Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Predicting my Marathon Perfomance.

So its now just 4 weeks away from the Münster Marathon and i need to figure out what pace ill be running it at. The 'A' goal is to run sub 3:10 which means an average pace of 4:30/km, however just because thats the goal doesnt necessarily mean its realistic. Which is why I scheduled a couple of Half Marathons into my training program so that i could gauge my training progress and get an idea of what pace i should ultimately target.

The latest was the Nordkirchen Half Marathon where i set a new HM PB and ran a 1:34:02 in 21°c. The Münster Marathon is one of the earliest in the Autumn Season, So its hard to predict what the conditions on the day will be like, It could be cold and rather wintery, or it could be very warm. So I am using the calculator at Runworks, which is based on the Daniels running formula to adjust times for various temperatures. Using my performance in Nordkirchen the calculator predicts the following

Temp HM Marathon Pace
16°c (or below) 1:32:48 3:13:13 4:34/km
21°c 1:34:02 3:15:43 4:38/km
24°c 1:34:46 3:17:12 4:40/km
29°c 1:36:23 3:20:28 4:45/km

I have also just run a semi trail race over 20km it was run in 17°c during the morning, This one had a bit of up and down and being on trail doesnt allways allow for a full open stride, but i pulled out a 1:26:11 plugging that into the calculators gives the following

Temp 20.2 Marathon Pace
16°c (or below) 1:25:54 3:07:32 4:26/km
21°c 1:27:03 3:09:58 4:30/km
24°c 1:27:43 3:11:23 4:32/km
29°c 1:29:13 3:14:34 4:36/km

These two race efforts were only 1 week appart, The first left me shattered the second still feeling good and able to train properly. The biggest difference between the two for me was less about the race and conditions on the day and more about the pre-race preperation. For the first id been sick the week before, and then had a large lunch that hadnt digested properly before the race... in the second it was a morning race, with a good meal the night before and a light breakfast.

What this tells me is that my goal of sub 3:10 is dependent on a couple of factors, geting my race preparation in the days leading up to the race right, which is something i can control, but also on the race day temperature and weather conditions. If its too warm then its unlikely that ill be able to hold the target pace required, and a better solution is to dial it back a little to try and avoid a major crash in the final stages of the race.

But the good news is that the target of 3:10 does make for a realistic goal. It will be hard, of that there can be no doubt, and there is no guarantee of reaching it, but that is what racing marathons is all about. stepping into the unkown and seeing if you measure up to the challenge you set yourself. In Vienna i ran a marathon, in Münster im going to race one.

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