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Pace Band Frequently Asked Questions

How are the race-specific paces determined?

The algorithm utilized to determine the paces for each race has been created by applying the results of research by C.T.M. Davies and Andrew D. Townshend, et al. on the effects of running on different grades, coupled with the extensive (and ongoing) analysis of thousands of mile-by-mile split times of various races. The application of this theoretical and practical research has enabled thousands of runners to keep on pace to reach their marathon goals.

Source Citations:
Davies, C. T. M. "Effects of wind assistance and resistance on the forward motion of a runner." Journal of Applied Physiology 48.4 (1980): 702-709.
Townshend, Andrew D., Charles J. Worringham, and Ian Stewart. "Spontaneous pacing during overground hill running." Medicine and science in sports and exercise 42.1 (2010): 160-169.

What is the band made out of?

Each pace band is made out of a waterproof, tear-resistant synthetic paper. The material is similar to most bib number material, but thicker and more rigid than Tyvek. It doesn't wrinkle like bib paper either. Each band is lightweight, weighing approximately 3 grams (or about 1/10th of an ounce).

Each band is held securely together by a small, secure snap. The snap ensures that the band will stay on your wrist the entire race.

Will the band fall apart or will the ink run if I get it wet?

No. Unlike other bands or most homemade varieties, there is no lamination, no tape, and no paper that will get ruined if it gets wet. The band is made out of synthetic waterproof paper and the ink soaks directly into the paper, so it will not run. It will stand up to rain, heavy sweat, and even wayward aid station cups.

Which distances are available?

Currently, both marathon and half marathon distances are available.

What size do I need?

Pace Band size is mainly a personal preference. Some people like it loose and some people find it more comfortable with a snugger fit.

Measure around your wrist and decide if you want a loose or snug fit. The band size is the actual circumference it will fit. For example, if you had a drinking glass that is 7" around (circumference), a 7" pace band will fit around it exactly.

One thing to keep in mind is that the snugger the fit, the more difficult it may be to rotate the band to see all the splits - especially when your wrist gets wet.

The race specific paces are good, but I'd really like to create my own paces. Can I do that?

Yes. Use the Custom Marathon Pace Band or the Custom Half Marathon Band to create your own paces.

If I order today, will my Pace Band get to me by race day?

There are three choices for shipping when checking out:

Standard: USPS First Class. Please allow 3-5 business days in most cases between your order date and race date. For example, if your race is on a Saturday, ordering by the previous Friday will ensure a timely delivery.

Expedited: USPS Priority Mail. In most cases, Priority Mail will arrive in 2-3 days.

Express: USPS Priority Express. Overnight shipping to most areas and 2 days to others.

International shipping is also available.

In some cases, delivery time may be reduced. If you are unsure if your band could be delivered in time, send an email inquiry to see what the estimated delivery date would be.

Many runners have the Pace Bands delivered to their race hotel.

Which Start and Pacing Strategy should I use?

The specific course hill profiles and personal experience will dictate optimal Start and Pacing Strategies. For example, at the New York City Marathon, you may find yourself running 10-20 seconds slower than marathon goal pace during the first mile. However, you'll likely be back on pace (if you're not still caught up in the crowd) by the end of the second mile as you descend down the other side of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. Conversely, many Boston Marathons have been ruined by runners blasting down the first few downhill miles dozens of seconds faster than their planned marathon pace. These runners are often left with spent quads, leading to minutes lost on the Newton Hills and the long five mile downhill finish that follows.

In our article, Marathon Pacing Strategies, we detail the marathon pacing strategies recommended by running coaches and experts and reinforced by empirical evidence. It is great primer for anyone wanting to understand pacing strategies for the marathon.

Race Day Strategies for Marathoners is an article by Pete Pfitzinger, two-time Olympic Marathoner, exercise physiologist, and author of the very popular book Advanced Marathoning detailing his advice for proper marathon pacing.

Also, in the article, Pace Yourself, coach and exercise physiologist, Greg McMillan and Ross Tucker, exercise physiologist at the University of Cape Town and Sports Science Institute of South Africa, outline methods for determining your goal marathon pace and in-race pacing strategies.

The following books are also helpful resources for training and pacing methodologies:

What do the different Start and Pacing Strategies mean?

    Start Strategies:

  • Evenly Paced Start: Pace is not changed for the first few miles.

  • Conservative Start: Slower than average pace during the first few miles as one eases into race pace.

  • Very Conservative Start: Same as Conservative Start, but the first few miles are slower than those in the Conservative Start.

    Pacing Strategies:

  • Even Effort: This strategy uses the energy cost of the uphills and downhills of the course to approximate paces requiring even effort.

  • Even Pace: All splits are equal. However, using a Conservative or Very Conservative Start Strategy will change the splits to incorporate the start change.

  • Negative Split: First half Pace starts getting faster during the second half of the race. The uphills and downhills are still used to determine the initial paces before calculating the negative split.

  • Aggressive Negative Split: Same as Negative Split, but paces drop more during the second half of the race.

  • Positive Split: Pace starts getting slower during the second half of the race. Like with the Negative Split, the uphills and downhills are still used to determine the initial pace.

  • Aggressive Positive Split: Same as Positive Split, but paces slow more during the second half of the race.

What if I don't see my race on the list?

Send your request for it to be added.

Can I request a race be added that has not been certified?

For consistency, only courses certified by the USATF, Athletics Canada, or AIMS are used.