Saturday, November 26, 2011

Space Coast Marathon Goals, Pacing Strategy & Tracking Info

This is it! In less than 24 hours, I'll be undertaking my 2nd marathon. I'm a little anxious, but I'm far more excited! :) I really cannot wait to experience this and see what I'm truly made of :) So I thought in this post I'd let you in on the thought process behind my goals and pacing strategy. But first, here's how to track me on race day. I'm #248. Jason is #2872

Track Me:
  1. Live results will be posted at as we cross the timing mats for the following splits: 
    • Full = 10K, half, 20 miles, finish. 
    • Half = 5K, 10K, 15K, and finish
  2. I'll run with my iPhone and Runmeter will post my splits to TwitterFacebook, and Dailymile along with a link to a google map where you can track me in real time.
    • The map will update every 5 minutes. 
    • Dailymile, Facebook and Twitter will update every 5 miles. 
    • I'll be able to hear your comments on all 3 of those sites; your happy thoughts and words of encouragement will be most welcomed. 
    • The race starts at 6:15, and I hope to be done no later than 11:15, so you can sleep in and check in on me after you wake up :)
Goals: As always, my #1 goal is to do my best and finish with a smile on my face. I'm going all out on this race, so the smile at the end may be forced and through joy-filled tears, but that's still a goal. My primary time goal is anything under 5 hours, but I'm shooting for 4:50 - 4:55. My predicted time, with an all out effort and perfect conditions, is 4:46, so this is still a bit of a conservative goal. Of course, I'll adjust my expectations on race day according to the weather and how I feel. 

Pacing Strategy: My plan as always is to run negative splits because it is how I perform my best. If I start slow enough, I can pick up considerable speed at the end. I'll run the first half at a comfortable pace, then pick it up for the second half.

I used this race split calculator to determine my splits for various finishing times using very negative splits. A very negative split strategy will ensure I don't start out too fast even if my goal is too aggressive. By following a pace chart for 4:50 it also gives me a little cushion to still finish in under 5 hours, in case I don't speed up as much on the 2nd half or I run longer than 26.2 and thus my average pace on my watch would need to be faster to ensure I officially finish in under 5 hours. 

I am really good at sticking to my pace chart, and thus holding myself back too much, so this is another reason I'll have a pace chart for a 4:50 goal in case the stars align and I'm capable of that. Ultimately though, I know I can slow to an average pace of 11:24 and still make my 5 hour goal. Mile 1 on the pace chart for any of my goals is still slower than that, so I won't screw myself too much if the goal is too aggressive. 

Instead of bringing a full pace chart for all 26.2 miles and obsessing over every single mile split, I'm going to carry the compressed pace chart below showing a range of where my average pace needs to be at key points in the race (fastest = 4:50 finish, middle = 4:55 finish, slowest = 4:59 finish). This will ensure I stay on track but it won't matter too much if I hit every single mile split as long as my average is where it needs to be. 

Wish me luck and if you can login to TwitterFacebook, or Dailymile between 6:15 and 11 am tomorrow and virtually cheer me on! I won't be able to respond during the race, but will hear/read every one of your comments and trust me they'll help :)

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