3:30 Pace Bus - Tata Mumbai Marathon 2024
January 11, 2024
This page is for the 3.30 hour TMM pace group. This page will be continuously updated and will have all the information about this pace bus.
Quick intro to the pacer
- I have been running since 2012 and currently based in Bengaluru.
- 8 sub 3 hour full marathon finishes till date including that at Boston, Chicago, Berlin, Paris and Mumbai
- Personal best time of 2.54 hours in full marathon
- First pacing experience at VDHM 2023 with the 1.30 hour bus link to my pacing experience
A bit of my marathon journey to make sure that we are all in it together.
I did my first SCMM (then name), which is in fact my debut marathon in 2013 with a time of 4h:02m. In 2014, this went close to this pacing time and ended in 3.34. In 2015 managed to break the barrier and do a 3h:24m. I was DNF in 2016, followed by strong attempts in 2018 and 2019. The good thing is that breaking the 3.30 was considered a tough ask 10 years ago, but now with much better access to information, structured training, knowledge, and of course shoes, it is lot more doable. Possibly a pacer or a group too helps!
The following are my Garmin activity links to my earlier runs of 3h:34m and 3h:24m, which gives an idea of how differently the races were run. This year’s pacing strategy for the 3h:30m bus will be somewhere in between.
Following is the pacing approach. More thoughts will follow in the coming days. The idea will be to do a slightly faster first half, which means a positive split. Roughly a 1.42~1.43 first half and a 1.47 second half. There is enough data to say that Mumbai has typically been a positive split race for amateurs, and keeps it less risky. In terms of pace, we by and large need to be in the 4.50s-5:00s. Starting in the lower band and inching upwards as the marathon progresses. I would like to keep this fairly simple, and please don’t bother about 1-2 seconds here and there. That we will take care as a group!
The route elevations considered for pacing is primarily based on last year’s one, and we expect some changes between 22-27 km. But I do not think it will matter much in the larger scheme of things. So would request not to worry too much about this at this point in time.
Download the Pace Chart as PDF
Pacing group pointers – Enroute
The idea will be to stick to paces or strategy as laid out in the pacer band. Minor on the go tweaks are possible but by and large we will stick to the plan. Hence it is important to stick to the pacing group and pacer. The pacer may/ will do the following
- Be a time guidance for the group
- Will try to motivate the group
- May shout instructions on the go pertaining to need to moderate/speed up pace, hydrate etc
- Could act as an advisor on the way.
There is very little the pacer can do if one or a few runners drop off on the way, since the goal is to lead the majority/ or runners who are attempting the time.
The mantra of the group will be to stick together. There are points in the race like sea link where sticking to the group (drafting) will be of great help. I would welcome runners to take turn and be my co-leaders to navigate the group. The people in the front do put in an extra effort but if we are able to share the responsibility, the task of the 3.30 finish becomes easier for all.
We will try to stick to the shortest route possible, and hence run on tangents.
On the way back once the sun is hopefully out, we will be able to see more people cheering on the way including the Peddar road. Take energy from them, to use it for achieving your/our goal.
Approximates Times at Key Land Marks
Folks, many of you in the 3.30 bus may have well wishers and friends cheering for you on the way. To give them an idea of when the bus will pass some vantage points, here are the tentative timings. I would give a +/-5 mins buffer in general. Hoping to see some cheers for you on the way!
Pace Bus Line Ups
Please note that I will be starting from line up ‘A’
Here is the route preview by Geeksonfeet
Frequently Asked Questions
- What line up will you be starting from?
I will be starting from line up ‘A’. I will be carrying a flag. Will re-confirm the details in coming days.
- Is there any specific start time?
Since 3.30 is generally considered amongst the faster times, will start very close to the start time. I expect us to cross the start line anywhere between 5 - 5.10 am max. In other words pretty close to the gun time start.
- How do I prepare in the last week?
(Not specific to achieving the 3.30 target though:-))
- In general from a load point of view, last week is pretty light leading up to the marathon. We cut down the load to almost half or so for amateurs in general, which includes 42 K for the race. So possibly between 15-30 K from Monday to Saturday. Saturday is typically rest or a easy jog of say 30 minutes. In the last week, one quality session could be there on Tuesday or Wednesday, which is to help get the turnover in the legs. These will a 300~600 m repeats, but not too long…Overall the idea is to keep the legs fresh into the race. The work has all been done leading up to this Sunday! This is only a guidance since most of you have a detailed coaching plan.
- Some people tend to go in for a Massage say on Wednesday or Thursday, but ensure that this is not a new masseur or not to go into too deep to break your muscles too much and make it too sore that it doesn’t recover by Sunday.
- Sleep is of prime importance in this week, since that helps a lot in recovery. Ideally keep work at office light in the next week😊 Also keep Saturday as light on feet…
- Strength Training – If you are into it, last session is ideal before Wednesday, and take extra precaution not to injure oneself. Keep it light and work around areas which can fire you for the race Sunday! Sometimes in the past, I have skipped this due to fear of injuring myself!
- Eat Well and Hydrate well. Latter very important to make sure you arrive on Sunday morning well balanced in terms of water and electrolytes. One of the suggestions would be to start loading yourself with electrolytes and water right from Thursday through Saturday. This could be as much as 500 ml – 1 litre. In terms of eating more of carbo hydrates in the last week and also eating on time!
- Any walk breaks planned?
No walks are planned. For a 3.30 runner, consistent running between 4.50 ~ 5.05 paces should be very much possible. Once again I assuming that runners who attempt 3.30 are trained, and have been inching towards the goal in their training or maintaining equivalent paces. Walking in this race would mean the mind having given up over the body, and in my experience, in the last 10k of marathons, small walks lead to bigger ones, and one walk leads to multiple walks 🙂.
- What should be the Hydration and Nutrition Plan?
(Please treat this as a guidance and not a rule)
- Saturday Night – Would prefer what you would normally have and of course more of carbohydrates. Please don’t push your dinner too late into the night. 6 hours or more hours of sleep is ideal. Of course 8 hours better, but highly unlikely!
- Sunday early morning – Please pre-decide your schedule..When to get up, what to eat etc. Have a reasonable intake before the race…Ideally say 1.30~2 hours, but not sure if a 5 am race start is convenient for this😊 Options people have are bread, museli, banana and in some cases idlis, rotis and rice as well. Anything that you are used to. Kindly don’t hunt around for your coffee or breakfast in the morning…Plan! Whatever sits well with you and to ensure your tank is not empty. Continue to stay hydrated with electrolytes, say a Reload. Any other pre-workout drinks you may have is pretty personal.
- Race Day –
- Energy Gels – This is a good addition and normal protocol is one gel 10 mins before race and one around every 25~30 minutes. You can mix caffeine and normal, but would keep caffeine to 2-3. If someone is used to a different schedule please follow that. For someone who has not tried gels before, would leave it at your discretion, but if it aligns well with your stomach please take a positive view.
- Electrolytes and Water – Use every station to gulp a bit, since Mumbai is humid. You may miss out on one station but not having sips at multiple stations will be a red flag. Make sure you utilize the Fast&Up Reload stations enroute to the hilt. Please pass the bottles around if anyone else misses out. In case you have missed out, and want to have a sip give a shout and one of us may be able to help. Its ok to be slightly slow to pick up the drink or bottles, but we will not be walking. There will be ample time. The idea will be to delay the fatigue as much as possible. Gels and Electrolytes don’t help much once the body goes into a “wall” zone. So earlier and consistent use is always better.
- Will I be able to do 3:30 marathon?
Some of you ask me if you will be able to run a 3.30 marathon. It honestly becomes difficult for me to gauge whether you can/ will do a sub 3.30 or around, given very little information. Your coach or yourself can be the best judge. However I am happy to have a look through direct messages, and give “my” opinion. This group is information for running the 3.30 finish time.
- What shoes or gadgets should I use?
It will be difficult for me to put my personal brand preferences regarding gadgets, shoes or otherwise, since it is a very personal approach. However again happy to give my thoughts or what I use in a personal message.
- Why don’t you open the group for people to message?
I had opened the conversation yesterday for some time, but realized it can become a busy weekend. I would love to open it again, since it gives some meaningful info and queries, but if we can refrain from personal achievements or creative replies.
- What do I do if the marathon is not going my way? May be I am off pace, or cramped a bit or hitting the wall etc.,\
In the first 20 odd kilometers you are highly likely to know if the marathon is going your way. If you are labouring too much for the first half, then it is normally going to get only tougher. So please do re-assess and think if you want to go a little slower. In some cases, everything would be ok, till you hit a rough patch, say a bit of a niggle or a cramp. In such cases too, do re-assess, but it may just be a passing phase, where you need to step back and operate within yourself. Say cut down your stride length by a bit or ease off for say 500 m, and then get back.
In most other cases, if you are well prepared and it is the mental side of things hang around with the bus or the group like there is no other day, especially in the last 15K or so. In many cases once you fall off, due to mental fatigue, it is highly unlikely to join back. Not a bad call if you have re-assessed and decided to jump to a lower bus, but if that’s not the case, ease off to the back of the pack but still be in it.
If you are coming into the race start with an injury or a bad stomach or a bad night of sleep, please do re-assess your approach. At times you can even take a call 5-10 k into the race of having an alternate strategy.
This one is a nice read from Sunday’s(14 Jan) Houston Marathon on what I have outlined above. Natasha Wodak was trying to qualify for a place in the Canadian team yesterday at the Houston Marathon…and see how things went a bit off and the struggles during the race.
- What is your strategy for pre-race warm-up?
Dynamic stretches are normally done. Also it is preferable to do a 1-2 k easy jog as warm up. But please stick to ur normal routine for this race.
- TMM distance tends to be upwards of 42.2kms. I’m sure you would have catered for it. Just wanted to know how, as adjusting at the last stage, as you would appreciate, can be problematic?
Yes, it is factored in, and for example we will cross the Half-marathon marker around 1.43.
- How are the hydration stations, do we need to carry along?
Below is the placement of Fast&Up Reload and Energy gel stations. There could be a variance of +/- 100 m on this. Bisleri water stations will be on top of this. So pretty much well covered. Please note that we will wait for Procam to send out their final plan.
Number of runners finished under 3h:30m
Full Marathon, Race time preparation
This has been passed on to me by a fellow runner and might be useful for the next weekend's race. Again only a guidance 🙏
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