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I’m 18 days away from the LA Marathon and I’m feeling pretty good. This is a big difference from last fall’s taper for Long Beach. Other differences between previous marathon training cycles last summer/fall and winter (Los Angeles):
1. I’m on a truncated training schedule. I didn’t begin training until after the Carlsbad Half on January 22nd. I worried that 8 weeks wouldn’t be enough. I’d barely be able to squeeze in one 18 and 20+ mile run before a proper taper. Nevertheless, I felt okay going from 15 to 18 in one week and two weeks later increasing to 22.
2. I’m running pretty low mileage and fewer days. The one week I hit 40 miles was when I had a half marathon on Sunday and did my long run on Saturday. I usually ran 5 days/week in previous training cycles, but the easy and recovery runs tended to be shorter. My overall mileage is lower, but not by much. In December, Marc, swapped out two days of running for cross or strength training in my schedule. After I had IT band issues in December, he decreased my total weekly miles. At first I thought I wasn’t running enough, but I like this schedule. While I’d love to PR, my first priority is to avoid injury. So far it’s working.
3. I’m doing consistent strength training and inconsistent cross training. My schedule allows me to do either strength or cross training twice per week. I like lifting more since I can do it with dumbbells at home. I feel the benefits, especially with my recovery and avoiding injury. I didn’t do any strength/cross training for LB. For LA I occasionally did a core strengthening workout from Runner’s World.
4. Aside from the Friendship Run, I’m doing all my long runs alone. I did group training runs, but typically ran alone at my own pace. Those long runs were on new courses, planned by someone else, and sometimes had support along the way. Thanks to those SRLA runs, I started training on parts of the LA course.
5. I’ve PR’ed in recent races. While I ran the Holiday Half and Carlsbad Half before I officially began training, those efforts have really helped my confidence. Before LA and LB, I didn’t race for 3-4 months (excluding the Friendship Run, which is more of a supported long run). My two previous half times have me eyeing a time well below my previous marathon goal times.
6. I’ve run fewer and shorter long runs thanks to my truncated training schedule. This time around, I have just one 18-miler and one 22-miler. That 22-miler is my longest training run ever. For LA I ran 18, 21, then 20; for LB I ran three 17-18 milers, 20 and 21.5. Though I had fewer 18+ mile long runs, they were better quality.
7. I’m regularly massaging my legs with the stick, but skipping the post long run ice bath. I ice my hips after most long runs.
8. I have an online coach who creates my training schedule and is there to address my questions and concerns. I previously used training plans from Active Trainer. While they were pretty detailed, they were generic. I like that Marc has specific splits I should hit for tempo or speed training rather than something like 5K pace or “run hard.”
9. As for speed, tempo and hills, I’m still doing those. However, since I’m on a truncated schedule I’ve only done a few runs at the track and a few dedicated hill workouts. In previous training cycles I did one of these workouts once a week for the majority of my training.
10. Overall, I’m a stronger runner.