Fitness Friday – Marathon Training Week 9


By Bri Wilson

What happened to summer?

Even though I appreciated the slightly cooler running temperatures this week, I don’t appreciated the wet trails, dark and foggy mornings, and dry, brown leaves all over the ground reminding me that winter is just around the corner. And as a chronically cold person who has to wear five layers of clothing when exposed to temperatures under 10 degrees C (you think I’m kidding), I feel a true sense of dread I when I realize our west coastย Winter Is Coming.

At least I should be done the majority of my must-do-outside training runs before the weather takes a turn for the worse — I can’t believe I only have two big long runs to go! After this weekend’s 31 km run, I’ll be doing a 34 km, then heading over to Seattle for the Beat The Blerch half marathon. Is anyone else doing that race? I’m so excited for the birthday cake aid stations!

Here’s how my week of workouts shaped up:


Long run day! I ran 28 km (plus a bit extra) in 2:54:51.ย Even though I started this run on a very hilly route and forgot to start my Garmin until about a kilometre in, it turned out to be one of my better long runs. It definitely helped having the company of some of my fellow Oiselle Volรฉe ladies (Shelby-Jai and Michelle) for kilometres 7 to 17. We took a slower pace, which was nice, and Shelby-Jai kindly gave me a salted caramel Gu that probably helped me power through the last 10 km of my run at a faster pace.


So far I’ve been doing most of my training during the week on an empty stomach (mainly due to time constraints) and haven’t taken fuel with me on my long runs. I’ve been trying the train low/race high technique, where you forgo loading up on carbs and run with low muscle glycogen, thereby tapping more into fat stores to fuel your training runs. Then come race day, you load up on carbs and tap into both sources of fuel, enabling you to sustain a faster pace for longer. I definitely run slower when I run without fuel, and have noticed I get a huge boost right after I take in a gel. I’ll be taking in a gel or two for these last long runs, but only to practice race-day nutrition. I haven’t tried the technique before, so I’m hoping it gives me the added boost I need to run a 3:30 marathon.



Today was a rest day, aside from my usual three hours of chores and a short dog walk. My legs felt great after yesterday’s long run. My stomach was another story, though. My usual marathon hanger was coming on strong and I felt hungry more often than not throughout the day, no matter how much I ate.

MONDAY (this week)

I decided to mix up my resistance and core training a bit this and did some of my tried-and-true heavier strength training workouts for runners. I worked out for about 40 minutes, then hopped on the treadmill for a 15-minute cool down walk. I was definitely feeling it the next day!


Tuesday is supposed to be tempo run day, but I didn’t feel up to running in the dark that morning so I opted for a 20-minute HIIT workout in the garage, followed by a 20-minute run on the treadmill. Running fast on the treadmill makes me dizzy, so I had to take a slower pace. I think I only managed about 3 km.



I hit the heavy weights again and focused on both upper and lower body strength, as well as core for about 40 minutes before my usual 20-minute cool down walk (where I like to catch up on reading blogs and email). I was still sore from Monday’s workout, so I took it a bit easier.


I opted for a tempo run on Thursday since my HIIT workout and run on Tuesday counted as my interval workout for the week. I felt really good once I got going for the 8 km tempo run, and managed to run the following km splits: 5:48 (warm up), 4:45, 4:42, 4:36, 5:30 (hill), 4:47, 4:55 and 6:28 (big hill to get back home). It was hard, but not too hard. I could have easily kept going.


It was pouring rain when I got up at 6 am this morning, so I opted to do a 20-minute Pilates/Barre workout first as a warm up then head out in the rain for an easy 9 km run, since I’ve got a 31 km run on the docket for tomorrow. I don’t have a lightweight water repellent running jacket (though I’m coveting this one from Oiselle right now), so this morning’s run was gross and miserable. Summer come back!!


Bri Wilson is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and freelance fitness and health writer based in Victoria, BC.ย Bri writes about training for marathons, triathlons and ultra marathons on her blog,