Monday, December 3, 2007

Marathon Pace Miles and Goal Discussion

6.05 miles (warm-up, three at marathon pace, warm-down)
Warm-up, MP1, 7:08 pace, MP2, 7:09 pace, MP3, 7:16 pace, warm-down

The theory of this workout, if I am guessing correctly, is to get the body acclimated to the marathon pace. Since most of my running is significantly faster or slower than this pace, it's a good idea to find my "groove". It wasn't particularly easy to do one mile at this pace, and to be honest I can't imagine doing 25 more at the same speed. But I did run them a bit faster than my target of 7:15.

So I guess the cat is out of the bag. I have been hesitant to proclaim a "goal" because it just didn't feel right to have any expectation whatsoever. The marathon distance is daunting to me, and I couldn't wrap my mind around a target time.

When I started my marathon quest I hoped to finish with an 8:00 mile pace. That equates to a 3 hour 30 minute marathon. I tried my first long run with the Kenyan Way 3:30 group, and I did well enough to give it a shot with the 3:15 group the next week, where I struggled. I did better the next week, and ended up running quite a few of the next long runs alone for one reason or another. When I came back I decided to give it a go with the 3:00 group, and shocked myself with a strong performance.

Four events led me to a specific goal time:
1) A 6:48 pace over my 10 mile race in Chalmette which is equivalent to a 3:08:45 marathon
2) A 7:02 pace over 25 kilometers in the Houston Masters Race which is equivalent to a 3:10:28 marathon
3) My Yasso 800 reps with a 3:08 average, implying a 3:08 marathon
4) My 19:18 Turkey Trot 5K which is equivalent to a 3:04:46 marathon.

I should mention that the Kenyan Way race predictor calculator is aggressive, and other calculators tack on a minute or two more for the marathon time.

And perhaps more than anything else, what drove my goal is the qualifying time for the Boston Marathon for my age group: 3:10:59. This should matter the least, since it's an external factor not under my control, but it's a target right in the vicinity of my current performance.

To be honest, I don't believe that I'm capable of that time. But I'm hoping that I'll be able to dig extra deep on race day and perform above my capabilities.

I will need some help in order to overachieve, and so far the weather is disagreeable. An ideal running temperature would be about 45-50 degrees, and it's been projected to be between 70 and 80. If that's the case, a 3:10 marathon is probably out of the question. But I'll be keeping an eye out as the forecast is updated, and update my goal if necessary.

Let's be frank . . . finishing upright is enough to make me happy. But you only get one chance to qualify for Boston on your first marathon, and it motivates me. This goal isn't like some of the others I've set, where I was pretty sure I could take care of business. I genuinely think I'll fail in my marathon goal. I hope to harness that primal fear of failure, and turn it into speed. We shall see.


Cory said...

In the famous words of Rob Schneider's character, Townie, in The Waterboy, "You can do it!"

My prediction = 3:12:23

Hope the weather holds for the marathon. Looks like it may be warm by the finish with a chance of rain.

Bring it home! You've worked hard for this.

Kevin said...

I always know 3:30 was a bit slow for you. Good luck to you, you have worked hard.