Marathon Pace

I'm running my second Marathon on Sunday (@Chester).  I'd like to beat the time I did in my previous Marathon which was 4hr 59min 58sec.  (You can't believe how pleased I was not be be 2sec slower!)

Ideally I'd like to knock a couple of mins off my time.  Chester has pace runners at 15min pace intervals.  Which is better to follow.  The 5hr Pace runner and then speed up towards the end, or start with the 4:45 pace with the knowledge that I probably not be able to keep up with them for the entire race.




  • Hey Ian,  2 seconds  image... 

    I'd say that a lot depends on your ambition.  If you are happy to get any sort of pb, then go with the 5hr pacer - it's the safest bet.  But ask yourself this.  At what point in the race would you make the decision to pull ahead of said pacer?  Realistically, you'd have to leave it to around 16 miles to be fairly sure you're comfortable... and by then, you've only got 10 miles left to quicken the pace.  Even if you quickened by a fairly hefty 20s per mile, you'd achieve 4.56.40  ...  or 30s per mile gets you to 4.55.00  which you might be very nice...  but would you be truly happy, if you felt you'd got something left in the tank?  Only you can answer that.

    This is how I'd look at it, so long as I was feeling reasonably OK. You've already beaten the 5hr barrier....  so I would look to the next barrier and try to achieve that (rather than shaving a small amount of my pb.) 

    You're not a first-timer now, so have experience..  What is the worst thing that can happen if you go with the 4-45 pacer?  I'd say that the worst would be that you struggle pretty badly in the closing miles, and miss 5 hours (a barrier you've already got under your belt anyway).  But I think it's much more likely that you'll achieve a time 4:4x:xx than the likelihood of you going over 5hrs.  Maybe you'll surprise yourself and keep up with that pacer...  or maybe you'll drift  but sneak under the 4:50 mark.... or maybe you'll drift further and end up in the mid to upper 4:50s...  But whatever comes of following that faster pacer, you give youself a chance of a massive PB, a chance of a small PB  and a chance of blowing you pb chances!  If you go with the 5hr pacer, you cut out any realistic possibility of taking a real chunck off your PB.

    That's definitely a risk I'd be prepared to take. But that's my view.... something you asked for!

    Good luck


  • How has your training gone ? Have you done better than before ? Any race times to go off ?

    It's going to be hard to raise your pace at the end of the run.

    If I was feeling brave I'd go with 4.45. Theres always a risk that you'll blow up massively and miss 5 completely but that's half the fun.

    Good luck.
  • Thanks for the advice.  When i did my previous marathon I did start with the 4:45 pace runner but lost sight of them about half way.  I guess if I start with the 4:45 at least I will know if I am likely to  miss 5hrs because I would see the 5hr pace runner go past and I can use that to spur me on!

  • Have you done a half marathon that you can estimate race time from ?
  • I've done three half marathons.  Silverstone 2011 (2:07) Silverstone 2013 (2:18) and the cross morcambe bay half (2:32 but you can't really estimate anything from that because of the terrain and the fact that I am pretty sure it was short anyhow).

    Manchester Maraton early this year was 4:59 and 58sec.

  • It makes sense to do a half as part of your marathon training so you can judge your pacing for race day. A half in 2011 won't tell you much.
Sign In or Register to comment.