This might be a stupid question, but I will ask it anyway. When I am out on a 10 mile or more training run, and I am trying to keep a 9:40 to 10 minute per mile pace, should I include the time used during my water and gel stops in that pace? I have estimated that it takes me about 30 to 60 seconds to drink water and consume the gel. Since I will be doing the same thing during my marathon, should I include that I am drinking and eating during the race as part of my pace, or am I just over-analyzing? - Tolling my Time
There are no stupid questions, only questions that are difficult to pronounce. There are some who would respond to your "Am I just over analyzing?" query with a resounding "Yes", but I am a scientist and consider such questions important and non-trivial.
Okay, so I am not really a scientist, but I am an astronaut: and that means that I have to consider all aspects of space travel and trajectory. I have to worry about air speed velocity and the effect of lower gravities on a space craft.
Okay, so I am not really an astronaut, but do you really have to be an astronaut to consider such questions as yours? I think not, and that is why my colleagues consider me one of the greatest nuclear physicists of the modern era. Every day I have to consider how theoretical friction causes atoms to slow, and the interaction between quirks and quarks and how they cause a ripple effect in our space time continuum.
Okay, so maybe I am not a nuclear physicist. I was way out of line in writing that, I am not really sure where I was going there: I was just sorta on a roll.
Although it may not seem so at first consideration: sixty seconds is a long time to do anything. To test this theory, I would like you to grab a stop watch and for the next sixty seconds rap a pencil against your forehead.
How was that? Annoying, huh?
But it was also a long time to be hitting yourself on the head with a pencil. The trick in a race is to limit the amount of time that you are not running.
Try to estimate the number of water stops you will stop at and how often you will stop to take a "gel" break. Multiply this number by the thirty to sixty seconds you will need to complete the break, and subtract that from your goal finish time. Divide this new adjusted goal finish time by the number of miles you will be running and you will have a new pace per mile goal that you can use while you are running.
To be fair, you should compare this adjusted time pace with your original expected goal pace. If the difference is measured in only a few seconds, you should not worry about making the correction.
Test your abilities using the two different paces, you may find that those thirty to sixty second breaks are giving your body a chance to recover, extending your endurance for the overall run. It is possible that by taking these "breaks" in your run, you will improve your overall speed and finish better than you would without the breaks.
But I am a computer network analyst (no, really: I am!), and I have to consider things like inter-packet delay which is measured in nanoseconds, and I know that those nanoseconds can add up.
You may be "over-analyzing" but at the same time you should be aware of the time you spend at water stops and gel stations and consider both the psychological and physiological effects that such breaks will have on your overall run.
Run long and taper.