Can you predict where in a marathon you will hit the wall based solely upon your weekly mileage leading up to the race? Dallen thinks so.

Somewhere along the way I found an interesting formula to predict where the wall will be: 3 times the average daily mileage over the eight weeks before the marathon. This means an average of about 63 miles a week to completely avoid the wall.

His formula seems to have fit where he hit the wall in his previous marathon attempts. But how accurate can it really be?

For myself, I do not think that it is all that accurate at all. My best marathons have all been run with an average of 40-45 miles per week, and I have not hit the wall since 2003. In late 2004 I did have some trouble, but that was because I repulled a hamstring less than halfway through the race. In terms of actually hitting the wall, my worst occurances have been from my first two marathons.

In Jacksonville back in 2000, I started slowing down after 17 miles or so. At 20.5, I walked through a water stop. That was a big mistake, and definately involved banging up against a wall. In 2003 I ran the Maine Marathon on 9 weeks of training. I am not sure exactly where I hit the wall, but I was hurting pretty bad by the time that I came through. My longest run leading up to that marathon having been 14 miles, and Maine being the toughest course I have run so far, I was not surprised to be hurting.

I do not think I really hit a wall in Boston a few years back. I went out slow, and I hurt most of the way, but I came in around the same speed I went out in and I never hit a point where things got drastically worse. I was nowhere near 40 miles per week leading up to that race, and knew I was in just good enough shape to be able to do the distance. There was no threat of performing well after having been so sick all winter.

From my own experience, I do not think that Dallen’s formula is accurate. Based on my training for the New York City marathon, I will probably hit the wall with over 10 miles left in the race, if he is correct. I just do not see that as particularly likely.

What have your experiences been like? When have you hit the wall during a marathon, and what was your training like leading up to the race?