Chicago Marathon Training: Week 1

This week kicked off my training for the Chicago Marathon and it went pretty well! I managed to run 22 miles, and although most of it was at a slow recovery pace, it felt good. My legs are still pretty exhausted from the half marathon last weekend, so I tried to keep things nice and slow. I didn’t want to push myself too hard, since my next weeks are going to be tough.

Monday: 4.0 miles at 9:23/mi
This was my first run since Hospital Hill last Saturday and I took it as a recovery run to alleviate some of the soreness I was feeling from conquering those hills at the race. Massachusetts is pretty hilly, so it certainly wasn’t super easy, but I still felt pretty light. I stopped once or twice to take some pictures and make sure that I wasn’t lost. Overall, good run.

Tuesday: Rest Day + Hiked a bunch
Frank got Tuesday off so we decided to go to Vermont to do some hiking. We did about 10-12 miles total and made it to the top of two mountains.

We also found this waterfall. So pretty!

We also found this waterfall. So pretty!

Wednesday: 6.0 miles at 9:15
I did another day of a pretty chill recovery pace. It was nice to keep it slow and steady and explore some areas I’ve never been. Frank and I have been in Westminster, MA this week, so I got to try out some new running routes. This one was through the small town. There were lots of people out and it was a beautiful day.

Another beautiful Massachusetts lake.

Another beautiful Massachusetts lake.

Thursday: True rest day
I rested. For real.

Friday: 8 miles LSD at 9:52 min/mi
This run was brutal. It was so bad that I wondered if I was even going to finish it. The route was straight up Mt. Wachusett and I gained about 500 feet in the first half of the run. By the turn around point, I was so tired that I had having trouble running even on the downhill. Now, I am sure a lot of this was fatigue from the half marathon, but it was a bit of a demoralizing run. Hopefully my other long runs are not this bad.

Saturday: Hiked at Acadia National Park
Frank and I went hiking around Acadia and climbed a few mountains there. Maine is incredibly beautiful. We probably did about 7 miles total.

We climbed that beautiful mountain at Acadia!

We climbed that beautiful mountain at Acadia!

Sunday: Climbed Mt. Katahdin
So…Mt Katahdin. This is a 5200 ft beast of a mountain. I’ve certainly climbed mountains that are much bigger, but this one was pretty hard. In total, we hiked about 8-9 miles, but a large part of that was scrambling up and down big boulders. I’ll write more about that later, but it was pretty awesome. I was going to run afterwards, but I was way too exhausted to do it.

Summit shot from the top of Katahdin.

Summit shot from the top of Katahdin.

I think I did well in my training this week, but that long run really messed with my head. Next week I have a 10-mile run scheduled and I hope that things go a lot better then. I am heading back to Manhattan, KS on Tuesday for a conference at KSU and then on Saturday I’ll be traveling to Florida to see my parents. Despite the busy schedule, I am determined to still get all of my runs in.

The first half of this training cycle is going to focus a lot on hills. I am an avid hiker and I hike up a lot of mountains with relative ease. I never have trouble with altitude, but for some reason running on hills is very hard for me… even little ones. I learned the hard way at my half marathon that struggling on hills can cost you many minutes. In yoga, the postures that we have the most trouble in are usually a good indicator that they are something we need to work on. I am going to take the hint from these hills and make that an important part of my training. I know that Chicago is a pancake (I lived there… it is like a super pancake), but training on hills will make me a better runner in the long term. Getting good at hills will make me better in Chicago and it will make me faster everywhere else. So… from here on out, if I can take a hillier path, I will. Each week will feature some sort of hills training either at Konza or in town.

This week will look something like this:

M: 5 miles Tempo MP
T: 3 miles recovery pace with running group
W: ~4 miles at Konza Prairie Trail (I consider this hill work)
T: Rest
F: 10 miles LSD
S: Fly to Florida
S: 4 miles
Total: ~26 miles

So, with fall training cycles beginning, what workouts are you most excited for in the next few weeks? How do you do on hilly terrain?

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18 thoughts on “Chicago Marathon Training: Week 1

  1. Great job this week! Looks like you had a great trip, your photos look beautiful!

    I’m also pretty bad on hills, but that’s probably because I don’t practice them enough. It’s on my to-do list for the next couple training cycles 🙂

    Sorry you had a bad long run – some of them are just like that. The important thing is you got it done! Try not to beat yourself up too much when your long runs aren’t that great – even if it is slow and hard, the point is to practice being on your feet for a long time and you are still getting that benefit, plus, teaching your body to push through on tired legs is a valuable skill for the marathon. Every slow, hard run in training is helping you even if it doesn’t feel like it in the moment.

    Great start!!!

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    • Thanks! I’m hoping that my coming long runs are not like that. Hills are so tough when you are from somewhere that doesn’t have them. I imaging Milwaukee isn’t the hilliest terrain.

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  2. I’m excited to follow your training! I’m also jealous of all of the hiking you did!! I wish we had more mountains closer around where I live. Hills are pretty much the bane of my existence, but I really have been trying not to avoid them. But, it depends on the day for me. Last week I ran a very hilly trail race and felt like I was knocking on death’s door. Previous weeks I have incorporated hills into looped runs and done well. I need to focus more on hills too!!

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  3. What a great week!! I’m excited to follow your training because it’s getting me pumped up about mine, too!

    I hope you enjoy your time in FL…where will you be staying? Our weather has been totally crazy. Very hot, very humid, very stormy. I hope you have some really nice days!

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    • I’m excited to hear about your training! I’ll be in Coral Springs, which is a suburb of ft lauderdale. I grew up down there and my parents still live there.

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  4. I live in Albuquerque and we have lots hills on the trails I run. When I first started running in January I avoided them but finally decided to tackle them istesd. Every training run has elevation gain and I have learned to love it. I have no doubt that my improvement is because of attacking those hiils. I never worry about time. Just worry about getting up that hill! Good luck. I look forward to hearing about your hilly runs!

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  5. Nice job this week! Recovery pace in week 1 of marathon training is exactly right. Build your base, then your speed will follow 🙂 I’m super jealz of your hike at Acadia!!!! I want to go there.

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  6. I am so so so so so so so so so happy to hear you say that Chicago isn’t just flat but that it’s pancake flat! That is exactly what I want it to be! 🙂 If I lived anywhere that had hills I think I would run them as often as possible because I love flying down bridges and I bet that would translate to hills.

    That waterfall you came across is really pretty. I think the only time I have ever seen a waterfall in person was when I hiked Mount Si. in Seattle. That was also the only mountain I have ever hiked so … that probably explains why I have rarely come across a waterfall!

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    • Yeah, Chicago is a pancake. The only hill is at the end… and it’s like maybe 20 feet. The only problem is that you will have been running on a flat surface for such a long time that by the time you get to the little blip of a hill, you really notice it.

      I had never seen mountains or waterfalls until I moved out of Florida. It’s just too hard to go anywhere like that from Fort Lauderdale (without a plane).

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  7. Love all the outdoor pictures. Exact reason why I prefer trail running, the views are amazing. I’m looking forward to tempo runs, they are no fun but I love seeing flat even splits after a hard work out. Helps build my confidence.

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