Estimating Marathon time

from Max Jones:

  1. The par time is 2 hours plus your age in minutes, plus another 10% if you are female.  (2:48)
  2. This will be achieved, after a year or so of effective training, if, in the last 13 weeks before the race – excluding the week of the race but counting the miles in all 13 calendar weeks prior to that – you’ve recorded an average of 55 miles per week.
  3. More mileage than that contributes nothing. But for every mile per week less than 55, add one minute to your race time.  (3:28)
  4. Provided, though, you’re not overweight. Par weight for men is 2 lbs per inch of height minus 5 lbs; for women 2 lbs per inch minus 15. Every pound over these weights adds 2 seconds per mile to your pace, say a minute to your marathon time.  (4:30)
  5. Weather: add 2 seconds per mile for every degree (Celsius) by which shade temperatures exceed 18 deg C.
  6. If it’s humid as well as hot, add 1 second per mile for every percentage point the relative humidity exceeds 65%.
  7. On a windy day, add 1 second per mile for every mile per hour that the headwind exceeds 10mph : deduct 1 second per mile for every 2mph that the tailwind exceeds 20mph.
  8. If the race director describes the course as “testing”, “undulating”, or more honestly “hilly”, add anything up to 5 minutes. e.g. the Sheffield course carries a handicap of 3 minutes for the 3 hour runner.
  9. Now the positive bit. If you average, over the 13 weeks (see 2), one (short) hill times 10 repetition session or one (short) speed session per week, take off 4% from whatever 1 to 4 calculates to. For an average 1½ sessions per week, take off 8%. For 2 hill/speed sessions per week, take off 12%.
  10. That’s it. But you can throw it all away by going faster at the start than the calculated pace and trying to put “minutes in the bank”. Remember minute banks charge at least 4 times as much for overdrafts as they allow on deposits, every second per mile you run too fast in the first 10 miles will cost you at least 4 seconds per mile in the last 10 miles.

Other Calculators

Jeff Galloway Magic Mile

MARCO method

Runner’s World

McMillian Running

Based on 2 distances

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