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How good is close enough?

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How good is close enough?

Post  ounce on Fri Oct 18, 2013 1:02 pm

We all know about the McMillan Calculator.  I plugged in my goal marathon pace for Houston in January and got the equivalent paces for the Half, 25K, and 30K races on my schedule prior to Houston.

This is the first time that I've used paces to give me a target time for warm-up races.  So, how good is it if I don't hit the equivalent pace, but I am pretty close, as a measure of being able to hit my goal time at Houston?

I would think I would need the 30K race, 5 weeks before Houston, to be pretty darn close (like target pace +3 seconds?), all things being equal (including the weather). 

And I would think being spot on for the Half, but missing the 30K pace by +10 seconds/mile might be cause for concern (again, all things being equal).

I hope my question is expressed understandably and it's more than entirely possible that there are factors for which I have not even considered.  Because in the past, if I would run a warm up race for Houston, it was to beat the course-opening cops, just like I would do for Houston.

Thanks for your time.

P.S. - I'm on injured reserve for the Half, due to calf issues.  But I had a sweet run before they stopped me.
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Re: How good is close enough?

Post  Julie on Fri Oct 18, 2013 2:13 pm

3 sec is pretty close. I think close enough. Some days everything just clicks and you have a great race.
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Re: How good is close enough?

Post  Mark B on Fri Oct 18, 2013 3:06 pm

@Julie wrote:3 sec is pretty close. I think close enough. Some days everything just clicks and you have a great race.
+1
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Re: How good is close enough?

Post  nkrichards on Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:01 pm

They are just predictions not guarantees.  If times are close I'd be cautiously optimistic but I might consider a slight change in goal pace if they were much slower unless you could explain the cause.  I wouldn't let a slightly slow warm-up race cause to much panic though.


Edited to add...don't forget to take into consideration whether or not you've tapered and actually raced the warm-up race.  If not and you're running on tired legs you can't expect the same results.


Last edited by nkrichards on Sat Oct 19, 2013 10:57 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: How good is close enough?

Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Sat Oct 19, 2013 10:23 am

I wouldn't worry too much if you are within a few seconds but remember it isn't perfect. For me I know that I am a better half marathoner than a marathoner so I add 10 min to the predictor marathon time but I will train at the paces outlined. You will learn how it works for you by trying to run and train at the predicted paces
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Re: How good is close enough?

Post  Schuey on Sat Oct 19, 2013 11:17 am

Ounce I would say close is good enough and to be honest I won't put to much stock in it. Of all the years that I have been running not once have I had the pace calculator be spot on for all my race times. When i have raced shorter races it would say my marathon time would be x:xx:xx but I have always ran my marathons faster way faster then the calculator. And my marathon times have always predicted faster shorter races and well guess what only once have I hit a t targeted time. That was a 10k Turkey trot.

Why? I think that for me the way that I have trained I have always trained a certain way for longer races therefore my times have have been closer to the predicted times as the distances have become longer but at the same time I don't think those times have hit or been a close as possible due to the fact that I don't normally taper for my tune-up races ( I use them more like a train running).

Also you might find this article very useful in the future by using a hybrid calculator:

http://www.mcmillanrunning.com/followGreg?id=14


I have found this article and use of the McMillan calculator very useful.
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Re: How good is close enough?

Post  Julie on Sat Oct 19, 2013 12:45 pm

Michele \"1L" Keane wrote:I wouldn't worry too much if you are within a few seconds but remember it isn't perfect.  For me I know that I am a better half marathoner than a marathoner so I add 10 min to the predictor marathon time but I will train at the paces outlined. You will learn how it works for you by trying to run and train at the predicted paces
I'm the same way, My 10K and HM times predict much faster marathons than I have run.
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Re: How good is close enough?

Post  carleenp on Sun Oct 20, 2013 7:58 pm

I think it can very widely for different people. I have tended to predict very well using the calculator even with a 5k for predicting my marathon. My last Marathon PR was 30 seconds under the predictor from an 8k and the one before that was about 30 seconds short of a 5k predictor and within seconds of a time predicted from a half . 

But, I know some people who needs to add a good 5 or 10 minutes to the time predicted for the marathon from a half or shorter race. I have also seen people run much better than the predicted times. 

So, without trying it a few times and seeing how it works for you, it is hard to know for sure.
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Re: How good is close enough?

Post  ounce on Mon Oct 21, 2013 9:02 pm

Thanks for the replies.  It seems like determining a different race's pace extrapolated to the goal race is another n=1 sort of exercise.

So, let me flip the question around a bit.

Knowing what your marathon goal race pace is, how much faster do you run a half using your own pace calculator?  And if you've done a 25K and/or 30K, those as well.  Thanks.
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Re: How good is close enough?

Post  Julie on Mon Oct 21, 2013 9:30 pm

to be honest, I don't really use other distances to dictate race pace. I usually just lock in a good steady pace. I'm an internal pacer and a pretty good one. The few times I've tried to do otherwise I've ended up running out of gas.
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Re: How good is close enough?

Post  carleenp on Mon Oct 21, 2013 9:48 pm

@ounce wrote:Thanks for the replies.  It seems like determining a different race's pace extrapolated to the goal race is another n=1 sort of exercise.

So, let me flip the question around a bit.

Knowing what your marathon goal race pace is, how much faster do you run a half using your own pace calculator?  And if you've done a 25K and/or 30K, those as well.  Thanks.
I seem to fairly consistently run a half about about 30 seconds per mile faster than the marathon. I don't use that as a pacing guide. It has just worked out that way.
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Re: How good is close enough?

Post  mountandog on Tue Oct 22, 2013 11:18 am

@Schuey wrote:Ounce I would say close is good enough and to be honest I won't put to much stock in it. Of all the years that I have been running not once have I had the pace calculator be spot on for all my race times. When i have raced shorter races it would say my marathon time would be x:xx:xx but I have always ran my marathons faster way faster then the calculator. And my marathon times have always predicted faster shorter races and well guess what only once have I hit a t targeted time. That was a 10k Turkey trot.

Why? I think that for me the way that I have trained I have always trained a certain way for longer races therefore my times have have been closer to the predicted times as the distances have become longer but at the same time I don't think those times have hit or been a close as possible due to the fact that I don't normally taper for my tune-up races ( I use them more like a train running).

Also you might find this article very useful in the future by using a hybrid calculator:

http://www.mcmillanrunning.com/followGreg?id=14


I have found this article and use of the McMillan calculator very useful.
+1 > I am more of a combo-endurance type and have trouble at the fast end.  Also, I use warm up races as an indicator only.  I tend to train through them and therefore I'm not tapered or optimized in any way.  I might take a day off or a couple of easy days, but that's it.  So if I get close to that time, its good enough for me.
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Re: How good is close enough?

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