I will participate to a 4-Person Half Marathon Relay and I did a few training runs for the 5km that will be my part in the marathon. Usually I tend to accelerate and get tired earlier but I was with a friend and I kept his rhythm.

I've done good because I kept the rhythm of my friend, since he will participate also to the same Half Marathon Relay I will be on my own.

What tricks to apply to keep the right rhythm ?

  • 1
    In addition to the below, there are any number of pacing songs available through avenues such as iTunes, and several apps that will match songs to cadence. Unless you are competing under USATF Elite rules or similar, you will be able to wear headphones.
    – JohnP
    May 16, 2013 at 14:46
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    One thing I do is breathe in or out only on my right foot. Plus I dont push hard until at or after half the distance is done. Hope you meet your goals!
    – Jason
    Sep 19, 2015 at 16:19

2 Answers 2


Your best frend is knowledge about your distance. It's 5 km, and you know that

  1. You will have to run the whole of it
  2. You will not need to run more

So, first, you need do save energy for kilometers 2-5, thus do not run your maximum during the first km. Second, you can just stop and relax after you finish the 5-th km, so you can spend the remainder of energy on your last 1 km or 500 meters.

Just remembering this will help.

Speaking about tricks: you can train with a GPS-enabled sports watch or a GPS-enabled phone (e.g. iPhone or Android phone) with a sports app (e.g. Endomondo, RunKeeper, ...). They usually show (or speak out) your "lap" pace. You can set lap length to 1 km or 500 m and try to keep all the laps with the same pace as the first one. It will need some experimenting to find the pace which is not too high and not too low for you.

Then stick to this pace and maybe try to improve it gradually. During the competition you can go for a little higher pace - you will probably know how much you can allow before it kills you, if you have had enough experience training.


To keep rhythm I use a watch connected to a podometer and a heart-sensor.

I look at the watch once or twice per minute maybe, I don't think about it, it's just a routine.

  • if my running rhythm is too high: I can see that the frequency of my heart is slowly increasing, so I can adjust my rhythm and slow down just a little. This can be done long before I attain the max heart frequency where exhaustion-fatigue happens.
  • the podometer gives me the speed I have when my heart is in its comfort zone. So every now and then, I try to adjust to this speed.

I don't keep the rhythm, I just follow it, only following these two parameters. It's easy.

To calculate the max frequency, the rule of thumb is 220 - your age. I am 39, my maximal heart frequency is 220-39 = 181 bpm. And I try to run under 181-18 = 163 bpm. (18 here for 10%, though I have read it could be 20%)

I can run much much much longer since I have been following this rule.

It correspond to the difference between aerobic and anaerobic. When running in anaerobic mode, your body has not enough oxygen, and this is the source of exhaustion and fatigue.

You could find some more details here for describing the difference between running in aerobic or anaerobic mode: https://runneracademy.com/aerobic-vs-anaerobic/

Personnally, the model I use is Polar RC3 GPS with podometer and heart sensor. I guess there are lots of other models, and other trademarks that does that too.

I think there are also watches that only do heart-sensor. That could be sufficient just to check that you don't go over 10-20% less of your max heart frequency.

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