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Spooktacular San Diego 15k 2017

A “prep race” may not be part of a typical marathon training program, but I tried it once before and liked it. The idea is to complete a longer shorter race two days after my peak long run before a marathon.  For this training cycle, it was a 28-mile run – my longest to date. I start my taper two weeks out, after completing this prep race. It may seem short, but my weekly average mileage really isn’t that high, so I don’t think I need as much.

Half the goal of this 15k was getting to the start line without tight or sore legs (from the long run). The other half was to see what I could do on tired legs, and still keep good form. I thought this would give me a good idea of what pace to shoot for in the marathon.

This was a tiny, flat race that kept you on a paved bike path, so you didn’t have to worry about traffic. There was a 5k and 10k option as well, but it seemed like only about 300 people total. The morning of, I felt good – no tightness or soreness. I knew once I started running, my legs would be tired once I started running, but I hoped to find a steady pace and run with a constant, mild-ish burn after the first few miles. I had a good warm up with some dynamic stretching and then it was go time.

  • Mile 1 – 6:58
  • Mile 2 – 6:53
  • Mile 3 – 6:52
  • Mile 4 – 6:36
  • Mile 5 – 6:34
  • Mile 6 – 6:36
  • Mile 7 – 6:34
  • Mile 8 – 6:34
  • Mile 9 – 6:38
  • and a kick at the end!

Reminding myself that my legs were just tired, and nothing else, I was able to steady the pace and finish strong. I was pretty happy with the results and how I felt. Though a prep race isn’t typically the time to PR, I ended up shaving 9 seconds on my previous 15k best. But there’s always room for critical analysis. After seeing my splits, the third mile should have been a bit faster. Cadence was slow (average 172), but was expected on heavy legs.

Marathon training is a work in progress. I’m searching for the best plan for the best results my body can give. But the human body adapts, and there’s so many changing variables that even if you find your perfect formula, it won’t work for forever. Though in theory, I suppose if you hit your race goal with a good plan and then considerably lose your level of fitness afterwards you would probably get good results again with the same plan. I know the plan I just completed may seem a bit crazy to a lot of runners, but I feel like I’m on to something. I’m ready to see what I can do in New York.

Final Stats


3rd of 94 overall

2nd of 67 female

1st of 6 in age group

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Jack-O-Smash 2016 15k

This was my first time running a “prep” race before a marathon. The intent was to practice pacing, see how my recovery regime was working, and get a little competitiveness out of my system before the marathon race. My last two marathons I got caught up in the racing aspect and went out too fast too soon to hit the wall hard. I had a 20-miler two days before this 15k prep race so I got to see how quickly I could recover.

After a cup of cheerios drizzled with Honeystinger gel, I left for the start line sipping some yerba mate. I had planned out what I wanted my splits to be beforehand. I didn’t hit a single one. My legs weren’t sore, but they were tired. The race also had 3,800 feet of elevation change that I didn’t expect. My hopeful splits are on the left; my actual splits are on the right.

Mile 1 6:50 7:04
Mile 2 6:45 6:37
Mile 3 6:40 6:34
Mile 4 6:30 6:32
Mile 5 6:20 6:34
Mile 6 6:20 6:50
Mile 7 6:20 6:51
Mile 8 6:20 6:41
Mile 9 6:10 6:36
Last .3 1:30 1:57
Total Time 59:45 1:02:21

As I said, the course was much hillier than expected, but no major climbs – just constant up and down.


I may not have hit my goal time, but I still feel like it was a productive race. Not a PR but it was a good effort on tired legs, and I was still happy with a 6:41 average pace coming off of a long run. The finals results were 5th overall and 1st female (it was a tiny race). I think this was beneficial for my marathon training, but we’ll find out soon!