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This is my first post, and I'm asking for help. I'm a week away from a marathon (my third) and am having a pacing dilemma. My goal is to finish sub-4. My first marathon was two years ago where I finished in 4:40. My second was last year at MCM, where I finished 4:20 on a pretty warm day. I stopped to stretch at least 10 times last year due to cramping and a race day IT band injury.

According to the calculators I've used my finish time equates to between 3:50 and 3:52, depending on which one I use. My last race was a 10K in March with a 48:55 finish. I've faithfully followed Hal Higdon's Intermediate I training program and have followed a fairly steady training routine of 4-6 days per week for the past three years when not in marathon training. None of my marathon training weekday runs have exceeded an 8:50 pace, with most being between 8:40 and 8:50.

Given this background, am I capable of a sub-4? If so, why is that devil on my shoulder telling me it's not possible, that I'll crash and burn?

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If you're doubter #1...I'm doubter #2.

I'll be interested to hear the responses on this. I'm currently training on the same Hal Higdon program and would love to put out a 4 hour time. I'm just about set to do an 11 miler LSD next weekend, my first outside in months. I have the same doubts all of the time.

You ask a good question...

:D

1) what is your pace average on pace days with your training?
2) what have you averaged for the LSD's?
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I have 'no idea' why the devil is saying that???? Basically, the only way that you can't make your goal is if you go out way to fast on race day, or (and I've been guilty of this)- you did you long runs to fast. I'm not a whole lot familiar with Higdon anymore, I had bought his most recent book and honestly felt it was too basic for me after following Daniels. But anyway, your LSD pace is pretty reasonable, about 1 minute slower than 10K race pace. I think a person can really screw up when they run their long runs within 45 seconds of 10k.

All you are asking yourself to do, is hold the same pace that you have for all your long runs for a few extra miles. Cripes, my programs have me doing those extra miles 45 seconds faster than my 20 milers. Talk about doubt. The weird thing is, it is truly amazing what your body can do when it is rested.

Scientifically, if you've got a solid base....sub-4 is a no-brainer, your body CAN do it. Sure some things CAN happen on race day that you can't control. Worry about what you can control and that is proper taper, sleep and nutrition.
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Absolutely capable of sub-4 hour marathon! I echo runaroundsue, don't go out too fast. Your first several miles will probably feel like you're actually going to slow, but DON'T give in to the tempatation to run faster because you "feel better." Of course, you're going to feel better because you've tapered and your loaded with carbs. But if you'll peg your per mile average all the way through, you'll be fine. Sometimes you can even pick it up a little the last few miles. :) (But not too many people like "us" -- normal runners -- can carry out the negative splits on race day!) I'm encouraging you to go for it! Choose a good, reasonable per mile pace based on your training, and click them off for all 26!
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Plan for pacing for a goal time under 4 hours. Don't let your mind trick you into running slower than you can.
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Thanks for the replies. I've ripped the devil off my shoulder, thrown him against the wall, and stomped on him. Sub-4 it will be. Guess I just needed some reinforcement.

Nolefan85 - My pace average for pace days was typically less than a 9:00 minute pace, while the average for my LSD's varied between 9:32 and 9:49.
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I think you can make it, but you need to listen to advice here, and stay the course. If your first couple are slow because of traffic(it happens in marathons) don't panic...Plenty of time to pick up time.
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Ok.

I'm definitely a doubter after my long run today on the road!

:x
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I'm always a doubter. ALWAYS. My best defense is not to get too caught up in it, take each mile as it comes, and MED has good advice to stick to your plan, I very easily submit to the panic that goes through my mind and slow down. Just keep your plan. Good luck to you!
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