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Training for Revel Mt. Charleston Marathon

As I write this, I am sitting in my hotel room, less than 24 hours from the start of the Revel Mt. Charleston Marathon. 

After the Chicago Marathon 2022
Me with my girls after the Chicago Marathon 2022

This race is a big goal for me. And one that I have seemingly been training for since June of 2023. That’s when I started training for the Chicago Marathon 2022, which did not go my way. That was the first race ever where I had a taste of what wanting a revenge race feels like. But I knew I had a 50k race on the schedule for early January, so I let the feelings sit for a while as I trained for my first ultra. 

After the 50k, I was still feeling like there was unfinished business with the marathon and I didn’t feel burnt out, so I committed to Revel Mt. Charleston. I picked this race for a few reasons. First I had a friend racing it so I knew I would have a buddy for long runs and race weekend travel. Second, I had run the Revel Big Bear Half Marathon back in 2022 and had a really great race and knew my body liked the downhill. Lastly, it worked well with family life, travel, schedules, etc. 

Weekly Revel Mount Charleston Marathon Training Schedule

I didn’t really need to build any mileage from Chicago and 50k training, so I focused on really quality efforts. 

  • Monday: easy miles + upper body strength 

  • Tuesday: speed work

  • Wednesday: rest

  • Thursday: easy miles + lower body strength  

  • Friday: tempo/threshold run

  • Saturday: long run, some weeks easy, some weeks with a portion of pacework 

  • Sunday: rest in the beginning and as I did build around 10 miles weekly (from 30 to 40 miles per week), I added a recovery run or walk here 

Despite having a good base, I am still not a high mileage runner and even for marathon training or 50k training, top out at about 45 miles per week. It felt doable again this training cycle. 

Final long run for Mt. Charleston Revel
I had an amazing final long run of 22 miles with 13 miles of goal pace work!

I also made sure to include some long runs that had downhill in them so my body was used to it and I could get a feel for race pace on that downhill course. It was a bit of a challenge to find a downhill long enough, but I was able to find a decent option that amounted to 2 sections that were each about 3 miles long. My knees, hips, and other joints never hurt, which I think is a testament to the strength training working. 

The Strength Training for Revel Mt. Charleston Marathon

Strength Training for Mt. Charleston Revel Marathon
15 hours of strength training in the 3 months from 50k to Marathon day!

One of the things I wanted to improve upon from Chicago Marathon training was my strength training. When I went back to look at time spent strength training in the months leading up to Chicago, I did great in June and July, dropped to about 4 hours in August, which is around an hour a week, that’s perfect as mileage peaks. But once I hit real peak training in September, my total strength training dropped to 3 hours. I knew I wanted to keep a higher time strength training with the intense downhill this race includes. 

I kept up with almost 4.5 hours of strength training in March and around 5 hours for February and January. I used the strength training program Dig Deeper that is focused on heavy lifting and it was great to combine with marathon training – I just used a modified schedule (you can check out a version of what I used here) heavy lifting. I picked it because I knew the heavy lifting was going to help with this course. 

Training Reflection 

As I was writing this post, I was able to go back to my last Revel Half marathon training recap. I had a section I called “what to work on” so I wanted to share that here and I can add some commentary to my growth and changes in the last 1.5 years and what I plan to do moving forward. 

From November 2022: 

  • I need to work on my mental grit for those last miles. I felt so strong until mile 12 and then I fell off a bit mentally and had a hard time pushing. I need to include some more fast finishes to practice speeding up at the end when I’m tired rather than slowing down. 

I have gotten so much stronger. I ran the entire Chicago Marathon even though my stomach felt awful. I ran a 50k and my fastest miles were the last 2. 

  • I was over scheduled in my work life and family life during this training cycle. In a perfect world, I would have scaled back as training ramped up so I could be really present in all my runs, which I struggled a bit with. 

Again, lots of growth here. I also think the mental grit helps here too. I was very invested in training and ready to show up and do the work. I also made sure to give myself space in my schedule to train, even if it meant sacrifice in other areas. 

  • I need to commit to the long runs – with this training cycle and sick kids, I had to cut a few long runs short and I think that also impacted my strong finish. Next training cycle, I need to not cut off a mile of two at the end of long runs. It doesn’t seem like much when you’re months out from a race, but it definitely all adds up. 

This worked out much better this training cycle. Staying healthy for the majority of a cycle is so important, and other than a small setback around 1.5 weeks before the race, I was able to get in all my runs but one, which is a huge win and hard to do with sickness and kids. 

Final Revel Mt. Charleston Training Wrap-up

My coach commented that regardless of the outcome, I ran more and faster in this training than any other cycle and that I’ve grown so much. Regardless of how things turn out tomorrow, that is something to celebrate and be proud of for a long time. And that’s 100% how I feel. 

I like to tell my athletes that the race is graduation day, not finals week (that’s peak week!), so show up, do what you trained to do, but remember to have fun and celebrate the work you’ve put in the for the last few months. 

What’s Next 

If you’re looking for something to do “next” while not training for a race, join the Run Strong Bootcamp. Enrollment opens Monday, April 8th for kickoff on the 15th! It will help you get faster and stronger between training cycles so you can PR your next race with runs and workouts that are less than 30 minutes a few times a week! Learn more here. 

Run Strong Bootcamp: Off season bootcamp for runners

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