It was my birthday a while ago and my aunt sent me one of those gently amusing cards that cause very little offence or mirth. Here it is…
But it got me thinking about how all too often, achieving a goal can become a daunting exercise over over-whelming complexity. I know it was for my first few races.
But now I take a much simpler approach to the marathon and I thought I would share my plan with you in four blog posts over the next week:
- Timing (this post)
Time to think about time
I really strongly suggest that you do not use a GPS to manage your pace on race day. They are notoriously inaccurate and especially when surrounded by 37,000 other GPS watches.
If you are running a marathon that has its course measured by the Association of UK Course Measurers, then the mile markers are accurate. Very accurate.
If your GPS beeps to tell you that you have run a mile before or after the mile marker… then your GPS is wrong. Thinking otherwise is a mistake that too many runners make.
If you accept that your GPS device might be a bit out, then think about this: if your GPS is short by 15 seconds per mile, that is six and a half minutes for a marathon. If you are aiming for a sub-4 hour marathon, your GPS only needs to be 43 meters out per mile – which is only 2.7% – and you will finish in 4 hours 6 minutes.
So what do I suggest?
A stopwatch. I use a GPS watch, but I turn off the GPS function and just use the watch as a stopwatch. Each time I pass a mile marker, I hit the lap button. If the time for the last mile is more than my target pace, I am behind schedule and if it is less than my target pace, I am ahead of schedule. I can then adjust as necessary. Simple.
The next post will be up in a couple of days. In the mean time, what do you use to make sure you are on pace? Or do you not bother with that? Let me know what your tactics are and how you have honed them in the past.