Training Update: 26.2 or Bust!

I have a confession: I have registered for three full marathons in the past five years.  I have not participated in any of them.

In fifteen weeks, I check a major goal off from my bucket list: I will run a full marathon.  If all goes according to plan, I will do it faster than the following celebrities –

1) Sarah Palin, 3:59:36, Humpy’s Marathon in Anchorage, 2005

2) Jennie Finch, 4:05:26, New York City Marathon, 2011

3) P. Diddy, 4:14:54, New York City Marathon, 2003

4) Oprah Winfrey, 4:29:15, Marine Corps Marathon, 2001

I’ve spoken a bit about the nutrition component to my marathon training program, but haven’t really divulged anything about what I’m doing to maximize the potential that I can beat the times of Ms. Palin and her celebrity contemporaries.  The bottom line: I’m running. And weight training. And cross-training. Constantly.  I have not woken up without a sore shoulder or glut or calve or core muscle for the past three weeks.  As a result, I have dropped a full minute off my marathon race pace and two full minutes off my 5K race pace.  Things are looking good.  Here’s the method to my brand of madness:


Whether you walk or run, it’s impossible to complete a marathon without pounding some pavement.  I am utilizing the program prescribed by Hal Higdon on his website and in his book, Marathon.  I like Hal’s approach to running and nutrition that supports maximum performance.  He’s pragmatic and provides a series of training programs that allow for a runner to improve over time.  For Portland, I am utilizing the Novice 2 program.  I’m running four days a week and will complete 26 or more miles from this week until race week, maxing out at 35 miles in one week.  Hal advocates a solid mix of long runs, pace runs, and easy runs that I’m mixing speed and hill work into.

Personal Training 

Once per week, I work out for an hour with a phenomenal personal trainer.  I started working with Kaisa three weeks ago after being recommended by a mutual friend.  Her workouts are interval-based strength training sessions that feature dead lifts, core work, push-ups, lunges, and shoulder/upper body combo lifts.  On July 9th, I will take a break from these sessions to participate in a boot camp led by Kaisa and her partners at Fit Body Blueprint.  For one month, I will drag myself out of bed and hike to South Lake Union park to workout for an hour with some of the coolest and most motivating individuals I know.  It will be difficult.  It will be fun.  Once the boot camp is over, I’ll go back to my weekly sessions with Kaisa.

Strength Training & Cross-training

Once a week, I take Kaisa’s workout to 24 Hour Fitness and complete it on my own.  I’ll continue to workout once a week in a gym by myself until I get a bit closer to race day, when the additional strength training won’t be extremely beneficial.  In addition to this session, I get major cross-training workouts from the following sources:

1) I don’t drive and am too cheap to take public transportation.  So… I walk everywhere.  If a destination is within 3 miles, I’m walking there.

2) I live halfway up a rather large hill.  Stairs and hill climbs are both my nemeses and best friends – my brain hates them, but my booty loves them.

3) I have an absolutely adorable puppy who I am constantly trying to exhaust through a combination of walks, fetch, dog park visits, and trips to the lake.  As it turns out, exhausting a puppy = exhausting yourself.  Meet Blaze:


It might come as a surprise that recovery is my least favorite part about training for a marathon.  I have become so active in the past month that recovery day is more difficult for me to face than the long run morning.  Sitting still is not my forte.  I spend much of recovery days devoted to crafting, Sex and the City watching, and Pinterest-ing.  Blaze ends up playing a lot of hallway fetch on these days.

So… that’s my fitness plan.  By the time race day rolls along, I have set a personal goal of being at 15% body fat composition, which is highly attainable so long as I can adhere to the nutritional component that I’ll talk more about later. For now, it’s time to get Blaze out for some playtime.


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