The Start of 2017 Chicago Marathon Training.
Marathon training has officially begun!! I am currently on week two of training for my 5th marathon, The 2017 Chicago Marathon. What is most exciting about this years training, is that I was actually EXCITED to start. It's so clear that taking a little time off from marathon training and not signing up for a spring marathon, did exactly what I needed it to. At the end of last years Chicago Marathon in October, I was in need of a break, both physically and mentally. Probably more mentally than physically actually. At the very beginning of training for that marathon I already felt not thrilled to be training yet again, I started a month after running the 2016 Nashville Marathon, and training for Nashville started two months after training for the 2015 Chicago Marathon. So it had started feeling like I was constantly in marathon training mode, for about a year and a half. All that being said, the anxious excitement I felt the week before the first week of training for this marathon was refreshing.
I am making some changes and adjustments to my marathon training plan this time around. In the past I ran 5 days a week, sometimes even 4 days. I cross trained with a strength day at the gym- always a one hour class, I bike to commute everywhere- so I'm biking daily, and then I recover with Yoga the day after my Sunday long run. This year I will be running 6 days a week, with one day being a speed workout, and one day (the day before my long run) being slow easy miles. I will incorporate tempo miles and marathon pace miles into my weekly runs. On Tuesdays, in addition to a short mile run I will be doing a one hour strength class at the gym. I will still be biking to commute daily which will act as cross training, and I will recover with Yoga the day after my long run. With these changes, there clearly will be an increase in weekly mileage, due to more days running. Because this is a different approach in that respect, I am going to be intentional about tuning into what my body is telling me, and resting from a day of running when needed- I don't want to overwork or push myself to cause an injury- or just a mental burn out. So I'm holding this new plan openly, and I will be adjusting as needed!
In addition to these changes I am really going to try to figure out my nutrition well, specifically for long runs (and race day!!) so I don't experience the same stomach issues I have in the past during long miles. Nutrition is always trial and error, so I think you learn a little more about what is best for your body each race you train for and run. I think I have narrowed down my pre-run and during-run nutrition. But I certainly know my post run, and week day nutrition can be adjusted to help improve my energy level and performance. Nutrition is a challenging aspect for me, because of numerous reason. I think learning the balance between being healthy and giving my body the nutrients I need, and indulging from time to time is a process. It's very easy, when focusing on nutrition, to become a little over obsessive about it- and I've certainly been in that position before, and don't want to return to that. I love my meal planning, but I also love my donuts- so reminding myself that a balance of meal planning and treating myself is perfect, and that it's different for everyone.
One other change this time around, and this one's a game changer, is I'm back in a marathon training group! I've decided to join Chicago Area Runners Association (CARA) Summer Marathon Training again this year, I ran with them two summers ago, for the 2015 Chicago Marathon! Other than that one year, I have trained for the other three marathons solo, with the occasional run with a friend. This year I will be doing speed training on Wednesday mornings at a track downtown, and my long runs on Sunday mornings along the lakefront with the CARA group. I'm really looking forward to having a group surrounding me for support during those fast workouts, and those long lakefront miles.
I have goals for this marathon, but I want to hold them openly. I would love to break 3:45:00 but that would be a 10 minute PR, and a lot of hard work to get there- so I'm not counting on it. I do believe I can PR, my current PR is 3:55:01. I think that it's very realistic to think I could run close to a 3:50:00, especially because last year I was completely on track for that time up until mile 17, when I began to have stomach issues and backed off of my pace. My dad will also be out on the course this year running the marathon, and there is a small chance he will decide to run my pace with me- which would be so special and a huge help in reaching my time goals.
So we will see how this training season goes! Cheers to the journey to marathon number 5!!