Anticipating your race pace is never easy, and with only two marathons under my belt it's that much more complicated. Add to that the fact that my shorter race distances are still getting faster and it's a bit of a crap-shoot what my target race pace should be.
Rewind back to 2010...
I used the McMillan Running Calculator with a 1/2 marathon time of 1:41:10. This predicted a marathon time of around 3:33, so I set my goal at 3:35.
Result: 3:44:06. Ouch. I faded badly at the end.
I can only guess why... bad day? Not enough mileage? Or was the calculator just too optimistic?? All of the above?
This year I plugged my new 1/2 marathon PB of 1:36:05 into McMillan. It is now predicting a marathon time of 3:22:38 (4:49/km pace).
If I assume the calculator is optimistic by 11 minutes, that leaves me shooting for the 3:33 I didn't get last year. This works out to a pace of 5:03/km, which sounds more achievable.
I have a marathon race pace 21km LSD tomorrow, I'll test out the 5:03/km and see just how it feels. Hope to see a low heart rate and feel like a million bucks at the end!
Macmillan is a great predictor up to the Half for us weekend warriors. But most can never put in training volume (vs. race needs) for the Marathon that one puts in (vs. race needs) for the Half as most only have up to 8 hours a week for training.
I've found accurate a rule of thumb I read somewhere that Double your Half plus 22 minutes for a beginner marathoner is about right and this will move toward Double plus 10 or 12 once one gets much more experience at the marathon distance.
So far so good - I'm running my fifth and sixth marathons this fall and Double plus 16-17 seems about right.
Hmm, 1:36 * 2 = 3:12 ... add 22 minutes gives 3:34, pretty close to what I'm targetting! I'm getting in a lot more running mileage this time around, and doing more 30km+ runs. Hopefully that pays off in those last 10km... it's amazing just how hard those are.
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