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Marathon pace advice (Read 387 times)


My future track stars

    In my experience race calculators assume you have done the proper training.  Doing easy 22 milers @ 8:15 pace and expecting to drop a minute a mile off in a marathon is a tough task. (It never worked for me anyway)  I don't think a 10 mile race is a good indicator of marathon fitness either.  I've ran 1:02:08 for 10 and only broke 3:15 three times.  I also weighed 25-30 lbs less then what you currently weigh which really tends to add up in a marathon.  I think the true indicator would have been the MP runs you would have done in Ptiz's plan.  I'll truly be thrilled if you run 3:15 but I think the other posters are cheering you on a little to much.  Keep in mind things almost never go perfect in a marathon.  Especially your first one.

     

    Good luck

    Runnerman Dan


    Purveyor of peace & love

      Regardless of what you end up deciding, I believe that (contrary to a previous post) it is important to pick a goal that you are reasonably capable of reaching and run that pace as evenly as possible throughout the race.  You'll likely be off by a bit (especially your first time), but that gives you your best chance to meet said goal.  And if you don't go for the BQ it'll be good practice for when you do.  

       

      A couple options to help you get closer to a decision are to race a half in 2-3 weeks and/or add a couple of BQ MP runs.  Neither is ideal at this point, but you have to make the best of where you're at.  Good luck!


      Sultan of slug

        Count me as another outside voice saying "Go for it!" You never lose as much fitness as you think you do during lower-mileage periods sandwiched between hard training. If the rest of your training since your recovery has gone well, then I say take the chance and go for the BQ.

         

        I say this as someone who went for a marathon time that was probably 5 minutes too fast, blew up, and did a death march during the last 10k. So maybe you shouldn't take my advice.

          I say this as someone who went for a marathon time that was probably 5 minutes too fast, blew up, and did a death march during the last 10k.

           

          Who among us could not say the same? 

          - Joe

          We are fragile creatures on collision with our judgment day.

          StellarsJJayS


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

             

             

            Finishing.

             

            First and foremost is finishing strong.  Anything above and beyond that is icing on the cake.  Use the time from this marathon, your first marathon, to aid in your training and time goals for your marathons AFTER this one.

            There is only one acceptable pace...all out suicide...

            ...and today is a good day to die!

                       --  Pre


            Mmmmm...beer

              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.

               

              Good questions.  I think I'd feel better about blowing up than I would about leaving too much on the table, which tells me to go for the BQ and see how it goes.  But another part of me is saying play it at least a lil safe and go out at a 3:20 pace, then pick it up later in the race if I feel good and be happy with a 3:teen finish.  I won't have the benefit of a pacer, but I think I would at least feel like I gave it a better effort that just settling for a 3:25 and a comfortable experience.

              -Dave

              My running blog

              2015 Goals | sub-18 5k | sub-37 10k | sub-1:23 HM | sub-3 M


              Happy

                I'm in the "Go for it" camp, as opposed to the "play it safe and just finish" camp (although it sounds like you ended up there already anyways). I put a fair amount of stock in the fact that you finished a 50K (31 miles) just 2 months ago, and placed 21st out of 263 finishers. A Half marathon at 1:28 in the past year bodes well, as does your recent 15-mile race at 7:11 pace.

                So, my only additional thought was how to implement a plan that "play['s] it at least a lil safe." You mentioned trying a 3:20 pace and maybe picking it up later if you felt good.  Looking at your numbers, I think I'd go out at 7:30 pace (a little faster than 3:20 marathon pace). It's a fairly easy number to track with splits, and it would have you finishing around 3:16:30 if you maintained it. At mile 20, if you were on 7:30 pace, the elapsed time would be 2:30:00 (another nice round number), and you'd have a chance to gauge whether you felt you had a realistic shot at speeding up a tad (to about 7:15 pace for the last 6.2 miles) to break 3:15. By contrast, if you maintained a pace for a 3:20 marathon, you'd get to mile 20 around 2:33:20. Even if you felt great at that point, you'd need to run 6:43's for the last 6.2 miles. This doesn't give you much of a realistic shot at 3:15.

                "Strawberry cheesecake is my absolute favorite thing to eat after a marathon."  -- Meb Keflezighi


                No more marathons

                  Sorry to get too philosophical, but tomorrow (or a second attempt at a BQ) is not guaranteed to anyone.  As long as the goal is reasonable, the three questions posed by setantae should be considered seriously.


                  Mmmmm...beer

                    Sorry to get too philosophical, but tomorrow (or a second attempt at a BQ) is not guaranteed to anyone.  As long as the goal is reasonable, the three questions posed by setantae should be considered seriously.

                     

                    That's pretty much how I feel.  Things are going good now, so unless something changes, I have a feeling I'll be lining up with the 3:15 pacer.  It might not be the most comfortable experience, but it's a race, it's not supposed to be comfortable.  I don't think I'll be happy if I don't give it a shot.  If I don't get it, then there are other marathons.

                    -Dave

                    My running blog

                    2015 Goals | sub-18 5k | sub-37 10k | sub-1:23 HM | sub-3 M

                      This is spoken from a guy with the wisdom of having a whopping 1 marathon so take it with a grain of salt.

                       

                      If you are going to hang out with a pacer group, it is critical to know how they plan on splitting the race.  There are still a bunch out there (from what I've heard and read) that think a big fat positive split is the proper way to run a marathon and will talk about banking time at the start.  If you get caught up with a pace group like that and you are borderline for that pace to begin with, you will indeed end up with a big fat positive split.

                       

                      On my first (and only) marathon last year I was getting some conflicting advice on my pacing and had people telling me 3:50 was too fast and I should go with the 4:00 pace group and then pick it up at the end if I was feeling good.  I knew that if I went with the 4:00 group there was no way I would be able to pick it up enough at the end to make my goal (which was 3:50).

                       

                      I ended up lining up behind the 3:50 pace group, and let them get out ahead of me a bit over the first few miles, but always within sight.   At one point they were probably 1/4 mile ahead of me.  (They had pink balloons on a long stick so it was easy to spot them).  At about the 7 or 8 mile mark I caught up with them, then I hung out with them for the next 10 or so miles and then left them at around mile 19 or 20.  I ended up with a tiny little negative split.

                       

                      Being able to run with the pace group for those 10 middle miles really helped me to be able to take my mind off things and enjoy the race and relax.  Also I think letting them get out ahead of me at the start worked well too.

                       

                      Good luck!

                      Age: 46 Weight: 200 Height: 6'2" (Goal weight 195)

                      Current PR's:  Mara 3:48:09; HM 1:43:26; 10K 43:59; 5K 21:27

                        Good luck on your first marathon! Are you running the Shamrock?  Just curious, that will be my first marathon and it's the same date as yours.

                         

                        I'll offer my two cents, even though it may not be worth much since I have ZERO experience at longer distances and I'm sure a lot of people know a significant amount more than me.

                         

                        As for the training aspect, from my understanding, it takes about 3 weeks to substantially absorb any type of training.  So trying to cram in a ton of miles with a lot of speed might end up as a recipe for injury this close to your race.  Getting to the starting line for your first marathon should be objective #1.  Any speed work three weeks out, IMHO, should be all sharpening workouts - getting yourself comfortable at MP.  For example 2x3 or 2x2 mile @ MP or even something slightly shorter at HMP.

                         

                        As for marathon goal, I think that it's possible for you to hit a 3:15.  A couple ways to reassure yourself is use some of McMillan's predictors: http://www.mcmillanrunning.com/articlePages/article/5 .

                         

                        I am in a similar boat as you, where I am shooting for an aggressive time for my first marathon.  I plan on attacking the marathon similar to how many people are suggesting to you.  Below Goal pace for the first 10 miles (which is my last tiered goal) and then turning into a 16 mile race.  Anything that I can drop off my time in the last 16 miles is a bonus.

                         

                        I just think it sounds like a lot more fun getting to the 20 mile mark and having to chase down a time, rather than getting to the 20 mile mark and having to 'hold on' for time.

                         

                        But what do i know, this all sounds great. Most likely I'm going to end up blowing up in the last 10K myself! Haha.

                         

                        Good Luck to you again!


                        Mmmmm...beer

                          npaden, I agree on knowing how the pacer is going to run the race, I'll be talking to the pacer this weekend (he's in my running club).

                           

                          JKurtz1, it is the Shamrock. Smile  I haven't done any cramming, just worked on running consistently again after being sick, and my long runs.

                          -Dave

                          My running blog

                          2015 Goals | sub-18 5k | sub-37 10k | sub-1:23 HM | sub-3 M

                             

                            JKurtz1, it is the Shamrock. Smile  I haven't done any cramming, just worked on running consistently again after being sick, and my long runs.

                             

                            Awesome! Well good luck to you, and hopefully we can both congratulate each other on our first marathon finishes. Smile


                            Mmmmm...beer

                               

                              Awesome! Well good luck to you, and hopefully we can both congratulate each other on our first marathon finishes. Smile

                               

                              Thanks, and good luck to you too!

                              -Dave

                              My running blog

                              2015 Goals | sub-18 5k | sub-37 10k | sub-1:23 HM | sub-3 M

                              vdelrosso


                                Another thing to think about is what type of runner / racer you are.  I've always been a short / fast racer and have always raced much faster than I trained (yay competitiveness!)  For the 2012 Chicago marathon I followed a Lydiard training schedule.  Due to taking days off because of aches (I'm not used to higher millage weeks) and mild injuries (and occasional laziness) I only averaged about 45-50 miles per week for most of the training.  My long runs topped out 18-19 miles @ 7:30-8 min pace, but I had a fair bit of longer tempos and speed work towards the end of the program.  I ended up running a verily even split race despite falling apart the last 3 miles with hamstring cramps - I paced to 13 and then let go and ran by feel (a fair bit faster).  It was my second marathon and I managed a 2:54 - about a min per mile faster than any of my long runs were run at.

                                 

                                I was only 28, so that may play into it, but ultimately long runs 30-90 seconds slower than race pace are normal training.  Dropping a minute per mile from your long runs shouldn't be out of the question.

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