>Racing>Reasonable Goal Time UPDATE
New here because I've been scouring the internet for pacing advice and would love to hear what everyone has to offer!
Running my third marathon over Memorial Day Weekend (Vermont City) and need some pacing/goal time advice since it has been over four years since my last one.
I ran a 1:44:50 half in the fall (flat course) with very little training (ran consistently for three-ish weeks pre-race, but had been out of running commission for the most part leading up to it).
I've completed all of my long runs up to 20 miles peak over a 16 week training plan, but have been only running 3 (max 4, rarely) days a week, and peaked at just 35 MPW. I would like to run a sub-4 marathon, but am wondering if this is realistic based on my weekly milage. I ran the 14 miler before my 20 at an 8:40 pace, and the last 3 miles of my 20 I ran between 8:20-8:35 pace.
Have run two marathons, Vermont City in 07 in 4:14ish (was only 16 and trained probably less than this time around) and Baltimore (HILLY!) in 4:16ish. For Baltimore, I trained probably less than I did this time around (was a lazy/social college student) and broke my toe three weeks before the race, so did absolutely no running in the three weeks leading up to the race.
Is sub-4 a realistic goal? I don't want to go out at a sub-four pace just to crash and burn later in the race. Ideally, I feel I could run around 3:50, but maybe this is totally crazy? I don't know.....
Help! I really appreciate it
Gang Name "Pound Cake"
I did a 1:44 half, then ran my first full at 3:49:02. The half was flat, the full was hilly. But I was doing 50-55 miles a week. Your mileage sounds really low. But I'm 53 and it sounds like you are young. Perhaps age will help you. If the 20 mile runs didn't burn you too much, then perhaps you can do a 3:50 with the lower mileage. Make sure you taper properly and fuel properly during the race.
2014 Goals: First Marathon - BQ2016 <3:40 - 1/2M <1:45 - 5K <22:00
2014 Marathons: 05/04 Flying Pig (3:49:02) - 09/20 Air Force - 11/01 Indianapolis Monumental
Your somewhat recent half would suggest 4:00 is entirely possible (actually 3:40-3:50 would be in reach), however as you mention, your overall mileage is quite low and your past marathons don't indicate that 3:40is would come easy without some increased mileage/speed work. My wife ran 4:03 on her first marathon (with 2 bathroom breaks), and I would say she had similar mileage to you.
I'd go out at 4 hour pace and see how you are feeling around mile 20 or so. If you feel great see if you can start picking up the pace. Assuming you can do 4is,h or a little under, this would still be a nice PR for you. This will also give you a better indication of what you might be capable for your next marathon if you decide you want to put in a little more time training.
Finally, FWIW, it appears you are running your long runs too fast. However, that may also be a result of only running 3 days a week as well.
I was at a coaching seminar a couple weekends ago and the question came up about running a marathon on 30-35 miles per week of training. The coach running the seminar said this. "Sure. Just be sure to start slow and finish slower." That said, everybody is different and every day and course different. I would start slow, then see what you've got
Based on all of this I will try to go out for a 3:55-4:00 pace and hopefully will hold on for those last 6 miles.
As far as long runs go, I've been doing them around a 9:30 pace for the most part, but have been pushing it a little harder on some of the shorter ones/picking up the pace for the last few miles of the longer ones to practice running a quicker pace on tired legs. Is this not a good practice? Any thoughts here?
I've also tried to do some tempo runs mid week, with 800 meter pickups. Overall, I do at least one mid week run at 7:40ish.
It it seems like the time I'm willing to devote right now is better suited towards halves? There is just something so exciting about finishing that full, though!
It's always good practice to start slower and finish faster. One good run that I found beneficial during my marathon build-up: Fast finish long runs. This will really teach your how to run faster on tired legs. Just be careful with the fast finish long runs because they can leave you wrecked for a couple weeks if you're not ready. But looks like you already started doing those! I like to think of those short runs as progression runs, which definitely have their time and place in marathon training.
As for your race goal, I think that sub 4 is definitely obtainable. With the lower mileage, you will find that your 20 mile pace is the best predictor of your marathon pace. Since you were able to pick up the pace over a minute/mile - this tells me that the effort for the first 17 wasn't too substantial and you should be able to roll on race day.
Just dig in those last 6 miles. You're going to feel fine aerobically, but you're legs are going to be fighting you. Teeth your way in if you have to!
Thank you for all of your help. Ended up running the best race I feel I could have on the training I had under my belt. Ran it in 3:47 with negative splits (hit the half at 1:55). Really picked it up miles 15-20 and held on to an 8:45-9 min pace through the final 6 miles.
Feeling really good about it! Now onto racing some halves!
Good job! Thanks for the update!