Race Pace Advice

Have been tying myself in knots since my last long run and am having a real dilemma about what min/miling I want/need to do on race day for FLM.

Did my last long run (suposed to be 18M) on Tues instead of last Sun. Admittedly it was a little off the cuff and I wasn't as prepared as I would usually be for a long training run (e.g crap dinner the night before and no attention to hydration the day before) but I had some unexpected time and did it. Anyway, I recreated the conditions of FLM and did a flat canal run (as admittedly most of my training has been trails and hills) which I aimed to run at 8:30min/miling.

Anyway, pace was good and my splits varied between 8:18 and 9:07. However, I found it very hard to keep going both mentally and physically and ended up stopping at 16.5M. I then walked for a bit and ran another half mile at 10min/miling pace as it was up a hill.

Am now worrying about race pace! I had planned to run at 8:45 min miling at London but am now worried this may be too fast. Thought I'd run some training statistics past you all to see what decision you would make if you were me. I know we are all different but just want to hear your thoughts. I don't want to tell you any of my marathon history, just want you to base your advice on my training for FLM.

This is the highest mileage I have ever done and I have done the most long runs I ave ever done in training for a marathon. I have finished them all feeling pretty good really.

Jan = 215M    includes 3x16M and 1x17M which avaeraged 9:20min/miling (on concrete)

Feb = 220M   includes 1x16M  2x18M  1x21M  and 1x25M fell race (18:00min/miling 5000ft)

16M = 9:00min/miling     concrete
18.6M race = 8:50min/miling    concrete
18M = 9;20min/miling    trail and concrete
21M = 11:05 min/miling   trail and xcountry plus 3500ft

Mar = 249M   includes  2x15M     2x21M       1x22.5M    13.1M race

13.1M =  1:44:55      8:01min/miling  concrete
15M = 8:55min/miling  trails and concrete
15M = 9:30min/miling  all trails
21M = 8:55min/miling  canal tow path
21M = 9:27min/miling hilly m/t x country race
22.5M = 9:25min/miling trails with conctrete last 6M

So .... with that training in mind, but also considering the burn out on the 16.5M I did at 8:40min/miling ..... what would you do??

What min/miling would you aim for in London?


  • I am sure someone more technical will come along.  I honestly think that you should not get so caught up in the minute miling.  You have put in the training and you obviously know what you are doing. 


    Everything will come together on the day, just remember to enjoy it.

  • thanks RB but believe me I'm trying so hard not to panic and worry. I just have no idea how to start this race ..... everything I read is telling me to have a pace plan, to focus it etc, etc.
  • The simple answer - to be in the best shape over the last 6 miles and after the race run steadily and conservatively.

    As runnersbeen says - enjoy it!

  • Based on your recent half marathon time and the fact that you seem to have done plenty of long runs, I would say that you could aim for 8:30 min/miles for FLM.

    (I wouldn't worry too much about a single training run not going to plan.)
  • I do not know if it helps at all, but I will relate my own times as they seem similar to yours.  I recently ran a half marathon in 1:39:40, and run most of my long runs at around 8;50 - 9:00 m/m pace.  I am running Lochaber in 4 weeks time, and am aiming for a time of 3:40 which means running at about 8:20 pace.  I would think that you are more than capable of running at 8:45 pace, if not a bit faster.

    I think the first few miles are key, and do not go out too fast in the first 3-4 miles.  I am thinking of doing 9:00 pace  at the start and gradually build up to 8:15 by mile 6.  Then maintain this pace to tne end.  I know from past expereinces that getting caught up in the atmosphere of the day in the early miles and running too fast can cause you to run out of steam at mile 20, and then you can easily lose 3 or 4 minutes per mile - so I would rather lose a couple of minutes in the early miles and save the blow out at the end.

  • DR - I think I may feel better starting a little slower and then upping it at about 5/6M as you say. In London the people traffic will prob keep pace down anyway!?!

    My mate wants to get a sub 3:50 and we run long runs together and we want to run this together. The company will do me the world of good, but I don't want to blow up at 16-18M as I did the other day if I set out at the 8:45's he wants to do!?!?

  • Looking at your mileage and long runs you have the distance under your belt.  With a good taper between now and race day I would think you should feel a lot fresher on the day, and will have the energy in your legs.  Like you say I would be cautious about going out at 8:45 from the start.  But the crowds at London will probably prevent this anyway.  At Lochaber that is not a problem I will face, and will have to be far more self disciplined to run slowly at first.
  • Same as Dundee - my half marathon time is 1:39:23 but I'm going to be conservative and aim for 8:30mins/mile as my last marahton was a disaster.
  • Running Caz  - just bear in mind that the start is very very very congested, and even grinds to a halt after 1/2 mile or so sometimes, so you'll only be able to hit your target pace well into the race - maybe even 3-4 miles.

     A slow start is good though - saves some energy for later !

    Good luck - with all that training you should have no problems 

  • I saw they key words "My mate wants to get a sub 3:50"  Remember this is your race to.  I have tried to run other peoples races with the best of intentions and it blew up in my face. 
  • I say just add 25 secs to your pace you achieved for a half marathon - most of the predictor web site (recommend Runningforfitness) would indicate this.

    I will have 3 different race bands in my pocket (Plan a, plan b and plan c...) 

     What ever see you there.

  • Running cazI would start off at a pace I'm confident of maintaining, in your case 9 minutes/mile sounds about right , and I would keep going at this pace for about 10 miles. In that time I would take in the atmosphere, feed on the the support of the crowds and really try to enjoy the carnival atmosphere.At around 10 miles I would reassess how I feel, and if I'm feeling really strong (i.e. the pace feels easy) I would increase the pace (e.g. to 8.45/mile) and reassess again at 15 miles. I've done 5 marathons, and in the two marathons I've followed this type of advice I've avoided the "wall" and had a great experience, as well as PBs. In the other three, I've been caught up by the occassion and gone out at too fast pace (i.e. I've over-estimated my ability), which has resulted in me hitting the "wall" and slowing considerably in the last 6 miles. From my experience and from looking at the previous years' FLM results, the vast majority of runners go off too fast and suffer in the last 6-10 miles more than they need to. Good luck whatever you decide to do.ITFAC
  • Thanks all image

    Put out a the same thread on the Fetch site too and had some really good advice from you all which has made me feel much more confident and definite about the whole thing.

    Think I now have a plan ......

    Am hoping to start SLOW ... that'll be 9:00-9:15 for the first 3-5 miles, which also allows for the people traffic in theearly stages. Shall then look to maintain a steady pace for as long as pos at about 8:45 and then let myself go a little from 16M (8:30) if I'm having very comfy miles, stay the same if not (however I do tend to get a bit of a second wind about 16-20 (fingers crossed)). Can therefore run with a mate which will hopefully keep my mind off my recent marathon disasters which are haunting me .....and also I've gone on about it so much on here and with my running mates, and fella that I'll feel I'll have to get that sub4 image

    Thanks for your advice ... happy to recieve any more image

  • Caz

     Silly Question, but ae you following a plan? If so for what time?

     I am following the 3.45 plan & manage steady runs around the set time for longs, 20 in 3hours to start which i got down to 2.53 ish & 22 in 3h13 all the short stuff sub 5 miles i am struggling to stick to slow pace, Half Marathon was 5mins quicker & my last 18 a bit more like race day pace!

    I suppose the idea is go out on no Plan cause the race will always be faster than you think. This is my First so i wouldn't know & after pulling out of one in October as i picked up an injury i stuck as much to the plan as possible, Used to Hate HIll Rep, but now love um!

     I now have no target for the day as whatever i do will probably be better than expected & i dont want to get dissapointed.

     You will probably manage an even 8.30 on average & hit 8 round 14-18.

  • Not really a plan as such ..... but have followed the sub 3:45 training plan 5 times before so it is deeply embeded in my memory. Have kinda done my own thing, bearing in mind what the weekly milage  and longest runs should be and when. Have basically done more long runs and a slightly higher milage than the set plan on here. Done midweek long runs of 16M and have done 12 runs over 16M in total. Speed and hill work has been missing, although we have always run the mid week long run at a faster pace than the LSR at weekends.

    You sound like you have trained well and are on target. Should be a great first marathon time for you. My 22M was a good 15mins slower than yours, but it was hilly and on trails in strong winds snow and rain.

    Have a great run image

  • Hi Caz

    Don't worry. The way you passed me in the Stafford Half you will easily hit your target.
    After all those "nice little runs in sutton park" the London marathon will be a walk-in-the....park (sorry) for you.

    Hoping to get a sub-4 myself, but the main aim is to enjoy it.

    Good luck - Hope you achieve your goal.
  • Cheers DTS - I'm sure we'll both be smiling at the end. No way I could run like I ran at Stafford for doublr the distance though!! You were looking pretty strong yourself ... was a fair way through the race before I passed you!

    Good luck right back at you image

  • Caz,

    What did you manage on the Big Day?


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