A Little More Each Day

One working mama learning to run & to maintain my 100+ pound weight loss!

Running with a Pace Team?

on December 17, 2013

Yesterday, I got out for a run in the melting snow while I was waiting for the guy to come fix my oven (there’s a temporary fix in and a permanent part on order!). It was fun looking at my footprints in the snow as I came back and forth on my street. You can tell by the drag marks that I was being cautious in my steps, just in case there was any ice under the slush! I hadn’t intended to run yesterday since I had run both Saturday & Sunday, but I couldn’t pass up a “warm” almost 40 degree day!


While I was running, I listened to the newest episode of the Let’s Run Disney podcast (their Facebook page here) and they were discussing running with a pace team. The Clif Bar Pace team has been at several Run Disney events and has designated leaders for several different paces. At my 10K in Omaha, there were pacers for the half marathon and marathon, similar to what it sounds like the Clif guys do. There was a person with a sign on a dowel rod that they held above their heads, showing the total time target (e.g. 2:30 for a half marathon). That person’s job is to keep a steady pace along the course to get you to whatever time goal you’ve set and offer encouragement as needed (although I get the feeling the amount of encouragement you’ll get varies from pacer to pacer).

The podcast was interesting because they interviewed one of the ClifBar pacers and she talked through lots of logistics, like how to manage water stops when you’re with a pacer (depends on your pace, but the pacer will have a plan for running through, slowing down, or walking based on the time goal) and how to manage bathroom breaks (plan ahead and increase your pace before the break and after so you can catch up!). They didn’t talk about how to manage photo opportunities, which was a big gap in discussion of a RunDisney event! I assume it would be the same as with a bathroom break – if you know there’s a photo opportunity you want coming up, pick up the pace a bit to get a lead on your group, take your photo and then gradually catch back up to them. The key word for all of this is apparently gradually and planning ahead. You don’t have to stick with the pace group the whole time if you don’t want to – you can hop in and out of various groups as needed, which is nice.

With most pacers, you don’t have to have signed up beforehand, although they recommend you go meet your pacer so you can get any last minute questions answered. For Disney events, this is usually at the Expo although you could also find them early race morning. You can also register online to get extra tips and samples from ClifBar apparently (link here) but there isn’t any kind of waiver or anything you sign to run with the group.

While I am running the Princess Half Marathon for the experience more than for any goal time (that’s the bonus of a first half marathon – automatic PR!), I do think a pacer might help keep me from starting out too fast in the excitement of the morning! It would also be nice to have someone to follow along with during those  post-castle miles when things start to drag. I like the idea that you aren’t stuck with them, though, if you decide you want to leave the group to speed up or slow down. Hopping in and out as needed sounds pretty nice to this non-group runner.  I do think a full-time pacer would be good if I was doing a different half marathon with more of a time focus.

I swear I remember the pacer saying they’d just decided they would be doing Princess this year, but it isn’t on the website yet. Regardless, I don’t have to decide today. I was just pondering options. Have any of you run with a pacer for a race before? Was it a helpful experience?


4 responses to “Running with a Pace Team?

  1. I’ve ran in pace groups and with my bf who was my own personal pacer for races, and I definitely find having pacers useful. They take care of the mental aspect of trying to keep pace.

  2. Lauren says:

    I love pace groups. They can be a little congested at times depending on how many people run with them, but they are so helpful. I ran with one at a half marathon I did earlier this year, and while I couldn’t keep up with them the whole way, trying to stay with them helped me get a great PR and keep a steady pace!

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