Made it through the last long run, preparing for LA in two weeks, using Marathon level 1. This is my 7th Marathon, but first in two years. I had trained for the Fall LA marathon but pulled a hamstring after three months of training. Decided three weeks out to DNS and refocus on spring race. I restarted the plan in November, so I’ve been training for this race from late June to Sept and then again from November-now.
Per plan, I’ve been doing long runs by HR Zone only. Honestly, I have no idea what pace I’ve run until the runs are done (except for this weekend’s 20-miler, where I peeked a few times).
My initial goal was to run < 4hr, beating my 4:03 from two years ago. But training has gone quite well, and I’m wondering if more is possible. My average paces for recent long runs were:
20mi @ 8:46 min/mi (this week); 18.5 @8:48 (two weeks ago); 17 @ 8:56 (3 weeks); 15.7@ 9:02 (5 weeks). All these were zone 2, drifting at end into zone X. On this week’s 20-miler, I fatigued at end, running last few miles in low 9s.
I’ve read your articles on pacing and know you don’t like specific time goals…but I have the 4-hour mark in mind. I’ll be grumpy if I can’t beat my time from 2 years ago.
My plan is to set my watch “virtual pacer” to 8:55mi and run comfortably in zone 2 for at least the first 16, which is virtually certain to be faster than 8:55/mi based on recent runs. With 10 miles to go, I’ll let myself drift into zone X if feeling OK. 3:50 is possible but I’m still seeing somewhere around 3:55, which is A-OK with me.
What do you think of time goal and pacing strategy?
So sorry for the late reply, this one slipped through my net.
I think 8:55 is a perfect target as the first segment. It’s consistent with your training and taper. I’d hold pace that to mile 18, not 16. 16 is a bit early to start to accelerate. Drifting into zone X at 18 is expected, but it should not be crazy higher than 8:55, I’m thinking 8:50 until the last 3 miles, then only accelerate if you feel exceptionally good.