LA Marathon – Thoughts on the Training and Race Day Plan

10359322_903913769652650_3457764446114448362_n My training for the 2015 Los Angeles Marathon is now finished! There are no more training runs to complete and no more gym workouts on the calendar. All that remains is my 26.2 mile victory lap around Los Angeles! With race day this Sunday, I wanted to take this opportunity to post my final thoughts on the training cycle, my race day plan, and what’s next. image The training cycle for the Los Angeles Marathon has been an interesting one to think back on. Originally, I thought of doing a comparison of the training cycle for the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon and the 2015 Los Angeles Marathon. As I looked back on both, I realized that such a comparison was really hard to do. So, I just spent the time looking back on this training cycle. IMG_3823 It all began after finishing the Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon at Disneyland. I set up a plan to train for the Los Angeles Marathon beginning the week after this race. My training got off to a rocky start. I only ran one time, for three miles, in the first two weeks. Not a great way to start training for a marathon. I don’t know why. However, it was hard to get motivated. I missed on two long run distances. The first was a 15.5 mile run in what was supposed to be 17 miles. The missed distance had way more to do with a GPS failure than anything else. Somewhere towards the end of the 10th mile, I lost the GPS signal and didn’t realize it for a while. That wouldn’t have been a big deal. However, the week before the Star Wars Half Marathon, I missed on my 20 mile attempt as well. This time, it was a really bad plan. I thought it would be a great idea to run 20-21 miles around the Rose Bowl loop. I would see how fast I could run the half marathon distance and then alter my run/walk intervals to complete the 20 miles. By the fourth lap, I was done. It was a terrible idea and I quit just after 12 miles. Finish Area Cole Horton Picture Running the Star Wars Rebel Challenge was a lot of fun. It revived my training. However, I caught a virus from my wife and was out sick the week after. image That lead to a less than spectacular Surf City USA Half Marathon where I failed in my PR attempt. The 2 consecutive missed long run distances and the missed PR really had me questioning whether or not running a marathon was a good idea. During the 11th mile of the Surf City USA Half Marathon, I wondered if I could defer the LA Marathon entry to the next year. image Then, it all turned around. One day less than a week after the Surf City USA Half Marathon, I completed 20 miles and everything changed! I went into that run with zero expectations for time. All I wanted to do was finish all 20 miles. Mission accomplished. In doing so, I found confidence that I could run a full marathon. I also found a run/walk interval that worked amazing! Lastly, I found a fueling strategy that proved to be the winning one. image The new confidence lead to a streak of making every single workout on the calendar and faster times on my short runs. I’m now running 3 miles in under 33 minutes consistently! Best of all, Since February 1st, I’ve only missed one training run and made every single gym workout on the calendar! I’ve finished this training cycle strong! If you could choose to start a training cycle shaky and finish strong or the reverse, I’d choose the first one. That’s what I’ve got going for me as I take to the starting line of the Los Angeles Marathon this Sunday. I’ve finished strong and have a high degree of confidence in my conditioning and ability to finish all 26.2 miles! I’d give myself an A- or B+ on this cycle. Overall, I missed 13 training runs over the 17 weeks I’ve been training for this race. Because I’ve finished strong, I’m probably being a little more generous in the grade. However, I finished my last run feeling totally ready for a marathon! temperature-hot When I saw the temps jump for the forecast this week, my heart sank. Honestly, I was thinking that a 6 hour (or maybe even a sub-6 hour) marathon was possible. I was initially thinking that I would finish this race in 6 hours to 6 hours, 11 minutes. That’s what my training showed me. While this might still happen, temps in the 80’s have made it look less likely. As for the race day, here are my plans.,.. I’ll attend the LA Marathon Health and Fitness Expo on Saturday. The plan is to arrive around 10:30 – 11am. I need to pick up my race packet and hope to make it to see Bart Yasso speak at 11:30. I’m not sure how long he will talk. However, I’d like to make it to a Tweet-up being hosted by Linzie from Sharp Endurance at noon. Deena Kastor and her husband are also talking at the Expo on Saturday. I’m hoping to see them as well if at all possible. For the rest of Saturday, I’ll be chilling out. The goal is to be in bed by 9pm Saturday. LA Marathon Finish Line On race day, I’ll be up at 3am with a goal of being out the door by 3:30am. I’ve already purchased my parking in Santa Monica and hope to be down there and parked in time to catch the 5am shuttle to Dodgers Stadium. I’m hoping to get there in time to use the real restrooms at Dodgers Stadium and head into the Open corral. It’s my plan to get as close to the start of that corral as possible. The open corral will start the race at 6:55am. From what I’ve read, the goal of the LA Marathon organizers is to have everyone on the road by 7:25am. Since I want to beat as much heat as I can, I’m aiming to be starting as close to the 6:55am time as I can get. image The one thing I’m undecided on at the moment is whether I will be running with my hydration vest. Before the extreme heat, it was a no brainer to me. I would absolutely run with it. I’ve finished my 20 and 23 mile runs with this vest and it has worked out great. However, I’m not sure if adding this layer to what I wear will bring on too much heat. My reason, initially, for running with it during the marathon is that I wanted to make sure I had plenty of hydration for the race. I’ve read race reports that mentioned many of the hydration stations at last year’s LA Marathon running out of liquid. So, I thought I’d wear mine to make sure I had hydration for sure. My fueling strategy for the marathon will be what I used for my last two long runs with a slight alteration.

  • I’ll have 2 packs of Cliff Shot Bloks with me. The plan is to take on 1 Shot Blok every 30 minutes. This worked great in training. 12 Shot Bloks is a few more than I think I’ll need. However, it will be nice to have them if the heat dictates more is needed!
  • I plan to take on liquids every single mile of the race. Having my own hydration with me means that I can take on water at mile 1. The organizers have said they will have hydration stations at every mile from miles 2 through 25. These hydration stations should have both Gatorade and water. At the even-numbered miles, I’ll take on both Gatorade and water. At the odd-numbered miles, I’ll take on water only. Of course, if my body tells me otherwise, I’ll change this on course. My main hope is that the on course water/Gatorade will last at least through the half marathon point. If this happens, I’ll be in great shape because the bottles I have lasted 23 miles for me. Any hydration I can get on course after mile 13 is gravy.

My run/walk intervals will be run 30 seconds, walk a minute and a half. This worked amazingly well for my long runs. I totally understand that the extreme heat could cause me to make alterations. I’m believing that I should be able to hold this pattern at least for half the race. Then, I’ll see how much longer it goes. I held this run/walk interval through 20 miles on my last long run. However, that was under cooler temps. I would love to be able to run on every even-numbered minute of the race. If that means I run 5 seconds, 10 seconds, 15 seconds, or the full 30 seconds, I want to run. Of course, if the heat causes that to not happen, I’ll be okay. image This is not a race I’m doing for time right now. The focus is seeing how long I can maintain my run/walk intervals and then the goal will become to finish the race in the upright position with either a smile on my face or tears of joy. Originally, I was going to see if I cold finish in 6 hours. However, even with that plan, I was planning on running the race without time considerations until I had finished 20 miles. Then, see where I was at. I might still start to play a guessing game to when I’ll finish after 20 miles are completed. However, I’m not going to kill myself trying to get a marathon PR. If it happens, that will be great! However, I don’t want to end the race dehydrated or suffering from some other heat related problem at the end. I’m sure that I’ll want to get out of the heat at the end of the race regardless. However, I am not pursuing a time goal. After the race, I’ll be doing whatever I need to do in order to feel normal. I know that I’ll be tired. However, it’s important to walk for a bit to get the body acclimated to post race life. I’m also going to have a credit card and ID on hand in case I need to purchase any food afterwards. I’ll bring a change of clothing in my car for after the race and a towel. At the expo, I plan on purchasing another pair of compression socks for after the race. Then, it will be time to drive home. Yes, I’ll still have to drive back to Pasadena after the race. IMG_5313 On Sunday evening, if I’m up for it, the plan is to have a celebratory meal at Universal Citywalk. Then, on Monday, Brooke and I will be heading to Disneyland. After all, once you finish a marathon, you head off to a Disney theme park. Right? I mean, I went to the Magic Kingdom after my last marathon. So, why not Disneyland after this one? It makes sense. Right? Of course, if I’m not up for it, we’ll just have a day at home on Monday. 885x500_rnr-sd_medals-revealed After the LA Marathon, the next race I’ll be training for is the Rock n Roll San Diego Half Marathon. I plan on running Tuesday and Thursday morning next week for 3 miles. I imagine they are going be rather slow runs. I’ll also run 3 miles on the Saturday after the race. I had thought of taking the entire week off from running. However, I’m building something with these early morning runs. To take them away after the marathon might kill the momentum I’ve built. So, I’ll go with mantra that a slow run is better than no run at all for the week after the marathon. So, there you go…reflections on the LA Marathon training cycle, plans for race day, and what happens after the race. If you read this entire post…bless you. I know it was long. I will be posting on Twitter and Instagram all weekend long. So, if you want to follow along, feel free to follow me. Here are the details of my Twitter and Instagram…

Twitter – gloucks7 Instagram – whyirundisney

See you all on the other side of the marathon! Bring it On!

3 thoughts on “LA Marathon – Thoughts on the Training and Race Day Plan

  1. best of luck this weekend: I hope I see you! I may also be at Disneyland on Monday (depending on how I feel) so I could see you there too! make sure to be keep drinking (I have a cold gatorade next to me as I speak! 🙂 )

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