Now that you’ve raced or time trialed a half marathon, it is good to evaluate the performance. Was it evenly paced? Did you get the most out of the race and close to max PR effort? Depending on how the race went you can fairly accurately predict a marathon performance. It is important to predict a realistic goal pace so that you have the best chance for success in Boston.
Marathon pace is easy; the challenge is sticking to that pace for 26.2 straight miles and resisting the temptation to go faster early on, which would cause us to fatigue badly and run out of the gas in our tank.
The best way I think to see it is to consider that half marathon pace is that speed for a reason - because it's as far as we can go for 13.1 miles, likewise 10k pace is for 6.2 miles. Now there is a natural slowing of pace between race distances. So from half marathon to a full marathon race we typically slow down 4-6% (4% for most elite in the world). Since we cannot go much past 13.1 miles at half marathon pace and since the marathon is twice that distance, we really do not want to approach half pace until the very end of a marathon.
The easiest way to do quick math to prevent this is to break your marathon pace down into seconds and work from there. If your goal marathon time is 3:30, that is 8:01 or 481 seconds per mile. So 1% is 481/100 or ~4.8 or ~5 seconds. That also means that 5 x 4-5 (4-5%) is 20-25 seconds. So for sure never get close to running 20-25 seconds faster than 8:01 at ay point in the race unless the last 3-4 miles, otherwise you might as well be running close to a half marathon effort (too early on). Fuel efficiency at marathon pace is delicate enough, and it drops considerably the faster you go. (Just like a car does from 50 mph on cruise control to faster speeds).
In fact, there was a recent article that showed how inefficient we are when running with too much lactate in our blood… (which basically means going out too hard, and continuing on once we are forced to slow down). Check out the article here: http://www.runnersworld.com/sweat-science/why-fast-starts-slow-you-down
The best pacing strategy is to stay within 1% of your goal pace to maintain good efficiency. Almost all the world records in the marathon (and PRs in general) are set with an even or negative split pacing strategy. I analyzed the times and splits from CIM 2013 and it shows that the fastest average times overall belong to those who follow that kind of steady running. See here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1g5q2lF66qAGXU6VhJAG2aU1COicAjXHFZHZiZ8GkSiw/pubhtml
We have been doing a lot of running right around marathon pace, but now that a final goal pace has been established you can practice right on it in a few of our workouts, a final prep race, and at the end of some long runs. You’re going to be fit heading into the race; execution will be a disciplined approach to sticking at pace the whole way throughout, even if you feel good and want to go faster.
Free Clinics and Seminars: Fleet Feet Sacramento hosts a myriad of free clinics and seminars throughout the month. Take a look at our calendar to RSVP for everything from Mobility Clinics to Good Form Running to Injury Assessments by Results Physical Therapy and so much more!
Yoga For Runners: Join Hillary Helt, certified yoga instructor and Fleet Feet Sacramento Fit Specialist on March 23rd for this fun and informative 2-hour event. Learn why yoga is the perfect compliment to running and join in a 45 min long beginner yoga class designed to meet a runner's specific needs. Learn More and Register Here.