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Marathon Pace from Tempo Pace

Expert Panel Question???

Question: “I have been doing tempo work and was wondering how I gauge my race day pace off of tempo pace? (e.g., 30k and Marathon)”


As I mentioned in the Tempo Time article, usually tempo pace will be about 20 seconds slower per mile than 10k race pace and 30 seconds slower than 5k race pace. As you try to gauge race day pace off of your tempo runs it can become quite tricky. Again, the faster the runner you are, usually the less time between your marathon race pace and your tempo pace. For example, my marathon best is 2:10:59 which is slightly under 5:00 mile pace. I usually ran my tempo runs at about 4:50 per mile, so my tempo pace was usually about 10 seconds faster per mile than my marathon race pace. However, slower runners will usually need to run relatively faster to hit their tempo zone. Jack Daniels agrees and he places tempo paces at approximately the following relative to marathon pace:

2:30 marathon 5:45 pace=tempo pace will be about 17 seconds faster or about 5:28 tempo pace
3:00 marathon 6:55 pace=tempo pace will be about 23 seconds faster or about 6:32 tempo pace
4:00 marathon 9:08 pace=tempo pace will be about 30 seconds faster or about 8:38 tempo pace
5:00 marathon 11:30 pace=tempo pace will be about 40 seconds faster or about 10:50 tempo pace

Using tempo paces as predictors for marathon performance can be less than exact, but use these as a guesstimate and you should be OK. Again, remember your marathon pace will be slower than tempo pace if figuring marathon pace off of your tempo pace.

by Ed Eyestone – Brigham Young University Head Distance Coach | Olympic Distance Runner

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, May 4th, 2010 at 10:20 am and is filed under 10K and 5K, 10K/5K, Expert Answers, Marathon/Half Marathon, Marathon/Half Marathon, Training. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

One response to “Marathon Pace from Tempo Pace”

  1. Hi
    am along distance runner from kenya and i would want you to to sent for me the athletic half marathon and marathon training programme.
    my best time in marathon is 2 hrs and 18 min. and i would like to improve well when l get the programme.

    my request to you is if you can be my coach.

    looking forward to here from you.


    yours faithfully,

    Daniel Eremon

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