Every marathon is different. If you set a goal to run one, it is best to know as much as possible about that particular marathon's details and to train accordingly.
Below are links to two programs established by the CIM, which are highly specific to making your CIM the best it can be! One is the acclaimed SRA/CIM Coaching Program, a 14-week program with two workouts per week, whose participants are under the close guidance of the Sacramento Running Association's Head Coach, Mary Coordt. For those of you out of the area or in need of a more flexible program that fits your schedule, the CIM has partnered with runcoach to offer our entrants a highly individualized and top quality online coaching program.
Additional links offer more information on local training groups, local training races, and more training programs.
Below these links are CIM-specific tips to help you train for the California International Marathon.
The CIM course surface is well-maintained blacktop (there are no surprise surface irregularities like cobblestones, dirt, stretches of potholes, etc.). Make at least 50% of your training on a firm surface like blacktop. If you have been running exclusively on trails or tracks, gradually increase your pavement running mileage percentage to 50%.
The expected weather in Sacramento in early December at 7 a.m. is in the low 40's and it warms to the mid-50's by 11 a.m., with very light or no wind - perfect long distance running weather! The cool conditions require an added awareness of the need to stay hydrated: always drink fluids frequently throughout the run. Also, do some weather- and time-specific training by scheduling your training runs early in the morning. This will help you to check out what kind of clothing will be most comfortable for you according to your own system's needs.
There is a possibility that Mother Nature will not provide us with her expected conditions-it could be much warmer, it could rain. Prepare for these possibilities by using the tips below:
RAINY OR WINDY CONDITIONS:
Do not hesitate to train on days that have rainy or windy conditions. Try different clothing options to find out what are most suitable and comfortable. Work on the following techniques when training or racing in these conditions:
70 degrees and above - very unlikely, but possible!):
The CIM course is a "fast" course that has a net downhill elevation change. This makes it popular with both elite runners and first time marathoners. Being a fast course does not mean it is on a consistent downhill from start to finish. Running continuous downhill terrain results in a monotonous pounding of the same muscle groups which subsequently are more likely to fatigue and stiffen. That kind of course would cause the runner to use only one group of leg muscles and the course would become famous as a "quad-burner!"
CIM has gently rolling hills in the first half. The second half of the course is more level, and in fact has a continuous, albeit subtle, downhill profile. The recommended plan for running CIM is to run an even pace on the rolling hills of the first half of the course, so you can take advantage of the downhill profile in the second half.
Prepare your legs for the CIM course by running gentle hills on at least two of your training days each week. This training will be good not only for running the marathon, but will enhance your overall running skills and leg health. It will enable you to take advantage of the downhill portion of the course as well as build up your leg strength for the up hills. This combination will help you to maintain a steady, efficient pace rather than working too hard on the up hills and not hard enough on the down hills (an inefficient running style that will gobble up calorie reserves and cause you to be running on empty for last miles of the marathon).
Make your hill running efficient with Steady Effort Hill training and strengthen your hill running with Interval Hill Training.