Chicago Marathon Training Plan

Yep -it’s that time again.  That 18 weeks of every year that I spend preparing to run 26.2 miles – hopefully a little faster than I have previously.  This is my third year training for fall marathons.  It’s ridiculously hard, incredibly time consuming and both physically and mentally exhausting – but there’s just something about it pushing myself that much that WORKS for me.  Perversely, I rather enjoy it.

Remind me I said that in August when I’m running close to 60 miles a week.

This has been a rather interesting year for me in terms of training.  I attempted to follow a training plan for Spring races, and I once again failed to stick with it.  Apparently, my discipline is seasonal – this is the second year winter training has puttered out.  However, I did manage to obtain two significant PRs.  The 10K was right at mid-training – a two and a half minute PR of 53:56.  But I also was able to swing a sub-2 half in May, even after not really training for almost two months.  Granted, it was really hard and my friend who helped pace me for the last half really pushed me to keep going, it showed me that I’m really much stronger than give myself credit for.

I’m training for the Chicago Marathon (second time running) and I’ll be using the Hansons Marathon Method, again.  For those of you not familiar, Hansons training a very intense training program that has you running six days a week, with three of those runs eventually being “something of substance” runs (tempo, strength, speedwork and long runs.)  The long runs top out at 16 miles total, but you run more miles during the week – the idea being that your legs will be tired going to into the long run but you won’t need the recovery a 20+ run requires.  They call it cumulative fatigue – and that’s pretty accurate description of what happens.  My legs are always tired but this helped me learn how to push myself and keep pushing when my muscles are screaming STOP!!!

I’ve been pondering my goal for Chicago for about a month.  I looked at race equivalency charts, checked several different race pace calculators and it would seem that my last two races would predict a marathon time in the 4:10 – 4:11 range, but that was what I was able to do after only half a training cycle and inconsistent training at best.  I’m thinking I could probably do better if I gave it my full effort.

And…that’s what I’m going to do.  I’ve based all my training paces on running a 4:00 hour marathon.  And yes, I’ll probably try and go sub-4 as my A-goal…but I’m not really going to focus on that right now because I’ll get way too into my head worrying about if I’m making my times, and tempo runs and how freakin’ hard running a marathon that fast is going to be.

I’ve modified the mileage a little bit this year – it’s slightly higher and builds to 60 miles. I’m also planning on making a few of my easy runs over the first few weeks tempo-ish runs.  Honestly, a lot of these paces are close to what I was doing for half marathon training, so they don’t really scare me.  I mean, I know it’s not going to be easy…but I also know that I’m capable of doing it.

I’ll be back to blogging weekly on how training is going to help with accountability as well as posting daily workouts on Instagram.

What are your goals for Fall race training?








Running for Medals. And Bacon.

3 thoughts on “Chicago Marathon Training Plan

  1. First full in November!! NYC! Got my first sub 2 half just recently as well :). Good luck with your training, I love Chicago (the city, not thenmarsthon obvi, used to live there actually). Will be interested to see if you like the Hanson method. I’m using the Hal Higdon, I’ve heard its good for first timers. Happy running!

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