I’m a BEAST!

Peru 442I’m very excited to announce that I will be the 2:30 pacer for the Bucks County Half Marathon in PA on April 12th.

I’ve been wanting to be a pacer for about a year now. To the point where I even thought about showing up at a local race with a homemade sign announcing that I was an unofficial pacer. I’ve really benefited from having pacers at races and I wanted to give back to the running community. On one of the running forums that I belong to, Beast Pacing posted that they were looking for pacers for several different marathons and half marathons around the country. I noticed that Bucks County isn’t too far from where I live and that a 2:30 group would be pace group that I could be fairly confident in leading as my first time. Check out my pacer profile here.

I’m nervous and excited about being a pace leader. I know that part of my job is not only to keep pace, but to encourage runners. I’m not the most chatty runner (i.e., not chatty at all, I run in silence), so I’m worried about coming up with things to say to entertain and distract runners. I know what I appreciate in a pacer – good even pacing, split updates, warnings about what’s about to come up in a course, and a few occasional encouragements. I’m already thinking about my pacing strategy and when to start letting runners go in front of me so that they get their PRs.

What do you appreciate in a pacer? Any tips or advice for a first time pacer? What kind of things do you want to hear from a pacer? Have you ever paced a group? 

19 thoughts on “I’m a BEAST!

  1. Pacers can make such a huge difference. Good cheer and confidence are huge as well as knowing when people wnat you to engage vs. when they want to be left alone. More than anything, seeing how easy it is for you will inspire. Best of luck!

  2. Wow!! Congrats!! I’m so impressed–I have similar concerns about being a pacer; I’m not chatty at all and I would def worry about keeping a consistent pace. That’s sooooo cool that you’re up to the challenge! I’d be a scaredy cat LOL! I do think pacers are super cool and super helpful. I used one for my first marathon and he was AMAZING. I wish I could’ve finished with him jajaja!! My husband has had his fair share of not so good pacers but I think that’s normal. I have no doubt you are going to be a GREAT pacer—good luck!! and I CAN’T wait to hear all about it!

    • Thank you! It’s so sweet of you to have so much faith in me. I chose a slower group because I knew it’ll be easier for me to talk. I could prob pace a 2-hr group but I wouldn’t be able to talk at all and I’d be too anxious about nailing the splits. A slower group is easier for me mentally.

  3. Oh, how cool! I’ve often wondered what goes into becoming a pacer. I’ve thought about doing it myself but then I’m always like “what if that’s the race in which I totally blow it?!” I’ll be curious to hear your experiences. It seems like it would be a lot of fun to help other people achieve their goals.

    I actually have only run with a pacer once, and that was at the half where I went 1:39. I found it to be a really positive experience because the guy was just so steady and made it seem so effortless. (We didn’t talk much but then I don’t talk a lot while running.) I’m going to use a pacer at my marathon this weekend and I’m hoping for a similar situation.

    • I deliberately picked a pace group that I knew I could lead even if I had a gawdawful day. I’ll need to be vigilant about not slowly creeping up the pace and not coming in too fast.

      A good pacer can totally make a race. I barely made my goal of 1:50 a couple years ago and I made it because of my pacers. Ben for personally pacing me and the official pacer who I treated as a sweep. I knew I can to beat him to the finish and every time I heard his too enthusiastic booming voice, I sped up because I didn’t want to be caught.

  4. Having paced races around 12 times, I like to get a pace band that is specific for the course (hope you can find your race on http://tazrunning.com/, which is what I use). I then mark it with different colored dots to indicate where there will be water, gel, etc. This is certainly more helpful (and needed) in a full, but it’s great info to have for a half, too.
    Being encouraging without being too chatty is good. You can share a little story here and there about any of your most memorable races (keeping it short with a good message/laugh at the end). I call out how many seconds above/below finishing pace we are at every mile marker (and you have to rely on mile markers slightly more than just what the garmin reads). Assuming that the course is a little long (like 13.2 miles) is also better.
    Omg, I can go on forever! Let me know if you have more questions or want me to continue sharing tips, hehe 🙂

  5. That’s awesome! I like the idea of being a pacer one day, but wouldn’t know where to look.
    The last time I ran with a pacer was for the Baltimore 10 miler last June, & I loved how peppy the girl was. At each mile marker she’d say either “x miles down!” or “x to go!” and follow it up with “keep it up folks!” or “looking strong!”. Like you, I also appreciate being warned of difficult parts coming up on the course too.

  6. FREAKING AWESOM!!!!!! That’s so cool!!!! I’ve never run with a pacer (considering it for Jersey) and I know I would probably be a terrible one. You are going to be great at this!

  7. So exciting!!!! This is on my lifetime bucket list too, as a frequent runner with pace groups. I tell ya, they can make or break a race. I’ve run with some amazing ones and some terrible ones. Personally, I don’t like it when the pace leader is too chatty. When it comes to talking in a race, less is more! So don’t worry about being too quiet. The most important thing is the actual pacing–not going out too fast (which too many pacers do)–and giving encouragement here and there. I also love when they know the course and can warn you about uphills and downhills. I wish more pacers would adopt a negative split strategy instead of banking time, which just doesn’t work for me. No matter what you do, I’m sure you’ll be amazing at this!! I feel like you’re well-suited to it!

    • Banking time isn’t a good idea for the runners. It’s fine for the pacer because they’re not close to their top speed for that distance so they’re not gassed out, but the poor runners are. I’m going to try to neg split.

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