Why is it during week 8 of Chicago Marathon training you can’t wait for it all to be over, but now in Week 14 you feel like you need more time. I do feel I have been training hard, but I know there is so much more that I should have been doing! It’s the same every training cycle and each time I say the next will be different!
My running was feeling like it was going a little Pete Tong of late. So I had no idea how this session was going to go. I went on the longer warm-up and it felt pretty hard and fast, but I just gritted my teeth and went with it.
We started with a 800 loop. I ran it hard and came in with a time of 4:10. We then set off for a 1600 (2 loops) and told to keep the same pace. I actually run that rep in 8:19, which I was pleased with. I felt like i’d given everything, to be told we had another 800m and should try to go faster! Yeah right, I thought.
3:55 for that loop! Wow, but I really did feel now that I had nothing left. Another 800 loop and the coach told us not to slow down! I worked hard and was surprised when I clocked 3:48. That had to be the last one! Yep, you guessed it, the coach called for one more. I really felt spent, but couldn’t let my time increase! I set off, working hard, after setting off my shoelace came undone! Bang goes my quicker every lap!
Tuesday – Rest day
Wednesday – Tempo run 8 miles – av. pace 9:10
I had company for this run, as I talked my husband in to cycling. I knew he wasn’t keen on doing it, but came with me anyway. It always makes runs SO much easier when you have people to go out with.
I felt good at the start and looked forward to sending good splits to my coach. When I got to 4 miles, I turned round to head back and thats where it started to fade. I felt like I was working really hard, but my pace was just fading fast. I tried all the mental tricks I could think of, but by the last mile I decided it was a cool down mile. I stopped looking at my watch and tried to work hard until the end. My fade wasn’t as disastrous as I thought it was going to be, but trying to run faster is HARD! (I think i’m over it!!!!)
Thursday – Run Club Session – Hills – Av 8:42
Hills, I was tired and I got maranoia! Another hard session, which I just had to grind out. The loops were around 400m and included a rather challenging hill. Then to top it all off, we finished with an undulating 1.5 mile loop.
Friday – Rest
Saturday – Easy Run – 3 Miles – Av. 10:30
I thought about Parkrun, but when my daughter came into my bed for cuddles in the morning, I wasn’t moving. She is already growing up too fast, so these moments are the best.
Instead I used the treadmill in the afternoon to just get these 3 miles out of the way. My old watch used to always track slow on the treadmill. Since I have changed to the Garmin Forerunner 645 it reads really fast. I think it recorded 9:35 pace, when actually I think I was closer to 10:45 pace. I kept it super slow and easy, although very few runs are feeling easy these days.
Sunday – Long Run – 13 Miles – av pace: 9:51
As soon as I saw my plan had 13 miles for today, falling on the same day as Northampton Half it seemed a no brainer. If you are logging long miles for a marathon, why not collect all the bling on the way!
I really didn’t know how to approach this run and now that it is over, i’m really not too sure how I feel about it. My race report is here.
So, that was week 14 and this time in 2 weeks I am hoping that I will have completed the Chicago Marathon. This training cycle has felt REALLY tough, so I will just have to see what happens. For the next two weeks I need to sleep well, eat well and stay healthy. Nearly there!
After my long run last week, this week felt like the week I had to nail all my sessions and get the confidence boost that is desperately needed leading into the final few weeks before Chicago Marathon.
My legs took a bit of time to warm up, but once I got going I felt quite strong. The loop included some undulation too, so it was a pretty good workout.
I was running flat out, but it did feel good; I got faster and felt stronger with every lap.
Tuesday – Rest day
Slowly becoming one of my favourite days! hehe
Wednesday – Tempo run 11 miles – av. pace
After last week saying about having to wait until the evening for tempo runs, plans changed this week and I headed out in the morning. I didn’t have time to think about it and after the warm-up, I picked up the pace. The first tempo mile was 8:45, which is my prescribed pace, but to be honest I think for tempo’s I have been running closer to 8:55-9:05 pace. I was feeling ok, so just went with it. The following miles were 8:55, 8:51, 8:56, 9:00, 9:06.
The route that we do is an out and back (Just because it’s flat) After the turn around, I struggled. The wind had picked up and my legs just lost all speed. I completed another mile at 9:09 and then when I started the eighth mile, I had nothing. The wind blew strongly into my face and I felt like I was going backwards. I was really thirsty, so just decided to call it a day.
I headed for some water and then myself and Tina ran/walked back. I still covered 10.24 miles, but only really 7 quality tempo miles. Maybe I should have been more controlled in the early miles? Maybe I hadn’t had enough to drink the day before?
Thursday – Club Session
Tonight’s session was a little different as after out warm–up we did some core exercises. I remember think at the time, I just want to run, but the core exercises were good, fun and also very telling on how much work I need to do on my core!
We then completed some timed reps, where were concentrating on consistent running. We ran out for 1:30 minutes and then after a decreasing recovery time, we had to run back and obviously worked to get back to the starting point.
Friday – Rest
My second favourite day!
Saturday – Easy Run – 5 Miles – DNS
I decided to skip this run. My long runs have been SO hard and I always feel like I haven’t recovered enough from these Saturday runs. I know that I am training to run on tired legs, yet my long runs have hurt from mile 1.
I needed a good long run, so thought I’d just see what impact this run was actually having.
Sunday – Long Run – 22 Miles – av pace: 10:27
You know you are a runner when your weekend alarm is earlier than weekday! My alarm today went off at 5:00 am! I had my usual porridge and tea. I drank extra water and I foam rolled. My hip flexors were very tight from Thursday’s run club session (Mountain Climbers!!)
I had 6 miles to do prior to meeting up with Simon and I headed out just before 7 am. The weather was fresh, but the sun was shinning and you could tell that the temperature was going to rise as the day went on.
My legs felt better than previous weeks and I stuck around the 10:20 min/mile pace. Once I met with Simon, the pace upped a little and I was ok with this. We were around the low 10’s, yet our prescribed pace for long runs were 9:45.
A hill at mile 10 saw our pace drop and then it stayed around the 10:30 pace. As we approached a fairly big hill around mile 14.5 and 15, I had a real pain in my toe. I had to stop and take my sock off. It felt like my toe was bent and just need to be stretched out.
Once we at the top of the hill, I stopped again. I felt thirsty and needed to regroup. I kept telling Simon to go ahead, I didn’t like the thought of slowing him down and keep making him stop. We headed off again, and then about a mile and a half later I had another wobble. I felt I was just getting slower and slower. I was around mile 17 and just wanted to stop.
Simon suggested slowing down and just getting to 20 miles and see what happens then. I felt so relieved to slow down.We ran the next 3 miles around 10:45 pace. As soon as we hit 20 miles, we were on a flat loop and then downhill and I felt like I got a renewed energy. The pace actually picked up for the last two miles; 10:34 and 10:36.
I averaged 10:27 overall, but that was with 3 stops to regroup. It wasn’t a perfect long run and I am frustrated that I keep stopping. I know it has been warm, but I have been carrying water. I have been sipping regularly and taking my torq gels every three miles. I’m wondering if I need electrolytes in my water! I would normally, but both the New York Marathon and Chicago Marathon do not allow you to wear a hydration backpack, so I wouldn’t be able to have my own electrolytes.
Chicago provides Gatorade at their aid stations, but I haven’t been able to get it in the UK to train with, so just stuck to water. The joys of international marathons! Maybe on the day, I’ll take a chance with the Gatorade, I’m pretty sure I did when I did the New York Marathon.
So, now it’s taper time and although this is exciting, there is still hard work to be done!
What do you think are the key things to concentrate on during these final weeks? Let me know below
Well this week didn’t go to plan AT ALL. But I am not going to get too hung up on it, it happened and now it’s time to move on. Chicago Marathon is approaching quickly and I have a lot of miles still to run. I think I have gone from my highest mileage week, to one of my lowest!
If you haven’t caught up with all the other weeks training, have a look here.
Monday – Rest
I needed today to walk around, find my bearings and try to locate some running routes.
Tuesday – 2.12 miles – av pace 10:02
I didn’t manage to locate any routes near where we were staying, so I headed out early to explore. We were staying in a campsite which was located on a single track. If you went out of the gate and turn left there was a very steep hill and single track, if you turned right there was still a hill, but not as steep. Obviously I turned right.
The single lane was 0.7 mile until I met a busy road, that still had no path. I ran a little way on it, but the whole time listening for cars and looking for where I could jump into the hedge if needed.
Wednesday – 2.73 miles – av. pace 10:19
I should have been doing a tempo run today, so everywhere we went I looked out for paths and possible routes. When we got back to the campsite, I could feel myself getting in a right tizzwazz. I was stressing about not being able to fit my runs in and feeling trapped. I thought about driving to a possible place to run, but then didn’t really want to go on my own. I thought about doing a workout video from YouTube, but the internet was pretty poor.
In the end, I repeated yesterday’s run, as I just needed to run. I felt like I wanted to run and run and run, but the roads were just too dangerous. I wanted to run longer than the day before, so added some hills reps to the end of my run. It was perfect, but it lifted my mood and made me feel so much better.
Thursday – Rest
I wasn’t feeling my best today (time of the month) so I spent the day on the beach instead!
Friday – Rest
Beach again, but this time I walked lots and even had a little go at surfing! (Ok bodyboarding). I must have been holding on for dear life as my triceps and back were aching for days after. Haha
Saturday – Rest
We travelled today, which took FOREVER. By the time we got home it was too late to run, considering I had to get up early for the half marathon race in the morning.
At times this week, I felt like I had a breakthrough. I’ve had some very good sessions, felt like my paces were improving and thought ‘Chicago Marathon here we come’. Well, that was until the weekend happened! Read on to find out what happened.
If you haven’t caught up with all the other weeks training, have a look here.
Monday – Club Session – 400’s, 300’s and 20 second sprint
With 18 miles in my legs from the previous days long run, I was a little apprehensive about this session. I set off on the warm-up ahead of everyone else and then watch almost all of them pass me. My legs felt quite heavy, but I just kept plodding along. Gradually my legs started to feel better and I was quite lucky that we had a long warm-up. By the time the main session started 6 x 400’s, 3 x 300’s and 8 x 20-second sprint with 10-sec recovery I felt really strong. My paces were pretty decent too, so that was a total shock to me.
Tuesday – Rest Day
Massage with Tina and yes it hurt. My left glute has been hurting, so there was a lot of work on that. Ouch! I really do need to make sure I stretch more!
Wednesday – Tempo Run – Av Pace 8:45
After a very emotional day, I can’t say I was looking forward to this. I didn’t have anyone to run with and I just couldn’t get my head around sorting a route, so I decided to use the treadmill.
I genuinely thought that there was a chance I would just give up after 3 miles, but after my mile warm-up, I set the treadmill to 8:47 min/mile pace and started running. 8 miles felt like a long way, but I think my emotion from the day kicked in and was channeled during this run as I completed all 8 miles. It was sweaty, it was mentally and physically tough, but it gave me a real boost once completed.
Thursday – Club session – Gully run
We have a local park that is very undulating and lucky for us, our coaches have a 1200m loop that includes about 50 steps in!! Let me just tell you that these steps are not evenly spaced, so they are a killer. Some of our club members run them, I don’t think I EVER have!
Usually I enjoy working hard during this session and then my legs just fade and I get slower and slower. Not today, I still didn’t run the steps, but I ran the rest of the loop strong and I got faster with every loop.
Friday – 6 Miles easy – Av Pace 10:
This felt far from easy. My legs were still sore from the session the previous evening. Today was a super busy day, so I had to start this run at 7 am. I was tired, my legs felt heavy and were not my friend. But it was a lovely morning and I had Christine with me keeping me going. It wasn’t at my prescribed pace, but I wasn’t too concerned I was just happy to bank the miles.
Saturday – 20 miles Long Run – Av Pace 10:45
When my alarm went off at 5:10am I was surprised how quickly I jumped up to get this run over and done with. I had my cup of tea (how Very British!) and some more to drink, but I couldn’t decide whether to eat or not. I knew I didn’t have enough time to digest porridge and whilst trying to decide time just disappeared. I headed out for 5 solo miles and then was meeting with others. My legs were SO heavy, but I just kept putting one foot in front of the other.
I could feel my heavy quads for the entire run. I don’t think there was any point during this run that I felt relaxed and running normally! I kept justifying that I was learning to run on tired legs, so this was good practice for the last few miles of the marathon.
I keep having wobbles around 13 miles for some reason, but today I think it was earlier. The temperature was increasing lots and I was just over running. From about mile17 I needed to adopt a run walk strategy just to get me to the end. All I keep thinking was ‘All aboard the struggle bus’ and the song ‘everyday i’m shuffling’.
I am pleased that I didn’t give up and I got the 20 miles banked, but I would have liked it to feel a little easier. I knew that the Friday had been busy, so I probably hadn’t fuelled and hydrated well enough. Maybe I now need to be setting my alarm for silly o’clock to get porridge in me before I run. Who knows, but now is the time to try it and learn from each run, so that on race day I have it all sorted.
Sunday – REST day
YIPPPPEEEE! Although my delayed holiday meant a 4:10am alarm! Not such a rest day. Bring on my holiday!
Being away means that my week is going to have to be flexible again, but a few niggles and a tired body could probably do with a little step back.
So, here we go again. The 16-week count down to Chicago Marathon is on, and all thoughts are firmly fixed on October 13th 2019. My flights and hotel are booked and it’s now all about the hard work.
I really want to improve my time for Chicago and I have been hitting the gym prior to this marathon cycle starting, as well as losing a little weight (not as much as I had hoped) and fairly high monthly mileage. But as soon as I see the paces that my coach has set me for my training plan, I start to doubt that I want to go faster! hehe.
Sunday – LSR – 12miles – Av. pace 10:26
Long Run – 12 miles. I am lucky that another club member has signed up to a marathon the week prior to Chicago Marathon and we are similar paces, so we are hopefully doing a lot of training together. Having children means we like to get up and out early, so decided to start this session at 6:30 am. We both set off from home and met after 2 miles. The early miles felt tough and it took a long time for my body to wake up and my legs to get going. As I started to get into my stride, we ran up a horrible hill which zapped the pace. As soon as the hill was conquered, the pace felt fine. The concentration was mainly on slowing ourselves down to stick to the pace.
Monday – Speed – 4.5 miles – Av. pace 9:03
My legs HURT loads today! My quads were not my friend and I can’t say that I was looking forward to my running club session.
We started the warm up, and my legs felt like lead. I took it really easy and chatted with friends. The session was 425 loops and 325 loops! We had to pair up with someone of similar ability, so our recovery would be about the same time as we were running. Throughout the session, it felt extremely hard work, but I was being pulled along by another club mate. By the end of the session, I felt I had nothing left in my legs and quite sick. When I looked back at my splits, I now understand why!!!
Tuesday – Rest day (from running!)
AM: Gym – upper body and core.
The strength work is essential, as I can’t expect my body to get faster, without doing somethings differently. As I am going to be pushing it, I need to help it not to break, by making it stronger!
Wednesday – Tempo run – 5 miles – Av. pace 9:55
My tempo run was taking place in the evening, so that meant I had all day to worry about it! Silly really, as the paces that were set are all within my capabilities, but for some reason, it was still a worry!
The plan was 2 miles warm up, 2 miles tempo 8:55-9:10 pace and then 1 mile cool down. Trying to find a route that doesn’t include hills was the main aim, so myself and Simon decided to repeat a 3/4 mile loop that we know. It isn’t the most inspiring route, but it was more about concentrating on the running than taking in the surroundings.
My legs felt sluggish again during the warm-up, and I did wonder if I would be able to hit the paces set but as soon as my watch beeped 2 miles we were off. The pace actually felt quite ok, and we managed to hit both miles at bang on pace. In total, we completed 5 miles, which it really didn’t feel like. I think concentrating on the 2 in the middle, made me forget about the other three!
Thursday – Club session – 5 miles – Av. pace 9:55
AM – Gym – Core & lower body
Mid-morning – Yoga – full body stretch
PM – Club Session Hills
This was hard! My glutes were on fire from the start and then working hard up and down the hills made me very happy that tomorrow is a rest day!
Friday – REST DAY – Yiiipppppeeee
This was SO needed!
Saturday – 4 miles – easy! – Av. pace 9:34
I headed over to Bedford Parkrun to complete this run. My pace was supposed to be 9:45 -, but can you ever really run park run without being a little competitive??
Sunday – Long Run – 13 miles -Av. pace 10:10
Another early alarm can only mean one thing – Sunday Runday. 13 miles on the plan, so that’s exactly what we did. Our pace was set between 9:55 – 10:20. I started slowly as it was so early and it takes me time to wake up!
We picked up the pace and although it felt ok, around 8 miles the negative mind games kicked in. Telling myself that I can’t run this pace and that I was going to struggle at the end. I wanted the run to be over and done with then. So from 8 miles, I had to grit my teeth and try some PMA (positive mental attitude)
So week 1 is done and now I have to repeat it (+ further runs) x 15. Wow, that sounds scary, but I know it will be worth it! Chicago Marathon here I come!
Does anyone else struggle with the negative thoughts creeping in when you try to run faster? Any tips?
My long run this week was quite strange. I almost feel like I have lost a bit of my mental toughness. I spent the first three miles telling myself that I wouldn’t be able to complete the run and that I was too weak. As I tried to block the negativity, I realised that it was all in my head, as my legs actually felt fine and I wasn’t even really out of breath! Ridiculous how your mind can make or break your runs. I really need to find some mental strategies/toughness for the next 10 weeks!
If anyone has any tips for mental toughness, please post below and let me know.