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Training for LA 2011!

I finally completed my training plan. I had to figure a few things out with work before committing to any races, and as luck would have it, the first race I planned to do this year I’ll be in Arizona for :( So that has to be skipped. I’m also bummed because I was an idiot and waited on registering for Surf City and missed signing up. There goes my Longboard Legacy. Oh well. Maybe I will just run for fun with someone elses bib or I can keep my plan the same as it is now and skip it.

Anyways, I am really overwhelmed when I run a lot of days a week. I get sluggy and slothy and I hate my life and turn into a hermit. We all know this. My first training plan I was running 6 days a week and HATED MY LIFE. My 2nd one and best training plan was for Long Beach 2009 and I did the best when running 4 days but still at the end I was a little burned out. I’m shooting for three days with quality runs. For me it’s not about putting in the sloggy miles, it’s about making all my runs quality. I really know I can work hard even though I hate winter running. Since October is my favorite marathon running month and also the month when my work life spirals out of control, I will not be running any fall marathons. It was a really sad decision for me to make and it really made me think about how I must really be on top of my training this spring and winter in order to make my spring marathons count.

So with that being said. I will be running the LA Marathon on March 20th and since I’m a marathon maniac, I decided that 2011 will be the year of my first back to back weekend races! I will be running the Oakland Marathon the weekend after LA with my maniac sister, Tara! I am pretty excited and hope to erase my personal worst time at LA last year!

You can click on the image if you want to see it larger. I really feel that doing these workouts and having quality runs over quantity of miles will work better for me. I also might do some track workouts on tempo days or intervals on tempo days, pending how my “speed” is. I know things can be tweaked as time goes on but I know that these miles are all attainable and I will be able to work with this schedule. As my friend Tara said to me yesterday, it’s not about how many miles you run, it’s not going to be on your headstone! Sometimes it’s easy to get mileage obsessed and I want to be healthy and feel great, that’s the goal of of the New Year. So possibly eating that whole medium pizza the other day wasn’t the best idea. :/

I also am including gym days in my schedule and I can go to the gym on my off days too if I want. Swimming, hard cardio and weights on the ‘cardio’ days is what I’m planning on doing. I really feel healthier when I am feeling stronger and I run better as well so including those and making them count is really important to me.

The possible races are still up in the air but I want to run a few races this year before ‘busy season’ when I can’t race at all, so I will make sure to get all my racing in during the spring and early summer! I am excited for this plan and I haven’t had that feeling in a long time. Making a plan and sticking to it is all about working it out for YOU and doing things YOU want to do! Here’s to going back to back weekends in 2011!


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  • Reply Nobel4Lit (A Case of the Runs)

    Glad to see others doing a 3-day running schedule! God, I ran 5/week on my previous marathon cycle and thought it was OVERKILL. I thought the extra days would increase my endurance, and maybe it did, but it’s not worth the dread I was experiencing.

    For my LA Marathon training, I am planning on focusing primarily on getting in those long runs and two 5-6 milers during the week with one or two short (2-3 mi) speed workouts per week.

    January 5, 2011 at 11:53 am
  • Reply Tara

    Can’t wait to run Oakland!!!! I am hoping to come down and spectate for LA, so hopefully we will be seeing each other back-to-back weekends! :) Looks like you have a great plan that works for you!

    January 5, 2011 at 12:13 pm
  • Reply Aron

    Yep, I always say make your plan work for you! Best way to succeed :) So excited to follow you along and be in training together and cheer you on at Oakland!

    January 5, 2011 at 1:38 pm
  • Reply Marie C.

    You will kill it in LA this year. Good luck on the back to backs. That is hardcore!

    January 5, 2011 at 3:41 pm
  • Reply Rachel @ Skinny Southern Belle

    There is no way I could run 6 days a week! I run 3, sometimes 4 days. Then I spend two days in a spin class. Happy Marathoning Danica!

    January 5, 2011 at 5:03 pm
  • Reply Michelle

    New follower here! It sounds like you are going to have an awesome year. I’m so inspired by you “experienced” runner – I wish I could go back in time and tell my 25-year old self to get running!

    January 5, 2011 at 5:35 pm
  • Reply Dan

    Three day a week training? I don’t get it. Are you trying to race your best, or are you just participating in races? You get better at running by doing one thing: running. Sure cross training and weights and drills can help, but the most important factor for distance running success is time spent on your feet running.

    Training for distance running is hard, and it’s often a grind. Most of the time, it sucks. But the results are totally worth it. If you’re fine with a race time that’s not your best, fine. But show me a truly serious, competitive runner who only runs three days a week and I’ll show you someone not meeting his or her potential.

    January 5, 2011 at 5:57 pm
  • Reply Sarah

    Way to go, Danica! I love your blog because you are so realistic about what you know works for you. I’m excited to follow your training for LA and Oakland after your huge success in Long Beach! Good luck!

    January 5, 2011 at 7:34 pm
  • Reply Melissa

    Hmm I’m not quite sure what point Dan is trying to make. :p

    You’re a bad ass, no matter how many days a week you run. Keep on rocking!! :)

    January 5, 2011 at 7:50 pm
  • Reply nicole

    Looks like your on the right track for kicking some serious booty! :)

    January 5, 2011 at 7:51 pm
  • Reply Jes

    its a great training plan! you can run competitively w/o being a slave to daily mileage! :)
    i’m curious what kind of base are you starting with? i haven’t been able to hammer out more than 30 a week w/o injuring myself, but i think thats because i have a hard time sticking to the 10% increase rule

    January 5, 2011 at 8:21 pm
  • Reply Kelly

    Hey Dan, You’re an A-hole. Take a kill pill.

    Danica- Keep doing what works for you!

    January 5, 2011 at 8:24 pm
  • Reply ilovesteaks

    Good luck with LA! Maybe I can join you guys for Oakland!

    January 5, 2011 at 8:39 pm
  • Reply Jennifer

    I also do my best at running 3 days a week and two or three days spent lifting and cross training. I have done this for the three half marathons I’ve ran and I’ve increased my time with each one.

    Good luck this year Danica!

    January 5, 2011 at 8:42 pm
  • Reply Toronto Girl West

    I’m all for people expressing their opinion but Dan – you’ve got your panties in a twist.

    It’s Danica’s plan. She’s doing it her way. You do your training your way.

    Can’t we all just get along!?!?!? :o)

    January 5, 2011 at 8:49 pm
  • Reply Colleen

    That looks like a great plan. I think running 3 days a week is perfect! Sure some people can do 5 or 6, but if it’s going to burn you out and make you hate it, then what’s the point? I’m also going to be doing 3-day a week running as I train for my half marathon coming up in June. I also think cross-training is really important. Goooood luck! :)

    January 5, 2011 at 8:51 pm
  • Reply Kelly

    I meant chill!!! obviously I don’t want anyone to take a “kill pill” oops.

    January 5, 2011 at 9:28 pm
  • Reply Stacie

    Doesn’t setting up a training plan just get you so motivated?! Love it! Good luck girl!

    January 5, 2011 at 10:44 pm
  • Reply Missy

    I completely agree on changing the training schedule. Last year I trained for my first half marathon and I did nothing but run, I didn’t cross train and that ended up hurting me in the race. So this year I am focusing more on the cross training so that my running will be better and I will be in better shape.
    Love your blog and you have great advice with your experience!

    January 6, 2011 at 8:21 am
  • Reply Erin F

    Sounds like a baller plan to me! And like you said, it’s YOUR plan right?! You’ve obviously been doing this for a while and know how to train your body for a marathon (so Dan, shush). With all that cardio, you’ll be working out 5 days a week! I dig it!

    January 6, 2011 at 9:23 am
  • Reply Matt

    Love the plan…I began running 3 times/week after reading Run Less Run Faster and it totally changed my approach to training. Good Luck!!

    January 6, 2011 at 10:23 am
  • Reply Madison


    I love your plan! I am a firm believer that less is more when it comes to some marathon plans. My husband recentley switched to running 3 days a week for training (speed, tempo, and long runs) and brought his time down from a 3:50 to a 3:21(in one training cycle! Granted, he was sort of underachieving with his 3:50, but still!). I used his same plan and ran a 3:57 marathon (my fastest half marathon time prior was a 2:06). Quality over quantity, fo’ sho’!!

    January 6, 2011 at 11:33 am
  • Reply Bonnie

    I’m learning the lesson that less is more right now….trying to fit in the runs around snow, nice and COLD as helped me cut down running days from six to three with no complaints!

    January 6, 2011 at 11:37 am
  • Reply Page

    Goooooood luck, D!

    January 6, 2011 at 2:26 pm
  • Reply the dawn

    i’m totally with you. after two cycles of 6ish days of running per week, i’m going with 3 days. i love how clean and simple your plans always are. Perfection!

    January 6, 2011 at 7:43 pm
  • Reply The Laminator

    The key to a successful training plan is that it has to fit in with YOUR goals, YOUR life, and YOUR priorities. It should also give room for flexibility. You’ve got both of these elements in there already so it’s PERFECT for YOU!

    Go ROCK your training and your marathons…you maniac =)

    January 7, 2011 at 12:06 pm
  • Reply Anna

    I think this is a great plan. I’m a new runner and am just starting training for my first 1/2. I was planning to follow a Hal Higdon plan for new runners, which is 3-4 days running with cross training. Then the race director for the 1/2 started distributing training plans – with 6 days of running. I would die. I’m definitely going to stick with a plan where I run 3-4 times a week and cross train. Seems that’s the only way to go and stay sane!!

    January 8, 2011 at 10:52 pm
  • Reply Jessica

    Dan should shut his pie-hole. I’m running 3 days a week for my half and it comes Hal Higdon recommended.

    January 9, 2011 at 3:03 pm
  • Reply Lizzy

    Ughhhh I just read your last few posts. I’m A HUGE believer in 3 day running weeks. I’ve had my share of injuries and I still go to Physical Therapy and my Physical Therapist (who has run Boston and qualified 30 years in a row) recommends only running 3 days a week and never back to back. I hear that crap all the time that you aren’t a competitive runner if you don’t run at least 5-6 days a week and I don’t buy it for a second. Its better to have good quality runs rather than runs just to run. Cross training and switching it up makes working out more fun and prevents injury.

    January 11, 2011 at 2:25 pm
  • Reply Rebekah

    I haven’t run a marathon yet, but after training for several halfs with 4- and 5-day a week schedules, I tried a 3-day schedule last summer and it worked beautifully for me! I was so much less stressed about training, and I had my best half to date–both my fastest and the best I’ve ever felt during the race. I still feel a bit like a slacker, compared to my running friends who are always running 4-6 days a week, but it just worked better for me. My next half is in March, so I’m doing the 3-day plan again and we’ll see if it works well a second time.

    January 12, 2011 at 2:26 pm
  • Reply Nelly

    One of my friends sent me this link from the FIRST training program – the program is only 3 times/week, but all the runs are insane, haha

    Personally I think it probably is easier to run 4-5 times a week and do easier workouts instead of doing the workouts suggested here, haha Anyways, thought I’d throw this schedule out there, good luck!

    January 13, 2011 at 1:42 pm
  • Reply black toenails and my La Jolla half training schedule | broke runner

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    January 16, 2011 at 11:12 pm
  • Reply RoadBunner

    I am excited you are doing Oakland!!! I will see you there! I like my 4 day a week plans. Not sure I can ever do 5 days a week again.

    January 17, 2011 at 8:18 pm
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