Sunday, October 13, 2019

Fall Marathon Training Update

I realize that I have not blogged about my training much since the summer. It's been going well, and I am long overdue for a recap.

My two goal races are the Columbus Half marathon (next weekend) and the California International Marathon (December 8). I'll also run my 14th consecutive Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving. Usually I run my tune-up half marathon closer to the full marathon, but I really wanted to go back to Columbus. I ran a strong marathon there in 2014, and it was my first Boston Qualifier. I went back in
2015 and set a huge PR in the half marathon. It's a fast course that's well organized with easy logistics, and only a short flight.

The California International Marathon (CIM) has been on my list for some time, but the long flight has always discouraged me. Long flights tend to exhaust me and put me off my game, but so many people have said that CIM is a fast course and that I need to experience it. In the spirit of running races I'm excited about instead of the most convenient fast race, I decided to go for it this year. Even if it doesn't go well, at least I can understand what all the hype is about. Greg and I are going to fly out on Thursday morning, which should give us plenty of time to recover before the Sunday race. We're both running it!

The training has been going really well in terms of executing all of the workouts according to the plan, almost always hitting my desired paces, and staying healthy. Usually at this point in training, though, I am looking to see some kind of fitness gain. While I have definitely gained endurance, I haven't run any speed workouts that are any faster than previous cycles. I realize that the purpose of a workout is to build fitness, not to prove fitness, and that it's important to trust the process and trust the plan.

That doesn't mean I'm not looking for progress along the way. It excites me when I run a workout that exceeds my expectations and I realize "whoa... I just got way faster!" It could be because I've only been training consistently since early August, or it could be because it hasn't cooled down to my sweet spot yet, which is anything below 50 degrees. Also, many of my workouts have been short track intervals (100m, 200m, 300m repeats) which are so short that they really don't indicate marathon fitness like a long tempo would.

As I mentioned in my 10K race report last weekend, I think I raced really well, and it would have been nice to have the confidence boost of a PR if the conditions had cooperated. There is, however, confidence to be gained with strong execution, and I have demonstrated strong execution many times over the past two months.

Training Stats
If you've been following my blog, you know how much I love to analyze my training data. My current running streak is 70 days long, with no days off. It's a total of 571 consecutive miles, which comes out to an average of 8.2 miles a day. This run streak began in early August, as soon as I was recovered from my bike accident.

Unfortunately, I am still not 100% recovered from that accident. I have a hematoma in my groin, and it occasionally hurts for no apparent reason. If I am still experiencing intermittent pain after the marathon, I will get some imaging done on it. I'm not going to do anything about it between now and then, so I might as well give it more time to go away on its own.

This graph shows my training by week since the streak started.

In terms of individual workouts, my longest run so far has been 18 miles, which I ran just two days after the 10K, on a Tuesday before work. My legs were definitely tired by the end, but I got it done at an average pace of 8:12.

Yesterday, I ran a workout that was 40 minutes easy, 30 minutes at marathon pace, 10 minutes easy, 30 minutes at marathon pace, 10 minutes easy. That's a total of 2 hours. In the first 30 minutes at marathon pace, I ran 4.15 miles at an average pace of 7:14. For the second 30 minutes at marathon pace I ran 4.12 miles at an average pace of 7:17. My legs were trashed by the end!

My goal is to be right around 3:10 at CIM, so I would need a marathon pace of 7:15. Aerobically, this pace felt manageable for a longer period of time, but having so many miles on my legs from a hard week of training was definitely making it feel hard by the end. I also need to keep in mind that at CIM I will be wearing faster shoes and the course will have more downhill than up. Cold weather would also be nice!

With 1 week until the Columbus half and 8 weeks until CIM, I think I am in a good spot: building fitness, not seeing material gains yet, but feeling strong and healthy for more intense training to come.

Tuesday, October 8


  1. Have you ever run Chicago? We sure saw a lot of PRs today!

    I think you'll do great at CIM, so many people do. Sounds like you're giving yourself enough time to adjust for the travel; it will be easy for you to go to bed early and wake up early for the race. That helped me a lot with Big Sur!

  2. I bet the really long summer could be the culprit for why your speedwork didn't move much! Your half should tell the real story - hopefully you get good weather.

  3. Maybe I've put the 3:10:00 in your mind.. I totally think you can do it and that's my god for you. You need to set challenges like that. Achievable yes but not easy... I think you have the ability and you always know what I'll be doing if it happens because I've been telling you that you can break 3:10:00. Is Greg doing Columbus too. Good luck in a few hours. I'm sure you'll write about it and I can talk about CIM afterwards!! Just do your best and go get that PR half that I know you have in you. I just saw a 44 yr old lady and 48 yr old guy run personal bests in Chicago last weekend. I know you can do this!! I believe in you!!