Once a runner gets familiar and confident with the Half Marathon, he wants to graduate to more… wants to do the Full Marathon !! And the first question which come to his mind is: “What should be my target time?”
Every runner finds the answer in different ways:
“I hear of the 2.15 formula, you should multiply your Half Marathon time by 2.15. My PB in Half is 2:00 hours; so I should target 4:18”
“I think… Sub4 is a decent time, so I will target sub4”
“You know…. My girlfriend just finished a marathon in 3:30… so, no matter what, I have to do it in 3:29!”
There are many ways to approach that question and trying to get an answer. But… what if…. I tell you…. That… when it comes to the first marathon…. That’s a COMPLETELY WRONG question !!!!
The training for the Full will take you to a weekly mileage very high, long runs on Sunday you have never done before… even now you are not sure if you could make it !! Your body will do something it has never done before: not even close to it.
With this in view, the approach is not to “impose” a certain pre-fixed pace coming from some formulas/paper/thought… no, what you have to do is to “discover” your pace, to find out which pace your body is capable to handle. That pace is kind of… already written in your muscles, your mission is to discover it.
For that, you have to follow the plan in terms of distances and intensity. The easy long runs have to be easy; the tempos moderate tough; the intervals tough but doable. With the pass of the weeks, and based on the actual pace of the training, then you can start figuring out which could be your pace for the race.
If you don’t do this, if you get obsessed with the wrong pace… you run the risk of getting depressed because it is not coming, negative thoughts will start building up within, and you may get injured. “No pain no gain” is a very dangerous companion while training for the first marathon.