Following through on my vow of showing the good, the bad and the ugly of training, I wanted to recap how the first 5 weeks of Chicago Marathon training have gone. I had planned for 91 miles and although I came up a bit short at 61 miles (okay, a lot short), I substituted with extra cross-training classes and necessary breaks to avoid burn-out this early on in training (because yes, I was already struggling and I’ll share why in a second). The conclusion of the first 5 weeks also means that it is the end of Phase 1 and easy miles.
First a little backstory on the purpose of Phase 1; it is used to build a strong base for the following weeks of training. Mileage steadily increases but not exceeding 10-ish miles which prepares your body for longer periods of running that are to come, but it’s essential that the pace is slow. There are a few opportunities to increase speed towards the end of Phase 1 but they should be much shorter distances compared to what you plan on doing during Phase 2 such as 30 seconds of speed at a time (I may have overdone it and done fast miles but I didn’t feel like I was pushing too hard so think it’s okay – it’s obviously very important to listen to your body). Lastly, it’s important to focus on cross-training, focusing on exercises that strengthen the key running muscles (aka your hamstrings, quads, calves, and glutes).
Some of my biggest pain points during the first five weeks had a lot to do with my new commute – you may have noticed that most of my Instagram pictures have a new backdrop and that’s because I moved out to the suburbs, incurring a 4+ hour daily commute to and from my job in the city. I had (and still am having) a very hard time adjusting and sometimes had to pass up a run due to a raging headache or just in an attempt to sleep more than 6 hours a night (I’m a grandma and prefer 8+).
Another thing that really got to me were the hills I have the pleasure of running in my neighborhood – while I know these will help me in the end, it took about two weeks to get used to the new aches the hills imposed on my body. I’ve done a couple of runs back in the city and have already seen how 5 short weeks of hillwork has helped with my speed and endurance so I’m really looking forward to how it will affect my time come race-day.
And lastly, this is only my second marathon, my first being in 2015 and I semi forgot how much time one has to commit to training. It takes mental toughness as much as physical and that is something I’ve been struggling to build up again. As I get further into training and settling into the extensive running routine again, it does seem to be getting easier and I can only hope it continues that way (fingers and toes crossed).
Through it all though, I keep pushing because I have my heart set on crossing that finish line at my strongest. Yes I have a time in mind but at the end of the day, I just want to know I gave it my all. And with each run or cross-training class, I know I’m getting closer to that goal.
What about you? What have been some of your ugly moments during training and how do you pick yourself up from them? What keeps you going? Like I said, I want to share the good, the bad and ugly to show that I’m not always as perfect as social media may portray and to inspire those that may be struggling to keep pushing on. We all need to lean on each other and I hope my vow to show it all enables this.
All my love,