More Accurate Marathon Time Predictions?

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Just in time for the New York City Marathon on Sunday, Slate posted this new marathon time predictor yesterday.  The calculator was created by statistician Andrew Vickers, and is based on the reported times across various race distances of 2,500 runners.  I plugged in my most recent half   and 10K, and was given a marathon prediction of 4:09:12, which is only a minute over what I actually ran, and 20 minutes more accurate than the Riegel algorithm predicts.

I have mixed feelings about this.  On one hand, it would seem to indicate that I did not screw the race up nearly as much as I thought I did.  On the other hand, it means I’m much further from running sub-4 than I ever thought.  On the third hand, I really think I could have run much faster on a flatter course.  On the fourth hand, it kind of calls into question the whole approach to appropriate pacing, particularly if most people are relying on the Riegel (or similar) methods.

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