Marathon Race Strategy

26.2As I write this, it is about 15 days until the third annual Run For Life Marathon. I have been training for this race, my first marathon, for the past 6 months. I only have a few more good runs left in the next few days before tapering off and nervously resting my shin splints. This late in the game, there’s no point continuing to train hard since any performance gain wouldn’t be realized until after the race. So, now, it’s time to focus on nailing down a race strategy. Specifically, I want to set a few overall goals, finalize a fueling plan, and really think hard about pacing.

Putting Marathon Pace Calculators to the Test

How can I set a realistic goal without prior marathon experience to base it off of? I know how long it takes me to casually run 16 – 20 miles in mid-summer Mississippi heat but does that translate to a marathon race in October? Luckily, people smarter than me have figured out how to predict marathon race time based on previous times from shorter races. A Google search for “running pace predictor” and a previous half marathon time (or two) are all that’s needed to get started.

For this experiment, I’ll use my most recent half marathon times. These races were run two weeks apart in April and in very different conditions. The Pensacola Beach Half Marathon was flat but hot and very humid… 2:06:16 9:33/mi. The Renaissance Half Marathon was hilly but the weather was great. I also had the benefit of running the last 7 miles with a faster friend pacing me… 1:54:33 8:45/mi.

Plugging in my times, I get:   Continue reading