Race Pace

While I’ve been following a fairly structured training plan for Marine Corps, my projected marathon pace has still yet to be determined. Yes, this is something I probably should have nailed down a couple months ago, but I wanted to see how my favorite injury (shin splints) responded to the training.


My training plan was developed as a mix of FIRST, for the number of days running, and Higdon, for the actual mileage. Small tweaks were made here and there for traveling, upcoming races, and the like. For example, my 20-miler didn’t seem to want to be wedged into the plan AT ALL. The week I had scheduled it on was the day of the See Jane Run 1/2.


Initially I had planned on sneaking in 7 miles pre-race, but the more I thought about it, the more I hated the idea. So I moved it a month out from marathon day, rather than three weeks out. No problem.

That is, until Carly & I started planning for our upcoming race season. The IBM Uptown Classic 10k falls on the same day as the 20-miler.


Of course. I shouldn’t have been surprised. I had been anticipating this race for quite some time now, eager to beat my time from last year. After much debating, I moved the long run back to the See Jane Run day. Overall, I think this is the best option for me because I will be motivated to finish the last 13 of 20 miles if I am in a race atmosphere. Especially with the promise of champagne, chocolate, and a race medal at the finish.


So back to the marathon pace situation. I’ve been doing my speed & tempo runs during the week at an average pace of 10:45-11:10.



The longer runs consist of 3:1 intervals, which average out to about a 13:15 pace. (With the exception of a 7 mile run done on the treadmill at 11:25 pace, which hardly counts as a “long” run)



Do I anticipate using those intervals during the marathon? I’m not sure. For now, this is what works best when we’re dealing with 86 degrees at 5am for the START of our run. Our goal on Sundays is NOT TO DIE.


Do I think I could maintain a faster pace in October temps in the Northeast? Why yes, yes I do. With my half PR at 2:38, this would be an approximate (ambitious?) 5:16 finish for a full (12:03 pace). The McMillan calculator predicts a 5:33 finish (12:42 pace). Do I think I can I maintain either of these paces? Yes and no. The only reason I say no is because, obviously, I’ve never done the distance before. And since I haven’t been running my LRs at goal pace, it’s really hard to say. However, this is the first time I have been properly training for a race. Ever.

Yes, I have completed five half marathons in a less than a year. But for my first, my longest training run was 9 miles and I didn’t run for nearly two months prior to race day. For my second (one month after the first), the only time I ran was a 10k two weeks out. And to achieve half-fanatic status, I got in a few 3-milers and 6-milers, but there was no training. I’m surprised I even PRed in Dallas after being absent from the running scene.

I’ve been religiously nailing my speedwork on Tuesdays, tempo runs on Thursdays, and long runs on Sundays. I am finally training for a race the way I am supposed to be, which is why I say that I have the ability to maintain those paces 26.2 miles.

Ideally, the only goal for your first marathon should be simply to finish. But I want to have a ballpark time of when I will finish. I think I should start conservatively at a 12:30 pace, to keep some gas in the tank for the second half, and kick it up later in the race if possible. Negative splits? Yes please. But what do I know? I’m new to 26.2.

Do you know what your (half) marathon goal pace is? How did you determine it? Do you run that pace on your long runs?

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  1. We are both on the same wave length right now I am also training mcm and it is my first marathon. I have no clue what my ace should Be and have only started thinking about it and the best way to structure my runs. Ooo sigh, it has been interesting figuring this one out!

  2. I suck at this stuff. But my half marathon goal pace is somewhere around 9:00-9:10 min mile because I want to make a sub-2 hour. Which I haven’t been able to do yet. And I don’t run anywhere near that on my long runs. Especially in this heat! In cooler weather I can do it on a good day so I have no idea what will happen with my marathon. It’s really hard to tell when training conditions are so hard. I probably would have reconsidered which marathon I wanted to do if I thought about the training in the heat in the first place. < —- dumb

  3. HI ladies! Found your blog from Carrots N Cake’s blog featuring local bloggers! Can’t wait to read all about your marathon training progress!

    • Hi Ladies ~ congrats on you great run on Sunday and an ice bath with coffee? Wow ~ heck
      of a way to cool off. Should make going in the lake VERY easy right Car?

  4. It is nice to have a ballpark time in your head but you’re right about focusing your goal on finishing. Also, not to scare you but my half PR is 1:52 but my full PR is 4:19…most things you read tell you to take your half pr, double it and add 15 minutes for a good guesstimate of finishing time. Soooo jealous you are running MCM this year. It is an incredible race.

    Way to go on those hot long runs! the early starts are worth beating the heat!

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