Saturday, April 11, 2015

What is (my) Marathon Pace?

What is marathon pace?

  1. consistent and continuous speed in walking, running, or moving.
    "most traffic moved at the pace of the riverboat"

So, "marathon pace" is the average pace that you run a marathon. Easy. I understand now. Whatever my finish time is, I divide by 26.2, and I have the average pace per mile. Nice.

I have the Illinois Marathon coming up in 2 weeks. So, my marathon pace will be the average per mile pace when I run the Illinois Marathon. One problem...I don't know what that pace should be! Easy enough to calculate if I knew my finish time. That's the problem. I don't know what my finish time should be, or will be, but I do have several targets.

First, basic goal, is to beat 3:30. That is my Boston qualifying time. A 3:30 finish is an 8:00 pace per mile. That seems doable (if the weather cooperates).

Second goal is to run a time that will not only qualify me for Boston, but also allow me to register for the race.  that usually means beating your qualifying time by about 1.5-2 minutes. Let's say a 3:28 finish. That's 7:56 per mile pace. Might be possible.

My ultimate goal would be a 3:25 finish. Plenty of wiggle room for Boston registration. And, it just seems like a fast time. That translates into a 7:49 pace per mile. Hmmmm...that seems fast. Maybe too fast. I can dream.

I guess my marathon pace is somewhere between 8:00 and 7:49 pace per mile. Split the difference and I get about 7:55. I suppose that's what I'll aim for and if things feel good after 20 miles, I can pick up the pace. Right, that'll happen.

Not sure if any of these marathon paces are really achievable with my current fitness level, but they sure seem feasible when I look at race prediction charts. My last race, a half marathon in October in 1:32:35, predicts a 3:15 marathon! I actually think I could run a 1:32 or faster half-marathon right now, but not a 3:15 marathon (7:26 pace). I'll be happy with anything under 3:30 (8:00 pace). It's nice to know the fancy prediction charts think I can run faster. Maybe some day. For now, my heart says to "give it a try." That's what I'll do on April 25.