Sunday, April 8, 2018

Comparison of my performance at two marathons

I ran two marathons that were 20 days apart recently. First one was the Los Angeles Marathon on March 18, 2018. Second one was the Eisenhower Marathon in Abilene, KS on April 7, 2018. At both these marathons, my finish times were very close to my best times ever, and I had a lot of fun running these marathons! A sharp contrast to the recent years after running my previous completed marathon in 2009 when I had given up on running marathons altogether as too difficult for me. 

Successfully completing two marathons within 20 days, and remaining injury free while doing so is giving me the confidence that I can successfully incorporate marathon training and running into my daily life, and work successfully towards realizing my long-term goal of accomplishing the Boston Marathon Qualification (Which means I have to finish a marathon in 3h25m!) over the next 4-8 years. 

Analyzing the mile-by-mile breakdown of the two marathons has some interesting insights about my performance at the two marathons. 

  • FINISH TIMES : 5 hours 7 minutes at Los Angeles Marathon. 4 hours 56 Minutes at Eisenhower Marathon. A 11 minutes improvement over LA Marathon, and my best time ever.
  • MINUTES PER MILE MOVING AVERAGE :
    This is a good indicator of how steady my pace was through the 26+ miles distance of the marathon. Steadier the pace through the distance, the better it is for my body during the race, and afterwards during the recovery.
    • At the Los Angeles Marathon, I ran at a very consistent pace throughout to have the average pace to be in a narrow range between 11:00 min/mile and 11:30 min/mile pace to end with a final average pace of 11:27 min/mile. The steady pace resulted in an even split between the first half and the second half of the race. First half taking around 2h32m, while the second half taking around 2h35m.
    • At the Eisenhower Marathon, I started out very fast - with 8:48 & 8:44 min/mile for the first two miles - and slowed down considerably over the rest of the way to finish with a final average pace of 11:06 min/mile. This quick start and later fade-out resulted in a very lop-sided split between the first half and the second half of the race. The first half took around 2h12m, while the second half took 2h44m. 
While the Eisenhower Marathon resulted in my best time ever mainly because of the fast start, I am more satisfied about the steady race I ran at the Los Angeles Marathon, and hope to repeat the same steady running at every race in the future. 

The 2h12m finish for the first half of the Eisenhower Marathon (around 10 minutes per mile pace) does give rise to hopes that with proper training (consistent and sensible) over the next few months, I can successfully extend that pace to the entire race. Thereby achieving a personal best finish time of better than 4h30m.

As I have things set-up currently, one of the next Big City Marathons - Chicago Marathon - is on October 7th, 2018. Almost exactly 6 months away. Looks realistic that I can plan and work towards finishing the Chicago Marathon in 4h30m!