GCM16 Training: Week Five

Last week, I harped on common mistakes. This week I’m going to discuss goals. The first reason being is that I completed my first Yasso 800 speed workout this week. The idea of  “Yasso 800s” is to run your 800 in the same time you plan on finishing your marathon. For example, if you’re aiming for a 3:35 finish, you should run your 800s in 3 minutes and 35 seconds each with equal rest. You start with 4 Yasso 800s and build up to 10 about two weeks before your race. If you can sustain finishing your ten 800s in 3 minutes and 35 seconds each, then you are in 3:35 marathon shape. [SIDE NOTE: I met Bart Yasso, the creator of this workout, during the 2014 Shamrock Marathon weekend down at Virginia Beach. He is an extremely nice guy, but this workout is extremely sadistic! It will make you realize very quickly, if your goal is out of reach for your current abilities.]

The second reason for this discussion is because I’m entering the second month of training. This is the time when your goals need to be hammered out because it determines the paces you are going to be hitting for your speed workouts. It also helps you focus on the intention of each workout.

And last as a runner, you might be asked by a first-timer, what their goal should be for their first marathon. My favorite response is that as a first-timer they shouldn’t have a goal, they should just go out and enjoy the experience and celebrate making it through their training, isn’t always well received. Sometimes I’ll ask questions about their previous race finishes to gauge a response. It is not uncommon for a runner to PR 30-60 minutes between their first and second full marathon. A lot is learned during the process, and as you better know what to expect, you become better prepared. But this is not always true, so I tend to direct runners of all levels to prediction calculators, such as one from McMillan Running. Runner’s World also offers a Race Time Predictor. Another tool I use is part of my runcoach program where it will predict my finish times based on my most recent race. Now all 3 programs have some variability. But let’s use McMillan’s as an example. I entered my current 5K, 10K, and Half Marathon PRs and it was estimated that I finish a Marathon in 3:55. This is the shape I am in based upon those finish times, it does not take into account any training will be done. [Another Side Note: this week over at Salty Running they discussed Prediction Calculators.]

Many training plans include certain shorter distance races, and this is to help determine what your projected ability is for your marathon. I tend to focus more on the Half Marathon times, because typically runners don’t run “just double” for a Full Marathon. Using McMillan, let’s look at some Marathon Goal Times and their associated finish times:

  • 3:35 Marathon
    • 22:04 (7:06/mile) 5K
    • 1:42:10 (7:47/mile) HM
  • 3:45 Marathon
    • 23:05 (7:26/mile) 5K
    • 1:46:55 (8:10/mile) HM
  • 4:15 Marathon
    • 26:10 (8:25/mile) 5K
    • 2:01:10 (9:15/mile) HM
  • 4:30 Marathon
    • 27:43 (8:55/mile) 5K
    • 2:08:18 (9:48/mile) HM
  • 5:00 Marathon
    • 30:47 (9:55/mile) 5K
    • 2:22:33 (10:53/mile) HM

It’s a gut check to think mentally that I am training to run a certain distance, but I am not quite yet there for some of the shorter distances. While I do realize prediction calculators don’t always take into account important factors such as any changes in training. Regardless, whether my goal is 3:35 or 3:55, the plan is to PR because it’s been a full two years since my Marathon PR and I’ve PR’d my Half Marathon 3 times since then.


  • Schedule – 5 Miles Easy
  • Actual – 6.0 Mile Run Outside in the AM.
    • This morning’s run was easy easy. I settled into a comfortable pace early and just relaxed. I rocked my ProCompression socks, which is a new thing for my Recovery Runs. And as always I warmed up by using my TriggerPoint and Rumble Rollers. I cooled down by walking my pup then doing a short little yoga flow.
  • Body Maintenance – 90 Minute Full Body Massage


  • Schedule – 4-6 Yasso 800s
  • Actual -4.0 Mile Run Outside in the AM. 5.0 Treadmill Yasso 800s in the PM.
    • For my morning run, it was 30 Degrees but zero wind made for a great morning stroll.
    • In the evening, I warmed up with a 1 mile jog, completed 4 Yasso 800s, cooled down with a 1 mile jog. But to be honest, indoor mode on my Garmin didn’t match up to the treadmill. For my first 800, I was set at 8.2 mph which is a little slower than the 8.6 goal pace; as 1 minute passed I looked down at my watch and was shocked to see it read 8:35min/mile pace, so I cranked it up to 8.6 but still came across to 800m in 4:10 according to my watch’s calculations. I experienced the same issues over the next 3-800m to include that last when I increased the treadmill speed to 9.2 mph (or 6:30 min/mile) and my watch actually had me slowing down. The goal was to push through 6 Yasso 800s, but I was pretty much mentally defeated at that point and I knew I needed to regroup. I posted a pic and heard positive feedback from two coaches who I respect greatly. I can look at it one of two ways, I can stick by my watch, or I can consider that I might have actually ran 800+ meters for each repeat (0.56-0.62 miles). I’m going to go by effort and feel and conclude that this workout was a success.


  • Schedule – 5 Miles Easy
  • Actual – 14.0 Mile Run Outside in the PM.
    • I decided to take my long run to the park today to work in a few hills. Most of these hills are short, but I did add in a 1/4 mile 2% incline 5 times into this run. Transitioning back and forth from trail to road also made for some inconsistent splits, but judging by feel I think I ran with a consistent effort.
    • I fueled by eating a later lunch and by consuming 1/2 a Luna Bar and 1/8 cup of Almonds at Miles 4.7 and 9.0.


  • Schedule – 6 Miles (Miles 3/4/5 at MP)
  • Actual – Rest Day!
    • Because of Tuesday’s tough workout and adding hills into my long run yesterday, I knew I needed to give my legs a day to recover before finishing out the week. I did wake up and foam roll.
  • Attended a 75 minute Yoga class at Yogaja Yoga.


  • Schedule – Rest Day
  • Actual – 6.0 Mile Run Outside in the AM.
    • After Wednesday’s 52-42 degree run, today’s 21 degree (WC 16) run was a little tougher. I wanted to hit my MP at Miles 3, 4 and 5, but it wasn’t as easy as it sounds. So I didn’t stress too much about it and just enjoyed the run, while still making sure those middle miles were between my easy pace and marathon pace.
  • Attended an hour Vinyasa Yoga class at Thank Yoga.


  • Schedule – 11 Miles Easy
  • Actual – 6.15 Mile Run Outside in the AM.
    • I loved this run this morning. Something about being out so early, that I didn’t realize how slow my first mile was. I honestly thought something was wrong with my watch. I was so distracted just sightseeing that I wasn’t really focused on the running. So starting with Mile 2 I dug in and aimed for a fast easy pace. It was a success, although I did catch myself multiple times taking in the view.

Sunday: Rest Day! But I did enjoy a less-than 15 minute morning workout.

  • 5 x (2 Flights of Stair Sprints + 10 Push-ups + 20 Calf Raises).

Total Mileage: 41.0 Miles

You can view all of my weekly workout recaps here.

Looking ahead to Week 6 of Training, here is what I have planned:
Monday- 6 Miles Easy [Training Plan-6 Miles Easy]
Tuesday- 4 Miles Easy; 3 x 1600m + 2 minute Rest [Training Plan- 2-3 x 1600m + 2 minute Rest]
Wednesday- 6 Miles Easy [Training Plan-5 Miles Easy]
Thursday- 7 Miles [Miles 2-3 + 5-6 at MP]
Friday- Rest
Saturday- 16 Miles Easy [Training Plan-14 Miles Easy]
Sunday- Rest

Question: How do you decide what goal time to aim for?
Tell me in the comments!




2 thoughts on “GCM16 Training: Week Five”

    1. There’s all different theories on how to train for a marathon. Prior to joining Dave’s MIT, I had considered including MP miles in my long runs (because that is an increasing practice in the court of popular opinion). I know that some in my pace group our pushing our long runs to be closer to race pace, but I’m enjoying my current easy pace for those runs because my legs are working hard during our speed and MP workouts!
      keep it up lady 🙂


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