After almost five months of training, I am now a week away from the Eau Claire Marathon. My second marathon ever and my second marathon in less than a year. In fact, I started training for the Twin Cities Marathon about thirteen months ago!
But this isn’t about reminiscing about this marathon training craziness (but there might be a blog about that in the future). Instead, I wanted to talk a little about my plan for the Eau Claire Marathon. I’ve spent seventeen weeks training for it and it’s been my strongest training cycle yet. I’ve been crushing it even with everything I’ve gotten thrown at me weather-wise. Training for a spring in Minnesota might not have been my best idea but it’s turned out pretty good.
As a reminder, I have two different goals for the Eau Claire Marathon. My A goal is to finish in 4:45 or faster, with my B goal being a sub-5 hour marathon. And I’m feeling really good about that 4:45 finish time (and maybe even sneaking in a little bit faster). That’s an almost 20 minute PR from the Twin Cities Marathon.
Why am I feeling so good about reaching this big goal? I’ve been building in a buffer in my training by using a faster time for my pace runs. I’ve been running a 10:30 pace for my these runs which would be a 4:35 marathon time. And if you’ve been reading my weekly recaps, I’ve been running super comfortably at this pace and I’ve been running at a faster pace for my long runs than I did during Twin Cities Marathon training. My average pace for the my last 20 mile run, done on a treadmill, was almost the exact same as my 20 mile run for the Twin Cities Marathon. I ran solo, on a treadmill, the same pace I ran for a race. That’s pretty amazing!
On race day, I’ll be sticking with the 4:45 pacer. This will be really important so I don’t go out fast (especially since I should be running at a 10:50 pace to hit the 4:45 time). Holding back from what I’ve been training at will help me not burn out in the second half like I did at Twin Cities Marathon. I know what running 26.2 miles feels like and I’m racing smarter this time. If I’m feeling good in the last couple of miles, I’ll probably pick it up a little (especially since there’s a huge cheering section starting at mile 23.5 as I run through the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire).
I’ll be keeping my fueling the same as I’ve been doing during training, I’ll be carrying my handheld with Nuun (supplementing with water from the aid stations) and having GUs. One thing I need to pick up at the expo is a higher sodium flavor of GU. I’m all out of salted caramel GUs and I know I’ll be needing to take in more sodium during the race. I’ll be taking GUs every four miles (4, 8, 12, 16, 20 and 24) and will be saving my Nuun for most of those fueling spots (and using water when the aid stations match up). I’ll be taking along a GU to have about 45 minutes before race start and I’ll probably grab one from the early GU station right after mile 6 (or it might be at the turnaround spot at mile 9, they are right by each other).
The weather on race day (as of a week out) is a high of 66 (with race start temperatures at 50) and partly cloudy. I’ll be wearing my Nuun race singlet, shorts and a headband so I’ll be nice and comfortable. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the forecast doesn’t change much but at least it doesn’t look like snow will be happening!
Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram this week as I’m going to be posting a ton in my Instagram Stories leading up to race day!