Monday, February 1, 2010

Marathon Pace?

Okay, I'm not sure how many marathon runners are reading, but I'll throw the question out there ... Marathon Pace? How do I work it out?

I've studied the McMillan Calculator, I'm aiming for a 4hr30min goal (6:30/km) ... based purely on that is what "I" see as a respectable, first time, runners marathon, believe me I also know that just finishing, at any time will be an accomplishment! But 4hr30min is what I've also put down for London which is where I'll end up when put in corrells etc.

S0, studying the calculator - 4hr30min is probably about right (pretty lucky considering that a few months ago that was pretty much a pie in the sky dream number plucked out of no where!).

Now, studying the Higdon (Intermediate 1) programme I'm following - I'm failing in the pace department, on Saturdays I should be running at marathon pace, I'm not, I'm just running at a comfortable pace which is way faster than marathon pace. Sunday's long run I should be adding 30-45sec on to marathon pace, I can't seem to make myself run that slow (although as I hit longer runs, maybe that becomes easier?).

So, experienced runners I guess I'm asking am I completely failing training by doing what feels comfortable at the time?

I AM going to try and run Saturday's run at marathon pace, I can understand that it is important to get the body to feel the pace and get used to it.

The long runs, I've slowed down, but I'm not sure I want to slow them down any more than I am?

Also, I started running a year ago. As I get fitter and thinner (ha! not much thinner for the last 2-3mths but still working on it!), I get faster and stronger. In two months am I going to be faster and stronger than a 4hr30min marathon? Or is this about where I'll be, because really 2mths isn't long - maybe I should take now as my base line for pace?

I think I'm lacking endurance training, but that could be the nervous, OMG I've got long runs coming up, can I do it? But maybe I'm dreaming about a 4hr30min marathon ... when I hit that 30-42km mark my body could very well fall in a screaming heap and say HAHA what were you thinking, I don't have an extra 12km in me ... and I could very well limp slowly to the end.

So? Suck it up, follow the programme, it works, and stop thinking about it so much?

OR follow how my body feels on the long runs and weekly short runs, but work at marathon pace on Saturdays?

and um, yeah, all of sudden reality is setting in and I'm suddenly scared I'm doing it all wrong!

So - tonight - spinning class, should I admit the mild panic I felt when I rang to book only to find the class was full? Oh no, I have to do that I want the scales to go down, Oh no I have to do it, it is cross training day and the programme said an hours cross training would be good today ... I don't think I'll admit that to my husband, he already thinks I'm now addicted to this running lark - I'd hate him to be right! LOL ... oh and they rang soon after to say someone had rung and cancelled so I've got a spot *phew*.


  1. My training plan has me running all long runs almost a minute slower than marathon pace. I never run one single long run at pace either. My running coach set it up this way and he is certified. I have always been told that long runs are for endurance building and you should always train up to one minute slower than your intended pace for the marathon. Is this true? Not sure. Do I always run the pace on the plan? Almost never, I almost always run it faster but not too much, essentially I run what feels good and make a solid attempt not to push myself to hard. The reason being you want to make sure you don't burn yourself out. If you are always running at marathon pace by the time the marathon comes around you could be over trained and now perform as well. I think throwing a marathon pace long run in every so often is a good idea just to gauge where you're at but not every week.

    I assume you're doing some kind of pace/speed/hill/tempo workouts and those should always be pretty fast, faster than marathon pace and those should be the one you stick to the plan on.

    Hopefully I didn't get too all over the place here and made some sense. Don't stress out too much. Race Day is unlike any other day, all your training lead you there but once you cross the start line anything goes. More than likely you will get caught up in the excitement and adrenaline and run faster than you had planned. I def recommend running with a pace group because it will help you stay focused and keep you on pace without you needing to worry about it. Just follow the pack and enjoy the run.

  2. Hmmm...tricky question.

    If your comfortable pace is faster than your marathon pace then possibly you can get under 4:30? Hard to say what the effect of the extra distance will be.

    I was hoping for 4:15 but ended up close to 5 hours so I'm the wrong person to ask.