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? 🙂

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.


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


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.