5 Weeks of Marathon Training + My “Secret” Weapon

Our team shirts are finally here! What do you think? Check out our lovely hardcore team.

It now makes it official. Team Veg will be running the CIM this year on a 100% plant-based diet. I love that I get to run my first marathon along side a team of athletes who are all committed to the same cause. It’s not that long distance running while being vegan is easy – running and training for a marathon is not easy in itself – but it’s that being vegan should certainly not be a deterrent to long distance running. Quite the opposite actually. Once you carefully pay attention to what you’re eating, how much you’re eating, and use the proper performance products (more on that below), in my experience, you can actually run better and recover faster.

I did my first 20 mile yesterday morning! I went out to the trail with the hopes of testing my hydrating/fueling technique, and did really well until around mile 14 when I realized that I dropped one of my goos. Not the end of the world – I still finished well, but could have finished stronger. 20 miles took me about 2 hours and 55 minutes.

Huge difference between running 17 miles and running 20! I was SORE yesterday, but feeling great today.

Since I am 5 training weeks away from the marathon,  this is crunch time. After the initial shock of realizing that it’s only 5 weeks away, I decided to do what I do best, and that is plan. Not that I didn’t have a plan before, but I actually designated specific running days for the next 5 weeks to make sure I get enough long and tempo runs into my program.

I don’t know why I forget this about myself, but I need concrete goals, and goal markers or else I get lost. I don’t do well with “playing it by ear”. When I don’t plan ahead, it just does not get done. Waking up at 3:30 am, doesn’t just happen for me, I have to talk myself into it the night before, NOT the morning of. Once I have these runs mapped out and in my calendar, there are no excuses.

Here’s what I came up with. It’s not a complete schedule, just maps out my big runs.

I have been averaging between 40 and 45 miles a week in the last few weeks. It’s not ideal mileage for a marathon, but because I am pressed for time, I chose to concentrate more on quality runs rather than quantity. I tend to plan a long run, a long tempo run, and a short tempo run for the week. When I have an extra day, I throw in a 5 mile maintanance run.

My achilles is 95% better, and my running shoes are working out great. I couldn’t have been running these long miles if I didn’t make the critical switch 2 weeks ago. I’m 100% satisfied with my Nike purchase, and a little embarrassed about my earlier fit about not wanting to buy them.

I hope Nike forgives me, I’m now a convert.

I want to let you in on my little secret – I’m in love with Vega Sport. It’s a line of plant-based performance products that rock!

There are two items that I would specifically recommend to anyone training for a race. It’s the Pre-Workout Energizer and the Recovery Accelerator.

I felt a diffrence the very first time I had the pre-workout mix before I ran. It’s the combination of anti-inflammatory nutrients and provides immediate and sustained energy. I noticed a diffrence in my endurance and speed. I normally save the energizer for my long runs, and eat a date or a piece of banana for a shorter run instead.

The recovery accelerator on the other hand, replenishes the body after the run. After having the recovery drink  after a hard run I am not as sore the next day, which probably means that it works in reducing inflammation, as well as speeds up the recovery time.

I have not yet tried Vega’s running gels, or the electrolyte hydrator because all these products are not cheap. So far I’ve been making the direct fuel bites for the road, and swapping water and coconut water on my runs. I do intend on giving the gels soon since I’m so happy with the stuff I’ve been using.

Here’s my long run routine:

  • pre-workout energizer 20 minutes before the run (add a bigger snack if a long run)
  • water every 15 minutes during run (on longer runs, alternating between coconut water and water after and hour)
  • after an hour, eat 1 direct fuel bite
  • eat 1 direct fuel bite every 4 miles (have some water)
  • recovery accelerator immediately after the run
  • a protein shake, or full (easily digestible) meal within an hour after the run
  • plenty of water throughout the day
So far this has been working on keeping my energy levels up after a long run. If I don’t have the protein meal within an hour of a long hard run though, I will bonk. Lesson learned.

So today I’m taking a day off from running – just taught a mat class. Oh and Eric and I are going to see Trevor Hall in concert tonight. I’ve been a fan of his since my freshman year in college after a spur of the moment trip to Reno, where he opened up for Matisyahu. I’ve been waiting for years until he comes to Northern CA, and he is performing right here in Sacramento.

Have a great Saturday!

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  1. Stacy
    Posted November 1, 2012 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    I have had the Vega Sport Gel (Gu) and it is grainy; something to chew on while running. Since you are blogging about the drinks of this product, I will try it – since I do run with you and you seem to be rearing to go at 4:15a, it must be what you have in your drink!

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    My name is Maria and I live in California. I love teaching high-energy Pilates classes, going on long runs, and making connections with all of you! Hope you find a few useful articles, fitness tips, and recipes while you're here.

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