Race Day- Running with a pacer

Donny asks

Hello Lee, 

I am doing the Melbourne Marathon in October, which will be my third Marathon.  I have been training for a time of 3:50min. My questions is should I follow the 3:50min pacer right from the start or should I start at a slower pace?  Just want to make sure I don't start too fast. 



Lee's response:

Hi Donny,

To make sure you give yourself every chance of running 3hrs 50mins for your marathon, I suggest you start with the relevant pace setter. His or her job will be to run 5.27 per km and you get the chance to not have them setting the pace for you, but also have other runners around you shooting for a similar time. The first 5km will be the toughest due to the congestion of people and it will take a few km's before the line of people starts to thin out so don't panic. Your pace setter should know this and take that into account as they start to move on from 5km.

Having a pacer allows you to think as little as possible which is a good thing. My advice would be to stay with the pacer to 30km and if you feel comfortable from that point, then you may want to try and increase the tempo and if you don't feel good, then try to hang onto the pacer. Make sure you get all your drinks in along the way and don't wait till you are dehydrated to start drinking.

Good luck and hope you have a great race.