Road Race Stats - Marathons & Other Running Races

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Pace Changes - First vs. Second Half of Austin Freescale Marathon

Intro

Maintaining a constant pace through out a marathon is tough even in perfect conditions. Last Sunday's heat and humidity were anything but perfect for marathons. As would be expected, very few were able to keep a consistent pace.

I did these split stats a little differently than what I did for the 2004 marathon. The stats at doitsports for 2005 were in a little different format than previous marathons. The 2005 split times and paces were cumulative. So I haven't yet repeated the stats that I did for the 2004 marathon.

For now, I've coded up some new programs to look at the paces between the first and second half of the marathon. I partitioned the paces into speedup/slowdown minutes. For example, those who ran the second half 1 to 2 minutes faster than the first half were put into the "-2:00 to -1:00" category. For those who ran the second half 1 to 2 minutes slower than the first half were put into the "1:00 to 2:00" category.

Note, I had to exclude some runners who had fields with invalid data. So that's why my total is less than the 4958 total given at doitsports. Also note that I used the chip times. This created a little complication since the halfway pace provided in the stats was based on clock time. I had to do a little math to ensure both halves were based on chip times. This helps avoid having the stats skewed by runners who started far behind the starting lines.

Results

The first set of stats show the pace changes for all runners. Out of 4576 runners, I found only 147 (about 3%) who ran faster in the second half as compared to the first half. Out of these 147, only 9 ran 1 to 2 minutes/mile faster. The rest just ran up to 1 minute/mile faster.

About 97% of all runners ran the second half slower. 61% of the runners had second half paces up to 2 minutes/mile slower. 29% had paces between 2 and 4 minutes/mile slower, and 6% had paces over 4 minutes/mile slower. The missing 1% is due to roundoff errors.

I then wanted to know how this compared based on marathon finish times. I would expect the more experienced runners to have more consistent paces. So I looked at these pace for runners who ran the marathon under 3 hours, between 3 and 4 hours, between 4 and 5 hours, and over 5 hours.

As would be expected, the sub 3 runners were very consistent. 95% of them ran the second half within a minute/mile pace of the first. Only 5 out of 104 runners had slowdowns of over 1 minute/mile.

There were 1297 sub 4 runners. The consisteny starts to fall here. Only 59% maintained a second half pace within a minute/mile of the first. But most were able to keep a decent pace to finish sub 4.

Most of the runners fell into the sub 5 category (finishing between 4 and 5 hours). There were 1954 runners in this category. And you can see that the consistency again went down. 74% of these runners ran the second half over a minute/mile slower than the first.

Finally, the runners who ran the marathon in over 5 hours had even more second half slowdowns. About 87% of them ran the second half over a minute/mile slower than the first.

I'm sure a lot of these folks probably were hit hard by the heat and the humidity. One thing I'm going to work on is to compare these 2005 stats with those from 2004 and earlier. Also, I would like to see how paces vary based on age and sex. If you have any stats that you would like to see, feel free to leave a comment. I can't promise anything, but I can give it a try.


'Change In Pace' is the change in mintues/mile
between the first half and the second half.
Negative means faster second half.


All those who ran the marathon at all different paces.

Change In Pace # %
-------------- ---- ---
-2:00 to -1:00 9 0%
-1:00 to 0:00 138 3%
0:00 to 1:00 1369 30%
1:00 to 2:00 1403 31%
2:00 to 3:00 890 19%
3:00 to 4:00 477 10%
over 4:00 290 6%
-------------- ---- ---
Total 4576

Those who ran the marathon in under 3 hours.

Change In Pace # %
-------------- ---- ---
-1:00 to 0:00 3 3%
0:00 to 1:00 96 92%
1:00 to 2:00 4 4%
2:00 to 3:00 1 1%
-------------- ---- ---
Total 104

Those who ran the marathon between 3 and 4 hours.

Change In Pace # %
-------------- ---- ---
-1:00 to 0:00 61 5%
0:00 to 1:00 700 54%
1:00 to 2:00 426 33%
2:00 to 3:00 96 7%
3:00 to 4:00 14 1%
-------------- ---- ---
Total 1297

Those who ran the marathon between 4 and 5 hours.

Change In Pace # %
-------------- ---- ---
-2:00 to -1:00 6 0%
-1:00 to 0:00 51 3%
0:00 to 1:00 449 23%
1:00 to 2:00 714 37%
2:00 to 3:00 477 24%
3:00 to 4:00 192 10%
over 4:00 65 3%
-------------- ---- ---
Total 1954

Those who ran the marathon in over 5 hours.

Change In Pace # %
-------------- ---- ---
-2:00 to -1:00 3 0%
-1:00 to 0:00 23 2%
0:00 to 1:00 124 10%
1:00 to 2:00 259 21%
2:00 to 3:00 316 26%
3:00 to 4:00 271 22%
over 4:00 225 18%
-------------- ---- ---
Total 1221

2 Comments:

  • ken--

    ask and ye shall recieve, huh? thanks for running the stats!

    upon further inspection, i actually ran a +:29 split this year--not negative, but that's splitting hairs (pun not intended)--i'm very happy with it.

    what is most striking to me is that sub-3 group... wow! i'll go ahead and assume that most sub-3ers have more than one 'thon under their belt... it goes to show that experienced folks know that holding back on this course and an even split is the name of the game.

    rich
    http://oakhillflyer.blogspot.com

    By Blogger Rich Y., at 7:19 PM  

  • Glad you found the stats interesting.

    Yea, those sub-3 folks are probably pretty experienced.

    I did have a former coworker who ran his first marathon in under 3 hours. He was very tall and athletic so he's probably not typical. I wished I kept that year's race info. I wonder what were his splits.

    That also brings up an interesting question. How many first time marathoners were sub-3...

    By Blogger Ken, at 6:31 AM  

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