A to Zs of Marathon Training [Week 17]

The A to Zs of marathon training, what has lately become a huge part of our lives.  I did a similar post for SLC.  The experiences have both been full of ups and downs, but I'd have to say they've been so different from each other.

On top of learning a lot about running, in the process I've also learned a lot about myself.  To some, running is just a form of exercise.  To me, it is also a form of meditation and reflection, a time out and an outdoors fix.  And a million other things!

Average Temperature of Training

A high of 118 degrees in August (!!) (@#$!), 100+ until October because Arizona sure was on one this year.  For most of my long runs I'd say I averaged 80s since I did them in the early AM.


This one is kind of weird but I've been working on breathing with my diaphragm.  I've read somewhere that you should breathe in for three steps, breathe out for two.  I've tried it and maybe it's helped on faster runs but it takes major concentration because you have to alternate your breathing pattern with either right/left foot.  I usually settle into breathing in two steps, out two steps.


My mom bought me RUN GUM for my birthday and I have loved it and pop one before a long run.  I also take GU with 20mg of caffeine about every 45:00.  I could have really used RUN GUM when B3 was a newborn...

Duration of Training

18 weeks:  8 weeks of heart rate training + 10 weeks of Charlie's coaching (2 of which were my taper)


The marathon course is downhill for the first half, then some rolling hills (until mile 21ish) and a flat finish.


GU every 45:00 starting at like 30:00.  The course has aid stations every two miles so I may fuel every 4 miles right before the water stop.


Newtons Distance U + Asics Gel 3030s + Asics Noosa Tri 9s + my new Saucony Triumph ISOs which I'll be racing in!

Hitting the wall

At SLC it was unexpectedly warm and I hit the wall half way in (major ouch).  My goal is to fuel like mad and set myself up for the best situation, then the rest is out of my hands.


Earlier this summer my tight hips gave me some left knee niggles, but it's gotten looser/better.  The last 5-6 weeks I've had a tight IT band with some major right knee pain, but it is getting less each week and I'm hoping it holds up on the downhill portion of the course (unfortunately that is right off the start) or that I can find some flatter areas to warm up in.


is running the marathon with me (my sis).  We aren't literally running together since she's considerably more trained and I think just going to go for it on the downhill.  The rest of the fam damily are running the 1/2 marathon.  Ben's legs aren't quite ready for the stresses of "racing," so he'll be going sub 1:50 -- his slowest 1/2 to date.  Wish that was my slowest 1/2...

Kinds of music

I still haven't tried a book on tape for my long run which both Ben and my sister like, I love upbeat music and am still hooked on KNIFE PARTY.  They are the best to run to.  Also Kelly Clarkson (always), and my favorite song of all time in the history of life, CATCH MY BREATH.

Long Runs

Up to 20 miles but I did two split long runs, a 14 miler and a 20 miler.  I could have used more long runs, but hey, there's no more time for that!


At the end of this upcoming week I'll be over 400 miles in this training cycle and just miles from 700 for the year.  I finished October with 133 miles!  Not a record high month overall, but a record high month in a couple of years so I'm very happy!!!  It feels so good to be finally getting my fitness levels back.

Negative Splits

The first half is significantly faster so I do plan on taking some advantage, but at this point I don't have my race plan in hand so we'll see what Charlie says.  Since I'm not trained for a terribly quick race, I don't think I'll take as much advantage of the downhill, so hopefully my splits aren't a million hours different.


This is something I struggle with when I have a bad run (read:  my 1/2 marathon race in September) or nagging pain and I let it ruin my mood in a dramatically major way.  Ben is the #1 optimist in the world and always butters me up and rejuvenates me (in all things life, really).  Also, having a coach is another form of motivation and a reminder that not every run is going to be good, but the next one just might!


This summer, testing put my zone 2 at a 9:47-11:05 pace which is where most of my runs were, typically about 10-10:15.  I'm sure my threshold pace is quicker now with my increased fitness and the muuuuch cooler temperatures, but we'll wait until after the race to find out new zones.

Qualify for Boston (BQ)

My sister and I would have to run a 3:35 (8:12/mile) to qualify at our age.  Definitely NOT happening for me.  It may not happen for me until I'm in my 40s and no longer taking pregnancy/newborn breaks, but I do have my eyes on it.  Right now my goal is to average a 10:15 pace = sub 4:30.  Maybe next year I'll come back and give it a faster try??  I hope I love the course, but everything I've read says it's beautiful.


During training I ran one 1/2 marathon and it didn't end well due to my IT band giving me trouble for the first time.  Boo

Speed Work

Charlie (coach/PT) coaches a track club every Tuesday, so I was doing some track for awhile.  They recently changed the time for the fall/winter/spring so I haven't been able to make it due to work/rush hour, so I just do the track workout around my block.  Not near as fun, but the commute is nice.  :)


It's going much better than my 3-week taper for SLC.  Maybe because I'm much busier these days so I am just a little bit less busy without as many miles.  I do miss the long runs though.  One great thing about marathon training is it morphs your view of a half marathon into being short.  Aka "My long run is only 13 miles this weekend."

Up and coming plans

So.. the alphabet is hard.  :P  After the marathon I plan to focus on the half marathon for the next year and depending on how I'm feeling, maybe give the full another shot.


I know this is going to HURT, but I envision it being a much stronger and smarter race than SL.  I'm aware how the marathon feels and that anything can go wrong, but even so I am confident that if I really stick to my race plan, I will reach my goal (or at least be close if things go awry).  I have built up some mental strength which I have found is one of the most valuable things when it comes to racing.  Buuut you can never be too sure about race day.


I obsess over this.  :P  At this moment race day is a high of 79, low of 48, but since it's in the canyon I anticipate cooler temperatures at the start.  Last year I think I read it was 38 at the start.  Brrrrrrrrr.  Yesterday Ben and I went to Goodwill and I bought myself a giant pea coat for $4 that I can discard.  It's awesome.  lol

X training

I did one full strength/weight session each week + two core trainings.  During taper I don't x-train, I just do my core work and foam roll/work on my IT bands.


Totally grasping at straws with the alphabet...
BUT the marathon isn't really just 26.2 miles.  It's actually 26 miles, 385 yards.  Or 26.21875 miles.  haha

Zac Efron

Is hot, but I don't know if he's ever run a marathon cuz I can't find his time anywhere.

This past week was another good one and I can feel my knee loosening up a little bit.  It didn't require much recovery as opposed to previous weekends where I was left limping for a day or so after the inflammation set in.  It was a fairly low mileage week and I'm feeling good and ready.

The only pictures from this week's training are from after my long run on Halloween with my cute baby boy!

This upcoming week I have three workouts planned and then it's go time!!  Pretty crazy!!  I can't believe it.  I also can't believe I thought up words for each letter of the alphabet.

Have a nice Monday!


  1. Wow! Me 'n Zac Efron got our own alphabet letters! Thanks sis! You're going to rock on Saturday!!

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