Thursday, October 9, 2014

A marathon pacing plan

Oh nothing, just going over some old times....
The countdown is into the single digits: Less than 10 days until I run 26.2 for the sixth time, assuming all goes well between now and then.

My training runs haven't been at the speed I would have liked this year. I likely lost a lot of the speed I had last year bumping up swim and bike training for my first 70.3 in August. I knew what I was getting into, so to me that was an acceptable trade-off.

However, with tons of speed work, fast-finish runs, goal marathon pace runs, etc. last year, I still only took 83 seconds off my personal record, currently at 4:10:06. And lately, I have been feeling really good on my runs. I am entertaining the idea of going for a new personal record, even if it's by a small margin.

I know a sub-4-hour marathon is out of the question at this point. But I think I can easily pull off a sub-4:20. It would still be faster than three of my previous marathons by at least 7 minutes, and it would be in line with the paces I have been training at this season.

But what about a sub-4:10? Depending on how hard I'm willing to push on race day, I don't think it's out of the question. It would definitely be more work and less fun.

So, I think my plan is going to be:

* Start out at a conservative pace of about 9:45 minute miles for the first 8 miles or so.
* If I'm feeling good, start dropping that down to closer to 9:30 minute miles. If not, no biggie -- ease up a little and enjoy the rest of the day. Shoot for a sub-4:20.
* Re-evaluate at about mile 18: Can I push a bit harder? How am I feeling? Is this no longer fun?
* If I'm still feeling good, pick it up to a 9:15 minute mile pace for the last 8.2 This will be tough. But it should be enough for a slight PR. If I'm not feeling that good, then ease up a little and enjoy the rest of the day. Shoot for a sub-4:15.
* No matter what, have fun and enjoy the day. Running a marathon is a privilege. Remember how hard I trained and how grateful I am that my body lets me do crazy things like this.

Of course, you never know what marathon day has in store for you, but I am hoping for a great day.

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