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?

On the Road to Chicago

This week kicks off my training for the Chicago Marathon. I’ve been excited about this for a while, but it’s finally here! Unfortunately, I did not have a break between Hospital Hill and Chicago training, so the first week of training is chill with a lot of recovery runs.

I’ve already gone on my first run of my Chicago training cycle. Even though I am still sore from Hospital Hill, I managed to go out for a 4-mile easy run through the National Forest here in Westminster, MA. It went pretty well and I was jazzed about beginning my training!

This is one of the runs I saw on a training run.
This is one of the runs I saw on a training run.

I chose a training plan that is a combination between Hal Higdon’s Novice 2 and Matt Fitzgerald’s Intermediate plan. This will take me from my first week of 22 miles, to my peak week at 48 miles and has two 20-mile runs, plus I’ll have some speed work and tempo runs. I am a little nervous about going long in the hot Kansas summer, so I’ll probably be doing my long runs in very early morning.

I am also going to be racing the Rocky Mountain Half Marathon on August 1 at Estes Park. This race is at 5000 feet, so I imagine it will be a challenging one, but it will give me a chance to practice my race day strategies. I am considering going for another PR on this race, but as we get closer to race day, I’ll reassess my plan.

There will be some nice views  at this race.
There will be some nice views at this race.

So what are my goals for Chicago? In all honesty, the marathon distance still scares me a lot. My main goal for Chicago is just to finish the race, but I will try to do marathon pace tempo runs with the intention to run a 4:00:00 marathon. It is more than ok if I fall short of that time. All that I want is to finish.

This is just the beginning. I still have over 600 miles to go before I reach that finish line in Chicago, and I’m pretty excited to get there.

What are you training for? What are your goals for the fall?