A lot of Lazy Runners who are training to run the half marathon and full marathon are asking me about times, and what time they should set themselves. This is hard one, but I go with these guidelines
If it’s your first event at this distance, run all the way (don’t walk) and finish. That is an amazing achievement and if you do that you really cannot ask anymore of yourself
If you have run this distance before and it has been in the last five years, then you should always aim for a PB, just beat your last time at that distance, which is always a great feeling.
If you would like an estimate time, it’s best to base it on the last 10km race you did, or even your best 10k from the last couple of years, don’t base it on your long training runs as they are usually a slower pace and not really accurate of race time.
I have a chart I follow and here are a few times to look at:
If you can do 10km in 45mins=Half marathon=1:42 Full marathon=3:34
If you can do 10km in 48mins=Half marathon=1:49 Full marathon=3:47
If you can do 10km in 50mins=Half marathon=1:53 Full marathon=3:57
If you can do 10km in 53mins=Half marathon=2:00 Full marathon=4:11
If you can do 10km in 55mins=Half marathon=2:05 Full marathon=4:21
If you can do 10km in 58mins=Half marathon=2:12 Full marathon=4:34
If you can do 10km in 60mins=Half marathon=2:15 Full marathon=4.44
If you can do 10km in 62mins=Half marathon=2:22 Full marathon=4:56
If you can do 10km in 65mins=Half marathon=2:30 Full marathon=5:10
If you can do 10km in 70mins=Half marathon=2:40 Full marathon=5:25
If you can do 10km in 75mins= Half marathon=2:48 Full marathon=5:40
If you can do 10km in 80mins=Half marathon=2:55 Full Marathon= 6:15
You will notice that they do allow for slow down over the distances, therefore you do not just double your times, or quadruple them, and add on a few minutes, as it is hard to maintain that pace over the greater distances.
The body can not sustain the same level of effort over a long run that it can over a shorter run. For most people, the running pace decreases by 4-5% as the distance in a race doubles.
However, as with all calculations other factors can alter the times, the weather, the course, how your training has gone, how well you have looked after your diet and hydration intake etc.
Another way to aim for the time you want is to figure out by the charts what time you want to run and chase a pacer.
Gold Coast will have them in both of the big events; they plan to have two pacers on each time. At the start of the race you need to find your pacers and get close to them, and the idea is that you run with them, and if you stay with them the entire way you should get the time you want.
One thing to remember though is they are human and I have run with some pacers that have really stuffed it up, so keep a check on your own time and pace as well. Another problem is that if you find you can’t keep up you tend to get too disappointed and want to throw the towel in so only use them as a guideline. You may run a better back half and they may be running a faster front half, so as I’ve told you we are all of different paces, it’s no good sticking with someone the whole way if it’s not your right pace and you’re not comfortable.
Another disadvantage with the pacers is they also seem to have the biggest crowds around them and it hard to get a space on your own, so you may like to sit back a bit but keep your eye on him
However, on saying that the pacers are usually great, and some have the best personalities and can be very motivating, so try it out.
There are lots so websites that have race calculators, they can give you a more personalised race time for you to aim at here are links to a couple
http://eifler.com/ I really like this one, it has alot more detail
There are some techniques I like to use in marathons to get my timing right and to run the best race for me...here’s some of the things I do
I always try to break it up into sections. If you know me you will know that I prefer consistent running, I like to run the same pace, give or take, most of the way, I feel that it gives you a good rhythm and if you are comfortable in the pace you can run forever.
I like to look at the marathon as 4 X 10km races with a couple of km’s thrown in at the end for good measure!
I like to start strong, so I would aim at doing a good first 10km (for me that’s 50mins), but for others it would be a good 10km time for them, I assess that 10km run and if it was good and I’m feeling Ok I will go for a another 10km at that pace, so that’s 2X 10km over with, once again at the third 10km I ask myself how I’m feeling, if I’m still good, I will try for a third one at that pace, however if I’m starting to tire I will say Ok, another 10 with 5 minutes added, that gets me through to 30km..now this is where it gets interesting, after many marathons, I’m pretty sure that something is going to give, so what I do with the fourth 10km, is I allow a lot more time, in my instance I would give myself one hour to run it, for me that should be cruisy, or you may just say Ok I will add another 10mins onto my usual 10km.
This works well in a couple of ways, mentally you have just decided to go easy on yourself, you are not out of the race, you have just allowed some rest time in, and physically it allows your body to get used to a slower pace and get some recovery in, there you go 4 X 10km races.
Now you may say what about the other 2.2km, but I can tell you that those are in the hands of God, or any other higher power you may believe in, those just happen so don’t question them. Sometimes they are good and you lift as you can smell home, and some times they go so slow you think you are never going to finish, but don’t worry you will run those last 2.2km.
Another thing I include is the FIAHF (fall in a hole factor), you need to always pencil this in, because there is a strong possibility that it will happen and you need a plan when it does. It seems to come in the last 10km race (between 30 and 40km) and often it kicks in at 35km, but you are never sure when it will happen, and God forbid sometimes it happens a couple of times.
But it’s ok if you are ready for it, you will know when it happens, so you need to be prepared, I just slow right down, I say to myself “yep here it is, it will pass soon”, I keep my eye out for the drink stations and I try to cruise though them very slowly, I always grab two drinks and really slow up while I sip them slowly , making sure I drink every last drop ,this could take a couple of minutes but that’s ok, it aids the recovery.
I feel like I’ve taken time to give myself a little reward, then I look for the next drink stations and do the same, linger a bit, take my time, if there is some food grab it, take whatever anyone is throwing at you, I remember picking lolly snakes off the ground in the Melbourne marathon, there is no room for pride at this stage, it’s all about getting through the FIAHF. It will pass, if you are prepared to acknowledge it and deal with it and Don’t Panic. Whatever, you do don't stop, once you stop it's hard to get the running again, and you have given yourself permission to stop before the finish, which you should never do. If you stop once, it's too easy to do it again, and from there it's a short slide into the gutter, literally, I've seen people do it!
I think if you re not ready for FIAHF, it will come as such a shock that you will stop and then not finish, so I rather you be waiting for it than be shocked by it. When I ran the Gold coast I was waiting for it from the 31km mark onwards, didn’t happen then, so at 35km I was nearly talking myself into it, but it didn’t happen, at 40km I knew it was too late to happen, and I just ran home strong, so it doesn’t always happen, but I’d rather be prepared.
If you have a run a few half marathons, you may wish to break it up that way, run the first half marathon, check your time and then say Ok only one Half to go!! Keep your eye on your time and just count down those km’s.