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May 15, 2013 / fionarwbl

Determining The Possible: How Do I Figuring Out How Fast to Run a Marathon?

My last long run is done. 19 miles looping around Central Park. Normally I don’t run long in Central Park as I find the endless loops frustrating, but after two weeks of hopping around in airplanes, vans, coasts, and countries, I guess I was in the mood for familiarity. They were not the most successful miles I’ve ever had (no thanks to the 12hr overnight flight and 3hr journey from JFK to the UWS I endured before going out), but not every run is a winner, and I’ll take any time I get on my feet as money in the bank at this stage.

Technically, this marathon cycle was just twelve weeks. However, I feel like between NYC, Richmond, #redemptionrace, and two unplanned months of step back, that I’ve actually been marathon training for a year now. This training cycle was fun, and I have enjoyed winter training far more than I thought I would, but I’m looking forward to being goal-less for a month or two. Run for fun, go spinning, get my muscles back at Refine, get back into yoga. All those things that took a backseat as I juggled 60 hour weeks with 30 plus miles of running a week.

Is my goal to be this happy during a race?

Is my goal to be this happy during a race?

I have not yet figured out my goals for Vermont. I have ideas about how fast I want to run, how I want to feel, and grand ideas about negative splitting. But I haven’t realistically sat down and thought hard about what I’m capable of, because in all honesty, I’m not really very sure. At the start of training I ran a 1:50 half marathon on little to no training, but haven’t run a race since then, so can’t use any fancy calculators to tell me if I have gotten faster or not. In some ways, I’m going into Vermont blinder to my running capability than going into NYC or Richmond. I have not yet decided how this makes me feel. Am I relieved to have no expectations, or am I frustrated that I don’t have a clear target?

Do you always have goal times in mind for big races? How do you feel when you exceed them, or do not make them? 



Leave a Comment
  1. thethinksicanthink / May 16 2013 12:39 am

    For Richmond, I gave myself a 10 minute time goal window which I really liked (ie between 3:35-3:45). I’d say ask Steph and make a large window of times that you think you are capable of running depending on how the day goes!

  2. Emilia @ Run for Your Life / May 16 2013 9:03 pm

    Yeah I’ve always had a big goal for my marathons, which is why I haven’t done very many. Personally, I think marathons are too much work to just do them for fun haha. For my first marathon, NYCM 2010, I gave myself a big cushion for my goal time and beat it by 21 minutes, which felt awesome. My second one, NYCM 2011, was a disaster and I totally fell apart in the second half, finishing even slower than the first time around. I’d had very strong training, so I was pretty crushed. My third marathon was two months later, Houston 2012, aka #RedemptionRace, where I PR’d and went sub-4. That was the last marathon I ran and had to bail on two others thanks to injuries last year and now I’m kind of in the same boat as you. Training has gone fairly well and my goal for Newport isn’t that much of a reach (sub-3:50 with a 3:58 PR) but I’m nervous and have my doubts about PRing since it’s been so long since the last one and I’d never been injured before then.

    Also curious to hear what Steph says. I’m sure you’ll do great!

  3. 50by25laura / May 24 2013 12:03 pm

    The good news is, Vermont is a REALLY great course for a PR. It has a few small hills so that you’re not using the same leg muscles all the time, but the only significant ones are around mile 8 (1/2 mile long, prob a 3% incline) and mile 16 (STEEP but short, and has tons of crowds cheering you on so it’s actually my fav part of the race). I’m so excited!

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