Eastern States 20 MilerTomorrow is the Eastern States 20 Miler, which will be my last long training run before the Boston Marathon. The race itself is 20 miles, which goes from Maine to Massachussetts. I will probably get a few more miles in on top of that, I would guess.

My goal is not to treat this as a race. This is a difficult thing for me; when I have paid for a race or I have people around me, then my inclination is to beat as many people as I can. Preferably, all of them. I think that if I can go into this race with a strategy that will serve me for Boston, then I might be able to stick to it.

My plan is to go out slow. My first few miles should be around 6:50 or 7:00 minute pace. This will allow me to only take a short warm up before the race, as I will be running for 13 or 14 minutes at this easy pace. The next ten miles I would like to race around my projected pace for Boston. I want to run around 62 or 63 minutes for this stretch of the race, which means running at around 6:10 to 6:20 pace. That should be the easy part.

Once I have gotten in a good 10 miles at race pace, I want to back off a little until the end. Not a lot; perhaps 6:30 or 6:40 pace or somewhere in the vicinity for the next 6 or 7 miles. That would leave me a mile or two to drop a few hammers and see what is left in my gas tank. If I feel good, then I will race in the last two miles, and if not, then I’ll settle for one mile to pick people off. I should be able to manage at least 6:10 pace, but I expect that I can get down to around 6:00 minute pace or under. I do not want to go too far under 6:00 minute pace, as this still will in essence be a training run. In Boston, the goal will be to run from mile 24 to the finish in around twelve and a half minutes, around 5:45 pace or under.

Here are my projected splits. After the race tomorrow, I will update the table with how I actually did so that we can see how well my race plan worked out for me.

Mile Predicted Pace Actual Pace Predicted Time Actual Time
1 7:00   0:07:00  
2 7:00   0:14:00  
3 6:15   0:20:15  
4 6:15   0:26:30  
5 6:15   0:32:45  
6 6:15   0:39:00  
7 6:15   0:45:15  
8 6:15   0:51:30  
9 6:15   0:57:45  
10 6:15   1:04:00  
11 6:15   1:10:15  
12 6:15   1:16:30  
13 6:30   1:23:00  
14 6:30   1:29:30  
15 6:30   1:36:00  
16 6:30   1:42:30  
17 6:30   1:49:00  
18 6:30   1:55:30  
19 6:10   2:01:40  
20 6:00   2:07:40  

Now that I’ve done the math, that seems a little quicker than what I had been figuring out in my head. I had thought that this schedule would get me in the 2:10 to 2:15 range for how fast I would run. Since the pace at 18 miles is almost exactly where I was at last weekend, though, I think that this might be a conservative estimate given how competitive I can get. I suppose that tomorrow will let me know how close that I can run against my schedule.