Not sure what pace to run - help please :)

Hi All,

I have been running marathons for a number of years and did 3 hours 16 minutes at London in 2013. I decided that 2016 would be the year I would make my assault on sub 3 hours and my training has gone well. I have loosely been following this training plan and here are some of the key bits of information I have on pace/PBs during the training:

  • I have done about 80% of my training on the treadmill (always with 1% incline) as I was getting injury problems when doing long runs outside.
  • Every run has been completed at 4m12s per KM or quicker.
  • My average pace across all types of runs is 4m05s.
  • 5km PB: 17m23s
  • 10km PB: 36m51s
  • Half (outside): 1h21m32s
  • Longest Run: 38km in 2h40m20s

Originally I was just going to target 02:59:59 but feel like I should target a faster time - based on the information I have given has anyone got advice on what I should be aiming for please?




  • literatinliteratin ✭✭✭

    As you have run marathons before it would be useful to you in making up your mind to compare how your training and PBs compare to when you did your other marathons. What was your HM PB when you did 3:16 and had you been following a similar plan?

  • If you've run everything, including long runs, at 4'12" per km (6'45" per mile) then you're either capable of something a lot less than 3 or you've run your long runs too fast. 

    That aside, assuming you haven't burnt all your matches already, a 1:21 half would indicate something around 2:50 to 2:55 is doable with the right training.

  • My training has been much better than 2013 - I was nursing injuries then so that impacted on what I could do. I ran a similar mileage back then but at a much slower pace and could not do really fast runs as it brought on injury. Overall my average pace for 10k+ runs back then was 4m41s (v 4m08s now). My longest run was 39km @ 5m per km.

  • PhilPubPhilPub ✭✭✭

    Difficult one to pin down, as there are two interesting elements to your training.  First of all, Cougie will be along in a minute to (correctly) point out that you've been running your long runs too quickly.  image  Secondly, with so much of your running being done on the treadmill, you've not really simulated what your legs will feel like after running 26 miles on hard tarmac.

    On the face of it, your HM suggests you could be nearer to 2:50, but if you went out at this pace I've got no idea what point you will start hitting that "OK, this is beginning to feel distinctly uncomfortable" feeling. Somewhere in between maybe?  Set out at 2:55 pace and all being well you should comfortably manage sub-3. If you're feeling good at 18 miles, push on for something quicker.

  • PhilPubPhilPub ✭✭✭

    x-post - Dave sneaking in like a ninja with the long run comment.  image

  • literatinliteratin ✭✭✭

    When you say 'loosely following' the Hal Higdon plan, do you mean 'loosely' as in 'totally ignoring all the stuff he says at the beginning about not running your long runs at marathon pace and running slowly instead'?

  • LOL Phil !

    I think the only genuine predictor is your half time. That was a flat out race.

    You can't tell from training runs - who knows if you're just 'running them too fast' and knackering yourself out. That long run speed. Sheesh...

    How many long runs have you got in. Are you well used to running long ? When was that 38km run ? (and why didn't you just have that as your marathon attempt ?)
  • literatinliteratin ✭✭✭

    I still think it would be useful to know what the OP's half marathon time was in 2013 and how it compared to the 3:16 marathon. I've just had to get my head round the kms, but it sounds like the 2013 longest run took nearly as long as the actual race did; the marathon itself was run at a slightly quicker pace but not much. I suppose this suggests that doing all his training at close to MP didn't lead to total meltdown last time, in which case maybe about 2:55 would be the equivalent based on this year's too-fast longest run?

  • I understand about not running long runs at marathon pace but I had no fixed time in mind when I started my training - just sub 3. I therefore started at the pace I did and was going to pull back if I was feeling shattered or getting injured but that did not happen.

    Therefore, it would help if I re-frame this - imagine I had not said what time I was going for, what would you then recommend that I target based on my training? 

    For the half, that was part of my training programme so if I was really targeting a PB I think I could do sub 80. In terms of long runs, since the start of Feb I have done 29km, 32km, 36km, 33km and 38km all at around 4:12 per km. I have also done a few more in the 20km's.

  • My times over the distances you've ran are very similar this year.

    I'm going to run at 6:45/mile and see how the legs are feeling come 20/21 miles and may try and kick on.

    As you've done 80% on treadmills and at marathon pace though i have no idea how this compares to my miles on the road at a slower pace for my training.

  • Alzad123 wrote (see)

    Therefore, it would help if I re-frame this - imagine I had not said what time I was going for, what would you then recommend that I target based on my training? 

    Well, purely based on the average pace of your long runs and ignoring everything else, I'd say you're targeting something around the 2:30 mark.

    Clearly that's not the case though, you'd need to have been doing speed work at much quicker paces and your half would have been much quicker even as a training run.  I get the impression that most of your training is steady runs all at roughly the same pace, which is the nature of treadmill running I guess.  In that case, I'd stand by my earlier 2:50-2:55 prediction of what you might be able to do.

    That's assuming that your 38k long run wasn't yesterday and was ideally a couple of weeks ago, which might give you time to recover properly.  I fear though that like many others before you you've had your best run in training.  Don't get overambitious and you could still do OK.

  • Thanks for the advice, I think I will aim to go through half way in 01:27:30 and then see how I feel.

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