How I trained for an all-day 20K

How do you train for running four heats of a 5K in one day? Some will treat it as half marathon training (quick math: 4 x 5K = 12.4 miles; half marathon=13.1 miles), which seems reasonable. Me? After trying to break 2 hours unsuccessfully for WAY too many years, I’m burned out on half marathon training. Instead, I trained for the Carlsbad All-Day 20K more or less how it was going to play out on race day – completing my mileage in segments.

Disclaimer: As part of being an official “Rock ‘N’ Blogger,” I received a free entry to the Carlsbad 5000 all-day 20K.


Early in my training, I employed Charlie as my running partner. She’s just learning about running and is comfortable going just around 3.5 miles at a time. So off we’d go, with plenty of stops for smells, quick pees, saying “hi” to other dogs and allowing any human who looked like they may want to pet her to do so. After returning her home, I’d go off to the gym to run another 3 miles on the treadmill.

As race day got closer and the heat schedule was released, I altered my strategy slightly so I could better mimic race day. It’s one thing to run 12.4 miles. It’s another thing entirely to run 9.3 miles, sit around for 2 plus hours, then go run another 3.1 miles.

I work from home and the dog goes to daycare on Fridays, so I leveraged having control of my schedule, took advantage of my gym membership and my laptop to get the miles in.

Here’s how I did it:

Pack the dog off to daycare (as a side note, playing with other dogs in a supervised setting is a great way for your dog to develop canine social skills). After a bone-dry January, we hit a series of cold, blustery, rainy days in March so treadmill training was ideal. I’d bring my laptop along so I could get some work in between training heats.

Run 3 miles
Power work for 30 minutes*
Run 3 miles
Power work for 30 minutes
Run 3 miles
Go home and work for 2 hours
Force myself back out there and run a final 2 miles

*Power working consisted of selecting one client and working on their account for 30 minutes uninterrupted by email, social media, people, etc.

During the week, I’d run the dog on Mondays and Wednesdays, then either a 5ish mile run with friends or a local 5k on Sundays.

In addition to running, I do regular strength training twice a week with free weights and reformer pilates twice a week.


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