When it comes to running a perfectly paced marathon, you generally can’t just go out and run. Start out too fast and you’ll burn out before the finish line. Start out too slow and you might miss your goal time. It’s always wise to incorporate a unique blend of different running components into your training to set a consistent, achievable pace. Namely the holy trinity of long-distance challenges; speed, strength and endurance. Here are some tips for pacing your ideal marathon training around these principles.
1. Set a realistic speed goal
It’s important to set and adjust your goal so that you can maximise your chances of achieving it. First, use a recent race time to predict your marathon time. This can be a good guide for your pace training but keep in mind it’s a prediction and not a given. Be ready to adjust your speed and pace based on your training performance. You can use your prediction time and a pace calculator to determine the ideal metrics.
2. Improve both strength and endurance
When working towards a pace goal, it’s important not to just focus on speed work. Be sure to also add in some slow, longer runs to help with your aerobic strength and endurance. This can also go a long way in helping you not burn out during your training. While it feels less strenuous than speed training, it really assists both physically and mentally in the long run. You can also start running with some pace groups during your training. This also makes keeping to a designated pace simpler.
3. Check your ego at the door
On race day, get your adrenaline under check. When you start your race, you should ideally be running at a pace that feels just a little too slow for at least the first 30-35% of the race duration. Don’t let your ego take over during this early stage, no matter how much the crowds are cheering you on. Keeping a slightly reserved pace, in the beginning, can go a long way in ensuring that you have enough in reserve to do that final push when it could count the most.
Once you understand the basic pillars of pace training, you can begin to sculpt a training regimen over many weeks that will help you meet your marathon goals as efficiently as possible. Not to mention that changing up what you do and experimenting with pace is a great way to keep your training exciting and fresh.