How does HM pace *feel* -- is it "conversational"? (Read 1420 times)


    Assuming a solid base of running/endurance fitness, how should HM pace feel?


    How conversational does it feel for you (say after 2 to 5 miles of it, on non-fresh legs, mid training week)?




    Would you run at that pace for a long time (30+ minutes) while telling long stories about the crazy bitch at DMV to your running partner?


    Would you run at that pace for a long time while still able to answer questions in short, but complete sentences, but you are avoiding long stories?


    Would you be so focused on the pace/exertion that you couldn't really even follow your running partner's stories?


    Would you be able to spit out a few words, but not whole sentences?




    Are there rules somewhere for this?


    How does your HM race pace feel for YOU? How SHOULD IT feel for me (as a 2:05-2:11 HM runner)?


    If relevant, please note for me your HM pace and/or race time, so I can compare appropriately, since obviously 1:20 HM runners will be able to handle higher exertion than 2:20 HM runners . . .


    As you can imagine, I am trying to come up with a reasonable measure of an appropriate goal pace for a race in 3 weeks, and I am testing out paces . . . My fitness has evolved a lot since my last short races, and my HR data has shifted a lot, too, so I am looking for some other more "feel" related measures to help me guesstimate a reasonable pace to start out the race with, knowing I can always kick it up at the end if I feel like it.

    PRs: 10k 57:30, HM 2:11:12, Full 5:02:57

    Next Up: HM 1/6/13 & Marathon #3 3/24/13

    Training Plan Right Now: Hansons Brothers Beginner Marathon Plan


      I'm running a half in a month. I'm shooting for a 2:02 or better finish. I ran my first half this past April, and I finished at 2:19. Currently, I run 3-7 miles at an 8:45 pace. Longer than that, I run at a 9:15-9:30 pace. Conversational pace for me is about 9:30.


      So to answer your question based on my experience, yes, my HM pace IS conversational. Although for the time/distance I'd be running, I don't know that I'd be much interested in conversing! I also know I could probably afford to run a little faster than conversational pace, and if it's race day, I most likely will be running faster than conversational pace.

      Current PRs:

      5K: 27:06 (11/10/12) | 5M: 44:03 (6/1/13) | 10K: 1:00:48 (7/4/12)

      15K: 1:27:53 (3/17/13) | 10M: 1:30:25 (4/13/13) | HM: 1:59:55 (4/28/13)

      Next race: Ashland 4th of July 10K

      an amazing likeness

        It depends on what you want out of the race....If your goal is about the 'event', and running with folks, and completing the distance -- and these are all valid and reasonable -- then "conversational" effort is valid and will let you hit all those goals.


        If your goal is to run the half marathon as fast you can on that day, then you should be working harder than "conversational" as you've described. Depending on your fitness on race day, you will probably be able to have a short chat or two in the first half of the race, but by 8 or 9mi it should be getting hard, and by 10 or 11, you should be wondering if you're going to make it to the end or puke/die/faint first, and only be able to mutter the odd profanity under your breath in a grunting voice.

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

          For me HM pace (PR in sig) is not conversational. During a HM that is not going very well, I have been able to exchange short sentences like "this wind sucks" with other runners or to thank the volunteers handing out  water, or say "sorry" if i worry I might have almost cut to close in front of someone passing them (really try not to do that, though!),etc...but conversation, no, not happening...

          PRs: 5K: 21:25, 10K: 44:05, HM: 1:38:23* (downhill), M: 3:32:09


            I think I can run four miles at half pace any day of the week.  If I'm not rested, I think it would be very difficult to run more than 8 at half pace.  Beyond that, it starts to become an all out race effort (again, if I'm not rested).  I'd say after a mile I'm breathing every three steps, and after about three miles it's every two steps.   I would not say that half pace is conversational, really after the first half a mile.  


            My PR, for what its worth, is 1:14.  I think the pace I could run for ~2 hours would be 'conversational' for a little while, but I'd be avoiding stories after about 2-3 miles.

              I agree with the 3 posters above. Its a pretty strong effort throughout the race thats gets tough towards the end. If your fitness is such that you can attack the distance then you will be working near your LT all the way.

              Age 49              Recent PBS 5000m TT 18.18 sept 17 / 10k 38.44 june 16 / half marathon 1.24.00 aug 16


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                I can talk during the first half of a 10-mi race, or of a 10K, or for that matter, at least the first mile of a 5K. I know some people can't. I dunno if I'm doing something wrong. But usually before the end of the 2nd mile of the 5K, I'm fantasizing about quitting, and I usually run pretty even splits, so apparently the anaerobic debt just catches up to me in the 2nd mile?

                It's a 5k. It hurt like hell...then I tried to pick it up. The end.

                  For someone who is really fast (say near 1hr HM), HM pace will be close to 1-hr race pace or hard to talk more than a few words.


                  For someone running 2.5-3 hr (that would be me), they should be able to talk a bit.


                  Races over 1 hr, I can almost always tell the volunteers "thanks for being here" and maybe a bit more. (In contrast, 30-min races, I might be able to gasp "thanks")

                  "So many people get stuck in the routine of life that their dreams waste away. This is about living the dream." - Cave Dog

                  Chief Unicorn Officer

                    For me, it's not conversational. It's just a little bit slower than my tempo pace, which is a fairly hard (but not awful) effort. I think it depends on whether you want to feel like you're truly racing it--many people don't. If you're willing to get a little uncomfortable, you can probably surprise yourself with how well you can perform.

                    Mile 5:49 - 5K 19:58 - 10K 43:06 - HM 1:36:54


                      In the context of a training run, I want to average *HM Pace, not just go out and run it.  (*A 0:10 - 0:12 second per mile target range.)  Starting out, that would be very conversational.  Depending on the duration of the run, towards the middle and until the end, as the pace is truely reaches HM and pushes towards 15K, it would naturally become less conversational.  At this point, there is more of a need to focus on running efficiently and less on idle talk.  So while it may be possible to converse, all chatty, chatty stuff has ended.


                      Doing your HM pace training runs in this manner mimics the way you will probably want to run your actual race.  Done properly, these runs should show you the effort it will take to race 13.1 miles.  You will be less dependent on a "pace goal" and will be better prepared to run the best time your training, fitness, and weather conditions will allow.  


                        HM pace for me is hanging on with white knuckles from about 4 or 5 miles on. Not at all conversational.


                        However, as a 2:05-2:11 HM runner I would think you would be able to talk with relative ease for the first 4 miles; from  miles 5-10 you could talk in 3-4 word sentences if you had to but really wouldn't want to; and from miles 10 on you'd be unable to say more than a word or two at a time. That's roughly how my 20-mile PR race was and that was a 2:07-something.

                        Runners run.

                        delicate flower

                          I can speak a few words at half marathon pace, such as "Feeling good!" or "Do you have water?"  I can not have a conversation though.  I can listen, but I can't really speak.  My last HM was my PR (1:45:00) and felt that way at the end of the race. 


                          At 5K or 10K pace, I can do neither.  I may be able to say a word or two early in the race, but by the end of the race I am limited to grunts and moans. 



                            Steph, I agree with what's already been posted above.  I would not consider HM pace to be conversational, though I can probably chat a bit early on in the run/race.  There's a certain focus/concentration/effort required at this pace, especially in the later miles, so if I'm able to get out more than a few broken sentences after the first several miles, then I'm probably not working hard enough.

                              If you judge it right and run a constant pace at about the maximum you're capable of it'll feel reasonably comfortable for a while and then get progressively harder. Towards the end it definitely won't feel "conversational".


                              I know however that some people never get close to what they're capable of. My wife for example will enter races but will go round the whole thing feeling very comfortable. That's fine and it's great that she does the run. But if she was willing to suffer a little she'd certainly be able to do it faster.



                                How does your HM race pace feel for YOU? How SHOULD IT feel for me (as a 2:05-2:11 HM runner)?




                                I've run three HM's in the last 16 months:


                                2:12:10 - ran to finish conversational the whole way.,


                                2:05:16 Went out fast, fizzled at end - coversational early, not so much late.,


                                2:03:46 - Went out slow for first 5 miles (10 minute miles) definitely conversational, ran up against the point where breathing is on the edge of ragged for remainder of race, definitely not conversational. Was very tired by 11.5 but ran my fastest mile (sub 9:00) to the finish - couldn't respond to those encouraging me down the stretch (average 9:27).


                                As to HM pace training, I usually pick the fastest pace I can comfortably hold for 5 or 6 miles in a mid-week situation. During these runs I usually feel like there's no way I could hold that for a large part of the race but rested on race day it doesn't seem to be a problem. 


                                I am lucky, I have a stomach that tells me when the pace is too fast for my fitness. Acid reflux is the indicator. I use it as my guide in training/races. Does your body give you any clues when you are close to the edge?

                                2013 -Sub 2:00 for 1/2 marathon