Sponsored post: Dan Afshar of Xempo Race Pacing shares some top tips on marathon pacing

One of the most common and crucial mistakes marathon runners of all ages, abilities and experience levels make is to get their pacing wrong, writes Dan Afshar of Xempo Race Pacing.

Over 95% of runners in big marathons start too quickly and end up slowing down as the race develops. You can get away with it in a 5k but, in a marathon, the distance will always catch up with you.

We all know, of course, that we shouldn’t do it, but in order to prevent it from happening, the following tips should help:


Going into a race without a pre-determined target pace rarely results in the best possible performance.

Use an online pace calculator, with (ideally) a recent half-marathon or 10k time as a guide, to work out what pace you ought to be running from the start. Position yourself in the right start area, as it’s easy to be swept along at the pace of runners around you.

Don’t worry if the pace feels too easy at the start and don’t be tempted to abandon your plan early on like so many do.


You’ve got no idea if the guy in the Spiderman suit is a top club runner, or the woman twice your age in front is a former Olympian. Quicker runners than you come in all shapes, sizes and ages.

Don’t let your ego force you to try and outrun someone you think you should be beating. Concentrate on your race plan and let other people worry about theirs.


Keep a regular eye on your watch to ensure you are sticking to target pace. A Pace Pocket with your mileage splits is ideal to help you do this.

Your perfect marathon will probably see you running the first and last mile at the same speed. Even pacing means you will overtake thousands, which is great for your confidence and your finish time!

Pace Pockets

Pace Pockets are handy, fabric wristbands with a storage pocket for all your running essentials, such as keys, cards, cash or gels, printed with your choice of marathon or half-marathon splits.

» This article was first published in our 2018 marathon guide supplement, included with the November 9 edition of AW