California International Marathon Training Week 1

California International Marathon Training Week 1

Week 1 of 18 of marathon training for the California International Marathon is done! 

I increased my mileage up to the highest it has reached since April, with 38 miles for the week. I prefer the equilibrium method for increasing running mileage, which is where you increase your mileage by about 20-30% and then hold that mileage for 3-4 weeks, cutback, and then increase again.

Unlike the 10% rule, it gives the body a long time to adapt to the higher mileage, thus reducing the risk of injury. For marathon training, it lets me jump into higher mileage and focus on consistently running a certain mileage, which matters more than a peak week mileage. I hope to peak somewhere around 55 miles per week for a few weeks. It’s not high mileage, but since I run 5 days per week and hike once per week that’s a good mileage to hit for marathon training, I think. 

California International Marathon Training Week 1

Monday: AM: 8 mile progression run with last 2 miles at a moderate effort; PM: core & hip strengthening

I ran the first 6 miles at an easy pace, averaging just under a 9:00/mile, and then picked up the pace to a moderate effort for the final two miles. By moderate, I mean a sustainable, comfortable effort with only a slight increase to my breathing – not as fast as tempo effort or half marathon pace, but closer to steady state/marathon pace. I ran 7:46 and 7:52 for those last 2 miles and finished feeling strong. 

While the Seattle area doesn’t get scorching heat and we usually have a healthy dose of cloud cover in the mornings, running during the summer months is still more challenging than normal because of the humidity. The humidity was about 90% on my run and even at an easy pace I noticed a change in my breathing, the same feeling of not being able to take deep breathes that you get at high altitude. 

California International Marathon Training Week 1

I had one of those runner’s socially awkward moments on a run. I was passed by two women who were running together right around mile 5.9. Shortly after they passed me, I picked up my pace to progress up to a moderate effort per my workout and was soon running side-by-side with them – which made it seem like I just ran faster because I was passed. While keeping my effort still comfortable, I surged just a little bit to get ahead of them. Unless I’m running with someone or in a race, I feel so awkward running right behind or next to another runner. 

Tuesday: AM: 7 miles with 8 x 30 seconds uphill repeats at 5K effort; PM: Pilates

Originally, I thought we were backpacking on Friday through Sunday nights, so I planned on doing my long run on Thursday and opted for hills/speed development on Tuesday to not have that fatigue in my legs on my long run. 

This run wasn’t awful but it wasn’t the best. I skipped my warm up after a later start. It was rainy, which meant slippery sidewalks and roads. I decided to alter my workout for the day from 6 x 1 minute hill repeats to 8 x 30 second hill repeats to avoid slipping and so I could run on a shorter hill with better visibility (to avoid any cyclists whipping over the hill and skidding in the rain). 

The hill repeats were okay, but my hamstring cramped up near the end (probably due to skipping my warm up). Not pain or any strain/tear feeling, but truly a cramp – tight but I could finish the run without pain or alteration of gait. I’ve been working on improving my hamstring strength, but in the meanwhile the side effect seems to be tighter hamstrings. 

In the evening, I did Pilates, stretched with a few downward dogs, and foam rolled the tight spots in my glutes, calves, and hamstrings. 

Wednesday: 7 miles at easy pace

Foam rolling, KT tape, stretching, and Pilates seemed to do the trick on the tightness in my hamstring. I ran 7 miles at an easy pace (my Garmin died mid-run, but Runkeeper reported an 8:58/mile average) with no cramping. Muscles are weird. 

California International Marathon Training Week 1

Thursday: AM: 4 miles very easy with Charlie; PM: Strength training

Charlie and I ran 4 easy miles – well, easy for me. The little puggle decided he wanted to sprint the last mile and pushed the pace up from his normal 9:50-10:00/mile pace to 8:30. His excitement as he started running faster was the cutest thing, and he looked so proud of himself afterwards. 

I tried to take a selfie of us for Instagram, but Charlie was confused about which way he should face the camera. 

California International Marathon Training Week 1

Friday: 12 mile hilly long run

There’s one route nearby with hills over the first two/last two miles (I run it out and back) that toast by legs by the end of a long run. They’re not bad hills – I think one climbs 100 feet and the other climbs 150 feet – but they’re a bit nasty at the end of a longer run. I only drank water with electrolytes on this run, since I’m trying out a strategy of training low-carb on some long runs, and finished feeling strong even with those hills. 

I’m also proud of keeping my long run at an easy pace- 8:54/mile, which for less than a 2 hour long run felt very aerobically easy. Half marathon training lets you get away with faster long runs (usually 45-90 seconds slower than goal pace, so last training cycle that was 8:15-9:00/mile for me). The Hansons Marathon Method involved faster, shorter long runs, so I never really learned how to slow down on long runs during marathon training. 

California International Marathon Training Week 1

And yes, I am obsessed with these shirts from REI. 

Saturday: Backpacking

A college friend of ours and his girlfriend were in town, so we planned a backpacking trip together near Mount Rainier. We hiked 3 miles to Dewey Lake, then hiked around the lake a bit more in the evening for about 4 or 5 miles. 

California International Marathon Training Week 1

Sunday: Backpacking

Backpacking is so relaxing, even when it’s cold! We woke up to 40 degree temperatures and enjoyed coffee and oatmeal at the lake before hiking back. My new Osprey backpack felt so comfortable, even when loaded up with about 23 pounds. 


I increased my protein intake this week to start off marathon training with good nutrition and felt energized all week. I ate two sources of vegetarian protein at lunch instead of one (eggs and quinoa this week) to make sure I get enough, especially on days where I run and strength train. 

I try to eat a majority of my carbs from vegetables and fruits, especially starchy vegetables like white potatoes, sweet potatoes, and squash. My favorite meal this week was spaghetti squash with whipped feta and Greek yogurt sauce (from this falafel recipe), chicken, and roasted eggplant. 

California International Marathon Training Week 1


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28 Responses

  1. Great job this week! I hate passing other runners who aren’t running that much faster. I feel like I need to sprint by them so that I don’t end up running next to them! My hamstrings never really feel tight, but I can tell they are when I go to stretch them. Most often my low bak and hips feel tight.

  2. I always have to speed up and pass the other runners on my path. it’s a thing for me lol. I am usually running with dog walkers but lately there are a few other random runners out there during my run time and I just have to get ahead of them. and the humidity is killer! I have had enough of it.

  3. It looks like you had a great week of training and your plan sounds really good. I think 55 mpw is plenty if you’re running 5 days a week and cross training, anyway. I need to learn how to slow my long runs down once I start marathon training this Fall… you’re right, you can get away with going a little too fast for the half marathon distance long runs… but it’s hard to slow down when you’re running alone, for me. I can do it when I’m running with someone, at least (maybe I need to find partners for my long runs…).

    Your meals look really good! I am upping the protein as well for recovery purposes and it seems to help! Eggs are great and a very cheap source of protein as well.

    1. Thank you! It’s a weird shift for us half marathoners! It definitely takes practice which is why I’m slowing down my long runs now. When does your marathon training start?

  4. I am a typical woman with tight hip flexors, lol. You are doing so great! I like the equilibrium method as well, and I think that it is a great fit for someone like you who isn’t afraid to bop up in mileage. For many new runners, the thought of going up like that is terrifying!

    1. Lol aren’t we all – tight hips and being a female runner seem to go hand-in-hand. Thank you! I agree, I wouldn’t use it on a new runner, but when you’ve been tot hat mileage before it’s great.

  5. I love your training plan and how you build up and then cut back as opposed to a “peak week!” IF I ever run a marathon again, I think I will need to try that instead…
    Love the shot of a confused Charlie 🙂 and of course, all your hiking pics just make me drool!!! Gorgeous!

    1. Thank you!! Charlie never understands photos, but at least he’s pretty adorable at all angles 🙂 You should come out here some day and see all the mountains in person!

  6. I can definitely relate to that awkward moment! I definitely do feel motivated if I’m running near someone to pick up the pace to pass them, but I don’t want it to seem like I’m super competitive. So many thoughts go on during my runs!

  7. Sounds like a great way to kick off training! I have definitely been in those moments before running right beside someone, so awkward. Haha. My right calf and piriformis are always tight… definitely something I need to roll out frequently!

  8. Ha ha ha! I totally know what you mean about feeling awkward running beside someone like that! I think the funniest, dorkiest moment I had was when a cyclist was coming toward me and he signaled a right hand turn but I thought he waved at me, so I enthusiastically waved back and then was like, doh! Oops.

    1. Oh my gosh that is funny! And something I would do also. Actually, though, I just wish the cyclists would signal rather than speed past me silently and make me jump out of my skin.

  9. Great week! I think it’s a smart idea to aim for consistent week-to-week mileage rather than aiming for one “peak” week. Your average weekly mileage will make a much bigger difference than whatever your lone peak week is anyway.

    I haven’t had too many awkward runner moments with other runners, but I definitely get the whole “to pass or not to pass” weirdness in these situations. It’s funny how much we all care about little things like that.

    1. Thank you! That average weekly mileage is what matters for marathoning – one week of high mileage won’t do it! It is funny how we care about these things – I just never want to seem rude or anything!

  10. Great job on your workouts and your hilly long run. I haven’t been to a pilates class in ever. I need to go Bc I know i won’t do it on my own. That whipped feta and Greek yogurt sauce sounds so good on the spaghetti squash. I am boring and always put marina and cheese on it.

    1. Thank you! Marinara and cheese is really good on spaghetti squash also. The whipped feta is so good – you should try it! And it’s so easy – your just whip together feta, Greek yogurt, and olive oil and then season it – takes only a couple of minutes.

  11. sooooooooooo pretty! this lake/mountain view just took my breath away. How lucky to hike there and camp out there! but gosh, 40 degrees…. we are definitely spoiled with the weather here. I think the coldest we’ve gotten was 52 degrees and that’s super cold for HI since we don’t have heaters and we’re always in short sleeves/shorts/sandals..

    I like that idea of your training. I cannot increase at such drastic level, but maybe 10-15% and I like to keep that mileage for a bit too just to get my body used to running that long. I know that I am way behind on my training if I want to keep on increasing the mileage (and I know I should) but I just don’t want to be burned out!

    Thank you for an inspiring training post 🙂

    1. Thank you! 40 degrees did feel quite chilly and we wore lots of layers. I think it’s better to adjust mileage as your body needs and not get burned out – being a bit undertrained is far better than any overtraining! 🙂 Good luck on your training!

  12. A great first week of marathon training! I think Charlie was just presenting his “good” side to the camera. I saw the picture of Dewey Lake on I/G. It looks spectacular! I’ve noticed during this cycle that I am hungry on my long runs. Like, stomach growling hungry. I’m not sure why. I’ve always fueled the same way before and during. I haven’t changed anything yet. I figure if it doesn’t make me feel sick, then push through. Thanks for linking with us, Laura!

    1. Thank you! Charlie certainly does think that is his good side! I find that fueling needs can just change from training cycle to training cycle without any real reason. I definitely find that I need to eat more before marathon long runs than I used to! Thank you for hosting!

  13. Wow you do jump right in with this method huh! Great job on week 1 being in the books! After all those weekly miles and then backpacking I’d do good to move the next week!
    I have got the slowing down part just fine for marathon training. It’s the speed that I lack in! Thanks lady for linking up!

    1. Thank you – and thanks for hosting! The speed is the hard part of marathon training – that’s why I like to add it in the early weeks, before the fatigue sets in!

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