Chicago Marathon Training – Week 1 (Oh yeah!)

The good. The bad. And the WTF.

Here I go again. Marathon #3’s training is underway.  The first thing anyone ever asks me is…Are you running Boston? I love the Boston Marathon, but there is so much more to marathons than just Boston. Even if it is the marathon of all marathons. The second question anyone ever asks me is…What is your goal? To finish, duh, that’s kind of the point of course. Beyond the obvious, and more than a time goal, more than anything, I want to feel as physically strong and mentally ready for this marathon as I did for #1. Training for #2 did not go as ideal for so many reasons. Another story for another day.

So, what is my “plan”. I am using a nice guide that has real specific track and other workouts as well as specific recovery workouts and distance workout that I think will really benefit me. I know my energy will not always be as supportive, and that it is optomistic to think my life will be calm enough that training will go off without a hitch, because we know life will get in the way. Runs will get shuffled around, rescheduled, and there will be days chalked full of suck. However, using the plan as a guide will help me plan and keep my colors inside the lines instead of streaked chaos across the page. I trust this plan. I trust my body. I have a good feeling about this one. I don’t want to fake confidence. I want to BELIEVE it. I want to know through every stitch of my being I have done all that can be done and trust myself to do my thing. To run the race my body is capable of running. Mentally and physically. The utopia of what anyone wants on race day. I want to feel awful awesome at the finish knowing I used ever bit of what I truly had to cross that line. I don’t want to feel like I had more to give.

The catch…is getting out the door. It has been rainy as hell. Like all the damn time rainy. What do you usually want to do when it’s consistently doom and gloom outside? Sleep. That’s what. This has been my challenge over the past several weeks. It looks like a continued trend as today began training.

Week 1 Day 1. Recovery Run

[3-7 Miles. Slow, increasing pace throughout the run aka negative splits, and keep the pace back to save the legs for the weeks speedwork/hill repeats]

Rain. Enough with the rain already. I laced my shoes, Chicago 26.2 charm laced in to remind me of why I am running in the rain. Again. Oh, how I have suffered this spring. Allergies have been my nemecis for over 3 weeks. Mostly this long standing sinus and chest congestion which has not encouraged good breathing on a run. The rain helps calm it down, but it’s still there. Lingering. However, I prevail. I ran.

Total distance 4.5 miles. Avg pace 10:12. Avg HR 151 bpm. 56 degrees out, 92% humidity and you guessed it…rain.

How did I feel before the run? Like sleeping, curling up on the couch and watch a Lifetime movie. This rain is depressing.

How did I feel during the run? Great! Strong! Only had to blow my nose once haha.

How did I feel after the run? Like I wanted to run more. I had to meet at the bank for business. Boo. I had to cut off at 4.5 to have enough time to shower and get to the appointment on time.

One thing I have noticed about my runs over the past few weeks is I’ve grown to enjoy my solo runs again. I’ve been spoiled with running with various friends or running group gals. Almost too much. No, definitely too much. Having the accountability of someone waiting up for you to run is like that appointment at the bank. You don’t miss it. Someone is expecting you to be there. Running solo…well there’s no swift kick to get out the door. Just that nagging conscience that is telling you

“You are supposed to run today. You wanted to run today, so do it. Why are you still on the couch? It stopped raining for 2 seconds, now would be a good time to run. Get off the couch. Just get dressed. Ok, now get your shoes on. No, don’t sit back down on the couch. Walk to the door. Now…go out the door! Yes, one foot in front of the other.”

Truth, right?! Getting out the door is the hardest part.

Week 1, Day 2. Strength Training.

Strength training. Kettlebell. 47 minutes and kick ass workout.

Week 1, Day 3. Recovery Run & Strength Training.

Recovery Run, Avg. 10:04 pace 1:01:08, 156 bpm. 6.06 miles. Delightful. Relearning to love the solo run.

Strength training. Kettlebell.

Week 1, Day 4. Hill Repeats.

Oh hill repeats. I am surprised at how much I like doing these. At least these early workouts I’ve done over the past few weeks. This workout was:

1.5 mile tempo run (9:20 pace). 7 minute recovery. Then:

Long hill at 10K pace (9m pace)

Shorter hill at 5K pace (8:40 pace)

Shortest hill at 1M pace (8m pace)

Repeat hills in same sequence and pace.

I only averaged a 10:30 pace since I used the tempo as a warmup instead. A friend joined me for the hill repeats and our paces are not the same for a tempo and I wanted to keep her at her pace range so her 1st hill repeat experience would be good. Well, as good as hill repeats can go, since at moments they SUCK. I felt good and accomplished after I completed this workout even though my segment splits don’t show the paces I was supposed to hit. It is very difficult to know what pace you are running, especially uphill, because the effort is just different than flat to begin with. Glancing at my current pace going up the hill, I was ahead or on pace, but my average was way slower. I calculted my segments on the uphill and had separate segments recorded for my downhill so that I’d be able to review the intervals accurately. Oh well. I will have plenty more opportunities to try and nail it down and get the most out of it.

Week 1, Day 5. Cross Training & Strength Training

Cross-training holds a special place in my heart. It allows me to continue to get stronger, in different ways than running and still allow me to lose some of the high-impact wear and tear. Sometimes, I want to move and groove, but need something low-key and cycling in the Summertime gives me the opportunity to enjoy those HOT days and get a bit of a breeze along the journey. 6 miles, 45 minutes, 85 bpm. Just what I needed.

Strenth Training, Kettlebell, PLYO.

Week 1, Day 6

Beach day. Drove to the ocean to run the coastline with Rebecca. Awesome way to change up the routine of running. Even though it’s only week 1, I’ve been running pretty much straight since last fall. And well, routes and runs can get stale. Waves crashing, quiet early morning (8am) and a seabreeze. Ahhh. Felt drained the rest of the day. The beach has this way of sucking the life out of me or maybe it just relaxes me to an extent that is hard to recover from.


Week 1, Day 7

I enjoy meeting new people. Even more, I like to meet people while enjoying things we have in common. Running for example. Today, I ran with Karen. She’s training for her 1st half marathon in the Fall and running with other people can make hot weather easier to run through by the art of distraction. Hot 81* run, 6 miles and glad it was done. Slow pace as she is a bit slower than me and we walked some too (recover from the heat). Regardless, felt good. It was not as draining as yesterday’s run.

Reviewing week 1 of training I feel pretty good. I’m regaining my focus and loving my solo runs. I have also started listening to podcasts instead of just music. I find it really helps me re-focus different from music. I feel more engaged in the moment strangely enough. My nutrition was spot on all week, except the BBQ we had hosted on Day 7. I ate mostly all the healthy things, just more portion wise than I should and oops may have had a couple of glasses of wine. Balance, it’s the only wine I had all week and was perfectly timed before a rest day. Week 1 is being labeled a success in my book.




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