Marathon Training Update

I looked at a calendar the other day and realized that there are only 5 weeks until my first marathon! After I finished panicking (not really 🙂 ), I realized that it was high time I gave an update on how my training’s been going.

Overall, I’d say my training has been going very well so far. I pretty much just treated my Zombie 1/2 Marathon as another training run, improving my time by 10 minutes. I also recently purchased a Garmin Forerunner 305, which has been indespensible in helping me keep on my target pace, especially during my long runs.

This past weekend, I did my first of 2 planned 20 mile runs. You can check out the details I posted on dailymile if you’re interested. Basically, I did a 10 mile out-and-back course twice, meaning that I ran the same stretch of 5 miles 4 times in a row. This may sound a bit boring to some, but I actually really enjoyed it, and there are several good reasons why I chose this route for my first 20-miler:

  • I’m very familiar with this trail, as I’ve done plenty of running on it in the past, including both of my half marathons. This means that I’m able to easily break the route down mentally into smaller pieces.
  • These 5 miles are all on paved trails, mostly through the woods, meaning that I don’t have to deal with traffic or crossing intersections – I can just run!
  • This route is relatively flat, and I wanted to stack the deck in favor of my first 20 mile run being a good one! Also, the marathon course in Vegas is about as flat as you could hope for, so I don’t feel too bad about not training as much for hills.
  • Being able to stop back at my truck after 10 miles meant that I could refill my water bottles and refuel. I have a hydration pack with 2 water bottles, but they are pretty small, only 8 ounces each, which just isn’t enough for 20 miles. I also ate a banana real quick, which sat very well on my stomach – especially compared to gu/gel, which I am beginning to like less and less. How many bananas do you think I can fit in my pockets for my marathon? 🙂

I finished my first 20 mile run in 3:11 (a pace of 9:29), which was actually 3 minutes faster than my 18 mile run from 3 weeks prior. This makes me feel much more confident about running 26.2 miles in less than 5 weeks, especially considering my relatively condensed training schedule.

Around mile 18, I had a bit of a run-in with 2 moose. One crossed the trail about 30 feet ahead of me, where I watched it meetup with a 2nd moose. They walked off and dissappeared into the woods together, so I kept on running. About 30 seconds later, out of the corner of my eye I saw them again trotting along at about my same pace on the other side of a small creek. I knew that the creek would only slow them down for a second or two if they decided to come my way – which is exactly what they did! I dashed into some trees on the other side of the trail. For anyone who hasn’t dealt with moose before, they are actually very fast – and dangerous – animals, but they can’t maneuver and turn very quickly. So the best thing in this type of situation is to get something like a few trees between you and the moose.

Luckily, the moose ran on past me, but they stayed right on the trail. Once they were 50 feet or so down the trail, I continued running behind them. This continued for probably a 1/4 mile, until the trees opened up to a large field. The moose turned toward the open field, and I took my chance at getting away from them – I picked up my pace to nearly an all-out sprint until I was well past them. At this point I had about 1 1/2 miles until I was back at my truck. I slowed down to around my normal pace, but kept looking back over my shoulder to make sure they hadn’t changed their minds about what direction to go! Oh, the joys and hazards of running in Alaska 🙂

After my run, I immediately went home and took my kids trick-or-treating. All things considered, I actually felt really good afterward. The next 2 days I was fairly sore, especially my knees, but really nothing too bad.

This weekend I’m planning to run 8-10 miles, then another 20-miler the weekend after that. Then I start tapering already! 12 miles the first weekend, then 8 miles, and then the full shebang December 5th!

11 thoughts on “Marathon Training Update

  1. I guess I should have figured you were training for a marathon what with tweeting about a 20 mile run, but I never put together the pieces. That’s awesome! The Rock n’ Roll Las Vegas marathon is going to be a blast. Do they even have an Alaska Marathon? 😉

  2. Ha ha, yes we do have Marathons in Alaska – both of my previous 1/2 Marathons have had full Marathons along with them 🙂

  3. I cannot wait to have my husband read this post. He used to be a long distance runner years ago and he also loves photographing nature and wildlife and here in NH is ALWAYS ecstatic to come across a moose and just takes a zilion pictures.

    I can so imagine if he were running in alaska and there were moose running alongside him. LOL We visited Alaska last year..what a *beautiful* state!

    Good luck with your training! Watch out for the moose! 🙂

  4. Can’t imagine having to dodge moose while out on a run!

  5. Wow, Brandon! SO awesome. I am very impressed that you ran 20 miles in 3:11! Think you might be able to do a sub-4 marathon? That would be amazing. (Of course, just finishing one would be great, too!!!)

  6. Wow, I would be absolutely ecstatic if I actually finished under 4 hours, but I doubt it. It might be doable for me, but everything would have to be really clicking and going just right. I don’t want to put a lot of pressure on myself for my first marathon, so my only goal is to finish under the 5 1/2 hour course limit 🙂

  7. How AWESOME!! I’m so excited for you! It looks like I’ll be cheering on from here and not Vegas but I’ll be just as loud as I can be for you guys.

    You’ll do so well.

  8. I’ll keep my ears wide open and just maybe I’ll be able to hear you all the way from Vegas 🙂

  9. a weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee bit off topic (sorry youll have that) but every time I read your blog I think I WANNA VISIT HIM. I MUST GIT TO ALASKA AND SEE AND EXPERIENCE IT.

  10. Come on up, it’s awesome here! I’ve lived here my whole life, and I absolutely love it here, it’s like no other place I’ve ever been. I have a hard time imagining myself living anywhere else.

  11. I’ve enjoyed reading your blog Brandon, I have a friend that lives in Anchorage and we visited her a few years back, so I’ve been on a bit of the coastal trail, your state is beautiful! Good luck with your marathon, I’ve spent the last few months losing weight and now thanks to a bit of inspiration from Rita, I’m hoping to run my first 5k in the spring, for some reason there are no races in Montana during the winter, bummer. Really hope I’ll be able to run a marathon at some point down the road.

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