How do you approach your second marathon in a 15 day window? I’ve never raced two marathons so close to one another so I’m approaching it with caution knowing that my race plan may fall apart early… but I’m still going in with a race plan as if I am 100% ready. That may sound a bit aggressive and you are probably right. However, I’m viewing it as if I go in prepared to be successful, then it’s up to my body to tell me otherwise. I can’t walk in thinking I’m going to fail.

This will be the 5th year of the Oakland Running Festival and I’ll be running it for the 5th year in a row. I’ll be doing the marathon for the 4th time (in 2011 I ran the half dressed as the hulk).

2010 (full): 4:30
2011 (half): 2:30
2012 (full): 4:24*
2013 (full): 3:55*

*Indicates a PR


I broke 4 hours for the marathon distance for the first time on this course last year. That race to date has been my best, most consistent marathon. As my speed increases it is becoming more difficult to improve upon my marathon time on challenging courses. I ran LA two weeks ago and although I feel I’m ready to finish a strong race, setting a PR on a course that goes uphill for the first 12 miles is going to be a big ask from my legs.

So how am I approaching it?

The good thing is that I know this course extremely well. I know what it will take to run a strong race and I know that running a strong second half is extremely doable. The community will be out and cheering on the runners as they have in years past and feeding off their energy is always fun.



Race plan:

First 12 mi. are mostly uphill. Run a controlled, but strong pace.
Target pace: 8:00-9:00 minutes.
Start with the 3:30 pace group and let them set the pace for the flat segments. I’ll maintain the 8 min pace where I can, but on the uphill I’ll let them create space as I fall back closer to 9 minutes. Last year, I averaged a 9 minute pace. If I can keep an 8:30 average, I would consider that a win.

Miles 12-15 are a downhill scream where we descend the 600 ft. climb.
Target pace: 8:00-8:30
Take the 2-3 downhill miles steady and save the legs for a faster second half. It’s a pretty quick descend and I tend to be more conservative on a steep descent. Last year I ran these miles around 8:45 and my legs felt good. I may take a similar approach, but closer to 8:15 average to spare the quads.

Next 7 mi. (16-22) are relatively flat, work on perfecting goal pace.
Target pace: 8 min. miles.
If I’ve run my race according to plan, the 3:30 pace group should be close to 5 minutes ahead of me. I’ll look to keep them within site as there are some nice long straightaway sections where I should be able to gauge where they are. I may try to real them in after mile 20, but the goal will be to put myself in position for a strong last 4 miles.

Home stretch. Miles 23-26.2, time to put in work.
Target pace: sub 8 min. miles.
With 4 miles to go, if I have run a perfect pace, I should on pace for a 3:45 finish. It wouldn’t be a PR finish, but it would be one hell of a strong training run. How I handle these last 4 miles will determine my finish time. The goal would be to feel strong at mile 20-22 and be ready to keep the momentum for the last few miles, something that I haven’t felt in my last 2 races.

With LA only being 2 weeks ago, there is an obvious concern that my legs will still be fatigued. Either way, I would love to run the last 4-6 miles at an 8 minute pace as training for maintaining my goal pace in the late miles of a marathon. It would be a confidence booster even if it doesn’t result in a PR.

That being said… you know I would love to PR on this course. Doing the math, it seems extremely challenging with the first 12 miles being uphill. In a perfect race, the avg. for the first 12 miles would be an 8:30, with the next 14.2 miles being at an 8 minute pace… that would put me at 3:34, a 3-minute PR. I think I could manage the 14 miles at an 8 minute pace… it’s the first 12 miles that are the challenge. It’s more likely going to be a 9 minute (for 12) and an 8 minute (for 14) split. I’d be extremely happy with that.

I’m viewing this as a long distance run to get in some hill work and practice my 8-min goal race pace. Wifey and the First Lady will be out there cheering me on and I’m always motivated to see their smiling faces on race day.

Oakland Running Festival 2010-2013

Oakland Running Festival 2010-2013

Oh ya, and all of us that have run all 5 years get an extra medal. I really wish I had run the full marathon in 2011, but I’m glad to be a legacy runner for a local race that I enjoy running.


Livermore Half Marathon, 3/29
$10 off code: PRFAN

San Francisco Rock ‘n’ Roll Half, 4/6
$10 off code: HITTHEPAVEMENT

Bay to Breakers, 5/18
$5 off code: PAVEMENTRUNNER5


What are you running plans this weekend?