Pacing the Second Half of the Race
As discussed previously, after 5 miles, the pace is going to start getting hard—it's part of racing the half marathon. Be prepared for this part of the race mentally and it won't derail your confidence mid-race. Keep you mind and body relaxed. Look within yourself and focus on you. Think confident thoughts and repeat confident mantras to yourself: "I am fast, this feels good" or "I am strong." Every time you feel tired or feel the pace slip, repeat to yourself that you need to refocus and concentrate and get back on pace.
The Last 2 Miles
With 2 miles to go, keep your head up and start to try and catch people in front of you. This part of the race is going to be hard if you want to PR, but you can use some mental tricks to make it easier and to keep you on track:
? Pick one person and focus solely on reeling them in, nothing else. As you pass them, surge and put your eyes on the next person and repeat. Imagine tying a fishing line to their back and reeling them in.
? Visualize fast runners when you start to hurt. Imagine yourself running just like them with good form: head straight, arms swinging forward and back slightly, powerful strides. Just having the mental imagery of good form can help you maintain your pace when the muscles become increasingly tired with each step.
? If the pace starts to slip, throw in a surge to get your legs fired up again. Sometimes all it takes is a small burst of speed to reinvigorate your legs and pace. Try incorporating surges during your long run in training and it will be easy to execute this strategy on race day when it matters.
? Finally, try to break the remaining distance into bite-sized and easily digestible pieces. For example, if I had a great 2 x 3 mile session, I'll remember how it felt and think to myself, "Hey, I did this workout before, let's get back on pace and do it again." Likewise, sometimes a mile can seem like a long distance, so break it down into a time instead. Thinking you only have four to five minutes until you hit the halfway point of a mile makes it seem a lot easier.
Follow this plan exactly as outlined and I guarantee that you will have your best race performance, if you've put in the training.
Good luck, have fun, run fast and let us know how your race goes in the comments section below.
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