Updated 2010 Boston Marathon Race Plan

April 12, 2010

A slight modification to my race plan that I posted last week. I’m going to go out a little more conservatively, between 6:25 and 6:30 for the first 16 to 17 miles and then pick up the effort through the hills. The hills will be slower but instead of a 6:25 ish effort I want to be closer to what a flat 6:15 would feel like. Then once we get through the hills I’ll pick it up as much as I can. That’s it, nothing left to do but relax between now and the 19th and give it everything on the day.


Portland Marathon Race Plan … Take 1

September 13, 2009

Technically this could be take 2 but I wasn’t really grooving to my initial plugging in the numbers into the spreadsheet attempt so here it is. A few overall points:

  • This is the most aggressive goal I’ve ever set for a race. Not just the time but how close to my limit this goal is. I usually race at a pace where it isn’t all the way at my limit.
  • I decided a month ago to go from a 2:55 marathon goal to a 2:50 marathon, I’m hope I’m somewhere in that range.
  • Hills … I don’t really like them so I need to account for the fun between miles 16 and 18 at Portland
  • The paces listed are targets, I’ll be around that but overall I’ll be able to gauge how I’m doing looking at the overall time at each mile.
  • This plan is for me, I didn’t write it as a template for anybody else. We all have different strengths and weaknesses and need to make our own specific adjustments.
  • All of this may go out the window depending on what Steve says 🙂

I plugged in my plan into the Rogue Portland Marathon spreadsheet and here is my current plan … subject to tweaking and/or major changes 🙂 I’ve broken up the race into 5 sections.

Mile 1 through 8

Take it at 2:50 effort (6:30 pace). In some races I’ve felt terrible in the beginning but things pick up. I’m going to rely on my training and stick to this effort and make adjustments at the points in my plan where I’m supposed to. One or two bad feeling miles can quickly go away so it’ll be about the entire 8 miles.

Miles 1 to 8

Miles 1 to 8

I’ll likely lose around 15 seconds in mile 2 and 3 and on the downhill mile 4 to 6 make up 10 of those. That should put me at the end of 8 miles +5 seconds for a 2:50 marathon target.

The plan is the same for A, B and C for the first 8 miles.

Mile 9 through 13

The beginning of mile 9 is the first checkpoint. The decision here is do I think I can hit a 2:50 or not. If I think I still have it in me then Plan A is in force. If not then it’s Plan C, a less aggressive race plan but hopefully still a PR.

Miles 9 to 13

Miles 9 to 13

Plan A & Plan B

If I felt good (relative term) through miles 1 to 8 then Plan A & B are the same for this section. I need to try and shave some time now for what I’m going to lose in the hill between miles 16 and 18, but not all in one mile. My MGP is close to my limit already of what I think I can sustain so I’ll try and go 5 seconds under that for 4 miles. That should shave 20 seconds and put me at -15 seconds overall for a 2:50 marathon target.

Plan C

This is if miles 1 to 8 are a real struggle and breaking 2:50 just doesn’t seem like it is in the cards. I’ll slow to a 2:55 marathon based pace of 6:40 minutes per mile for this section.

Mile 14 through 18

The start of mile 14 is another check point. Since I just pushed a little for 4 miles I need to determine how that went. More than that I need to get back into a rhythm and just run through the hill in this section where I expect to lose 30 to 40 seconds. If things go well I’ll end this section down 10 to 20 seconds from a 2:50 marathon target which I’ll need to make up in the last miles.

Miles 14 to 18

Miles 14 to 18

Plan A

Don’t push from 14 to 16, stick to 2:50 based marathon effort (6:30 min/mile pace) but no faster and expect to give up 40 seconds in the hills.

Plan B

If the shaving of time in Mile 9 and 13 seems to take too much out then switch to 2:55 marathon based paces. Another 10 seconds a mile slower than A.

Plan C

Keep on trucking at 2:55 paces.

Mile 19 through 22

Don’t push … HOLD!!!

Miles 19 to 22

Miles 19 to 22

Plan A

Stick at 2:50 marathon pace of 6:30 min/mile

Plan B & C

Stick at 2:55 marathon pace of 6:40 min/mile

Mile 23 through Finish

This is a downhill section (according to the map) with some rollers according to Ruth and Steve. So plan to hold effort, well it’ll feel more like pushing … it is a marathon after all. So the miles are 5 seconds a mile faster on the 3 miles that are downhill than Miles 19 through 22. And then back to flat effort last 1.2 miles.

Mile 23 to Finish

Mile 23 to Finish

Plan A

3 miles at 5 seconds faster than MGP then at MGP to squeak under 2:50 hopefully

Plan B & C

I hopefully backed off early enough with the checkpoints where I can just run this by feel and push as hard as I can and see where I end up.


Developing the race plan for the Boston Marathon

February 18, 2009

The starting point for me is my race in Boston in 2006 where I was trying to get under 3:00 hours. Click on the image below to see the details.

2006 Goal versus Actual Results

2006 Goal versus Actual Results

The plan wasn’t too far off. Going into it I assumed the race would mean whatever shape I was in for a flat course + 2ish minutes and that’s what the paces targets were set on. Until the hills try and stick around marathon goal pace (for a flat course) even though it is downhill. Then loose some time in the hills and try and get back to slower than MGP in the finish.

The biggest problem was the first mile which was a minute slow, that was nearly impossible for me to make up. I was also a little slower in the hills than planned and then the motivation wasn’t there since sub 3 seemed out of reach. I haven’t decided on my plan for 2009 yet, it’ll come in early April but I am starting to form a general idea on how to run the race … not the specific paces yet. I do want this to be a negative split race from an effort standpoint, I’m not sure if that means a negative split based on pace yet but we’ll see.


Starting to dial in the race plan for CIM

October 25, 2008

Today was a marathon goal pace run. I’ve been varying my effort between a 2:55 and 3:00 hour marathon finish. That’s an average pace of between 6:41 and 6:53. I’m definitely not in 2:55 shape and I know it, I’m probably closer to the 3:00 hour range but have been doing some workouts at 2:55 to try and condition my body but then run CIM to get the sub 3 hour marathon monkey off my back.

Our run today was a total of 23 miles with a 4 mile warm-up and a 4 mile cool down. The 15 miles in between were at marathon goal pace. Three 5 mile loops with a 2 to 3 minute break in between each loop, which really made the loops a little harder since the legs felt heavier after stopping. My goal today was to run the first set at a 3:00 based pace or 6:53, then at 6:47 and then around 6:45 or so. The actual sets of 5 went a little differently.

5 Miles  Pace
34:43    6:57
33:56    6:47
33:21    6:40

I was off on the first 5 miles but don’t feel bad about it. I don’t run with a Garmin and the first few miles were marked a little short so I ended up thinking I was running too fast and backed off when I really shouldn’t have. I adjusted that for the next sets and knew the first few marked miles would be fast and it was the total time I needed to hit.

The worst part of the run had to be the cool down. After standing around for 10 minutes after finishing the third set my legs felt like lead weights. I managed to keep the side stitch at bay, didn’t ever even get to a point where I had to really adjust anything. I don’t think I’ve gotten rid of it completely so still need to get it checked out but it’s been somewhat at bay for the last couple of weeks which has made workouts much better.

Looking out 6 weeks to CIM it’s time to start visualizing the race for me. I’m thinking through a couple of race plan options. I want to break three hours and that’s the A goal. Now it’s down to the best way to do it. My current thought to break 3 hours is to run around a 6:50 pace (2:59:00 marathon) for the first 20 miles, then see how I feel and decide if I want to pick it up to a 6:45 ish pace gradually or not. If I were being more aggressive I’d go out to average a 6:47 pace or a 2:57:43 pace which is where I think my perfect race day would put me at my current fitness level. It’s funny how a minute here or there on the overall marathon is such a big deal, guess that’s what running at your limits does.


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