Thursday, April 14, 2005

How Fast Should I Run My First Marathon?

As I ran my 14K/8.7M run last night I found myself wondering how fast I should try to run my first marathon. I have been running my long runs with an average pace of about 6:30/K (10:30Mi), which would bring me across the finish in 4 hours 30 minutes. On the other side I ran my last half-marathon (HM) in 1:53:29, or an average pace of 5:23/K (8:39/Mi). If I had a really good day and could maintain a pace like this for the entire marathon I could finish in under 4 hours.

Anyway I ran these thoughts back and forth through my head during most of my run. As I had run at almost race pace on Tuesday night, I concentrated on a slower, easier pace, averaging 6:05/K (9:39/Mi). As I stretched after the run I thought about the run I had just completed. The 6 minute/kilometer pace was comfortable, actually feeling rather slow after some of the runs I have been doing lately. My muscles were tired, but this was probably because I ran two consecutive days, not having my normal recovery day in between runs.

I am thinking that my HM race pace is too fast for my first marathon, I was pretty wiped out after the last HM race. I think that I should strive for a 6:00 pace, which hopefully will leave me with enough energy to finish.

I have a question for anyone that has run a marathon, how did your actual race pace compare to your training pace? Or has anyone read what the goal should be?

Haven't run a marathon yet, but have you tried using McMillan's Race Calculator? Its pretty accurate predicting your race times.
Thanks Jon, I tried out the race calculator using my best half-marathon time. Based on this time I should be able to finish in 4 hours if I can maintain the same pace. I also tried a 2 hour HM, I would still finish in 4:15. This is just about what I figured and coincides with my training pace for long runs (about 5:36/K). has a calculater that will list your times for various distances. I suspect your guestimates are reasonable but don't undersell yourself. On race day run the first half at your "comfort level" and heh when you get to the last 10k if there's extra fuel in your system step it up. The mistake I made in my first was going out too strong in the first half and I understand that is a common mistake. I also didn't refuel (gels, salts & gatorades) properly along the way.
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