2 related questions about the Marathon Level 1 plan.
I’m wondering where to get in adequate mileage at marathon pace? Most workouts seems to target paces either faster or slower than marathon pace, and I’m a little worried that I won’t get comfortable with my goal pace. I remember that the old plans used to have notes about using the long runs to sometimes target Zone X, which can often be at marathon pace, but I’m not sure how often to do this, and for what percentage of the long run.
Also–I’ll be aging into the 50 year old BQ age group, and am hoping to run around 3:20 at my next marathon. My most recent times at shorter distances, all individual time-trials due to COVID (5k- 20:20, 10k- 43:00, 1/2- 1:37), seem to indicate this is possible, but I’m hoping for guidance on if the Level 1 programs provide enough volume to potentially meet my goal.
The higher-level marathon plans (2 and 3) contain marathon-pace workouts. Levels 0 and 1 don’t because most runners at these levels are challenged just to go the distance. You can split the difference by plucking a couple of marathon-pace runs from our run workout library and dropping them into the Level 1 plan in place of Zone 2 long runs. Alternatively/additionally, you can turn the two steady state runs in the Level 1 plan into marathon-pace runs.
I would recommend that you choose the highest level plan that either your body or your lifestyle can accommodate. Whether or not 3:20 is within your reach, this approach will prepare you to run the best marathon you’re capable of.