After weeks of preparation, the marathon is just around the corner. The most frequently asked question now is: How do I find my optimal pace?
Training zones and anaerobic threshold
In training theory, three different training areas are distinguished. The basic endurance 1 area (GA1), the basic endurance 2 area (GA2) and the area of competition-specific endurance (WSA). The GA1/2 range is often defined between GA1 and GA2 - but this can be neglected in the context of these basics.
The GA1 and GA2 ranges are below the so-called anaerobic threshold, the WSA range above. The anaerobic threshold is the speed at which the muscles overacidify when exceeded.
Training volume and pace design
On the basis of these 3 areas, the individual marathon pace can be easily explained in principle. Rule of thumb: the greater the training volume, the closer the marathon pace can be to the anaerobic threshold.
Competitive athletes run the marathon almost completely at the anaerobic threshold, in some sections even above it, i.e. in the upper GA2 and lower WSA range. Non-professionals run the marathon either in the GA2 or GA1 range. With a training volume of about 40 km / week (with less training volume you should not run a marathon, the torture will otherwise be too great) you run at the lower GA1 range, from about 80-90 km / week you can choose the GA2 range.
These gradations are to be understood as a rough orientation, individual deviations are of course possible.
The safest way to determine the optimal marathon pace is through performance diagnostics. Many athletes torture themselves unnecessarily in training and competition with the wrong training and then also marathon pace, other runners do not reach their performance optimum despite a high time commitment.
So: Equip yourself with a heart rate monitor, complete a performance diagnosis and then train effectively and individually!