Guest Post: Running with a Pace Group

June 10, 2010


Running with a pace group is a great way to achieve your race day goal! I always have more fun on race day when I lace up with a pace group. For me a pace group builds comradery and also provides me with a group of fast made friends all in the pursuit of a common goal…to cross the finish line and collect more “runner’s bling” (also commonly known as the medal given to finishers off ½ and full marathons)! There is nothing better than being able to curse the designers of a race course with your pace pack as you approaches mile 12 and discovers that it is all up hill, and on the flip side there is nothing better than reaching the top of that hill and celebrating with your pack. I am a solitary runner. None of my friends run, so I run alone. I participate in races alone, which means I arrive alone and leave alone, but when you run with a pace group, you do NOT run alone!!! Here are some FAQ’s about pace groups: What is a pacer? A pacer is the runner in the group who carries a sign and leads the group to the finish line in a specific time goal. The pacer will run even splits and cheer on the group along the way. What pace groups will be offered: Most races that provide pace groups have them for the following time goals: 1:30, 1:35(7:15/mile), 1:40, 1:45, 1:50, 1:55, 2:00, 2:10, 2:15, 2:20, and 2:30(11:27/mile). How do you connect with your pace group on race morning? In my experience, beginning 20-30 minutes before the race, pacers will all be lined up at the starting line according to pace. It’s as easy as that, you just join the pace group at the starting line and have a fun race with the group! Do I have to stay with my pacer the entire race? NO! You can use the pacer as a guide to how your race is going. If at any time you feel the pace is too fast you can always slow down on your own. Also, if you feel strong towards the end of the race, you can feel free to pick up the pace and beat your goal. The pacers are there to help you beat your goal. What should I do after the race? Celebrate! That’s the beauty of running with a pace group, you are surrounded by a group of folks to celebrate with as you cross the finish line. Most of you have been running together and cheering one another on for the past 13.1 or 26.2miles. I always thank the lead pacer and whoop it up for a bit with the other runners, before I leave the race as I came…alone, but with a medal (runner’s bling) around my neck and a true feeling of accomplishment, excitement, energy and comradery. I strongly suggest that folks checkout running with a pace group. You can usually find out if a particular race offers pacers on the race’s website, or email the contact of the website and simply ask if they will have pacers at the race and how you can join a pace group. Running with a pace group is fun and a great way to set race goals and meet those goals with the help, energy, excitement and encouragement of others on race day. Go for it, join a Pace Pack!!!

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