Chicago Marathon Training Week 3

Sunday, June 17: Dance
We have graduation on Tuesday, so I spent part of Sunday afternoon at the usual Sunday-before-graduation extra rehearsal. I definitely needed it this time around, since I was so behind after missing class while in San Diego. It was SO HOT on Sunday, and I was very happy to be able to do my workout in 68 degree, air conditioned room! We were on the third floor of the building, and when I looked out the window, I saw someone laying out on the roof of a nearby building. I could NOT fathom how that was in any way enjoyable!

Monday, June 18: Strength training – legs (AM) + yoga (PM)
After mentioning that I wanted to get more serious about strength training this year, Erin kindly volunteered to help me in that quest. My first Erin-created workout was Monday morning, and it went really well! It was challenging but not unattainable, which is exactly what I hoped for out of strength training during this marathon cycle.

I was supposed to run Monday, but with a heat index of 102 when I left work, that obviously was not going to happen. I swapped Thursday’s planned yoga for Monday’s run and did this in my air conditioned apartment instead:

I hadn’t done any yoga since May 13, so this was long overdue and felt really good.

Tuesday, June 19: Strength training – upper body (AM) + dance (PM)
This workout was more pleasant than Monday’s strength training from the get-go, since it cooled off dramatically overnight and the mere act of commuting didn’t leave me in a puddle of sweat  before I even got to the gym 😛 Actually, this was a bit tougher than my leg workout on Monday, though that was mostly due to 1) my lack of awareness of what weight is appropriate for me right now for various upper body exercises and 2) a lack of equipment. My gym has a dumbbell collection ranging from five pounds to 100 pounds, but it only has one pair of each weight, and only has those weights in five pound increments. For upper body work in particular, I often wish I had access to 12 pound dumbbells, and on Monday especially, I was in a bit of a pickle when I really needed 15 pound dumbbells, but someone else was using the only pair. Hopefully as I get more used to the morning gym crowd, I’ll be able to figure out how to work around those sorts of things.

I had my last dance class of this session on Tuesday, so we ran through the routine back-to-back-to-back for about 40 minutes and then had graduation later Tuesday night. Given how behind I was last week, I’m happy with how everything went. Class has been more challenging lately (in a good way!), and I hope that continues next session.

Wednesday, June 20: 5 miles (2 mi WU, 4x.5 mi (4:42, 4:49, 4:46, 4:47) w/ .25 mi recovery) in 52:16 for a 10:27 pace
Oh MAN am I happy with this this workout. As I mentioned a couple weeks ago, I’ll be incorporating 800s (or, more specifically, half miles) into my training this year. I plan to do them once every three weeks (mostly), working up to eight intervals: not quite a full Yasso 800s workout, but relatively close. (Though since I’m doing half mile intervals rather than 800s, I’m also technically running .003 miles farther per interval than I would if I were doing an actual 800, so this was never going to be perfect anyway.) My interest in doing 800s is two-fold: 1) It provides me with a monthly(ish) opportunity to do intervals, which haven’t been a part of my marathon training plan in…awhile (like since 2015) and 2) I’m super curious to see if the Yasso 800 lore actually holds up. For those unfamiliar with Yasso 800s, legend has it that the time it takes you to run 10 800s at an even pace (so not going out full steam on your first 800 and then having to crawl through the 10th one) in minutes and seconds is the time it will take you to run a marathon in hours and minutes. You can either use it as a predictor workout, to get an idea of what marathon time you can expect, or as a training tool, to get yourself to a particular goal time. In five marathon seasons, I’ve never done one single 800 interval during training, so I have no personal experience with the validity of those claims. I am, however, very interested in seeing how they hold up, so 800s this year it is!

Anyway, based on how this workout went, I very much hope the Yasso 800s claim does hold up, because I would be 100 percent thrilled to run the marathon in any time between a 4:42 and a 4:49. Of course, four intervals aren’t the same as 10, and the marathon is still 15 weeks away, so I’m not getting my hopes up too high quite yet. I am, however, very proud of how evenly I paced all of these intervals. This workout went 1000 times better than I expected, and that made me a happy camper.

Thursday, June 21: Strength training – legs (AM) + 5 miles in 52:44 for a 10:32 pace (PM)
I’m sure I’m getting ahead of myself here, but I…don’t hate getting up early and doing strength training before work nearly as much as I expected?? (We’ll see if I’m still singing the same tune come September, haha.) Most of my residual soreness from Monday’s workout had gone away by Thursday, which was nice. I’m definitely still trying to figure out what I need in terms of weights and how best to plan my morning around these workouts, but I expected that there would be a bit of a learning curve, so I’m not losing sleep over it.

Due to Monday’s crushing heat and humidity, I rescheduled the five miles I planned to do that afternoon for Thursday afternoon instead. After Wednesday’s intervals and the morning’s leg workout, my legs were definitely a bit tired on this run. I was also very anxious during this run (the loved one with health issues I mentioned a few weeks ago – had a followup test on Wednesday and scheduled an appointment to go over those results on Monday (today). While it’s nice to know answers are (hopefully) coming, since there’s even a small chance that those answers could be not good, it’s been an enormous source of anxiety for me). Sometimes (most of the time) running helps me turn my brain off and eases my anxiety, but other times (this time), it just gives me uninterrupted time to ruminate on my worries, and I come home feeling worse than when I left. All of that brain activity is bound to make a run less than pleasant, but when you couple the physical side effects of anxiety (racing heart, shortness of breath, muscle tension) with an attempt at a five miler, obviously it makes things a bit more difficult than normal.

Friday, June 22: Rest

Saturday, June 23: 5.12 miles in 54:22 for a 10:37 pace
What a perfect morning for running! The sky was overcast, the temperature was low, and the mileage was the same as the two non-long runs I had already done earlier this week 😛 We had a very small group on Saturday–only four of us, including me–but that was all right. I think the whole group running thing feels a lot less stressful when you’re one of a few rather than one of like 30. We did end up taking the run a little fast, but I think it would’ve been tough to run much slower than that anyway, so I’m not upset about it.


All in all, a great week of training. It’s obviously far too early in the game to make any sweeping statements about the season, but I (so far) really like that it feels like I’m actually working this season rather than going out and logging a bunch of runs and a smattering of cross training because that’s what I’m supposed to do. Things feel a lot more focused and intentional this year, and I like that. Now I just have to hope that feeling continues as the miles get longer!

10 thoughts on “Chicago Marathon Training Week 3

  1. No long run this week?

    Yay for having a great workout! I love when that happens. It’s such a confidence booster!

    I agree, sometimes running is not the best thing for my stress because I just ruminate. But, ruminating while I exercise and get fresh air still feels better than ruminating while I just sit around, so there’s that!

    • The five miler on Saturday technically was the long run this week. It wasn’t long for me since I use a cobbled-together Hal Higdon M3 + Novice 1 program. It gets screwy on this week because the Novice 1 Week 3 long run is only five miles, and I follow that long run mileage (because that’s what the group follows, and I want to do my long runs with the group), but the M3 Week 9 weekday mileage (which is the equivalent of Novice 1 Week 3, because Novice 1 lasts 18 weeks while M3 lasts 24 weeks) is two five milers. It’s a lot less weird in the long run department as the season goes on, I promise!

  2. Bethany, I am so glad that you have found a better training group. I personally prefer smaller running groups too. I think they are better because A. you get a better conversation going and B. You get phone numbers and you can then connect with them again outside of training group! 🙂

    • Definitely! It’s much easier to make a connection with people when there are fewer people there in the first place. Plus, it’s much harder to have the group break into cliques when there are only a handful of people in the group to begin with, and since cliques were my biggest complaint about my old group, I’m cautiously optimistic that things will be much better on that front this year 🙂

  3. I hope your loved one got good news!

    And again, I am glad to hear you like the smaller group better. I do better with small groups for running (it seems one or less, ha) too! I hope you continue to like it! And to be able to get up early and do strength – nice work!

    Ready for another steamy weekend? Le sigh.

    • We got…goodish news. Basically that we’ll need to keep doing repeat tests for awhile to check for changes before any definitive diagnosis can be made. BUT there weren’t any changes between the first test and second test, so hopefully that’s a good sign.

      Ugh, I’m already dreading Saturday’s long run 😦 I’m hoping the forecast is wrong, or at that it’s at least not quite as terrible at 6 a.m. as it will be later in the day. It’s not a good situation that we’re not even to July and I’m already SUPER over the hot weather, haha.

  4. Great week of training! I never trained for Chicago with a group. Not sure why–but I enjoyed my solo training. I’m glad you found a group that is working well for you. I always get FOMO when I read about people training for Chicago. Sadly, i think my 26.2 days are behind me. I’ll be at mile 13 tho, cheering everyone on!

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