If you are seeking fast california marathons my number one recommendation is the California International Marathon.
I ran my personal best time of 2:19:35 from Folsom to the capital building in downtown Sacramento.
You always hear of “fast courses” but how many marathons have you run where you were in great shape, on a “fast course” and yet still didn't set a PR.
Below is my pick for the fastest marathon california has to offer. It is certainly fast but let's also assume you have done your homework and are ready to run fast.
The fastest of all california marathons I ever competed on was most certainly these two:
California International Marathon – super fast but also not perfectly flat. First mile is completely down hill before going into rolling hills shortly after the first mile mark. There is also a sharp downhill section just past mile 10 you will want to be ready for. When I ran my 2;19:35 PR I hit the 10-mile mark in 51:27 which is still the second fastest 10-mile time I ever ran (fastest was 50:54).
I ran on super “fast” courses like the Chicago Marathon and never landed a cold day. In fact, I ran 2:51:56 at the 2007 Chicago Marathon just a few months prior to breaking the 2:20:00 marathon barrier in Sacramento. The Cal International marathon is not a flat course. It has flat sections but has a lot of rolling hills. I would have never envisioned breaking the 2:20 marathon on such a course.
You have to trust your training and your capabilities. Additionally, you have to use race pace training methods that I outline in RDA Training plans that will help you to prepare to race at your planned goal pace.
Los Angeles Marathon – although I ran a very bad race (for me) that day finishing in 2:55:36 in 89th place. I would rate this as one of the top California marathons to go after a fast time on if you land a great day with low heat and humidity.
Are you a hot runner athlete? You'll be good to go. I, on the other hand, turn to mush just about every time I ever competed in a marathon in hot conditions. The good thing about preparing for the California International Marathon is it takes place in December in Sacramento where the temperatures are most of the time pleasant.
The LA Marathon, on the other hand, can be a hit or miss in regards to nice temperatures. That being said, it has a lot of flat sections with many rolling hills and can be a fast course if you have trained well for it.
The fastest marathon I ever ran in the heat was the 2:40:02 at the 2007 Grandmas Marathon but I never ran under 2:40 in the heat.
My two fastest marathons (2:19:35 at the 2007 California International Marathon for 4th place and top American) and (2:26:42 at the 2011 Monumental Indianapolis Marathon for 5th place overall, were run in cold conditions. If you are a hot weather runner I commend you for being able to hold up in hot conditions.
Why Are These Two California Marathons My Top Picks
The California International Marathon is a net downhill course, similar to Boston. That being said, I would recommend preparing for hills and running downhill cause you'll get a bit of both on the course.
I ran flat, fast courses like Chicago and Columbus and didn't come remotely close to the 2:19:35 I ran on the California International Marathon.
My recommendation is just to stay patient with your marathon efforts. You have to know that the marathon is not a 2-mile run or a 5K. Don't get discouraged if your first few attempts to meet your expectations in the distance.
You can be totally on the first 16 to 18 miles and bomb the last few miles ruining your time. It is a sugar event and you have to train properly to ensure success.
This is one of the reasons why I created the RunDreamAchieve training plans for runners seeking to run faster at the marathon distance.
It is a very difficult race to master. I spent many years from 2002 when I ran my debut marathon at the New York City Marathon running 2:43:36 (from last place for charity) to several other marathons running in the 2:30s to 2:50s before I got it right.
The Los Angeles Marathon can be one of the fastest California marathons you can enter into. My Army World Class Athlete Program teammate in 2010 ran a 2:26:13 on the course.
If you are seeking a running coach, pursuing a new personal best at the 5K to the marathon distance or preparing for you first check out the RDA training schedules.
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