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Dr Darren Tay, Consultant, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Singapore General Hospital​ (SGH), a member of the SingHealth​ group gives some tips on how to stick to a planned race pace and time.

Two types of pacing within the race

You can c​hoose to run a marathon at an even pace or with a negative split.

  • Even pace
  • Keeping the running pace consistent throughout the race requires discipline and practice. It is the safest and best-accepted strategy.

  • Negative split
  • A negative split means running at a slower speed at the beginning, and increasing speed in the later stretch of the marathon.

Seasoned marathon runners either run at an even pace throughout the race or split a marathon into two 21 km stretches, running faster in the second half.

7 tips to maintain your race pace

  1. Partner with an experienced runner or people whom you know are running at your desired race pace – for mutual moral support.​​
  2. Get used to your projected race pace and become familiar with it well before the run. If you usually run indoors on a treadmill, experiment with real pavement and hot weather conditions.
  3. Practise the art of sipping water from a cup whilst running and try not to slow down for too long.
  4. Avoid the natural tendency to follow the pace of the pack ahead of you. Stick to your plan.
  5. Know that the adrenaline​ rush may get you to unconsciously increase your running pace early on in the race. Don’t let this happen.
  6. Work out the expected elapsed time at each distance marker to help you gauge if you are running at the right pace. Print the timings on a laminated card and wear it on your wrist or put it in a pocket.
  7. Beware that the last 10 km of a marathon will be your toughest mental and physical challenge.
    • Get friends to cheer you on at designated points along the last stretch of the race.
    • Use positive imagery, such as visualising yourself smiling and beaming at the finish line.
    • Repeat inspiring phrases and positive words in your mind to keep yourself mentally focused on finishing the race.
    • Hydrate and refuel early, but not during the last 10 km.
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​Ref: R14