HELP how do I pace a sub 3:05 marathon?

Hello everybody.

I have my first marathon coming up in 3 weeks and I am still unsure how to go about pacing on race day. Any advice from marathon runners would be much appreciated. 

Here is the low down:

I have done quite a few half marathons now and decided to step it up this year to marathon distance. I ran the Bath half about a month ago in 1:21 and have a target time of 3:05 for the marathon. My pacing for the half was horrific passing through 5km in 17:40, need I say no more. Many have told me that I should try to even split the whole race, but I feel I will not be able to hang in over the last 10km. 

The pacing plan: 0-10km pace 4min / km, 10-20km 4:10 / km, 20-30km 4:20 / km and 30-end 4:30 /km. This would give an overall time of just under 3 hours.

Is this a good idea? 

«1

Comments

  • senidMsenidM ✭✭✭
    RW pacer?



    If its VLM you're running, find a pacer and stick with them.
  • I am running Milton Keynes marathon. There is a 3:00 pacer. 

    I have just found this article about running positive splits. I think I may follow the pace provided by the calculator. 

    http://ultrastu.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/road-marathon-pacing-positive-split.html?m=1 

  • No PainNo Pain ✭✭✭

    Ollz go with the pacer, work on 1:21 + 1:21 +15 will give you 2:57 marathon time, but only if you have put plenty of 20+ mile runs in and quality sessions.

  • VDOT52VDOT52 ✭✭✭
    Planning yo start fast then slow down is stupid. I think running the first 2 miles a bit slower than pace is usual advice. Then go on pace and if you feel good at mile 24 then push on to make up the ever so slightly slower start.
  • literatinliteratin ✭✭✭
    VDOT52 wrote (see)
    Planning yo start fast then slow down is stupid. I think running the first 2 miles a bit slower than pace is usual advice. Then go on pace and if you feel good at mile 24 then push on to make up the ever so slightly slower start.

    I only tell people to push on 'if they are feeling good at mile 2x' if I am trying to save them from themselves and think they might start insanely fast and then blow up. Which the above plan might lead to. I don't normally believe they really will be feeling good at mile 24.

    What I really think is: if you're not sure of sub 3 (but think there is a chance) and definitely want to manage sub 3:05, pace evenly to halfway in 1:29-1:30, and then try and hold that pace (but don't worry if you fade slightly).

    Ooh, just looked at that marathon pace calculator: that looks insane! He's suggesting running the first miles in 6:39 and the last mile in 7:30 - if I had to do that I'd think I'd massively f***ed up.

  • Vdot52. I think I am going to pace a positive split marathon rather than a negative split marathon as you suggest. The reason being is that the article I have posted above explains that 95% of the top 25000 runners in the London marathon positive split and that it is only really the elite runners or very high mileage runner than tend to run the negative splits.

    No Pain. The following calculator uses previous London marathon results to give a positive split time to reach target time. For a 3 hour marathon it suggests a first half marathon of 1:27 and a second half marathon of 1:33.

    Thanks for you input, but after reading the article I believe this is the right way to go for me. Mainly considering I have not put in enough 20+ mile runs. 

  • Ooh, just looked at that marathon pace calculator: that looks insane! He's suggesting running the first miles in 6:39 and the last mile in 7:30 - if I had to do that I'd think I'd massively f***ed up.

    How come? I think this would suit my style of running, especially based on my half marathons. 

  • literatinliteratin ✭✭✭

    Well, because if I were going for a target time that was a stretch for me I might plan for a positive split with a small fade, but if I were running the last mile that much slower than the first mile, I'd assume I'd gone out too fast and was paying the price for it at the end - that's 51 seconds slower, which is pretty much fading to easy LSR pace.

    I did pace for a positive split last year, because I knew I wasn't as fit as I wanted to be (I thought I could do 2:52), but I also wanted to give myself the best chance of hitting my stretch target (2:50). Sure enough, I couldn't keep up the pace and faded in the second half to finish in... 2:52. It was not comfortable at all, and I know I would have had a much nicer time if I'd paced evenly for 2:52 in the first place, with the same result (but don't regret giving it a go).

    The year before I was aiming for 2:59 but wasn't sure if I'd make it (half marathon PB was 1:25, so it looked just about doable, but not much wiggle room). I paced it the way I have suggested above: first half in exactly 1:28:45, and then was able to pick up the pace around mile 14 and run a negative split for 2:56. I felt great the whole way, too.

  • literatinliteratin ✭✭✭

    PS: I've been injured and not done enough training this year, so I am hoping to run sub 3 in even splits at London in 2 weeks. If I remember I'll come back and let you know how it went.

  • VDOT52VDOT52 ✭✭✭
    Ollz- you crack on. But do please give us your name so we can check how it pans out for you.



    Anyone who fades by 51 seconds had started too fast and is paying for it. As lit says, running even will at least give you a better chance of hitting your target. Also if you really haven't done enough training then going faster at the start is suicidal.
  • Ollz111 wrote (see)

    Vdot52. I think I am going to pace a positive split marathon rather than a negative split marathon as you suggest. The reason being is that the article I have posted above explains that 95% of the top 25000 runners in the London marathon positive split and that it is only really the elite runners or very high mileage runner than tend to run the negative splits. 

    The stats show that because the vast majority in any marathon start too fast and don't achieve the optimum time that they could have done with a more sensible strategy (i.e. starting a bit slower and maintaining it at maybe up to a 2-4 minute positive split, depending on the pace you're running. 

    Basing a strategy to hit a target time based on the results of those who failed to meet their targets (or in many cases had no targets and weren't fussed about times at all) is crazy.

    If you haven't done the training to hit 3:05 running around 7 minute miles in the first half, then you won't get there by running faster off the start. On the other hand if you've run 1:21 for a half with a big fade then running a sensible pace should see you to sub 3 without too much trouble.  But run the first 5k like you did at Bath and you'll be lucky to see 3:15, let alone 3:05.

    Unfortunately I speak from experience on that one!

  • literatin could I ask what sort of mileage you were putting out in training in the run up to these marathons? I haven't been putting in big miles and feel comfortable with half's as have done quite a few now, but not really sure what to expect for the full on race day, especially towards the later stages of the race. That's why I believe a positive split pacing strategy would be best for me. The calculator suggests a 1:27 first half and 1:33 second, which doesn't seem too crazy to me. 

    I plan to loose a bit of weight in my taper weeks to try and help the time. Also I plan to take 2 gels with me and consume another 2 gels that will be given out at mile 12 and 18. Does that sounds reasonable?

    Good luck for London.

    Vdot52 I will try and remember to let you know how it goes. 

  • If you haven't done the training to hit 3:05 running around 7 minute miles in the first half, then you won't get there by running faster off the start. On the other hand if you've run 1:21 for a half with a big fade then running a sensible pace should see you to sub 3 without too much trouble.  But run the first 5k like you did at Bath and you'll be lucky to see 3:15, let alone 3:05.

    Unfortunately I speak from experience on that one!

    Cheerful Dave - thanks for your comments. I understand the logic that an even split or even negative split is the best way to go, but I am certain that if I do this I will fade towards the end and not achieve my target time. Looking back at Bath I believe I could have gone faster if I paced better, but still believe I would have gained a better time by a positive split, just perhaps not so drastically as I did. 

    So you are saying a 1:21 half puts me in good stead for a sub 3?

  • literatinliteratin ✭✭✭

    How little training have you done, Ollz?

    I'd been doing quite a lot of training when I ran those times - probably averaging 65 miles per week, though I'd been a bit unwell and my training hadn't been going great for the one with the positive split, which was why I knew 2:50 would be a stretch. My half PB then was 1:21. This year I missed all of December and averaged about 20 miles per week if that in January, so am feeling a bit under-prepared.

  • literatinliteratin ✭✭✭

    Oh, PS: I have just been back to that calculator. I still think it is bonkers, but I put in the times I actually have run, and looked at how it advised me to pace for them:

    So: in 2014 I ran 2:56:16. It tells me to pace that by running the first half at 6:31 pace. My half marathon PB at the time was 6;29 pace. Running the first half of a marathon at half marathon PB pace is a stupid idea, and if I had done that it would not have ended well.

    The targets it gives me for the 2:52 are more similar to what I actually did, though I had a less aggressive first half pace and a smaller fade. But I can tell you that I felt like absolute shit in the last few miles of that race and was reasonably impressed to be able to hold it together! I definitely would not have wanted to go off any faster than I did.

  • Ollz - generally speaking someone who can run a 1:21 half would be capable of running a sub 3 marathon, assuming the right training of course. 

    I'm not saying you won't fade, but aiming for a big fade isn't right, whatever ultrastu might say.  It's not unreasonable to build in a small margin, the sub 3 pacers at London will do the first half in 1:28 or so.

    BTW, if you're targeting 3:05 as a London GFA time, bear in mind they're quite likely to change when they're announced after this year's race.

  • Literatin - I have been putting in roughly 30-40 mile weeks, consisting of mainly 11 mile runs, a few long runs and a few track sessions to get the speed. However, I have had quite a few weeks out with small injuries so training hasn't been as consistent as I was hoping. Plus I have only done 3x 20+ mile runs so guess I am bricking it about how I will feel in the last 4-6 miles. 

    I am now unsure again how to pace the race. The coach at my local running club says for me to target even splits, but the back of my mind keeps telling me this will not go well for me. Maybe I will positive split, but with a smaller fade than originally thought. Perhaps a 1:28 followed by a 1:31 like Cheerful Dave suggests the pacers go for. 

    Cheerful Dave - I was targeting the time for that reason, but at the same time I will be happy with anything under 3:05 now whether a GFA slot or not. Do you think the GFA time will be reduced? 

  • literatinliteratin ✭✭✭

    Haha, I've only done 2 20+ mile runs. What could go wrong...? I plan to run with the pacer.

    Luckily I am a woman so they would have to reduce the GFA time quite a lot (or something would have to go very, very wrong) for me not to get it!

  • No PainNo Pain ✭✭✭

    Ollz my best marathon was last year, i'm 54 years old and ran 2:57:07 in London and went through half way in 1:29:20. It was the best experience Ive had during a marathon. Passing people in the last six miles rather than getting passed, I think the idea of going off too fast is stupid.

     

  • Ok that puts my mind at ease a bit. Cheers fellow runners!

    What could go wrong? I have my brothers stag do the weekend before. Sure I will survive. I am actually more concerned about taking gels on. I plan to take 2 with me and use the ones at 12 and 18 miles. Having only experimented with a few on training runs I hope I take to them well on the days. My biggest fear is getting the runs (if you know what I mean)!

  • Also what is the deal for GFA for London. As in how slots are allocated for GFA? 

  • Ollz go with the pacer, work on 1:21 + 1:21 +15 will give you 2:57 marathon time, but only if you have put plenty of 20+ mile runs in and quality sessions.

    No pain - just re-read this. What do you mean by it?

    EDIT: don't worry I get what you are saying. Thought it was a pacing thing?! durr

  • TickTockTickTock ✭✭✭

    The Ultra Stu article seems to get a regular airing. I sense most experienced marathoners think it is nonsense! I am sure there is some useful debate to be had about small positive or negative splits but not of the magnitude as encouraged by Stu.

    In summary he observes from his analysis of the data - 95% of people run a positive split therefore you should run positive split.

    He argues this is the optimum strategy. He has no evidence on what target people were going for or what their pacing strategy was. He makes a some dubious assumptions about these factor to support his argument. His statistical analysis would be demolished by a GCSE studentimage 

    Personally I favour even splits. I have had a run some of my best marathons with a negative split. My first sub 3 came from 1:30:15 / 1:29:36 split. Slowing down is not inevitable if you pace it properly!

    Ollz - your 1:21 half suggest quicker than sub 3 but if you haven't done the mileage running a positive split may lead to the 2nd half being a miserable experience.

     

     

  • GladragsGladrags ✭✭✭

    Olz - that means that theoretically you are capable of a sub 3 marathon - but that assumes you have done plenty of 20+ milers and quality sessions. I'm not sure 3 20 milers will put you in that bracket.

    I am not anywhere near the league of the runners who have given you advice - but even I understand that using the experience of the 25000 first finishers at London will not give you an optimum pacing strategy. Most people will end up doing a positive split - some catastrophically so - but that does not make it the optimum pacing option for any of those individuals.

    My best marathon was when I managed 2h 12 and then 2h11. If I can manage a negative split and hit a (realistically set) target time then anyone can. It's not the preserve of the elite.

  • VDOT52VDOT52 ✭✭✭
    On another angle, this is an interesting read about a 10k race comparing to marathon times using weekly mileage as s predictor.



    http://www.hillrunner.com/jim2/id64.html



    I have not done a marathon yet and don't actually intend to in this lifetime but what I do know is that you can not undo the damage when it is done and the second half of any race will be miserable if you start too fast. My 5k and 10k pb's were even splits (well within a second of even) and both times it was an amazing feeling to be passing people who looked as shit as I normally feel after starting too quick. On both occasions, once the pack thinned out, nobody passed me and stayed in front of me.
  • Ticktock - I understand that he may manipulate the data to strengthen his argument, but at the same time the fact that 95% of people do run a positive split suggests that there is some concrete behind his point; whether it is their pacing strategy or not.

    Gladrags - I agree I haven't put in enough long runs, but at the same time I don't have much to loose and would prefer to have a good go at it and see how I feel on the day. A sub 3 would be nice, but I can always do another one if not.

    Conclusion - I am going to pace 1:28, followed by a 1:31 and just see how I go on the day.

    Thanks for all the advice nevertheless.  

  • PhilPubPhilPub ✭✭✭

    I still find it bizarre that someone who is a serial winner of the Beachy Head Marathon can give out such strange pacing advice.  And I'm not bitter that I only came second to him in 2009.  image

  • No PainNo Pain ✭✭✭

    Your half marathon PB is 1:27 so x 2+15 will give a time of 2:57 if you x 2+20= 3:02 so you should be well on for the sub 3:05. But if you went out at 1:27 you will fade a lot more than 15 mins..... Run with the pacer.

  • Big_GBig_G ✭✭✭

    Just as a matter of interest, there was a bit more research done on this recently, which was mentioned on MarathonTALK a few weeks ago.

    http://www.flyingrunner.co.uk/marathon-pacing-part-1-research/

    http://www.flyingrunner.co.uk/marathon-pacing-part-2-physiology/

     

  • Ollz111 wrote (see)

    Cheerful Dave - I was targeting the time for that reason, but at the same time I will be happy with anything under 3:05 now whether a GFA slot or not. Do you think the GFA time will be reduced? 


    There was an email sent to some GFA people this year saying there had been a larger number of GFAs than expected.  If that's the case then there's a good chance they'll change some of the times for next year.  The last time they did this it was done after the race and a lot of people got very upset that they had been targeting the wrong time.

    I would agree with your plan to run a 1:28 first have, provided that's a reasonably even half at 6:40-6:50 pace rather than a sub 40 minute first 10k!  You'd find 40 minutes very easy but you'd make the second half much more difficult.  The hard part for you at MK is going to be avoiding the equivalent of your first 5k at Bath.  Good luck!

    London GFA slots aren't allocated as such, if you have a qualifying time and enter on time then you're in.

«1
Sign In or Register to comment.