Running a marathon is both challenging and exhilarating, especially for beginners. Your first marathon is guaranteed to be a personal best, marking the first time you’ve covered such a distance. Setting a goal finish time can give you something to work towards during training. 

A goal time provides a clear focal point for your workouts and is a constant motivator during demanding training sessions. Structuring your training around a specific finish time helps build stamina, refine pacing, and develop the mental fortitude required for marathon challenges. This approach allows you to tailor your training plan with intervals, tempo runs, and long-distance sessions that simulate your goal pace.

The process of working towards a specific finish time instils discipline and resilience. When motivation is low, having a clear goal can serve as a powerful reminder of the bigger picture. It gives a sense of accountability and focus, turning the seemingly daunting task of running a marathon into a series of manageable steps towards a well-defined objective. 

Set multiple goals

Considering the unpredictable nature of marathons, setting multiple goals is a wise approach. On race day, having A, B, and C goals allows flexibility in response to unexpected events. The A goal is challenging yet attainable, the B goal provides a realistic alternative, and the C goal becomes a source of motivation to persevere and finish strong.

Technology can be a great help when setting your goal time for your marathon. I’ve been using Runna for my training for the past 18 months. Its algorithms consider various factors such as pace, distance, and consistency, helping you set realistic benchmarks for your training. Runna’s predictive capabilities proved invaluable during my last marathon, as it accurately estimated my potential finishing time. This helped me stay motivated during those long runs, and I finished 5 minutes quicker than predicted. In contrast, I finished 35 minutes over Garmin’s prediction. Most of us prefer to exceed our expectations, and with the help of technology, we can do just that.

Ready to enhance your marathon training with Runna Coach? Use code RWR2 for 2 weeks of FREE access to explore features that can elevate your training and goal-setting experience. Join the Runna Coach community and embark on a memorable marathon experience. Take a look here