I am preparing for this year's Chicago Marathon; it will be my first marathon. This week is my peak week, and next week I start tapering. With my final long run of 20 miles scheduled for this Sunday, I'm wondering how fast a pace I should maintain.
I'm pretty confident that I can hold an 8:30/mi. pace with no trouble, based on my experiences in recent long runs (see below). Is there any point to trying to run with an 8:00/mi. pace group, or should I just worry about finishing all 20 miles without overdoing it?
I've been following Hal Higdon's Novice program (an 18-week program for first-time marathoners), with a few changes to make it slightly more aggressive.
Two weeks ago (six weeks out), I ran 20 miles in around 2:52. For the first 16 miles I stayed with an 8:30/mile pace group but felt so good at the end that I ran ahead and finished strong. Two weeks before that (eight weeks out), I ran an 18-mile race in 2:30:37. That pace (~8:22) was comfortable the whole time. Neither of these runs left me exhausted or sore the next day.
Thanks very much for your suggestions.
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