Chicago Marathon Training Week 1

Sunday, June 4: Rest.
Unplanned rest day! Off to a great start! Haha. If I had known my schedule for this day when I put together my marathon training plan, I would’ve scheduled a rest day from the get-go. I had an event to attend that had me out of the house from about 7:45 a.m. until 7 p.m., so needless to say, I didn’t have much free time to do any sort of workout on Sunday.

Monday, June 5: 6 miles in 1:02:45 for a 10:28 pace + SP
I had an extremely unimpressive eight mile long run on Saturday where I averaged an 11:20 pace, so this made me feel much better about myself. The temperature dropped substantially between Saturday and Monday, which I imagine accounted for a lot of why this run went so much better than Saturday’s. I looked back on weather statistics, and over the past 11 weeks (as of Monday), we had only had 10 days where it was 80 degrees or warmer, and only four of those days were consecutive. Ten days out of 77 isn’t very many, and probably helps explain my utter lack of heat acclimation. Not that I’m complaining! If we can continue to average one 80+ degree day per week(ish) for the remainder of summer, I’ll be a very happy camper.

Anyway, it was comfortable on Monday, albeit a bit windy. My right knee (the one that had runner’s knee in 2014) started to bother me about halfway through my run. This isn’t the first time has happened recently, though interestingly enough the times it has happened recently, I’ve always been in the same pair of shoes (I have two identical pairs that I rotate between on a weekly basis). While the shoes could possibly account for the discomfort, I want to make a serious effort to build up glute strength to make sure that isn’t the culprit before I retire the shoes for good (especially since they have less than 100 miles on them!). To that end, I made sure to do PT exercises (clams and leg lifts) after my run).

(As a reminder, I plan to log my stretching (S), physical therapy exercises (P) and foam rolling (F) for each day so I remember how frequently I’ve done these three things I attempt to do, minimally, after each run. “SP” today means I stretched and did PT, but did not foam roll).

Tuesday, June 6: Dance + P
OOF. That’s what I have to say about dance this week. I’ve been at this for about four and a half years now, and I’d say at least 90 percent of the combos I’ve learned thus far would best be labeled “hip hop lite.” Sure, sometimes it’s fast and challenging, but most of the time the routines (and music) are fairly innocuous. Not so on Tuesday! After spending (too many, in my opinion) weeks going over a long combo to Bruno Mars’s 24K Magic, we started on Kendrick Lamar’s M.A.A.D. City last week and spent the almost the entirety of this class rehearsing and adding to it. M.A.A.D. City is definitely not hip hop lite, and neither is the routine. It’s easily the most aggressive combo I’ve learned in this class in four and a half years, and I was sweating buckets by the time class ended. It’s intense, but I won’t lie, I LOVE it. This is exactly the kind of dancing I think of when I think of hip hop. It’s mean, hard, loud, nasty (not, like, dirty nasty, but angry nasty), get your heart rate up (so you don’t feel like you’re cheating by calling it cross training) dancing, and I really hope we do more of this in the future.

Wednesday, June 7: 4 miles (pace) in 36:52 for a 9:13 pace + SPF
To start, I should note that I don’t think I actually ran four miles on Wednesday. I ran the same four mile route I’ve done dozens of times, and somehow, my watch told me I hit four miles .15 miles earlier than usual. According to Cool Running, this means I ran a 9:35 pace, which, if I had kept going would’ve taken 38:18.

Hal Higdon’s Marathon 3 (and HM3, for that matter) programs have one speed workout per week on non-cutback weeks: a pace run or a tempo run. Pace runs, unsurprisingly, are meant to be run at marathon pace. It’s pretty straightforward, unless you’re me, and don’t have a clue what that means for you this year. I would like to PR at Chicago this October if possible, which means sub-4:52, which means a sub-11:08 pace. My ultimate goal would be to run a 10:30-10:45 pace marathon (4:35-4:41 finishing time). That pace, though, is pretty close to my easy run pace, at least right now, when the weather isn’t crushingly hot and life isn’t terrible. My thought, therefore, is that while 10:30(ish) is a reasonable pace for me to run at any time, I should run faster than my goal marathon pace so that this still counts as speed work. This might be flawed thinking, but considering how I’ve never had a “marathon pace,” it’s the best I can think of to do. All of this will probably change once it gets really hot and I get really, really slow, anyway.

My knee didn’t bother me during this run at all (same shoes as Monday), but the ankle/foot I injured during the Chicago Marathon last year did. I started noticing soreness in it Monday morning, but only when I was wearing not-great shoes (flip flops, primarily). This was the first time it had bothered me in supportive footwear. I’m still not convinced I had a stress reaction and not peroneal tendonitis, so I looked up some peroneal tendonitis stretches and rehab exercises, and plan to incorporate those into my usual routine in an attempt to “pre-hab” the soreness away (and avoid any trips to the physical therapist).

Thursday, June 8: 40 minutes XT (yoga)
This one:

I am all aboard the Yoga with Adriene train these days (and by “these days” I mean “at least the entirety of 2017”), and my usual game plan is to scroll through her entire library of videos on YouTube, find the one I haven’t done with a run time closest to the amount of time I’m supposed to spend cross training today, and do it. This one fit the bill on Thursday (though I do think eventually I’m going to have to start repeating videos). This was a LOT easier than usual, but that’s all right.

Friday, June 9: Rest

Saturday, June 10: 6.08 miles in 1:03:05 for a 10:21 pace + SPF
First day of summer camp yay!


Okay, so maybe marathon training isn’t technically summer camp, but so much of the first day of training feels like the first day of camp: seeing which counselors (group leaders) came back, which directors (site coordinators) came back, which campers (runners) came back, being outside in the hot weather, feeling secluded from the rest of the world (trust me, 6:30 on Saturday morning feels pretty secluded, even in Chicago). Maybe all these camp parallels are part of why I like training so much…

Anyway, I was particularly excited to see one of my former running buddies return after a two year hiatus, so we ran together on Saturday and caught up on the major life events we’ve experienced since October 12, 2014. To my great dismay, I found the pace on Saturday to be a bit intense, and my legs were definitely feeling it by mile four or so (yikes). I’m hoping it was mostly a heat acclimation thing and that I’ll be all right as time goes on and I get more used to running in hot weather, because it’s going to be a disappointing summer, to say the least, if I don’t have the ability to keep up with a 10:30 pace and can’t run with my friends, particularly since my friends are the main reason I keep doing this whole marathoning thing.

Speaking of the weather, this week is going to be ROUGH. I don’t have much flexibility outside of my working hours this week, so there isn’t really room to rearrange runs to accommodate for miserable weather conditions. My goal for this week is mostly to survive, and if that means walking or cutting runs short, so be it.

7 thoughts on “Chicago Marathon Training Week 1

  1. I’m positive I left a comment on your last post but apparently WordPress ate it 😦

    Yay Week 1!! I would often do my MP runs faster than my MP, too. Not egregiously faster, but I like that it stats to make my actual MP feel easier by comparison. Maybe that too is erroneous logic, but oh well. This plan is really different than what I’m used to in that I don’t do any actual MP running until quite late in my training. I spend the majority of my training doing progression runs, threshold intervals at HMP, and a smattering of other workouts, but straight up MP running doesn’t really come into play until my sharpening phase. It makes me a little nervous but I guess we’ll see how this plays out!

    Ugh, this week. I started AM running just in time because yeah it’s gonna be rough here too. It’s supposed to get cooler this weekend and next week…but…that’s what they originally said about THIS week, so…

    • Boo! Darn you, WordPress!

      I hope your training plan works out really well for you! You would think that building your speed in the first part of training would pay off well in the end, but who knows. I’ve only had one marathon I would consider to be successful, and I ended up in the medical tent after that one (it was pretty hot for marathoning that day, to be fair), so my training expertise is most certainly limited!

      I really, really wish I had tried to run yesterday morning. I ended up doing 2.75 miles in the afternoon instead of the 7 I was scheduled to run, because there was no way I could do 7 miles in 93 degree heat with a real feel of 97. Absolutely not. The barriers to running in the morning (not feeling safe when there aren’t others around, having a hard deadline for when I have to finish to get to work) are so big, though, that I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to do it. It’d be one thing if it were just a matter of going to bed earlier, because I can accommodate for that, but the safety/work issue is much more challenging to get around. So I continue to run in the afternoon and suffer the consequences.

      • I have done both AM and PM running, depending on the time of year and what I’m training for. Naturally, there are pros and cons to both. When I did AM running last winter, I was more concerned about safety than I am now that it’s already light out by the time I get out the door at 5 AM. And yeah, having a deadline kinda sucks. But it feels SO good knowing my run is already done with by the time I start my day and I don’t have to do it after work. The early alarms are painful, but there are never any 5 am scheduling conflicts either. Humidity is awful that early, but I will gladly run in that instead of in the sun. It’s not for everyone but AM running can make life a lot easier.

  2. So I am not a dancer, like, at all, but that class sounds awesome! Conceptually, I mean. I would never be able to do it but I think it’s amazing that you are! I hope your knee is feeling better and that you were able to navigate this week. It was a tough week for me too with work and weather. Either way, congrats on getting through your first week!

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