18 Weeks to Train for the Chicago Marathon

This past Sunday, I began the long road to Chicago Marathon training! I entered the lottery back in November and was picked in early December. Only about 1 in 5 people make it in the lottery so I felt pretty lucky about that one.

To prepare for a successful race, I invested in a new pair of shoes. It is best practice to replace shoes every 300 miles, give or take a few and also dependent on the type of shoe. For example, a standard performance shoe can last anywhere between 300-500 miles while lightweight shoes are typically between 250-300 miles. However, these are big ranges and in the grand scheme of things, it is up to your discretion – if you notice the sole is starting to wear out or they are not as supportive as they used to be, it’s time to get a new pair.

I also tend to switch off shoes each run or utilize one pair for short distances and another for long. There has been a long-standing debate if it is necessary to rotate shoes during training and I am clearly in favor of it. With multiple pairs of shoes, your body has to slightly adjust each run, strengthening different muscles in the process. This was something I did not do for the Chicago Spring Half Marathon but with a longer distance, I think it is something that will aid my performance.

Over the next 18 weeks, I will be running 548 miles on two pairs of shoes, possibly rotating in a third depending on how they feel about 4 weeks out. I am building off of the spring half and 5k training momentum and will easily roll into the first couple of weeks with mileage between 15-20. I used several different resources in curating my plan (shown below) – the Hal Higdon plan, the Hansons Method, and 4 Months to a 4 Hour Marathon book. I appreciated the scheduled cross-training day in the Hal Higdon plan since we know I can’t get enough of Enrgi Fitness but also wanted to incorporate the speed work in the Hansons Method. I enjoy the 4 Months to a 4 Hour Marathon because it goes over the basics of running and focuses a lot on your form, which is essential to avoid injury.

It is important to develop a plan that you will enjoy and speaks to your interests outside of running, such as group fitness classes for me. Marathon training is no easy venture and you do not want to end up hating it the entire time (that is not to say you won’t have a few rough runs throughout training though). You are about to embark on a journey to become part of the 1% to complete a marathon and that is something you should be pretty damn proud of!

So cheers to marathon training season and hope to see you out there for some runs along Lake Michigan!

You can also find my 18 week plan on GoogleDocs here!




Get the look:

Shoes: Brooks Launch 3 | Leggings: Old Navy Mid Rise Mesh Panel Capris | Top (similar): LuluLemon Final Lap Tank


Leave a comment

  1. June 8, 2017 / 11:20 am

    Good luck with training! I start my plan in two weeks. 🙂 I’m resting up until then.

    • June 8, 2017 / 12:01 pm

      Good luck to you as well! We will need to cheer each other on throughout training 🙂

  2. June 8, 2017 / 3:33 pm

    stay positive and strong! Keep Training… GOOD LUCK!

  3. July 13, 2017 / 8:43 am

    I think that I will incorporate another pair of running shoes for my marathon training (NYC, November). Good luck preparing for Chicago!!!

    • July 13, 2017 / 8:45 am

      I highly recommend it! I upped it to 3 a couple weeks ago and love it. Good luck prepping for NYC!

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