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Marathon pace advice (Read 387 times)


Mmmmm...beer

    I have my first marathon coming up in six weeks, and wanted to see what the experienced folks thought a realistic goal might be.

     

    Training was going well, then I decided to do a trail 50k in Dec, then I got sick, twice, so my training in January pretty much fell completely apart.  I was averaging 60mpw going into the 50k, and now have only averaged 28mpw over the last six weeks (my log is open if you care to take a look).  I feel 100% now, and the last week or so has gone really well with a strong 22 mile LR (8:15 pace) and a good 15 mile race yesterday (could have paced it better, but overall it was good), and some good short runs (the two 9:15 avg pace runs were in the snow/ice, rest have been sub-8). 

     

    I had a 10 mile race on 1/4 that I ran in 1:08:29 (6:51 average pace) and then yesterday's 15 miler, which was 1:47:44 (7:11 average pace).  I think I could have pulled a 1:45 yesterday if I had paced better (went out too fast for the first half), which would have been in line with my 10 mile results.

     

    Little more about me, 38yo male, I've only been running for 21 months (April will be two years), this is my first official marathon (I did a 26.25 mile long run back in Dec 2012).  My best race to date is a 1:28:10 half last spring, but that was coming off a really strong training cycle, I don't feel like my fitness is on the same level as then.

     

    My question now is, with four weeks of training left (looking to get back to 60mpw now that I'm healthy again), and then two weeks of taper (race is 3/16), what should I be looking for at my marathon?  I was hoping for a BQ (3:15), but it was suggested on RWOL that I shoot for 3:20, maybe 3:22.  Thoughts?

     

    FWIW, I'm not ignoring the advice I was given on RWOL and looking for someone to just tell me I can go run a BQ because I want to, just looking for advice from more than one person to help me make a decision.  Thanks! Smile

    -Dave

    My running blog

    2014 Goals | sub-19 5k done! | sub-40 10k | sub-1:25 HM | BQ done! | sub-3 M

      Caveat 1: I am not an experienced marathoner.

      Caveat 2: I don’t think one should ever pick a number and try and pace to it, I think you should find a pace and see where the number comes out.

      Caveat 3: I'm not in the pace prediction business.

       

      But…looking at your training, the only variance in pace anywhere I see is the races. I just did a quick check, and it looks like you pretty much run everyday around 8 mpm, and then you race. And it looks like you do pretty well doing that. But that makes it hard to say, "well, you know what x pace feels like".

       

      So, I don’t really know what to tell you. I would normally write: run marathon pace (which is not derived by picking 3:20 and dividing by 26.2, but is just running what feels right, what feels like race pace for that distance).

       

      I suck at marathon advice, I get it.

       

      Bottom line, you have a few weeks. It won’t be your ideal race most likely. Do your best to race at what you think race pace should feel like. Don’t randomly pick a number. You’ll get it wrong.

      Come all you no-hopers, you jokers and rogues
      We're on the road to nowhere, let's find out where it goes

        A 1:08 -10 mile calculates out to 3:12 per McMillan pace calculator.  I'd say 3:15 isn't unrealistic if you can resume where you left off.  You won't lose that much fitness from a couple weeks of lower mileage but you might want to get some speed workouts in between now and then.


        Mmmmm...beer

          Caveat 1: I am not an experienced marathoner.

          Caveat 2: I don’t think one should ever pick a number and try and pace to it, I think you should find a pace and see where the number comes out.

          Caveat 3: I'm not in the pace prediction business.

           

          But…looking at your training, the only variance in pace anywhere I see is the races. I just did a quick check, and it looks like you pretty much run everyday around 8 mpm, and then you race. And it looks like you do pretty well doing that. But that makes it hard to say, "well, you know what x pace feels like".

           

          So, I don’t really know what to tell you. I would normally write: run marathon pace (which is not derived by picking 3:20 and dividing by 26.2, but is just running what feels right, what feels like race pace for that distance).

           

          I suck at marathon advice, I get it.

           

          Bottom line, you have a few weeks. It won’t be your ideal race most likely. Do your best to race at what you think race pace should feel like. Don’t randomly pick a number. You’ll get it wrong.

           

          You are correct, I run pretty much everything easy, except races of course.  I started out doing a Pfitz 18/70 plan, and was starting to do some speed work, but that fell apart, and now I'm back to just running easy and trying to get some consistency back.

           

          I've had good luck in the past with using McMillan's calculator, up to half marathon distance.  Obviously the question of endurance is much more important when talking about a marathon.  So while McMillan says that I can do a 3:15 based off of my 15 mile race, I wonder if my endurance can support it.

           

          The only distance I've felt comfortable winging my pace was 5k, cause that's just gonna hurt the whole time anyway.  Anything longer and I like to have an idea of what to shoot for.

          -Dave

          My running blog

          2014 Goals | sub-19 5k done! | sub-40 10k | sub-1:25 HM | BQ done! | sub-3 M


          Mmmmm...beer

            A 1:08 -10 mile calculates out to 3:12 per McMillan pace calculator.  I'd say 3:15 isn't unrealistic if you can resume where you left off.  You won't lose that much fitness from a couple weeks of lower mileage but you might want to get some speed workouts in between now and then.

             

            As mentioned above, I started off on a Pfitz 18/70 plan, should I try to jump back into that, or just do some speed work on my own?  I would say the last time I actually did the workouts on the plan were in Nov, maybe early Dec, so I'm not sure if just jumping right back into the plan would be a good idea.

             

            Here's this week if I jumped back into the Pfitz plan.

             

            Monday 3-Feb Rest or cross training
            Tuesday 4-Feb VO2max 10M w/6x1000m @ 5K pace
            Wednesday 5-Feb Medium-long run 15M
            Thursday 6-Feb Recovery 6M (AM) 4M (PM)
            Friday 7-Feb Medium-long run 12M
            Saturday 8-Feb Recovery 5M
            Sunday 9-Feb Long run 18M w/14M @ MP

            -Dave

            My running blog

            2014 Goals | sub-19 5k done! | sub-40 10k | sub-1:25 HM | BQ done! | sub-3 M

              The speedwork in the Pfitz plan is based on starting with base building and working your way up to some pretty intense workouts.  If you haven't done speed workout in a while I would start easy and work my way up.  Maybe start with a progression run where you increase pace 10 seconds per mile over 8 miles starting at your average easy pace.  Do some short interval workouts at 5-10K pace, like 6x400 with a 400 jog.  You aren't going to perfect speed workouts in 6 weeks so you should start with the speed workouts at the beginning of the Pfitz plan not the end.

               

              The biggest challenge you are going to have is pacing yourself in the marathon.  Learning to gauge effort usually happens through lots of experience doing speedwork/racing.  Without that you are just going to have to print off a pace band, follow it like the 10 commandments, and hope you picked the right pace.


              Mmmmm...beer

                The speedwork in the Pfitz plan is based on starting with base building and working your way up to some pretty intense workouts.  If you haven't done speed workout in a while I would start easy and work my way up.  Maybe start with a progression run where you increase pace 10 seconds per mile over 8 miles starting at your average easy pace.  Do some short interval workouts at 5-10K pace, like 6x400 with a 400 jog.  You aren't going to perfect speed workouts in 6 weeks so you should start with the speed workouts at the beginning of the Pfitz plan not the end.

                 

                The biggest challenge you are going to have is pacing yourself in the marathon.  Learning to gauge effort usually happens through lots of experience doing speedwork/racing.  Without that you are just going to have to print off a pace band, follow it like the 10 commandments, and hope you picked the right pace.

                 

                Yeah, the more I look at the workouts on the Pfitz plan for this week, the more I think that there's no way I could do that right now.  Which makes sense, since I haven't built up to it.

                 

                As much as I hate to admit it to myself, I'm going to have to scrap any idea of a goal for this race, play it safe and then race my next one hard after a really solid training cycle.

                -Dave

                My running blog

                2014 Goals | sub-19 5k done! | sub-40 10k | sub-1:25 HM | BQ done! | sub-3 M

                  I am not an expert but from my own experience, I would say: go for whatever your goal is. The key is your confidence on the week leading to the race. Maybe try another long run @ MP and see how you feel. Maybe you can get something from the thread I posted a while ago http://www.runningahead.com/forums/topic/1e1619bef9b744208979953d53a2220d/0 . I was struggling to determine my pace in about 2 months leading to the race when I was just coming back after an AT recovery.

                   

                  If I remembered correctly we both tried 10km at about the same time. You managed to get in 42:00, but I failed. At that time your fitness was better than mine.

                   

                  Good luck.

                  5k - 20:56 (09/12), 7k - 28:40 (11/12), 10k trial - 43:08  (03/13), 42:05 (05/13), FM - 3:09:28 (05/13), HM - 1:28:20 (05/14), Failed 10K trial - 6:10/mi for 4mi (08/14), FM - 3:03 (09/14)


                  Mmmmm...beer

                    I am not an expert but from my own experience, I would say: go for whatever your goal is. The key is your confidence on the week leading to the race. Maybe try another long run @ MP and see how you feel. Maybe you can get something from the thread I posted a while ago http://www.runningahead.com/forums/topic/1e1619bef9b744208979953d53a2220d/0 . I was struggling to determine my pace in about 2 months leading to the race when I was just coming back after an AT recovery.

                     

                    If I remembered correctly we both tried 10km at about the same time. You managed to get in 42:00, but I failed. At that time your fitness was better than mine.

                     

                    Good luck.

                     

                    I remember reading that thread, you did a great job.  I've got six weeks left, so we'll see how it goes.  If I'm feeling really good, I may go for my goal and go out with the 3:15 pacer, or play it safe and go with the 3:25 pacer and then pick it up later in the race.

                     

                    I'm looking forward to that 10k again this year, hoping to crush it.

                    -Dave

                    My running blog

                    2014 Goals | sub-19 5k done! | sub-40 10k | sub-1:25 HM | BQ done! | sub-3 M

                       

                      Yeah, the more I look at the workouts on the Pfitz plan for this week, the more I think that there's no way I could do that right now.  Which makes sense, since I haven't built up to it.

                       

                      As much as I hate to admit it to myself, I'm going to have to scrap any idea of a goal for this race, play it safe and then race my next one hard after a really solid training cycle.

                       

                      My first marathon was on a base no more than yours, barely any speed training, with a half PR of 1:40 something (compared to your 1:28) and I ended up with a 3:26 (I was going for a 3:15).  I would say go for it.  The worst that can happen is you miss your goal, but you signed up for a race, go race it!


                      The Irreverent Reverand

                        What the hell do I know? Less than most people here, that's for sure.

                         

                        But, looking at what you and others have written I would guess that 3:15 is possible if you have a good race and conditions are good and the course is pretty quick. But I would also be happy just to finish (primary goal for first marathon), to break 3:30 (second goal and certainly within reach unless you break down in the race), 3:22 (third goal) and 3:15 (reach goal).

                        Husband. Father of three. Lutheran pastor. National Guardsman. Runner. Political junkie. Baseball fan.

                         

                        Goals for 2014:

                        Sub-3:30 marathon; run for a year free from major injuries or interruptions

                        PRs: 3:27 marathon; 1:41 half; 45:07 10K; 23:26 5K; 6:02 mile; <12 parsecs Kessel Run


                        Mmmmm...beer

                          Thanks guys!  There's a 3:15 and 3:25 pacer, so my plan is to see how the next six weeks of training go and how I feel going into the race.  Then I'll decide if I think I can go for the BQ and go out with the 3:15 pacer, or if I'm not feeling it, I'll take it easy with the 3:25 pacer and then pull ahead later in the race and finish strong.

                          -Dave

                          My running blog

                          2014 Goals | sub-19 5k done! | sub-40 10k | sub-1:25 HM | BQ done! | sub-3 M

                          Sjpcollins


                            I think you might find this of use :

                             

                            http://www.runnersworld.co.uk/general/rws-training-pace-calculator/1676.html

                             

                            And when you do your runs you do them at a mix of paces and don't forget to include some speed work.

                             

                             

                             

                             

                            @SJPC14

                            http://sjpc14.wordpress.com/

                              My thought process on this doesn't really have anything to do with my perception of your fitness level, so take it how you will.  Questions to consider:

                              1. Will you be happy with a 3:25?
                              2. Will you be happy with a 3:25 if you get to mile 24 in 3:08 (3:25-ish pace) and feel like you could have gone quicker?
                              3. Will you be happy with a 3:25 if you get to mile 20 in 2:29 (3:15-ish pace) and then have to stop and puke for ten minutes?

                              If the answer to #1 is "no", then you have to go out at 3:15 pace.

                              If the answer to #2 is "no", then you have to go out at 3:15 pace.

                              If the answer to "#3" is no, then you should probably go out at 3:25 pace.

                              Do what you want, just how you like. Nobody has to know.

                                I think your fitness says you can run 3:15.  I also think your recent 22 mile LR where you felt good is a good indicator.  Your races are good indicators.  HOWEVER, there is one huge variable here that it seems no one has said anything about....  This is your first marathon, if I understood right.  You're probably better prepared than I was when I was shooting for my first BQ (also needed a 3:15 back then), but I dunno, man, I think on your rookie effort all bets are off.  Back in 2003 when I was first chasing this, I believe I was fundamentally 3:15 fit, at least I definitely think so by my second attempt, but here is how they turned out:  May:  3:29.   July:  3:24.   October:  3:11.  I understand the temptation to try to just hit the home run on your first at bat, but I think you may have a much better experience if you just try to pace conservatively and learn from it.  I have run a total of 20 (I think that's my current count) marathons, so I think I have a little street cred on the topic, although certainly there are plenty of guys on RA with both more experience and more speed!

                                - Joe

                                all running goals are under review by the executive committee.

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