CIM Training Week 9 of 12: Peak Weeks, Here I Come!

My training plan from Greg McMillan’s You (Only Faster) is pretty traditional for the most part, but there are a few quirky things. For example, McMillan thinks the word “taper” is bad, because it denotes relaxation. Instead he prefers to use the term “peak” for the 2-3 weeks before a marathon, because you should feel like you’re strong and peaking at this time. I think words can play a powerful part in your perception of things, so I’m going to go with McMillan on this one.

In previous marathon training cycles, I’ve experimented with two week tapers and three week tapers. I tend to prefer the former. Three weeks is just long enough for my legs to feel too rested – if that makes sense? This past week was my last big mileage week, accompanied by my last 20 miler. So, technically, I’m tapering/peaking now. But this plan is a bit different, as I’ve still got 40-43 miles on the schedule for this coming week with plenty of speed in there as well. I don’t drop mileage substantially until Week 11, when I go down to 32 miles for the week. I’m hoping that this will work well for me; we shall see!

Here’s what went down this week:

Monday: Rest.

Tuesday: 90 minutes. One really nice thing about the time change – it was actually light out at 6:00 a.m.! I’m glad I got this over with first thing in the morning, as I spent the rest of the day completely distracted by Election Day news. 8.3 miles @ 10:53/mile

Wednesday: 55-65 minutes 44 minutes. Post-election shakeout run. 44 minutes is all I could muster after a restless night’s sleep. 4 miles @ 10:57/mile

Thursday: 5 mile tempo run. Once again, I questioned whether I could do a workout, and once again, I surprised myself by hitting my target paces. I started the run feeling tired and lethargic (did I mention I that I woke up at 4am with chest pains?). My goal was simply to run between 10K and half marathon pace (8:26-8:55/mile). My first tempo mile started slowly, but as I kept running and warming up, things started to click. I ended up running my splits in 8:45, 8:40, 8:34, 8:28, 8:19, averaging 8:33.4. For comparison, I averaged 8:40 for a 4-mile tempo run 3 weeks prior. Yay for progress! 7.1 miles @ 9:09/mile

Friday: Rest. I had the day off thanks to Veteran’s Day.

Saturday: 60 minutes. Easy run around the neighborhood. 5.7 miles @ 10:36/mile

Sunday: 20 mile long run. A few weeks ago, Layla got excited about the news that the Bay Bridge bike trail was now extended all the way to Yerba Buena Island. She planned a bike ride, while a few others (me, Sesa, and Angela) realized that we all had 20+ mile runs on our schedules. Plus, we were all desperate for company to ease the pain of our last 20-milers before CIM (we’re all tired of marathon training, it seems). The last and only time I ran on the Bay Bridge was 3 years ago, and from what I recall, I didn’t have a great time. Yes, it was cool and the views were great, but there was no shade, no water, and I had to weave through downtown Emeryville and then under MacArthur Maze (a giant intersection of 3 freeways) to get to the Bridge. But the bad feelings from that run had mostly dissipated, so I was ready to try again.

We got started a little late (there was confusion about where to meet; totally my fault), but the run itself was pretty smooth. It was nice and foggy, which makes a huge difference when running on this almost completely exposed section of the Bay Trail. We ran north toward Berkeley, then back to Emeryville, where we did an out-and-back on the Bay Bridge.


At the base of the bridge


Running into the void

We missed our rendezvous with the bike crew at Yerba Buena (they had gotten lost and were running late), which was just as well because then the timing for post-run/ride brunch was perfect. The good news is that we still managed to meet up with the bike crew on the Bridge for a quick selfie. The fog was great for keeping us cool during our run, but terrible in terms of getting a decent view of San Francisco and Marin. Personally, I’d rather have the cool temps than the view.


When you have short arms and try to fit 6 people into the frame… (sorry, Angela!)

The sun finally came out during mile 19. I was happy to stop at 20.4 miles, when I got back to the car, but both Sesa and Angela ran a bit further (I think they both wanted to run 22 miles today). I think out of my three 20-milers, I’d rank this one in the middle. I didn’t feel as good today as I did at OktobeRun/Redwood City, but I felt 100 times better than my first 20-miler in Berkeley/Richmond. I found it harder to converse toward the end of today’s run (as in, I was breathing heavily), but I think that has just as much to do with bad eating and sleeping this week as the run itself.

After the run, Sesa and I met up with the bike crew for lunch at Propaganda, which was perfect. There was outdoor seating to allow Layla, Kristen, and Paulette to keep an eye on their bikes, and plenty of delicious food on the menu to help us refuel.

Total mileage: 45.5 miles. It was supposed to be closer to 50, but oh well.

How I’m feeling: I’m still getting over my head cold, but I’m about 90% better. I’m very happy to be done with my last 20 mile run of this training cycle!

Looking ahead to next week: Peak Week 1: fartleks on Tuesday, 2 minute intervals on Thursday, and a fast finish long run at the Berkeley Half Marathon on Sunday. I gotta work on getting my nutrition and fueling back in order this week; I’ve been letting stress and fatigue get the best of my food choices. I need more sleep too! I noticed I’ve trained myself to wake up early now (between 5:30-6:00), so I need to get to bed at a reasonable time, even if I can “sleep in” until 7:00am. Only 3 weeks to go until CIM!! Eyes on the prize!!!



Howdy! My name is Jen and I live in the San Francisco Bay Area. I like to eat, run, and blog, but not usually at the same time.

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Posted in CIM, Training
5 comments on “CIM Training Week 9 of 12: Peak Weeks, Here I Come!
  1. Angela says:

    Such a great day!! I could not believe by the end that we’d run 20+ miles. Would do again. 🙂

  2. spabalan says:

    Thank you for mapping out the route! So much fun running with you ladies ❤

  3. […] “Peak Week 1” LOLZ. I don’t know if I’m peaking, or just feel “peak-ed”. […]

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4/28/19: London Marathon

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