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A pace group can take away the worry and stress of pacing perfectly so you can just run or hold on for dear life.

But as wonderful as that sounds, following a pace group can have some major pitfalls. And in some cases, it can even cost you your dream time.

How is that possible?

Let’s find out.

Welcome to the Planted Runner. I’m Coach Claire Bartholic and my mission is to help you improve your running, your mindset, and your life with science-backed training and plant-based nutrition.

Today we’re going to go over all the details and the pros and cons of pace groups. I did an episode on this topic back in 2022 which is another helpful episode if you are considering using a pace group in your next race.

But today is going to have a new twist. I’m sharing my conversation with Paul Smoluk who paces marathons every year and has a lot of great advice.

We’ll go over 

  • What to look for in a pace group and its leaders
  • When to avoid using a pace group, and if you are considering pacing,
  • Paul will share his tips on getting involved.

I’ve been having so much fun highlighting some of the amazing members of the PR Team. Paul has been a member for a while now and it’s been a good challenge for me to work in all his pacing races with his goal races. I’ll explain more about the PR Team later in the show, but if you are ready to learn more right now, head to

Don’t forget to stay tuned all the way to the end of the episode for another mental strength minute, fortify your mind in 60 seconds or less.

If you need more help, you can order my book The Planted Runner: Running Your Best With Plant-Based Nutrition wherever you get books or request a copy from your local library. 

➡️Enter our Apple Podcast review contest and win one of Coach Claire’s Sprint Sessions Masterclasses. They are 30 minute live and recorded classes with me every other month and this month is all about speedwork 101. To learn more and sign up, head to Or you can enter to win one for free just by writing an Apple Podcast Review. We choose a new winner every month.

Don’t forget to stay tuned all the way to the end of the episode for another Mental Strength Minute. Fortify your mind in 60 seconds or less.


If you’d like help directly from me, you can check out my freebies, personal coaching, and sign up for my PR Team at


Simply the highest quality, best tasting plant-based protein powder you can buy.

If you are ready to simplify your nutrition and optimize your fueling, you can try Nourify for 15% off the regular price with my code PR15. That’s PR15 at


⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐Great work!

“Love this podcast. Listen when I run on the treadmill! Im just a beginner training for a half marathon and the topics are so informative! Keep it goin l!”

Aubrey Bren 

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐Perfect little bites

“I love this podcast. Relevant information that’s engaging but nice and short for when you only have a little bit of time.”


⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐Highly recommended!

“I gain insight from each episode. Claire communicates in a way that is easy to understand and any type of running would benefit from listening.”

I guess my nickname was taken...

Music Credits:

Music from Uppbeat

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