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Race Pacing with Imtiaz

March 12, 2024 by Martin Lawrence
Frontpage Article, Headlines, News Specials, Redway Runners Stories

Redway Runners member Imtiazis a regular pacing at races, we asked him for his tips about pacing.


Have you ever set out on a run with a specific distance in mind, only to find yourself slowing down at towards the latter part of the run?

Ending a run with a positive split not only dampens your spirits but also shakes your confidence. Enter the race pacer – the unsung hero who ensures runners maintain a steady pace throughout the race.

Race pacers are individuals who maintain consistent splits (even splits) throughout the race, ensuring runners achieve their desired finish times. There are two types of pacers: those who cover part of the distance at a set speed and are replaced after a certain interval, often seen in elite races, and then there are pacers like myself who run the whole distance at a comfortable time.

My journey into pacing races began when a friend introduced me to the concept and encouraged me to sign up with www.racepacing.com. My first experience pacing a 10k was exhilarating, and since then, I’ve become a dedicated volunteer pacer.

I’ve even challenged myself to run as an official pacer for at least 12 half marathons despite having two of my own marathons lined up for 2024.

Before delving into the world of race pacing, there are a few prerequisites worth considering:

  1. Know Your Limits: While I’ve completed marathons, I’m cautious about pacing one until I’ve run at least ten. Even pacing a 20-miler requires careful consideration from me at this stage.
  2. Training is Key: Pacing isn’t innate; it requires practice. Regular training sessions dedicated to maintaining specific paces is extremely essential.

I’ve attached an example of a progressive run which I did as my bi-weekly training run to test myself at different paces throughout a 10k run with a friend.

  1. Different Distances, Different Speeds: Understand that your pace varies across different distances. Your 5k time won’t necessarily be half of your 10k time.
  2. Know Your Capabilities: Just because you can run a sub-2 hour half marathon doesn’t mean you’re suited to pace a sub-2 hour marathon. Accept pacing assignments within your capabilities.

Pacing a race isn’t just about keeping time; it’s a lot more:

  1. Engage with Runners: Before the race starts, make yourself approachable. Wear your flag so that the runners can identify you.
  2. Provide Guidance: Help runners understand the pacing strategy. Offer a lot of encouragement before and through the run
  3. Keep a friendly atmosphere Make them laugh along the way
  4. Offer Reminders: Keep runners on track by reminding them to take gels, hydrate and wave their arms at specific intervals.

The true reward for pacing comes at the finish line:

Making a Difference: Seeing struggling runners push through to the end, thanks to your guidance, is incredibly fulfilling.

Personal Growth: Pacing challenges me as a runner and has even led to personal bests in my own races.

In conclusion, pacing races isn’t just about running; it’s about supporting and empowering fellow runners to achieve their goals. I hope my experiences inspire more individuals to take up the mantle of a race pacer and contribute to the running community.

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