I’m wondering why some people whom I’ve trained with in the past are not getting their sub 4’s or even sub 5’s yet. Meaning, they haven’t gone below 4 hours or 5 hours in finishing a marathon even when they have the potential for doing so. During training, they appear to have the capacity to do so based on their pace during long runs. But this has not translated accordingly during the marathon race. Why is that? Granted, a marathon is a different beast altogether after 20 miles and those who slow down the least at that point till the finish are rewarded with better times. Maybe they started out too fast in an effort to make up for whatever minutes they anticipated to lose in the last quarter of the race. That a common marathoning mistake and it doesn’t usually work and believe me, I’ve tried it. Some people just leave their race in training and that means that they’ve trained so well that they have nothing much left to give during the race when it counts most. For those aiming for a realistic finishing time, here is a tip based on experience: you have to be really obsessive/compulsive in hitting your marks or splits. Click your watch every mile to see how long you covered it, then relax if it’s faster than planned, maintain if you are feeling ok, or pick up the pace on the next mile if you were slow on the previous one (like the March Hare saying “I’m late, I’m late”). Every marathon is different of course, and it depends on what kind of day you are having, but if you trained properly, your body should know what pace feels like, unless of course you went out too fast or tried to overreach beyond (my goodness, what bad grammar!) your aerobic capacity. That’s why I used the word “realistic” earlier. Ask the more experienced racers in your running group. Is the goal time too high than the training indicates? You can also look up on the internet what your realistic finishing times are based on your current level of conditioning and your race times in shorter distances. My best marathons resulted from a different plan. With a que sera sera attitude, I went out with no time goal in mind other than to just finish. What will be, will be, regardless of how long it will take me to get to the finish line. What usually happened was I got there faster than I thought I was capable.
Well, nobody ever said that marathoning is an exact science despite all the information you can find on the internet about how to run one. Pretty soon people will learn what works or doesn’t work for them, and that itself is the challenge. You are an experiment of one.
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