Marathon Debrief: San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll 2021 Marathon

I set a goal for myself and an aggressive one once the pandemic hit us all hard two years ago. I wanted to see how far I could push my stamina in the marathon and how close to a sub-3 hour finish I could get. My PR (personal record) before 10/24/21 was 03:21:43. The funny thing is that I ran that time running the SD RNR Marathon in June 2016. I plateaued in the 3hr20min range after that while running Boston in 2017. I got injured and was out of the running game for 1 FULL YEAR. I incorporated cross-training into my training routine in addition to mobility work and stretching daily. I picked up boxing as my favorite hobby to keep me conditioned so that running doesn’t. At the end of my year of being injured, I picked up running again, slowly but surely. I barely trained with running specificity for the marathon. I coached my client at the time through to a sub-4 finish running the NYC marathon in 2018. I ran the NYC Marathon for the 3rd time, almost matching my PR, finishing with a time of 03:22:18.

Consequentially, my easy runs when I dove into the marathon training block after working my speed for a few months last year. After working on my running speed with short, anaerobic intervals on the track, I slowly realized that I could hold faster paces for my tempo runs. I did several 5Ks, and have yet to break the 19-minute barrier. I ran my first competitive 10K, finishing in 40 minutes. I ran several half marathons, sequentially dropping 3 minutes and then one minute off of the one I ran before running my last marathon. I finished with a final time of 03:02:48.

I had to double-check my Garmin with tears of joy while completing saving my Garmin data after the race. I am a hard-headed gal, and I tend to set pretty aggressive goals for myself. Like many of the runners I coach, I, too, have an “all or nothing” mindset. It’s been crucial to have a coach to hold me accountable while practicing what I preach and helping my clients do the same. I couldn’t have done what I did two weeks ago without the runners around me.

I ran a couple of miles to the start with runner Sean Turner. Our Uber canceled on us, so we booked it up to the sixth avenue to Balboa Park with a lady running the half. It was a nice warm-up for a full marathon. I didn’t have to deal with being chilly at the start (Which I hate) and said RIP to my 2018 Boston Marathon shirt that I wore to the start, which is the year I got injured and couldn’t run it. My corral started before I got to the start, but I weaved my way through to the first corral and had a rolling start! The energy was contagious at the starting line. I was all smiles and ready to race! After mile 3, I said to myself, “this feels difficult, and I’m not that warmed up yet.” After mile 5, I settled into my marathon race pace. I held it through the hill at mile 23, which took me back a tad at the end, BUT now I know for next time to include more strength work and hilly intervals to prepare better for long inclines and hills! I picked up my pace for the last two miles, seeing my coach, my mom, and my friends near the end all cheering for me. I freakin’ flew and crossed the finish line strong, injury-free, absorbing and embracing all of the vibes from the crowd and the runners around me. I ran a time that I thought might not ever be attainable for me. I WOW’D myself. Now, my goal is to see how far with the marathon I can go. Time to focus on my speed!

Essential Staples in my training were boxing training, HIIT, cross-training, strength-training for runners routine with heavy lifting and plyometrics. My mobility and foam rolling daily drills. My warm-ups before my running workouts on the track or tempo runs on the road. My long, easy runs, which I honestly think anyone could use more of if you’re an aerobic monster, including myself. Fueling my body throughout my training was KEY. With the proper ratio of carbs/proteins/fats around my workouts and my runs to optimize my workouts and my recovery between hard workouts and tune-up races. My SLEEP and getting enough sleep daily, and trying to get a little more than the usual amount while in heavy marathon training mode. It was all of it.

Biggest takeaway: work with a team, a coach, or a friend to program a training program tailored to your strengths and your lifestyle and fitness demands and needs. See how far you’ll go by doing it!

For coaching or to connect, email me at info@runwithalli. I’d love to hear from you!

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