Leavenworth Marathon: Learning the Ropes for the Big Race!

Flicker Credit: nordearigamarathon

I just signed up for the 2012 Leavenworth Marathon!  This will be marathon number 3 for me.  As I prepare for the marathon, I’m obviously preparing a training schedule, but today I wanted to review the course itself and what to expect on race day.  I actually personally know a couple of people who have run the race in the past, so have some “inside” information about the course as well.

So, what can you and I expect on the big day?  Well, first of all the marathon is October 6th, 2012 and begins at 7 AM (Pacific Time).  The start of the race is actually up in the mountains, and you MUST take the bus to the start of the race (from what I understand).  So, I plan on parking at the end of the race (near the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery) and taking the bus to the start line (a nice 13+ mile ride). The bus will likely leave around 6am to the start of the race.

Temperature and Half-Marathon Pack

The temperature in the morning at the start of the race will likely be in the mid 30s to mid 40s; nice and chilly!  This is actually a great thing in my opinion.  Even though it might be cold standing around waiting for the race to start, after a couple of miles the cold weather will feel great as your body starts to warm up.  Ideal running weather for me is the low 40s (crazy cold for someone growing up in Arizona!).

The temperature is likely to rise by the end of the race, with a typical high around that time of year of mid 60s or so.  So, the heat for the most part should not be an issue (hopefully).

Now, from one of my friends that has run the marathon, here’s an inside scoop.  The half-marathoners merge with the full-marathoners a little after mile 13.  The half-marathon starts at 9am, 2 hours after the full-marathon starts. When the full-marathoners merge with the half-marathoners, it can get a little bit congested for a while.  If you pass mile 13 in under 2 hours, you have nothing to worry about, you are ahead of the crowd.  But if the first half of the marathon takes you longer than 2 hours, you might have to join the pack for a while.

The Course

The course starts in the mountains and runs downhill pretty consistently for the first full half-marathon.  At that point you run through the streets of the “Bavarian Village” of Leavenworth.  You can see the full map right here: Leavenworth Marathon Map.

In fact, there appears to be only small hills even towards the end of the race.  So, for the most part this race is downhill or flat, with just a few short hills over the last 10 miles or so.  Overall, it looks like a great marathon to get a fast time on!

Training for the Race

I just signed up for the race yesterday, so I haven’t developed my full-marathon training plan just yet.  I have already been running quite a bit and ran a the Spokane Windermere half-marathon just a couple of weeks ago.  I feel comfortable running 12 to 14 miles already on my long runs, so I’m well on my way.

In order to improve my times, I plan on working in more speed and interval training.  This is both to increase my overall speed as well as my endurance.

I would also like to get a couple of runs in over 20 miles.  I’m not sure if this is feasible or not, but I really think to improve my overall marathon time, I should be practicing at close to marathon distance.  This is a full discussion for another time though.

My Goal for the Race

As you can see from the chart of my personal records (at the time of this writing), my best marathon time was 3:58:19.  I’m not very happy with that time.  I think I can get run a 3:30:00, but I want to see how my training goes before I set what my race pace is going to be.

My issue has always been running too fast.  I do excellent at sticking with my goal pace, but my goals have always been too ambitious I think.  After all, I set a 3:30:00 goal for the last marathon I ran, and I was on my pace exactly through about 16 miles.  But then the legs gave out (darn you marathon!) and I ended up with a disappointing (for me) 4:08.

So, what will my goal pace be?  I would love it to be 3:30:00, but I’ll keep you posted as the race day gets closer!  Be sure to stick around to see how it goes.

I would love to hear your thoughts or questions in the comments below!  If you have run the Leavenworth Marathon in the past, I’d love to hear about it below!

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