So Chester marathon is on Sunday. That’s two sleeps away (help!).
What are my goals for the marathon? Well my first goal is to be able to finish the marathon without major knee pain. I went for a little test run today and my knee still hurts so that hasn’t exactly filled me with confidence. BUT, last year on my last run before Dublin marathon I was still injured and had hip pain, yet during the marathon I never felt it. Sooo maybe I won’t feel my knee pain on Sunday either (wishful thinking). I have never not finished a race but if it comes to that on Sunday then I will have to do it. At the end of the day running is only running and there will always be other races. I need that knee to be able to run a lot more in the future.
But ignoring this knee pain, what are my goals for Chester marathon?
Definitely a pb. That has always been the goal for a marathon and I don’t see why it couldn’t happen this time. But what time am I actually aiming for? I still don’t know.
For about 2 years now I’ve been dreaming about sub 3:30 but it hasn’t happened and I haven’t even been near it. And now sub 3:30 sounds impossible as well. In training my goal marathon pace runs have been just under 5 min/km which equals to about 3:30 marathon. But I don’t feel confident that that time is doable.
There are numerous race time predictors that help you estimate your marathon time based on half marathon time for instance:
Runners world has one here According to this I should be able to run a 3:23 marathon. There’s another one here again predicting me about 3:23 finish. And the McMillan calculator here predicting me a time of 3:25. They all sound very ambitious. My recent half marathon was 1:37:38, double that it’s about 3:15 and according to the first two calculators I’d only spend extra 8 minutes for a full one. Emmm. I don’t think so. Maybe someone else would but not me with my fitness levels.
I managed to find another one that actually takes into account not only your recent race time but your average weekly mileage as well (makes a whole lot more sense to me). That calculator is here According to this one my marathon time would be either 3:37 or 3:39 depending on if I added just my half marathon time or my 10k and half marathon times to the calculator. As I mentioned in one of my previous posts, my weekly mileage has been quite low and since this predictor is taking that into account it’s probably closer to the truth than the 3:23. That’s a huge difference between the calculators!!
So now it comes down to the pacing strategies.. I’ve always struggled to keep my pace consistent and especially in longer races it’s easy to start off way too fast as you are full of adrenaline and feeling great. There’s absolutely nothing worse than realising half way through a marathon that you started too fast because the second half can be pure hell from then on (been there done that). My goal is to try and pace myself so that I can enjoy the whole marathon. That being said, I’m not sure if you should enjoy running a marathon but at least I’d like to feel like I’m still alive at the 30km mark.
I recently read that you should set yourself multiple goals so you won’t be so disappointed if you don’t reach your only goal. For instance goal times that are “Amazing”, “well done”, and “I can live with that”.
I’ve made myself a list of times and how they’d make me feel:
Sub 3:30 = Ridiculously unbelievably happy
Sub 3:35 = Very very happy
Sub 3:40 = Happy
Sub 3:45 = I can live with that.
My previous pb is 3:46, and I do believe I am in a better form than I was when I ran that. So if I break my pb by less than 5 minutes I will be disappointed. I know it’s still a pb but I know myself and I know I won’t be as happy.
The racing strategy is to aim for a negative split (run second half faster than first) but I don’t really know my form well enough and I can’t decide if I should start off with 5:05-5:10 pace and pick it up if I feel good or should I just ambitiously go for the 5 min/km pace and hope it’s not too fast. I’d hate to hit the wall because of my pacing but I’d also hate to feel like I should’ve started faster and I didn’t give my everything out on the course. Also, if I don’t make a plan what pace to stick with but just go with how I feel on the day I know I will go out too fast. I’ll have to decide before Sunday what my starting pace will be… Decisions decisions..
I hope I don’t get DNF next to my name. But all time goals and paces aside, you have to respect the marathon distance, and anything can happen during it. Sometimes it just isn’t your day, and that is okay too.
At the end of the day, my biggest concern is my knee, if that knee doesn’t let me finish then so be it. And if it slows me down then fine, I’ll have to live with a time that’s slower than 3:45 but hey ho, it’s still another marathon done 🙂
Have a great weekend!