As my marathon gets closer (22 days left – not that I’m counting!), I’ve been spending some time revisiting my race goals. I have read so many different bits of advice that I need help choosing a goal – and that’s where you come in, Salty readers! I need some fresh eyes and brains to weigh in here.
I have read and re-read the post about Choosing a Marathon Goal, and I still feel stuck! I don’t think the simple approach would be very accurate in my case; the last half I ran was in May, and my training and fitness are very different these days.
My marathon PR is from 2010, a 4:09:XX at Columbus, which works out to 9:30 pace. I used the Marathon Time Converter on FindMyMarathon.com to compare my PR at Columbus to what I could potentially do in Indianapolis. This tool takes the course and weather into consideration, and says I could run about 6 minutes faster, a 4:03. However, much has changed between October 2010 and now.
My original goal was to break 4 hours. Then I used the McMillan Running Calculator to narrow that down a bit more. In July, I set a PR in the 10K for 50:XX, which the calculator says is equivalent to a 3:56 marathon.
However… that race was incredibly hot and humid, and the course was hilly. The Monumental course is relatively flat, and according to FindMyMarathon.com, the mean temperature on race day is 47 degrees. If I still have my 6 minutes, that would put me at a 3:52. This was, in fact, my revised goal that I shared after my last 20 miler.
Another factor at play is that I’d like to run with a pace group if possible, but those are only offered for 5 minute intervals. Should I pick a number that ends in a 5 or 0, or just stick with the pace group for a little while and plan to ditch them at some point? In this situation, would you start with a faster or slower pace group, and how long would you stay with them?
Also worth considering is that I have lost about 20 pounds in the past six months, something which I have seen reflected in my race times. For some perspective, I ran a 53:XX at the same 10K a year ago. I haven’t run many races this summer, so I’m not sure how that will translate to other distances… but part of me says, dang! 3 minutes in a 10K is a lot. That’s another reason why I think maybe I’ve got a speedy race in me!
I feel like I’ve been running really strong, both in training runs and on my Bourbon Chase legs. In fact, my last leg was 8:15 pace, and it felt easy. Well, easy-ish. (You can check out my weekly logs to get an idea of my training.) This cycle marks the highest mileage that I’ve done for any of my marathons. I’m not going to lie, Pepper’s post last week about running vs. racing marathons and putting it all out there struck a chord with me. Should I shoot for the moon and set my sights on something in the 3:40s? Do you think my training supports it?
Salty readers, I need some help narrowing down my goals. I’m torn between being conservative or going after something more aggressive. To make it easier for you, here are some goals I am considering and what they work out to as a pace per mile.
- 3:52 – 8:51 pace
- 3:50 – 8:47 pace
- 3:45 – 8:35 pace
What do you think? What would you do in my shoes?