Aug 09

Marathon Pace Runs, how to run them properly.

IMG_0480When I was handed my training plan for Columbus, the schedule included a marathon pace run every Saturday. My goal marathon pace is an 8:45. Sounds easy enough right? At the end of the run I should end up with an 8:45 pace.

That’s what I thought until I mentioned to a more experienced runner a few weeks ago that my marathon pace run ended up being an 8:53 because I started too slowly. He was confused and asked me to clarify and I told him that I started around a 9:10 pace and worked my way down, trying to catch up a little in the back half of the run. This is the part where I realize I’ve been doing them….


The goal of the marathon pace run is two-fold. One, it’s supposed to get you physically comfortable running at the pace you plan to run on race day, and two, it’s designed to get you to ” feel” that pace. In other words, at any given time during the run, you should know, without the assistance of a watch, that you’re running your correct marathon pace. By learning what marathon pace “feels” like, paces either too slow or too fast are quickly felt and adjusted accordingly. The proper way to execute is to run mile after mile at marathon pace, exactly, or as close as possible (within a few seconds)

Ahhh, now that makes sense.

So last week, I was excited for my marathon pace run. I felt slightly sluggish that morning after the Liberty Mile, and I wasn’t quite hitting my pace. At mile two the earth jumped up and smacked me (yeah, I fell – remember that?) so I didn’t finish my run. :( That was a first.

Today, I gave it another go, with much better success. Paces over the course of 8 miles were as follows: 8:34, 8:42, 8:42, 8:51, 8:44, 8:51, 8:40 and 8:34. They were pretty darn close. Despite the fact that I was very close to hitting my pace and learning what it “feels” like, I wasn’t happy with the level of effort it took. My breathing was a little more labored than I would like it to be. I’ve experience that a lot this summer and not quite sure if it’s humidity, heat, dew point, or allergies or something. But I have 10 weeks to figure out what will make this pace more comfortable.

IMG_0479I’ve done some research and found an article on Increasing Lung Power so I am going to work on that. I’m also planning on incorporating a tempo run into my plan on Tuesdays to add another day of faster pace running. Between these two things, I’m hoping in 3 weeks to see some progress. I’ll keep you updated. 😉

Hope everyone’s summer training is going well.

Columbus Marathon – 71 days and counting.



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  1. Steffany R.

    You are doing amazing! I could never imagine running a marathon at that pace! I’m hoping my efforts of sub-10’s hold up until race day!
    Steffany R. recently posted…Five Things Friday 8.8My Profile

    1. Kim

      The funny thing about that is – you’re so much faster than me! Break down those mental barriers girly! You’ll kill it!

      1. Kristy

        I co-sign what Kim said Steffany. :)
        Kristy recently posted…P&LE Express 4 or 10 MilerMy Profile

        1. Kim


  2. Tina@GottaRunNow

    That’s a great average pace for your marathon paced run! Looks like a good article to read. Thanks for the link!
    Tina@GottaRunNow recently posted…Your Race Reports! (8/8)My Profile

    1. Kim

      Thank you. I will try anything and everything I think will help.

  3. Jennifer

    Did you read the article in the new Runner’s World that said since most people start out too fast you should start the first few miles of a HM or marathon slower than race pace, then spend the majority of the race picking up the pace slightly, then of course running fast at the end. I always thought the goal was to run at an even pace, the one you train for, like you mentioned here. If I did what that article suggest, how do I know I will be able to run faster than the race pace I trained for?! I’m going to stick to maintaining an even pace like you.
    Jennifer recently posted…BCHM Training: Week 2My Profile

    1. Kim

      I love the idea of knowing what my marathon pace should feel like. I’m sticking with this was as well. I have enough other runs that I do negatives splits on, so this one is specifically for marathon pace feel. :)

  4. Nicole @ Fitful Focus

    That’s an AWESOME pace!! If you can hold that for 8 miles 10 weeks out, you’re gunna be just fine!
    Nicole @ Fitful Focus recently posted…Reebok FitHub USQ: A Workout with J2FITMy Profile

    1. Kim

      Thanks Nicole – that’s the kind of thoughts I need in my head :)

  5. Kristy

    When I do MP race runs, I stalk my watch, and each mile is at, or a second or two off, that’s it. I know it doesn’t seem like it, but running 5 sec or more faster per mile, really does make a difference when running so long.
    Kristy recently posted…P&LE Express 4 or 10 MilerMy Profile

    1. Kim

      I am watch less right now (ahhhhh) but it’ll be here Wed and I will be doing the same. I have been using the mile plus app in the meantime and isn’t as easy to stalk. But I believe it would make a difference.

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