My Marathon Target Pace

On May 24, 2012, in Marathon, PB, road running, running, by Alf

With my marathon target now set at 3:20, the question of how I approach this still remains. I have been training consistently in a zone that all calculators equate to around 6:45/mile but have not quite been able to achieve this in a half marathon in the last few months. I am torn between the following:

  1. I assume that pretty much regardless of my pace I will hit a speed bump around 16-20 miles. If that is the case, then why not try to get as much time in the bank before that happens and go out aiming for 6:45/mile pace?
  2. Be cautious and give myself the best chance of a strong finish, with the hope of keeping the inevitable slump in speed to a manageable level.

I quite instinctively feel that factoring in a slightly more cautious approach will leave me better prepared for this slump, both physically and mentally. In addition, my half marathon less than two weeks ago tried out this strategy and while my time was a few minutes slower than recent races, I was much stronger in the last 3 miles and was able to run a more controlled race with much better form.

 My conclusion was (!!) that I should aim for 7:00/mile pace in the first half and see where this takes me. Even with a goal time in mind I am going to focus on a pace that works for me and try to find something that is sustainable but still being mindful of what the Suunto is saying. This assumes that the temperature drops. If we continue to have temperatures in excess of 20 deg C then all bets are off. Should I have significant temperature issues to deal with then I will most likely drop the per-mile goal my 15s or so and aim for something more cautious. The forecast looks like it may be more like running weather by Sunday. I really hope that the East coast haar rolls in for Sunday morning.

3 days to go!!!


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