Training for the Darlington Marathon and goals (September 15-21)

Hey everyone and happy Sunday! In case you missed them, here are my posts from last week:

Today, the local paper in Florence, SC, printed this article about the marathon on the front page. I really hope the Pee Dee supports the marathon even though running isn’t a big sport there; it’s good to see there will be a big turnout for the race (the half has already sold out).

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I’ve set a few goals for my race and will hopefully achieve some of them. Here goes nothing:

  1. Not lose speed. I’ve done weekly speed workouts because I want to run fast 5Ks and 10Ks this Fall. I’m not interested in doing any more marathons ever, and I don’t want to run another half for awhile. I want to run local races, fast- but I won’t really know until a few weeks after the marathon when I race again.
  2. Not gain weight. Some marathoners gain weight because they overestimate the calories they burn and amount of food they can eat. On my frame, a few extra pounds is very obvious, and lugging around extra weight won’t help with speed, either. I do monitor my weight- not every day and not obsessively, but on a weekly basis. I want to catch the damage before it’s done, and buy one get one free frozen yogurt at Publix isn’t helping my cause.
  3. Beat Oprah’s time. Oprah’s marathon time was 4:29, and I don’t know why I want to beat this time except she’s well-known and probably had tons of help training; you know, help that your average recreational runner doesn’t get. I used to talk to my company’s president in the break room at work, and he always talked about how his marathon time was faster than Oprah’s (she ran the marathon he ran, surrounded by press), so I want to say that too.
  4. Run a 4 hour marathon. I don’t know if I can go below 4 hours, because I’ve never run 26.2 miles to know how it feels. I’ve entered my time into a few calculators online and gotten mixed results. I guess we’ll see what happens on Saturday. Since this will be my only marathon, I want to make it count.

Now, for your last and latest training recap- because by this time next week, I will have finished my marathon and will work on recapping the actual race for you!


Sunday: I went to the Yoga House of Charleston for the community/donation class. The usual instructor Katie was there, along with a new teacher named Seth who recently got certified. They “team taught” the yoga class and it was great.

Since I had the cold, I felt a little weird and woozy in certain yoga positions, but otherwise I was fine. You’re always better off doing yoga and modifying than not doing it at all.

Monday: I normally run on Mondays, but since I was tapering, I did BodyPump instead. I upped my weights on the squat track and the bicep track because I felt like my legs could take it this early in the taper. It was a great workout as usual.

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Tuesday: That morning, I ran 400s and 800s with Katie and Kindal at the track. It was almost 6 miles of warmup, cooldown, and intense repeats- we really pushed a few because we thought a storm was coming. It didn’t come, but all the motivation to run fast, right?

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That evening, I went to TrySports Run Club for a little over 3 miles of running and for Andrew’s talk about preparing for marathons. It’s great to train with the club and have friends like Andrew who are ultra marathoners and know what they’re doing! Even though I’m tapering, Andrew shared some great tips that I’m incorporating into my training.

One of Andrew’s suggestions was to “test” your race day outfit a few days before the race- with all your gear like your gels, bottles, etc. This is a big one for me because I haven’t actually run with my gels since I don’t use more than 1 on any training run (that’s right, even the 19-20 milers!). I plan to wear my marathon outfit for this Tuesday’s run for a final test.

Another suggestion is to meditate and focus on your race and being successful each night before bed and each morning when you wake up, for the week before the race. I think meditation is a great idea and will do this in my post-yoga meditation and throughout this upcoming week.

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Wednesday: Off. I didn’t feel that great after Tuesday night’s run (so this cold was a lot worse than I thought, and I was a lot sicker than I let on, okay?).

Thursday: Long run! Last long run before the marathon, and it was 10 miles (8:38 average pace).

The first 5.5 were fast with run club, and the second 4.5 were slower. My friend and run club leader/coach, Peggy, rode her bike beside me while I ran, so my mouth ran harder than my legs. It was worth it for Peggy’s encouragement, and I needed to slow down a little bit and run closer to marathon pace before race day.

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Friday: Off. I always take Fridays off- Clay and I went out to Mex 1 Coastal Cantina for Avondale Restaurant week. I love going out with my husband on Friday nights, and we love supporting West Ashley’s restaurants.

Saturday: 5ish miles. I ran a warmup mile, the CrossBridge Pancake 5K trail run, then a cooldown mile or so. My race time was 26:02.

This race wasn’t about finish time, but about spending time with my training partners and friends, supporting a great charity, and eating lots of pancakes. I’ll have a full recap later this week.

Totals: 24 miles running, 1 BodyPump class, 1 yoga class.


My taper is going well. My mileage isn’t too much shorter than last week, since I was sick last week, but I also cut out one cross training day for a rest day. I want to be 100% over the cold before the race (I will be, but I wasn’t earlier in the week).

With running lower mileage, I can already tell my body is recovering. My legs don’t feel as heavy, and the little “niggles” I’ve had, like achy hips and a little knee pain after the long runs, are going away. My body feels different, and dare I say it, my body feels ready…

Start your engines, and happy running!

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20 Responses to Training for the Darlington Marathon and goals (September 15-21)

  1. allieksmith says:

    I bet you will achieve all of your goals! I can’t believe how fast this race came up! I wonder if you feel the same way, or if you feel like training has taken forever?!

    Good luck with the rest of your taper and your race next week!! WOOO!!!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Thanks Allie! My race is Saturday so it’s coming right up later this week :). Ours are almost always on Saturdays here, not Sunday.

      I do feel like the training has taken forever. But, training for a marathon really isn’t a 16 or 18 week “plan” that you print online. Heck, I didn’t even follow one of those. Technically, I’ve been training for this for years just by running consistently, building up base miles, and getting stronger. I just signed up for the race and made the decision to do it a few months ago.

      So, when you look at it that way, technically you’re training too, hehe, in case you ever decide to do a marathon. I don’t know how someone could do it without at least a few years of running experience though, it is tough on the body.

  2. spectacuLAUR says:

    I can’t believe it’s less than a week away!!! I wish so badly we would have fun runs like pancakes runs and things around my area. I’m always jealous of all of the things which seem to go on in your community! You southern runners know where it’s at.. .Pancake runs?!! I’d be all over it.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Yeah, we have tons of fun runs. Almost every weekend there is a 5K here or some local race… and tons of them are charities or good causes. There’s always free food at the end (this is Charleston and we love food) and usually free beer (we love beer here too). Some of my friends really did “race” this with goals in mind- I really didn’t yesterday but often I do :).

      Basically almost all the 5Ks here are more than races, they’re like social events so people of lots of abilities come out to them 🙂

  3. Kayla says:

    I got a cold too and am also racing on the 28th. It has made my taper super strange. Good luck with your race!! It is soo soon!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Yikes for being sick! My cold started my taper early, but it wasn’t so bad. I’ve pretty much recovered now, but it was tough for a few days. I’m now ready to get my race over with! I hope your goes well and you stay healthy, too.

  4. Steph says:

    Woo hoo taper! You’ve definitely put in the hard work, and now you’re ready to rock that race. I’m sure you’re going to kill it =)

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Thanks Steph! I hope I do. I’m really not TOO worried about it honestly. I have a lot of faith in my training and faith that I will get through it. Even if I don’t meet these goals, I know life will go on and I’ll have other chances (although I highly doubt I do another marathon).

      After running and doing almost 4 years of races… this is just another one. Just another race that happens to be longer than the rest.

  5. You’re so close! I know you’ve got to be excited and to see all of this hard work pay off. Great goals, I am a big supporter of planning goals, gives you something to aim for and something to celebrate at the end… well that and just running 26.2 miles!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Yeah- I am definitely aiming for the 4 hours, but I really want to be done with it so I can do 5Ks and 10Ks around here- like the connector run.

      I like doing a lot of races, and when you train for a marathon and have so many long runs, it’s hard to do that (I have done long runs on days other than Saturday so I can do a few).

      I’ll definitely keep you guys posted on how it goes. Will miss speedwork for the next two weeks but I will start coming back again after the marathon and taking a few days off completely to recover.

  6. Amy says:

    I am SURE you will achieve all of your goals. You have been rocking the training. Are you sure it is your only marathon? 😉 As much as I dread it, I love the 26.2 distance!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      I’m sure it will be the only 26.2 I run. I might make an exception for Disney or Marine Corps, because I wouldn’t be able to turn down the chance to run around a theme park or around DC. Either way, those would be a few years off considering we just bought a home and don’t have tons of money for things like marathons (which is another reason, they can be quite pricey!).

  7. You have realistic goals and I think you will surprise yourself. I also think you will surprise yourself about doing another marathon- maybe not anytime soon, but it will always be a thought (I really wasn’t sure I would do another after training for my first).

    Embrace and enjoy your last week of taper, you have done the work now enjoy the perks of eating, relaxing and putting all your efforts to work this weekend.

  8. runwkate says:

    Hells yes! I am over-the-top excited about this post – mostly because I am so slack that when I last read up on what you were doing you were only just starting marathon training for real. And here you are!

    I feel like I had some very similar goals going into it last year (not gain weight was one, but I failed miserably 😉 – you are much wiser!), I definitely had to beat Oprah’s time, and I totally wanted a 4 hour first mara. I am so looking forward to seeing how you go! Is there any way to track you/keep up to date with your progress as you go?

    • Amy Lauren says:

      No, it’s a small marathon and first year and pretty cheap, so they don’t have perks like runner tracking. But I’ll post to Facebook when I’m done and tweet my time and stuff. It may be a little later Saturday, I doubt social media will be the first thing on my mind after the marathon.

      Thanks for responding, glad to see you back in the blog world!

  9. Great that you’re feeling good with the tapering!! You’re going to do great 🙂

  10. I can’t wait to hear how you do on your marathon! I know you will do great; you put in all the work and more! Enjoy the race as much as you can! Hopefully I will see you soon for a Saturday run!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      You will! I go to the TrySports run club every Saturday as long as I am not doing a race so if you are there you will see me :). I will keep running long too after the marathon, just not quite as long. So we can still run together some, especially when they move the time up to 7 AM for the Fall, usually when the time changes they do that.

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