Third time around

3rd time around

I’m 18 days away from the LA Marathon and I’m feeling pretty good. This is a big difference from last fall’s taper for Long Beach. Other differences between previous marathon training cycles last summer/fall and winter (Los Angeles):

1. I’m on a truncated training schedule. I didn’t begin training until after the Carlsbad Half on January 22nd. I worried that 8 weeks wouldn’t be enough. I’d barely be able to squeeze in one 18 and 20+ mile run before a proper taper. Nevertheless, I felt okay going from 15 to 18 in one week and two weeks later increasing to 22.

2. I’m running pretty low mileage and fewer days. The one week I hit 40 miles was when I had a half marathon on Sunday and did my long run on Saturday. I usually ran 5 days/week in previous training cycles, but the easy and recovery runs tended to be shorter. My overall mileage is lower, but not by much. In December, Marc, swapped out two days of running for cross or strength training in my schedule. After I had IT band issues in December, he decreased my total weekly miles. At first I thought I wasn’t running enough, but I like this schedule. While I’d love to PR, my first priority is to avoid injury. So far it’s working.

Fitness stuff for the home

3. I’m doing consistent strength training and inconsistent cross training. My schedule allows me to do either strength or cross training twice per week. I like lifting more since I can do it with dumbbells at home. I feel the benefits, especially with my recovery and avoiding injury. I didn’t do any strength/cross training for LB. For LA I occasionally did a core strengthening workout from Runner’s World.

4. Aside from the Friendship Run, I’m doing all my long runs alone. I did group training runs, but typically ran alone at my own pace. Those long runs were on new courses, planned by someone else, and sometimes had support along the way. Thanks to those SRLA runs, I started training on parts of the LA course.

Didn't wear a pace band.

5. I’ve PR’ed in recent races. While I ran the Holiday Half and Carlsbad Half before I officially began training, those efforts have really helped my confidence. Before LA and LB, I didn’t race for 3-4 months (excluding the Friendship Run, which is more of a supported long run). My two previous half times have me eyeing a time well below my previous marathon goal times.

6. I’ve run fewer and shorter long runs thanks to my truncated training schedule. This time around, I have just one 18-miler and one 22-miler. That 22-miler is my longest training run ever. For LA I ran 18, 21, then 20; for LB I ran three 17-18 milers, 20 and 21.5. Though I had fewer 18+ mile long runs, they were better quality.

7. I’m regularly massaging my legs with the stick, but skipping the post long run ice bath. I ice my hips after most long runs.

8. I have an online coach who creates my training schedule and is there to address my questions and concerns. I previously used training plans from Active Trainer. While they were pretty detailed, they were generic. I like that Marc has specific splits I should hit for tempo or speed training rather than something like 5K pace or “run hard.”

Track workout Wednesday

9. As for speed, tempo and hills, I’m still doing those. However, since I’m on a truncated schedule I’ve only done a few runs at the track and a few dedicated hill workouts. In previous training cycles I did one of these workouts once a week for the majority of my training.

10. Overall, I’m a stronger runner.


10 thoughts on “Third time around

  1. Sounds like it’s working out for you so far. You did amazingly at Carlsbad, so I think that if you can stay off the injury train, you’ll rock LA Marathon (based on the pace bands you showed, 4:15-4:30 should be a snap for you).

    I’m starting to think that there is really no set way people should train for a marathon — there’s too much variation, and we just have to find what works and what doesn’t. While I’m not sure my slacking is going to help, it has at least given me the opportunity to not run in pain for weeks (and perhaps just for a few hours, lol). I’m actually really excited to be trying something new. People keep saying “less is sometimes more,” though I don’t know how “less” can “less” be!

  2. That looks like a really nice track. I’m a track dork. 🙂

    Will definitely be interested to see how your marathon goes on the new coached plan! Good luck!

  3. I don’t want to jinx you, but based on your recent half PR and recent training runs, I think you’ll do better than 4:15. I don’t know what the L.A. course is like, but I’m optimistic. Like, *really* optimistic.

    I’ve started doing cross-training twice a week, too. Weights, elliptical and yoga.

    And I am also jealous of that sweet track … the track near my local running store is closed to the public right now, so we’ve taken our speed workouts to the streets.

  4. Those pace bands were for Long Beach. It was a nice goal, but I was SO off thanks to my stupid hamstring issues. I’m looking for revenge.

  5. I know too much about how often that track is resurfaced and how my thanks to my student activities fees. Anyway, I think a D1 school should have a lovely track. Only downside is that they put arms down to block lanes 1-4 for the recreational runners in the evening. I’d rather run in lane 1 and know I’m running 400m with each lap than rely on the Garmin to measure correctly.

  6. Don’t worry about jinxing me. I let myself get super optimistic with the McMillan predicted times based off my half PR. Honestly, if the calculator hadn’t spit out those times, I wouldn’t even dream of such a finish time. McMillan was about 3 minutes off for LA last year. I’ve never used it to predict half times.

    As for the course, LA has some formidable hills (check out elevation here). It’s net downhill and lots of runners think it’s fast.

  7. I think you are going to see an all around improvement with your run this time around. Strength training and cross training really can benefit you on your big race day.

    I like that you have a nice training program, I think I like that with all my training programs. I think as soon as I get out of school I’m going to dish out the cash to get a proper program set up for myself. I think it would be really beneficial.

    Good luck and enjoy your taper!

  8. Whoa! It looks kind of like CIM — net downhill, but with rolling hills.

    I’m still optimistic. 🙂

    Have a wonderful time — I’m looking forward to your race report!

  9. Matthew says:

    Inspiring to read. With two already under your belt, including the same route last year, you should crush this race for a nice pr!

  10. Recently hit 22 mi. mark after 13 being max for a while. Have noticed that after a few days of not running, first day back is ultra strong. Don’t know specifically why that is. Best of luck. Hoping to finally run L.A. next year.

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