On Sunday I’ll be running in the Surf City Marathon! As I set out for myself in my 2012 goals post, I want to run a sub 3:50 marathon this year. My current marathon PR is 4:02 at San Diego Rock n Roll Marathon in June 2011, which was my first and only marathon. Although I was more than thrilled to achieve an awesome marathon time on my first try, I got sick about 2 weeks prior to this race and still wasn’t feeling up to par on race day and part of me wondered if things would have been different had I not become sick. Since the marathon, I’ve continued to run and also have been training for triathlons. I’ve incorporated more speed work and have been seeing some significant improvements in pace.
However, despite completing 10 Yasso 800s at my desired marathon time of 3:50, there have been times I’ve doubted my ability to achieve this goal at my upcoming marathon. I even mentioned in a previous blog post that we were going to just pace at a 3:55 marathon and then if we felt good we’d pick it up. But then, after completing the 10 Yasso 800s in 3 minutes 50 seconds each (which Bart Yasso claims is a good predictor that I’ll run a 3 hour 50 minute marathon), I told myself that I needed to stop selling myself short just because I’m afraid that I’ll fail and I need to just go for the 3:50 marathon that I’ve been working so hard for!
Although this epiphany sounded great in my head, I went to Twitter to get some reassurance.
I got some positive feedback and even a tweet from Mr. Yasso himself:
That was all I needed!
So here it is: My goal for the Surf City Marathon is to run it in 3:49:59 or better.
Is It Realistic?
Ok maybe it wasn’t ALL I needed. I also did some research on marathon pacing and strategies for achieving your goal pace. According to Active.com, one big mistake new marathoners make is underestimating their finish time. “Marathon entrants need to realize that if they train correctly their marathon pace will be about 48 seconds per mile slower than current 5-K capability, 32 seconds slower than 10-K pacing, and 16 seconds more lethargic per mile than half-marathon clocking.”
- My 5k pace at Father Joe’s was was 7:42 plus 48 seconds = estimated pace of 8:30 min/miles at marathon
- My half marathon pace at AFC was 8:34 (plus 16 seconds = estimated pace 8:50 min/miles at the marathon
- It’s in my hometown. We run through the park I grew up having picnics and taking walks in and down the beach I grew up searching for sand crabs at. I’m not sure if this will be an advantage but at least I’m familiar with the course!
- It’s as flat as a pancake. There isn’t even an elevation profile on the course website due to this fact. It even says in the course description ” On this stretch, you will encounter the course’s only incline, between miles 3 and 4. But take heart; there are hundreds of kids at the park, waiting to cheer you on! They love marathon runners and get up early every year to come to the park, hand out water and yell words of encouragement!” Awesome!
- There are PACERS! One of the things that I somewhat regret about my first marathon is that I didn’t pay attention to my Garmin enough. By the time I realized that we could potentially break 4 hours at mile 19, we had to speed up by about 30-45 sec/mile to get there. And when we sped up, we bonked. Although our last few miles weren’t significantly slower than the first few miles, it was really difficult to keep a 9:20ish pace during those last few miles. The Surf City Marathon has a 3:50 pacer. Our plan is to start a few yards back from the pacer and then stay with him for the entire race. If we’re feeling good at the end (and I mean last mile or two, no sooner), then we’ll pass him.
Part of my race strategy is in the taper. Although last week was a fairly high volume week overall, it was down from prior weeks so I’m sure that will help. This week I have been VERY mellow, focusing on relaxation and sleep whenever possible. Mentally it has been hard for me to not train hard or put in double workout days, but I think that it will not only pay off at the marathon but also will help me mentally take a break from Ironman training. I have another 20 weeks to go til my “A Race” (makes me laugh a little saying that after watching Sh*t Triathletes Say) and I don’t want to get burned out too soon! So far this week I’ve scheduled just one easy workout per day and I plan to take Friday completely off. I am having a hard time accepting that I may only get in one bike ride and two swims this week but I know that after this marathon is over, my energy is going to be focused on improving on the bike. No need to rush!
The best part of my pre-race strategy? Bagels!
Have you tried to predict your upcoming race time based on other races? Have incorporated consistent speed work to your routine and then had a significant PR? Give me some confidence boosters! 🙂