What's my plan for Eau Claire Marathon training?

We're almost at the end of 2017 and that also means marathon training is starting soon. Like really soon. Like eight days from today. On the very first day of 2018 I will officially be training for my second marathon. Which seems so crazy to say because it feels like I just started training for Twin Cities Marathon not that long ago.

But it's already been over seven months since I started training and over two months since I ran my first marathon. So I thought I’d take some time to talk a little bit about my plan for the Eau Claire marathon is (including what my training plan is, what my nutrition will be like and what my goals are).

Training plan

Once again I'm going with one of Hal Higdon's training plans. I've used his training plans for all of my races except for my first 5k and most recent half marathon at Lake Minnetonka and they’ve always been great for me. I use the Intermediate One training plan for the Twin Cities Marathon. I did look at a couple of other training plans but I really liked the multiple 20 miler runs and marathon pace runs with Higdon’s plans. So I’m moving on up to the Intermediate Two plan, which has the marathon pace runs and three 20 miler runs. I'm looking forward to starting off my long runs in the double digits since to get up to the three 20 milers you have to start off at ten miles. Which I've been running recently and it feels really good, so I’m just backing off the mileage right now before I start training again.

I'll be using the same training paces for Eau Claire marathon as I did for Twin Cities. I know I was so close to hitting sub-5 hours at Twin Cities that I can do it with keeping at those training paces. I'm not concerned about keeping pace on the Saturday pace runs as much as slowing down on my weekday runs and Sunday long run. I've been finding myself going a lot faster on my normal runs at the moment since I'm not training for a specific pace and I'm keeping around a 10:30 average pace. So I'm really trying to use these days before I start marathon training to slow it down and get used to running at an easy pace again.

I’ll be using the Strong Curves template for my cross-training on Mondays and also going back to a regular yoga practice on Fridays. I’ve really been enjoying how Strong Curves gets me a full-body weights workout in about 30-35 minutes plus it really challenges me.

As I mentioned in a previous post so I'm hoping to make core workouts a regular part of my marathon training, after my Tuesday and Thursday runs. Especially since I’ll be doing my marathon training in the Minnesota winter, core stability is going to be really important to prevent injuries.

I’ll also be getting back on that foam rolling routine!. I found it really helpful while training for Twin Cities Marathon and then just haven't been keeping it up. So my goal would be to foam roll after every single workout whether it's strength training or running which would be six days of the week. And if I feel like I need some extra foam rolling on my rest days, I’ll be doing that too.

Nutrition

I’ll continue counting macros during marathon training. I find it really helpful to make sure I'm eating enough food in. Since I'm coming off of a cutting phase into marathon training I'm really used to eating a lower amount and that just isn't going to be  enough to fuel my runs anymore. I'm going to start off pumping up my calories to the 2,000 calorie mark with the increase coming mostly from carbs, but I’ll be increasing my fat and protein as well.

I'm also thinking about incorporating macro cycling again for my weekends so I’m fueling that long run and also recovering from it. Especially with doing a higher mileage training cycle than the last time, I want to make sure my body has enough fuel so I don’t start bonking on my long runs. I’ll keep you updated on how I chose to do that when.

Of course I'm going to continue using Nuun Hydration products and Gu gels on my training runs and in my day-to-day life. If you missed the news I am a Nuun Ambassador for 2018! I just love using their products on my long runs to give me a little bit of extra boost versus something like Gatorade. I've also recently started using their vitamins product day-to-day usually in hot water since it is mighty chilly here in Minnesota. It's a nice variation on water or tea with that extra boost of vitamins in it.

Goals

For the Eau Claire Marathon. the thing I've been saying over and over again is how I want to go sub five since I was so close at Twin Cities. In a way my big goal for Eau Claire marathon is to PR but I want bigger than a four  minute PR that going sub five hours would get me.

My A goal for the Eau Claire Marathon is to finish in 4:45 or faster. I feel like I have a really good chance of that with how well my off-season has been going. And if my training goes perfectly and race day weather is perfect I feel like I can easily hit that goal. My target pace for marathon pace workouts is a faster than what I would need to get a 4:45 so I'm building  in a buffer by training myself up to run faster but having a little bit slower of a goal time. So that if something happens at the end where I've been keeping on track perfectly and start bonking towards the end I'll still have a chance of getting that 4:45 time since my marathon pace runs were done at a 4:35 marathon pace.

It's pretty daunting to put out there that I want to run a 4:45 Marathon, which would be taking almost 20 minutes after off my marathon PR. But I feel prepared going into the second one. I gained a lot of knowledge running the Twin Cities Marathon. I know how my body reacts to marathon training and I've had time to both decrease my weight and increase my strength.

Are you starting training on New Year's Day like I am? Let me know in the comments below if you are or what your big goal races for 2018.