Chicago Marathon Training Week 7

Sunday, July 21: Strength training – legs + 38 minutes bike
I had an hour of cross training on my schedule for Sunday, so I went to the building’s gym in the afternoon to knock that out. My strength training this week was almost exactly the same as last Sunday’s, which was nice because that meant I didn’t have to orient myself to too much new equipment. It took me 22 minutes to get through my strength training, leaving 38 minutes on the clock to bike. This was my first time on (the only) bike in the building’s gym, and I do still need to orient myself to it. A level 3 rolling hills workout was appropriately challenging on the bike at my old gym, but it was not appropriately challenging on this bike – like, it wasn’t challenging at all. I didn’t notice any difference between the uphills and downhills. I’m going to need to bike on a much higher level in the future!

Monday, July 22: 5 miles in 51:35 for a 10:19 pace (AM) + strength training – upper body (PM)
Um, oops? The weather was beautiful Monday morning (high 60s! Low humidity!) and since I’m apparently a morning runner now, I decided to knock out this week’s five miler before work. This run was supposed to be at marathon pace, which, LOLOLOLOL. Running the marathon at a 10:19 pace (a 4:30:29 marathon) seems wildly unlikely, especially when you consider that my “time goal” for this year is sub-5:25, i.e.: faster than my first marathon. While I certainly wouldn’t mind running the marathon that fast, I would be floored if I did run the marathon that fast, especially considering the burn in m quads after five miles at this pace. This probably shaped up to be more of a tempo run than a pace run, but it felt really, really nice to 1) be able to be outside without feeling like I would melt and 2) to run well over a minute/mile faster than I ran at any point last week/this entire marathon season, so I just rolled with it.

I went to the gym after work on Monday to lift for a bit. Upper body work has felt so difficult lately, I assume 1) because I took two weeks off and 2) I only do upper body work once a week. Upper body strength isn’t my top priority at the moment, so I don’t see that changing any time soon, but hopefully some more consistency will make things a little less challenging.

Tuesday, July 23: Dance
Blah. The choreography we’re learning right now is really tough, which makes class really tough, which makes Tuesday evenings not much fun. I shouldn’t whine. I spend most sessions wishing my teacher would give us harder choreography because I want to be challenged. Of course, now that I’m being challenged, I wish class were easier! I’m impossible to please 😛 I guess I don’t actually wish class were easier. I wish I were a better dancer! But that’s what harder choreography will do, so I should start embracing the struggle (and need to practice outside of class), because it’ll pay off in the long run.

Wednesday, July 24: Strength training – legs (AM) + 50 minutes bike (PM)
I had an early meeting Wednesday morning that kept me from having time to do eight miles before work, so I went to the gym instead. I realized that my gym doesn’t have boxes or steps, which made my lateral step-ups more challenging than usual. I think I could use a bench for forward step-ups, but it felt WAY too high for my current comfort level with lateral step-ups. I ended up using the treadmill deck since no one was using it, but I don’t think that’s the most sustainable option. We shall see!

I dialed the resistance on the bike up to 10 today to see if that would get closer to the level of difficulty I’m used to from the bikes in my old gym. It was a bit more challenging on the toughest part of the hills, but still a LOT easier on anything other than that. I keep track of my stationary bike distances on a note on my phone, and as a reference point, my 50 minute bikes last year would usually cover 8-10 miles. I did 14.8 on Wednesday. While I would love to pretend this is a reflection of better fitness, my RPMs on Wednesday were consistently in the 80s, whereas at my old gym, they’d rarely be higher than 70. One of these days I’ll figure out an appropriate level for the bike!

Thursday, July 25: 8 miles (with five hill repeats) in 1:43:54 for a 12:59 pace
WHAT a disaster. Holy cow, was this run a a mess. Since I didn’t have time to do this run in the morning any day this week, I went out in the afternoon, which, as you may recall, was my normal running time from June 2012 until literally three weeks ago. I am no stranger to afternoon running and its unique challenges. But boy, you’d think I’d never laced up my running shoes later than 8 a.m. with how terribly this went. It was a lot warmer than in the morning, unsurprisingly, but it wasn’t, like, Paris-in-the-recent-heatwave warm. The Real Feel was 93, but the humidity was quite low, and a fair portion of my run was in the shade where it was much cooler. No matter, though. I started off at nearly a 12:00 pace and things only got worse from there. I had to take two walk breaks, another break to stop to refill my water bottle (?!!? I can usually make it through 13 miles without needing to refill my water bottle!), and by the end I was STILL shuffling at mile-22-of-the-marathon-post-bonk pace. My last mile, which did not involve any walk breaks, was a 13:29. Literally the only times I’ve ever run that slow are after hitting the wall during a marathon. I don’t have any idea what made this go so poorly, but I sincerely hope it doesn’t happen again.

Friday, July 26: Rest

Saturday, July 27: 12 miles in 2:20:31 for an 11:42 pace
After weeks of external circumstances getting in the way of me feeling like I had a “normal” long run (getting sick, getting over being sick, massive heat wave), things finally went the way I expected/wanted them to on Saturday. My half marathoners and marathoners ran together for the first time, putting me in charge of five runners! My site coordinator jumped in with my group to help me group lead, which I appreciated. I don’t mind doing it solo when I have one or two people to be in charge of, but five felt like a lot. The run went pretty well, and I’m happy with my pacing. The last three or so miles were tough, though. The reconfigured Lakefront Trail means we run the last three miles with zero shade right along the water, and it’s not fun at all. It’s blazing hot and relentlessly sunny and just all-around miserable. 0/10, would not recommend. I’d rather dodge aggressive cyclists.

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