Become the bunny: making your first leap into race pacing

Become the bunny: making your first leap into race pacing

Given the reputation rabbits have for multiplying, it’s fitting that race-pace bunnies should experience the thrill of running success many times over in one event. The excitement of nailing a personal time target in a race is one of running’s greatest thrills, but successfully leading fellow runners to their own race-day goals brings a unique sense of satisfaction. Thinking of donning the pink ears for the first time at an upcoming marathon or half? Consider these pointers for steering clear of potholes during your first trip down the bunny trail.

evening runner
Familiarity with the race course will bolster your confidence as a first-time bunny: Unsplash/Henry Gillen

Draw confidence from past experience

For many of those you’ll be pacing, crossing the finish line within the targeted time will be a mental and physical challenge—it shouldn’t be one for you. You don’t need to be an elite marathoner to be a pace bunny, but you do need to have confidence in your own ability to set and hold the pace. If you generally run your half marathons in a whisker under 1:40, signing up to be the 1:45 pace bunny probably isn’t the safest move. You should give yourself more wiggle room, at least 15 minutes from your most recent result, when choosing a race-pace role.

Runner's legs: sporlab
As a first-time pace bunny, try choosing a time target that’s at least 15 minutes slower than what you’ve recently run over the same distance: Unsplash/sporlab

It’s wise to cover familiar terrain in a more literal sense. You’ll be more confident heading into your first gig as a pace bunny if you’ve run the course at least once already. Choosing an unfamiliar course fraught with unintuitive turns and confounding loops could get you lost and lead you down a figurative rabbit hole that swallows up your runners’ race-day dreams.

back it up

Even runners who have an innate metronomic sense of pace need to be equipped with tech tools that help them hold the pace, and the more help on hand, the better. Shaky GPS signals, unpleasant firmware surprises, and battery-sucking weather conditions can temporarily—and horrifyingly—throw your trusted piece of tech out of commission. It’s best to have at least one backup—whether it be an extra watch or fully charged phone—that you can turn to should tech troubles arise.

Timex Watches

Make sure you’re seen

Don’t rely on your cardboard bunny ears as a beacon for your pace pack. Sporting gear with a distinctively loud patterns and colors can be a welcome aid for bleary-eyed runners who may have fallen behind. Your main accessory for getting noticed, of course, will be your pace sign, but for first-time bunnies, it’s easy to forget to keep it held high when among other duties like checking in on your pace and offering encouraging words to members of your pack. Be mindful to point that pace sign skyward, and don’t be shy to add personal touches—reflective stickers or a short, encouraging word—that can help your sign stand out from those of nearby bunnies.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *