2019 Goals (Running & Otherwise)

SeePhillyRun’s first blog post! This space will cover current Philly happenings, running advice, cool Philly historical facts, small business musings, updates to our full range of Philly running options, and anything amazing we uncover during SeePhillyRun day-to-day life.

Let’s spin the wheel and see where it stops….ok today’s blog will be about long distance running strategy. I’ll premise this by saying I am NOT a running coach. However, I have managed to get my marathon and half marathon times down lower in my 30s than they were when I was in my 20s. I’m still hitting PRs.

Rocky Running Tour. SeePhillyRun Rocky Steps

How have I done that? In short, I’ve chipped away. Not gone too big and never tried to reduce my times too much from one race to the next.

(Not to get off on a soap box, but this strategy is how I approach life and personal growth in general. Set goals, make them difficult but reasonable, attain them and then set more challenging goals. It keeps you focused and motivated.)

Baltimore Marathon Finish

Now back to our regular scheduled programming, i.e. Running Strategy….

My last marathon was the Baltimore Marathon in October 2018, and I plan to run the New Jersey Marathon in April 2019. My time in October was 3 hours 37 minutes, 15 minutes faster than my previous marathon (DC Rock N Roll), and 30 minutes faster than the marathon before that, which was the Philly Marathon.

So you guessed it, I’m aiming to run the NJ Marathon 15 minutes faster than Baltimore. Which means I am aiming for something between 3:20 and 3:25.

I’m against trying to run a long race at the same pace throughout. That’s not natural. I’m a big believer in the 3 stages model, where you break the run into 3 parts. You run the first part fastest, then slow down for part two and slow down even more in part three. I did not invent this method. RunnersConnect has a variety online of this strategy here!

This method has never failed me. How does it work?

Well, for the NJ Marathon, I’m aiming to do this:

Stage 1: Run Miles 0-13 at 7 minute/mile pace: 91 minutes

Stage 2: Run Miles 13-20 at 8 minute/mile pace: 56 minutes

Stage 3: Run Miles 20-26.2 at 8.5 minute/mile pace: 52.7 minutes

If I can do this, I break the tape at just under 200 minutes, which would be a 3 hour 19 minute-ish marathon - exactly what I am aiming for.

You can apply this to every long race you do - just adjust the math. First half of the race at a pace you can do but is maybe 80-90% max speed. Then add a minute onto your mile pace for the next 25% of the race, then add another 30 seconds onto your per mile pace for the last 25%.

For example if you want to run a 4 hour marathon, you need to run the first 13 miles at 8.5min/mile pace, then next 7 miles at 9.5min/mile pace, and last 6.2 miles at 10min/mile pace.

Just play around with the math to match your goals and cut the distances in half for the half marathon. And make sure you are building up your long runs incrementally to about 80% of the full race distance and demonstrating you can run your desired paces at the distances you need to. And totally lay off for the last 2-3 weeks before the race to make sure you’re fresh!

Feel free to contact us with any questions, ideas, feedback about this running strategy!

Happy running! See you on the streets of Philly.

All the best, Ian