Thursday, May 6, 2010

How fast are you gonna go?

I've been asked several times how fast I plan to finish the marathon. I have no aspirations of qualifying for Boston or New York, so the time is ultimately immaterial. I do, however, have a plan.

At first I thought 4 hours would be a good, feasible goal. It was fine until I worked out the math and realized this is a 9-minute mile. I can absolutely do 9-minute miles, but 10-minute miles feel a lot better and a lot easier, especially as the mileage increases. If I can maintain a constant 6 mph I'm looking at about a 4.5 hour marathon. If it becomes 5 hours, that's fine too.

In the end, regardless of whatever time I'm aiming for, the only thing that matters is finishing. If I get to 18 or 22 or 26 miles and my body shuts down, it's ok to walk to the end. My goal is to cross the finish line by my own power, regardless of how long that takes.


  1. To determine pacing, I would suggest the McMillan calculator ( as there is quite a difference between a 5k pace and a marathon pace due to lactic acid buildup during a marathon. If you have any recent race results, you can input them and determine what type of pace might be possible for the marathon. Note though, the calculator tends to be more accurate for marathon runners running high miles per week (45-50+).

    Also, I saw your previous post that had your miles for the week at 14. Is that a cut back week for you? Most marathon plans suggest having a buildup to 25 miles for at least 3-4 months before attempting a marathon training plan as this is very helpful to train the body to run longer distances and avoid injury.

    Good luck in your training.

  2. I think that is an awesome plan! No matter what, just making it across the finish line is what matters. Good luck in your training!

  3. You're on the right track with making finished your goal. More importantly, make pacing a goal. Find a pace that's comfortable, and stick with it as much as possible. Don't go out too fast in the beginning (a mistake I made in my first marathon). Also, 15 miles isn't bad at all right now. I trained for marathon one in 12 weeks, starting from very few miles up to a long run of 20 miles in week 10 before a taper. Just keep running, and seriously begin your training in July. You'll do fine.