marathon week 3


Week three: solid. I stuck to my plan, completed all of my strength work and started to increase my mileage.


Key run: my tempo on Tuesday. One month after the Griffith Park Half, I resumed my first speed workout since training for the race. I started smoothly, built up my pace, then held on at 7:00 over four miles. My cool down was steady.


I was a little tired heading into Saturday’s 17 miler but ended up recording one of my best long runs ever.

long run week 03

After warming up I planned to run most of the way at 8:30-40 but noticed my pace was closer to 8:00. I decided to stay there.The morning was cool and overcast and my effort stayed loose and easy.

long run splits week03

Fourteen miles later I was done. I’m not sure if I’ve ever held such a consistent pace for so long. My marathon goal pace is 7:55 and Saturday’s run was a big confidence builder. I was out of gas at mile 17. Adding another nine miles seems daunting but that’s where the next 14 weeks of training will help.

My runs in the South Bay included some or all of the Hermosa Beach green belt. It’s only a few blocks from my house and a great starting or finishing segment.




del sol fire road

It is easy to miss Del Sol fire road. I ran past it many times before discovering the entrance along Via Campesina in Palos Verdes.


While Del Sol only lasts about two miles, it is a worthy addition to any run and I try to include it whenever I am training nearby.


From the start there is a 300 foot climb; 500 feet if you count getting to the trail head. It’s hard work but worth the effort.


On the way up the surface is paved and surrounded by heavy brush. When I run in the early morning it is mostly deserted. I’ve passed a few hikers, runners, and dog walkers but I usually have the road to myself.


As I climb, the trees thin to reveal a long view of the Los Angeles Basin. On the clearest days I can see as far as Malibu and the Channel Islands.


Del Sol then empties onto city roads with more climbing until it reaches the Douglas Trail head. This is where the fun begins.


Douglas Trail is mostly downhill, much steeper than Del Sol, and single track all the way. Tree roots and loose soil are constant reminders to watch my step.


The north side drops steeply to the ocean and the trail tends to slant sideways. It feels like running through a landslide caught in slow motion. My most recent run was shortly after a rainstorm and the dirt turned to black sticky clay. I was wearing my Newton trail running shoes but the soles caked with mud and made my footing rather loose.


Before the final descent, the trail levels briefly above Bluff Cove. It’s a perfect place to take a break and look out over the Palos Verdes bluffs.


Del Sol fire road is one of my favorite trail runs and a regular part of my training. It’s rough on the way up but the views and technical conditions make it a new adventure every time I run it.


marathon: week 2


My second week of training started badly. I needed to skip Tuesday’s workout and a rainstorm forced me onto a seven mile treadmill run- ugh. By rearranging my schedule I was able to stick to my mileage and ended up missing only my elliptical day.


On all of my runs I am holding paces that are 20-30 seconds faster than called for in my plan. I can’t tell if the speed equals progress or over training. I will continue to run by feel and listen carefully to my body.

Run of the week: PV trails long run. The first half of the week left me feeling out of sync and it was nice to put things back together on Saturday.


It was a perfect day for a long run- cool, sunny, and clear. PV trails are some of my favorite and my run took me along PV drive, up Del Sol fire road, and along the bluffs to Pelican Cove and Terranea.


My pace averaged 8:15 over 15.25 miles and 1,117 feet elevation gain. My marathon goal is to hold an 8:00 pace on a downhill course at M2B. So two weeks in feels promising.


marathon: week 1


My first week of training is complete. Five runs and one elliptical workout totaling 45.25 miles. I’m following a plan that I purchased from and while early, the results are promising.


First impressions: forty-five miles seems light- my weekly total has been closer to 55- but part of my strategy was to use a plan and I’m going to stick to it. The biggest change was moving my long run from Sunday to Saturday and resting the day before instead of the day after. It feels so much better to do a recovery run on Sunday instead of Monday. The extra sleep and a day off help me get ready for the next week.

Key run: my long run on Saturday. Fifteen miles with the final seven at my goal pace of 7:45-8:00. I started in Hermosa Beach and ran up to Palos Verdes, around the golf course and back home. My route climbed 500 feet from RAT beach to the golf course before descending and leveling out for the final five miles.


Holding a 7:45-8:00 pace felt good. And matching my goal pace after tackling the hills did not seem too hard. Later that day my legs were pretty sore but overall it was a successful run.


On Thursday I ran eight miles along the Mineral Wells trail in Griffith Park. Despite an elevation gain of over 600 feet I was able to stay relaxed and maintain an 8:25  pace.


I started my run just after sunrise and the weather was clear with temperatures in the 50s- perfect running conditions for me.


Mountains 2 Beach is a road race but I want to keep running trails whenever I can. The dirt surface is a nice change from asphalt and keeps my legs fresh.


Overall I’m feeling good after week one. I’m not yet sure if I can maintain a sub 8:00 pace for 26 miles but my early workouts convinced me to train for it. Next week has the same mileage and similar workouts so I can make a good comparison. Onward.



On Monday I begin training for the Mountains 2 Beach Marathon! Race day is 5/29, sixteen weeks from today. I purchased a training plan from my favorite running site, Strength Running. I used SR’s half marathon plan to lower my time from 1:48 to 1:36 and for the marathon I have a custom race plan. More to come.