The Carlsbad Marathon course is rather hilly. I ran this marathon about 12 years ago (2001) in 3 hours and 16 minutes and recall it was one of the hilliest marathons I’ve ever run. My calves cramped up pretty bad around mile 23 and I think it was due to all the rolling hills. I believe I’m better prepared this time around since I trained on similar terrain. My goal is to run a sub-3:15.
This marathon is rather small, which I like, less than 2,000 runners. Although the large city marathons are fun, battling the large number of runners for some breathing room is always a challenge and energy draining. There is also a half marathon that starts about an hour and a half later with about 8,000 runners, which I’m hoping won’t be too disruptive to the flow of the full marathoners, although there is a merger of the courses around mile 20 which makes me a little concerned.
The weather forecast shows temps to be around the mid-40s at the start and probably warming up to the high 50s to low 60s by the time I finish, with possible showers. It also looks like it will be a bit windy. Not great marathon conditions, but not bad either.
I plan to try and average a 7:15/mile pace, but with the hills, it will be a bit of a challenge since I will need to constantly adjust the pace depending upon whether I’m going up or down a hill. I’ll have my trusty Garmin programmed to measure my average pace and a “virtual pacer” to keep me on track. Miles 5 to 10 will be the most challenging as it is mostly uphill, but then it is mostly downhill from 10 to 15 miles. Then there are moderate rolling hills for the remainder of the course. I plan to pass the halfway point between 1:35 ~ 1:37. The last mile of the marathon is downhill, so that will be encouraging, especially if I’m running a decent race.
They will also have pace groups available. Never had much luck with them since the pacers seem erratic at times. But if I can naturally fall into the 3:10 or 3:15 pace group during the marathon, I may do so for a period of time.
I normally don’t listen to music during a marathon, but since this will be a small one with long stretches of little to no crowd support or entertainment, I’m considering putting together a playlist and zone out.
They will have water or sports drink stations every mile and will make sure I grab a cup at least every couple miles. They will also have gels available at certain stations, but I’ll probably bring my own gels and down one about every 40 minutes. I’ll do a little carbo-loading starting on Thursday by eating a little more pasta and rice, but not overdo it and will try and keep the diet relatively clean and meat free. The morning of the race, I’ll have a bowl of cereal (sprinkled with chia seeds), banana, coffee, and pop a gel at the beginning of the race.
Plan to wear running shorts, tech t-shirt, Belega Drynamix socks, and my Brooks running shoes. If the race starts in the 40s, may also wear arm warmers. I decided not to wear compression socks this time. Will also lather up with Body Glide on any sensitive areas.
The race starts at 6:15 am, so will need to probably leave my house around 4:30 am. This means I’ll need to wake up around 3:30 am to get ready. So it will be very important that I sleep well this week because I won’t be able to sleep more than 7 or 8 hours the night before the race.
Other than taking it as easy as I can for the rest of the week, that is basically the strategy. Although I put in some decent mileage, I still have lingering doubts that my longest run was only 18 miles. Otherwise, I’m going into the race fairly relaxed and not overly concerned with how I ultimately perform.