Chicago Marathon Training Week 2

Sunday, June 11: 30 minutes strength training
Ah, the best laid plans of mice and men. I intended to go to the gym immediately after church on Sunday afternoon, and brought all my gear along with me to expedite the process. When I got to the locker room, I unearthed a shirt, my shoes, two pairs of socks, two sports bras, and zero pairs of shorts. That obviously didn’t do me much good (though pat on the back, self, for being doubly sure to not forget a sports bra, the usual derailer of my gym plans), so I trudged home in the blazing sunshine, cursing the weather and hating everything about summer. My plan for Sunday’s cross training had been to bike 40 minutes and strength train for 30, but since I don’t have a bike at home and had absolutely NO interest in emerging from my air conditioned cocoon to go back to the gym, I ditched the 40 minutes of cardio and just did Body Flexor 2.0 on the NTC app. Better than nothing, I guess, though certainly not what I had hoped for.

Monday, June 12: 2.75 miles in 32:14 for an 11:44 pace + SPF
Ah, the best laid plans of mice and men. My training plan called for me to run seven miles on Monday, and I had been dreading it for days. The forecasted high for Monday refused to drop below 90, and I knew seven miles on an afternoon like that would not be easy. By the time I left work, I decided it would actually be impossible.



I live in a fairly shaded neighborhood, so I decided to run laps around the blocks with the most shade, going as slow as necessary and taking walk breaks if I felt like I needed them, with the goal of hitting 3.5 miles, but allowing myself to quit at any time if that seemed unreasonable. It clearly did, so when I got close to home at 2.75 miles, I called it quits for the day. I had run long enough to log 30 minutes of exercise for the day and get to 10,000 steps, and that was good enough for me on Monday. Marathon training is all about pushing yourself to get things done even when it seems impossible, but there’s a distinct difference between things seeming impossible because of limits you put on yourself and things seeming impossible because conditions make it unsafe to complete said thing. Monday’s weather fell into the second category, and I’m definitely not losing any sleep over shortchanging myself on a run this early in the season.

Tuesday, June 13: Dance + P
Ah, the best laid plans of mice and men! I expected to need to take a rest day today, but then my schedule changed and I was able to go to class. Currently batting .000 on planned workouts this week! *pats self on back*

Nearly everyone forgot the majority of what we did last Tuesday, so, as always, we had to review for way too long and learned basically nothing new. Maybe it’s not fair to expect people to take an eight week adult beginner hip hop class seriously, but…I really wish people would take this class more seriously. When I took my very first class a lifetime ago, I practiced nearly every day because I knew there would be a performance at the end, and I didn’t want to make a fool of myself. Sometimes I’d forget bits and pieces of the choreography, but practicing it, even for just five minutes, helped me remember at least 75% of what we did, so it was easy to add in the parts I forgot the following week and move on. We would learn three to four combos per session when I started, and now we’re lucky to get through two, because we’re stuck reviewing forever and ever and ever and ever. Obviously I could go take classes somewhere else, but 1) as with marathon training, I’m mostly in this for the social aspect, and this is where my friends are and 2) while I know of plenty of other studios around the city that have dance classes for adults, I don’t know of any others that have a structured schedule where you work towards a performance at the end. Having a performance at the end motivates me much more than going to an hour long class, learning four eight counts of choreography, and then never doing that dance again. So while I could take class elsewhere, I’d rather not take class elsewhere. I just want people to step up in class right now and invest just the tiniest bit of additional effort into this thing they dropped $100+ on.

Wednesday, June 14: 40 minutes (ish) XT (yoga)
This one:

AH, THE BEST LAID PLANS OF MICE AND MEN!! On Wednesday, I had a company event out in the suburbs (which I should’ve taken into consideration when I wrote down my marathon training plan, because they put reminders on our calendars about this, like, six months ago.). While I knew getting back into the city after the event would likely be a two-hour affair, I also knew I could very easily duck out during the post-event happy hour and get back at a semi-reasonable time that would still allow me to get in a 40 minute tempo run. HOWEVER. About a week ago, I was invited to Harry Potter trivia on Wednesday night, and since that was obviously non-negotiable, I no longer had time in the evening to run. Because “40 minute run” does not equal “40 minute process” (when you add in warming up, cooling down, showering, etc.) and consider that I had a late night on Tuesday, I knew there was no way I could get in a run on Wednesday. Yoga, on the other hand, was a more reasonable morning option, since it requires basically rolling out of bed and opening YouTube. So, yoga it was.

Then it stormed all late afternoon/evening on Wednesday (which would’ve kept me from running anyway, so I guess that’s fine) and since half of our trivia team was coming from basically Wisconsin, and the other half wanted to take Ubers which, unsurprisingly, had an insane surge on them, everyone bailed and trivia ended up not happening for me anyway. I drowned my feelings in chocolate chip pancakes for dinner instead, because I am the embodiment of healthy eating during marathon season.

Thursday, June 15: 3.25 miles in 33:19 for a 10:14 pace.
AH, THE BEST…oh, never mind. You know where this is going.

Two weeks ago, I was stressing out about how on earth I was going to manage to get in all of my workouts AND a therapy session this week. It just didn’t seem like a possibility. While normally I’d skip therapy on a week when I absolutely can’t find time for it, my therapist is going on vacation for the next week and a half, so my options were to somehow create more time for myself this week or go two and a half weeks without therapy. As I pondered this, I remembered that my company gives us one free half day in June, July, and August that we can use whenever and however we please. Knowing that four additional hours of free time would make a WORLD of difference and knowing that I didn’t have any reason later in June to take a half day, I took my half day on Thursday.

This should’ve worked out just fine, but I got to therapy 20 minutes late, which meant my session went 20 minutes long, and I had also scheduled a doctor appointment for later that afternoon. All of these combined to make it so I literally did not have 40 minutes to do the 40 minute tempo run I intended to do. I set out to try to do a four mile tempo run, hoping it’d take less than 40 minutes, but I went out WAY too fast and absolutely crashed and burned in the third mile. My heart rate was sky high and I couldn’t catch my breath, so I stopped at 3.25 and took a shortcut home. Once I got home, I had exactly nine minutes to get ready to leave for the doctor, so needless to say, stretching, foam rolling, and physical therapy did not happen on Thursday.

Friday, June 16: Rest

Saturday, June 17: 7.2 miles in 1:14:18 for a 10:18 pace + SPF
I thought we were going to break the record for earliest rained on long run, but that ended up not happening. It rained on my way to our run, but stopped by the time I got there. Mercifully, it stayed breezy and overcast for the duration of our run, which made the whole experience one billion times better than I expected. I felt much better on this run than I felt the week before. I’m beginning to suspect that my lack of heat acclimation, though certainly real, was compounded by sunny runs. If it could only be sunny at times I don’t need to run for the rest of marathon season, I would be totally okay with that.

I don’t think I need to say that this week did not at all go according to my original plan. While I’ve been around the marathoning block enough times to know that one week of subpar training won’t destroy the entire season, it was discouraging, particularly on Monday and Thursday, to have things go so differently than I hoped. Fortunately, this week’s forecast looks much more promising (just in time for cutback week, of course 😛 ), so hopefully I’ll get back on track in the coming days and spend a lot less time questioning why on earth I insist on putting myself through this every year!


3 thoughts on “Chicago Marathon Training Week 2

  1. I think the heat torpedoed a lot of people’s weeks last week. And my week has already started off like yours was: I decided to move this morning’s workout to another day because I just really wasn’t feeling it this AM. *shrug* Hey, stuff’s gonna happen! 18 weeks is a long time for everything to always go perfectly.

    • Exactly! As much as I would like to believe it’s possible to get through an entire training cycle (for any race of any distance!) without having to make adjustments, that’s literally never once happened to me in six years of consistent running and training. Fortunately, those little adjustments have also never kept me from being able to do a race, either. It’s all part of the process!

  2. The one upside of being the only one who rehearses between class is that you can show off 🙂 I always got in the habit of at least writing down choreo on my way home from class on the L – if I did rehearse on my own, it made it easier to remember, or at least I could review my notes on the way to the next class. Or I would ask if we could record what we learned, even a crappy sideways iPhone video is better than nothing. And I always shared the video with the rest of the class.

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