Chicago Marathon – Plan for Success

The Chicago Marathon is sneaking up on me. It’s easy to think, oh it’s in October, that is a ways away, which is true. However, the training for Chicago is right around the corner! Generally I like to have around 16 weeks of training for a Marathon, that means I start in mid-June, what!! To me, that feels like tomorrow. Don’t get me wrong, I am SO excited to start training for a specific goal again,  but I also want to give my body enough downtime. I guess 2017 is the year of marathons! Luckily I don’t plan on pushing my body to the extreme for Vermont City (hopefully my sister doesn’t have a crazy secret plan to do that), so recovery will be easier, but I also WANT to give myself 1-2 weeks off with no running, preferably 2 but I am going to see if it is feasible with my goals.

Lately, as I have been thinking about my training plan for Chicago and running in general, I came up with a few focus points for my training. Pieces that I think I fell short with during my Napa training. Watching the Boston marathon this week clearly inspired me 🙂

Chicago Marathon Focus Points:

  1. Pre-Race Meal Practice: Before my long runs I want to practice my pre-race meal. I have never taken the time to do this before. I usually wake up early and run before the sun comes up. I know this will be even trickier with the heat of the summer (my stomach gets testy with heat and exercise), but I know it will pay off. In the past I eat like three hours before a race to ensure I don’t have stomach problems, but I still don’t feel great while running.
  2. Timing of Long Runs: This one I thought of when reading an article about Jordan Hasay, who is such an inspiration! Jordan is 25 and just got 3rd in her marathon debut at Boston AND ran the fastest debut time of an American. I was jumping up and down watching her. Anyway, it sounds like she really trained perfectly, she ran her training runs at 9:32 when she would be starting Boston and practiced her meals and everything beforehand. I know this won’t be possible for all my runs, but I want to incorporate it when I can!
  3. Hydration while Running: I am terrible at this. I don’t even carry water or bring any on training runs, but with this training cycle being in the summer that won’t be an option anymore unless I want to crash and burn. I have tried tailwind nutrition and want to create some running routes that go by my house midway so I can practice drinking more. In my past marathons, I take water but I drink minimally.
  4. Do more than just run: This one is important and I did it well for Napa, but have since fallen out of the routine. This really encompasses, eating well to fuel your body for all the runs, doing yoga/stretching, doing strength exercises to prevent injury, and more walking to help my legs recover. I hope to strategically get those back into my weekly training on a more consistent basis!
  5. Every Run has a Purpose: Every run shouldn’t be the same, each run adds something to the overall plan. Although I am doing much better at running my easy runs easy (watch turned over), I still want to remind myself of the reasons for each type of run and how it contributes to my overall goal.
  6. Push Yourself but Listen to Yourself: Make your workouts hard, but keep yourself grounded. Know yourself. Don’t think that because so and so is running their hard days at 6:30 pace and you are running yours at 7:30 pace for the same workout that you should be doing 6:30’s, NO. I catch myself doing this and have to remind myself that I am my own person and am on my own path and I may get to those paces but I am not there today. After all, it’s a marathon, not a sprint 🙂
  7. Practice the Mental Side of Running: We all have good runs and bad runs, we also have curve balls sent our way that interrupt our lives and our training, this is okay. The bad runs, the hard runs, the runs where you don’t know if you will make it they make you a stronger runner. I need to remember this, I also need to come up with more ways to trick myself to get through rough patches in running. How do you get yourself to power through the pain and exhaustion for the last 5k of a marathon?
  8. Do What Works for YOU: Not all runners are created equal, something might work for you that doesn’t work for someone else, but if it works for you do it! Focus on yourself and how to prepare yourself to get to the start and finish line!

Besides a new training plan, where I hope to approach 60-70 miles a week for my peak, I want to purposely make time for everything I mentioned above. I love the marathon not just for the running, but everything else that comes in to play to get to the start AND the finish. That is what keeps me coming back for more! I can’t wait to share my Chicago training with you starting in June!

Also a little more fun here are 5 marathons on my bucketlist! Not for the near future since I think I will take a marathon break after Boston in 2018!

  1. CIM – California International Marathon – actually I may have just lied this one MIGHT happen in 2018 since I believe it is in December
  2. London Marathon
  3. Florence Marathon
  4. St George Marathon
  5. New York City Marathon – I want to qualify so may take a couple years 🙂

What are your bucketlist marathons?!


4 thoughts on “Chicago Marathon – Plan for Success

  1. #6 is such a good reminder for me because I get caught up comparing my pace to what I see other people running, even though I know they’ve been training for years and I barely started. So, thank you for that!


  2. I’ve been trying to take easy run days much easier too. I think it definitely helps me be able to hit the harder workouts…my body isn’t as exhausted!

    I live in Northern California and just ran CIM this past December, I loved it! I will definitely be back many times. I would love to do Napa one of these years, I’m thinking 2019. NYCM would be nice, but coming from the west coast, it gets pricey!


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