Chicago Marathon Training Week 17

Sunday, September 23: 3.11 miles in 31:23 for a 10:05 pace
Life Time 5K by my Garmin.

Monday, September 24: Strength training – legs + 40 minutes bike
I had PT in the morning, so both of my workouts took place in the afternoon on Monday. I did strength training first, taking it easy in the weight department and being very careful about form in order to keep my hamstring as happy as possible. Then I hopped on the bike and put in 40 minutes there. I’ve dialed down the intensity on the bike as well, biking on manual mode instead of interval mode and at a lower level than usual. I might’ve taken it too easy–this was the slowest bike I’ve had all year, and my heart rate was barely elevated.

Tuesday, September 25: Strength training – upper body
I…did not dial down the intensity on this workout. I know it’s taper, and I know it’s important to take taper seriously, but the past couple of days of “workouts,” which felt like workouts and more like ways to pass the time, were getting to me. I felt like everything I was doing was nearly pointless, and I really wanted to feel like I was working for a change. I didn’t go crazy with the weights and try to PR or anything like that, but I also didn’t use the half the weight I sometimes use like I had been doing. I had a pleasant burn in my arms for the rest of the morning.

I didn’t know what to do about dance on Tuesday. Part of me didn’t want to skip, because I already planned to skip next week and didn’t want to fall two weeks behind, but part of me didn’t want to go and risk re-injury. I consulted with one of my friends in class about it Monday afternoon, and she said to not come to class, so I skipped.

Wednesday, September 26: 4 miles in 43:50 for a 10:58 pace
It is seriously such an adjustment to drop down to these short runs during taper! Yes, I ran three and a half miles instead of six during Week 16, but that felt more like a hamstring test than my actual run anyway. Excluding that run, the last time I only ran four miles during the week was June 27. That was a long time ago! I got home so early! While my hamstring feels totally fine these days, I’m not interested in taking any risks this close to race day, so I tried to run as slow as possible on this run. My heart rate was WAY lower than usual–like 10 bpm lower than a usual weekday run–so I think I succeeded in my goal to take it easy.

Thursday, September 27: Strength training – legs (AM) + 4 miles in 43:13 for a 10:48 pace
I once again took it easy in the strength training department on Thursday, reducing my weight across the board for everything other than bodyweight exercises–can’t do much to reduce the weight I use each time on those 😛 I have to admit that I feel kind of embarrassed to be using such light weights, especially when I know I’m capable of using a lot heavier weights. But now is most certainly not the time to make gainz, so my ego’s just going to have to take a back seat to the marathon until October 7 (like, you know, everything else in my life, haha).\

I ran another four miles on Thursday. I very rarely run on back-to-back days, and it’s even more rare that I run the exact same distance on the exact same route on back-to-back days, so this was a fun little experiment! I’m surprised that I did it faster on Thursday than on Wednesday (and not particularly pleased, since the goal is to go as slow as possible these days). I’m using these runs to work really hard on maintaining a slow (although, in light of most of my running this summer, “slow” seems more accurate) pace, not just for the sake of my hamstring, but to practice for the marathon itself. I assume if running at a 10:48 pace on my own feels like I’m barely moving, it’s just going to be that much more challenging to maintain a slow pace on race day.

Friday, September 28: Rest
I did have PT Friday morning, and that involved WAY more exercises than I would normally feel comfortable doing on a rest day.

Saturday, September 29: 8.37 miles in 1:35:33 for an 11:25 pace
My PT said I could run eight miles on Saturday, so I got to join in the group run on Saturday morning! It was FREEZING, especially compared to the rest of the summer (according to my Garmin, it was 43 degrees during this run!), but you won’t hear me complaining about cool temperatures for a run. Saturday morning was just beautiful, and I loved watching the sun rise over the lake. We finished our run by running up Michigan Ave. from 31st St. all the way to Roosevelt and Columbus to preview (or, in my case, review) the last threeish miles of the course. I didn’t expect to get much out of it, since I’ve run that five times before, but it was surprisingly impactful! Or maybe PTSD is more of the correct term, haha. I even almost got a little choked up when we got to Roosevelt, thinking about what it’s going to be like to do that during the marathon. I’m really glad we finished our run that way. It was the perfect way to end the season of group runs.


Less than one week until the big day. I have a novel of thoughts related to the big day itself coming for you later this week, so I’ll spare you my missive right now. My hamstring has been pain-free since Sunday (the 23rd), which is encouraging. I don’t want to go too much into my thoughts about training yet, either, because I’d rather save that for another post. But for the moment, I will say that I had a substantially better experience training this year than I had last year. I really enjoyed the company of the people I ran with, and it made a huge difference in my overall experience. Honestly, I’m really bummed that training’s almost over. I won’t miss the 4:30 alarms every Saturday, but I will very much miss the people I ran with after those alarms. It was a fun season 🙂



2 thoughts on “Chicago Marathon Training Week 17

  1. That does sound like a perfect last long run! I am so glad your hammie feels better and that you had such a good training cycle this year 🙂
    Isn’t cutting back on mileage for taper or injury just make you feel nutso. I bet it felt so odd (but good!) to have that extra time this week!

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