The Final Push: Chicago Marathon

Saucony and Competitor Running have done an awesome job of timing every email and shipment perfectly for us within the Saucony 26 Strong program.  I’d say it’s been a pleasant coincidence that goes along with the time frame of training for a marathon, but I’d be more inclined to say it’s because this isn’t their first rodeo.

#Saucony26Strong
#Saucony26Strong

The first package of goodies arrived at the beginning of June, right after finishing my half marathon when my focus needed to turn to training for an extraordinary distance.  It was too early to really start marathon specific runs, but the right time to get excited for a new goal.

Saucony Shipment
June Shipment – Kinvara, Ride, and plenty of colors!

A couple weeks ago we received an email notifying us that we’d start hearing about hotels and flights, plus a weekend schedule.  This came right after vacation when I needed to refocus and face the heart of marathon training right in the face.  It was a little perk, enough to push me through a couple more weeks.

Right before my longest run to date, the 18 miler that I was slightly scared of, we got our second shipment of gear.  I still haven’t found enough space to store it all away and all the fall/winter gear is placed haphazardly on my dresser, but it was a huge motivator.  There is something about taking off tags and heading out in fresh clothes can really help your mood.

Saucony Sept. Shipment
September Shipment!

And last but not least, on Tuesday I got my finalized flight schedule for Chicago emailed to me coincidentally after all but one my runs the week before were terrible.  It was the perfect timing to kick off the final three weeks before taper.  After a rough week, the email reassured me there’s still a few left to get in solid work and prepare myself fully for this race.  One bad week probably won’t make or break Chicago, but there’s three more to dig deep and finish hard.

Three weeks of hard work before taper.  Actually, less than that by the time you’re reading this.  Yikes!  I feel like just yesterday I was texting Laura, “Yes!” in response to this opportunity, yet in reality almost five months have passed.  I totally understand the feeling people have before their marathon when they look back at their training and think about everything they could have/should have/would have done better.  I always felt relatively prepared for every half marathon goal race, but the marathon?  It’s a totally different ball game.  I believe that no matter how awesome your training is, you’ll always find something you wish to have improved upon.  When it comes to the marathon — you just have to trust in your training.  And thankfully, I still have three more weeks left.

So in these next three weeks, I have 6 key workouts I’m looking forward to nailing before taper.  The most important to me is my next three long runs – 20 miles, 18 miles with faster finish, and 20 miles with Laura.  I want to feel strong throughout, have a healthy hip, and feel like I have gas in the tank.  That last one is the absolute most important takeaway from these runs: gas in the tank.  

20 Miler Marathon Meme
[Source]
I also have three quicker paced runs.  One progression, one interval, and one tempo.  Due to my vacation, I skipped my previous progression and tempo runs and have mostly had interval workouts midweek so I’m kind of excited to do something different.  Each workout amounts to about 6-7 miles including warm-up and cool down.  I’ve nailed almost every speed session this training cycle so it’s no secret where my preferences and strengths are and I’m certainly going to envision these last few sessions when I feel like death towards the final 6-8 miles of the marathon.

It’s still hard to believe in a month I’ll be in Chicago preparing for my first marathon.  It’s even harder to believe I’m doing this relatively injury free; I never thought that’d happen a year ago.  But here I am, looking forward to grinding out just 21 more days of hard training.  My pantry and fridge are stocked with healthy food (though ones I need to cook — J, help me!), I have new sheets on the bed and in the closet.  Other than laundry, work, and a wedding, I’m looking to make these next few weeks just me and my training.  It’s just 21 days, that’s nothing… right?

 

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Brittany

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

5 thoughts on “The Final Push: Chicago Marathon”

  1. Dude I cannot believe your marathon is sneaking up on you. I am truly excited and I cannot wait to see how it goes. You’ve been smart with your training so I’m definitely not surprised you’ve stayed injury free (knock on wood)!

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  2. So awesome that Chicago will be your first marathon. You are going to love it so, so much – it wasn’t a PR for me but it was one of my favorites! One thing no one really told me before the race was that the buildings in the city mess with your GPS watch. I still ran a great time there, but I ran much of the race on effort – something I am normally terrible at. You start the race and go under an underpass and lose reception on your watch, but don’t panic. Just trust the training and hard work you have done, and if you can find a pacer that is pacing your goal time in your corral, I recommend starting with them just to get you on track. Enjoy every minute, it’s one of the best cities and such a great race!! Good luck with your final few weeks of training 🙂

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    1. I’ve heard so many great things about the Chicago Marathon, I’m really excited. Good to know about the GPS signal, I didn’t even think about that! Thankfully, I have a friend who’s been coaching me that will be running by my side for the entirety so hopefully between the two of us we can keep me on track. As long as I can be sure to not start out too fast, hopefully that’ll be enough — I’m terrible at running by effort, too. I’m always running a little too fast! 🙂

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      1. That’s how I am, too! Chicago is an exciting start but between your coach and the pacers you will stay on track. I know it! I hit the “lap” button on my watch and mile 1 to get a better idea of pace. My data for the race is so weird when I go back and look at my splits but it helped a little to have some idea what i was doing. I would also recommend going to Marathon Guide and printing one of those free paper pacing bracelets out with your goal time so you can go by actual race time and know what times you should be hitting overall for each mile! Good luck, can’t wait to read about it!

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