Chicago Marathon Training Recap: Week 7 (+ a Catch-Up)

Wait, wait, week 7?! Yes, seven! I now owe this blog my three-quarters-of-the-way-written spring half marathon recap, and six whole weeks of marathon training for my upcoming fall race: the Chicago marathon.

Every week I think, “This is it. I’m going to start again,” and then I don’t. I think after spending a whole work day posted in front of a computer, the last thing I want to do when I get home is sit down in front of another one. Despite this, I really enjoy sharing my training, connecting with other runners in this blogosphere, and having something to look back on.

For my first marathon, I was actually more diligent about documenting the first half of training and missed the last few weeks of recaps due a happy storm of wedding/honeymoon/marathon. This time, I’m going to play a little catch-up after this post, perhaps grouping weeks 1-3, and 3-6 in two, brief, separate posts.


The run-down: I entered the Chicago Marathon lottery this past winter – sooner than I expected to have to commit to a marathon so shortly after NYC, but I’d been looking forward to my next marathon even before I finished training for my first. I never published a NYC marathon recap, but I had a really, good experience in New York. I took it very easy in the first half — unafraid to pause for walking breaks (in retrospect, probably more than I actually needed) and soaked in the whole experience. I ran much more of the second half and had enough energy to pick up speed during the last 10k, but I was definitely ready to cross the finish line.

I finished my first marathon in 5:44:XX at a 13:08 pace. I never felt sick, didn’t hit the wall, and completed my only objective: finish happy. It was only until this past spring, training for the Owens Corning Half, that I really started experiment with higher, more consistent weekly mileage and getting an idea of how fast I could run. The first time I actually made and met a time goal. Now, a little more than a year later after beginning training for my first marathon, I have a big goal for Chicago – shaving off a whole lot of time and dipping under 4:30:XX.


Week 7 is actually a cool place to start, if we have to start somewhere in the middle. It was my highest weekly mileage ever: 43 miles. Can I mention how long I’ve wanted to hit 40+ miles?! I vividly remember celebrating 2-mile runs and 10 miles in a week! And frankly, why stop?

  • Monday: Pure Barre
  • Tuesday: 2 mile warm-up to the track, 10 x 800m at 12k pace w/1 minute rest, and a 1 mile cool-down back home
  • Wednesday: 6 miles easy
  • Thursday: 7 miles easy
  • Friday: “Rest” day @ Lollapallooza in Chicago, which actually amounted to ~13 miles walked, according to my Garmin
  • Saturday: 14 miles w/4x60s surges w/5min easy in between along the Chicago Lakefront Trail
  • Sunday: 2 easy miles, 4 “steady miles,” and 1 easy mile
  • Weekly mileage = 43
Oiselle’s very cute stride shorts…matched with my husband’s t-shirt. I could’ve packed better. At least I didn’t forget my shoes.

I was in Chicago Thursday-Saturday this week with my husband and siblings for Lollapalooza, which resulted in a great run to the observatory on Thursday, and a long run along Lake Michigan on Saturday. Lollapalooza didn’t really lend itself to taking it easy on rest day, but all things considered, I did the best I could.

High: braving my first workout on an actual track! There was only one walker there, and I finished right before the college athletes showed up so I’m calling it a big win. I’m sure I could’ve figured out 10x800m somewhere else, but it was nice to shut off the part of my brain that would’ve needed to map a route.

See ya next week!

Did you really do a track workout if you didn’t take a photo of your shoes on the track? 🙂
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NYC Marathon Training Recap: Week 11

As I’ve been doing a mad catch-up on my training recaps, I’ve found that even though so much work is put in during the weekday, these posts primarily glorify the long run. I sort of glide over the 5:30am wake-up calls to make it to the gym when it opens at 6, or pausing to do strength and warm-up exercises before each run. All of those acts make the long run pain-free and possible.

I’ve been thinking about this…because I’m going to excitedly write about another awesome long run. Whoops. In my defense, it really is the best one yet.

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More sleep and puppy cuddles, plz
Week 11 (Monday, September 12) 
Monday: Rest 
Tuesday: 5.0 mile run 
Wednesday: Rest 
Thursday: 7.5 mile run + 35min evening walk 
Friday: Rest 
Saturday: 16.5 mile run 
Sunday: 3.1 mile run 
Total Mileage: 32.1 miles

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Long run friends: oatmeal, black coffee, and a little Every Mother Counts reminder
I was in NYC this past weekend for my last and final wedding dress fitting. Unlike the last time I was there, I had a mean, long run planned for Saturday. I was doubling my previous 8 miler in Central Park for 16. I’ve been really looking forward to this run for a couple reasons. 1.) A new “longest run ever” distance. 2.) An opportunity to run in new neighborhoods. Most importantly, 3.) A chance to cover some real distance on the actual marathon course!

Luckily, this time, my mom and I arrived in the city very early on Friday so we had time to explore a lot before dinner. The last time we were there, we’d barely landed before I proclaimed I needed to go to bed in preparation for my run. Marathon training does not make you fun on the weekends. (Fun fact: my phone actually died that night and I slept in too late to run before my dress fitting and had to do it on Sunday). We had a delicious dinner at Eataly, returned in time to watch a movie in bed, and I was pretty well-rested come Saturday morning. I had coffee and oatmeal while I finished my pre-long run routine (braid hair, apply loads of sunscreen, prepare a water bottle with Nuun, finish PT exercises) and got out the door at the fairly early time of 7:30. Even with 16 miles to run I have trouble motivating myself to start early.

I had consulted the race course and used Google Maps to come up with a plan on my laptop, but I only came prepared with a screen shot of the final product, not turn-by-turn directions. Excellent.

16 miles DONE

It was fine – I just plugged in the next big destination as necessary and that worked out pretty well. I was a little concerned with my navigation skills in Brooklyn, but I was comforted by the flow of the occasional runner passing (and later, big, organized groups with a pacer) to feel like I was on the right track. I covered the four big parts of the race I knew I could easily mimic: 1) Brooklyn, course miles 10.5-13.5 2) Queens + the Queensboro Bridge, course miles 13.5-16 3) First Avenue, course miles 16-18ish 4) Central Park, course miles 23ish-25ish. I actually fell short of what I had planned, as I had intended to run up 1st Ave to the top of the park and run all the way down to 59th, but I had finished my mileage for the day. It turns out I had initially routed to cross the Williamsburg Bridge, but the mistake was well worth crossing the Brooklyn Bridge instead. It was beautiful.

Anyway, it was glorious. Even if I didn’t run all of the exact streets I will on race day, I feel like I’ll be much more prepared on race morning having covered what I did. I’m also so glad I could mimic running Central Park on tired legs – just like on actual race day.

OooooOoo it’s getting real.