California International Marathon Training Week 3

California International Marathon Training Week 3

Hi there! How was your weekend? 

We had a heat wave this week in the Seattle area. For many of you, our heat wave temperatures would actually probably be a relief week from summer weather. I remember when Ryan and I lived in Northwest Indiana how awfully scorching hot August was. But when your body acclimates to mornings in the mid-50s and highs in the 70s, highs in the 90s feel unbearably sweltering. 

California International Marathon Training Week 3

And that’s why I’m training for a marathon that is known for cool temperatures and low humidity. I read the average race day temperatures is in the high 40s, with quite a few years when the starting temperature was in the 30s. The temperature at the Portland Marathon reached up into mid-60s near the end of the race and was just too hot for me.

Other than the hot weather, my third week of training for the California International Marathon went smoothly. The workouts got a bit harder, I hit 40 miles this week, and I finished feeling ready for more mileage. This next week will be a cutback week, and then I’ll bump up to 45-48 miles for most of September. 

Monday: AM: 8 miles with 6 miles at aerobic threshold (hilly route); PM: 30 minutes strength training

After a mile warm up, I ran 6 miles over rolling hills at aerobic threshold – aka marathon effort or within the range of steady state pace. The effort was moderate – not as hard as a tempo run, but certainly not holding-back-the-pace easy. 

I was pleased to see that my marathon effort pace had not changed much since my training for the Lake Sammamish Half Marathon! 

For strength training, I tried a new routine. I warmed up with Myrtls, since I’m still working on improving my running form and hip mobility is an area in which I need to improve I did 2 sets of dumbbell swings (my kettlebell is too light for me now), rotating lunges, single leg deadlifts, Pallof presses, bent over rows, and planks.

Tuesday: AM: 6 miles easy run; PM: 15 minutes Pilates

California International Marathon Training Week 3

My deep core muscles were sore from the Pallof presses – those are deceptively difficult! I kept my run easy and my Pilates workout short so I wouldn’t completely smoke my core before tomorrow’s fartlek run. I do this often during marathon training (and half marathon training in peak weeks) – cut back on strength and cross training here and there because I’m worried about being too fatigued for a hard or long run. 

Wednesday: 8 mile fartlek run

Two deer jumped out of the trees in front of me during my warm up, which was fun to see! I didn’t snap a photo though – when I heard rustling in the trees, my first reaction was to prepare my mace. It’s a bit sad how cynical recent tragedies make us, and seeing two playful deer was a reminder that while we should be aware and safe, there are good things to see on a run outdoors and not everything is dangerous. 

I had done this ladder fartlek workout previously in half marathon training – it’s one of my favorites. After a good warm up (the faster the paces, the longer I need to warm up), I ran 1-2-3-2-1-2-3 minutes at 3K-5K effort with equal duration recovery. The varied lengths make the workout fun and mentally engaging and by the final 3 minutes you’re really huffing and puffing. Even though it’s only 14 minutes of hard running, 3K effort is a very hard effort – especially for us distance runners.

California International Marathon Training Week 3

Fast running finally clicked again with my body for the first time in a while. While the hard intervals felt quite challenging, I settled into them more naturally. My hamstring wasn’t tight at all either, unlike it had been on hill and fartlek workouts the past two weeks. Of course, I had slapped on KT tape before the run as a preventative measure. Whether or not it actually helped or was merely a placebo effect, I was happy to get in a strong fartlek run!

Thursday: AM: 4 mile recovery run with Charlie; PM: 30 minutes of strength training

Charlie and I took our recovery run easy and slow. Our average pace was somewhere in the low 10s, since Charlie needs a slow pace when it’s warm outside. But after hitting just over 2 miles yesterday at a sub-7 pace, I needed to shake out my legs with easy miles. 

California International Marathon Training Week 3

Friday: 14 mile long run with last 4 miles moderate

I feel like these progression long runs truly reveal where your fitness is and how you’ll fare in the marathon. It’s hard to pick up the pace, even to a moderate pace (near marathon effort), at the end of a long run. I relied on my breathing and perceived effort as a guide and chiseled down my pace to 8:11, 8:08, 7:53, and 8:02 (hilly mile). 

This was a high-carb training run. I ran my previous two long runs without any mid-run fuel. This week, because of the nature of the run (it was a fairly challenging long run) I took a peanut butterHammer gel halfway through the run. I like the peanut butter flavor for training because it has a bit of fat, so it’s a steadier release of energy than a sugary gel.

Saturday: 20 minutes recovery yoga

When my glutes and hamstrings are extra tight, this Runner’s World yoga video does the trick in stretching everything. 

Sunday: 5 mile hike

Ryan, Charlie, and I embarked on an easy hike at Heather Lake. The weather was finally cool and pleasant, albeit humid. The hike was leisurely and relaxing – the gain was only about 1000 feet. Ryan’s on a round of antibiotics for a mild lung infection (he’s doing well, if anything he wants to keep running and hiking more), so we skipped on camping overnight and just enjoyed some beautiful scenery. 

California International Marathon Training Week 3

We’ve spent the past three years attempting to teach Charlie how to swim and have all but given up. Then, out of nowhere, Charlie went straight into the water of Heather Lake, completely on his own volition, and waded out further than he ever had before! 

California International Marathon Training Week 3

After the hike, Ryan and I caught up on the men’s Olympic Marathon. It was so exciting to see Rupp win the bronze, and even more so I was so happy to see Meb finish his final Olympics with a smile on his face. I’m a super sappy person and I tear up a bit when runners cross the finish line and cross themselves, smile, or throw their hands in the air in joy. That joy and gratitude at the finish is one of my favorite parts of distance running.

Meb’s an incredible human in many ways – humble, kind, hard-working – and what stood out to me the most about him in this race was his gracious attitude. He wasn’t upset that he had stomach upset or tripped at the finish line. Instead, he handled it all with grace and finished with a smile. That’s the type of runner I want to be! 


Red meat cravings hit me this week. During low training periods I can go weeks without eating red meat, but once the mileage and intensity sneak up my body craves the iron. Last Sunday night we grilled top round, sweet potatoes, and eggplant and I felt completely re-energized on Monday’s marathon pace run. We then had bison this weekend and again, I felt completely reset after a week of training.  

[Tweet “CIM Marathon Training Week 3: fartlek runs, alpine lake hikes, and red meat cravings via @thisrunrecipes #runcim #marathon #weeklywrap”]

Linking up with Weekly Wrap!

What temperatures do you prefer to run in?
How was your week of running?
What moment in the Olympic made you tear up the most?




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26 Responses

  1. I definitely prefer the cooler temps for racing as well- thats why I like late fall marathons! I had to google to see what a pallof press is. It looks like a good one! I loved watching the marathon yesterday and also some of the shorter distances, especially Kate Grace in the 800 on Saturday.

  2. The moment Meb crossed the finish line…total sap moment for me! It was a crazy race for sure. Looks like you had a solid week of running. I need to try your Fartlek run – I love ladder workouts like that!

  3. the deer would have freaked me out! we have them here but not here, as in, my area where I run. they freak me out when I’m on fire island, I don’t do well with nature lol. you had an awesome week of running! I never tried the peanut butter hammer gel, I really should. and now I want steak even though idont eat steak.

    1. They were so cute once I saw them, but with what happened over the past month the rustling made me nervous. The peanut butter hammer gel is so good – not very sweet which I like for harder long runs. And yes you should have a steak! It’s like a jolt of iron to the body.

  4. I get so emotional watching people finish in tears as well. And there were so many tearful and grateful finishers this year! I love that even though Meb didn’t have his best race, he still finished with a sense of humor and humility. He is just such an amazing role model!

  5. The weather is getting to be perfect here! The humidity is finally breaking and the mornings feel great. I hope this heat wave doesn’t last long! Great week 🙂

  6. The marathon was awesome yesterday! Not only Galen’s bronze and Meb’s gritty finish, but how about Jared Ward coming in SIXTH overall?? I don’t think anyone expected that, so awesome!

    I haven’t gotten too sappy watching the Olympics but Gwen Jorgensen’s triathlon victory really gave me the feels on Saturday. She is from the MKE area and the whole region was really rooting for her. Seeing how overcome with emotion she was when she broke the tape really got me!

    Is it wrong that a part of me is cruelly satisfied at your heat wave after how many times you’ve reminded us how awesome your Washington weather is?? 😛

    1. Ward’s race was awesome! There wasn’t much time left to go when they showed the top 8 or 10 and he wasn’t there, and then he finished in 6th – way to finish strong! I need to finish watching Gwen’s victory if the streaming is still available – she worked so hard for that victory!
      And that’s fair. Although now it’s cool again – 50 this morning! 🙂

  7. You’ve have an incredible start this marathon training cycle. I always enjoy your pictures. It looks like you run in the most tranquil places. And, look at Charlie go! Maybe he did pay attention during the swimming lessons. My idea running weather is 48 degrees, low humidity, no wind. That is winter for me. Thanks for linking, Lauren!

  8. I loved watching Meb in the Olympics and all the interviews with him. He has done more than any of the other Olympic runners to promote the sport of running among recreational runners like us. Meb has really inspired a lot of people out there.

    I thought the weather in Seattle was great… Tuesday was cold to me. But I could tell by Thursday that the temperatures were a bit warmer. Don’t get me wrong, it felt amazing compared to Charleston, but I do agree that it was a little warm for training unless you ran in the morning. I do agree, it is all about what you are used to but training in the hotter weather and racing in the cooler weather usually works out well!

    1. He really has inspired a lot of people – he celebrates everyone’s race as a victory, which is so humble and amazing of him. I love how he approaches the sport with longevity also. I can imagine Seattle mornings do feel cold compared to the south!

  9. Great week of training. I never incorporate fartleks into my training. I probably should. We never have to convince our lab to grt into water
    We have to convince her to get pit she loves it so much. I thk 40s is too cold for me for a race …….brrrrr. i actually don’t mind it warmer like 60s

    1. Thank you! Awww that is so adorable how much your lab loves water! I love labs. We almost adopted one this weekend but our apartment just doesn’t have the space. They’re the sweetest dogs!

  10. I love running in the heat. I’ve been craving mushrooms and red meat lately, so I looked up the nutritional facts on mushrooms and noticed they’ve got a lot of blood-building components in them. I used to take a blood-builder supplement each morning so I need to get back to doing that. Great job this week and I’m so glad to hear that your speed is back and your hamstring has settled! And WAY TO GO CHARLIE!!!!

    1. Cold is so much easier to run in! I think my low limit is in the teens with a nasty windchill…but that was also often when there would be feet of snow on the ground back when we lived in Indiana. But even 20s feels good with the right amount of clothing!

  11. I am all about cooler weather races too! This summer has been brutal for training. We finally have a cooler front in this week. Great training week! It’s always exciting to feel good on those tougher runs.

    1. Thank you! It’s finally time for cooler fronts and fall to arrive – it’s been so hot this summer but hopefully it will make fall training feel even easier!

  12. Great week for you and wow the pictures of the hike are beautiful! Funny I have one dog who loves the water and we can’t keep him out of it and the other doesn’t like it much. I didn’t get to watch much of the Olympics but seeing the devastating pictures and videos coming out of Louisiana is what made me tear up for all those who have lost everything and all the animals who didn’t make it.

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