Tuesday, 5 July 2011

'Target Marathon pace'

I'm burnt out. Consecutive 40+ mile weeks, compounded by swims, bike miles, tennis and working full time have left me tired and feeling like I'm running on empty. Luckily, with just 3 weeks and 5 days to the San Francisco Marathon, this week is the last big training week before the taper. Right now, it feels like the taper can't come soon enough. I pounded out a quick 10 miles this evening, and before the week's out I'll run two 4 mile max efforts, one 8 mile fast run and 20 miles at the weekend at target marathon pace.

Target marathon pace. So easy to type, so difficult to define...

Because most people can't just run a marathon every day, it's hard to accurately gauge what you're capable of achieving and therefore what pace you should be aiming at. One way is to use a running calculator, like the one available on marathonguide.com. Unfortunately, I pretty much refuse to believe what they've predicted for me based on my half-marathon PB:

Screenshot from marathonguide.com, plus commentary...

3:18! Rubbish. There's absolutely no way I can run that time. 

Judging by my recent runs of 16-18 miles, I could be looking at 8:10 - 8:43 minutes a mile, which would equate to a marathon in 3:34 - 3:48. I would be utterly ecstatic with 3:48. I'd be incredibly happy with 3:59, to be honest. I'd be pleased to run a new PB, ie under 4:05. 

You know what?

I'm going to be happy to finish.

If the hills or the jetlag or the ridiculously early start conspire against me and I run some distinctly average time then who gives a damn? You? Probably not. If you do, I don't care. Me? Not a jot. I'm going to San Francisco, baby! I'm going to run 'the race even marathoners fear'. I'm going to run my third marathon in three years. It will be amazing if I run 3:34 or 4:33. 

I'm going to be very, very happy to finish. After years of fretting about cracking four hours, I can't tell you how much of a relief that is.

Happy running.


2011 to date - miles: 698.97, parkruns: 6, races: 3, miles biked: 54.38, metres swum: 1225

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