chickamauga marathon – goals

Playing Ingress on my long runs around town. Having fun combining the two activities.

Only a few days away from my second road marathon of the year and the tapering is thankfully almost over. I had a nice cold 10 mile jog this morning to start the day fresh and to clear my mind. Only a couple of short marathon paced runs left before the big day on Saturday. So far it’s looking like a cold start to the race with a sunny day.

race strategy

Based on my previous race times this summer and fall I’m projecting a run in the 3:15 to 3:20 range. Which means I should shave off about 15 minutes from my road marathon in April.

The various online prediction calculators:

McMillan Running has me at 3:16:30
MAF (max aerobic function test) projections = 3:16:55 – 3:22:00
Running Foundation = 3:15:12
Runner’s World prediction calculator = 3:13:25
Jack Daniels Running Calculator = 3:13:03

These prediction calculators have worked for me in the past. My previous marathon was predicted within a couple minutes. I do think the last two calculations may be just a little optimistic, but if I run under 3:15 I won’t be complaining about it. All of this depends on a ton of factors of course, how well I feel on the day, the weather, how tough the hills are, how disciplined I am, etc. I’m confident that I’ve put in the work though, I’ve been consistent and put in the miles. I’m not scared of the marathon at all but I have respect for the distance and know that come mile 20 I’ll be trying to dig my heels in mentally.

fist half

The first half of a marathon always comes off as being easy. The classic mistake is to go out too fast because you feel great, then blow up at some point and slow down. I’ve been there myself a few times, starting out all optimistic and full of energy, then barely dragging my feet over the finish line. Most of this can be avoided with a good pacing strategy and realistic goals. Too many go out thinking they can hold a 10k race pace for the whole marathon distance, then end up hitting the wall and having a miserable experience. I’ve learned my lesson now, but to further avoid this mistake I’m going to focus on a negative split, going out at a 7:45 minute mile pace for the first 10k or so. Then progressively increasing my pace. I’d like to hit the half marathon mark in a little under 1 hour 40 minutes.

second half

As the race progresses the mental game becomes increasingly important. Trying to mentally focus on holding good form, on pacing accordingly, not getting distracted, managing the pain, fueling correctly. The last 10-20% of the race seem to be the deciding part. I think this goes for most all races. It doesn’t matter how fast you are in the beginning if you fall apart in the end. If my negative split strategy works out I hope to be almost at a 7 minute mile pace for the last few miles.

a niggle

I’ve been having a slight pain in my left knee the last couple of weeks that has cropped up. Nothing major as of yet, I’m currently in stand-by mode, keeping an eye on it and trying to evaluate the causes. I’m pretty sure it’s something to do with tight hip-flexors and my running gait. So far it hasn’t gotten bad enough to warrant cutting the mileage down, although the taper for the marathon has given me an excuse to anyway. I may have a more lengthy blog post on this injury and perhaps injuries in general in the future, but for now it looks like it should be smooth sailing through the marathon. I’ll be sure to get in some flexibility exercises before then as well.

that’s it for now, happy running