Marathon Training–Commence! (my plan for Ventura)

Day One Two (funemployment has not made me any more of a timely blogger) of Ventura Marathon training – 5 easy miles, strides, and core on Monday, 6mi fartlek Tuesday. IN. THE. BOOKS. Off to a good start.

I want to say something like, “this cycle is going to be COMPLETELY different. I’ve figured out all my shit and I’ma BQ this bitch like nobody’s business!”

But 1) hahahah I’m like 8% of the way to “figuring my shit out” and 2) the overcompensated confidence is unconvincing and annoying and I would’ve wanted to punch myself in the throat if I read that.

I’m keeping parts I’ve found that work for me and making changes to what seemed not to. Call the presses, get me an agent and a book deal, I know that’s some real earth-shattering logic.

Here’s how training for marathon #8 is breaking down…

10 weeks to BQ

The Same Old Shit

“Schedule Skeleton” : M Easy, T Speed, W Easy/cross train, Th Hills/Tempo, F Rest/Easy Sa Long Run, Su Rest

“Little Things” : Strides after easy runs, preventative rolling (not just when something hurts!), regular yoga — *note – these are all “old” but can be executed better

“Core Schmore” : This is a dumb title because it’s actually really important, and I need to be better at. Planks, Lesko Dirty Dozen, Lolo’s routine from the RW piece below, and a hodge podge of other exercises 3x/wk.

“10 Weeks” : This could fall in either category but there were fewer Sames than News so I put it here. I’ve wound up injured and MAJORLY burned out each time I’ve attempted a traditional 16 week cycle (Cleveland, NWM, CIM), so I’m opting for a shorter stint this go-round. I did 10 for Eugene last year, and that turned out alright. I’ve kept a base of 20-30mi/wk with 8-12mi long runs, so I’m not going in from zero, and I feel ready to dive headfirst into training. It’s easier letting yourself get fully submersed in something knowing you’ll be coming up for air somewhat soon. My tentative long run schedule is :

wk1 14mi  |||  wk2 16mi  |||  wk3 18mi  |||  wk4 12mi  |||  wk5 18mi  |||  wk6 20mi  |||  wk7 20mi  |||  wk8 16mi  |||  wk9 12mi  |||  wk10 – BQ time, baby

  • I’m not certified in anything and neither is this plan – do with it what you will but don’t come to me if you end up hurt or short on your goals or broke down drowning in a pint glass somewhere (jk you can blame me for that as long as it comes w an invite)

The New / Different / Altered

Muscles, baby” : An old Runners World piece popped up on Twitter about the importance of strength training, what key muscle groups to target, and a few must-do exercises. I’ve always known it was something I should do more of, but “strength train” was just so open-ended and willy nilly and kind of intimidating. “But I’ll be sore for tomorrow’s workout” or “I did like a minute of wallsits that’s prob good enough” or “Ugh I don’t want to drive all the way to the gym” plagued my past (half-hearted) efforts. So I balls’d up and made a little list of easy-to-do, non-scary, no-gym required exercises that will literally take like, 5 minutes to do. No excuse. 2x a week I’ll pick 3 of them to do 2-3 reps of. I’ll probably add other moves for variety and such down the road, but simple stupid for now :

  • Legs : Squats, Walking Lunges, Bridge w alt leg lift, Single-leg Deadlift, Clamshells
  • Arms : Push ups, Chaturangas, Chair dips, Med ball lat raises, Bicep curls


sent this to Brian after doing 10 REAL push ups IN. A. ROW. for the first time since college softball. actually I’m not even sure I could do that then… anyway, he was impressed. (that’s a shadow not a hairy armpit, btw)

“Put it in your Piehole (and in your phone)” : I’ve tracked my food sporadically in the past just to make sure I was in line with some semblance of a normal diet, but never stuck with it. I want to really make a habit of it now as workouts gear up to make sure I’m fueling with good quality carbs and recovering with protein, and not going overboard on the “but I ran today!” calorie binge game. I have the MyFitnessPal app and no you can’t be my “friend” on it.

“Booze” : I have no creative title for this because it’s sad and doesn’t deserve one. For the last two weeks I’ve ‘experimented’ with cutting alcohol out during the week. I love a good IPA or glass of wine with dinner, but have found it actually pretty easy to give up. Probably because I’m not coming home from a hard day at work “needing a drink” anymore. Plus it’s more of a treat when I do have one. Anyway, this one’s on the fence. We’ll see if there are any realized benefits after a few more weeks.

“Fine, I’ll freaking smile once in a while” : I claimed to have hippie dippied my way back into truly enjoying running, and vowed to bring that joy with me into my training. So while I curse the long runs and dry heave through repeats and nitpick splits I’m going to make an honest effort to keep the purpose of all this in the forefront : I RUN BECAUSE I LOVE IT. I’m training because I want to, not because I have to. I’m chasing goals set by and for myself – no one else.

runner love

get the same joy out of the training as the race – 10 whole weeks of fun vs. 3.5ish hours? duh.

That’s the game plan. I’m a little nervous, a lot excited, and really trying to ignore all the painful memories from marathons past.

Forget the last one before you can run another, right Frank Shorter?

Sarah OUaL

17 thoughts on “Marathon Training–Commence! (my plan for Ventura)

    • I’ve always had a 21 or 22 for reason you mentioned, but I’m confident in my familiarity with that last 10k pain place now. Testing back-to-back 20s as replacement.


  1. This sounds great! I just BQ’d and PR’d in April by doing pretty much exactly what you’ve outlined here. I used Jillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred as a way to get in weight training. It’s only about 20 minutes, it’s less boring than normal weight training, and it kicks my butt. I also cut out alcohol during the week, something that I actually started about two years ago and have kept up. Besides losing a bunch of weight, it has made a huge difference in my running. Plus, if I cut out the wine during the week, I feel like I can splurge on the good stuff on the weekends. Great plan and good luck!


  2. Great post. Good luck to you. I too am trying to get back on the horse after what I call the “2012 trail of tears”–a story of 3 unusually hot and shitty races, including a DNF in Boston. Shorter training plans are easier on the mind, hopefully it will be the somethin that takes you there. I’m feeling a BQ for you!


  3. Training for a marathon seems like quite the chore! It’s no wonder blogging hasn’t been #1 priority even with all your found “new time.” Keep up the work girl, you got this! ;)


  4. Hope this doesn’t come off as weird/creepy but I thought you should know: I’d been stalking the Brooks Launch page for restock on all sizes (a little bird told me early July) and they’re BACK. The silver/purple anyway. No more red/yellow. Figured as a fellow Launch Lover you’d want to know. :)

    And good luck on your training for your next BQ attempt! You got this.


  5. Hey Sarah! I met you at Alta Coffee a long while back (I was working)
    I’m doing the same thing- as in trying to BQ at Ventura to run Boston 2014! I’ve been hearing mixed things about whether or not Ventura will qualify for 2014 or 2015… have you heard any news on when the registration for Boston 2014 will open? I’m hoping it’s (obviously) after the 8th, but now I’m freaking out!


    • I keep wondering if I’d see you there again! No, BAA was supposed to announce on the 1st when reg would open, but they haven’t. 2013 runners that started but didn’t finish can reg on 8/19. Depending on that volume, I wouldn’t be surprised if it fills in first day (20min under qual time), esp since times dating back to 9/22/12 are eligible. Would be a bummer to qual at Ventura and not have that time carry over to 2015, but that’s the nature of the game, I guess.

      Best of luck! See you there.


  6. I love this!

    I’m training for a half marathon and a lot of what’s in your plan is in mine! I love reading your training recaps because it keeps me ampted for mine!



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