I’ve been talking a lot this marathon training cycle about how I’m still finding it hard to keep at my paces. Even when going at marathon pace, I sometimes go closer to 10:15 than 10:30. And when this was happening while training for the Twin Cities Marathon, I decided to change my pace strategy. But I’m not doing that this time.
I know that even though I’m finding it just pushing myself a little (or sometimes even easy) to go at marathon pace for eight or so miles, I’m not training to race eight miles. I’m not even training to keep this pace up for 13.1. I’m training it to keep it for 26.2 miles and the furthest I’ll go at marathon pace in training is 10. Not even half of the final distance.
I know how it feels to try and keep a pace for the marathon now. How much I had to push myself to keep on going once I got past mile 23. And how once I got past mile 14, I dropped my pace down to 11 minute miles. And once I got to the 20 mile mark, I was at 12 minute miles and slower.
Knowing that I can keep around a 10:30 minute pace for 10 miles is something I’m going to need in my back pocket come race day. That’s my buffer to keep my eyes on the goal of a 4:45 marathon (which would be a 10:52 pace). That extra 20 seconds, even over just 10 miles, gives me an extra three minutes. And I know I can keep up a 10:30 pace for longer than 10 miles because my half marathon PR was a 9:55 average pace.
I’m training smarter this time, not trying to go as fast as I can but training to hit my goal. Which is still a PR goal but I’m not basing it on how fast I’m running races now. I want to know that I can create that buffer and push myself through the marathon distance.