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Marathon pace advice- Updated with results (Read 145 times)

Bee2005


    My marathon is on Nov. 11 at Tunnel Hill in Vienna, IL. It's traditionally been an ultra race, and this year they're adding a full marathon (yes it's certified). It's a rails-to-trails course, flat for the first 5, gradual uphill (400ish ft) from 5-12, then some gentle up/down, and finally gradual downhill the last 9 miles. Last year, Camille Herron set the FKT 100 mile WR there for man/woman, trail or road. Weather should be cool, and the entire course is tree-lined so that helps with wind/rain protection. It's about an hour from my house, and I've done several training runs there and raced a 10 miler multiple times. Tunnel Hill Marathon Info

     

    I'm 37/F, been running since 2013 with about 10 months off in 2016 with a nasty foot injury. I came back from that injury a much smarter runner. I've focused on lots of easy miles and building up my base for the past 2 years.

     

    Marathon experience-

    2014- 3:58 marathon on about 25 mpw during training and 18 (cringe) mpw average over the previous 5 months. I ran a half before that race in 1:54.

    2015- 3:50 marathon on about 33 mpw during training and 29 mpw average over the previous 5 months. My half time before that race was 1:50. The last few miles of my 3:50 marathon was terrible, with dehydration and stomach issues and a trip to the med tent for an IV after the race.

     

    Training- I've been using the Pfitz 18/55 program. (44 mpw average over 5 months, 1500 total over the past 12 months- including about a month off in December for heart surgery then a slow buildup after). I started in June with the goal of running the MCM, but had to switch marathons due to unforeseen work issues. My new marathon (Tunnel Hill) was 2 weeks later than the MCM, so I took two weeks in mid-August to cut back a bit and line up my taper. I've completed every run except one mid-week 12 miler, due to horrendous storms and a sick kid. However, I did not do the strides or most of the V02 max workouts. I subbed a 5k race for one of the V02 max workouts, and tempo runs for a couple others. They seemed to aggravate my old foot injury, so I erred on the side of being undertrained. I completed the mileage, just not the workout. Other than that, the training has gone better than I'd ever imagined. I've run three 18-milers and three 20-milers. Most long runs in the low-mid 9's, but recently a bit faster due to colder weather and improved fitness.

     

    Recent races-

    1:40:59 half marathon Oct. 7- No taper, peak mileage, very humid

    21:30 5k mid-September- No taper, hot, hilly course

     

    Goals-

    A. Sub-3:40 (my old BQ, and my original training goal, 8:23 pace)

    B. Sub-3:35 (my new BQ time, 8:12 pace)

    Reach. Safe BQ (whatever that is, maybe 8:00 pace?)

     

    No pacers for this race, although two good friends who should run in the 3:30's will be running with me. I was thinking of running at MP for the flat portion, a little under MP for the uphill, at MP for the up/down, and under MP for the final 9. I'm just not sure what my MP is going to be yet.....A little advice, please and thank you!

    GinnyinPA


      What did you use as your pace during your MP runs? Based on your HM time in October, you should be somewhere between 3:30 and 3:40, and since humidity was an issue there, probably closer to 3:30. If it were me, I'd go for the BQ, but it makes a difference if you've trained to that pace or not.

      Bee2005


        The last successful MP long run I did was low-8's pace, and my last mile was in the 7's. That was in August though. There was one in September where I started the MP miles and made it through about 5 of them at an 8:10ish pace, but I was sick with a fever so my body wouldn't hold the pace and I had to slow. Then my HM was on the same weekend as the last MP run. So really, I don't know.

        DavePNW


          The first thing people need to know about Vienna, IL, is that the first syllable rhymes with "eye", correct?

           

          I would put your half time more in line with a 3:40 marathon. But if it was very humid, and you get nice cool weather for your marathon, 3:35 could be doable. If you're determined to get into Boston, go for it. Of course none of us have any idea what a "safe" BQ is - maybe there will be no cutoff next year. But anything faster than 3:35 seems a bit  risky to me.

          Dave

          Bee2005


            Yes you're correct about the pronunciation, it's VYE-enna.

             

            I also thinking that shooting for anything faster than 3:35 could be disastrous. I think I'm willing to be a little risky for the BQ, but maybe not for the extra cushion.

             

            Weather is looking to be in the 40s which is optimal.

            LedLincoln


              Think of all those Austrians who pronounce their capital incorrectly.

               

              Actually, they say "VEEN".

              Nothing so needs reforming as other people's habits.
              - Mark Twain

              slingrunner


                I think the best way to give pace advice is to use recent races.  However for both of them, I feel there is missing information.  Is "hot" 65 or 90 for the 5k?  Is hilly like 150 feet, or 400?  For the half, what temperature went with the high humidity?  To give you an idea of the effect of humidity, for the Steamtown marathon, with very high humidity and temperatures around 70, it cost runners with about 3hr fitness around 11 minutes.  But 5 degrees cooler probably would have been more like 5 minutes probably.  Significantly less of an effect in a half, but still we could be talking 1 minute or 8 minute difference.

                5k- 18:55 (2018)    10K- 39:04 (2017)    Marathon- 3:00:10 (2018)

                Bee2005


                  os

                   

                  I think the best way to give pace advice is to use recent races.  However for both of them, I feel there is missing information.  Is "hot" 65 or 90 for the 5k?  Is hilly like 150 feet, or 400?  For the half, what temperature went with the high humidity?  To give you an idea of the effect of humidity, for the Steamtown marathon, with very high humidity and temperatures around 70, it cost runners with about 3hr fitness around 11 minutes.  But 5 degrees cooler probably would have been more like 5 minutes probably.  Significantly less of an effect in a half, but still we could be talking 1 minute or 8 minute difference.

                   

                  The half temp was low 70s at the start, upper 70s at the finish. I ran a negative split, very strong race, probably could have run faster but I was scared of the pace (it was a 7 minute PR).

                   

                  The 5k was probably closer to 80 degrees with full-on sun. The first half is flat to slightly downhill, but most of the second half is uphill and into the sun. There's a pretty significant hill at mile 2. I was 1st overall female out of 110 female runners. It was definitely a tough day for a race. I was hoping to PR but it definitely was not the day for it.

                  paul2432


                    When you say "under MP for the uphill" do you mean slower than MP?  And when you say "under MP for the final 9" do you mean faster than MP?

                     

                    Hopefully yes, or else you'll run the marathon faster than MP which should be impossible if you have the right MP.

                     

                    I think when deciding on a race strategy it is important to think about what you want from the race.  For instance someone going for a a sub-3:00 might consider a 3:01 and a 3:20 equivalent results in terms of satisfaction.  On the other hand someone else going for sub-3:00 running splits of 1:30/1:25 might consider that a disaster because he or she left so much time on the table.

                     

                    I think 3:35 is probably close to your limits.  If your goal is 3:35 or bust then you might as well go for it because you certainly have some chance of success.  You might risk not even getting a PR when you clearly have the fitness for that.

                     

                    The key will be being honest with yourself throughout the race.  I think if I was you I'd start maybe 10-15 seconds per slower than 3:35 pace for the first two miles and assess how I felt.  If I felt anything less than awesome I'd keep it there or maybe dial is back a little more.  If I felt awesome I'd increase the pace to a couple seconds faster than 3:35 pace (just enough to make up the lost 20-30 seconds).  Reassess throughout the race and make appropriate adjustments.

                    Bee2005


                      When you say "under MP for the uphill" do you mean slower than MP?  And when you say "under MP for the final 9" do you mean faster than MP?

                       

                       

                       

                      Slower than MP for uphill, faster than MP for final 9 downhill. Sorry, I think I confused myself.

                       

                      I'm still on the fence if I'm BQ or bust. I like your idea of going out and seeing if I feel awesome, then deciding from there. I honestly want to have a good, smart, enjoyable race more than anything. But I REALLY want that BQ too...

                      slingrunner


                        Based on what you are saying, I'd pace for a 3:30.  If it really was very humid, that could have cost you a lot of time at that temperature in your half.

                        5k- 18:55 (2018)    10K- 39:04 (2017)    Marathon- 3:00:10 (2018)

                        Bee2005


                          So I went back and forth all week about what pace to go. I just decided to let it be a race day decision. I did make a 3:35 pace band as that's my BQ time, but didn't know if I'd stick to it. Temp a the start was 28 with no wind and it felt amazing. Camille Herron, last year's 100 mile winner and world-record holder, started the race, which was very cool. 8 minute miles felt great, so I went with it at the start, and actually sped up during the race, even though I was trying to hold back to an 8:00 pace. As we ran, we passed a lot of the 100-mile racers as they finished, and let me just say they looked ROUGH. I know I was seeing the back of the pack (24hr+) but the image of those people will be forever burned in my mind. It was like the walking dead.

                           

                          Miles 4-12 were a low-grade uphill, but seriously the longest hill of my life. I was able to hold pace though. My half marathon split was 1:44:15, and then I had a pretty serious uphill from miles 14-17 and it took a lot out of me. I was feeling pretty rough and very worried about the next 10 miles. Luckily, I was able to pick it back up at the downhill section from miles 17-24. I never really "hit the wall" so to speak, but I was struggling a bit the last 3 miles. My right calf was showing signs of cramping up, and it was extremely hard for me to get any fuel down. I was able to hold on until the end though. I came through the finish at 3:28:18, nearly a 23-minute PR, a slight negative split, and nearly a 7-minute BQ. I was 3rd overall female out of around 50 who started the race. Fun fact- 2nd place won $200. 3rd place won nothing. I could see the 2nd place finisher near the end, and she finished a little over a minute ahead of me, but I just didn't have it in me at that point.

                           

                          Anyway, to say I'm shocked about running a sub-3:30 marathon is a major understatement. I never in my wildest dreams thought I was capable of that time. Pfitz is the real deal. Also, this course was made for me. I don't really enjoy crowds, I love trails, and it felt like just another long run.

                           

                          I'm hoping my +7 minute BQ is enough to get me in, especially with the tighter standards, thoughts? I'm signed up for the Carmel Marathon in March, which was my original BQ race, but I'd love to do an easy training cycle and then just run it with my friend who is running her first marathon, instead of killing myself for another 3-4 months.

                           

                          Thanks for all the advice. I'm gonna go take a nice break from running and eat everything I can find.

                          slingrunner


                            Hey Bee,

                             

                            Just seeing this now (my marathon was the same day), and congrats on a great race.  I thought you might have a sub 3:30 in you and glad it worked out!

                            5k- 18:55 (2018)    10K- 39:04 (2017)    Marathon- 3:00:10 (2018)

                              Awesome race and smart training and race day strategy. More than anything, the weather cooperated and you were very fit. A great combination.

                              H-WAVE - Helping Athletes Heal and Recover Faster

                              LedLincoln


                                So I went back and forth all week about what pace to go. I just decided to let it be a race day decision. I did make a 3:35 pace band as that's my BQ time, but didn't know if I'd stick to it. Temp a the start was 28 with no wind and it felt amazing. Camille Herron, last year's 100 mile winner and world-record holder, started the race, which was very cool. 8 minute miles felt great, so I went with it at the start, and actually sped up during the race, even though I was trying to hold back to an 8:00 pace. As we ran, we passed a lot of the 100-mile racers as they finished, and let me just say they looked ROUGH. I know I was seeing the back of the pack (24hr+) but the image of those people will be forever burned in my mind. It was like the walking dead.

                                 

                                Miles 4-12 were a low-grade uphill, but seriously the longest hill of my life. I was able to hold pace though. My half marathon split was 1:44:15, and then I had a pretty serious uphill from miles 14-17 and it took a lot out of me. I was feeling pretty rough and very worried about the next 10 miles. Luckily, I was able to pick it back up at the downhill section from miles 17-24. I never really "hit the wall" so to speak, but I was struggling a bit the last 3 miles. My right calf was showing signs of cramping up, and it was extremely hard for me to get any fuel down. I was able to hold on until the end though. I came through the finish at 3:28:18, nearly a 23-minute PR, a slight negative split, and nearly a 7-minute BQ. I was 3rd overall female out of around 50 who started the race. Fun fact- 2nd place won $200. 3rd place won nothing. I could see the 2nd place finisher near the end, and she finished a little over a minute ahead of me, but I just didn't have it in me at that point.

                                 

                                Anyway, to say I'm shocked about running a sub-3:30 marathon is a major understatement. I never in my wildest dreams thought I was capable of that time. Pfitz is the real deal. Also, this course was made for me. I don't really enjoy crowds, I love trails, and it felt like just another long run.

                                 

                                I'm hoping my +7 minute BQ is enough to get me in, especially with the tighter standards, thoughts? I'm signed up for the Carmel Marathon in March, which was my original BQ race, but I'd love to do an easy training cycle and then just run it with my friend who is running her first marathon, instead of killing myself for another 3-4 months.

                                 

                                Thanks for all the advice. I'm gonna go take a nice break from running and eat everything I can find.

                                 

                                This is fantastic, and yes, a 7 minute BQ has got to get you in. Congratulations!  (Sorry no cash went with it.)

                                Nothing so needs reforming as other people's habits.
                                - Mark Twain

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