Boston 2011

Friday, March 25, 2011

Mortal's Plan

This post is dedicated to Bashkim Zaganjori (be careful what you ask for):

(Before Bash started running and lost all of his muscles)

The Boston Marathon itself will make up only about 3% of my total mileage during this training period from January through early April, but damn, it's going to be an f'n fun 26.2.

With less than 24 days (14 days of that will be tapering) of Boston training left, the hard part is almost over. It's now time to start planning for the fun part, the final 26.2 miles.

Using a popular pace calc spreadsheet designed specifically with the Boston course in mind, I got the following data thrown back at me:

(Click to Enlarge)

This is how my race would break down using a 2:47:30 finish time. I'll go into further details down below.

I'm giving myself a little buffer on both sides of the AA & A goal. I feel that I have a very good shot at sub-2:50 based on my training and performance at the NBHM, but I also feel like I have a fairly decent shot at 2:45 too.

I'm thinking that it's all going to come down to how I feel over the final 10K at Boston that will determine if I crack 2:45, or if the wheels come off completely and Fil beats me.

According to another popular race calc/predictor tool, my time at NBHM has me projected to run a 2:45:44 marathon:

(a 17 min 5K? I'll believe it when I see it)

But I digress.

Here are the vitals of my 2:47:30 projected finish at Boston:

Start Time: 10:00 AM
Goal Time: 2:47:30
Goal Pace: 6:23 (ouch)
Estimated Finish TOD: 12:47PM

Pacing Strategy: Fairly Even Pace
Start Strategy: Fairly Fast Start
Finish Strategy: Maximum Fade (meaning I'll most likely be crawling)

First Half: 1:23:15
Second Half: 1:24:15
Difference: 1:01 (positive split)

I had a positive split of about 6 minutes last year at Boston when I ran a very conservative 1:28:34 first half, and a painful 1:34:33 for the second half. Of course, I was nowhere near the level of training last year that I am at this year, so we'll see.

Also, I've never raced a negative split marathon, ever. Hopefully this one will be the breakthrough run, since I'll likely need a negative split to get under 2:45.

Projected splits and current PR's at the given distances:

5K:   19:52     (17:34)
10K: 39:33     (36:15)
15K: 59:13     (N/A)
20K: 1:18:56  (N/A)
Half:  1:23:15  (1:18:35)
25K: 1:38:35  (N/A)
30K: 1:58:24  (N/A)
35K: 2:18:29  (N/A)
40K: 2:38:36  (N/A)
Full:   2:47:30  (2:55:01)

Projected pace through each mile:

0-1      6:11
1-2      6:20
2-3      6:12
3-4      6:20
4-5      6:30
5-6      6:17
6-7      6:22
7-8      6:25
8-9      6:19
09-10  6:30
10-11  6:30
11-12  6:17
12-13  6:22 (Wellesley Sloppy Seconds)
13-14  6:22
14-15  6:29
15-16  6:08
16-17  6:38
17-18  6:38 (Fire Station)
18-19  6:17
19-20  6:32
20-21  6:44 (Heartbreak)
21-22  6:15
22-23  6:24
23-24  6:12
24-25  6:23
25-26  6:28
.20       6:25

Some other useful tidbits about the course:

If you're interesting in playing around with the above spreadsheet either send me a message on Facebook or shoot me an e-mail at

Of course, all of the planning and spreadsheets in the world won't get you to the finish line if you didn't already put in the hard work.

Just go out and have fun, otherwise, it ain't worth doing!


BadDawg said...

Looks like an ouchstanding plan to me J, make it so.

Scotty "PHAT" Graham said...

OK so you think you can run just 1 minute slower in the 2nd half then the first? I don't know about that. The real key to boston is to run what feels like and easy pace through mile 16. Then you have your work cut out for you from 16 to 21 then glide in from 21 to 26.2. Stay relaxed the first 16 miles. I can't say this enough. I know you can run sub 2:45, just run smart and take plenty of fluids.

SisuJohn said...

Yikes. A lot of data to analyze. Can't believe that many course details were considered. One popular strategy is to be 1 minute behind goal pace on the top of Heartbreak, and then hopefully maintain strength on the the downhills and get it back over the last 5+ miles - that is if your quads weren't left at the Reservoir!

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