12

Marathon Goal Pace Advice (Read 111 times)

VARunner


    Hey all.  I'm looking for a little advice about my planned pace for an upcoming marathon.  This will be my 5th marathon and I have made the classic mistake on all of the previous 4 of going out too hard and falling off at the end - sometimes more dramatically than others.  I'm a 51 year old male with a personal best of 3:34 and a slowest time of 3:52.  The 3:52 was a virtual race last fall where I was targeting a 3:45 and went out too hard (I think I was in 3:45 shape had I paced myself correctly).  This year I've been targeting a 3:40 goal - 8:24 per mile.  I don't have any recent race times to go off of but my last 2 weeks of training have gone well enough that I'm questioning whether my goal is a bit conservative.

     

    Over the last 11 weeks I've averaged 57 miles.  That was two 5 week blocks with a fall back week in the middle.  The last 3 weeks have been 65,65 and 66 miles.  My last 2 long runs were 16 miles on 10/17 where I averaged 8:05 pace with the middle 14 at 7:59 average.  Then a fast finish 22 miler on 10/24 where I averaged 8:29 for the whole run but did the last 12 in 8:06 average - with the last 3 in 7:51, 7:44 and 7:36.  This week starts my taper and my race is on 11/13.

     

    My plan for this race was to run with a pace group to try to avoid my tendency of going out hard and blowing up.  The problem is my race doesn't have a 3:40 group.  I have the option of a 3:45 (8:35) or a 3:35 (8:12) group.  Currently, I'm thinking of running with the 3:45 group for maybe half the race and picking it up if I'm feeling good.  But I'm wondering if I'll be leaving some time on the course based on those last 2 long runs.  Going out with the 3:35 group is a little scary based on my previous experiences.  What would you do?

     

    Thanks for reading and any advice!

    darkwave


    Mother of Cats

       

      My plan for this race was to run with a pace group to try to avoid my tendency of going out hard and blowing up.  The problem is my race doesn't have a 3:40 group.  I have the option of a 3:45 (8:35) or a 3:35 (8:12) group.  Currently, I'm thinking of running with the 3:45 group for maybe half the race and picking it up if I'm feeling good.  But I'm wondering if I'll be leaving some time on the course based on those last 2 long runs.  Going out with the 3:35 group is a little scary based on my previous experiences.  What would you do?

       

      Thanks for reading and any advice!

       

      Go out with the 3:45 group, or even behind them.  In my experience, all pace groups go out a hair to fast, so the 3:45 group may start at 3:40 pace.  And it's always much better to start the marathon too slow than too fast.  Starting with a 3:35 group (that actually started at 3:35 pace rather than 3:30 or so) would still risk disaster.

       

      FWIW, when I ran my PR of 2:57, I intentionally started behind (not with, behind) the 3:10 pace group.  Over the course of the race, I reeled in the 3:10, 3:05, and then 3:00 groups.  That's really the way to do it.  And having a continual stream of slower runners ahead of you to reel in makes the second half much easier.

      Everyone's gotta running blog; I'm the only one with a POOL-RUNNING blog.

       

      And...if you want a running Instagram where all the pictures are of cats, I've got you covered.

      VARunner


        Thanks for the advice!  May I ask, how long did you stay behind or with the 3:10 group?

        DavePNW


          Which race is it? Temperature and hills can affect your pacing strategy. If there's a chance of it being warm, be prepared to make a race-day adjustment.

           

          Based on very minimal info, it seems like you'd have a good shot at 3:35. If you've blown up at every race so far, but one of them still finished at 3:34, why couldn't you run that again if pacing it more evenly? Do you think you're at the same level of fitness as you were then?

           

          That said - darkwave makes a good case (and as a general rule she's a better source of advice than me). There is no greater feeling than finishing a marathon strong, especially if all of them till now have been otherwise. You will get a lot more satisfaction out of the race, even if you leave a little time on the table. And in that case you can still turn around and improve on it next spring.

          Dave

            Pace yourself to .3:40...

             

            you could try that yasso 800 workout....10x800 in 3:40....see if you can complete that...or 3:35...

            300m- 37 sec.

            berylrunner


            Rick

              Pace for a PR.  Who knows,  you may have a great day.  If you start out too slow, it would be hard to make that time up.  If you fade, you still might get the 3:40.

              12-22  Last One Standing

              2-23 Sun Marathon 

              4-23 Zion 100

               

               


              SMART Approach

                A negative split give you your best time. Pace with this in mind. Early miles should feel easy and first half for that matter. Start conservative. Fading is not the way to plan on racing a marathon.

                Run Coach. Recovery Coach. Founder of SMART Approach Training, Coaching & Recovery

                Structured Marathon Adaptive Recovery Training

                Safe Muscle Activation Recovery Technique

                www.smartapproachtraining.com

                VARunner


                  Thanks all.  The race is Richmond, which has some rolling hills, but nothing crazy.  I'm hoping fot a nice calm day in the 40s   The 22 miler I just completed is pretty comparable or maybe even a little more hilly.  Also just to clarify, my PR was in 1999 when I was 29.  I didn't run another marathon until 2015.  I ran my 2nd best of 3:37 in 2016.  I'm running very similar mileage as the build up to that race, so my aerobic base is similar but I'm not as fast as I was then.  I felt like I was in 3:25 shape then but a very windy day and terrible pacing led to a big positive split and the 3:37.

                  rmcj001


                    You're younger and all your numbers are better than my 2014 BQ at CIM.  My PR at that point was 2014 SF Marathon at 3:53+ and my BQ was 3:40.  I went with the 3:35 pacers/group.  I thought I could do better at the half way point and was doing 8 and sub-8s when I crashed at 22 miles.  The first pacer/group (2-3 minutes under) caught me at around 25 and second pacer/group caught me at 26, but got me in at 3:34:13.  I would say go with the 3:35 group and stick with them.


                    Ray

                     

                    zebano


                      Caveat: I've never had a successful marathon but I think negative splits are the way to go and would follow DarkWave's advice if I were in this situation.

                       

                      If you're constantly crashing at the end of a marathon then looking at your pacing makes total sense but don't ignore fueling as a point of failure, especially since you're getting some good weekly volume in. Getting one more gel into your body may be the difference between "crashing" to a pace 20 seconds / miles slower than you were running and really crashing where you slow down over a minute per mile.

                       

                      As an additional data point, those last two long runs sounds awesome, but how hard were they?

                      1600 - 5:23 (2018), 5k - 19:33 (2018), 10k - 41:20 (2021), half - 1:38:57 (2018), Marathon - 3:37:17 (2018)

                      VARunner


                        Yes, I'm currently leaning towards starting with the 3:45 group and hoping to pick it up the whole way through.  A PR would definitely be nice but my ultimate goal is a slow build to a BQ in a couple years, so learning to pace correctly and finish strong is the goal for this one.  I was just surpised and excited by those paces on the last 2 long runs so was curious what others think.  Those runs were tough but not overly so.  I did a "time on feet" 22 miler the week before the 16 miler where I ran at 10:00 pace in order to make the run last as long as a marathon at goal pace.  I did it without gels and that was a very tough run for me.  Much harder than either of the subsequent harder pace runs with fuel.

                         

                        I actually have been training my gut to handle more gels because that has been a factor for me before.  We'll see how it goes this time.

                        VARunner


                          Hey all, thought I would update this with how the race actually turned out.  I got to the start line about 30 minutes early so that I could use the porta-john and find my pace group without having to rush.  Turns out 30 minutes wasn't enough.  The bathroom lines were so long that I didn't get through until a couple minutes after the gun.  By the time I crossed the start line, the 3:45 as well as the 3:50 groups were long gone.  So I set off on my own at about a 3:40 pace.  I caught the 3:50 group somewhere around 2-3 miles and passed the 3:45 group somewhere around 7 or 8.  I briefly thought about sticking with the 3:45 for a few miles but I was feeling good, so I pushed on.  By this point I had dropped down to around a 3:35 pace.  Around 15 or 16, I could feel my calves and hamstrings tightening up but I was able to maintain pace just fine through 22.  Somewhere around 22, we made a sharp right turn and my left calf and hamstring cramped up so bad that I had to pull over and stretch.  I was able to get moving again, but not at the same pace as before, and I had to stop several more times to stretch.  I lost about 5 or 6 minutes over the last 4 miles but ended up coming in at 3:40:50.  My energy seemed fine and this wasn't the same as my previous bonks, so I was happy that I at least met my main goal.

                           

                          Good news is I think I know what went wrong.  Thinking I was doing the right thing by hydrating really well, I drank a TON of water in the 2 days prior to the race.  My theory is that I really diluted the electrolytes in my system, which brought on the cramps.

                          AndyTN


                          Overweight per CDC BMI

                            What was your actual pace in the first 4-5 miles? You said you were so late to start the race that the 3:45-3:50 groups were long gone but you were able to catch them both within the first 8 miles. Do you think your late start made your adrenaline push you to a much faster starting pace than your plan?

                             

                            I have my first marathon in 18 days and my conservative goal time is 3:45 so I am following this thread to help my pacing strategy. My plan is to only track heart rate for the first 10 miles ignoring the pace and other pace groups. Good reminder about the lines at the porta potties.

                            Memphis / 37 male

                            5k - 21:01 / 10k - 45:20 / Half - 1:40:17 / Full - 3:38:10

                            DavePNW


                              Arriving 30 minutes before the start?? Just reading that stresses me out! I never arrive at any race less than an hour before the start, and often closer to 1.5 hours, especially for a marathon.

                               

                              Nice job to finish at 3:40. I'd be interested in seeing your mile splits too. The cramping may have nothing to do with hydration or electrolytes, and may just be a result of you going out too fast.

                              Dave

                              runmichigan


                                I do not think the issue was drinking too much water in the days before the marathon.  I think it was more likely your hydration and fueling strategy during the marathon.  Were you just drinking water during the marathon? Or were you taking in electrolytes that you practiced with on your long runs?

                                12