Best advice I’ve received on “What’s my marathon goal?”

I asked what’s my marathon goal:

I have no clue what I can really go for as far as a Marathon time goes.


  • 3 months of 260+ mile months
  • 20:52 5k PR in September in warm (humid and 79) conditions.
  • Very manageable 58:46 8-mile tempo (10-miles total in 1:17:46) yesterday
  • Marathon on November 7 in Indianapolis.

My only hesitation is that I really didn’t have many recent longer medium/hard workouts (beyond 2-3 miles of faster running) until yesterday.
I assume that in the right conditions, 3:39 is too soft a target.  I was thinking to stretch for 3:30, but now I’m looking at what I’ve accomplished and started thinking that *not stretching* for something faster would be a complete waste of my training.

Any thoughts?

My favorite response:

Does it really matter? I’m not being a wiseass, seriously, does having a bunch of yahoos on the internet try to narrow the target really make people feel better?

I think if you’re actually well trained then you probably have a really solid idea what you’re capable of–within a small range. But even if you don’t…you’re going to run what you’re capable of as long as you don’t do anything stupid like stick to a preconcieved pacing plan that takes you out too fast even though your body is telling you it’s too fast (or at least it would be if you’d listen to it instead of staring at your pace pracelet and garmin.)

Do this: when the race starts, go out at a pace you feel like is about the fastest you can maintain for 26.2 miles or so. Take constant inventory of your body and your surroundings. At the end you sould expect it to get quite hard. When this happens, just go like hell until someone wraps you in mylar.

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