prepare for the big sur marathon

The annual Big Sur International Marathon—one of the world’s most recognizable, and beautiful runs—is coming up on April 24, 2016. If you’re already a distance runner, and have run a marathon before, you’ll know the kind of grit and constant training and running that’s required. If you haven’t, or perhaps not run one as hilly as Big Sur, you might find it interesting to discover how runners prepare for the Big Sur Marathon.

Hurricane Point

Running the Big Sur, you’re going to face something as challenging (and freeing) as Hurricane Point. It’s not simply a “hill”. But to train for the Big Sur International Marathon, you must include hill training. It’s not pretty, and it demands repetition. Your legs, knees, and endurance all need to be strengthened. Cop out in training when you prepare for the Big Sur Marathon and you may not do well, or finish.

Training Regimes

Training for a marathon, particularly one as demanding as Big Sur, takes strategy. You’ll probably include interval training, hill training, distance runs, tempo pace runs, and yes, even some easy runs. Everyone trains differently, but there are similarities in training regimes. Most runners will train for 15 – 20 weeks. Following is a very simplified training sampler showing week 1, week 5, week 10, and week 15. It’s not inclusive, and not tailored for anyone in particular. It simply indicates some of the things a runner might do in training for a race where he or she will be running a very difficult (but beautiful) course for several hours on race day:

  • Week 1 – 5+ easy miles, some cross-training, several hills, 4-5 miles at normal speed, 5+ long slow distance (LSD) miles.
  • Week 5 – Cross-training, tempo miles, interval training, and perhaps 8-10 LSD miles. Your weekly distance has already been increased to perhaps 20 miles or more.
  • Week 10 – Your weekly distance may be 30+ miles at this point, progressively reached through LSD or other miles. If you haven’t already been doing so, you’ll want to take a day or two off. You’re probably running in excess of what you need for the Big Sur (not a bad idea).
  • Week 15 – Assuming this is race week, or perhaps the week before, you’ll want to mix in some easy training, while backing off to perhaps 10+ miles over several days.

There are other preparations that would be underway simultaneously; things like eating right, hydrating, taking care of any early signs of physical stress points, and mental preparation. Some of the more veteran runners would tell you to first and foremost enjoy what you’re doing, and especially, to enjoy the run itself! Take in the scenery, while training and most importantly on the run. Consider running with one or more partners on race day. Look ahead, and also take the time to look back: look back at what you’ve done.

It’s a Huge Deal

The Big Sur marathoner develops, among many things, grit, quad and other muscles, endurance, and a sense of accomplishment. It may sound like there are so many marathoners’ worldwide that running one isn’t a big deal. It’s a huge deal. Have you seen anyone get breathless climbing upstairs recently, or running a few steps for the bus?

Details About the Big Sur Marathon

Marathoners need to be well-stretched, trained, and have their vision in mind when they prepare for the Big Sur Marathon. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to be familiar with the route! For the Big Sur run, they know they’ll face serious hills, most probably be running against the wind at times; all the while striving to complete the race with their personal bests, or at least finish as many miles as they can. If you’ve never run this kind of race, but want to get out there and cheer the runners on for this sold out race, set aside this date in your calendar: April 24, 2016. It starts at Big Sur Station at 6:45 a.m., with the course winding from Big Sur to Carmel. If you’d like more information on this year’s run, please visit the main website.

Review the Route

Ben ran the race in 1993 and then his son, Grant, ran it exactly 20 years later.  Ben shares some insightful stories about how to prepare for the Big Sur Marathon and the run in the video he created, while he drove the route in 2012. If you haven’t had the pleasure of running the Big Sur Marathon, you can still experience the course from the comfort of Ben & Carole’s car…

Photo Credit