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First marathon - determining pace (Read 1110 times)

    My first marathon is just over 23 days away (23 days, 14 hours, 20 min, and 5 seconds, but whose counting?). I'm trying to decide what a good pace to shoot for is. This week was supposed to be my peak week of running - a total of 60 miles, with my last long run (23 miles) - my 3rd run of 20 or more. To help me estimate the pace I should shoot for in the marathon, today I ran "Yasso 800s" (I read about this at the Runner's World website) which is basically 10x800m intervals run with recovery times equal to the interval time. If you can do that with interval times being within 3-5 sec of each other, and if you're spent at the end, then supposedly the time you ran the intervals in (say 3:20 min) is the time you should be able to run the marathon in (i.e., 3 hrs, 20 min). Anyway, I did this, and my average interval time was about 3:14. McMillan says the Yasso 800 time is about 5 min too optimistic. So, depending on who you believe, this suggests I can run a marathon somewhere between 3:14 and 3:19. Well, it just so happens that I'm 43, and if I could run it in 3:20 or less, I would qualify for Boston 2008, which would be extremely cool. However, if I run it in less than 3:30, it turns out my race (Nov 10) is late enough that I could qualify for Boston as a 45 year old, so I could run it in 2009 instead of 2008 (my bday is in January)- also very cool, and probably a lot more doable. After that long winded intro, here is the decision I need to make this week with my training, and I'd like to hear y'all's opinion on what I should do! I'm signed up for a 15k this Saturday, which I had planned to run at marathon pace, using it as a pace run. I am scheduled to run long the next day (23 miles). But, I was thinking, to get a better bead on whether or not I really can run a marathon in 3:20 (I'm very skeptical about this), I thought I could instead run the 15k hard and use it as another assessment, in addition to the Yassos, of my potential marathon pace (using a race time predictor to convert the 15k time to marathon time). If that also suggested I could run a 3:20 marathon, I might be more confident in trying for that. But if I do run the 15k hard, I probably shouldn't attempt 23 miles the next day, should I? Sounds crazy. So I thought maybe I could move that long run to the following weekend, and maybe shorten it to 20, since it is only 2 weeks before the marathon. So my options are: 1) run the 15k hard to get a better idea of what my marathon pace should be (although I won't have tapered for the 15k, so it won't be my best possible time), and delay my last long run for one more week, or 2) run the 15k as a pace run, run my last long run this weekend, and consider 'just' shooting for a sub 3:30 time, especially since it's my first marathon, rather then going all out for the 3:20 time and risk hitting the wall big-time. If you've read this far, you're awesome! And I'd love your feedback! Big grin
      If it were me, I'd do 2nd option. If your feeling really good come mile 20, push the last 10k! Starting the race . MTA: if you run the 15k hard, it will still end up effecting your long run if you push it until next week. Just food for thought.

      Your toughness is made up of equal parts persistence and experience. You don't so much outrun your opponents as outlast and outsmart them, and the toughest opponent of all is the one inside your head." - Joe Henderson


      I've got a fever...

        There's been a lot of skepticism about Yasso 800's. In my opinion the mistake is to think the following: If I can run my Yasso 800's in 3:20 m:ss, I should be able to run a marathon in 3:20 h:mm Angry I think a better way to look at them is: I'm planning to run my marathon in 3:20 h:mm. So Yasso 800's in 3:20 m:ss would be a good workout. In other words, I don't think Yasso's are good as a predictor of marathon pace. However, they're still a decent workout. I think you should do option 2. After having run the 15k as a training run, estimate what you think you could have raced it in, plug that time into McMillan's calculator, use that to determine your goal marathon pace.

        On your deathbed, you won't wish that you'd spent more time at the office.  But you will wish that you'd spent more time running.  Because if you had, you wouldn't be on your deathbed.

          I put my 5k PR of 20:40 into the McMillan calculator, and predicted a marathon time of 3:21:28. Either there's a serious glitch in the software coding, or Mr McMillan needs to put the crack pipe down.

          E.J.
          Greater Lowell Road Runners
          Cry havoc and let slip the dawgs of war!

          May the road rise to meet you, may the wind be always at your back, may the sun shine warm upon your SPF30, may the rains fall soft upon your sweat-wicking hat, and until you hit the finish line may The Flying Spaghetti Monster hold you in the hollow of His Noodly Appendage.


          Needs more cowbell!

            Based upon my HM time McMillan estimates that I would finish a full in ~4:20. Yeah...I'm thinking closer to 4:30-4:45 is more likely. k

            I shoot pretty things! ~

            '14 Goals:

            • 2 olympic distance duathlons -- 6 days apart -- PR at least 1

            • 130#s (and stay there, gotdammit!)


            I've got a fever...

              I put my 5k PR of 20:40 into the McMillan calculator, and predicted a marathon time of 3:21:28. Either there's a serious glitch in the software coding, or Mr McMillan needs to put the crack pipe down.
              Well, remember the caveats that go along with any running calculator 1) It assumes you've done idealized training for the predicted distance. 2) The closer the distances are, the more accurate the prediction. Using a recent 15k, HM, or 25k time to predict a marathon pace is reasonable. Using a 5k -- not so much, unless you've done awesomely ideal marathon training (which is generally speaking, a much bigger and more difficult commitment than 5k training for the average runner).

              On your deathbed, you won't wish that you'd spent more time at the office.  But you will wish that you'd spent more time running.  Because if you had, you wouldn't be on your deathbed.

                Based upon my HM time McMillan estimates that I would finish a full in ~4:20. Yeah...I'm thinking closer to 4:30-4:45 is more likely.
                I put my 5k PR of 20:40 into the McMillan calculator, and predicted a marathon time of 3:21:28. Either there's a serious glitch in the software coding, or Mr McMillan needs to put the crack pipe down.
                McMillian has me running a 3:45 marathon. I think that's very generous of him Big grin
                2009: BQ?
                  Race the 15k. Good indicator, but a half marathon would bet better. Run your long, nice and slow the next day.(?I did it.) We're nearly the same age frowzy. I'm gunning for the same goal (1st time-BQ). Looking at your log, I'm not very optimistic for ya. Determining that from your 1/2m and the pace of your tempo's, easy, etc. I believe, a more realistic goal would be breaking 4 hours.

                  Ricky

                  —our ability to perform up to our physiological potential in a race is determined by whether or not we truly psychologically believe that what we are attempting is realistic. Anton Krupicka

                    Well, I think my training log might be a little mis-leading; that HM I ran is old news - I just starting running a year ago, and I ran that HM 7 months ago, so I've made good progress since then. I just ran a 14 mile training run last week, and my pace was faster than my HM pace when I raced it last March. More recently, I 'raced' a 10K at a pace that would 'predict' a 3:25 marathon, and I definitely could have run it faster. It felt more like a tempo run than a race. Also, the way I log in the tempo runs, it includes the warm up and cool down parts of those runs, so the pace that shows up is a lot slower than what I run during the tempo part of the run, if that makes sense. Anyway, since I've put in a reasonable number of miles and long runs, I'm hoping the race predictor will work for me - it definitely worked for me when I ran the HM. But I guess there's only one way to find out! I'll shoot for 3:30 (and definitely not 3:20 - I knew that was too fast - but it helps to hear that from you guys). I'll let you know how it goes in just over 3 weeks.... Smile
                      I'll let you know how it goes in just over 3 weeks.... Smile
                      Looking forward to the report, best of luck to you.

                      E.J.
                      Greater Lowell Road Runners
                      Cry havoc and let slip the dawgs of war!

                      May the road rise to meet you, may the wind be always at your back, may the sun shine warm upon your SPF30, may the rains fall soft upon your sweat-wicking hat, and until you hit the finish line may The Flying Spaghetti Monster hold you in the hollow of His Noodly Appendage.

                      va


                        An interesting article on Marathon Race Planning. Excerpt, "I like to set three time goals for a race....floor, realistic and optimistic, where the realistic goal is what I honestly think I am capable of on race day, floor goal is the least that I would be satisfied with, and the optimistic goal is a stretch for me. Then, I base a race plan on the realistic goal..."
                          3:20 is 7:37 pace. If you want to try 3:20 (the same is true for 3:30), then go run 10 miles at 7:37 pace, w/ 2mile warm up and 2 mile cool down on tired legs. If you feel very in control (tempo-ish, not much lactic, fast but strong), and end up dipping down accidentally under 7:30 pace the last couple of miles, then you are in shape to run 3:20. You can't judge marathon shape off Yasso 800's or 3-4 mile tempo runs. You need more marathon specific work--long tempos at around MP--to help decide your pace. You have been doing a lot of things right in your training and have come a long way. But it looks to me like you are doing your long runs too slow and your intervals/tempos too fast and too short to have a good feel for pace/effort at the marathon distance. These last couple of weeks are a great time to get more specific in your training; i.e. trying marathon pace over long (8-12 mile) tempos. If you could squeeze 2 or 3 of these efforts in over the next few weeks, you'll have a much better sense of the pace you can handle.
                            Jeff, I really liked your suggestion to squeeze in a few medium-long MP runs to get a better sense of what I can handle. I'm definitely going to do that. Sat I'm running a 15k which I plan to do at MP, rather than run it as a race. And I'll do at least a couple more of these over the next couple of weeks. I agree my long run paces seem slow - but the course I'm running is very hilly (Stone Mountain, GA). It's hard to avoid hills in Atlanta. The marathon course is not hilly, so I hope this will work to my advantage. Another thing I noticed today - 2 weeks ago I ran a 10 mile pace run at 8:13 and I found it hard to imagine doing 8:00 for 26.2 miles at the time. But it was hot and humid and I was not rested (a +50 mi week, which is a lot for me). My average heart rate was 148. This morning I ran 10 miles, and this time as an 'easy' run. Really, I did it at a 'brisk easy' pace if that makes sense, but not as fast as I would have run if it were a pace run. Again, my pace was 8:13, but this time it felt easy - my average heart rate was 136. It was about 10 degrees cooler, for one thing. So I guess what I'll shoot for will depend on how I do in these pace runs over the next couple of weeks, and whether or not it is cool on race day (which I expect it will be - north GA in Nov - but one never knows). If the stars align - my 10-12 mi pace runs feel good, the weather is cool, etc - I'll go for it (a 3:30 that is). If not, I'll scale back a bit. Since it is my first marathon, I definitely feel it is wise to err on the side of caution!
                              Well, I think this is a dead thread, but I'll post an update anyway as 'positive self talk' Wink. Here is new 'data' on my current fitness from this weekend's runs: 1. I 'raced' a 15K Saturday with the intention of running at a 3:28 MP. I found that boring, so I sped up a bit and turned it into a tempo run, and I finished, with plenty of juice left, in 1:10:26 - a 7:34 pace. 2. The next day (this morning) I ran my last long run - 23.37 miles - at a 9:03 min/mi pace (a 3:57 MP). I was running it at a brisk easy pace (Avg heart rate 138 bpm) - and had plenty of gas at the end. Could easily have gone 26.2 at the same pace - which is a 3:57 marathon. And this was on Stone Mountain's long loop - a very challenging hilly course.
                              I believe, a more realistic goal would be breaking 4 hours.
                              Since I ran this without a taper, and one day after a 15k, I think breaking 4 hrs at Chickamauga (a course that only has a couple of real hills) is probably not a very challenging goal (I know, I'm tempting fate by saying such things!! Roll eyes ) So I think breaking 3:30 and qualifying for the 2009 Boston Marathon (I turn 45 in Jan '09) is a reasonable goal for the Nov 10 Chickamauga Marathon (that's in just under 20 days - YIKES)- that's what I'm shooting for. I still think it's possible that I could break 3:20, but that would be very aggressive - definitely not a wise move for a first marathon. I will resist the temptation to go for that - which would probably end in me hitting the wall and finishing crawling to the finish line... Tongue OK, I've perseverated on this long enough - now I'll taper and run the race and we'll see what happens...
                              va


                                Frowzy, This thread is not dead yet. Good luck at Chickamauga!
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