Mumbai Marathon 2010 Training: The Maths of Sport

Okay, here’s my plan for the Mumbai Marathon 2010, written in stone. Not too many days to go, so its better to decide now that leaving it for later. The plan is to target a 4:40 finish with Plan A below, and switch to a sub 5:00 strategy with Plan B in case Plan A looks to be blowing apart at half way point.

Plan Basics

I want to try out my tried and tested 4/1 run walk approach, i.e. run 4 minutes, walk 1 minute. With this strategy, the constant aspect here would be the walking pace, which I have taken to be a constant figure of 9.0 min/km. I am banking on this from my experience since this would be the key to any calculations I make below.

So, once I fix the run/walk ratio and the walking speed, all that remains to be calculated (and followed) is the running pace for any scenario which may come up. I have been able to come up with two possible scenarios. They are not foolproof and there is no surety that when Plan A fails, Plan B would work, but this is the closest I can get to plan realistic possibilities.

Best Case Plan (Plan A) – Sub 4:40 finish

Target scenario: Finish 42K in 4:40. Everything works as per plan.

Time:
Run = 4/5 = 3:44
Walk = 1/5 = 0:56

Distance:
Walk = 0:56/9 = 6.2K
Run = 42 – 6.2 = 36K

Target Run pace = 3:44/36 = 6:12 min/km

Worst Case Plan (Plan B) – Sub 5:00 finish

Target scenario: Run till half way as per plan 4:40 finish plan, and then everything blows up. Objective – try recovery by finishing within 5:00

First 21K in 2:20 or less – Done (assumed).
Remaining = distance 21K / time 2:40

Time (remaining):
Walk = 1/5 = 0:32
Run = 4/5 = 2:08

Distance (remaining):
Walk = 0:32/9 = 3.55K
Run = 21 – 3.55 = 17.45K

Target Run pace = 2:08/17.45 = 7:20 min/km

Analysis Summary

So, there we have it. Two plans, one where I am able to stick to a 6:12 min/km pace throughout the run (tough as nails), and the other, where I am able to do this only for half the distance, and then lower a gear to a 7:20 min/km running pace.

For the record, I did a 2 hour run today with 4/1 and with running pace of 5:40 min/km in the much cooler Delhi weather, and by the end, I was still pretty good, though I am not sure how much longer would I have been able to continue with this. A 35K run with this same strategy next weekend will be a better indication. Adding an additional 30 seconds to the 5:40 pace to make it a 6:10 would be my adjustment for the hot and humid Mumbai weather.

Your thoughts or comments on this? Am I being too aggressive with Plan A, is it really realistic or worth the try – even to the half way point (Note: My personal best in a 42K till date is a 4:38 in Gurgaon Marathon a year back, but in much cooler weather, though I believe I am in better shape now).

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6 thoughts on “Mumbai Marathon 2010 Training: The Maths of Sport”

  1. Hi Tanvir, I honestly feel. keeping in mind your current level of training and present speed, a constant pace of 6 to 6.15 per k is achievable.

    You have tried 4/1 method and that worked for you. I wont argue about that but personally I feel 10/1 is not a bad strategy.

    Best of luck.

  2. Its still hot as hell in mumbai, cant think it would change much by 17 Jan. So I agree with Ravi. Run when its cool and walk/run aferwards.

    By the way any news about the half marathon start time.

    Sudhir

  3. Well Tanvir, in five months time you will be running 89 kms in Comrades (which by the way have announced they will take 2000 more entries from Jan. 31, 2010), so why worry about 42?

    My advice is theoritical since I have not yet run a full marathon, and my runs never have a "walk" element in it.
    (a) Start at 06.45 and not at 07.45, since you are not competing for prizes.
    (b) In my view run between 06.45 to 09.00 non-stop, since that is the time when the best possible weather is available.
    (c) By then you will land on the Sea Link and hopefully, the fresh sea breeze will ensure you maintain a reasonable speed.You should be able to reach the end of Sea Link (26km mark?) in 2.45 hours, certainly in under 3 hours.
    (d) After that, meaning after 10.00, you can follow the run/walk strategy. You have at least two hours for the remaining 16kms or so.

    My vote is for plan B. For me, it should be the main plan, not the fallback or emergency. In plan A, walking wastes valuable weather.

    Best wishes

  4. I think you can do this easily. The only factor will be the weather. If it's really hot you may slow down a bit, but I'm sure sub 4:40 will be easy for you.

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