MMRF Endurance Events

Marathon Training Tips - Week 14

Week #14 – Predicting Your Marathon / Half Marathon Finish Time: Part One – Outcome Goals

There are three types of goals you can set for yourself in relation to sporting events: outcome, performance and process goals. Setting a time goal for yourself for the marathon is an example of an outcome goal. It is our nature to want to set a time goal, but beware!

If this is your first marathon then I personally am strongly against choosing a time as a primary goal. You simply do not have the history or the experience to realistically do so and it can lead to unnecessary stress and disappointment. There are also too many variables involved with the race that are out of your control, such as the weather, and these things can wreak havoc on this type of goal strategy.

Putting all three disciplines together in a race situation is difficult enough. Setting a relatively arbitrary time goal for yourself will only add to all the things you will worry about.

Of course, we all like to shoot for something. If you do have a time goal, my advice is to KEEP IT TO YOURSELF! Don't tell your friends or family what it is. This will significantly diminish your stress level if and when things don't go exactly as you planned. And they rarely do in an endurance event.

That being said, there is one basic formula you can use to predict your marathon finish time. If you have run a half marathon race than you would simply double that time and add ten minutes. So, if you ran the 13.1 mile race in 2:00, then you could guestimate your marathon time to be around 4:10.

My first goal in every race is to finish. Period. I make all my clients strategize similarly. We do often set time goals but they are fourth on the list, behind our Finish Goal, Performance Goals and Process Goals.

The good news is that when you race to simply race your best, you will quite often surprise yourself, often exceeding even your own expectations.

Next week, we will talk about Performance Goals and Process Goals. Performance goals focus on the strategy behind the race, not the outcome. Process goals focus on technique.