It's a very slow process - two steps forward, one step back - but I'm inching in the right direction. - Rob Reiner

July 16, 2013

Marathon Training – So Far So Good

I’m well into my training for the Chicago Marathon.  It’s hard to believe it’s just 12 weeks away!  I’m still not officially registered for the race which is a little concerning, but we have been assured by Marathon Tours and Travel that the registration process is just delayed this year due to changes in the organization (i.e. several people were probably fired after that giant fiasco that was the original registration process) and that our registrations are in no way in jeopardy.  Still I would like to be officially registered.

Can't wait to run here!
This will only be my 2nd marathon, so I still very much consider myself a novice marathoner.  I chose an 18 week plan, and I’m just starting my 6th week.  Honestly the first four weeks were pretty easy – I was basically doing the same thing I was already doing.  Last week it got a little more “real” with a 14 mile run on Saturday.  This is the longest run I’ve had since I was training for Disney a year and a half ago.  Granted, I’ve ran probably 12 or more half marathons since then, so 14 miles isn’t a huge stretch, but it is the longest I’ve ran in a really, really long time.

I’m doing several things the same as I did for my Disney training.  As a novice marathoner – my main goal is to finish the marathon with a smile and hopefully injury free.  I do have some time goals, but those are secondary to just finishing happy and being able to move afterward.  For that reason I’ve chosen a running plan that runs 4 days a week.  I run Tues, Wed, Thurs, and have a long run on Saturday usually, but occasionally on Sunday.  My Tues/Thursday runs are shorter in distance averaging from 3 to 5 miles.  My Wednesday run is between 3 and 8 miles – gradually building as my overall distance builds.  I’ve incorporated two 20 mile runs and one 22 mile run before race day.  Thanks to everyone who gave me advice about whether or not I should run a marathon as a training run.  I decided against it, but Jim and I did find a great 20 mile race 3 weeks before Chicago instead.  This should be perfect and at least one of these super long runs will be supported.  I’m also incorporating speed, tempo and/or hills into my shorter runs once a week.  I take Fridays off completely and, cross train on Sunday and rest or cross train on Monday.  Lately Sundays have been mini triathlon days.  I ride about 10 to 12 miles on my trainer, run for 15 to 30 minutes and then swim for about 15 to 20 minutes.  It seems to work well for recovery.  Mondays I take it pretty easy and usually only end up doing core work and walking that day.  I feel like my plan is pretty solid, and will have me adequately prepared for race day.

Other things I’m doing again are incorporating the run/walk technique and eating real food on my long runs.  I’m doing a 4 minute run interval followed by a 1 minute walk break.  This seems to be working really well.  I know many of you competitive runners would laugh at this and not call it running, but it works for me.  Like I said – main goal here is to finish injury free.  When you first start running it’s hard to stop and walk after just 4 minutes, but that’s the whole point – reserve the energy while you have it.  If you end up walking after you are tired, you walk much more than you want and slow down even more.  Run/walk also works different muscles and therefore helps avoid injury. 

I have learned that my body just doesn’t do well with gels, etc. so I’m eating food during my run.  If all goes well, I’ll finish this marathon somewhere around 5:30 – 5:45, so I know my body will need fuel.  For Disney I tried several things, but landed with mini fig newtons and Mojo Bars.  I decided I’d try this same thing.  I couldn’t find the mini fig newtons, but did find an all-natural whole wheat Fig Bar instead, which is probably a much better choice anyway than the crap that’s in the fig newtons.  I just cut them up into bite sized pieces and took them with me.  They were a little sweet and I found myself reaching for the Mojo Bar bites more often, but I think they’ll work.  This along with some Gatorade and water should hopefully keep me going.  I’ll continue to try out different things over the next few weeks to see what works best for me.

The hardest part of my training is going to be doing long runs in the heat.  The Disney marathon was in January, so my training was in the fall.  The long runs were tough, but the weather was cool.  I’ve never really done many long runs in extreme heat.  So far, we’ve actually had decent weather in Kansas City (which is very unusual), but the hot weather is back and probably here to stay for the next 6 to 8 weeks.  You can beat the extreme heat of the day by running early, but when you have a 4+ hour run it’s impossible to beat it completely and you can’t avoid the humidity, which is always far worse in the morning.  I imagine I will be doing several long runs when the temperatures are in the 80s with humidity off 80% or better.  It will be challenging, but I won’t let it stop me.  I just need to remember to slow down and hydrate!

In other news - I go back for yet another follow-up CT scan on my wrist next week.  I’m hopeful to hear that it’s 100% healed….or at least progressing.  I just want to move past this stupid injury.  It has plagued my summer training.  I am thankful though that I have still been able to run.  I know many injured bloggers out there who haven’t been as fortunate.
Chicago will also be my 4th race and 1st marathon with this crazy girl!  Can't wait :)

Hope everyone’s training is going well!!


  1. It sounds like you've got a really solid training plan. I'd be a little unsettled too if I didn't have my entry confirmed - I hope that comes through soon for you.

  2. Sounds like you are well planned.Good luck esp. with the hotter runs.

  3. Wait a tick ... Coy's gonna be there???

  4. Good luck for your marathon training! It is exciting to read your plan, and I hope it all goes well. Hopefully come marathon day the weather is cooler and makes running feel easier!

  5. You have things under control. Just keep doing what you are doing and you will be good. I switched to real food quite long ago now and my long runs and races have just been better. I can barely stomach a gel. If I have to take more than one I am in trouble as it comes back up very quickly. Enjoy your training!

  6. To me your approach sounds very well thought and good.

    To me you definitely are a runner even with the walk breaks. Back in the day when my running was going great and training for a half I was used to run 30 minutes and take a 1 minute walk break at every run. That worked perfect for me. You do what works foryou and you'll be fine.

  7. Nice! And how lucky that you found a 20-miler three weeks before your race!

  8. Well our temps are supposed to dip after tomorrow, so hopefully your Saturday run won't be too bad!

  9. Thats great news about the wrist!
    You my friend ARE a REAL runner!!! If you run 1/1 intervals or 4/1 intervals, you ARE a runner!!!
    And what are Mojo bar bites? My daughter has a horrible time trying to find something for long runs, and Im at a loss!!

  10. A mile is a mile no matter your speed! :-) I do run/walk too. I think it's so much easier on your body to have the walk intervals right from the beginning. If you get tired at the end of your race, it's so hard to pick the pace up if you only start walking then.

    Awesome progress on your training. It sounds like you are on track for a great race.

  11. You do realize you're doing your mini triathlon in the wrong order, right? ;)

    And, if run/walk intervals work for you, that's all that matters.