Marathon Pacing -- LA in 2 weeks | 80/20 Endurance

Marathon Pacing — LA in 2 weeks

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    Made it through the last long run, preparing for LA in two weeks, using Marathon level 1. This is my 7th Marathon, but first in two years. I had trained for the Fall LA marathon but pulled a hamstring after three months of training. Decided three weeks out to DNS and refocus on spring race. I restarted the plan in November, so I’ve been training for this race from late June to Sept and then again from November-now.

    Per plan, I’ve been doing long runs by HR Zone only. Honestly, I have no idea what pace I’ve run until the runs are done (except for this weekend’s 20-miler, where I peeked a few times).

    My initial goal was to run < 4hr, beating my 4:03 from two years ago. But training has gone quite well, and I’m wondering if more is possible. My average paces for recent long runs were:

    20mi @ 8:46 min/mi (this week); 18.5 @8:48 (two weeks ago); 17 @ 8:56 (3 weeks); 15.7@ 9:02 (5 weeks). All these were zone 2, drifting at end into zone X. On this week’s 20-miler, I fatigued at end, running last few miles in low 9s.

    I’ve read your articles on pacing and know you don’t like specific time goals…but I have the 4-hour mark in mind. I’ll be grumpy if I can’t beat my time from 2 years ago.

    My plan is to set my watch “virtual pacer” to 8:55mi and run comfortably in zone 2 for at least the first 16, which is virtually certain to be faster than 8:55/mi based on recent runs. With 10 miles to go, I’ll let myself drift into zone X if feeling OK. 3:50 is possible but I’m still seeing somewhere around 3:55, which is A-OK with me.

    What do you think of time goal and pacing strategy?

    David Warden


    So sorry for the late reply, this one slipped through my net.

    I think 8:55 is a perfect target as the first segment. It’s consistent with your training and taper. I’d hold pace that to mile 18, not 16. 16 is a bit early to start to accelerate. Drifting into zone X at 18 is expected, but it should not be crazy higher than 8:55, I’m thinking 8:50 until the last 3 miles, then only accelerate if you feel exceptionally good.



    Ran a great 24 miles. Unfortunately, the race is 26.2.

    Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: went out too fast. Didn’t pull back because it felt really easy. Trouble around 17. Survival mode around 20. Crash and Burn at 22 en route to a 4:06.

    Oh well, a lovely day and the race will still be there next year. The training was great, just got a little greedy on race day.

    David Warden

    Dang it! So close. You’ll get better and better with more experience and recognize the amount of taper euphoria that needs to be accounted for.

    What were your splits at Mile 17 compared to your 4:03 performance?



    I was much faster in 2022 until the end. When I say the wheels came off 24, I wasn’t kidding — last 2.5 miles in 30 minutes.

    Exact same course to this point, with headwind in 2022 making it a little tougher.

    March 2020 @ 17.3 miles: 2:34.23
    March 2022 @ 17.3 miles: 2:31.00

    March 2020 @ 24 miles: 3:40.00
    March 2022 @ 24 miles: 3:37.30

    • This reply was modified 10 months, 2 weeks ago by mkindc.
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