Sunrise Six

in All Posts, Marathon Training

I met the Running Support Crew for a lovely morning run per the Friday tradition.


When Megan, Kelly, Debbie, and I met in the parking lot, the sun hadn’t even rose (I was up at 5:00 AM and we met at 5:45).   We ran in the dark for the first 4 miles!


I just love running the peaceful and cool darkness.  It’s so quiet in the neighborhoods that early.  It’s just perfect and a wonderful way to start Friday.


  • Duration: Exactly 1 hour!
  • Distance: 6.0 miles


Before our run, I had about 1/2 of this slice of bread and PB:


And afterwards, I had banana, yogurt, and 2 crushed Kashi TLC bars (as in, two individually wrapped bars):


I like using Kashi TLC bars in lieu of granola because it’s portion-controlled (and we all know I have a "thing" for granola), but sometimes 1 bar just isn’t enough!  Especially after 6.0 miles. 🙂


I am really tired, but I have to work overtime today.  I would rather be doing this all day long:


(Laying on the couch).


How to Pace Yourself


Kristen wrote me to say:


I recently had my 2nd baby in April and have began running and eating a clean diet based on advice from your blog along with Eat, Live, Run and Oh She Glows. I am now down 10 lbs under my prebaby weight and feel great! 


I am running my very first 5K in October. Do you have any tips you can share on pacing? Having never run a race before I am scared I will take off and run by hardest at the beginning and then burn out half way through.


Pacing is really, really hard, and honestly… it’s what separates good runners from great runners.  The trouble is that you want to push yourself to the point where you’re the fastest possible without going overboard.  It’s hard not to burn out in the beginning of a race (I’ve done it QUITE a few times).


My I’m-going-to-collapse face: 


Pacing ideas:


  • If your race has "waves," get into your anticipated pace group or even a pace group behind it.  If you’ve run 9-minute miles during your training, don’t stand with the 7-minute milers!  It’s better to stand with the 10-minute milers and pass everyone then struggle to keep up.
  • Practice, practice, practice.  Run several practice runs at your goal time so you are familiar with how that pace "feels."
  • Wear a watch so you can "time" your splits during the race. 
  • Check the race map and determine at which mile-marker the water stations or other landmarks will be at.  You can use these landmarks as another place to check your pace.  For example, if you plan to run 10-minute miles, the first water station is 1.5 miles into the course, and you hit it at 13:00 minutes, you’re going too fast.
  • It’s easier to speed up over the duration of the race than it is to maintain an even somewhat decent pace at the end if you sprinted at the beginning.
  • Remember that if it’s your first race or the first time running a new distance, you WILL set a personal record no matter what your pace is!  🙂


Do you have any suggestions for pacing?  Or pacing horror stories?  🙂



  • Jessica September 18, 2009, 5:19 am

    What a gorgeous view! I wish I had that to look at every morning!

  • Amanda McQueen September 18, 2009, 5:25 am

    That sounds like a lovely run this morning. I like the idea about the portion control with the kashi bars. I might give that a try!

  • Erin September 18, 2009, 5:30 am

    Thanks for your tips on pacing — being with other runners always makes me feel like I should be going faster because I want to "keep up" but really, my own comfort should be more important. These will help.

  • talesfromtwocities September 18, 2009, 5:32 am

    I LOVE morning runs! I haven't been able to do them lately bc I've started working super early and I am scared to go alone in the dark.

  • Pam (Highway to Health) September 18, 2009, 5:32 am

    Thanks for the pacing tips! I love hearing how other runner approach races.

    That sunrise is beautiful!

  • Eve September 18, 2009, 5:51 am

    That must have been an incredibly peaceful run! So nice that you have running buddies to go with in the dark! I love the Kashi TLC crunchy bars, so delicious. I can't keep granola at home b/c I totally overdo it.

  • Oh She Glows September 18, 2009, 6:07 am

    Thank you for this Caitlin!

    I am thinking about running with a pacer during my half, but I'm not sure. Have you ever run with one yourself?

  • Steph September 18, 2009, 6:12 am

    The sky looks beautiful in your picture!

    Sorry you have to work overtime 🙁
    Have a great day!

  • Lizzy September 18, 2009, 6:16 am

    love early morning runs! just recently started doing them!!

    these tips are awesome! thanks for answering them!

  • Jenna September 18, 2009, 6:25 am

    yummy breakfast! i love how you mix up TLC bars for granola, i have never tried it before!
    that is such a great story, just by reading your blogs she has lost 10 pounds!

  • Jolene - EverydayFoodie September 18, 2009, 6:29 am

    I am always amazed by what you accomplish in the morning before I even crawl out of bed! You are such an inspiration!

  • K from ksgoodeats September 18, 2009, 6:35 am

    What a pretty view!! I need to try the Greek yog/Kashi bar combo. I've had a few bars sitting in my drawer for so long. Thanks for the tips! I'm horrible at pacing myself when I run!

  • Sarah @ See Sarah Eat September 18, 2009, 6:42 am

    I guess it is pretty common sense, but I try to start off "easy" and then gradually pick up my pace. If doing a 5k, I will try to go a little bit faster each mile and then sprint the last stretch to the finish. I tried doing easy/hard intervals one time and that completely drained me.

  • Anne Marie September 18, 2009, 6:43 am

    Awesome pacing tips! I know what you mean about having a "thing" for granola, except my "thing" is for almond butter!

  • maggie September 18, 2009, 7:01 am

    hey caitlin!
    i've been wanting to try those TLC bars. which kinds do you like? and do you eat two of the two-packs of bars? i have a feeling for breakfast, one package of two would not be enough for me!

  • Caitlin at Healthy Tipping Point September 18, 2009, 7:02 am

    maggie (best name ever) today i had two of bars (i.e. 4 planks). normally for snacks i had 1 bar (i.e. 2 planks). i like the roasted almond one! the pumpkin one is good too.

  • Samantha~ September 18, 2009, 7:04 am

    I haven't been running for that long (a week!) so I have no clue about pacing or splits or anything like that. All I can say is you are amazing for even competing in a race!!

  • Newly and Forever, Tamantha September 18, 2009, 7:05 am

    Great tips on pacing…I agree…I still have this problem myself! I have read that for every second you start out too fast, you add 10 seconds to the end of your run. I have noticed if I just let myself run a fairly easy pace to warm up, I do get faster towards the end, when everyone else is konking out! It feels funny going so "slow" at the beginning, because sometimes even when I start out too fast, it feels pretty comfortable…but it almost always catches up with me later on! I think the excitement and adrenaline pushes me the first few miles..If you can make a conscious effort to hold back, I think it will help in the end! When it comes down to it, I'm the one that has to get my body to the finish line, not everyone else that I try to keep up with!

  • Sarah September 18, 2009, 7:29 am

    thanks for the pacing suggestions…I just started training for my first half marathon, so this information is priceless!

  • Laura@FindingAHealthyBalance September 18, 2009, 7:32 am

    When it comes to pacing, I have read an amazing book by Jeff Galloway named "Marathon ~ You can do it!" and he suggests to always start out slow and steady……espically in the beginning and then if you are feeling good you can spead up a bit but never too fast as you don't want to give out in last mile or so! =) Laura

  • Susan September 18, 2009, 7:36 am

    The pacing question came at a good time for me! I'm running my first 10k this weekend and am scared of going out to fast then losing steam towards the end. I can get away with it in 5k's, but I don't think I can in longer races. I did a practice run this week where I purposely paced slower than felt comfortable for me for the first 4 miles, then gave 'er for the last two. Felt awesome and still came in under my goal time! Now hopefully I won't get caught up in the excitement and do that again on Sunday!

  • Madeline Rake September 18, 2009, 7:40 am

    In my vast and injury prone career I have discovered that it is far FAR better to stick to a pace you know you are comfortable with than to push it and end up either hurting yourself or not finishing!

  • Megan @ Megzz WIns At Life September 18, 2009, 7:44 am

    Great post! Pacing is one of my weeknesses.. I need to get a Garmin so I can train myself to look at my pace when I am running a race.

  • jack+alli September 18, 2009, 7:53 am

    your run sounds wonderful! i am a morning runner for sure. last year i was hitting the track sometimes by 4 am. time always seem to go a bit faster in the dark, too:)
    those bars sound great, i'll have to give 'em a whirl!

  • brandi September 18, 2009, 7:54 am

    great, great tips for pacing. I think having my garmin for these next races will be helpful compared to the last few races I did without one. Our races aren't really big enough that we have "pace groups" or those fancy electronic chips 🙂 I'm excited to see how it goes.

  • Kelly September 18, 2009, 8:23 am

    Before my first 5k I listened to the advice to start slow and then you'll be passing people in the end. It was hard at first to handle people passing me, but by mile 2, I was passing EVERYONE and most of them had started walking, yay!

  • nomnomnom September 18, 2009, 8:31 am

    This is really helpful! I'm running my first race–a 4 miler–tomorrow and I'm super nervous. Eek!

  • Courtney W. September 18, 2009, 8:36 am

    Thanks for the help with pacing! 😀 It was helpful to read.

  • Kristen September 18, 2009, 8:36 am

    Thanks Caitlin for posting my question. This advice is great!

  • danielle September 18, 2009, 9:03 am

    Good morning! I LOVE to run in the morning as well, but with the darkness, it can be a bit difficult. It can be hard to see the sidewalk and be sure not to trip. Not to mention safety:)

    Do you have any tips for running in the early morning/late night? Gear that you use?

  • Caitlin at Healthy Tipping Point September 18, 2009, 9:10 am

    danielle – im not really the safest runner 🙁 i just try to run in nice areas.

  • Hi! I'm Erin September 18, 2009, 9:53 am

    So jealous of your morning running buddies! I'd be so much more likely to drag my butt out of bed if I had people to meet.

    Quick question: how far in advance of your running to you eat your "breakfast"?

  • Lara September 18, 2009, 11:29 am

    The key to race pacing for me is to start out slower than I feel I should, usually I'm flying on adrenaline and don't realize how fast I'm going.

  • Heather O'Donnell September 18, 2009, 1:26 pm

    Great pacing tips. But don't forget about the hills. If you know you have an incline coming up, be sure to save some energy for it.

  • Taylor September 18, 2009, 2:10 pm

    I love how you use the bars for granola – and I've been meaning to try it out for myself for a while now!

  • Jenny Vester September 18, 2009, 2:31 pm

    Thanks for the extra advice! I love reading your blog.
    You keep me so motivated to keep up my healthy eating and fitness, truly! If I hadn't found your blog then I doubt I would be where I'm at now.

    I have a pacing HORROR story…

    I just recently (2 days ago) ran my school cross country, and no one had told me exactly how long it was going to be, some had said 2.5K, 4k, 5k, 3k etc, so I wasn't actually clear on how I was going to have to pace myself.
    Also, I failed to take into consideration that it was CROSS COUNTRY and that the track would be pretty gnarly. I've never trained on a cross country track before.
    So Anyway when the race started, I panicked because all the girls in my year group were taking off ahead of me like rockets and I was freaking out because I was way behind (I start out painfully slow when I run, but it works for me because I speed up dramatically by the end), and I kinda forgot that they aren't runners and that they would burn themselves out by halfway. So I started jogging way faster than I usually do and dear god did I pay the price for that.
    I thought I was going to either die, collapse or vomit by the end because not only had I started out way faster than I should've but the track was hard out with ditches to jump across, uneven paddocks, HILLS and mini-forest like areas. I almost killed me. But hey, at least I've learnt and I'll know what to improve for next year!

  • Adriane September 18, 2009, 8:02 pm

    Thanks for all the awesome tips on pacing. I plan on trying some of them out on my next run. Your breakfast looks great…and so does your dog!

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