that will only worse on a course that punishes you in the last 5K. So consider starting 10-15 off target pace for at least 1 mi to battle your tendency, then settle in for the 1st 5mi, a bit harder in the second 5mi stint while managing energy, then go into the last 5k with something in reserve.  You'll pass a lot of people.

            I've done my best to live the right way. I get up every morning and go to work each day. (for now)

               

              As this is a brand new course, what would they base their information on?

               

              Their pacing is based on the course, if they have the elevation profile they adjust for that. The New York City Half Marathon is listed.  The half marathon information seems a bit limited, so I can't say more then that regarding the course.  But, if you know the elevation profile it seems like that would go a long way to predicting pacing based on "even effort". Looking at the elevation charts from both sites it looks like they have the correct course.


              Ray

               

              JMac11


                The course profile is definitely updated for this year's new course.

                 

                I will say from running Central Park on a daily basis that the last 3 miles or so are going to be brutal at the end of a half. It's not that bad when you're just jogging around, but I would definitely be concerned in a race effort.

                 

                I wouldn't try to necessarily bank time though. The idea is that you may run a positive split just because the nature of the course, but that doesn't mean you should be thinking that you can run the first half necessarily faster than you would a flat course. It's just the course itself is difficult and may cost you 1-2 minutes from what you expect. Put another way, if you think you can run 1:59:59 on a flat course, that doesn't mean that you can go out at a 1:58 pace for the first 10K on this course and make your sub 2.

                5K: 17:51 (5/18)  |  10K: 36:21 (9/18)  |  HM: 1:20:39 (5/17)  |  FM: 2:46:17 (11/18) 

                 

                Next Race: Who knows

                Goal Race: Boston (4/15/19)

                Fredford66


                Running Musician

                  The course profile is definitely updated for this year's new course.

                   

                  I will say from running Central Park on a daily basis that the last 3 miles or so are going to be brutal at the end of a half. It's not that bad when you're just jogging around, but I would definitely be concerned in a race effort.

                   

                  I wouldn't try to necessarily bank time though. The idea is that you may run a positive split just because the nature of the course, but that doesn't mean you should be thinking that you can run the first half necessarily faster than you would a flat course. It's just the course itself is difficult and may cost you 1-2 minutes from what you expect. Put another way, if you think you can run 1:59:59 on a flat course, that doesn't mean that you can go out at a 1:58 pace for the first 10K on this course and make your sub 2.

                   

                  I appreciate the point.  I'm not seeking a PR in this race, though I would like to see an improvement over previous, hilly courses.  I agree, running Cat Hill at mile 10 won't be fun at all.  At least the last 1/2 mile is downhill.  :-)

                  5k 24:47 (1/18); 4M 32:37 (2/18); 5M 42:33 (11/17); 10k 53:36 (5/18); Half 1:59:57 (9/18); Full 4:47:04 (4/17)

                  Upcoming race(s): Turkey Trot 5M, Westfield, NJ, 11/24; Super Santa 10M, Madison, NJ, 12/2
                  Fredford66


                  Running Musician

                     

                    Their pacing is based on the course, if they have the elevation profile they adjust for that. The New York City Half Marathon is listed.  The half marathon information seems a bit limited, so I can't say more then that regarding the course.  But, if you know the elevation profile it seems like that would go a long way to predicting pacing based on "even effort". Looking at the elevation charts from both sites it looks like they have the correct course.

                     

                    Thank you for the suggestion.

                    5k 24:47 (1/18); 4M 32:37 (2/18); 5M 42:33 (11/17); 10k 53:36 (5/18); Half 1:59:57 (9/18); Full 4:47:04 (4/17)

                    Upcoming race(s): Turkey Trot 5M, Westfield, NJ, 11/24; Super Santa 10M, Madison, NJ, 12/2
                    Nasreddin Hoja


                      Good Luck in this race!  I will be in the "Jump" Team in CP working the finish.  Should be amazing and can't wait.  The course has some twists and turns and it will be difficult to hold pace if there is some bunching up at those places.  I would guess they could potentially present more of an issue to knock you off pace.  Once you are in the park, it should go smoothly.

                       


                      I lost my rama

                        Good Luck in this race!  I will be in the "Jump" Team in CP working the finish.  Should be amazing and can't wait.  The course has some twists and turns and it will be difficult to hold pace if there is some bunching up at those places.  I would guess they could potentially present more of an issue to knock you off pace.  Once you are in the park, it should go smoothly.

                         

                         

                        I'd watch out for people crossing the streets too (i.e. - Chinatown).  Good thing they cut out Harlem Hills, because that would definitely impact pace, especially that late in the race.  Good luck!

                         

                        Nas - you're a good man!

                        Nasreddin Hoja


                           

                           (i.e. - Chinatown).  G

                          You're reading my mind Bert!  In fact, I had in mind that hairpin on Canal Street as I wrote that.  But who knows.  This is a totally new course.


                          I lost my rama

                            You're reading my mind Bert!  In fact, I had in mind that hairpin on Canal Street as I wrote that.  But who knows.  This is a totally new course.

                             

                            I'd hope they will barricade that section vs using blue tape, but even barricades won't stop all of them.  I run over Manhattan Br into Chinatown almost every weekend, so I can easily envision it.  I didn't get in the race this year, so I'll look to hear reports from others.

                            Nasreddin Hoja


                              I think they will need to barricade pretty much everything except the bridge and the park.  I've had my encounters with those food carts in the park.  Those are the worst.  They will run you over. The Pedicabs are cool, I tell them there's race coming, they pull over and watch.

                               

                              But the worst blockage, was during the Run for Hati.  For some reason, Michelle Obama decided to Brunch at the Boathouse and they stopped the race.  My PRs are so pathetic, I PRd anyway.

                              Fredford66


                              Running Musician

                                You're reading my mind Bert!  In fact, I had in mind that hairpin on Canal Street as I wrote that.  But who knows.  This is a totally new course.

                                 

                                Good point about the potential bottleneck.  Fortunately, I'll probably be near the front of the second wave, so I may have a bit less of a crowd to deal with at that point.  With luck.

                                 

                                And yes, having to run Harlem Heights after 11 miles would not be fun.  Thankfully that's not part of the course.

                                5k 24:47 (1/18); 4M 32:37 (2/18); 5M 42:33 (11/17); 10k 53:36 (5/18); Half 1:59:57 (9/18); Full 4:47:04 (4/17)

                                Upcoming race(s): Turkey Trot 5M, Westfield, NJ, 11/24; Super Santa 10M, Madison, NJ, 12/2
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