2018 Spring Marathon Training

2018 Spring Training

We are excited to be back for our 2018 Spring Training Programs!

Spring Marathon Training Program: The Spring Marathon Training Program is a 15-week program geared toward the Rock 'N' Roll DC Marathon (or any spring marathon of your choosing). The program begins on Saturday, December 2 at 7:45am and meets at North Meade Street Park, a small park northwest of the USMC War Memorial (Iwo Jima Memorial) in RosslynClick here to register!

Unless otherwise noted, Saturday spring training program runs always start at 8 AM from North Meade Street Park. Please be sure to arrive in advance of the kickoff time for announcements etc. Many thanks!

Please email training-marathon@dcroadrunners.org for questions on the marathon program.


Race Weekend

Hi everyone --

Welcome to race weekend! Good luck to everyone running races this weekend, whether it's Rock'n'Roll or another venue. I know some of you have already run your races (congratulations!) or are getting ready for races in the coming weeks. Trust your training, make sure to get sleep, and don't try anything new. Even the most seasoned marathoners have trouble sleeping the night before a race -- lots of excitement for sure. Getting rest is part of showing up healthy, and that's rule #1.

If you're running Rock'n'Roll this weekend, please keep an eye on email and social media for any pertinent updates. The race website has a ton of useful information, including a detailed schedule of events, which can be found here: http://www.runrocknroll.com/dc/the-weekend/schedule-of-events/. Weather on Saturday will be dry, but starting off chilly with a breeze. Start time temps will be in the 30s with a wind chill about 10 deg colder than that. Temps will climb into the 40s towards the end of the race. Hourly weather details are available at weather.gov. Layers are your friend. Since you'll be outside early and not doing much running, it's worth wearing extra clothing and/or a trash bag as a vapor barrier. Extra clothes left in the starting area are typically donated.

If you are not running the race this weekend and will be in town, please consider volunteering at the DCRRC water stops on South Capitol Street SE. We have stops #9 and #10, which are right across from one another. signup at http://competitorgroupinc.volunteerlocal.com/volunteer/?start_over&id=25695. Please refer questions to Ted Cochrane (ted.cochrane@verizon.net). At the link above, please use passcode DCRR.

Following your spring races, please consider continuning to run with the club, whether at track during the week or at SLR on Saturdays. Up to date information is always available at https://www.dcroadrunners.org/. The fall marathon training program will kickoff in late June with a ~1 month Jump Start phase beforehand. As always, feel free to contact us (training_marathon@dcroadrunners.org) with any questions. As I said last week, we are very proud of all of you and thank you for spending time with us over the last several months. Good luck to all and see you out on the roads and trails soon!

Jonny & all your DCRRC volunteers


If you're looking for some extra inspiration, one of our amazing coaches put together the folloing list a few years ago -- 26 tips, one for every mile:

  1. Sleep, sleep, sleep, and sleep some more. If you're sitting on the couch at night, wondering if you should watch just one more episode of Homeland, go to sleep instead. Studies show that you're not affected by poor sleep until two days after it occurs. That means Friday night is your most important night for rest.
  2. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Hydration has been important all through training, but even more-so now. Get your body saturated with water, urinate clear all week, and have one less thing to worry about on race day. "OH NO! I'm dehydrated before the race! I ought to chug a few liters!" That = bad news. Don't let it happen to you.
  3. Set your stuff out the night before. I like to lay out my entire outfit on the floor. Build a body with it so you know you're not forgetting anything and attach your number. That's one (or a dozen) fewer things to worry about in the morning. That'll help you sleep.
  4. Trouble sleeping the night before. It's going to happen. No matter how many races you run, there is always anxiety. I have no secret advice to chill you out. You've put in the work, and there's nothing you can do to change anything at this point. What happens on Sunday is pretty much already decided. No amount of worrying has changed anything in the history of... everything.
  5. Bring disposable clothes. Have stuff you were thinking of donating that may keep you warm on the starting line? Wear it. I am typically well-bundled on a start line. I either shed disposable clothing (shirts, hats, gloves) within the first mile or two depending on how my core temp is. Don't think you're littering; your clothing will likely get into the hands of someone in need more quickly than had you taken it to the Salvation Army. If bib-tags are in use, be sure to lift your disposable shirt to expose the tag while crossing the start-line [and other mats if you continue to wear it].
  6. Have a plan to meet friends – either meet at the tent or have a VERY specific plan on exactly where you are going to meet up.
  7. Prerace breakfast. I'm hoping you all have figured out what works with your stomach already – eat that!
  8. Prerace hydration. There's a lot of talk of this on the web. I'm not going to pretend to know what works best. What works for me is a solid glass or two of water the minute I wake up, and then light sipping until the race begins. It's important to not chug a bunch right before the gun because you will get a stomach cramp, and they can ruin your day. Coffee (actually, caffeine) has actually been shown to improve performance in races (some sanctioning groups are thinking of calling caffeine a banned substance), so it's an acceptable drink, but I caution you... If you haven't been doing long runs with coffee in your system, raceday is not the time to experiment.
  9. Energy/hydration stations. DO NOT COUNT ON GETTING ENERGY FROM THE STATIONS. I've seen them run out before or have shipments simply not come in. Have your own energy plan. Carry it with you. DO NOT WAIT UNTIL YOU'RE THIRSTY. Grab fluids from even the first station you see. There is no harm in walking through these stations. Stations typically get front-full. People go to the first person offering stuff. I ignore this mad rush and aim for the back. Make eye contact with the person you're hoping to grab from. Thank them if you're feeling up to it. Pinching the top of your cup is a great idea so you can better control the flow. There's no harm in carry a water cup for however long you need it. People think they need to chug and drop it. Take your time, try not to interrupt your breathing too much. Also be careful to not slip in water stations... cups and water = slippery.
  10. Cut corners. Race distance is measured with corners cut (within reason). Don't hop curbs and such, but do run the smoothest arc around corners as possible. If you're in a back-and-forth section, try to make a straight line out of it. Relative to the road you may be "swerving," but you're running the way the course was measured.
  11. Don't spend too much time at expo. You do have to go to pick up your packet and such, but I implore you to leave right after doing so.
  12. What you're wearing. This is a tough one. We've been training through HOT temperatures. Wear something you have already worn before. DO NOT FORGET YOUR NIP GUARDS, BODY GLIDE, ETC.; if you thought things got nasty on your long runs... the marathon will double the worst you've seen.
  13. Eat a normal diet. Eat nothing new this week. Gastrointestinal problems can dehydrate your greatly. Eat nothing that will sit in your stomach for a long period.
  14. Know the course. We've run a lot of it already. If there's a part you're not familiar with, hop onto Google Maps street-view and get a better idea of where you'll be.
  15. Be smart about pains. It is possible to severely damage your body running a marathon. Be smart. There's very little pride in finishing a run injured only to be sidelined for months and months when you could have just called it a day and run another.
  16. Arrive at the race an hour early. Plan ahead, have a cushion for delays. This will give you ample time to hit the restroom and find your corral.
  17. Warming up. Ehhhhhh. It's a 26.2 mile race at less than a sprint. I don't warm up. You'll warm up along the way.
  18. Don't weave at the start. There will be congestion. Everyone will experience it. A turned ankle in the first half mile is a sad way to finish a marathon.
  19. It's a long race. You will likely not be able to hit your pace for the first mile or two due to traffic. You do not need to make that time up in the following 2-3 miles. You have 20+ more to go. If you're 10 seconds off your goal pace each of the first two miles, that's less than a second per mile that you need to exceed your target pace for the remaining miles. LONG RACE.
  20. Pace groups. If there is one for your goal, find it and stay with it or in front of it. It's easy to have a sour thought, drop back 20 meters from the group, and then call it a day mentally. If you're at the front of or in front of the group, you'll feel more a part of it. Pace groups tend to be VERY reliable, but the leaders are human and therefore fallible. Take that for what's it's worth.
  21. Pace tattoos or cards or whatever. Highly recommended. A GPS watch is not exactly inaccurate for a marathon. Feel free to wear one, but pay attention to the race clocks and mileage markers if you really care about your time. Know when you need to be where. In one of my marathon I figured my GPS watch was infallible. I was hitting my miles [on the watch] perfectly. The mileage didn't align with the race numbers, but I figured they must have been wrong. Once I hit the 24th mile marker, I figured "hey, maybe they're right after all..." I was a few minutes behind my pace because my watch was measuring short. Demoralized, I slow-jogged the rest of the race as my goal was unattainable. I find the crunching of numbers to be a good way to keep my mind off the actual running.
  22. You all have a common goal. You will likely get cut off, tripped up, etc. Remember that everyone else put in the same training as you and shares a common goal - finishing the race. There are a few a-holes out there, but they tend to be really fast. Why? I don't know. Something about being Type-A. Anyone who gets in your way is more than likely not trying to... Brush it off and remain positive.
  23. If the weather is less than ideal, adjust your goals. It happens. We train for months and months, but we race on a single day. Ideal weather is 45-55 with low humidity (without being dry). If it's abnormally cold, wet, or hot on race day, thinking you can run your best time is silly and will either injure you, cause you to not finish, cause you to have a miserable finish, or worse. Be realistic. No amount of mental steel can overcome physiology.
  24. Club water stop! The DC Road Runners will be around there.
  25. Think strong thoughts. A lot will go through your head during the race. Thoughts of failure even... Whenever those come up, think back to your training. Summon up the vision of a breakthrough moment or a moment you were feeling particularly strong. Summon up images of trudging through snow. You ARE strong. This is YOUR day. Crush it.
  26. Enjoy yourself. You're all out there to get some sort of fun or enjoyment out of this whether we're running just to finish or to qualify for something. The end goal is being happy. Smile, thank workers, go to the restroom mid-race if you need to (unless you're deadset on a time... then it may be acceptable to not visit the restroom to relieve yourself... it happens), pose for pictures with family members. The positive feeling of having fun will more than make up for any time it takes to do so.



T-Minus 1 Week

Happy Wednesday, runners!

It's here, the last weekend of the 2018 spring marathon training program. First and foremost, I want to thank all of you for running with us over the past fourteen weeks; it's been a wonderful journey seeing you progress. I know that some of you can remember when this week's planned 10-mile distance was a "long" run. How many of you could have conquered the Iron Triangle at the beginning of the season? Regardless of whether you've already run your spring race or have yet to tackle that challenge, there's lots to be proud of for sure. I would encourage all of you to continue coming out to run with the SLR group. Just because the program is over doesn't mean you cannot keep running with us -- we'd love to have you. Finally, I want to extend a huge thank you to all of our event volunteers, SLR drink volunteers, coaches, and board members. Without their collective efforts we wouldn't be where we are now.

We are running the 10-mile Chain Bridge Loop this weekend. Details for the route are on the SLR page as always. Much of this route will be familiar. You're going to be going uphill into North Arlington and then dumping all that elvation gain before crossing the Potomac on Chain Bridge and heading home on the C&O Canal towpath. The weather this weekend will be fairly nice, but plan for it to be quite windy. The forecast is currently calling for 20 mph surface winds with gusts upwards of 30 mph throughout the morning. Run time temps will be in the low 40s and the wind chill will be about ten degrees colder than that. Hourly details are posted here. I will not be with you this weekend, but Mike Tosto and Coach Big Guy will be there to kick things off.

(PLEASE REGISTER ASAP if you haven't already) Coming up on Sunday March 4, we will be holding the annual Club Banquet and Membership Meeting at Maggiano's in Friendship Heights! After cocktails and dinner, the event will feature presentation of our annual awards, a state of the club update, and a keynote address from local world-class ultra-runner Michael Wardian on his experience running 7 marathons on 7 continents in 7 days. The banquet is one of our signature events for the year, and is also a great way to spend some relaxed time off the roads with your running friends and their families! Please register in advance using the link above if you plan to attend.

We still need volunteers for the Rock'n'Roll Marathon water stop. If you are not running R'n'R and will be around on 3/10, please consider signing up. Details are on the DCRRC volunteer page.

Best wishes and good luck to all of you. It's been a pleasure and a privilege.
Jonny & all of your friendly DCRRC volunteers


Week 13

Welcome to Week 13, runners...it's time for taper!

Good going to all of you for your efforts thus far in the spring training program. Clearing the 20-miler and maximum weekly volume is a huge accomplishment, setting up a successful race effort. The mileage plan now takes us into taper, which can be a double-edged sword. Between now and the plan's target race the weekend of March 10th, total volume will drop, but intensity should be maintained. After peak mileage, running less can seem strange or even wrong (e.g., "I'm going to lose fitness if I don't run more..."), you might feel anxious, etc. This is completely normal and part of the process of peaking before a race, something we've all worked hard to achieve. Use that energy to keep you focused on the objectives ahead and do not be tempted to try something new. Goal #1: show up to the race healthy.

This week's 14.5-mile route takes us on Ross Drive in Rock Creek Park. Those who ran with us during the summer may remember this route. It climbs through Georgetown, down into Dumbarton Oaks Park, and then onto the Rock Creek Park trails. After passing Pierce Mill and running on Beach Drive for a bit, we'll turn on Ross Drive and climb up and over a scenic wooded area, and run back down to Pierce Mill before retracing our steps home. Mike Tosto, as usual, has provided great notes with GPS and cue sheet information on the DCRRC SLR page.

Thank you to all who volunteered at last weekend's George Washington's Birthday Marathon and Relay, and other events this training season. Coming up on Sunday March 4, we will be holding the annual Club Banquet and Membership Meeting at Maggiano's in Friendship Heights! After cocktails and dinner, the event will feature presentation of our annual awards, a state of the club update, and a keynote address from local world-class ultra-runner Michael Wardian on his experience running 7 marathons on 7 continents in 7 days. The banquet is one of our signature events for the year, and is also a great way to spend some time off the roads with your running friends and their families! Please register in advance using the link above if you plan to attend.

Rest well tonight and we'll see you in the AM.

Best regards,
Jonny and all your friendly DCRRC volunteers


Week 12

Welcome to Week 12 and peak mileage, runners!

It's been a long road to this point and your dedication to the training program has been awesome. After this week, many of us are taper-bound as we get ready for our March races. Those with later races may continue adjusting ther weekly volume and long run mileage as needed. I'm happy to answer any questions.

This week's route is scheduled for a 20-mile an out-and-back on the C&O Canal towpath. As you may have noticed the last time we were on the towpath, the trail mile markers are conveniently situated to match up with the distance travelled from North Meade ST Park. In other words, mile marker 3(near Fletcher's Boathouse) is 3 miles running from the start. Turn around and retrace your steps at half of your targeted total distance for the day -- e.g., 10 miles etc. The 10-mile turn-around is a bit less than 0.5 mile past the I-495 overpass. Since the directions this week are pretty straightforward, I will not be bringing printed cue sheets. All the route details are posted on the SLR page.

Weather for tomorrow will start out in the low-30s and end in the high-30s by noon. As of now, it looks like the precipitation will hold off until the afternoon, keeping us dry. Winds will be around 5 mph. Complete hourly weather details are available at weather.gov.

As I mentioned last week, there are a number of Club activities coming up this month. The DCRRC George Washington's Birthday Marathon and Relay is this Sunday (good luck to all who are running AND VOLUNTEERING!) and the Club Happy Hour is next Thursday at 6:30 PM at Ireland's Four Courts. Following that, we have the Club Challenge 10M Race on Feb. 26. This is a great race where you can represent our club among the other RRCA chapters in DC and Maryland, while testing yourself on a challenging course! The club will pay your $10 entry fee, but you must be a current DCRR club member in good standing, or else your name will be removed from the roster. We'll also provide bus transportation to the race, with pickup and dropoff at Courthouse and Dupont Circle, which you'll need to separately register for here if you'd like to reserve a spot. Deatils for all these events can be found on the DCRRC homepage.

See you on the roads,
Jonny & all your friendly DCRRC volunteers


Week 11

Welcome to week 11, runners! It's hard to believe that the training season has been flying by so quickly. We've only a few weeks left before the program's target marathon (Rock'n'Roll) on March 10th. All your hard work will payoff as we enter the last two weeks of high mileage, peaking next week with a 20-miler. Continue looking after yourself and listening to your body -- showing up healthy on race day is goal #1.

This week we are running the 16-mile Battery Kemble Loops, route which is one of my favorites. It starts and ends with mileage on the Capital Crescent Trail (CCT), with the middle section run in and around the Palisades neighborhood in NW DC. There is some significant climbing in and around Battery Kemble Park - but the downhills are fun. The park itself was a Union Army defensive site during the Civil War and had two 100-lb Parrott rifles up on what is now Nebraska AVE NW. After departing the CCT, you'll run a stretch on Potomac AVE NW, which has some great views out over the Potomac looking into Virginia. Complete route details are posted on the DCRRC SLR page, located here. I will be out of town this weekend, so Coach Mary Ellen has graciously agreed to kick things off tomorrow morning. Please thank her!

Weather tomorrow will be deteriorating as we move towards the afternoon, however I think we will escape mostly unscathed in the morning hours. It's been mostly dry this week, so I suspect we'll be running the downhills in the park. Watch your footing! Complete hourly weather details are located here.

As was announced last weekend, we have a lot of upcoming cliub activities. The Langley 8K is tomorrow morning, the George Washington's Birthday Marathon and Relay is Feb 18, the next Club Happy Hour is on Feb 22, and the Club Challenge 10M Race is on Feb 25. Please visit the DCRRC Homepage for more details, including registration and volunteer opportunities. We always need volunteers to make the wide variety of club events a success and as members of the marathon training program, you have to fulfill the requirements for two volunteer credits. Please email training-marathon@dcroadrunners.org for more information.

See you on the roads,
Jonny & all your friendly DCRRC volunteers


Week 10

Hello runners and welcome to a blustery end to week 10! We are running the 13-mile Cathedral - Clintons route tomorrow. It's route we've touched pieces of several times before, so most of it ought to be pretty familiar. There are some hills (Shoreham DR, Cleveland AVE, and Whitehaven ST), but there is also good scenery. Mike has posted complete route details on the SLR page, which is linked here. Many thanks to Christine and Paul Westcott for providing post-run drinks through the end of the spring training program.

The weather tomorrow will be considerably colder than the rest of this week. This link to weather.gov lays out hour-by-hour details for tomorrow morning. Anticipate a wind chill in the mid-teens to low-20s throughout the run. Precipitation potential doesn't pick up until overnight, so we'll be dry.

Georgetown Running Company is holding a marathon training workshop on Sunday from 3-4 PM. Professor John Brewer of St Mary's University London, a 19-time London Marathon finisher, will discuss his research on human performance and endurance sports as well as cutting-edge marathon training tactics. Details are available here: https://www.facebook.com/events/528935887487523/.

There are several upcoming DCRRC events to be aware of, including volunteer opportunities to meet the training program requirements. Please feel free to reach out with any questions you may have. The marathon training program email address is: training-marathon@dcroadrunners.org. Complete registration, volunteering, and general information is linked through the DCRRC home page and inlcuded with this update if you received it via email.

  • DCRRC Langley 8K; Sat, Feb 10th @ 10 AM
  • DCRRC George Washington's Birthday Marathon and Relay; Sun, Feb 18th @ 10 AM
  • February Club Happy Hour; Thu, Feb 22nd @ 630 PM
  • Club Challenge 10M Race; Sun, Feb 25th @ 800 AM

See you on the roads!
Jonny and your DCRRC volunteers


Week 9

Happy Thursday, Runners!

Welcome to Week 9. We have a new route to run this weekend and are only three weeks away from peak training mileage. Congratulations to all of you for sticking with the program and getting ready for lots of exciting spring race opportunities.

This week's route is an 18-miler out and back to the National Arboretum, running across the Mall and up through Northeast using Maryland AVE and Bladensburg RD. The route itself has a few hills between Capitol Hill and the two loops in the Arboretum -- nothing too extreme though. Complete route details are on the SLR page.

The weather will be cooperating Saturday morning this week. Run time temps should be in the low 40s with a wind chill in the mid to high 30s. Cloud cover will roll in throughout the day; rain is expected later, but we should be dry for the run with a breeze. Complete hourly weather details are on the NOAA NWS page.

Thank you to everyone who has volunteered to date for different club activities. As you heard last week, we're still looking for George Washington Birthday Marathon & Relay volunteers. Please take a look at the links available on the DCRRC site and in the email associated with this news update for more information. Also keep in mind that registration for the Club Challenge 10M Race is open. More information is available on the DCRRC site.

Mileage will drop back next week and the week after to allow for adequate recovery after the 18-miler before we tackle 20 miles and then go into taper. Please continue listening to your body, making adjustments where necessary. While we will have a mileage volume decrease over the next couple of weeks, there's still an expectation of quality work throughout the week, including things like tempo runs, steady state runs, and/or track work. If you have questions about the training program or your current routines, please feel free to reach out any time to training-marathon@dcroadrunners.org.

See you on Saturday,
Jonny and your friendly DCRRC volunteers

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Upcoming Events

Happy Hour
Thu, Oct 25th, 2018, @6:30pm
2018 Costume Caper 5K Run and 1 Mile Kids’ Fun Run
Sat, Oct 27th, 2018, @8:45am
2018 Alexandria Turkey Trot
Thu, Nov 22nd, 2018, @9:00am
DCRRC Bread Run 10K & 2 Mile Fun Run
Sun, Dec 9th, 2018, @10:00am
DCRRC Christmas/Hanukkah Track Relays
Wed, Dec 12th, 2018, @8:00am
DCRRC Gar Williams Half Marathon
Sun, Dec 16th, 2018, @9:00am
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The DC Road Runners Club is a member of the Road Runners Club of America and is also affiliated with USA Track & Field. We provide a year-round schedule of running events that offer everyone a chance to participate regardless of age, gender, or athletic ability.