Chicago Marathon Training Recap: Week 16

Here is my final week of training leading up to the Chicago Marathon!

After two weeks of failed Tuesday workouts (week 14: egregiously hot, week 15: strapped for time), I knew I wanted to nail this Tuesday’s workout. It was only 24 minutes at marathon pace, but it was a good mental reminder of what I needed to run on Sunday and a way to get out a little nervous energy.

Saturday’s shakeout was meant to be run in Chicago, but after I woke up at 5a to learn that our train would be delayed at least an hour and a half, my husband convinced me to run it before we left. It was early, and I was tired, but it felt good to cross off that essential to-do item from a busy day.

Spoiler: I didn’t get my A goal on Sunday, but I did get B goal. Regardless, it’s hard to feel anything but proud when I PR’d by an hour and ten minutes, bringing my marathon time from 5:44:XX to 4:34:XX. Belated congratulations to the other Chicago Marathon finishers! It was a tough day to race, but Chicago showed up.

• Monday: Rest day

• Tuesday: 2 mile warm-up, 8 x 3 minutes @ marathon pace w/4 minute rest, 2 mile cool-down

• Wednesday: 4 easy miles

• Thursday: Rest day

• Friday: Rest day

• Saturday: 20 minute shake-out, 1.7 miles

• Sunday: Chicago Marathon (!) 26.2 miles

• Weekly mileage = 40

Thank you for following along these past couple months! The full marathon recap should be up tomorrow 🙂

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Chicago Marathon Training Recap: Week 12

One thing to note: every one of this week’s miles were run on a treadmill in China. I’m not quite sure how I did it. I don’t love the treadmill, but it can be a lifesaver, and it was this week’s MVP. For one, I wasn’t confident in my ability to run outside in Shanghai and Beijing without getting lost, especially for those double digit runs, and there were a couple of days during our trip when the air quality was labeled “unhealthy.” Better to stick it out inside.

A few (albeit some obvious) tips when marathon training collides with vacation and the inability to run outside:

  1. Be unafraid to factor a hotel’s gym into your accommodation scouting. In fact, I made sure I checked out a few photos of the hotel gym to ensure that there was more than 1, and ideally more than 2, treadmills. I knew I’d need to occupy mine for a big chunk of time, and I didn’t want hog one if possible.
  2. Bring everything you need to the treadmill. For whatever reason, I relied on the small complimentary bottle of water for my first run before I started bringing an extra bottle with Nuun and Clif Bloks. I think I thought I’d just jump off and get those things later if I really needed it, but I never did and ended up a little more dehydrated and hangry than I should’ve been. Treat it like any other long run.
  3. It may go without saying, but cover. that. ticking. clock. up. If you’re going to be on a treadmill for a billion years (2 hours), watching the numbers slowly tick by is an unusual form of torture and bringing an extra t-shirt or towel to cover that ish up will make ignoring the time easier. I actually did this too well on Tuesday and ran almost a half mile longer than I needed because I was trying to avoid looking under there as long as possible. Whoops.
  4. Write out a workout ahead of time and put it somewhere you can refer to easily while you run. Since the treadmill only operated in kms, I had to do a little math for the distance and research what speed corresponded the paces I needed.
  5. Do the best you can and be flexible. If you don’t end up running the exact day you intended or finish the workout exactly as prescribed, that’s okay. Something is always better than nothing. On the mornings I felt like waking up a little earlier and running before breakfast, I did, and when I felt like sleeping in and running later (or not at all), I did that too. I’m really proud of the miles I managed to run in China, but if things had gone differently, and I hadn’t found the time or felt well enough, I would’ve tried to accept that too. You have to give yourself some grace.

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Here’s how the week broke down:

  • Monday: 7 miles that felt like eternity
  • Tuesday: Rest day
  • Wednesday: 2 warm-up miles, 8.4 tempo miles, 1.1 cool-down miles
  • Thursday: 4 “easy” miles
  • Friday: I’m going to chock 10 miles of walking around the city as cross training
  • Saturday: 6.3 “easy” miles – this was an evening run so I made sure to keep my heart rate as low as possible before I ran another 12 hours later
  • Sunday: 13.4 miles (I was running out of time in between when I could convince myself to get out of bed to go to the gym and the last possible second I could shower and still make it to breakfast. I settled for the exact number I needed to round up to 42 miles for the week.)
  • Weekly mileage = 42

Fun fact: I ran on Sunday in China, but it was technically Saturday night in the USA due to the 12 hours time change so Sunday turned out to be a full rest day, including 12.5 hours in the air.

The trip was incredible, but I’m happy to settle back in at home to finish out what should be my peak week of training! There is nothing more exciting to me than the idea of tapering right now, but I’m going to hold off the celebration until after next week’s 20-miler…

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