Marathon Training: Month Three

I may never have to buy workout gear again, thanks to Saucony!
I may never have to buy workout gear again, thanks to Saucony!

If you’ve been following along, we’re now six weeks out from the Chicago Marathon.  As if the first two months didn’t fly by fast enough, the days seem to be picking up speed and here I am finishing up my third month of training.  At the rate time is passing me by, Chicago will be here probably by the weekend.

This month of training was a little bit of a setback.  I went on vacation and didn’t run as much as I anticipated.  But I know it happens and I’ve tried to not beat myself up too much over it.  After I came back, it took a couple weeks to really get my legs moving again and once I did, my hip pain returned.  It was a little frightening to feel the lingering hip soreness return with a bit more vengeance, especially as my miles continued to climb.  I took a couple days off from both running and cross training hoping it would do enough.  Thankfully, it did.

Closing out vacation with a little Bills practice.
Closing out vacation with a little Bills practice.

I had two pretty decent track workouts this month, both run a little quicker than I probably should have.  The first was 1600m at half marathon pace, 1200m at 10k pace, 800m at 5k pace with 400m recovery between each set.  I think overall I took the entire workout about :20 per mile too fast for what I could actually run that day, but it’s tough to judge your paces when you haven’t raced in forever.  My second track workout was 5 x 800m at 3:50 pace with 400m recovery.  I went back and forth between trying to be under 3:50 and trying to hit 7:40 pace.  If I was hitting 7:40 pace, I was crossing the line in 3:5x.  If I was aiming for finishing in 3:50, I was running under 7:40.  GPS watches can be fickle, you know?

Photo courtesy of Laura. This picture makes me feel strong and fast.
Photo courtesy of Laura. This picture makes me feel strong and fast.

The runs that stood out to me most of all (despite loving my track workouts!) were my four long runs.  Overall I’d consider them as the defining moments of this portion of the training cycle.  My first long run was an attempted 14-15 miler while on vacation.  J and I got lost, started late, and I took us straight up a mountain.  To save time (and my legs), I split the run in two.  Given the circumstances, we’ll consider this one a win.  My second long run was a 16 mile disaster where I ran out of water around mile 8 and bonked, or something like it.  Lesson learned – don’t run on just 20 oz of water without the option to refill when it’s 85 degrees and sunny.  The third long run was on point for the first 11 miles of 9:30-9:40 pace before being entirely derailed by knee pain.  I stopped after mile 12 when I realized it wasn’t getting better and wasn’t worth pushing through.  But I redeemed myself on my final long run of 18 miles in Rochester with Laura.  I practiced steady fueling, got stung in the face by some insect, stopped for a couple times to stretch out my tight hip, and managed to keep 12 of the 18 miles between 9:42-9:57 without much effort on my part.  We’ll call that a win.  A big win.

18 milesAs I type this, my countdown on Running Ahead reminds me there’s 40 days left (39 when this is posted).  When I gave things up for Lent as a child, 40 days seemed like a really long time but something tells me that will not be in the case here.  In the next six weeks I have a 14 miler, another 18 miler, and two 20 milers before taper.  Typed out it looks a little overwhelming but I’m ready for the confidence boost and finally seeing what Chicago has in store for me I have in store for Chicago.


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Just a 20-something homegrown Buffalo sports loving, distance running, gin drinking kind of girl.

10 thoughts on “Marathon Training: Month Three”

  1. I think you are truly going to surprise yourself in Chicago. It looks like your training has had typical marathon snafus (not that I’m any sort of expert) but you’ve overcome them. I’m excited to see what you have in store as well.


  2. Long runs in the heat are tough, even tougher without water. Over the years I’ve mapped out where public water fountains are, just in case. Unfortunately, they are not common. $5.00 in a pocket can be a life saver.
    Do you belong to a running club? My club has organized “Sunday Long Runs” in the spring and summer. We have water stops and generally 50+ runners each week. Nothing better than running with a group. This week we run 20 miles!


    1. Ugh I wish there were more public fountains around me that didn’t require a loop of about 1.5 miles! I don’t belong to a running club, not really my thing, but I can totally see the benefit!


    1. Honestly, my training plan is less of a training plan and more of a loose guide since I was coming off perpetual injuries. I aimed for an increase of 8-10% in miles each week and a slow increase of long runs by about 1-2 miles each week the last 2 months. Had I not been injured and worried about it, I would have had Laura give me a more structured plan, but I just needed a guideline and the freedom to add in the other miles with easy runs when my legs felt okay to do it.


  3. Chicago is amazing! Will it be your first time there? I ran the marathon last year and had the time of my life, and a good race, as well. So looking forward to going back again this year and really soaking in the crowd experience again! See you there. Good luck with the rest of your training.


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