Learning to pace myself when I run and an introduction to Pacebands.co.uk

My recent half marathon training runs have demonstrated that I’m unfit compared to last year, comparison (with my training last year) is the thief of joy and I urgently need to learn how to pace my “easy” runs.


At the moment, I feel so good when I head out the door, I’m tending to start my runs at a pace I’m not able to sustain. I find myself struggling to run, or in some cases, taking a couple of sneaky walking breaks. Although I know there is absolutely nothing wrong with walking, I shouldn’t really need to walk during an “easy” 20 minute run.

My issues with pacing are unfortunately nothing new.

Last year, I shared my goals for my target event of 2016; the Great Birmingham Run.

Rather predictably, on the day of the race I set out at an unsustainable pace, and struggled throughout the final 10k. Looking back, I made two fundamental mistakes. My Garmin was set to kilometres rather than miles, and I hadn’t worked out what pace I needed to run at to meet my time goals.

I was over-confident and thought that I was experienced enough as a runner to be able to pace my race by feel. I was wrong. As a minimum I should have referred to a half marathon pace chart before the race.

Although my pacing is still a bit hit-and-miss, I’m doing everything I can to make sure I don’t make the same mistakes during this year’s Great Birmingham Run. In an ideal world, I would track down one of the official race pacers and let them do the pacing for me. However, I’m not 100 per cent certain there will be official pacers this year. In addition, there’s every chance I won’t spot the pacers. I didn’t last year!


Fortunately, the lovely people at Pacebands.co.uk recently sent me a selection of Pacebands to hopefully help me with my pacing.Pacebands logo

Pacebands.co.uk is a small start-up born out of frustration: the vast majority of races in the UK, even those with several thousand runners, don’t offer a Paceband on race day. As a result, Pacebands.co.uk was launched with the aim of providing an efficient service to runners looking for an inexpensive but professional pacing solution before a target race.

What are Pacebands?

Pacebands are simple, disposable wristbands that list the time at which a runner should pass each mile (or kilometre) marker of their chosen distance, in order to meet their target time. Pacebands are manufactured from durable Tyvek, are designed to be used once, are durable and should withstand all weather conditions.

Pacebands 1

All you need is a basic sports watch or GPS and a Paceband. In theory you can then adjust your effort to make sure you run an evenly paced race, giving yourself the best chance of meeting your time goal.

If you want to find out more visit Pacebands.co.uk or visit the shop section of the website where you will find a selection of Pacebands for the 5k, 10k, half marathon and marathon distance.

I’ll definitely be wearing one of the half marathon Pacebands I was sent when I take on the Great Birmingham Run in October. You never know, it might just help me run at a more sensible pace!

Do you have any tips that might help me improve my pacing? So far I’ve tried listening to music, running on a dreadmill, constantly staring at my Garmin and

**Full disclosure: I was sent a selection of Pacebands for free. I did not receive any payment from Pacebands.co.uk and as always all opinions and photographs are my own**


5 thoughts on “Learning to pace myself when I run and an introduction to Pacebands.co.uk

    • Emma says:

      Now that I’ve tracked down my heart rate monitor, I’m starting to work out what sort of pace I should be running my easy/steady runs at. Last year, I made the mistake of running all of my training runs at the same sort of pace. I used to be shattered at the end of my longer runs. Hopefully this year I’ll be slightly more sensible when I attempt my longer runs. Not many races around here have pacing groups which is why I think the pacebands will come in useful. If I know I need to run at approximately x mins/mile from the start, I’ll hopefully be slightly nearer my target half marathon time at the finish.

      I couldn’t get that website to work. I filled in my time and distance and nothing seemed to happen!

      Liked by 1 person

      • swosei12blog says:

        I know what you mean. I just wrote an entry about tempo runs, which are supposed to prevent overtraining during long runs. I, like you, would try to run all of my long runs at near race pace. Doing that every week can be a bad thing.


  1. Maria @ Maria Runs says:

    If I am aiming for a certain time then I write the mile splits on a post it note and hold it (I even did this for the Brighton marathon)- I think Lucozade had a thing on their site where you could add your time and it would work out the splits for you. I think working out how to run on feel is tough though and does take work. I try to not look at my watch during things like parkrun and try to run easy or hard depending on how I feel.
    A pacer runner is a great idea for the race if you are going for one of those times because they make it feel easier and you don’t need to look at your watch the whole time.


    • Emma says:

      I’ve started wearing my heart rate monitor on my training runs; the results so far have been slightly concerning. After I realised my heart rate reached 182 bpm during what should have been a ‘steady’ run, I’ve made an effort to slow down. I might steal your post it note approach on some of my longer training runs. Hopefully having the splits in front of me will help me to maintain a sensible pace.
      I’ll definitely look out for the pacers at the start of the Great Birmingham Run this year. I’ve got no idea how I failed to spot people wearing bright orange tops and rabbit ears last year. I think they were also carrying flags, I must have been so nervous I had my eyes closed.


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