Wednesday, March 10, 2010

My "Be Here Now" Moment

Yesterday I was using my Half Marathon race time to predict what marathon pace I should be able to sustain in my race next month. It's a little tricky, because it was a hilly race, but still there's a pace range it predicts and that range is not that wide. When I plug my HM time in to McMillan's running calculator, it predicts a 4:05 marathon. (9:23 pace).

Initially, I felt disappointment about probably not being able to break the 4 hour mark this time. Sub-4 is a substantial goal and I want it bad. I mean, never say never, but I'm not going to start out the race at a sub-4 hour pace. That in itself was enough to make me feel the disappointment.

Then, I went for my run. The workout called for 3 x 2 miles at MP with a 10% slower half-mile recovery in between. I had been doing this workout at 9:00 - 9:10 pace, so I adjusted it down to 9:15 - 9:25 pace. It seemed slow/easy, but this work out is not supposed to be a killer. By rep number 3, I was really thinking 9:18 seems right for me for MP. I need to set aside my expectations and work within the range I'm currently at, not the one I want to be at. Get to know 9:18. Up close and personal.

After that run, I went back to the McMillan calculator and saw that 9:18 pace predicts a 4:03:30 marathon, and a 1:55:28 Half Marathon. I believe I would have run 1:55 or faster if Saturday's race was on a flat course. (By the way, next month's marathon is a flat course).

I feel I've started my last 2 marathons with a "wishful thinking" pace plan instead of a feeling of actually knowing what I'm capable of, then working within that pace range to get the best race out of myself. Not surprisingly, the results have been 2 races where I've run out of fuel with 6-8 miles of race left.

I'd really like to duplicate the good race experience I had in the Half next month. I ran within my abilities, but not holding back. I stayed in the moment and as a result, I was "in the race" the whole time. I'm going to make that my "real" A goal for next month.

"Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end: then stop."-The King of Hearts


  1. Let it happen, don't get in the way of your success.

    Why not continue running the workout at the faster pace you are already at? Running faster will help your efficiency at all distances and speeds. I would be careful with intentionally slowing yourself down, especially since the slower pace felt so easy.

  2. I agree with Sean. If it feels too easy, don't turn it into junk miles.

    And I try to come up with something that I think is realistic for me to hit when it comes to race pace, but I always go out with the intention of going for the best pace I feel is realistically possible. Sure I'm always dead at the end of the race, but that's the way I think I should I gave it my all and didn't waste any of my potential. So if you think it's possible to squeeze a few more minutes out of yourself to hit 4 hours...might just be worth a shot! Never underestimate the ability of the mind to push the body beyond the point you thought it could go.

  3. I would definitely NOT slow down on your workout runs.

    Based on your recent race report on the half marathon and the December race report for the full marathon it seems like you will be good to go for 4:00. (Even if you pee yourself again.)

    Personally I would go out with a 4:00 pace group and ride along. In your December marathon you really bounced around in your pace alot and that is probably what hurt you. (remember to walk 5 or 6 steps at each water stop so you get your needed fuel, then catch up to the pace group slowly)

  4. 9:18 sounds like a good "begin the marathon" pace for you, but I certainly wouldn't slow my speedier workouts down to that. Good luck with the 4:00, it sounds doable for you.

  5. I have absolutely no advice to give you:) I am so not qualified! All I can say is that I know you are capable of finishing strong and running a great pace:) It wouldn't hurt to move up with the 4:00 pacers and just see what happens!

  6. I think you know what you are really capable of and that you are a strong runner. I say go for the sub 4, I have confidence that you can do it .

  7. You've got a good attitude there, and lots of good "testing" to back it up. I think I've started out plenty of races at the "wishful thinking" pace too as opposed to just letting it go and running at a pace I can maintain. Then at the end, maybe adding a bit more speed ;)

    I'm hoping for a sub 4 someday too. Although I'm WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY farther off than you are!

  8. You've got a great attitude, remain strong! I don't take those race calculator predictions with much merit...yea, they give us an indication of what we could do but there are so many variables that may, or may not, give us that time. Some of us are just better marathoners than halves, for instance. Slow your long run down so you recover well but keep the intensity up for your shorter runs. All's going to be great!!! I'm very excited for your half. Have a great weekend!!

  9. I agree w/ Sean. I only 50% agree with McMillan anyway. Some people are faster on the shorter side, some people are faster on the longer side.

    run by feel, and everything else will fall into place.