I ran the Chicago marathon in October 2001 (the U.S. began bombing targets in Afghanistan on the day of the marathon) and the New Orleans marathon in February 2005 (about 6 months pre-Katrina), and the training for those two races was special and highly-memorable. For Chicago, I trained with my friend Carolyn during the hot months of August and September. One of our long runs was on the shoulder of the 280/Skyline Blvd (ie- not safe) near Daly City. I actually had to cut a long run short due to heatstrokey issues and was, very, very, unfortunately, accosted by a young man while waiting for my ride to pick me up :( I loved getting to know Chitown during the marathon and was pleased to run it in 4:43.
For New Orleans, I trained with a fundraising group. Prior to signing up for the marathon group, I hadn't been running more than four miles for several years, so I didn't start training with the highest fitness level. We actually did a 26.2 mile run/walk during training (all around Golden Gate Park and Sunset Blvd which took FOREVER)! However, during the week, I ran a couple times a week on the treadmill at the gym--pretty sure I didn't run more than 4 miles. I also recall doing jumprope stuff and triceps exercises at the gym with Ang. I was dating Jeff before the New Orleans marathon and distinctly recall us going to out to mega-huge pizza dinners after my training runs, as well as his very sweet encouragement in the days before the race. Thanks, Jeff!!
How has our training for the SF marathon been oh-so-different?? Well, for starters, I trained consistently for about four months after racing a half marathon in 1:51. I ran five times per week, including medium long runs of around 9 miles. The midweek workouts also included hill repeats, track intervals, and tempo runs. I did long pace runs, with 4-7 miles at goal marathon paces of sub 9:20 and plenty of sub 9:10 (yeehaw!). In those previous marathon training cycles, I didn't have Garmalade so couldn't track my speed or weekly mileage. All that variety helped add purpose to each run, each week, and the steps toward race day. At the same, oh my gosh, that's a lot of big, fast new stuff :) So, right now my questions and concerns are *not* about did I train enough, but about whether I trained too much or will be 'peaking' at the right time. I'd like to peak this Sunday morning- sometime between 6:06 am and 10:20 am would work perfectly for me and my dear PR ;)