Oakland Marathon Training Recap: Week 1

Oakland Marathon Recap Week 1

Training has begun for my next marathon: The Oakland Marathon, which is part of the Oakland Running Festival (ORF) in April 2017. The Marathon will be on my birthday, I’m way too excited about running myself to exhaustion on my birthday.

For the fourth time, I am also a running coach and pacer for the Lake Merritt Joggers and Striders (LMJS), my local running club. LMJS has a training program for ORF, and I will be a pacer for the weekly group runs. Our pacer assignments vary weekly based on need, but generally, I will be pacing the 10:30, 11:00 or 11:30 minute per mile groups.

My Goals for the Oakland Marathon

  • In past years I have acted as a pacer for the race itself. I don’t yet know if I will be pacing the marathon, but if I do, my goal will be to hit my pace. If I don’t pace, my race goal will do a personal best on this course. At some point in the next months, I will have to look up what that is, I’m not even sure.
  • Hit my pace every week in training runs.
  • Do strength & general fitness workouts 3 times a week. The past few months I have been using the Nike Training Club (NTC) app for my workouts. They are surprisingly difficult workouts, usually 30 or 45 min.
  • Do my 10 minute morning stretching routine every morning.

Week 1: November 28 – December 4

PlanNTC workout3 miles5 miles
NTC workout
3 milesNTC workout8 miles @11:30 paceNTC workout
ActualNTC workout3 miles5 miles
NTC workout
3 milesNTC workout8 miles @11:43 paceNTC workout

Focus for the Week

Get back into the training mindset.

My last marathon was in October. While I have kept running in the meantime, my marathon training routine is something I need to get back into. I’m also excited to see all of my fellow coaches and meet my new (and returning) trainees.


It amuses me to no end that my training program starts with a rest day. Day 1: Do nothing. The day I am most enthusiastic and raring to go. But I’ll take (and enjoy) rest days whenever I can get them.

Today I did my morning stretching and a 10 minute NTC benchmark workout. I am in the midst of a 6 week NTC program. I like using the NTC app preschedule programs, it removes the ‘what workout do I feel like doing today’ decision-making out of the equation. Too often, I don’t feel like doing any workout.

These programs have occasional short benchmark workouts to gauge progress.

All told, a light day to start.

Tuesday Oakland Marathon tue

The first day of real running for this latest marathon cycle. Unexpectedly, it was (I think) my fastest 3 miles ever. I don’t think I’ve ever had an average under 9 minutes before.

I’ve lost nearly 20 pounds this year, so I did expect that would impact my running times for the better, but this improvement seemed very sudden.

I’ll take it.

Wednesday Oakland Marathon wed

5-mile run. Uneventful & unspectacular. I think I was a bit mentally off – I knew I was coming home to a 30 minute NTC workout ‘The Descent.’ A very ominous name for a workout.

The Descent is a pyramid workout where you do 10 reps of a series of moves, then 8 reps of the same, then 6, then 4, then 2.

While these are physically great workouts, they annoy me mentally. Especially when doing 2 reps of each move. While ‘only’ doing 2 push-ups (instead of 10) sounds great, it takes more energy moving from plank to squats to push-ups than it does to do the actual move.

ThursdayOakland Marathon th

A totally uneventful 3-mile run. I don’t think it’s sunk in yet that I’m marathon training. It felt like just another 3 mile run around the lake.

I’m sure that will change after our first group run on Saturday.


45 minute NTC workout – ‘Controlled Blast.’ This program is time-based and is again pyramid-style – do a move for 1 minute, then 40 seconds, then 30 seconds. A few more mountain climbers and split jumps than I like to do first thing in the morning, but felt good.

No running, saving my energy for my long run tomorrow.

Saturday Oakland Marathon Sat

First group training run. Yeah! For this run, I was the pacer for the 11:30 group. I was a little off, with an average pace of 11:43. Not my best showing as a pacer, but in my defense it was a course through Berkeley that has a ton of stoplights. Constantly stopping for red lights really messes with my inner running clock.

But I shouldn’t make excuses. I do my best as a pacer, but ultimately, I’m a girl with a watch. Some runs aren’t going to be dead on.


Ended the week with a 30 minute NTC workout ‘Medball Madness.’ This workout had many, many squats. I was really feeling it towards the end.

Summary of the Week

The week started well, with my 5k(ish) personal best. I quickly got back into the groove of marathon training and getting into the marathon mindset. Even with my long run this week being shorter than the runs I’ve been doing the past few weeks, it felt really familiar and comfortable to break out my Saturday long run marathon training routine.

Overall, I’d call this week a success.

Next Week

Focus for next week

I have two areas of focus for next week:

  • Be closer to my pace time for Saturday’s long run. I’m too type-A to be happy with being over 10 seconds off.
  • Be better about stretching after my run. I’m 100% so far with my morning routine stretching, but I’ll confess I’ve been lax with stretching post-run.

Plan for next week

Plan3 miles
NTC workout
5 miles3 miles
NTC workout
9 miles
NTC workout
Actual3 miles &
30 min. NTC
5 miles3 miles &
30 min. NTC
9 miles &
45 min. NTC

Oakland Recap Week 1


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