Chicago Marathon Training

Chicago Marathon Training – Week 5

Marathon training week 5. It wasn’t pretty and I am glad it’s over! Let’s hope week 6 is better!

Monday – Club session – Bleep test, 400’s and 75m sprints – 3.54 miles in total Av. pace 8:38

It was an extremely hot day, so our club session was modified. We were running on grass (which I’m not a fan of, as it makes you work harder!) After a mile warm-up, we started the bleep test. If you have never heard of this it is a 20-metre multi-stage fitness test.

Group photo after run club

Basically you run between two cones 20 metres apart continuously between beeps. The beeps are spread out at the start, so you start quite slow, but every minute the beeps move up and level and get closer together.

I used to have the pleasure of doing this test every Friday night of our England basketball training sessions! You would, therefore, think I would be better at it! I find it mentally very tough and often give up! I think I got to Level 6.something, but I could just be making that up!

After water and shade, we headed out to complete 400’s. We were supposed to give ourselves enough rest to keep the pace consistent. I progressively got slower!

We finished the session with 75M sprints concentrating on form. I wished I had videoed them, as what I think I look like is not what I actually look like!

Tuesday – Gym Session

Upper body workout at the gym.

Wednesday – 6 Mile Tempo Run – Av Pace 9:12

Tempo runs during marathon training are important, but I always dread them! It was another warm day, so I took the pressure off myself deciding very early on that if I needed to stop and break up this run with rest due to heat, I would. It meant that I was stressing about the run all day,

I met with Vic and Simon at 7:30 pm and luckily it had cooled a bit by that point so we headed off to see what would happen!

1-mile warm-up (uphill!), then 6 miles and all bar one, were sub 9-minute mixing. I was happy with that.

Team Tempo, happy to have completed the tempo run!
All smiles after the tempo is over.

Thursday – Rest Day

Cartoon - Train for a marathon they said, it'll be fun they said...
SO true, it’s hard, but it’s worth it! Marathons are hard work!

Friday – 16-mile Long run – Av Pace 10:44

Due to a wedding at the weekend, I changed my long run to Friday. The weather had turned big time! My alarm went off at 5:30 am and I knew immediately that my mind wasn’t ready for this run. I was beating myself up about having to complete this run. I contemplated not going SO many times.

About 10 minutes before I was due to head out, the thunder and lightning started. I rang my friend and called off. There was no way I was running in Thunder and Lightening.

You can imagine how much of a mental battle I was having after calling it off, especially when the weather started to brighten up. I watched the Chicago Marathon course video on Youtube.

I also filtered week 5 on this blog to read where I was at in my other training cycles. It appears that week 5 is always my tough week. In previous cycles, I have been ill and not completed the long run in full.

I took the positive; I wasn’t ill, so actually I just needed to get out and get this done. That would mean that I was further on than other cycles. 11 am, 5 and a half hours after I had got up, I got myself out of the door. I ran the first 6 miles on my own and yes, it started to thunder and lightening as I ran. I met with Christine to complete the final 10 miles.

We experienced all the weather and when the sun did come out it was HOT. I was grateful for all the cars that made me stop and wait to cross the road. I took additional breaks and at 13 miles, I had to walk. My legs really didn’t feel like they had recovered from Wednesday tempo run. I really gritted my teeth to get the full 16 miles completely.

Miles splits from my long run
Not all runs can be great!

Saturday – Rest Day

After yesterdays struggle bus run, I welcomed this extra rest day with open arms.

Sunday – Was supposed to be 6 miles, but ended another Rest day!

After sitting in the car for over 6/7 hours, arriving in Croydon at 7 pm meant that this ended up being another rest day! Not really what I wanted, but it is what it is, and I will just try harder next week.

Marathon training isn’t easy, but it’s always worth it.


New York Marathon Training – Week 5

I know that marathon training is difficult, but this cycle seems to be challenging me no end. So, I finally got antibiotics and my sinusitis is clearing up, but training still hasn’t been easy or too enjoyable this week. I have really struggled to recover from my long run last week. My quads are really sore and calves tight, so Monday I had a sports massage and changed my 400’s on the plan to a recovery run. It was really, really slow and so hard!!

Wednesday is my tempo run day, I am always apprehensive about this run! I found it tough from the off. My legs were heavy and every step was hard. After my mile warm up, I tried to pick up the pace, as I am supposed to run these at 9:15 min/mile. I struggled to get to that pace and felt like I was at full sprint! I felt SO disappointed, I had to give myself a talking too, as I just wanted to abandon the whole run. I managed to convince myself to clock the miles, although I did cut it a mile short!

Thursday I managed to go to run club, and oh how I love those people! I was feeling pretty rubbish about my tempo run and generally how I was finding running so hard. They were all so supportive and gave me great advice. We did 200’s, 400’s and 600’s, all with a massive hill in them, and I ran steady. After all the advice, I didn’t even really look at my watch during the run, and when I checked after, my pace wasn’t too bad. A few people suggested I cut back my long run at the weekend, or even take a week off training and recover fully. My body is trying to fight an infection so is struggling to help me recover too! Even though I knew this, when others were telling me, I felt like a huge pressure was lifted. Only pressure I was putting on myself, but this weeks 16 miler was probably not going to happen and that had to be ok!

With the pressure off, I optimistically prepared myself for my long run on Saturday morning, just incase by miracle, once I started running, I felt amazing, then I would run the whole 16 miles. So my hydration pack and gels were loaded, I avoided the alcohol and Indian takeaway the family had Friday night, and set off early Saturday morning. I knew pretty quickly 16 miles wasn’t going to miraculous happen, so decided to enjoy the sights, the lovely weather and complete a 5 mile loop. I walked when I needed and ran when I wanted. I was disappointed not to complete my long run, but at the same time, I really needed to enjoy the run.

So, that’s my week. Again, not my best, but some miles are banked, I’ve now finished my antibiotics and I hoping for a return to form. Training plans are good, but they have to be flexible to suit you.

I think I would benefit from having a better recovery strategy after runs.

If anyone has any tips, please leave me a comment below.

#VMLM2016 training – Week 5

I am pleased to report that I actually got more than ONE run in this week. Unfortunately, it still wasn’t a 100% week due to work commitments, but it was an improvement!!

Monday – 4 x mile repeats. A really tough session at club. I was originally told I was in the 7:50-8:10 group. I’m not sure I have ever run a mile that started with a 7:xx, let alone run 4, so I soon moved myself back a group! I wasn’t too sure how I would find the session having missed 2 weeks of quality training, but actually (once it was over) I really enjoyed it! I think my pace was around 8:30/8:40 pace for each of the miles which I was pretty happy with.

Tuesday – Strength and stretches. I keep telling myself I NEED to do strength work and stretch and then don’t do it! Whenever anyone asks about strength and stretches on #ukrunchat I always suggest the Nike training app. So today, I listened to my own advice and used the app; I completed the runners strength and balance workout, and then finished with run ready yoga.

Wednesday – 9 Miles. Running long after a full day at work, never appeals. An hour before I had to go, I really didn’t want too!

Luckily, I had arranged to run with friends, so there was no backing out. 9 miles were completed and it felt so good. I trialled a Science in Sport gel during this run. It has been a long time since I took gels. I am not keen on the actual taking of them; so sticky and not particularly nice tasting, but I definitely felt strong right up to the end of this run, which I think was helped by the gel!

Thursday – A LONG day at work, meant that this was a rest day (well in terms of running!)

Friday – I was SO tired that I took another rest day. But, I did manage to order my #oneinamillion t-shirt. Read here for more information.

Saturday – 15 Miles. The weather forecast was not good for this run, and I had contemplated moving it to Sunday morning. Again, friends were joining me, and they couldn’t do Sunday, so my alarm went off at 6AM Saturday morning for breakfast! At 8am we set off for 15 miles. I took my fluid in my nathan backpack and this time I was trialling High 5 gels. For the last couple of years I have always carried Lucozade sport in my backpack, but I’m now finding this too sickly, so I have been taking water with a Nuun tablet. It’s much more refreshing.

So pros/cons of the run:


  1. No chaffing this week – thank God for vaseline!
  2. Average pace of 10.37
  3. I love running with people
  4. The High 5 Gels didn’t upset my stomach
  5. This run made me finally break through the 100 miles so far in 2016.


  1. I found 15 miles HARD – only 11.2 miles still left to go for the marathon!!
  2. The weather – rain and wind are not my friends.
  3. Early morning alarms on a Saturday are not my friend!
  4. The High 5 gels were sticky on my hands!
  5. My hamstrings were tight. I think my exercises are helping, but my lazy glutes are really making my hamstrings work hard!
  6. Mentally I feel I am losing my toughness. I wanted to give up SO many times, and had I not been running with people, I think I may have. I tried mantras and every PMA (Positive Mental Attitude) tactic I could think of, but still I wanted to quit and wondered why I was doing it!

Sunday – I really wanted to do more strength work today, but I never really found the time. At one point I asked my daughter if she wanted to do some exercises with me (she’s 4) when she said NO, I knew there was a strong possibility it wouldn’t happen at all. So another rest day!

I am finding the nutrition part of running REALLY confusing at the moment, so if anyone has any links to good articles, please post below. What gels/sweets/food do you take with you on long runs?