Friday, October 12


For what it's worth, I think it's almost impossible to start too slow in a marathon. It seems completely counter-intuitive, but you really can't "bank-time," and trying to will kill the end of your race. I've heard that every 1 second per mile too fast you run the first half of a race turns into 2-4 seconds per mile too slow in the second half of the race. The longer the race, the greater the slowing.

Here's my own example: I wanted to finish the Portland marathon in 3:50--an 8:47 pace--so I ran with the 3:50 pace group. Unfortunately the pace leader took us out too fast. At 10K we were at an 8:27 pace; at 9.1 miles we were at an 8:33 pace; at the half we were at an 8:42 pace; at 20 miles we were at 8:45; and at 21 miles, my legs defied my brain by deciding to walk. I managed to get running again, but had to take another walk break at 23 miles, finally finishing in 3:55--an 8:58 pace. I'm convinced I could've finished faster if I hadn't used up all my reserves with the quick start. My mistake was not being confident enough to drop back and let the pace group go as soon as I realized we were running too fast.

That said, I still had a PR. I did qualify for Boston in 2009. And I was fortunate enough not to have gotten my entry in early enough to get into Chicago.


Blogger MS said...

In my first marathon I aimed to go out with the 3:20 pace group, got stuck in the back of the corral, and in the crowds of the first few miles I ended up breezing right past the 3:20 group. It wasn't till about 8 miles in, when they were nowhere in sight, that I asked another runner if he'd seen then.

"Pfft, they're WAY behind us!" he responded.

At that point I'd been on a 3:10-3:15 pace. So I figured if I just backed off to a 3:20 pace the rest of the way, I should still finish far ahead of them, right?

When at about mile 18 everything below my hips cramped up and refused to work any more, I learned the errors in my logic.

October 13, 2007 3:41 PM  
Blogger Jim Evans said...

Exactly - my problem.
I do a great taper and enter the marathon all refreshed and enthusiastic. It seems so easy to glide through the first few miles 15 to 30 per mile faster than I planned.
I must figure out a way to control my exuberance the next time.
Incidentally: I ran one mile splits within an 8 second per mile range at the Sunshine run and got myself a new WAVA PR for a 10K. Even pace does work.

October 16, 2007 4:32 PM  

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