The triathlon training blog of Phil Barnes

Goal Time

The other day, I was reading the Running Room magazine, and there was an article about setting S.M.A.R.T. goals. (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely) Strangely enough, that evening, Laura brought home a pamphlet from school about SMART goals too - the acronym works in English and French (Spécifique, mesurable, accessible, réaliste et bien défini dans le temps.) So that got me thinking: time to set a smart goal for the marathon.

I will complete this year's Ottawa marathon in a time of _________

Ah, there's the challenge, what is my goal time? I've never done a marathon, and have no clue what to expect for finish time. I have done well in 5K, 10K and half marathons before, so we'll play with numbers via McMillan.

DistanceBest TimeProjected Marathon
5K0:20:533:23:35
10K0:44:563:30:52
21.1K1:42:513:36:55


Are you F-ing nuts? Call me defeatist, but I think we can all agree those times are "Whack".

Let's work backwards. If we are willing to lend some credence to the McMillan tool, let's plug in an arbitrary 3:45, and see what kind of effort that relates to in the 5, 10 and half...

DistanceEstimated TimeBased on Marathon
5K0:23:053:45:00
10K0:47:573:45:00
21.1K1:46:413:45:00


Way more reasonable... I think. I could probably manage those times right now (save the half) on a good day, with proper conditions.

Let's expand the search to 4 hours...

DistanceEstimated TimeBased on Marathon
5K0:24:374:00:00
10K0:51:084:00:00
21.1K1:53:484:00:00


Ahh, now that I could probably do.

Goal 1 - Make it through training!
Goal 2 - Finish
Goal 3 - 4:00
Goal 4 - 3:45