Skyline To The Sea Marathon Training Kick-Off

Skyline to the Sea Marathon

So here I go again- starting up a new marathon training cycle. This time for the Skyline to the Sea Trail Marathon in October.

During my last marathon training cycle for the Oakland Marathon, many of my runs felt easy.

Too easy.

Usually, routine is good for me. Routine keeps me from making excuses. If it’s Wednesday, I run, it’s just what I do.

But I stopped paying attention and my good routines veered off into a rut.

My Usual

For nearly every marathon I have ever run, I have used the Hal Higdon Novice 2 plan as the base of my program. I often switch it up a little, add things in here, take stuff out there, but the basis was the same.

I love the plan and it has served me well.

I have regular go-to routes of every distance. I have frequently run routes right from my front door. I have default long run routes.

But with the familiarity of the program, I have learned where I can cut corners.

I’ve figured out when I skip a run without impacting the results.

I know how many hill workouts I can skip and still finish a hilly marathon.

Anything But The Usual

All of that to say, when I sat down to consider how I was going to train for Skyline, one phrase came to mind: Anything but the Usual.

This time around, I’m going to try to find the balance: keep the positive aspects of a routine that has been the source of 20 years worth of running success, while busting the rut and switching up the same ol’ same ol’.

How am I going to do that?

I’m still figuring out all the details but recognizing it was a big first step.

Skyline to the sea marathon kick off

What I’m Changing Up

I developed a new training plan after reviewing all the elements of training:

  • Distances
  • Paces
  • Topography of runs (hilly/ flat/trail)
  • Days I run
  • Rest days
  • Cross training/ active recovery days and activities

It isn’t anything revolutionary, but I think it will be different enough to shake things up.

My general idea is to keep a few things the same, while changing up a few other things. I’m not going track this specifically (for example three of six things need to be different, every run). That is way too much work, and I don’t think would be terribly helpful, but it will be the spirit with which I’ll run.

What I Know For Sure Will Change

I’m going to switch up the days I’m running. This may sound minor, but I’m so used to Monday being a rest day, running on Monday feels monumental.

I’m going to have three rest/cross training days a week. These days will be rest, active recovery (a/k/a non-running fitness), or strength workout days. I won’t delineate between them since they always get kinda mixed up depending on when my strength workouts fit in and how I’m feeling mentally and physically.

What Will Stay The Same

What I’m going to keep the usual: the long run.

I’m perfectly happy keeping my long runs on Saturdays at my usual pace on my usual selection of routes.

Long Runs in the summer are hard enough. This is one area where I never felt like my routine was a bad thing, so while I’ll try a few new long run routes and races this summer, I’ll let myself fall back to ‘the usual’ as often as I need to (or want to).

Training Goals

My goals for Skyline to the Sea marathon training are:

  • Run at least one new route a week
  • 2-3 strength & general fitness workouts a week. I’m still regularly doing Nike Training Club workouts and love them. Those of you who followed my Oakland training recaps know I burnt out on them when my running mileage ramped up. A similar thing may happen again, but I’ll worry about that when (and if) I get there. For the timing being, I’ll set up regular workout programs and figure rest days accordingly.
  • One run with a noticeable elevation gain each week. I won’t specifically define ‘noticeable elevation gain’, but I’ll know it when I do it.
  • Yoga once a week

Race Goals

It’s too early for specific race goals, but when I think about last year’s running of this race (which was great), two things come to mind that could make this year’s race even better:

  • Beat last year’s time (5:56)
  • No face plants. I may fall, I may not, stuff happen on the trail. But if I fall, I won’t lead with my face. At some point this summer I need to spend some time learning to fall better.


Sara is a runner, running coach, writer, blogger, and a lover of all things written.

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