Strategies For Coping With The Second Half Of A Marathon


With the adrenaline pumping and the roar of the crowd, it is so easy to hurtle off and attempt to keep up that pace, often with disastrous consequences. No matter how tempting it is, do not follow the pack. Stick to your pacing plan and run the first half of your race at the splits you have trained for. Once you are past the halfway mark and still in one piece, then you can start to tinker with your speed a little. 

Ideally you are aiming to maintain even splits throughout the whole marathon, unless it’s particularly hill course in section. Most runners invariably run a slower second half of the race than the first, but in an ideal world, if you’ve trained properly and run significant distances at race pace, you should be close in terms of your splits.

Your first few hours in a race should be about running in a controlled efficient manner.

If you’ve practiced successfully in training, just remember to keep repeating those habits in the race itself. Don’t wait until you feel really thirsty to drink, as you are already dehydrated. And cramming loads of fluid and gels into the last half won’t work either. You need to practice a regulated system of refuelling that has been well rehearsed and works for your body (especially your tummy).

If you break the distance down into bite-sized chunks, it won’t seem as far or as difficult and you will be able to keep going.

Picture credit: Ints Vikmanis /

Ginny Hoover’s Success Story

Language Barriers