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3:30 Marathon? Too Lofty For Me?

3:30 Marathon? Too Lofty For Me?

by macdaddy on July 14, 2010 · 9 comments

It seems as if I’m headed for another marathon. I haven’t committed yet, but every time I start to think about one, I get this little smile on my face. My inner-mac just keeps saying go for it, do it, sign up and see what you can do!

I’ve got two running events just over the horizon that I’ve got to get ready for. On August 26th, I’m pacing Pam (I think) over her last 25 miles of the Angeles Crest 100 mile endurance run. Then on September 11th, I’m running (I think) in the McKenzie River Trail Run.

That pacing event is just something Pam and I have been kicking around so I don’t know if it’s going to happen or not. And I’m on the wait list (#11 I think) for the trail run so that too may fall through. But I’ve got to be ready for either, or both, if the chance comes up.

So I’m in the process of making a training plan for them. This is my second week in a row of 25+ miles and I think I’ll slowly ratchet up from there. I’m feeling strong, and fast, and ready to get better. In fact, last night I ran a 10K PR on my treadmill. It totally sucked, but I got through it.

If one, or both, of those events falls through, then I’ll definitely be itching to run a marathon come Decemberish. I’m leaning towards the Las Vegas Rock n’ Roll marathon because a bunch of really awesome fitness bloggers are doing the half and I’d love to meet them in person. But then there’s also CIM which is really close to my inlaws and Pam may be running in that one. I don’t know how it will all pan out, but I’m excited.

So, how fast can I run said marathon? I have no idea. I feel like I trained and raced my first marathon perfectly, but this time I think I need to go for it a bit more. Yesterday, while reading Runners World, there was an article that stated some theoretical criteria for breaking 3:30 in a marathon. Remember, my first marathon was 3:46. The article listed criteria and training suggestions for breaking 3:00, 3:30, 4:00, 4:30, and 5:00. Of course the only one that pertained to me was the 3:30 list. Unfortunately, I don’t think I can pull that time off based on the list:


So, do I really have no chance at a 3:30 marathon? I don’t know, but every time I’ve set a goal for myself in a race, I’ve smashed it. And I’m such a new runner that I really have no idea how fast I can be or how I’ll react when the going gets really tough. So, if I decide to run that next marathon in December, my goal will be 3:30. I’ll train for 3:30, and pace my race for 3:30, and do my best to finish in 3:30. 16 minutes (almost 17) is tough to knock off of a marathon. But I’m not very experienced so I don’t know what I can talk my body into doing.

Have you ever considered a fitness goal that seemed daunting? Did you let it scare you away from trying or did you tackle it head on?

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Liz July 15, 2010 at 7:20 am

I think when I started marathon training 26.2 seemed daunting. I remember thinking after my first six mile run thinking “I really have to do another 20.2 on top of this??” But if you have a training plan and time to do it, I think that helps tackle the goal head on and give confidence to finish.


2 Brandon July 15, 2010 at 7:28 am

I think that would be great if you came to Vegas! As far as the 3:30 time, I think it’s likely doable. You’ve got almost 5 months to train.

For a while, I considered going for the full marathon in Vegas, since I’m already running my first 1/2 on August 15. I wanted more of a challenge then *just* running another 1/2. And if the timing was better, I would have gone for it. The problem is, living in Alaska, I’m unsure about how my running during the winter is going to go. Running on a treadmill just isn’t the same, and the sidewalks are often covered in feet of snow.

So instead I decided to stick with the 1/2, and just work on improving my time from my first 1/2.


3 Kim July 15, 2010 at 10:19 am

I’m going to be honest here, and I’m a conservative runner, so keep that in mind.

Within the next year or two? Yes. By the end of this year? Probably not. It doesn’t mean that it is impossible, but I think it’s just too big of a jump. That being said, what I would do would be to try to get down to 3:35-3:40 (set the pace for that) and if by mile 18 you think you can pick it up to get your time lower, do it!

But, that’s just me. Again, I don’t think it’s *Impossible*, just unlikely. Also, you don’t want to risk injury. (Like I said, I’m super-conservative)


4 AndrewENZ July 15, 2010 at 11:15 am

I think it may be possible for you as you seem to not have too much trouble with running relatively quickly.

When you aimed for 4 you came in well under so you have reserves I reckon.

My own observation is that I don’t handle perceived failure well so I’d rather aim for a PR and if it happens to be under 3:30 that is gravy!


5 Seth @ Fit With a Purpose July 15, 2010 at 12:42 pm

I’d say go for it man!


6 Greg July 15, 2010 at 7:00 pm

I tell people that running long distances isn’t really that hard. It just the mental toughness to keep moving forward. Learning to run fast is a whole different ballgame though. That requires suffering. Having said that though – you did kill your 4-hour goal, so you’ve almost certainly got reserves in the tank. I’d say go for it!


7 Deb July 16, 2010 at 4:42 am

You’ve already proven that you can exceed goals that you set for yourself. Your attitude sounds great and you have a training program in place. I think you’ll be able to do it!


8 Jamie July 16, 2010 at 7:53 pm

You can do it, I’m sure. My first was a four hour goal which I finished in 3:55. I dropped to 3:24 on my second on 50-60 miles a week.


9 tricia July 18, 2010 at 5:26 pm

Go for it!

And yes, I tackle fitness goals head on. January of last year I was 278 pounds and got winded simply walking into a store. Now, I’ve lost 128 pounds and I’m training for my first marathon. Sure its daunting, but I KNOW I can do it.


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