Monday, February 4, 2013

January 28-February 3: Finalizing the Marathon Goal Time

 Since last week wrapped up the bulk of marathon training and marked the beginning of taper, I’ve pretty much collected any and all information that I’ll gather about my running fitness headed into this race. Which means that it’s time to pick a goal time already.

Yes, the goal is sub-4 hours, but as many people have observed, my paces during tempo runs, track workouts, and long runs all indicate that I could go a tad faster. All sorts of time predictions have flown around, and just to make things even more complicated, the long run this week had a substantial section targeting a build towards marathon race pace.

It seems like sub-4 hours is quite attainable, but I feel like I can reach for even more. So I’m going to make 3:59:59 the B-goal (for the record, the “B” stands for “not allowed to b**** about any time faster than this”), and try for something just a little faster as my A-goal. I chatted with a bunch of people about potential time targets, and finally met with my coach to settle on a solid plan for a solid race.

Unfortunately, said plan involves a lot of REST in the next two weeks. It will be worth it for the good marathon, time, though. Really.

Monday: Rest day.

Tuesday: In the morning, a 5.66 mile run, with a 20 minute tempo section at 8:14 pace, followed by hill repeats. In the evening, 10 minutes of pool running with Amanda before a 4000 yard sprint-heavy swim with DCRP Masters.

Wednesday: A 5.72 mile track workout, including 5x1200m (5:48-5:35-5:40-5:41-5:43).

Thursday: 4100 yards of fairly easy/slow swimming in the morning, 40 minutes of strength training and stretching in the evening.

Friday: A 1:20 trainer ride, where I played around with theoretical target ironman and half ironman power target ranges. Based on my functional threshold power test, my “ironman power range” is 134-156W and my “half ironman power range” is 160-170W. The set was 2x(15 minutes at ironman power-10 minutes at half ironman power-5 minutes recovery).
I held the power ranges OK (140W for the ironman sections and 164W for the half ironman sections), but the concept of holding that half ironman power range for 56 miles is a tad intimidating. I also found it tough to maintain steady power in both ranges, as evidenced by the variability within the intervals. I suppose it is just a matter of experience, which I’ll have plenty of opportunities to accumulate on the bike this spring.

Saturday: A 16 mile long run, with 8 miles at easy pace and 8 miles building to race pace. The first 8 miles averaged 9:31/mile, and from there, I descended from 9:04 to 8:44. Then I spent a good deal of the day debating my race goal time. This is a highly effective mental race strategy, trust me.

Sunday:  1:45 on the bike trainer, with two 30 minute “tempo” (76-90% functional threshold power) intervals. I hit an average of 79% of my functional threshold power for both of these (157W and 158W), and it was nice to have something to break up the monotony of a long trainer ride that didn’t totally trash my legs.


  1. I am hoping you achieve the goal. I do agree though that your training has been really spot on and that I could see a sub 4 hour marathon.

  2. You'll crush the 4, I'm sure of it.

  3. Sub 4 all the way! I will be cheering for you!!!

  4. Based on your training, I reckon you could run a 3:50. You've got that sub-4 for sure!


  5. Soooo what is the goal?! I think you can go sub 3:50 as well. I was training at around those paces before I went sub 3:50 last year at Surf City. Obviously different race conditions, etc can make a different, but that's my two cents!

    1. I have a goal range...3:50-3:55. We'll see how it goes...

  6. You continue to blow me away with your swimming, biking, and running talents! I think sub-3:50 is definitely feasible, so try to trust the taper--and know you put in the hard work. :)

  7. Totally didn't know what "b" goal stood for, thanks! Of course now I am dying to know your A goal - I agree with the above commenter! I am just amazed by how quickly you improved your speed.

  8. you are a total rockstar. love to see how much you're improving!