Philadelphia Marathon Training Plan

Welp, it’s finally done.

Philadelphia Marathon

I’ve been working on this damn training plan for MONTHS, tweaking it here and there, adjusting paces and LR distances. The RLRF FIRST plan I started with was for a 4:45 finish. After an exciting and successful night at the track, I changed it to 4:40. And then there were those failed 800s last week that knocked me right back down to reality. The more I thought about it, the more I wanted to adjust my goal. I’d rather start out on the conservative side of challenging, rather than the setting-myself-up-for-disappointment side.

After much debate, I settled on a goal: SUB-5.

If I feel stronger in a couple months and the paces just aren’t cutting it, I can always bump them down. I’d rather, you know, not have my confidence crushed on Day One. I also removed all pace goals from long runs. When it’s 90 degrees, I’d rather focus on not dying than stalk my watch to make sure I’m going fast enough. So my long run goal is distance. And distance only.

Here’s the plan I’ll be following from now through November 18th:

Philly Marathon Plan 1

Philly Marathon Plan 2

click image to view full doc in Google Drive

What training plan do you use? Galloway? Higdon? FIRST? Or do you make your own?

What distance do you use for your longest half/full marathon training run?

Hell froze over

Since starting running over two years ago, I’ve been pretty loyal to capris.

wine and dine 10


Dallas Half

San Antonio half

There was one brief affair with a pair of tempos


but resulted in a pretty abrupt breakup.

Shorts and my legs just don’t get along. They aren’t thin enough for shorts, but compression capris do them just fine. Nike, UnderArmour, Lululemon – you name it, I own it. Whether its 40 degrees or 90, you’ll find me out on the trails ticking the miles away in capris.

Until a couple weeks ago.

During marathon training last summer, my mid-week runs were all done on the treadmill so only my long run was done outside. One hot, humid day a week in capris? No big deal.

But this summer we’ve been pounding the pavement at night during the week and it is HOT. It took me a few weeks but found myself seriously contemplating a pair of shorts. I took a trip to Lululemon during lunch one day to find a pair, but after trying on the entire store I left empty-handed. My bank account rejoiced.

I made one last ditch effort two weeks ago, stopping at Academy to humor myself. Steering clear of three racks of tempos, I dragged a few pairs into the dressing room with me. Most were definitely misses but there was one pair I didn’t particularly hate. Before I knew what was happening, I was back in my car with the pair of shorts and a new running top.

Nike Fast Pace

Nike Pacer Shorts

And then, before I had a chance to change my mind, I ran in them:


It felt … weird. It was definitely cooler than running in capris, but made me incredibly aware of how skinny my legs are not. Thankfully I became BFFs with Body Glide & Aquaphor pre-run or it could have gotten ugly. I think as long as I prepare myself before leaving the house, they’ll be fine. I really want to LOVE running in shorts, so I’ll stick with them. And it’ll give me more incentive to stay focused on workouts and lean out my legs 🙂

Annnnd I already bought another pair:

Nike Pacer Shorts (2)

I’m tellin’ ya – MOTIVATION!!

Do you run in shorts? What brand/style are your favorite(s)?

NJ Marathon: The Plan of Attack

Well, it’s no secret I’m registered and training for the New Jersey Marathon on May 6, 2012.


Marine Corps was a phenomenal experience and the best race I’ve run to date. I’ve been back and forth hundreds of times whether or not to run it again in 2012. I know there will be extreme race envy when registration opens in a few weeks and I don’t sign up. That weekend in DC wasn’t exactly easy on the wallet, and the thought of training through a Texas summer again doesn’t sound terribly appealing.

One of my friends suggested I run the New Jersey Marathon, and the more I thought about it, the more the idea grew on me. I’m looking to shave some serious minutes off of my race time from October, and this flat, fast course is the perfect place to do it.

More importantly, this is essentially a hometown race for me so I’ll get to spend a lot of time with my wonderful family and friends. Also important: Wawa Subs, Dunkin’ Donuts on every corner, and Pork Roll, Egg & Cheese Sandwiches. AND It’ll be Brad’s first time in NJ; he’s already practicing his Jersey Turnpike. Clearly we watch way too much Jersey Shore.

I found this gem when looking for a Jersey Turnpike photo:

Deena Cortese demonstrates the Jersey Turnpike on Ed Helms

You’re welcome. Ed Helms is such a trooper.

Anyway, back to that massive marathon PR I’ve got my eye on. Given my performance at 3M at the end of January, obviously the speed work I’ve been doing is working. As much as mile repeats leave me gasping for air and wondering why I chose running as a ‘hobby’, the results speak for themselves. Speed work + tempo runs + long run = The Return of FIRST Training. I used FIRST for the Marine Corps Marathon, but my speed work and tempo paces weren’t aggressive at all. Welp, they are now.

I present to you, Operation PR in New Jersey.



Ambitious you say? I concur. This plan definitely has wiggle room, and I don’t doubt there will be some tweaking along the way (I’m looking at you, 11 mile tempo run in week 12!)

The next few months are going to be TOUGH. But you know how you learn to run fast? You train fast. I know I need to push myself and run paces outside my comfort zone. If I don’t test my limits, how will I ever know what I’m capable of?


Let’s do this.

Post-Marathon Revelations

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It’s officially been one week since marathon day.


Although I promised nearly everyone around me that once the race was over I’d end my incessant marathon talk, I’m still running my mouth about it. I love reading others’ running and spectating recaps and reliving each moment of the course as they describe it perfectly:

















Some runners upon crossing the finish line need a few weeks (or months) to let the memory of those tough miles fade away before they even start thinking about their next marathon.

I started thinking about mine a couple hours after I finished.

Marine Corps Marathon was such a learning experience for me. I learned the importance of proper fueling, the power of positive thinking, and the benefits of a successful training cycle. I’ve been thinking of how I’d eat differently (less Gu – more Shot Bloks), run differently (slow down more in the beginning miles) and train differently (add in a 22-23 mile run; focus even more on speedwork).


I am incredibly thankful I had such an amazing first marathon experience, and I’m looking forward to the next one. Here are a few races I have my eye on for 2012:

New Jersey Marathon – Long Branch, NJ – May 6, 2012


Marine Corps Marathon – Washington, DC – October 28, 2012


ING NYC Marathon – New York City, NY – November 4, 2012


Rock n Roll San Antonio Marathon – San Antonio, TX – November 11, 2012


I definitely am interested in running NJ since I’ll be able to visit my family and friends while I’m in town. Not to mention the fact I won’t have to train through the brutal Texas summer heat.

I’m not ruling out a double marathon year either. One spring, one fall? It’s not impossible. I think if I choose to run NJ, I may try San Antonio for the fall marathon since it would be more cost effective than traveling to the other two. Not to mention that the lottery could keep me out of NYC.

But I’d really love to run Marine Corps again. Seriously, I cannot get over how amazing the course, Marines, and spectators were.

Ahh I don’t know! So many choices…

Last long run

Marine Corps Marathon training is finally coming to a close! I woke up this morning at 5 ready to run. I then thought better of it and went back to sleep for an extra hour. Very wise decision.

I downed a glass of Gatorade, had an Apple Pie Larabar, and gathered everything I needed for my 8 mile run.


I flipped through Facebook while I was eating and noticed a post from the Austin Runners Club wishing runners good luck at the Frankenthon marathon.


Then it hit me: the running trail I was headed to was going to be occupied by marathoners this morning. I decided if it was too packed I would head downtown instead.

I pulled into Brushy Creek at 6:35 and luckily was able to snag a parking spot. While the temperature was a cool 70 degrees, the 85% humidity was unwelcomed. I pulled up the marathon course map on my phone to see which area of the trail the early miles of the race covered. Since they were headed towards the YMCA, I went in the opposite direction.

My goal was to run 8 miles with the second half faster than the first. I wasn’t concerned about pace; I just wanted to practice conserving energy.


My phone wasn’t a fan of the darkness, so it pushed back by producing crappy photos. You’re welcome.







The first few miles were definitely slow – two of them were at a 13 min/mile pace. I didn’t mind it though, because like I said, I wasn’t worried about my pace.

The trail was lined with mile markers for the race:


and there were water stations set up along the way:


I think it would be fun to run this marathon because I’m very familiar with the course. However, it’s 3 loops of 8.75 miles each. I feel like it would be mildly discouraging. Either way, something to think about for next year.

I was about half a mile from the car when my Garmin beeped at the 8 mile mark. Since I like to run nice round numbers, I decided to bump it up to an even 9.

Final Stats: 9 miles in 1:51:59 (12:26 pace)

  • Miles 1-4.5: 59:16
  • Miles 4.5-9: 52:43

Negative splits = success! Now I need to be able to execute that tactic during the marathon next weekend and I’ll be golden.



I hope everyone is having a great weekend!

Are you running or racing?

One step at a time

I took this evening off from the gym. It was glorious. There is something about a well deserved rest day after a tough run that I really enjoy. I iced my finicky shins and rested my tired legs yesterday, but there was one thing I forgot to do: spend some quality time with my foam roller.


When I awoke this morning, my calves were happily tucked inside their compression sleeves but my quads were neglected and pissed. They hadn’t received nearly enough love yesterday and continued to remind me of that fact all. day. long. I spent some time with Mr. Red after work today, and have another session scheduled before bed.

On the weekly workout goals front, the best way for me to be held accountable is to sing them loud for all to hear:


Too soon for Christmas references? No such thing! Apparently Macy’s has the same thought process – they already had their decorations up this weekend when I was there.

Anyway, here’s my workout plan for the week:


Rest Day


3 mile run + Austin Trash Run


XT (elliptical or bike)


3 mile run + Yoga


XT or Rest Day


8 mile run


XT + IM 70.3 Austin volunteering

Proper tapering? I think so. I’ll recap my progress on Sunday evening.

Is it weird that I’m already thinking about training for a second marathon? I know the first will be tough, but I’m most worried because it’s uncharted territory. I won’t bat an eye or think twice about registering for a half marathon because I’ve completed five. I was even registered for my second before I ran my first. I know the distance, and I know I can finish successfully. I feel like once I cover 26.2, it will feel a tiny bit less daunting. It’s still a marathon after all.

I’ve got my eye on a spring marathon and I’m contemplating throwing my name into the lottery for ING NYC. The only thing drawback to New York is training in the Texas summer again. Ugh. But that race is definitely on my to-do list.

Of course, I still have another goal to accomplish before then: smashing my half marathon PR.

One step at a time.

12 miles & 13 days

Uh yeah, so about that taper


Up until this morning I logged zero miles this week. Oops.

I decided to take Monday off to recover from my 20 miler, then Tuesday because I still hadn’t caught up on sleep from my awkward wake-up time over the weekend, etc. Before I knew it, Friday rolled around and I hadn’t set foot in Gold’s or on a running trail all week.

I wish I could say I felt guilty about it. But honestly? It was refreshing. I covered 75 miles in July, 103 in August, 100 in September, and I’m well on my way (62) to another 100+ month. I’ve clearly been putting in the work, and a few days off isn’t going to kill me in the long run.

My alarm went off at 5:20 this morning but I didn’t manage to drag myself out of bed until 6:30. I seriously considered getting the miles in on the treadmill later or bagging the run altogether. However, I’ve only missed one long during this training cycle and I had no desire to make it two.


My ultimate goal was to run 12 at MGP, and finish at 2:30.


Miles 1-3 were a struggle as usual. It takes me a few miles to regulate my breathing and find my stride. At the beginning of a run I leave the music off so I can really focus on settling in at a comfortable pace.

After that, the miles ticked away fairly easily. I aimed to run each mile between a 12:00-12:30 pace. With the exception of miles 7 & 12, I nailed my pace goals. I was able to turn out a few sub-12 minute miles, which helped offset the other longer ones.

FUEL: I started my morning with a glass of fruit punch Nuun and a biscuit with some blackberry jam. Throughout the run I consumed 20oz of strawberry lemonade Nuun, 20 oz of Gatorade, and 10oz of water. I also ate 5 black cherry Clif ShotBloks.


Final stats: 12 miles in 2:26, 12:12 pace

I’m thrilled my final double digit run of marathon training is DONE. I plan on actually tapering properly this week, followed by an eight mile run on Saturday morning and volunteering at Ironman 70.3 Austin on Sunday.

Less than two weeks left!


Taper Time

My last official “long” run was this weekend. I had planned my 20 for 10/9, which fell on the same day as See Jane Run. I hit 24 Hour Fitness on Friday on my way home from work to sign up for a 3-day guest pass. Running at 4am by myself outside was not happening, not to mention the fact it would be 4am, super dark, and in the rain. My alarm went off at the ungodly time of 2:10am on Sunday. I drank a glass of Nuun, ate a Larabar, packed up everything I needed for the race and headed down to the gym.

It was raining pretty steadily when I arrived at the gym around 3:45, so I was happy I made the decision to run 7 on the treadmill. Yes, you read that correctly, I was happy to run on the treadmill. I had the entire gym to myself, which was nice. When I was finished, I puddle hopped my way back to the car and made my way to the race site. I knew parking for See Jane Run was unfortunately in a field, so I immediately racked my brain for somewhere other than flooded Mueller Park to leave my car. I used to work right around the corner, so I knew of a couple parking lots I could leave my car in for a few hours. However, it wasn’t long before I realized parking would be the least of my worries.If you read any of Carly’s posts from the past few days, you know the race ended up being cancelled due to inclement weather. The runners’ response has been overwhelmingly negative, and some of them who commented on See Jane Run’s Facebook page were downright rude. It gets me so fired up to hear people ream out the race director for cancelling the race (thunder? lightning? hello?), not refunding their money (standard procedure for road races), not giving them a medal (you don’t get a finisher’s medal because .. you didn’t finish), and not rescheduling the race (what about the out-of-town runners? They’re expected to be able to just come back to Austin again on a whim? Not everyone can afford that.) I thought this post from Words from a Wellness Warrior was a refreshing take on the situation, reminding everyone what running is all about.

My one and only issue with Sunday was that Rogue Running & Red Licorice tweeted about the race cancellation before we heard about it from See Jane Run. Oh, and the fact that I was awake at 2am when I didn’t have to be, but that is no one’s fault but my own…End rant.

Shortly after 7am I had a 20oz cup of steaming java in my hand and all was right in the world again. Thank you, Carly! Despite the caffeine I was consuming, fatigue was setting in. Hmm, I wonder why… maybe that early wakeup call? The race may have been cancelled, but I had been planning for months to be running 13.1 (+ 7) on October 9th. The rain was still coming down and the thunder/lightning still were making their presence known. Running at Brushy Creek was not an option. As much as I wanted to avoid it, I knew I only had one choice: run my half marathon on a treadmill at Gold’s.So off to the gym I went. Ugh. You want to build mental endurance? Run 20 miles for the day on a treadmill.

I would recommend watching The Departed on TV while running this distance. The movie + commercials killed three hours.

I would not recommend chugging a venti Starbucks coffee before 13.1 miles.
But finally, my last long run is DONE!
I am less than three weeks out from race day. I can’t believe it.Congratulations to Angie, Randee, and Cely who all finished their first marathon in Chicago this past weekend! Great job ladies!

8 & Eggs

While this week was a cutback week, I still had 14 on the schedule. I’m racing a 10k on Sunday, so I figured the least I could do would be to log 14 total for the weekend.


Carly and I headed out at 7am for our 8 mile run. We practically danced our way onto that trail, celebrating the crisp 60 degree temperature. 60!! It was a bit of a shock at first, but once we starting running we completely embraced it. It was so nice to finally run in something other than a sauna!




The run was effortless, the miles ticked away quickly, and we were done before we knew it.


Cheetahs run Texas


Post-run we were ravenous, so we headed to the happiest place on earth for supplies.



Eggs Benedict, here we come!

But not before we got a little caffeine in our system



We were tempted by the new Salted Caramel Mocha coffee, and decided to indulge. So incredibly worth it – delicious.

Back home we got to work on our breakfast feast:


And the finished product:


Absolutely what we needed.

It was a great morning, and spent the remainder of the day resting up for our first race of the season. We both have our sights set on new PRs!