As I mentioned in my last post, I'm not following any particular training plan for the marathon. But I have made my own loose plan, based mainly on increasing the long run each week, and adding in other sessions from plans I've looked at.
The long run is always at a slower pace than the shorter runs, but I always want to go as fast as I can manage. Last Friday I ran 14 miles, and I had a vague idea that I wanted to run around 9.30 min/mile pace. I knew I could run a half marathon faster than that, and I'd be happy to run a bit slower than that in the marathon. I ran it at 9.25 pace, and felt reasonably ok.
But later I looked at a pacing calulator (on the runner's world website). It calculates the pace you should be doing various training runs at according to a recent race time. The last race I did was the Poppy Half marathon in November, but that wasn't a very good one, so I used my 10 mile race from October. I think I've lost some fitness since then though.
Anyway, after I typed in my time, it told me that my long run pace should be 10.21 - 11.40 min/miles! I wouldn't be surprised if that ended up being the pace in the marathon, but that seems very slow for shorter training runs, and certainly a lot slower than I have been doing.
The calculator also gave me a tempo running pace, which was great as I had no idea what it should be. I suppose that depends a lot on the distance, but it suggested a pace of 8.39 min/miles. So yesterday I put some fast music on my ipod (always a help), and ran 3.4 miles aimimng for tempo run pace. I finished with 8.27 pace, and that included a warm up half mile! So again, the suggested pace seemed a bit slow.
Tomorrow I'm aiming to do a 16 mile run. I suppose I'll try to go out as slow as I can, and see what that 10.21 pace feels like. It might make the run feel easier, or it might mean that I can speed up on the way back.
So does anyone have any advice on this? I'm pretty clueless. It seems to me that if I want to run a certain pace in the marathon, I've got to be capable of that pace or a little faster on my training runs. Or not? Any advice greatly appreciated!