Experienced runner input please ... :)

This is a selfish cry for some experienced runners input... I am running London, 3 weeks to go. Would love to break 3 hours for my first marathon, have been following fairly standard training programme (FIRST) and stuck to it, reasonably, well.

Results to date:

Various 10ks around 36:30, PB in Jan at 36:03

Brighton half: 1:22:43

MK Half 1:25 something (had a horrible run, no obvious reason why... think i just bottled it because of the cold to be honest)

Long training runs building from 16 through to 22 miles the last 10 weeks, most recent at 7:20m/mile (neg splits building from 7:50, however was wobbly to say the least at the end)

Question... purely based on the above is there enough to justify going off at 6:50 pace and holding on with everything I've got, or would it be safer to be more conservative and realistic at target a 7min mile split?

such a dilemma!


  • MoraghanMoraghan ✭✭✭

    I'd say that a sub-3 is unrealistic in your instance off the FIRST schedule .  To a certain extent it might depend on whether you've been following the FIRST schedule from this website or the full schedule from FIRST (which has a little more to it).

    Either way I would say you're looking at 3:05 at the fastest.

    Best of luck at London.

  • In 2007 I hadn't actually been training for a marathon but I had been doing plenty of long runs and racing hard (pb's not as good as yours)

    One evening I went out and just ran 19 miles @ 6:36m/m pace, so had a few of easy weeks (taper) and entered Wolverhamptopn marathon on the day.

    Below are my splits - as you can see I went out too fast and faded badly. So I reckon if you run it evenly then you'd do it.

    I'd say a sub 3 is more than possible and if you don't try you'll never know.

    1- 6.16.15
    2- 6.24.66 - 12.40.81
    3- 6.18.52 - 18.59.33
    4- 6.10.29 - 25.09.62
    5- 6.15.63 - 31.25.25
    6- 6.19.59 - 37.44.84
    7- 6.26.91 - 44.11.75
    8- 6.34.16 - 50.45.91
    9- 6.38.11 - 57.24.02
    10- 6.28.87 -
    11- 6.49.74 -
    12 - missed mile marker
    13- 14.14.78 -
    14- 5.46.11 - some confusion with half marathon 13 mile marker
    15- 6.50.05 -
    16- 6.41.91 -
    17- 6.38.53 -
    18- 6.20.55 -
    19- 6.45.21 -
    20- 6.47.22 -
    21- 6.57.00 -
    22- 7.21.81 -
    23- 7.12.41 -
    24- 7.36.94 -
    25- 7.12.91 -
    26- 7.16.31 -
    26.2- 1.31.19 -

  • A 36 minute 10K, a sub 1:25 half and a sub 1:23 half, plus plenty of long runs!?

    Sub three is definately possible; your times over shorter distances surpass what is generally considered to be necessary for a sub three hour marathon. As long as the endurance work is there, which you have made clear it is, you are clearly capable of it. Many have gone sub three from much slower bases than yours...

  • You're definitely in sub 3 shape, Daniels has you at 2:51/2 in equivalent performance. I'd agree with what you suggested, go out at 6:50, which should be fairly comfortable, and hold it to mile 16.

    If you're on for a good day, go for a negative split and hit 2:56 / if it's not your day then you're only going to lose a few minutes.

  • MoraghanMoraghan ✭✭✭
    You use calculators, you lose.
  • drewdrew ✭✭✭

    Definitely in sub 3 hour shape. I'd try and maintain 6:50 pace until mile 22. At that point you'll know what's left in the tank and either increase your pace or hang on.

    I've been in similar situations in the past with PB's a bit slower than your own and managed sub 3 hours quite easily. Other times I've started off with an optimistic target and suffered badly.

     Race Time predictors seem to be quite good for anything up to half marathon distance. Despite having a 1:17 half marathon PB I've never managed to beat 2:54 for a full marathon.

  • Mr VMr V ✭✭✭

    I agree with Moraghan. Whilst your 10k times are easily fast enough there is a significant drop off in your HM times in comparison. On this basis I’d expect to see a further drop off between HM and marathon. If this is the case then sub 3 is going to be tough.

    Do you think your 10k times are better than your HM times because of training or because you are naturally better at the shorter distances?
  • I've dug my results for the races I did in the months before my Sub 3 Marathon (2:55:55) and this is what the calculator predicted, (best case);

    5k -  17:49 (pb) = 2:50:52
    5k -  17:58 = 2:52:56
    5k - 19:01 = 3:02:01
    4 mile - 24:20 = 2:58:24
    5 mile - 30:06 (pb) = 2:54:06
    5 mile - 31:00 = 2:59:53
    10k - 37:32 (pb) = 2:52:29
    10k.- 37:57 = 2:54:28
    10 mile - 1:03:31 = 2:56:18
    10 mile - 1:01:56  (pb) = 2:51:57

    I didn't do any half marathons but off my my best 10 miler the predictor says about 1:22:40

    My long runs, all slow off road trail runs were 20.2, 20.3, 22.7 and 24.2 and  the 19 miles which was along a canal towpath, 2:04.26 (6:32 m/m) that predicted a 2:53:31. (probably my best run ever)

    I have total faith that you can go Sub 3 if you pace it right and take on enough fluids and fuel.

  • I'm nowhere near as fast as you, but I am an experienced runner/racer. And what I'd say is that my PBs (at every distance right up to marathon) have always happened when I've set off slower than I knew I could be running, either because of crowds and bottlenecks on the course or because I was deliberately forcing myself to hang back a bit.

    It's a great psychological boost to be able to actually speed up as the race goes on and be overtaking people. Much better than to watch your splits and see yourself gradually slowing down yet not have any energy left to do anything about it.

    Good luck with the race!  Hope you have a good day.

  • MoraghanMoraghan ✭✭✭

    Marshallini - in my opinion, you're missing out 80% of the marathon equation which is - will his training be able to support any of the calculations? 

    Generally the FIRST schedules fall well short of providing the endurance needed because of the nature of the program.  His training will be the most important determinant yet it seems to be ignored!

    If the OP was to say he'd done 7 runs of 20m+, averaged 50+ miles per week, he'd been running for more than 2 years prior, done the non-RW version of the FIRST schedule and he'd done a couple of long runs of 3 hours then I might be persuaded otherwise.

    Drew's post is interesting in that whilst his 1:17 predicts (on a fairly conservative calc) 2:42 he's run 2:54.  That's 12 minutes slower than his theoretical best, but he sounds like a very experienced runner.  It seems a bit of a contradiction to then go on to say that you can go sub-3 - but of course I am taking his post and times completely out of context (sorry, Drew!).

  • PhilPubPhilPub ✭✭✭

    I have to agree with Moraghan in the overall discussion, i.e. in the argument that the composition of the OP's training programme is being almost completely disregarded.

    Comparing to my own training / race time predictors leading up to my first marathon (sub-3 attempt), my HM leading up to the race was 1:23, 10 mile time 1:02 (marathon predictors 2:55; 2:53 respectively). I'd not run a recent 10k but post-marathon performances suggested I would have been in about 37 mins shape at best.  But my training consisted of 5 runs/wk, max 54mpw and the fastest running I ever did was a weekly tempo run, plus an steadily increasing proportion of MP (or thereabouts) leading up to the race, including a 20 mile race w/ 10M @6:50, which felt very comfortable.  Even then, less than ideal conditions on the day saw me fade a bit at the end, with a 3:04.

    I'm fairly confident there's no way I could have matched the OP's 36:03 10k prior to my marathon - because I wasn't suitably trained for it.  Here's the danger with race time predictors - McMillan equates 36:03 with a 2:49 marathon.  So plenty to play with there, it must be on surely?  But it also predicts a 1:20 HM... which hasn't happened.  So if you're already falling short on the half, who knows what this will tell you about the last 6 miles of a marathon, trying to maintain a pace of <7m/m on tired legs?

    After all that, I'm gonna sit on the fence on this one.  I don't think we've got enough information on just how much suitable endurance training the OP has done and whether it's enough to minimise the potential fade towards the end of the race.  I'll just wish you good luck.  image

  • thw89 wrote (see)
     Some relevant background info… 3 months ago I decided to start running again and played with the idea of running my first marathon in <3 hours.
    I’m 23, have a reasonable history in various endurance based sports (nothing over an hour and no running!) and would consider myself as pretty determined.
    To date, all my training has focused around putting in a strong half marathon time next week at Brighton. Notable runs have been a 36:01 10k and a 59:05 10 mile, following this training plan (http://www.pponline.co.uk/encyc/half-marathon-training-593 - which I have found to be excellent). I have every belief I will run around 1:18 for my first half. My question is… what next. Fast forward a week and it’s 2 months until race day. I’ve entered a 20miler (Oakley) 3 weeks before as well as the MK half. I have long steady state runs pencilled in every weekend in 2 mile graduations until the Oakley race. Does anyone have any useful input / feedback about what other sessions, the types of sessions (and intensity) that will offer me the best chance of hitting the 3 hours mark? Or am I p**sing in the wind image Thanks in advance

    from anoter thread by thw89.

    some more background to my sub 3 - I'd been running for years (7-8) on and off and did do a marathon in 2005 (3:25:48). At the time I ran my sub 3 I wasn't actually marathon training just running for fun but was averaging about 55mpw and racing every week and throwing in the odd long run here and there, so pretty much had the all training bases covered by accident. It was only after smashing that 19 miler that I even thought of doing a marathon and only because sub 3 looked more than doable.

  • MoraghanMoraghan ✭✭✭
    How did it go?
  • Curly45Curly45 ✭✭✭

    I almost cant believe this is the same athlete but I think it was 3:49:27 image

    I await to be corrected for my detective work now...

  • I'll back you up Curly45, that tattoo is unmistakeable.
  • Curly45Curly45 ✭✭✭
    I hadnt even noticed that!! Actually though I meant my cross referencing could be wrong so there could be someone else who ran in all three races too and I couldnt find them image
  • RatzerRatzer ✭✭✭
    I am intrigued.  I think there's potential for a very beneficial race report here, though if Curly is right it could be that more things than just the training went wrong on the day.  I think it would be very informative to have the OP's opinion on his training and race, and whether there was an illness, niggle, or something else that happened.
  • Good detective work curly. Off the sub 3 pace all the way really ?
    Injured before the race but set off at a GFA pace ?

    Better luck next race !

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