Learning to run at Marathon Pace – 11 Weeks to MCM

Learning to run at Marathon Pace – 11 Weeks to MCM

School in suburban Atlanta started last week on July 31st, something about “July” and “School” in the same sentence is just weird!! This past month we’ve been busy with back to school shopping, getting a new middle schooler ready, trying to align activities and schedules and just trying not to freak out. And throw in a little marathon training in the middle of it all, because, why not! I had no free time to write in my blog either. Until a friend sent me a message last week asking if I was training in “stealth mode” because I was being very quite on social media. 

I’m not in stealth mode training, although I will confess that I have tried to stay away from social media about posting every itty bitty stuff about my training. I guess the blog doesn’t count as regular social media and I should atleast write something on a regular basis now that school has started and we are getting into a routine.

So, going back to my training for Marine Corps Marathon. There are 11 more weeks to go to race day and that means the ACTUAL training has started with runs not being “just run” anymore and every run having a purpose. 

Learning to Run at Marathon Pace

Monday – With it being the first  day of school, it was deemed better suited for a rest day with no stress of having to get a workout in along with getting ready for school. 

Tuesday – Marathon Fartlek Run learning to hold the marathon pace
I’m usually good at pacing but this marathon pace was off. I was aiming for 12:15 to 12:30 pace but the marathon pace portion was run away faster at maybe my wish-half marathon pace. Seems like I have 2 kind of runs in my mind – the long slow where I hold my pace steadily and slowly, and a speed workout where I have bursts of speed at tempo/10k pace or faster depending on the workout. My marathon pace is  about a minute slower than tempo/10k but about a minute faster than my usual slow pace. And that sweet spot was hard to find in that run.

Wednesday – Trainer Ride in lieu of swimming
Since our YMCA pool is closed for their regular deep clean, I was on the trainer to get my cross-training in. This was the first time on my bike in forever and it wasn’t easy at all. My butt hurt (even for just 1 hour) and I was bored (even though it was a prescribed workout and not just riding). Why was my speed 10mph when I was clearly dying! My favorite trainer TV show (Doctor Who) wasn’t interesting anymore and I was drained having a tween suck life energy out of me. The next time I get on the trainer, I will remember that I have a long (long) race and it’s time to shut up and SIP! 

Thursday – The procrastinated run
It was really hard to get going and if it were not for the pressure of 11 more weeks, I might have skipped it altogether. I was traveling intown for work and perhaps for the first time ever, I stopped on my way home and ran. Nothing like missing the unexpected cool mornings to run in the heat of the day. Luckily, my favorite running place at the river was shaded and I had a nice run. I never listen to anything while running these days, but to get past the running long in the afternoon, I listed to The Most Pleasant Exhaustion podcast (very informative podcast from George Darden, an Atlanta area run/tri coach) and some music after.

Friday – Short Xtraining
The filler day with some core workouts and a super short run. 

Saturday – The Run amongst my crazy day
Starting at 9:30am, my day was going to get absolutely crazy so I woke up early to get my run in. This one involved 10k intervals and unlike my struggle holding the marathon pace workout earlier in the week, I had no problem hitting and maintaining the 10k pace for all my intervals. Hence my light bulb moment that I need to learn this new marathon pace.

Sunday – Long Trail Run
I’ve been opting to run my long runs on the trail rather than on the asphalt or concrete sidewalk. The training plan is not making me run really long runs and so I reckon that the benefits of trail running maximizes the effort I can get with the 2hours that I’m running. This trail run with Joy and Mary Deane was about 9.5-10 miles long in about 2.5 hrs. 

Not from this week, but from my trail run at the same place last week.

Next week will be some more long hard mid-week runs. Marathon training is certainly on! The one thing I’m struggling to figure out is the nutrition during my long run. I have only been running for 2-2.5 hrs and for that I’ve not needed anything more than an orange and some date rolls. But my race is going to be 5.5+ hrs and I need to figure that out rather quickly!

What do you use for your long run nutrition? Do you prefer liquid or solid nutrition? Traditional gels/gu or other food?






Linking up with HoHo Runs and MissSippi Piddlin’ for the Weekly Wrap, and My No-Guilt Life, Marcia’s Healthy Slice, and MCM Mama Runs for Tuesdays on the Run. 

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  • Rachel

    Yay for MCM training! I’m hoping to meet some of my favorite bloggers while in DC this time around. It would be awesome to meet you in the flesh, girl!

    • We should definitely try for a meet up!! Would love to meet you.

  • I love the names you have for your different runs/workouts! I can’t believe school started July 31! Ours are out until after Labor Day …

    • I wish we were too! We get out at Memorial day and then have breaks sprinkled throughout the year, which I suppose is great for vacations.

  • It’s fun how refer to runs in different ways. I have not done a full marathon so no tips on fueling for you. Glad to see you are so excited about your training. Happy running

    • It took me a long while to jump back in and get excited after my marathon last April. Now if only I could get that excited about blogging again 😉

  • Nicole

    There’s definitely something exciting about feeling like marathon training is ramping up! MCM seems like such a great race – definitely on my list for one day!

    • My husband did it a few years ago and I can’t wait to do it!

  • Anna @ Pipers Run

    I’m a GU kind of girl for my long runs but also have been eating these fruit to go bars that my kids eat. They are just sugary enough and easy to pack.

    • Great idea about the fruit bars. I’ve been trying to see if I can take along some real food.

  • Excited for you! MCM is one one of my favorites. I’m a GU girl so I have nothing creative to share. If it’s hot, not even GU agrees with me but MCM should be nice and cool.

    • I hear you on the heat and nutrition! Ive found that dehydration and lack of salt can cause havoc with my GI.

  • I have been all over the map in regards to fuel…and (I think) I have finally found my
    poison.” I prefer the Honey Stinger gels (over GU…which no longer makes my tummy happy..at all). I do a HS gel about every five miles AND have to have water with it ( and for the next couple miles). I can then have a little Gatorade. I made the mistake ONCE (and that’s all it took LOL) of doing gels with a little water and too much Gatorade…and it was too much sugar or something.

    • I’ve done the HS waffle and while I loved the taste, my stomach didn’t like it. Will have to try the HS gels.

  • School starts for my students next week, but I headed back for duty yesterday. This summer went by way too quickly!

    Good luck with the rest of your training!

  • Jennifer Pug Pug

    Oh, I love that trail! So lucky that you have such a beautiful option!

    I have settled on Gu as my long run nutrition. I’ve been all over the place, and have mixed solids and gels, but my stomach is finally at peace with just Gu. Not saying I won’t take popsicles or similar from friendly spectators on the race course, though 🙂

  • Lacey@fairytalesandfitness

    First day of school already? That seems early. Hopefully you’l get in a good training schedule now that school is back in session.

  • eatrunsail

    It just seems wrong to me to be going to school during July and August. Here the kids get out at the end of June and go back right after Labor Day.

  • The Accidental Marathoner

    Sounds like a good week to me! I’m doing the Chicago Marathon and MCM this year–two weeks apart–if it doesn’t kill me! I’ve been medium on my training, but with Chicago now less than 9 weeks away, it’s time to get serious here!

  • Toni Church

    MCM is def on my list of marathons I’d love to run. SOunds like you had a great week!

  • Zenaida Arroyo

    It depends on the run. Sometimes plain water, Nuun, or Tailwind. When I drink plain water I also take Huma gels.

  • BAMRR Erin

    Please keep blogging so that I can keep up with your training! I love to follow along. I use GU gels to fuel in the fall/winter/spring. In the summer, I have to switch to Cliff Shot chews because the GU gel is too slimy when it gets hot. Blech. I have an iron stomach and can really tolerate anything. When I was training for NYC, my coach wanted me to take a gel every 2-3 miles. It sounded like a lot to me, but she said that she wanted me to take as much as I could tolerate so that I didn’t run at a deficit. I think I went with every 3. That’s a lot of GU to carry on the course! Happy training Smitha!

  • jillconyers

    I would love to have a convenient trail to run on without having to drive. Both of my kids go back to school at the end of August.

  • And I thought August 10th was an early school start! July is ridiculous. I think doing your long runs on a trail is a wonderful idea. I just wish we had some nearby. I use Tailwind, GU and Salt Caps (if it’s hot). But, I also have an iron stomach.

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