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I have a spring marathon coming up. My last 3 marathons have been around 3:48. I want to run at 3:45. I have always gone out at either 8:35 or faster and tried to hold pace or else gone slightly fast 8:25 to allow for fade. I was reading Alberto Salazar and he says go out at 8:40 and run the second half at 8:30. I'm afraid to try this because I think I'll fade anyway.<br><br>
I average only about 40 miles a week during training maybe hitting 50 miles on my longest week. I think that part of why I fade is low mileage, but I think I'm stuck with that mileage.<br><br>
Should I try Salazar's slower start?
 

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I am nowhere near as fast as you, but starting out slower has always turned out better for me than starting out faster. In my novice opinion, the only thing you are likely lacking is confidence; I think you could start out at that 8:40 and definitely pick it up for the last half.
 

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I am no expert having finished just 4 marathons, but I did pull off a 3:44 last time. My first mile was 8:38 and I was not "even" by splits, but within a close range (except for an early oops! mile of 8:02) of maybe 8:25-8:35 the whole way through the race except for a couple struggling miles near the end which were close to 9:00. I did not focus on each mile split; I compared my overall time to a pace band instead. After the race I studied my splits.<br><br>
Again I'm not an expert, but I've read and heard that trying to keep an even pace or even starting slightly slower the first few miles (not entire first half though) and then holding a slightly faster than goal pace groove as long as you can have a good chance of proving successful for well-prepared runners on a good day.<br><br>
I don't think I would like the stress of holding a "faster" pace late in the race when I'm already tired, but another runner might be motivated by that.<br><br>
The thing that helped me the most was adding quality workouts (interval, tempo, MP finish long runs) and upping weekly mileage to 50-55.
 

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Start out easy but I wouldn't bank on picking up 10 seconds per mile for the second half. Target to run the first 5-7 miles in the 8:40-8:45 range, then pick it up from there till 11-12 (to 8:30-8:35). Between that point and say 20-21, try to eat into your deficit and build a little cushion...you've got an easy start behind you and you're fully warmed up, but not fatigued at this point when you start running a little faster (think in the range of 8:20-8:30 - no faster unless you're on a downhill).<br><br>
If you can build up 30-60 seconds of bank gradually by mile 21, cut back to your 8:35 pace and see how long you can maintain your banked time. At this point you should be thinking "One more mile at this pace and then I can slow down if I need to." However - rethink that same thought at each mile marker.<br><br>
it takes a great deal of patience and courage to run negative splits. The way I described could give you a negative split but also recognizes the fact that you could still slow down the last few miles...if you have a little bit of banked time, you may be able to stay energized enough to hold onto your goal. If you can get to mile 24 and still have 40 seconds banked, you just need to run 9:05 the last 2 miles and you're there. To me - that is far easier than telling yourself "I've got to continue this 8:30 pace from mile 13 to the finish and I cannot slow down at all." My suggestion allows you to run a little faster while you're still fresh, but not so fast and not so early that you're screwing up your race. If you have a good day you may be able to hold on to the faster pace. If it's an OK day, you have a few chances to slow down a little and still make your time.
 

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I changed my mind - go hard from the gun and hold on as best you can! <img alt="wink.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/wink.gif">
 

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All of my PR's except marathon have come with a slower first half, followed by a faster second half. My marathon PR was not impressive (4:39) but was almost even splits, with the second half a minute or so slower. Hopefully that changes this Sunday!
 

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At longer distances my PRs have splits that are very even. With my 1/2 having the first few miles about 2-3 seconds faster than the closing miles. Opposite for the marathon. Best times are even, and then about 5 seconds faster in the last few miles.<br>
I don't believe in "buffers". Oh, and going out super slow, didn't work for me either. The key is a "little slower", It's hard to make up a 2 minute deficit in the second half....I tried that to get a PW
 

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While it is ideal, few runners run negative splits. Assume you will do a slow fade.<br><br>
I like idea of a nice conservative first part, picking up the pace a bit in the middle the judging things in the last 10K. As Pacer Chris suggested this might bank you a little time.<br><br>
Also 3:45 is often a pace bunny time--you could always give yourself over to the power of the white rabbit.
 

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Although this is true, I wouldn't say it's because few runners can run negative splits. I would say that it's because few runners have trained to run negative splits and are properly prepared to do so. Ideal preparation for negative splits involves finishing a lot of long runs with segments at MP or faster, weekly mileage that gives a runner enough endurance that the marathon distance is not horribly taxing in and of itself, having confidence in the process, and having a realistic assessment of fitness and likely finish time. I would hazard a guess that many people have overly optimistic ideas of their goal times, and as a result they go out at a pace that, although slower than their goal, exhausts them anyway.<br><br>
My best marathons have all been negative splits, and they've been a joy to run. For example, my last marathon I went out for the first 2-3 miles a good 20 seconds slow per mile. I then worked my way towards MP over the next 2-3 miles, still maybe 5-10 seconds slow. I ran as close to MP as I could from miles 10-19, allowing myself to dip under a little bit, but not to really let go until mile 20. I was almost exactly at an even split for my target time at the half, so as you can see, I did dip under MP in miles 6-13, just not by more than 5 seconds/mile. Then I raced that last 10k. I finished around a minute faster than my goal even though I was running into a strong headwind the last 3 miles.<br><br>
Leading up to that race I ran a few long races/long runs in which I practiced this strategy - going out at an easy pace (up to one minute slower than MP) for 3-5 miles and then running anywhere from 9-15 miles at MP. In both of those races I finished a good 20 seconds faster than goal pace, so it gave me confidence that I could pick it up at the end of the marathon and that I would run much faster if I did so. Of course, the fact that I was running 90-100 mpw helped as well, as my endurance and strength were there for me.<br><br>
Runbill, if you have time, I'd recommend working in some 4-6 mile MP segments at the end of 2/3 of your long runs, and see if you can pick it up even further for that final mile. This will at least help prepare you to run hard on tired legs.<br><br>
I would not recommend that - it is my experience that pace groups nearly always try to bank time. At my last half marathon, I was behind the pace bunny for the 3:20 group for the first half mile, and I was shooting for a 1:20 half. Even though they got it in check, in a marathon, early mistakes of that great a magnitude can bite hard at the end...
 

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True for me. My 3 best marathons (all PRs) came with negative splits:<br>
1:37/1:32<br>
1:36/1:32<br>
1:33/1:31<br><br>
What you described is exactly my outlook at the start of a marathon: To plan to run the first 2-3 miles as I would a weekend long run. I have learned that it is detrimental to me to try to hit MP from the first mile. When I run the first two miles like a long run, I've effectively turned my 26 mile race into a 24 mile race. The body (and mind) warms up to the task and I avoid my old common error of running a too fast mile in the early going.<br><br>
Also consider that not all marathon courses are created equal. Some courses (i.e. Flying Pig) naturally set up for a negative split.<br><br>
As for training, my experience is T-pace runs (more than MP) make the difference. Developing the body to process lactate, in my experience, is the major limiting factor in marathon performance. Build up to 40-50 minute sessions at your true T-pace and you minimize the dead legs late in the race.<br><br>
Great input here.
 

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Clearly that wasn't a group I was leading! <img alt="biggrin.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/biggrin.gif"><br><br>
Running with a pace group can be a great thing, but know the leader's strategy beforehand and if it meshes with what you want to do then give it a go. But this is YOUR race - check your watch at each mile mark to make sure the pacer is doing what they said they would (but cut them a little slack - some people freak out if I'm 5 seconds off target for a single mile!) Be prepared to ditch the pacer if they are going out too fast or far too slow.
 

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Hi interesting discussion !<br>
I'm a mere novice haven't only completed 3 marathons so I cant offer more than personal experience. I ran each race faster than the last ( 3:21, 3:18, 3:10) but in each case have finished a lot slower ( 4/5 minutes slower second HM) than I started. I have set off too ambitiously and in each case suffered over last 3/4 miles - though I have managed to achieve my pre race goals.<br>
I guess intellectually I know its better to run a more even race but I've been afraid to trust this. (as one of the posters said it takes courage to start slower but its a courage I dont seem to have.) Psychologically I seem to prefer to have to hang on at the end.<br>
I'm going to try something different at Boston - we'll see how it goes !!
 

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I ran my PR race with practically dead on even splits the whole way. But to do that meant that I had to hold myself back to that pace in the early going. That's when I knew that it was going to be a good day.<br><br>
I've run two marathons as training races with huge negative splits. I ran a 9 min negative split last fall and a 10 min negative split this past weekend. It's amazing what that does. And it's also amazing how the math works out.<br><br>
Example, I got an email from one of my training partners saying that I blew by him just before the 25 mile marker, I was running about 7:30 pace at that point. I went into the results and looked at our splits. In the 1st 10K he was running almost a minute per mile faster than me. But, he bonked on the big hill at mile 22 and I charged, caught him and passed him, and had a time that was almost 5 minutes faster than him. In case you're wondersing, I ran a 1:52 / 1:42.<br><br>
Plus, finishing strong and fast is just plain fun!!!
 

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A separate metric for determining MP, I've found that it's about 35-40 seconds slower than your T-pace.<br><br>
That is, if you've performed a phase of LT or T-pace workouts, then you should feel really comfy marathon racing at T + 35 seconds.
 
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