75 Training Days til the race

by daniel

75 training days left until the LA marathon. At times I find myself overwhelmed by the finale: 26.2 and hoping for a PR. Last Marathon I ran 3:44, inelegantly, splitting 1:42 for the first half and 2:02 for the second half. In my only other marathon I also had a +20min split. 

To calm my nerves a bit I'm trying to focus on the process. Working towards process goals, I'll be less worried about the PR and about my fitness. Also it's just like, who am I doing this for? -just me. So have fun with it. Enjoy the training - it's most of the experience anyhow.

With 75 training days left, I have 3 training goals:

1) run 20 miles four times
2) aim to get 15 runs over 10 miles
3) run 3 miles or more 50 times. (aka run 2 out of 3 days)

My focus here on out is on the long stuff. That's where I'm clearly weak, given previous marathon bonks. I need to teach my body not to run out of energy. Best way to do this is to get out on some longer runs.

Day 1   (out of 75)

Managed to catch a head cold over Christmas and was not feeling the run today. I started bargaining: really it's a bad idea to run, you're sick, you'll set yourself back. Also it is so cold (31F and windy). Plan was to start off the final 75 days with a 10miler but maybe I just do 3 and save 10 for tomorrow.

I had breakfast and started feeling way better and was like, oh but still you're kinda sick. The only solution when I start backpedalling is to put the running clothes on. Even if I don't go for an hour, once I'm dressed I'll get out the door. It actually ended up being a nice run. 10.3 miles at 8:12 per mile average pace. Was fine with no water or calories. Central was real cold, but nice. Did the full outside loop plus once around the reservoir.

Tracking the last 75 days of training
total: 10.3 miles
total runs: 1
runs>10: 1
runs>20: 0

Ancillary Work: Core X

by daniel

When you build up your running you get fitter, quickly. It turns out that the cardiovascular system adapts more quickly than the muscoloskeletal system. So while my lungs, heart, and capillaries are ready to run 7 flat for an hour, my muscles, bones, and ligaments may buckle. 

For me, the feet tend to give way first. My calves tend to tighten up, which can lead to plantar fasciitis, achilles injuries, and general foot pain. The solution is to build mileage and overall intensity conservatively with time. But you can also help yourself with some non-running exercises to build strength and flexibility to support adaptation. 

Monday I ran 8 miles on a banked, 0.1-mile indoor track in flats. Soon after I realized I may be taxing my lower legs too much too soon. So I'm thinking it's time to get into some of that "extra" work to support my running. My favorite source for this kind of thing is the venerable Coach Jay Johnson. Here is a 5-minute core workout he recommends for runners. 

This is a routine developed for runners. It's tough. I like it for twice or three times a week after a run or in the evening after dinner. There are 10 exercises performed in sequence: 30 seconds each with no rest in between. The killer is the V-Sit scissor kicks.

List of exercises:

  1. 'Running' V-Sits
  2. Australian Crawl
  3. V-Sit Flutter Kick
  4. Side Plank with Leg Lifts
  5. Supine Plank with Leg Lifts
  6. Other side Plank with Leg Lifts
  7. Supermans
  8. Pushup to side plank
  9. V-Sit Scissor Kicks
  10. Rockies

So far, this workout has slayed me every time. Presumably, as you get stronger, you can do each move with more intensity and speed. The leg lifts on the planks are tough, so maybe to start you just aim for 5x leg lift in the 30 seconds. Eventually maybe the beasts out there can even do the routine twice through. The idea is to add 10 to 15 minutes to your daily routine to do some body weight exercise that will further your running. Even the pros are doing Core X:

Pros & Cons: Can I PR in the 'thon this March?

by daniel


  1. Last time I ran over 10 miles: May
  2. Last time I ran over 14 miles: November 2012
  3. Weight: at 150 lbs presently. Better times under 140. Better looking at 150.
  4. Cross-training has mostly been drinking and smoking cigarettes
  5. The weather: spring marathons mean winter training.


  1. PR'd in Half Marathon this May
  2. PR'd in 5K this June
  3. Have the time to put into training (read: social game on point)
  4. January has traditionally been my best running month (resolutionary)
  5. Already booked my plane ticket, registered for race.


OK so it's pretty clear that I've let myself go. This will be an uphill battle. But every year that I've been running the PRs have come. I'm hoping that the lifetime mileage side trumps the wheezy/slow/fat side. Really though, I need to get on it now if I want to round into shape by March. To light a fire under my rear, I signed up for the Ted Corbitt 15K on December 13. So I have four weeks to train for my first checkpoint.

18 Weeks Out

by daniel

So, as per last post, I have signed up for the LA Marathon (Mar 15, 2015). I have completed 2 marathons, most recently 2012 Philadelphia Marathon in 3h44m. My goal is to finish as quickly as possible without it being hard or tiring. (Why am I doing this?)

I fear the marathon, because so far, it is 2 for 2 in kicking my ass. In the last one, I went through the half in 1:40:20 en route to finishing in 3:44. My pace for the first half was 7:39 per mile. My pace from 30K to the finish (7+miles) was 10:24 per mile. My most vivid memory of that race is running back towards Center City on Kelly Drive fighting the urge to run into the woods to lie down and sleep. So tired.

So in LA I want to be more conservative and leave something in the tank for after 20. I wanna run under 3:40 or maybe under 3:30. Don't let me get any more ambitious than that or I'm guaranteed to eat shit in the second half of this race.

Right now I'm 18 weeks out from the race date, which is when a lot of training plans start. I'm roughly following the Pfitzinger Advanced Marathoning 18-wk plan that maxes out at 55 miles per week. The first 6 weeks will see me building up my mileage and getting ready for the meat of the training cycle. Overall the plan has three 20-milers and generally a weekly threshold run or VO2max workout.

I don't know if I'm up for putting this training in over the winter. The one upside is that the LA marathon doesn't have a half, so it'll be tougher to bail if I blow up.