Great Wall Marathon 2012: Training Schedule

Introduction and Planning
Training Schedule
Flight, Airport Transfer, Cocktail Reception
Longest Day: Wall Walkthrough, Acrobatic Show
Tianamen Square, Forbidden Palace, and Yuanlong Silk Store
Race Day and Marathon Review
Birds Nest Stadium, Summer Palace, Beijing Zoo, Gala Dinner Race Celebration, Atmosphere Bar
Pickpockets at the Beijing Zoo
Beijing Hutong Rickshaw Tour, Temple of Heaven, Peking Duck Dinner, and Hooters
Flight home and trip summary


After the Clam Chowdah Challenge in October 2011, I went to the doctor after suffering from symptoms of a stress fractures. The X-rays didn’t show any damage but either way I was instructed to rest for about six weeks before running. She even told me not to bike, which was impossible as I commute to work on a bicycle.

I did the best I could to keep fit, such as taking up swimming and aqua jogging in the shallow recreation pool. After New Year, I started slowly to get back into marathon training. I ran 6 miles on the weekend for a few weeks and then went back into running an abbreviated schedule. My work travel would be at the end of March for three weeks, so right in the middle of the 20 mile runs critical for the marathon training. I moved up the timetable and managed to run 18 miles the Friday before I left for the trip. I tried to train as much as I could, but just couldn’t run that much.

I attempted to run outside but most of the days the air wasn’t good so I stayed inside. Also, when you are working while on travel, you end up working all the time. You work your normal work hours 8-5, then when you get back to the hotel and shower, the office back at home is awake so you end up answering emails until late. Then you start it all over again the following day. I was also battling jet lag so I was often in bed at 8pm almost every night. I did manage to run 6 and 8 miles on the first week. I took this path:

I ran approximately for 60 minutes, figuring my pace was about 10 min/mile at the time. I ran extra laps around the Olympic Stadiums and Theatre to extend the time. One of the days, it was pouring rain. It was raining the entire time. I didn’t mind it so much, but the sweat was mixing with the rain and burned my eyes. Luckily I had a bottle of water so I used it to rinse out my eyes.

The following week was more of the same. I ran 4 and 7 miles and managed to walk and hike about 8 miles in Nanjing. I did use the treadmill that week but the furthest I could manage was 4 miles before I couldn’t take it anymore. I just wasn’t used to running on a treadmill for that long and loved running outside. Later on, I would get used to treadmills and use them when I needed to for marathon training.


Nutrition was still a big piece of the training. I brought about 3lbs of whey protein with me and by the end of three weeks, I was almost out of it. I also brought over some granola bars as I often eat that before I run and it also helped me get the needed extra healthy calories during the day. Lunches at work wasn’t enough so I would eat that and a Fiber One brownie to get me through the afternoon. I was still very focused in getting enough protein and I would usually try to get some of it during breakfast with 4 eggs and some sausage or ham. At the Intercontinental Puxi, there was small pieces of grilled sirloin for breakfast. This was great and I have not seen it elsewhere in my travels in China. Most of the time, I would use a spoon and mix the whey powder with the bottled water.

I was trying to be careful with what I eat but most of the things in China are not that healthy. I discovered that the room service at the Sheraton Changzhou Xinbei was reasonably priced and it was not bad nutrition wise. I also ate at the coffee shop diagonally across the street as they served some cantonese dishes. I also walked about 1/2 mile to another cantonese restaurant in a new strip mall. The restaurant was empty when I was there but the food was good. I liked it more than the other cuisines in the area.

I also went into Bavarian Garden in Wanda Plaza in Changzhou Xinbei. They were sort of a steakhouse with many different cuts and sizes. One day, I went for a .5kg sirloin, which was good. They gave me a 100CNY discount on my next visit so I used it for a 1kg sirloin. In America, that could be considered as a food challenge. I ordered it for myself and the waiter asked “So just for one person?” It was then I realized that usually two or more people split it. It was 2.2lbs of pure meat, no bone. The first 75% of it was easy. The last 25% was a real challenge. Now I know what meat sweats are. After this meal, I got 2 100CNY discount vouchers.

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