The perils of pacing….

It’s been another solid training week.

We decided to go to Edinburgh today to take in the Festival, so I switched my weekend sessions and did my long run yesterday, and the easy run today.

The plan for my long run was 18-22 miles, and with the marathon only five weeks away now I decided to push for the full 22 miles. If I could get that under my belt, then it’s only another 4.2 on race day. Easy!

I’ve been getting bored doing variations of the same route for my long runs, so I decided to go into Dundee with Joanna when she went to work and run home from there. A good plan: new sights, different roads, but just one problem – yesterday it was almost all into a 20mph headwind!

I’ll be honest, after 18 miles I was burst. I’d somehow managed to lose a gel (I still have no idea how that happened), so I had to make do with 2 rather than 3. It wasn’t lactic acid in my legs that stopped me, it was sheer exhaustion. A wee sit on the side of the road did the trick, and I soldiered on to complete the 22 miles.

As race day gets closer, I’ve been thinking about pacing. My goal was originally to aim for a time of 3:45, which was based on my half marathon PB doubled plus 15 mins. From everything I’ve read online that seemed reasonable. That equates to a pace of 8:23/mile – should be do-able based on my race performances from 2015.

However I’ve had this nagging thought at the back of my mind, based on my experiences as a bike racer. In those days, my training and race pacing was based on power. I had a power meter on my bike, which measured the amount of watts I generated. It’s a more scientific way of training.

The problem I have with racing to a power, or pace target, is that it could be a limiting factor. What do I mean by that? Let me explain.

I ‘retired’ from bike racing at the end of 2012, but got my mojo back towards the end of 2013 and did one more season. I was training to power, but didn’t have a power meter on my time trial bike for the first half of the year.

What happened when I raced? I set new PBs at both 10 & 25 miles! I’ve always wondered what would have happened on those days if I’d had a power meter on the bike – would it have slowed me down?

As I embark on my first marathon I find myself questioning the pacing strategy. I’ve raced 2 half marathons back in 2015, both in around 1:45, which is under 8:00/mile. Is 8:23/mile the pace I should run at? Will I be leaving some time on the table? Or will it be bang on based on my training?

I guess it won’t be long until we find out…..

How do you manage or think about pacing when you race? Do you agree that running to a target pace could be limiting your potential?

This week in numbers:

Miles run: 45.1

Time on my feet: 6:46:34

Currie’s consumed: 1