California International Marathon Training Week 4

California International Marathon Training Week 4

Hi! How was your weekend?

This week served as a cutback week, before both mileage and intensity increase. I’m excited that my marathon training plan incorporates cutback weeks this time around. The Hansons Marathon Method alternated between 55 and 60-63 miles, which never seemed to really give my body much time to rest before pushing hard again. It works well for some people, but not for me, so I’m hopeful in seeing how cutback weeks benefit me as I increase my mileage in marathon training. 

California International Marathon Training Week 4

Looking over this week of training, I ran hills, hills, and more hills. The only run on a flat route was my treadmill run. My two easy runs were on rolling hills and my hard workout and hill repeats were both done over hills. 

Since the California International has gentle rolling hills throughout the first 16 miles (with a net downhill), I’m adding in rolling hills into my long runs and marathon pace runs. The half marathon I’m running in October in Vermont with the Rise.Run.Retreat features some hills that appear a bit intimidating on the elevation chart, so hills are helping me prepare for that as well. 

Monday: 7 miles easy

I don’t know if there were some allergens in the air, but I felt drowsy on this run. Thankfully, it was an easy run so I just kept my pace relaxed. I like to mix up the surfaces that I run on, especially on easy days, so I ran along a dirt and gravel trail for part of this run. 

California International Marathon Training Week 4

Tuesday: AM: 7 miles with 8 x 1 minute hard uphill; PM: 30 minutes strength training

Hill repeats! I nervously anticipate these runs, because they’re both confidence-building and humbling. Hill repeats make me feel strong, but they render me huffing and puffing by the end of each repeat. 

California International Marathon Training Week 4

I attempted to take a photo of the hill, but of course I managed to angle my phone so that the incline appears gentle. In reality, it’s the ideal hill for shorter repeats: short and steep. Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words, and sometimes a picture is merely the result a runner quickly pointing and shooting between intervals.

I saw the cutest Border Collie on my cool down run and he tried to run with me! It was too stupid cute to handle. Ryan and I are hoping to adopt another dog soon and our top picks are Australian Shepherds and Border Collies (or, more realistically, a mix of one of those). 

Wednesday: AM: 4 mile easy run with Charlie; PM: 30 minutes Pilates

As usual, my runs with Charlie are fun runs done at a very relaxed pace, in order to flush out the legs and add in some easy miles. After the run, I finished off with a free (puggle-free) strides to work on my turnover and form. 

California International Marathon Training Week 4

I’ll be increasing the distance of all my runs over the next month and now I’m trying to figure out how to balance that with running Charlie. I have to drive at least 5 minutes to safely run (we live off a very busy road with no sidewalks in areas), so I want to avoid too much of a down time between segments of a run. 

Thursday: 12 miles with 10 miles moderate

The goal of this workout was to run the middle 10 miles at 10-20 seconds slower than goal marathon pace. I haven’t set a goal marathon time yet, but last week’s workouts gave me at least an idea of what I could appropriately consider my goal marathon pace. I aimed for a 8:15-8:25/mile pace for this run and averaged right around 8:15/mile for most of the miles (a fewer faster on flat ground, and one slightly slower on a hill.)

This run required concentration and control. 10 miles is a long time to maintain a pace that isn’t quite easy but isn’t quite moderately hard. Especially once my body got comfortable into the pace, my legs wanted to go faster but I worked to keep my effort under control. The 7% hill at the end of mile 10 was rather nasty to climb, but overall I held an even pace well. 

Friday: AM: 3 mile easy run

Ryan had a doctor’s appointment, which is why I switched my long run day to Thursday. I ran on the treadmill for what felt like the first time in forever – at least the first time since I started marathon training. I used to run all the time on the treadmill but now it feels incredibly confining and unnatural. 

Ryan and I originally had plans to go backpacking, but a rescheduling of his doctor’s appointment to a later time changed our plans. Instead, after the appointment, we headed out for tapas and a glass of mid-day wine to celebrate good news and good health. We shared pita with olive and hummus dips, lamb sliders, and chicken skewers, all of which were incredibly delicious and satisfying. Then we shopped for early birthday presents at REI’s Labor Day sale and got an Osprey overnight bag for Ryan.

Saturday: 5.5 mile hike

In order to keep a cutback week truly a cutback week, Ryan and I kept our hike short this weekend. We backpacked just over 2.25 miles to Lake Dorothy, set up camp, and then hiked just over another 3 miles around the lake.  There were two other alpine lakes nearby, but we didn’t put on that far (round trip it’s approximately 11.5 miles to see all three lakes). 

California International Marathon Training Week 4

Lake Dorothy featured crystal clear water that reflected the green colors of the nearby evergreen trees, marble-like rocks, and rushing streams. We were able to camp just a few feet from the water and enjoyed gloriously fall-like weather with temperatures in the 40s and 50s. 

Sunday: 2.25 mile hike

We woke up right in time to catch the beautiful sunrise over Lake Dorothy. We enjoyed our coffee and oats by the lake before the easy hike down. 

California International Marathon Training Week 4

New to my blog? You can catch up on Week 1, Week 2, and Week 3 of my training. 

Linking up with Weekly Wrap

Do you like tapas?
How was your week in running?
What’s the hillest race you’ve ever done?

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24 Responses

  1. My hilliest marathon was either Baltimore or Raleigh. At least going into Baltimore I knew it would be hilly, but Raleigh was the inaugural race so the hills were a surprise. The tough part about Baltimore though is that there is a long downhill from miles like 6-12, so that second half of the race feels brutal when you’re going uphill.
    Looks like a great training week- and those pictures from your hike are gorgeous!

  2. My week in training? Ok. I feel like I’m in a weird place training wise. I’ve got the half coming up in 5 weeks(!!!) but I haven’t been all in for training. A lot of my training has been winging it each week. I know I can run the distance but it’s not going to be PR worthy. And I’m ok with that right now. FYI – I was in the Waterbury area earlier this month – our race is going to be h-i-l-l-y!!! I think you’ll be aptly prepared. 🙂

    1. I think you’ll be really well prepared for those hills after all that hill training for Mt. Washington and beyond then! 🙂 I’m a bit nervous for those hills but I bet the scenery will be beautiful – and thank you!

  3. Hilliest race that I have done was either the Arch’s 8K back when I first started running (it was part of the Charlottesville Marathon), my first half (Wine Country Half in Leesburg), the Nashville Half, or otherwise Twin Cities. I’m probably going to have to go with Twin Cities. And no, I was NOT prepared for that and could feel my hip flexors 11 miles in to the race!

    1. Oh, that feeling in the hip flexors is not a pleasant feeling! I used to think that the Twin Cities half was flat based on how some people talked about it. Not true!

  4. Seattle’s hills chewed me up and spit me out. GAH. Good job at getting those hills done last week. I can see how that 10 mile tempo run would be tough! So much self control to keep yourself at that pace for that long. NICE JOB.

  5. Sounds like a great week of training! I am also impressed you took cutback seriously and also made your hike shorter, that’s hard to do sometimes!

    I ran a super hilly half marathon on the Sunshine Coast in BC… rolling hills the entire time! It was brutal but it’s actually my current PB haha.

  6. I don’t think you can ever go wrong training on hills, even when your upcoming race isn’t hilly. It’s such a confidence booster and endurance enhancer. I guess my hilliest race to date was Gateway to the Smokies half marathon I ran this Spring. By the way, my mutt Mini is part Australian Shepherd and is such a smart dog! I love the pink sky reflected in the lake! Thanks for linking, Lauren!

  7. I know for sure Hanson’s is not the training plan for me! I couldn’t handle those miles. I think too many miles on these feet have taken a toll. Glad to see you took a cutback week and I’m looking forward to seeing how you do through the rest of your training. It’s always fun to follow you–you take it so seriously.

  8. Great week! I am not a huge fan of tapas. I know the idea is to try many different dishes out but I am still hungry. I’d rather just have a meal. The hilliest race I ran has to be Big Sur!

  9. Oh yay, you’re going to run in my town 🙂 Seems like your training is going great…. (hill training scares me a little bit).

    Yes, I love tapas. You should try “Tapa the World” when you’re in Sac 🙂

  10. Sorry so late, I’m still trying to catch up from last week. We went to a Tapas restaurant in Orlando. Actually it was the only one we could get in before the game and I thought I’ll be able to find something to eat. Then I looked at the menu and was like WTH? Thankfully the waitress was very helpful and guided us. We both had a wonderful meal! OH and the sangria’s were amazing!

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