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Marathon pb strategy

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Sep 2013
10:45am, 5 Sep 2013
262 posts
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Andy39
Having just read "keep on running. The highs and lows of a marathon addict" by Phil Hewitt, he talks about running faster in the early part of the marathon makeing up for the inevitable slowing near the end. As I'm doing my second marathon in October I wondered if this was a reasonable strategy for a pb
. Or should you always aim for a constant pace?
Sep 2013
10:50am, 5 Sep 2013
5136 posts
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becca7
That is pretty much the reverse of my approach. First 15 miles I keep any eye on my heart rate and my breathing more than my pace. Keeping things nice and relaxed. This ensures that I have enough left in the tank to run a strong second half. I tend to end up with a slight negative split but even pacing is good. I have run marathons where I have tried to bank time and it has made for a very unhappy second half.
Sep 2013
10:56am, 5 Sep 2013
17681 posts
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sheri3004
In theory even pacing is best (or even the holy grail of the negative split)

though in practice the vast majority of people do slow down towards the end. (I heard some statistics on this recently though can't remember where or what they were, so that's not much help.) Probably because they haven't trained enough/paced themselves properly - I am guilty of both of these.

But it's probably best to aim for even pace, setting off too fast is definitely a recipe for disaster. (Course profile can also be a consideration though when planning race strategy.)

*not-an-expert disclaimer*
Sep 2013
11:04am, 5 Sep 2013
2636 posts
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ndellar
What Becca said. You may build up a time 'cushion', but you will end up losing it and more tiime besides by going off too fast. It will result in a slower time overall in my opinion.

The best long distance runs I've had (I mean that both in times and how I've felt) have been where the pace has been even or slightly slower at the start.
Sep 2013
11:06am, 5 Sep 2013
3107 posts
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Jon_T
All of the experts will say even pacing is best and who am I to argue, however, due to an injury and a big drop in mileage before my last marathon, I had decided that I would run hard for 20 miles and hang on for the last 6, I ended up with a 12 minute PB,. I wouldn't recommend it, but it worked for me. The main thing tat is going to decide on how you run is the training you will have completed prior to the big day, there s no substitute for long runs in preparation.
Sep 2013
11:07am, 5 Sep 2013
7352 posts
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Son of a Pronator Man
Faster in the first half is a plan for PB failure, not success.
Set an achievable PB target based on a half marathon ( or longer) recent race.
Train for that target pace ( see P&D thread)
Run at that pace on the day
Sep 2013
11:15am, 5 Sep 2013
5344 posts
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Woffy
Just to add my tuppence, 30 seconds a mile faster for the first 6 miles for me would probably mean a minute per mile slower (at least) for the last 10 miles
Sep 2013
11:37am, 5 Sep 2013
518 posts
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Fitz
I'm no expert but I try for a slight neg split (i.e. faster second half). By slight I mean 51/49 - for a 4-hour target that would be 9:20 pace for the first half, 8:58 for the second.

Of course knowing what that target should be is a whole other box of cheese.
Sep 2013
11:45am, 5 Sep 2013
34 posts
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Wirral Dave
The key considerations are:

* how did the first marathon go - if you felt you went off too fast and were hanging on, perhaps a slower start is more suited for you; if you were fresh at the end then perhaps you can push it more.
* what long runs have you done - if you've done a couple of 22 milers and at least three 20 miles you probably will have the stamina to get a negative split; if you've not been past 18 miles a negative split will be hard no matter what

I find that most advice on marathons are based on what is best for people who can run sub 2:40. I doubt the best thing I could do would be useful for those runners, and therefore I doubt whether the best strategy for Mo Farah is the best strategy for me.

I've not read the book so don't know if he is a super-human runner talking about what works for super-human runners, or is a mere mortal saying what has worked for him. But I think I always look at when people say what works best is to look at the times they're working with and think about whether their advice is likely to be relevant to the times I'm working towards.
Sep 2013
11:46am, 5 Sep 2013
35 posts
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Wirral Dave
But the thing, not 'but i think'.

About This Thread

Maintained by Dodgem
Having just read "keep on running. The highs and lows of a marathon addict" by Phil Hewitt, he tal...

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