Is this wildly ambitious?

9 messages
18/10/2012 at 23:40

Right, long-ish story but bear with me:

After years of failure in the London ballot, I finally decided to take a different approach to running a marathon and have signed up for Paris in 2013.

As of last year, I was '5 miles, 3 times a week' sort of runner with a 41min 10k best as the furthest and fastest I'd ever measured myself. Perfectly happy with that.

Earlier this year though, I signed up for a local half marathon and wanted to do a time I could be proud of, so did (ahem, most of) a quite structured 10-week training programme off the RW website.

I ended up with a time of 1:24:15, which I am absolutely delighted with.

During the Paris booking, I had to predict my finish time, so stuck in 3:15, as the RW 'race time predictor' has me on or around 3hr pace and thought I'd be conservative.

Now though, I'm wondering if the huge step up in distance makes 3:15 a ridiculously optimistic goal? I've never been all that at sport and the 10-week half training was the first time I'd done any proper structured run training (with speed work and the like), although I'd do it again for the marathon.

Is 3 hrs possible? I'd love it, but frankly it all seems a bit much to be talking about 'Boston qualification' times for a first go.

Wondered if anyone with a bit more experience at the 26.2 distance had any thoughts on what I should realistically aim at.

Any input appreciated.

kittenkat    pirate
19/10/2012 at 06:51

Run your first one with a sub 3.30 as your goal. I predict 3.20.

19/10/2012 at 09:35

Guy - those times, given your minimal training prior to achieving them, indicate you have some ability. A 1:24 half will convert to a sub-3 for most experienced runners, in my view. However, as you are completely inexperienced at the distance, we don't know how you will cope/react to the necessary training, and the race itself (particularly the final miles).  So, your submitted goal of 3:15 is about spot-on, I would say. Find a plan , adapt it if necessary to your life/circumstances and see what you get.  The main thing is to concentrate on getting the long runs in - your legs need the impact miles to cope with the distance, and your mind needs to know it can propel your body forwards for a long time!  In conclusion, a first mara is always a voyage of discovery, but if you approach it with the right application, you may surprise yourself - as for goal setting, you'll have a better idea when you're well into your training - maybe a half six weeks out from your marathon to give you a benchmark. A great place for advice/support & much besides is the sub-3:15 thread - come and join in  ! 
Good luck (although luck isn't really involved - no-one ever ran any time luckily . . )

19/10/2012 at 09:45

A bit of conjecture isn't a bad thing, especially for motivation, but really you don't need to be setting any targets for quite a while yet.  At this time prior to London a few years back, I was a relatively new runner with a recent 10k pb of just outside 40 minutes, and when I plugged this in to a race time predictor, the suggested marathon prediction of 3:05/6 or whatever it was made me shudder!  As it happens, over the next few months I took fairly well to marathon training, ran a 1:23 half in March and just missed out on a sub-3 due to conditions on the day.

So, train sensibly according to the correct intensities (i.e. rather than target paces) and don't set your heart on any particular target just yet.  If you can successfully step-up to full marathon training then who knows how much you can still improve not just your endurance, but also your speed over the next few months.  Schedule a handful of warm-up races over Jan-March and keep an eye on the predictors, but bear in mind whatever they say you will probably still want to be a little conservative, as the first marathon really is a step-up into the unknown.

Edited: 19/10/2012 at 09:48
19/10/2012 at 11:00

Grumble... people who hardly train at all getting sub-40 10ks and 84-minute half marathons, grumble....

19/10/2012 at 19:21

Wow, thanks everyone - really great to hear your thoughts on this.

The consensus seems to be that if I get myself a plan, relax about setting targets and just get training, I'll soon have a better idea of what I'm capable of. 

Sounds very, very sensible to me.

Does anyone have a preferred place for picking up training plans or shall I just get trawling the net and see what suits?
20/10/2012 at 00:22
Peter Collins wrote (see)

Grumble... people who hardly train at all getting sub-40 10ks and 84-minute half marathons, grumble....

 

GuyR wrote (see)

 

"I've never been all that at sport"


PMSL!

21/10/2012 at 09:48
GuyR wrote (see)

Wow, thanks everyone - really great to hear your thoughts on this.

The consensus seems to be that if I get myself a plan, relax about setting targets and just get training, I'll soon have a better idea of what I'm capable of. 

Sounds very, very sensible to me.

Does anyone have a preferred place for picking up training plans or shall I just get trawling the net and see what suits?

For your first marathon, Advanced Marathoning by Pfitzinger and Daniels is excellent.  It has 12 and 18 week schedules at varying levels of mileage beginning with 33mpw. 

25/10/2012 at 21:06

No need to read a whole great book if you don't want to though. You'd probably do fine with one of the Runners World plans available on the website for free. Most plans are decent enough if you select carefully according to your current abilities and future goals. What's more important is actually sticking to it and getting in all the training you're supposed to.

Whichever training plan you pick, it's a good idea to start it a few weeks early. That gives you a bit of leeway in case you have to take some time off due to illness or injury. Means you can rest up if you need to without panicking you're missing vital runs. Also means you're less likely to run while a bit under the weather and do yourself more harm than good. And if you do luckily get the whole way through a plan with no enforced rest breaks, you can just repeat a couple of weeks close to the end.


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