Monday, November 16, 2015

There is a lot of wiggle room between a 3:40 and a 3:30 marathon.... Setting myself up for success instead of failure

So now that we are in countdown mode, I'm starting to take an honest look at my marathon goals.

A 3:40 marathon seems doable..In fact it seems like a perfectly reasonable goal. (8:22 pace per mile)

A 3:30 marathon could possibly happen if the stars align (8:00 pace per mile)

Now which time goal should I shoot for?   In the past I would have just went for that 3:30- Hell I've even attempted to run faster than that.   But, I still have yet to break 3:30

Last year I was totally in for a rude awakening during the Las Vegas  Rock N Roll Marathon when my first mile was an 8:45.. In the past I would have had to reign it in because my first mile is in the high 7's low 8's....  But, I'm not the same runner that I was 5-10 years ago.  FWIW  I would run a screaming first half, bank some time, and then positive split the heck out of the second half.

Now that I am older and wiser, and my legs need a bit more time to warm up.  My natural speed isn't what it used to be.  However, my endurance and patience have grown over the years.

I really did stick my head in the sand about my race goals(too much pressure) because I thought a 3:35 would be too hard, and for some reason I thought that I would have to average 8:05 per mile. It turns out that I have to run 8:12 per mile.

When I started this training cycle, I always tried to run my tempo runs at 8:00 minutes or faster which is 3:30 pace. I think I will always be hungry for that sub 3:30.  But, if I lose sight of what I am actually capable of, then I'm setting myself up for failure.

So I came up with a plan, that will let me run within my ability, and hopefully run a negative split 2nd half.
I used Excel to create my own pace band...  My strategy is to warm up the first 4 miles, drop down to a easy tempo pace for miles 5-20, and then "race" the last 10k.

If everything goes well, I will totally be happy with a 3:35 marathon.  If I'm feeling so good, and that 8:15 pace feels easy, I'm still going to stick to my plan until mile 20.  If I feel really great I can run 7:45 pace for the last 3 miles.

I just hope the weather cooperates and it isn't too cold or windy.  But, I can't control the weather.

Thanks for reading!


  1. I LOVE this plan!!! Wishing you luck and a good day on race day! Can't wait to see how it goes for you.

  2. Smart plan! I'm a fan of using the first few miles as a warm-up. I generally fall apart at the end no matter what, though.

  3. Sounds like a solid plan. I'm planning something similar for my race (albeit for a 3:50 goal) and I'm hoping I have gas for the last bit so I'm not dragging over the finish line like last marathon. I think I'm capable of around a 3:45 on a perfect day, but I am planning conservatively to try to get that BQ with plenty of cushion.

    I'm sending good vibes your way for a great race!

  4. Sounds like a well thought out plan. Good luck!!