Path to Marathon Success - Race Day
by Benji Durden
I have purposely not included a pace chart with times you should aim for because I feel you should listen to your body rather than watch your splits. Marathon courses are seldom uniform so that the same effort from one marathon to the next often won't produce the same splits. Additionally, even the best races may have a mile marker in the wrong place, which will throw off your splits. The effort to maintain splits often isn't worth it because you can get into a yo-yo mode of speeding up and slowing down trying to hit a preordained set of splits.
Instead, try for an effort level that is easier than the Thursday tempo
runs. For at least the first 10 miles, try to maintain an effort that
approximates the sense of being out for a fast long run without working or
breathing hard. Notice your pace, but don't worry about hitting target
splits exactly. Make certain you drink frequently.
At 20 miles, shift your focus to racing; this is where you need to concentrate. But don't go nuts; the last 10 kilometers can seem never-ending if you push too hard. In this final part of the race, it may feel like you're exerting a lot more effort, but you're probably just maintaining the pace you had been running earlier. Whether you maintain or actually begin to run faster, think positively. Even if you are behind the pace you had hoped to run, you'll feel better about your race by finishing strongly rather than struggling to the finish line.
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