3hrs or not 3hrs, that is the question…
Writing about web page http://www.shakespearemarathon.org.uk
… whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the pain and suffering of outrageous pace, or to take my orginal target time, and by doing so make it to the end?
First off, as a bit of an ego massage I've knocked together this image (taken from BBC Cov & Warks) which shows two runners on the absolute start line who came just ahead of me and not far behind me (place–wise). It also shows where I started – next to the loudspeaker at the back.
I've been mulling things over a bit after the weekend and I'm trying to reassess my target time for Edinburgh. There are various formulae to predict times based on previous races – from the traditional "twice your half amrathon plus 10–20 mins" to more complex systems based on several distances. Runners World UK recommend a formula that was developed empirically in the 70s:
which, from my time of 1hr 24mins 41secs predicts a time of 2hrs 58mins 38secs for the marathon. Here are how my times compare:
As you can see my 1/2M times are "better" than my marathon times. I have already completed two 1/2Ms faster than the equivalent of my target time. This begs the question – Should I revise my target time and aim for the golden 3hr target? There are several key factors:
- Coventry was baking hot and an undulating course and yet I felt relatively comfortable and "bettered" my Dublin time.
- I went into Stratford with a groin strain (which didn't surface thanks to liberal application of Ibuleve and a good warm–up, and spanked my Coventry time (and both Dublin times).
- Dublin was pretty windy and I hit The Wall towards the end. I've been training with Lucozade Carbo Gels (and had three just before and during Stratford) - how much will they help me overcome The Wall in Edinburgh?
- It was 5 years between my two marathons and I effectively didn't do any serious running at all between the end of the first and the beginning of training for the second. This time round I've kept a significant amount of my fitness from the first. i.e. I've not put on two stone since Dublin.
- Edinburgh claims to be the second fastest course in the UK, and they've made it even flatter this year – how much will this help? How true is this, and is it simply an artifact of being able to attract top elite runners?
- Training hasn't been as consistent as for Dublin, yet I was effectively doing 3hr30 times for a 3hr45 training schedule. This time round I've been much closer with the times, although still a touch under them.
- I have consistently achieved my targets time and bettered them by some way. If I set my targets higher, will this spur me on?
- I've found the countdown timer on my watch to be an excellent way of keeping track of how I'm doing overall pace–wise, when used in conjunction with the split–timer. It allowed me to keep track of how far behind/ahead of the pace I was at Stratford.
None of these particularly answer the question though. I consistently ran 6:32 miles in Stratford; 3hrs is 6:52 pace. However, this included a 6:43 – only 9 secs under pace. I don't want to find myself screwed after 17 miles because I caned it early on.