how fast can i run the VLM??


I'm training for the VLM this April and I'm about unsure as to how I should be pacing on the day.

In my training I've been starting off the first 5 or so miles fairly slowly and then gradually speeding up over the distance (more based on feel than planned that way), and had the following times for some of my training runs:

12miles - 1h44

16miles - 2h30

18miles - 2h45

20miles - 3h00

I've finished all of these feeling fairly strong, with the last couple of miles at a quicker pace than the rest of the run, feeling like I could push the pace a little.  I've been doing all my long runs in the 'shades' marathon training program - I've got my second 20miler this weekend and then start the taper.  I've not done enough interval work, but have done hill repeats for the last month or more, once a week.

As background, i'm not a 'club runner' at all, but i've done a couple of marathons a few years ago (both in fancy dress so in 4h20+), lots of halfs and 10ks in the past, a few triathlongs etc - but for all of these my training is been haphazard at best!  I'm 36years old.

My questions are what pace should I run for the marathon?  i'm thinking I want to break 4h for the event and I'm confident i can do that - but could I go quicker than that?  and if so how much quicker?  and therefore what pace should I be targetting?  I'm just unsure how my training paces at the long run can translate into a marathon time.

thanks in advance guys!



  • that should read 'triathlons' above... triathlong isn't a new type of event... image


  • PG3PG3 ✭✭✭

    why dont you aim for the sub 4, say 9mm pace and if you feel good at 20, go faster?

  • firstly, I'd be careful to not race your long runs; the point of these is to runa steady, even pace and teach your body to burn fat optimally, to give you time on your feet, to strengthen your connective tissues and improve your aerobic endurance.

    however, assuming your were still running these long runs at a conversational pace (i.e. able to hold pretty much a full conversation throughout the run, not just panting out the odd word) then it's feasible that you could continue the pace you averaged on your 20 miler for a further 6 miles, it'll just feel a LOT harder as you get closer to the end.

    Pip's advice is sound, go out at the ~9min mile pace (your 20 mile long run pace) and if you're still comfortable at 20 miles into the race, increase the pace/effort very slightly throughout these last 6 miles.

    If you go out even slightly too fast at the start, the wheels could come off and you'll lose a lot more time than you gained.

  • Really hard to say. The advice about not racing your runs is a wise one. So many people do this and their race paces are slower than training runs.

    Sub 4 seems likely if your legs have recovered.

    If you race another 20 miler I think you'll risk your sub4. Slow it down.
  • great advice guys, many thanks.

    I kind of thought I might be paying too much attention to the timing on my long runs, but wasn't 100% sure... sounds like I just need to back off a little on these and then aim for 9mm, and then take a check at mile 20 to see how my body is feeling.

    Appreciate it!


  • good luck, let us know how you get on. I'm also aiming for sub4. My long runs have all been between 10-11 min/mile pace, usually starting off at the slow end, and gradually speeding up ever so slightly to the faster end of that range. I do some portions of some long runs at marathon pace also, but not all of them.

  • I'm in a similar position to the original poster. I've been running 3 times a week for 5 years now and always been a decent runner, light on my feet. Last autumn I ran two half marathons in 1:36 and 1:33 - both much, much faster than I'd been running usually – race day magic I thought.

    I put those times into the ASICS marathon plan and got 3:22. I've been training at the suggested pace (which is quite fast - I know a few people here think they're mad) and all seemed well (4:50 min/km) until last weekend's 35km - I hit the wall at 30km and the last 5km were quite painful – I finished in 2:57. Couldn't imagine doing another 7km like that.

    "Race day magic" seemed to mean I could run 30 seconds a mile faster for a half marathon. But what does the adrenalin add to a marathon? Or is the race so long that it's actually a liability and could mean you hit the wall earlier?

    Sorry if I'm burbling


  • It's not the adrenaline really. You've run your 30km on tired legs after weeks of training.

    When you come to the race you've tapered down and your legs are fresh.

    Doing 22 miles in under 3 hours seems very fast for a training run.

    Have you got any more like that before the big day ?

    As to time I think 3.26 is more like it - and then only if you're used to 20 milers.
  • Thanks Cougie. I didn't quite express myself clearly. I meant that, in general for marathons, after tapering, does race day adrenaline help runners go faster than training pace - as it seems to for races up to half marathon - or does it mean they hit the wall early. My last run had knocked my confidence a bit.

    Yes, the asics plans are very fast, but its only 3 runs a week (not everyone's idea of sensible).

    No, no more long runs, it's a taper now until April 14 - but most runs at marathon pace. I'd be happy with 3.26 but I'd have to say I'm not used to 20 milers.

    Still I feel a bit better now. Cheers
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