This morning is my last formal speed workout before the race: 3 x (800, 600, 600m) at 5-10k pace. Next week I have a couple runs with marathon pace, but no fast intervals.
It's super windy this morning, which is not the greatest weather for running even intervals. Fortunately the wind usually blows in off the lake so most of the time it's blowing perpendicular to my route rather than right in my face. It was about this windy when I did my last 2 x (4 x 800m), and I don't think it impacted my times that much.
All this leads me to my first (and really only) marathon strategy question: pacing. Based on looking back at my log at long run times, and easy run times, and putting several race times from the past year in the McMillan Running Calculator, I feel like 3:50 is the right goal time for me for the race. It seems challenging, but do-able. BUT, the thing I'm struggling with is how to approach the race.
I know the "right" way to race is to run even or negative splits. However, I don't think I've ever run consistent or negative splits in any race. I usually end up going out hard (whether I actually mean to or not) and trying to hold on. This has gotten me great results in some cases (Bellin) and terrible ones in others (Lake Monona 20k).
I feel like I'm deciding between:
1. Get in the 3:50 pace group. (I've never run with a pace group before). If I want to speed up at the 1/2 way point then I can try that. Hope I don't hit the wall because I have no time "banked".
2. Get in front of the 3:50 pace group and do my own thing. Know that I'll probably hit the wall late in the race, but figure I would have hit the wall in the 3:50 group, too, and at least I'll have some time banked.
Anyone have any sage advice on pacing or running with a pace group? Trying to run even splits in a marathon vs just going for it? I'm leaning toward (trying to convince myself of) one of the options, but I'm interested in hearing your advice/experiences first.