I started out this marathon training thing with a goal of qualifying for the 2016 Boston Marathon. For my age group this means that I need to run better than a 3:40 marathon. For all practical purposes let's say this means a 3:39 finish time which is 8:21 pace.
That still is my goal, but if I'm honest, I have had a few other loftier goals floating around in my head:
Lofty thought 1: Marathon PR
My current PR for the marathon is 3:30:20 (8:01 pace) ran in Chicago in 2006. My goal for this race was to qualify for Boston which I did.
For all practical purposes, let's say a Marathon PR goal is 3:29 or 7:58 pace (even though I would take a 3:30:19!)
Lofty thought 2: Run a marathon at what I keep calling my default pace - 7:17
This would be a 3:10:57 marathon which is a huge PR jump.
Lofty thought 3: Run a marathon in what the Runner's World Race Predictor tool says based on my 5K time of 19:10.
This would be a 3:03:50 marathon at 7:01 pace. I would probably shit myself if I pulled that off.
Obviously, this is a wide range of paces from 7:01 - 8:21. I will likely narrow this down a few weeks into my actual training plan but has been fun to consider.
Until I firm up my plans, I think I will use 7:45 as my MP for my training runs and see how that goes.