Toronto Waterfront Marathon Training: A Review

Running / Saturday, November 10th, 2018

Hi Friends:)

Something kind of magical happened. After the epic Read Write Run crash of 2018, I thought all my posts from June-December were gone forever. Then I took a glance at my blogging app on my iPhone, and somehow many lost posts were backed there! Some posts are still gone (and honestly good riddance to those trash-buckets). But I was able to make copies of some of my lost posts. I’m not planning on re-posting ALL of these old posts; just the good ones.

One of the happiest parts of this is that I now have all the records of my training for Toronto! I’ve decided that rather than re-posting all the (forced) writing that accompanied my “Marathon Training Monday” posts for the 20 weeks leading up to Toronto, I’d just post little summaries for each week here.

So. Toronto.

I ran the Boston Marathon in April 2018, and took about six weeks off from real training before I started officially training for Toronto. I chose to spread my training out over twenty-one weeks because I was going to be traveling for two weeks right in the middle of training and knew I wouldn’t really be training during those weeks. I also knew I’d need to take a mini-taper before a half marathon in the middle of training. I wanted to run more milage than I had in the past, and I wanted to do more speed-work than I had in the past.

So I got to work designing a training plan for myself that was vaguely based on the “Hal Higdon Intermediate 2″ training plan that calls for 4 days a week of running, one day of cross training, and one rest day. I chose Tuesdays to add a “medium milage” run of 7-10 miles, and did long runs on Saturday.

Here’s how the weeks worked out.

Week 1: June 3-June 9

  • Total Milage: 31.28 miles
  • Long Run Milage: 12.26 miles
  • Cross Training: Barrys Bootcamp, Barre Class, Yoga

Week 2: June 10-June 13

  • Total Milage: 20.5 miles
  • Long Run Milage: none (sick)
  • Cross Training: Barrys Bootcamp, Spin Class

Week 3: June 17- June 23

  • Total Milage: 17.1 miles
  • Long Run Milage: 13.1 (race)
  • Cross Training: Swimming, Yoga, Spin Class
  • Note: I went to my PT for my weekly session, and he told me that he was glad my feeling sick had forced me to take a little a step back; “You were probably on the edge of overtraining,” he told me “Now I feel a PR coming your way.” That helped me frame an unexpected 1.5 weeks of down-milage time positively. So I stuck to cross training for the most part this week.

Week 4: June 24- June30

  • Total Milage: 32.16 miles
  • Long Run Milage: 14 miles
  • Cross Training: Swimming, Hiking
  • Note: In New Hampshire with my family on vacation. SO. MANY. HILLS.

Week 5: July 1- July 7

  • Total Milage: 30.06 miles
  • Long Run Milage: 12 miles
  • Cross Training: Yasso’s at the track
  • Note: In New Hampshire on Vacation.Heat in the 90’s-low 100s; had to cut a few runs short this week!

Week 6: July 8- July 14

  • Total Milage: 17.5
  • Long Run Milage: none (flight got cancelled, had to push long run back.)
  • Cross Training: swimming, paddle-boarding, ellyptical, lifting
  • Note:In Antigua with my dad; most miles were run on a treadmill in an un-air conditioned gym at our resort. 

Week 7: July 15- July 21

  • Total Milage: 37.88
  • Long Run Milage: 16.23
  • Cross Training: Barry’s Boot Camp, weight lifting

Week 8: July 22- July 28

  • Total Milage: 19.05 miles
  • Long Run Milage: none
  • Cross Training: Walking, hiking, body weight exercises
  • Note: Flew out to Peru on Thursday; only ran Monday-Wednesday

Week 9: July 29-August 4

  • Total Milage: 3 (lololol)
  • Long Run Milage: none (in Peru)
  • Cross Training: Hiking
  • Note: In Peru; completed 10 mile Inca Trail hike and did 3 miles of hill repeats in Cuzco.

Week 10: August 5- August 11

  • Total Milage: 32.21 miles
  • Long Run Milage: 11.09 miles
  • Cross Training: Barre Class, treadmill speed intervals.
  • Note:Easing back into training after 2 weeks of randomness in Peru. 

Week 11: August 12- August 18

  • Total Milage: 41.96 miles
  • Long Run Milage: 18 miles
  • Cross Training: Spin class, Yassos, Yoga

Week 12: August 19- August 25

  • Total Milage: 38.49
  • Long Run Milage: 12 miles
  • Cross Training: Speed Intervals, Barry’s Boot Camp, Hike

Week 13: August 26- September 1

  • Total Milage: 43.83 miles
  • Long Run Milage: 20.0 miles
  • Cross Training: Spin class, leg lift, yassos

Week 14: September 2- September 8

  • Total Milage: 27.92 miles
  • Long Run Milage: 8.85 miles
  • Cross Training: Barre class, swimming, leg lift

Week 15: September 9- September 15

  • Total Milage: 43.21
  • Long Run Milage: 19.1
  • Cross Training: Swimming, PT
  • Note:Rough stomach week, and had to cut long run 2 miles short when I got painful stomach cramps.

Week 16: September 16-22

  • Total Milage: 13.27 miles
  • Long Run Milage: 7 miles
  • Cross Training: Spin classes, Barre class
  • Note: Mini-Taper leading up to the New Hampshire Half Marathon

Week 17: September 23- September 29

  • Total Milage: 25.9 miles
  • Long Run Milage: 13.1 (NH Half marathon @ 8:50 pace)
  • Cross Training: Walking
  • Note: Ran a 1:55 at the New Hampshire Half Marathon as a tune-up for Toronto.

Week 18: September 30- October 6

  • Total Milage: 43.08
  • Long Run Milage: 15.45
  • Cross Training: None
  • Note: Learned my lesson about why you should NEVER wear heels right after a long run when I ran 15_ miles then got all dressed up for my cousin’s wedding. My achilles were super sore the next day!

Week 19: October 7- October 13

  • Total Milage: 16.37 miles
  • Long Run Milage: 7.21 miles
  • Cross Training: Swimming, PT, Yoga, Spin class

Week 21: October 14- October 21 {RACE WEEK}

  • Total Milage: 30.7
  • Cross Training: Spin Class, Yoga, Walking
  • Note: Completed the Toronto Waterfront Marathon on October 21st, 2018 in 4:18!


Okay, so. Here’s what went well throughout training:

  • I was able to safely and healthily run several 40+ mile weeks.
  • I ENJOYED every minute of training. Ugh, it was seriously SUCH a fun training cycle.
  • I learned a lot about summer running, which I’d been avoiding for years.
  • I was able to travel/ take time off during training and still keep up with and/or pick back up with training after my time elsewhere.
  • I perfected my fueling patterns and was able to fuel really efficiently during the race.

Here’s what I’d like to change during future training cycles:

  • Traveling as much and as extensively as I did (I ran in 4 different countries over the course of training) was kind of dizzying. As a result of this…
  • There wasn’t a clear build up of milage over the course of training; lots of ups and downs, lots of full-out weeks and a few too many low-milage weeks when I had too much other stuff going on to log my miles.
  • I did a speed work about every other week; this was all my body could handle for this cycle, but I’d like to do more in the future.
  • I totally dropped the ball on strength training.
  • My hydration pack chafes the sh*t out of me every time I wore it and this made me so, so sad. I’d like to find a shirt/bra combo that keeps my back scab-free if I have to run with my CamelBak in the future.

Overall, my training for Toronto was so, so great. I got to do so much while also working towards my goal. Sometimes marathon training feels like it takes so much out of you and impacts your life in ways that aren’t too great; this time around for me, though, I was able to feel balanced throughout training and enjoy life AND running:)

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