Marathon Training & Racing from
Joe Bowman
All 50 States & DC under 3:00
A successful marathon race is all about proper pace and preparation, so it only makes sense that
you combine the two in your daily training regiment.  Preparation takes many forms but pace is just
a simple pace should be easy, right?  It can be, but you better do the preparation.
Starting to feel the relationship?  

Check out the
Training Topics and Racing Topics for general preparation stuff and go to Cool
Running's Pace Calculator for per mile pacing information (or check out the chart below).  Below
the chart you'll see base building logic and on the side bar you'll see three relationship
comparisons that should help you dial in the proper pace.
Race                                Race                                  Race                             
Time          Pace               Time           Pace               Time          Pace

2:45           6:17
2:50           6:29
2:55           6:40
3:00           6:52                 4:00            9:09                5:00          11:27
3:05           7:03                 4:05            9:21                5:05          11:38
3:10           7:15                 4:10            9:32                5:10          11:49
3:15           7:26                 4:15            9:44                5:15          12:01
3:20           7:38                 4:20            9:55                5:20          12:12
3:25           7:49                 4:25          10:06                5:25          12:23
3:30           8:01                 4:30          10:18                5:30          12:35
3:35           8:12                 4:35          10:29                5:35          12:46
3:40           8:23                 4:40          10:40                5:40          12:58
3:45           8:35                 4:45          10:52                5:45          13:09
3:50           8:46                 4:50          11:03                5:50          13:21
3:55           8:57                 4:55          11:15                5:55          13:32
How did you pick your pace?
 It's was a nice round
number; it's a pace you're
familiar with; it just looked
doable?  Who cares
really...but now we need to
see if you've chosen wisely.
#1 - Have you done any
races recently?  Input that
time into
Runner's World's
finish time calculator and
receive estimated finishing
times for 10 other distance.  
Because it gives you 10
other times, you may see
some times in other
distances that seem 'in line.'  
Unfortunately using a
short-distance time to gauge
your marathon time often
gives false hope.  You may
be able to run a 17:30 5K on
very little mileage, but you'll
never survive a 2:48
marathon on that same
#2 - If you went out on a
normal run for an hour, how
far would you make it?  This
is not one of those all-out
tests; you shouldn't be
exhausted at the end.  If you
are, we may have bigger
problems.  It's fair to say that
if you've done your training
mileage, you should be able
to run alittle faster pace on
race day than your normal 1
hour training run pace.
And one more...though a
bit wordy...sorry
#3 -What's your mile speed?
 Again, not an all out
effort...since you need to do
3, 1  mile repeats on this
one, each with a rest period
no more than 1/3rd the time
of the repeat.  If you can do
all three, giving a very hard
effort, and you don't fall
apart on the third one (all
three should basically be the
same), you should then be
able to add 10 seconds per
minute run to your mile time
and you'll come close to
your marathon pace...5:00 =
5:50; 6:00 = 7:00; 7:00 =
8:10;  8:00 = 9:20; 9:00 =
10:30; 10:00 = 11:40; 11:00
= 12:50; 12:00 = 14:00.  But
my mile time isn't a round
number Joe.  If your mile
time falls between 6:00 and
11:59, add 1 to the minute
hand to get your pace
minute number and divide
your seconds into 60 then
multiply that by 70 for your
pace seconds number...i.e.
a 7:30 = 8:35.  If your mile
time is under 6:00, add
nothing to the minute hand
(and I'll see you in sub3
land) and if it's 12:00 or
more, simply add two
minutes to the minute hand.
Recognize that pace is a moving target up until about a month out from the race.  If your training is
going well, you should be getting faster so plan to re-evaluate your pace from time to time.  To help
you improve your pace, you first have to build your stamina and that means longer and longer
individual runs.  Think about these things as you build your base:
  • The Long Run - Regardless of your expected
    marathon time, I just don't see doing a run longer than
    three hours.  I'm not gonna stop you from a longer run,
    but I feel like being on your feet much longer than 3
    hours at one time will zap your legs in the coming days,
    and that's no good.  You've got a mileage base to
    build for goodness sakes.  Same applies for building
    up to your three hour run.  You can't expect to run for
    an hour the first week and then do two hours the next
    week...endurance takes time.  Adding too many miles
    too quickly is a recipe for injury.  The 10% rule (no
    more than a 10% increase from long run to long run...
    and mileage week to mileage week) has always been a
    good measure.  I'd also tell you to be aware of how you
    feel around 2 o'clock the day after your long run.  If
    you're not a bit tired and sore, you have more to give
    in either speed or distance the next week.  A little
    fatigue is expected, but allot (i.e. your legs aren't going
    to cooperate on a run today) means you shouldn't
    increase anything yet.
  • The Medium Long Run - If your long
    run is three hours, then your medium
    long run should be 1/2 to 2/3s the
    length of your long run, so 1:30 to 2:
    00.  Can you make time for a two hour
    run in the middle of the week?  Really
    try to do it at least a few times during
    your training program.
  • All Other - If you only do two runs
    during a week, do the long and the
    medium long...that's five hours at it's
    peak and there's nothing wrong with
    that.  BUT if you only do these two
    runs, you can't really improve. It's all
    about conditioning and conditioning is
    all about consistency.  Beside, if you
    only try to do these two long runs a
    week, these runs will eventually get
    slower and slower.
If you haven't seen the core workouts for a sub three marathon effort, go check 'em out.  You'll see
some general similarities and you'll see some added speed work.  If you think you're getting closer
and closer to a
Boston Marathon Qualifying Time, go look at that page as well and see if it helps you
dial things in a bit more.  And what about a training chart?  Hats off to
Hal Higdon and his Training
Are You
Joe Now