Chicago Marathon Training Week 9

Sunday, August 2: Lollapalooza.
Tell me that doesn’t count as cross training, and I will happily refer you to my Polar Loop stats for the day, which counted 27,484 steps for 11.43 miles. If that’s not cross training, I don’t know what is.


Monday, August 3: 7 miles in 1:18:09 for an 11:09 pace.
Woof. My legs were sooooore from Lolla. In theory, I could/should have done this run in the morning, because I worked from home on Monday and had the freedom to run whenever worked best for my schedule, but I ended up waiting until the afternoon anyway. Poor choices. It was warm, but not as bad as last week. I stuck to the shade as much as possible and sweated my face off. It became a little rough towards the end, but even though I slowed down significantly, I didn’t feel like I bonked, which was nice for a change.

Tuesday, August 4: Dance.
Same ol’, same ol’. Ran our choreography in hip hop, battled in breakdance. I really felt bad for the people in class who are new this session, because none of them really have the repertoire to hold their own in a battle, especially compared to those of us who have been taking class for over two and a half years at this point. One of the girls actually said, “Can we learn something first?” which I thought was a really valid point. We waste SO much time in that class freestyling then warming up then stretching then doing strength training that by the time we finish with that and can actually learn something, we have all of 10 minutes left of class. But I’ve disliked how my teacher structures this class for years now, so that’s not a new complaint from me.

Wednesday, August 5: 4 mile tempo run in 39:29 (9:12 and 9:31 tempo miles) for a 9:51 pace.
All things considered, I thought this tempo run went quite well. I didn’t record the weather after I finished like I normally do, so I don’t know how hot it was when I ran, but I was very happy to be able to pull off 9:xx miles for my tempo miles. I had lead legs LIKE WHOA on my first mile and was pretty sure it was going to be a disaster of a tempo run, so it was a pleasant surprise to have that not be the case.

Thursday, August 6: Strength Training/HIIT
NTC Heartbreaker. I thought about skipping this entirely–my Achilles had been bugging me again, and I didn’t know if it would be the wisest decision to do a workout–but it wasn’t too bad when I got home, so I did it anyway. I haven’t done this workout in awhile and it left my booty sore, as it always does when I don’t do it consistently. That’s a nuisance when I do these workouts on Mondays and am sore on Tuesday and Wednesday, but it’s a bigger issue when I do the workout on Thursday, as that means I’ll still be sore for my long run.

Friday, August 7: Rest.

Saturday, August 8: 10.22 miles in 1:51:50 for a 10:56 pace.
A new girl came to our group for the first time on Saturday, and she and I ran together for awhile. Once again, I felt like we were really pushing the pace, so I stopped talking around mile four, and after we turned around at mile five I hung back with a couple other people. Now, I know my watch isn’t perfect, and I know I’ve said this over and over and over again all season, but I really, truly do not think we’re running 10:30s this year. My group leaders maintain a steady pace, but that steady pace has consistently–at least by my watch–been faster than a 10:30. Additionally, I know the weather has made a 10:30 a bit too tough for me. It’s no longer a pace where I can hold a conversation throughout the course of the entire run. I was MORE than happy to hang back with the couple other girls who also questioned whether or not we were doing 10:30s. The girl I was running with specifically really could not do 10:30s, so we dropped down to more like 11:30s. While that’s obviously a lot slower than I would have liked to have run, I think right now, that’s more of where I’m at, at least until it cools off some. This presents me with a dilemma, because the only reason I really run do this is for the company, and I adore my 10:30s. But I just can’t hack it right now. When I dropped down to 11:30 with the girl I was with, I was able to talk like it was going out of style. I barely shut up for the last five miles, and my heart rate stayed where it should, too, unlike last week, where I was in more like interval territory. After our run, we had a little picnic, which was pretty much the best post-run thing ever (like brunch, but free!)


This is why I love my training group. Went to breakdance in the afternoon as well, because gosh darn it, I paid for that, and I’m not going to let 10 miles make me skip it.

So. Halfway there. Actually, as far as I’m concerned, we really only have six weeks of training left, because taper doesn’t count in my mind. I’m still a slave to the schedule during taper, but training is lighter and you could, in theory, skip everything and still run the marathon. Anyway, to say this training cycle has been a struggle would be the greatest understatement in this blog’s history up to this point. Time and time again, I’ve asked myself, “Why am I doing this?” and not been able to come up with an answer. I’ve questioned whether I ever want to do this again, I’ve questioned my Boston five year plan, I’ve questioned whether I really even want to keep running at all, period. Most of my runs haven’t been fun, and though training hasn’t interfered with my social life quite like it did in the past (having your best friend out of town for six of the past nine weeks does help in that department), it’s just been a nuisance, and a difficult nuisance at that. I had a really great talk with one of my coworkers on Friday who is also feeling the grind of marathon training, and I found it incredibly helpful to have a vent session with someone who gets it. We’re heading into that part of the season where I think it is so, so important to surround yourself with fellow marathoners, because in those moments, you need someone who can do more than listen–they can empathize. I know I’m my own worst enemy once I get too much into my own head, and it’s nice to know I have an abundance of people around me who get it. All of that being said, however, I feel much better about things right now than I have in quite some time. I desperately needed a good long run, and I’m glad I got one on Saturday. Though my times may not be where I want them to be, just being able to finish without bonking was a victory in my mind. Hopefully I can keep that momentum going.

13 thoughts on “Chicago Marathon Training Week 9

  1. It is definitely important to surround yourself with other marathoners. I would have gone crazy around this time last year if I didn’t have my blog and blends to talk to, since none of my friends have ran a marathon. Once the weather cools down you’ll be seeing the times you want, just hang on a little bit longer. Fall is just around the corner!

  2. That is annoying that your CARA group leader is going faster than the 10:30 pace. It kind of defeats the purpose, you know? And I’ve always been told that it’s better to err on the side of running more slowly in training than faster. Grrrr. Isn’t it amazing how much of a difference a drop in pace of 60 seconds per mile can make, though!?!? And that post-run picnic looks AWESOME!!!

    Hang in there with the training. From my experience, August was by far the toughest month when you combine the build-up in mileage with the heat and humidity. But the cooldown in temperatures is on the horizon!!! Soon we’ll all be wondering what happened to summer!!!

    • Yeah, tell me about it! I love them very much, but come on, guys. If I wanted to run that fast, I’d be running with a different group. Ah well. I’m all right with dropping off the back if I have to, even though it would be nice to stick with everyone for a whole run.

  3. I think you’re going to surprise yourself! This summer has been BRUTAL. I mean, maybe that’s the new englander in me talking, but even up there my mom complains about the weather every day. It’s natural for our paces to slow. And when the weather is cooler and ideal come October, I feel like what we want our average paces to be will feel easier.

    As for Lolla as cross-training- Absolutely.

    • I sure hope so! It seems like summer could never possibly end right now, but there are two whole months until the marathon, and the weather has changed a lot over the past two months, so of course it can change a lot over the next two months as well – hopefully for the better!

    • Trying to arrange your entire life around a marathon training schedule is TOUGH. I think that contributes a lot to the grind of marathon training–not being able to do things you’d rather do because you have to go run, or cross train, or whatever. Physical endurance is important, obviously, but I think the mental/emotional endurance part of it is almost harder to develop than the physical part!

  4. So, one of the certified running coaches in my running group just posted this in our club’s Facebook group and I thought it would resonate with you as well.

    “Summer training tip #3
    Feeling tired, fatigued or just plain worn out? Are you experiencing some aches or pains? Is your body dinged up? Is your motivation slipping? Are you dreading that one or two 20 milers still on the schedule? Starting to doubt yourself and that fall goal race? You, my friend, are experiencing what I call The Late Summer Blues.
    I think August is the hardest training month of the year for Midwest runners, especially if you are training for a fall half or marathon. It’s hot out and it will be for a few more weeks. It been hot for several months and the heat and humidity are taking their toll on our bodies and our minds. The weekly mileage is increasing. You’ve been hitting that track since April and those speed workouts seem to be getting harder. Your goal race is too far away on the calendar to get excited about. Too soon to buy that new race day outfit or shoes.
    How do you combat the Late Summer Blues? First, realize that what you are going through is very common. You are not the only runner who is experiencing this. It’s an epidemic. Secondly, slow down. Really slow down on your easy and recovery days. Start out slower on your long runs and build if you are feeling stronger. Run you hardest when it means the most and that is that Midweek intensity workout. All other runs are slower. Third, fuel early and often. Consider taking a gel 15 minutes before the start of any run of 1 ½ hours or more in addition to the fuel you take during the run. Fourth, allow for plenty of recovery. Naps are our friends.
    More importantly, just grind it out. As soon as we have three straight days of 55 degree temperatures your legs will feel some spring and your mind will feel a bounce. Spirits will be lifted. You’ll be back on track. “Bring on race day”, you’ll say. You will have survived and conquered another August and the Late Summer Blues.”

  5. Pingback: Chicago Marathon Training Week 10 | accidental intentions

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