Find your race pace Set a finishing time and reach it

Our expert coaches give their advice on how to set your race pace and achieve it."What time are you aiming for?"

It's the question lots of runners dread. Do you set yourself an ambitious time, or play it safe? It’s hard to know how to handle it properly.

Finding your race pace takes practice and discipline. Use these tips below to help you get it right.

 1. The 10% rule

The easiest way to work out your ideal race pace is to base it on how fast you run half the distance. If you double your most recent time, and then add 10% to the final total, that gives you an indication of a likely finishing time.

Using that figure, you can now decide your strategy for the last few weeks of training. If you want to speed up, then you can focus on speed endurance sessions between now and race day.

2. Keep an eye on the clock

It may sound simple, but if you're running to achieve a set time, it's vital you get in the habit of checking the clock.

One of the many enjoyable aspects of running is that it allows your brain the opportunity to switch off. Your mind wanders, you lose yourself in music or the horizon and you start to run on auto-pilot. That's fine, but set an alarm or a reminder to make sure you're keeping an eye on your pace. You might lose valuable time otherwise and have to find an unlikely burst of speed right at the end of the race.

3. Don't panic

Sporting performance, whether you're an elite professional or an amateur, is about staying in control of your emotions. If you're stressed, your heart rate will rise and you'll expend unnecessary energy.

Don’t become an obsessive runner though. Checking your watch every few seconds will cause you more stress and distract you especially if you’re behind your target pace.

In that scenario, the worst thing you can do is to dramatically increase your speed. Make a gradual transition to a faster pace. Trust in your training and what got you to this point.

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