Monday, October 26, 2009

Reason #62: Predicting Your Marathon Race Time

When I decided to run the marathon, I had just one goal in mind: TO FINISH. After months of training I have reconfigured my goals to 1) wanting to finish, 2) wanting an enjoyable and memorable first marathon experience, and 3) wanting to shoot for a goal time.

Therefore, I completed a little research on marathon prediction methods to try to figure out what type of pace to shoot for on race day. Here is what I found:

Jack Daniel's Tables Jack Daniels a famous running coach provides a table for predicting any common race time given another race time, based on research and statistics. By using standard values for running economy and having performed at least one running distance, a race time can be predicted for another distance. Therefore, you compare a recent race time (ex: half marathon), and from that look to find your projected time for another distance. For instance, my half marathon time of 1:50:48 is comparable to a 3:49:35 marathon or a 7:07 minute mile. Clearly, a longer race will be a better predictor for a marathon time than would be a 1 mile race.

McMillan Running Another marathon predictor is McMillan Running. Like Jack Daniel's table, McMillan takes a previous race time to make predictions. According to McMillan, my 1:50:48 half marathon time is equivalent to a 3:53:41 marathon time or 6:55 one mile. Additionally, the link has a calculator that calculates your Optimal Training Paces (such as optimal pacing times for long runs, tempo runs, recovery runs).

Jeff Galloway's Magic Mile Race Prediction Formula Galloway believes that one measured mile can predict what you could run at longer distances. This assumes that 1) you do the training needed for the distance and time goal, 2) the temperature on race day is 60 degrees or cooler, and 3) you pace yourself correctly. The calculation is simple. Take your one mile time and multiply by 1.3 for marathon pace. Assuming I can run a 6:40 mile, Galloway predicts I can run a 3:47:04 marathon. Riiiight, Jeff.

My Personal Predictions Fortunately, since I have a Garmin 305 wristwatch that tracks my pace and distance, I have an understanding of how I am currently running. See my last Sunday 21 mile breakdown below:

Mile 1: 9:05

Mile 2: 9:16

Mile 3: 9:24

Mile 4: 9:23

Mile 5: 9:19

Mile 6: 9:10

Mile 7: 9:36

Mile 8: 9:34

Mile 9: 9:35

Mile 10: 9:28

Mile 11: 9:39

Mile 12: 9:21

Mile 13: 9:34

Mile 14: 9:29

Mile 15: 9:57

Mile 16: 9:36

Mile 17: 9:26

Mile 18: 9:41

Mile 19: 9:49

Mile 20: 9:15

Mile 21: 9:31

TOTAL TIME: 3:19:24

As you can see, my current pace of 9:29 puts me on track for approximately a 4:15 marathon time. Much slower than the experts' predictions above.

Who will be most accurate? November 22 will be the test!

Inspiration Quote
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. Your playing small doesn't serve the world." Marianne Williamson

1 comment:

  1. Wish I could be more like you, Gill! I just ran a ONE mile run this morning and was thrilled to get under 10 minutes....despite my exhaustion. Keep training!