Oakland Marathon 2014 training: 5 weeks out

Oakland Marathon 2014 training: 5 weeks out

5 weeks out — week 7 — week of  February 10, 2014




The thing about marathon training is that every week, every run, potentially presents an adventure and, for sure, an opportunity. Sometimes, the daily runs go really well; other times, they just kinda, or really, blow. You can chalk it up to the litany of “life variables” that affect your training, the cumulative fatigue that, no doubt, builds after doing this week in and week out, or whatever—but I think it’s important to acknowledge that it’s ok to have a bad run, or a bad week, during training. One bad run (or week) does not a crappy race performance make. I think it’s what we actually do with these unenjoyable periods that matters. If nothing else, call the crappy runs good mental training, the part of your marathon when you decide to retire from running (again), wear your fatpants until the end of days, and swear to all deities that you’ll never sign up for this godforsaken distance again. Eventually, barring injury or other egregious circumstance, you’ll get outta the lull, sign up for another marathon, and put those fatpants away.


In last week’s recap, I talked a lot about how blerg some of my runs felt during last week’s training. Emotionally, this worried me because I stupidly want to see unicorns and rainbows on each of my runs, but rationally, I knew I was due for some blerg (and that really, I’m okay). Fast forward to this week, the beginning of our family’s nearly 3-week stay with us, and over my second peak week of the cycle, and my expectations were scant. Again, one bad run (or week) does not a crappy race performance make, but I was ready to return to my unicorns.


Monday, February 10

p: rest/xt

a: rest


PR at resting, which also included a 90 (!) minute massage. I redeemed a gift card from the holidays/my birthday at a national massage chain, and my LMT was a bit… let’s call him funny. He was incredibly sweet, probably 70+ years, hugged me repeatedly and asked god to bless me several times when we were done (hmm), and also told me I had the face of an Italian and Swedish girl (wut), a very slender and petite body (uh) but the calves of a German girl, which, in his estimation, did not bode well for speed but boded quite well for endurance. Alrighty then. I don’t think anyone has mentioned the size of my calves since my high school track days.


Tuesday, February 11

p: GA + speed, 8 miles with 10x100m strides

a: 8.01 miles at Point Pinole [7:51 average]


Taking advantage of family being around to be able to sneak away to run with friends, even if it necessitates a drive to get there. I trekked up to Fremont (north of Oakland, east side of the bay) to meet my TSFM BFF Christopher at Point Pinole for some mileage—a daily double for him and just a GA run for me. Super, super beautiful run spot—we’re talking blue skies, lovely waters, nice temps, and, uh, sunshine (sorry, guys)—with some nice little ascents and descents, a couple hundred feet of elevation overall. I dropped the strides in favor of the ascents and descents and just had fun. Gotta return.


she's a keeper
she’s a keeper


Wednesday, February 12

p: MLR 14

a: MLR 14.02 [7:57 average]


Took an enormous gastrointestinal gamble by not doing a MLR until post-breakfast and post-lunch, but I can happily report I didn’t shit or spew on myself. Wonderful. Since I had childcare and could take my time, I opted to go a different route and made my way across San Jose and into the neighboring town, Milpitas, to get to Ed Levin County Park. I didn’t look at the map closely before I left and didn’t realize that the park was in the foothills (hello, climbing), but man. This rocked. To be fair, the park was more at the base of the foothills than up IN THEM, but the 1.5 mile haul up Calaveras was humbling. Once I got up to the park, I totally had a ridiculous hippy-dippy runner moment with a family of deer (mama + 2 babies), as we eyed each other up, and took a handful of pics before flying back down the hills and making my way home. I’ve absolutely, absolutely gotta return and then promptly bring everyone with me to run there.


Here we go
Here we go


Slightly different from Chicago
Slightly different from Chicago




Levin 2


Thursday, February 13

p: recovery 5

a: recovery 5.3 [didn’t save the time, oops]


Post-breakfast, pre-lunch recovery through the west side of PCP. I was planning to take A with me but decided she’d like time with grandma instead.


Friday, February 14


p: Lactate Threshold 12 with 7 @ 15k/HMRP

a: LT 12.05 with 7 @ 15k/HMRP [7:50 average, LT portion: 7:19, 28, 28, 34, 37, 29, 27 {goal: 7:13-21}]


This is the most challenging run of the 70/12 cycle and one that, unfortunately, I didn’t get to do last summer due to a horrible sinus infection that sidelined me for 48 hours. I realized quite late on Thursday that this workout was on the docket, and it was probably good that I learned it as late as I did because I didn’t have much time to get freaked out about it. It’s rare for me to hit target LT paces in the throes of training, so I’ve decided to acknowledge this and just try like hell and see what happens. I did a 3 mi W/U, the tempo, and then 2 C/D, and on the run, decided that it’d be most advantageous, in terms of time and dodging traffic, to just run the tempo portion as cemetery laps–.8 miles around, downhill and uphill, on wet pavement (since it was sideways rain-misting the entire time I was out there), while running briskly. Yup. The other option was 28 laps on a track in PCP, so I figured almost 9 full cemetery laps, ascents and descents be damned, was better.


All told, I’m actually pretty pleased. This type of run is tough for all the obvious reasons, and the ascent/descent is just enough to keep things interesting. Around mile 8, my stomach decided to show up to party, but a quick pit-stop at Jack-in-the-Box rectified things. I ended up averaging 7:28-9 for the tempo portion, which, while outside my target range, is fine. I was running almost exclusively on feel, with no clock-watching, and after taking into account all the external variables that showed up that morning, I’ll call this a win.



p: recovery 4

a: recovery 4 [didn’t save the splits]


Pfitz doesn’t use many doubles in the 70/12, so this was the only double for the week. Skechers is sponsoring the Ragnar SoCal relay team I’m on, and I finally remembered to try out the new glow-in-the-dark shoes they sent me. I kept things nice and easy on the run and just moseyed around the east side of PCP.


they really do glow in the dark
they really do glow in the dark


Saturday, February 15

p: recovery 6

a: recovery 6.01 [8:30 average]


Another Pfitz-prescribed recovery and yet another run in the new Skechers—I think the shoes are a win, but the midfoot strike that they favor makes my left calf crazy tight afterward. Anyway, trekked off to a new-to-me park, Cataldi, for this run, and just enjoyed the quiet streets and nice sunrise. Pretty enjoyable short Saturday run… and a nice way to begin the weekend before heading down to the Monterey Bay Aquarium with the family.


Look, Mom! I'm touching!
Look, Mom! I’m touching!


Sunday, February 16

p: LR 21

a: LR 21.02 [8:06 average]


The longest LR in the 70/12 cycle… done! I had a bajillion different ideas of routes to run this, starting from home, but my main concern was trying to avoid all the things that would warrant tons of starting and stopping on my run (cars, people, wildlife, whatever); for the MLR and LRs, I can easily lose 30 minutes to pesky little interruptions like stoplights. I planned to run from my place to Hellyer County park, and to Coyote Creek Trail, some new-to-me trails and parks here. It’s kinda fun to run with your phone set on GoogleMaps and to just run along until you hear a TURN RIGHT or TURN LEFT 🙂


Anyway, the park and trail were both really pretty—need to do some long runs there soon—and I was pretty relaxed for the entire run. I usually don’t have specific plans to follow for LRs, aside from (maybe) a fast finish, but to keep things interesting, I broke this up into thirds and tried to get a little faster each third. The result:


9:03, 8:30, 42, 58, 44, 31, 27

8:16, 16, 03, 00, 7:54, 8:03, 7:53

7:49, 34, 42, 36, 29, 26, 30


I am really, really, really pleased with how this went and how (relatively) fresh I felt at the end. I’ve only ever done one other 21 miler during training (and that was at the hills of WFG), so I don’t have a really good base of comparison, but I think this is a good sign.


Hellyer 1

Looking back on everything this week, I’m just now noticing how much “exploring” I did on the runs. That’s pretty cool. Anyway, peak week number two is in the books, we’re getting quite close to race day (and beginning a new mesocycle, wahoo!), and things seem to be clicking right along. Race day excitement is building.


Weekly Mileage

p: 70

a: 70.41


How were your runs for this week? What do you do to spice things up on your runs? Do you ever go exploring on the run (runploring? Explorrunning?) Tell me everything!

12 thoughts on “Oakland Marathon 2014 training: 5 weeks out

  1. 70 miles with a 21 mile LR? Awesome, awesome! Funny story about the massage dude. What does he know anyway? I say that you are fast and are getting faster. Love the pics, would love to visit that part of the country someday…

  2. Nice work! Looks like there are some good places to run out there… I’ve actually seen a couple people running outside here in Chicago, but I don’t know how they do it!
    And well done on the resting! A massage sounds awesome!

  3. Holy effing shit. Your training is going so fantastic!

    I can’t agree more with your opening paragraph about a bad: run, runs or a week of crappy runs equating to a bad performance come race day. Truer words have never been written in a blog 🙂

    I’m in constant awe of your training this cycle. And man, I need to hitch a ride with L one of these months out to the Bay Area to run with you soon. 🙂

  4. I am SUPREMELY jealous of all of the running route options that you have in the most beautiful places. Oh how I remember this life back in South Carolina! I wasn’t sure reading the beginning of the post if the week was a great one or a tough one, but after reading about each of the runs, it appears that it was FANTASTIC!!! Congrats on a great deposit in the training bank 😉

  5. You RAN UP Calaveras into Ed Levine!? O_O! Holy freaking Heck. I haven’t been up that way to run yet (I was eyeballing it yesterday on my run) but that first hill scares me. haha. You’re damn amazing.

    I didn’t know you can run from our area to Hellyer and Coyote Creek! I’ll have to find the map 🙂 How’s the trail?

    1. Thanks, Sonia! The first hill isn’t too too bad. It’s really pretty though (and super duper fun on the way back) 🙂 I ran to Hellyer/Coyote Creek mostly by way of Capitol and some neighborhoods once the sidewalks disappeared. The trail and creek is really nice though and definitely worth a visit!

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