Marathon Trainers


Pace run question (Read 122 times)

On the road again...

    This might be stupid (and even harder to communicate by forum), but here goes.  Let me preface this question by saying that my pace runs are typically upper aerobic as far as my HR goes.  They may get into anaerobic at the end if I add a stride, but for the most part they stay aerobic, so I'm pretty sure I've got the pacing down.

    Here's the question:  is it normal to get a few miles into a pace run and wonder how in the world you're going to be able to run a marathon at that pace?  I'm finding that the first 2 miles of a pace run really mess with my mind.  I finish strong and am definitely not dying when it's over, but I do find myself calculating in my head during the run and thinking there's no way I could hold that pace for 26.2 miles.

    My first thought is that it would mean I was running too fast of a pace, but wouldn't my HR show that?  I'm wondering if it is mostly a mental thing?  This is all new to me.


    I have a love/hate relationship with running. I do it, but sometimes I love to hate it.

      I have learned not to think about what it is like to run a marathon at "that pace".  Fact is that you are training and improving towards your goal race.

      Two or three weeks before the race, you will likely taper.  The taper is magic.  You build energy you didn't know you had.

      And on race day, in fact, you'll have to be careful in the first couple of miles to run a bit slower than planned.  The first couple of miles takes more energy than you'd expect, and a slightly slow start is beneficial.  But the adrenalin will be trying to push you faster.

      Bottom line: train well and you'll be fine

      Lou, (aka Mr. predawnrunner), MD, USA | Lou's Brews |


        Hey Paul,

        this is not a stupid question....  I used to wonder the same thing.  I ended up doing very few marathon paced runs as a result.  what I've found is, some days it was not hard to find MP and hold it, other days it was...  depends on all that stuff that we know; weather, rest, terrain, workouts leading up to it.   Lou is right that something magical happens after taper.

        I have a question for you:  Since this is your first marathon, how are you determining your MP?   Sorry, if you've said this previously.   I usually go by a half marathon or make a guesstimate off a long run.    you've heard this before, but the biggest mistake you can make is going out too fast.  So, try not to worry too much about the MP runs.  They're experiments too. 

        sounds like your training is going well... hope this helps.

        On the road again...

          Thanks for the insight, Lou and Kim.

          Kim, as far as coming up with a pace, I just looked at my only HM time (which was a 9:26 pace) and a time goal of 4:40:40 (a 10:43 pace), and shot somewhere in the middle of those.  My pace runs are somewhere between 9 and 10 min/mile.  Of course, my only real goal is finishing, but I had to have a pace for the pace runs, right?  

          I've not quit on a pace run yet, and I have finished them all strong.  I've just noticed the mental aspect of the running more on these runs than any other.

          I have a love/hate relationship with running. I do it, but sometimes I love to hate it.



            I think that choosing a marathon pace is one of the toughest things about marathon running.  HR can be a good guide but anything can happen on race day and on training runs.

            Lou is right about the taper.  That and race day adrenaline can carry you further and faster than you thought possible.  

            For me, the fast finish (goal MP - 30 seconds per mile) was a big confidence booster.  Not every long run but a couple of them, I'd go out for the first half at my easy run pace and then finish at that faster pace (close to HM pace but between HM and MP).  

            Hot weather makes it significantly harder.  When the weather cools this fall, you're going to feel all those summer miles pay off.

            I ran a mile and I liked it, liked it, liked it.