Posted by: pursuingsub17 | July 14, 2009

The math says 4:30 marathon – the mind says 4:00 – which is right?

I’ve been going over the math in my head, using online pace calculators, and doing calculations on paper. The figures tell me a 4 hour marathon is impossible – 4:30 is as best as I can do. Yet when I drive home from work, walk the dog, grocery shop, do dishes, I just keep thinking, “no – that can’t be right. A four hour marathon is possible – look at my most recent completed races.” And I immediately pull out the calculator to “re-work” the figures. Sigh – still the same answer – unless I can pull off consistently running just under 10 minute miles – or run a 45 minute 10k after running easy for three and a quarter hours. Funny how the mind can distort numbers. So what should I believe? The math or my head?

An easy 32k would be 3:30 – that would mean I would have to run 10k in a half an hour. That’s impossible. Okay, make adjustments and determine if it’s possible to run 32k in 3 hours – that would mean 10 minute miles the entire race – which goes against the idea that you run the first three quarters at an easier pace and give ‘er in the last 10. So do I go with that or stick with the tried and true method that I read and hear about over and over. Or maybe I could adjust my walk time so I can finish 32k in 3:15 and run like hell for 45 minutes – which means I would probably lose anything that’s left in my stomache by the time I crossed the finish line. Not exactly a Kodak moment.

Realistically, I could finish the marathon anywhere from 4:20 to 4:40 – depending on what happens race day. I might end up injured again. But in my head, I’m thinking that if I ran a 15k road race in 1:29:05, I definitely could pull off a half-marathon in 2 hours. I know I could have kept that pace up for another 5k. So, looking at that, could I keep that pace up for another 22k after that? If I could do a half marathon in 2 hours – which I KNOW I can – no doubt about that – I should be able to do a full marathon in 4 hours. Or is that too much to expect given that I might poop out after 32k? Which leaves me back to the realistic goal – 4:30 – possibly 4:20.

 However, if I do it in 4 hours, I will be famous for breaking the laws of physics and proving that 3.5 + 1 = 4.


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