Chicago Marathon Training Recap: Week 9

This is the last of three 40+ mile weeks before a cutback week, and I was definitely feeling those mid-marathon training side-effects: sore, tired, cranky, and hungry. I’d come home from work to make dinner and eat three things from the fridge or pantry before I’d even finished making the meal.

Aside from that, marathon training is chugging along and this week went as well as I could have planned it. I didn’t miss any runs and did marginally better at sticking to my intended alarm clock and getting out the door at the right time. That has been a true battle this training cycle: accepting that the morning alarms are getting earlier and earlier as the mid-week runs get (stay) longer and snoozing them just means I have to cut a run short, or be late to work. Lose, lose.

At the end of the week, I was in a kind of weird disbelief, like “You had this in you the whole time, body?! 48 miles, and you’re okay with more?!” That’s what running has given me…the ability to keep surprising myself. Somewhere to chase improvement, despite the missteps and keep poking that threshold.

“I’m glad to be here right now, poking at my threshold. I want to get more comfortable being uncomfortable. I want to get more confident being uncertain. I don’t want to shrink back just because something isn’t easy. I want to push back, and make more room in the area between I can’t and I can. Maybe that spot is called I will.” ― Kristin Armstrong

  • Monday: Pure Barre Empower (I decided to sleep in through my usual morning alarm and the only afternoon class I could make work was new Empower class. Holy. So fast, hard, and awesome.)
  • Tuesday: 2 mile warm-up, 6 x 1 miles w/rest at 8k-10k pace, and a 1 mile cool-down. Goal was ~9:28 and the miles were 9:30, 9:26, 9:26, 9:28, 9:25, 9:27.
  • Wednesday: (am) 5 easy miles + (pm) Pure Barre
  • Thursday: 2 mile warm-up, 6 tempo, and a 1 mile cool-down. Goal was ~9:52 and the miles were 9:50, 9:56, 9:52, 9:52, 9:50, 9:50.
  • Friday:  Rest day, you’re wonderful.
  • Saturday: 18 miles w/12-15 at marathon pace (10:02, 10:07, 10:02, 10:01)
  • Sunday: 1 easy mile, 4 “steady miles,” 1 easy
  • Weekly mileage = 48


I think training is more enjoyable when I use the long runs to find new places to run, and this week was no different. My local metroparks have been hosting a “Trail Challenge,” and they feature a new trail on their social media every now and again to visit. The Towpath Trail was an easy sell, and I could kick myself for not having found it sooner. It’s about a ~9 mile out and back trail along the Maumee River that begins at the Roche de Bout. It’s a big limestone outcrop that forms an island near the center of the river; it was a landmark for early explorers and a place were leaders of Native American tribes met. Super cool! At the end of the trail, it looks almost exactly like my beloved C+O trail by the Potomac and it turns around at an old mill. The middle sections are either right next to the river or on shaded buffed out trails.



All I know is, I’ll see you back for my 20-miler, Towpath Trail.

I’m linking up Courtney @ Eat Pray Run DC‘s training recap.

3 thoughts on “Chicago Marathon Training Recap: Week 9”

  1. I am JUST starting to train for my first marathon… I love reading over your recaps! Are you using any sorts of gels or other fuel during your long runs? I’ve only done a half up to this point and I was fine with just Gatorade, but I don’t know if I’ll need more this time. I’m also living in the DC area now and saw you used to be there… where were some of your favorite places to run? We are a bit out of the city in NoVA, but I feel like it might be worth it to go into the city for some of my long runs! GOod luck and keep up the good work!


    1. Good luck!!! Definitely. I’ve been training with Clif Bloks (a couple every ~4-5 miles), and have tried Huma gels before, but I just haven’t gotten around to ordering a new box in a while. I’ve also been experimenting with carrying pretzels to eat ever now and again for salt and to feel like I’m actually getting some real food in my stomach since I felt a little lacking during my first marathon on only gels/blocks, but it’s all down to the individual. I’d recommend using your long runs to experiment with a combination of things to see what works so you’re confident on race day 🙂 Favorite long runs in DC: the C+O canal (soft on your knees and plenty long and beautiful), rock creek park, and a big circle around the national mall with a stop at the back of the lincoln memorial for a view 🙂 Miss it everyday! Definitely worth the trip!


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