Okay, here comes a bit of number crunching of no interest except other runners (maybe).
- My goal for the marathon is 4:35 (hours), based on the McMillan calculator and my actual past workouts.
- My goal for the Yasso 800s this morning was 4:30 (minutes), based on my previous results with mile repeats.
- My actual performance was 4:20, and I felt I could certainly have done another 2 repeats at that speed.
Then I started doing some more online research, mostly in an attempt to find an easier way to explain these to a non-running audience. I didn't find that (so I refer you to the original article about them in Runner's World), but I found a lot of dissent about the use of Yasso 800s, either as a predictor, or as a training tool. You can Google this yourself if you're interested.
I had thought a 4:20 marathon was too good to be true for me at this point, so I wasn't truly discouraged by what I read. Mostly what I take from my reading is that the Yasso 800s can be a decent predictor of performance (and not so much a training tool), and only if the necessary support is there (in the form of long runs, tempo runs, etc.). And that it's best to add on 5-15 minutes to that prediction time anyway. Which brings me right back to a goal time of 4:35. Maybe, possibly, cross-my-fingers, 4:25 if everything lines up beautifully that day.
I guess I'm spending so much time thinking about this because over the summer I've been frequently disheartened by my long runs. For a while it seemed like I just. could. not. do them at the paces I thought I should be able to. Everything else was lining up according to past experience and pace calculators, why weren't the long runs? (Leaving aside the issue of a hellish Chicago summer, of course.)
I had basically resigned my self to "just" finishing, as if that weren't accomplishment enough for my first time out. Although it will help with how I go about the marathon that day if I have a good and realistic sense of what I am capable of.
But finally, things seem to be a bit more on pace, ha-ha. The weather has cooled which makes a world of difference, and I feel like I'm getting a better handle on my pre-long-run nutrition needs as well, thanks to The Dude (still struggling with what to take in during my runs, alas).
I'm getting excited... I'm getting hopeful... what I don't want is to get crazy.
To any runners reading this, what has been your experience in predicting race times?