Marathon Pace

on Wednesday, September 25, 2013 at 8:42 PM

I haven't posted at all about training this time around so here's an update.  Training so far has gone surprisingly well (touch wood). I think this may be the most mileage I've done during a training cycle.  I've done seven 20+ milers and had nine 50+ mile weeks so far and I still have more to come. Most of these miles, however have been on the slow side.  I started this training cycle about 10 pounds heavier than my racing weight has been in the past, so the hope that was doing a lot of slower runs would help shed the fat molecules without requiring me to crash diet. I believe I"m pretty close to where I should be in regards to weight, so the hope is now to build up some speed.

I have one last marathon pace type run this weekend and it's had me thinking quite a bit about where I might be in regards to my marathon fitness.  When I started this training cycle, 8 min/mile seemed reasonable considering that it's been a few years since I've run one, but I think that may be a bit conservative.  My training paces to date and progress seem very similar to what they were when I did Chicago back in 2006.  At the time, I was aiming for 3:20 in Chicago, but ending up finishing in 3:17. So 3:20 (7:38 pace) seems to be a reasonable goal for New York.  I've done three marathon pace long runs this time around, the 2nd of which was done at the beginning of August with 12 miles at 7:50 pace as part of a 20 mile long run.  The third marathon pace long done a few weeks ago was a bit of a disaster where I only managed 7 miles at 7:45 pace on a windy day, but I just considered that to be having a bad day and not carbo loading.  Who knows maybe I can pull of the 3:17 magic again.

Now the big wrinkle in all this is that my BQ time for 2015 is 3:15, so is 3:15 really that much different than 3:17?  My ego thinks that I could totally do 3:15, but the rest of me keeps reminding myself that I haven't raced a marathon in 4 years. In addition to that I'm 7 years older when I did Chicago and though 7 additional years of "experience" may be worth something, the truth of the  matter is there's a reason Boston gives you additional time as you get older.  In addition, New York is a tougher course than Chicago and I recently learned, I'm not very good at racing on hills, even though I've been trying to do my long runs on some hillier courses. 

Looking back to when I last did 3:15 which was in fall of 2009, I'm definitely not at the same level of fitness as I was back then. Back then I was doing my LT's at under 7 min/mile pace and I ended up doing a kinda hilly half marathon at a similar pace. Just recently, I struggled putting 7:15 pace down over a hilly 10k.  Looking at these numbers, 3:15 would be a pipe dream, but in reality back in 2009, I was training for an outside shot at 3:10 so I don't think I necessarily need the same fitness to do 3:15, but it would mean that I would have to race pretty close to my limit.

So the weekend has a 14 mile marathon pace run with 18 total miles.  My thinking was after a 2 mile warm up, to try to run 7 miles at 3:20 pace and then try to do the last 7 at 3:15 pace and see what I feel like after.  Still a few weeks of training left and at least one tune-up race so I should have a pretty good handle on my fitness after that. 

Hope training is going well for the rest of you!