Chicago Marathon – Numbers and Lessons Learned

January 5, 2016

The Chicago Marathon (Part 1, Part 2) was three months ago – this quarter flew by! The weeks leading up to the marathon I dedicated posts to race related topics (Motivation,Logistics, Packing, Outfits).  I thought it would be appropriate to wrap up all things Chicago with a look at the numbers and lessons learned. 

2015 Chicago Marathon(1)

Lessons Learned

  • This year I logged more miles training for Chicago vs. NYC, however, they were not all quality miles. The intervals, tempos, hill work – all those other runs that make you a stronger runner were not there.
  • I wish I could control the weather, but we know that is impossible.  I ran several of my long runs inside during the hot hot summer.  I was prepared for rain (thank goodness Love Run Philly), but I was not prepared for heat and it was a shock come race day.  Embrace the heat next time. 
  • Fueling-wise I consumed less calories than NYC, but was within the 100 calories/hour guideline. I was not very hungry at times.  
  • I drank more water/Nuun in Chicago vs. NYC.  I like the security blanket of carrying a handheld, so I will continue to do that.  
  • Ask my runtourage to carry a Diet Coke in case I need a sip later on the race (Cliff did for MCM).  
  • Have my cheer squad also carry an extra watch (in case the Garmin runs out).  Or run with a Timex. 
  • Salt tablets worked! I was not dizzy this year.  Thanks to Jenn of Running on Lentils and Courtney of Eat Pray Run DC for their reviews/rec. 
  • Need to work on the second half of the race! I’d love to have consistent splits or negative splits one day. That will come with work. 
  • Be proud of my accomplishments and training even though I did not reach my time goals.  There were other variables that impacted the day.  
  • My cross training dropped off later in training.  No bueno. 
  • Ouch my abs! See above. 
  • Continue using races as training runs… maybe not Clarendon Day. That is when my quad started hurting. I trained mainly on flat terrain – the Clarendon Day course is not flat. 
  • I should have scheduled a PT appointment sooner than I did. The initial office I contacted did not have availability, I should have reached out to other offices.  
  • Continue working on those PT exercises.  
  • I trained by myself – I’m not much of a talker and I like the alone time. Alternatively, I know I am missing out on the benefits of running with a group (companionship, training outside, etc etc).  
  • Related to above – consider running with a pace group. 
  • My runtourage (cheer squad) helped me mentally – broke up the run into segments and gave me something to look forward to.  
  • Need to work on my nutrition – no more weight gain! 
  • I lost one toenail – the first time in 11 years!  My toenails were painted, so I had no idea I had a black toenail until it became loose. Tip: Paint your toenails if you are squirmy about black toenails 🙂 
  • I do well when I am held accountable – a coach would help in this area and other aspects of marathon training. 

So what is my next marathon? I’ll share tomorrow! 

What are your lessons learned from this year?

Fueling/nutrition for runners- any good reads?

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      1. Run Jenny Run

        Will keep on coming. Also nice to change up the routes too (and not having to plan them) 🙂 This weekend I’ll head to NYC, so I’ll see ya’ll in a couple.

    1. I loved group runs for my marathon training! Have to try and find a group for this summer’s training, although not sure how that will work since I plan to do a slightly different race than how all local programs target the Chicago Marathon. But to be figured out! I thought the calories difference was interesting!

      1. Run Jenny Run

        It does get tricky when not training for the local race (here groups gear up for MCM). The calorie intake was fascinating. I think I may have been less hungry because of the heat? I also remember last year I was starving because NYC started much later.

    1. it’s great to reflect on lessons learned and how to approach it next time. I’m a lone runner myself so it’s hard to get with others but I did hire a coach for my next race so we’ll see how that goes!! Congrats again on a great running season. You picked some good races.
      Mar @ Mar on the Run recently posted…2016 Goals & an Inspiring WordMy Profile

      1. Run Jenny Run

        Thanks lady! Looks like training is going well for you. I also started working with a coach (ha last week -hence the variety in run workouts haha) – will write more this week.

    1. My big lessons learned in 2015 came after my first marathon – for me, it was probably 75% mental, where the last 13.1 was all about running each mile at a time. I also did a round of Jillian Michaels Body Revolution DVDs with my marathon training, which I think was the sole reason I had only very minor aches the days after.
      Excited to hear what 2016 brings for you! I’ll be at the Shamrock in March for 26.2 – are you planning to be out there again?

      1. Run Jenny Run

        That is a good point – the mental aspect, completely forgot to include that. At one point during MCM I was shedding some tears. I remember Julie telling me I could do it, its mental at this point. Good to know about Jillian Michael’s DVD, I’ve never tried it…but watched plenty of BL 🙂

      1. Run Jenny Run

        Forgot to add, good luck with the 26.2, I know there will be quite a few birds there. I’ve been debating about signing up, but figured I should let my wallet rest b/c I will be coming back from Florida the week before!

      1. Run Jenny Run

        Aww thanks Abby! I hope you get into one of your marathons this year 🙂

    1. I love your stats chart, did you make that or does a fancy program do it for you? How fun.

      I can’t believe it’s been three months since the race. But great job again! The marathon sure is a beast.

      1. Run Jenny Run

        Thanks Christy! I used They have templates that I used as a base, but I ended up customizing them (I would move the templates around, add my own objects). Hope you have fun with it!

    1. I’m excited to read your post with the next marathon on your calendar. I think every race teaches us something and clearly you have analysed and come up with some concrete things to work on in the future, Marathons are such tough races and the buildup to them can be intense. Hopefully we will cross paths sometime this year!
      Pam recently posted…A Plan for a Healthier KneeMy Profile

      1. Run Jenny Run

        Thanks, Pam 🙂 Agreed, I hope we cross paths next year. Hope you are feeling better!

      1. Run Jenny Run

        Thanks, Janelle! You will have one in Philly, I’m sure. Your family, boyfriend and your local friends/co-workers. Best part is running into someone you had no idea would be cheering for you along the course 🙂

      1. Run Jenny Run

        Chicago is hit or miss weather wise. I know people were not fond of the wind/chill of the 2014 NYCM, but I loved it 😀 I also used the salt sticks for MCM, wish I tried them sooner!

      1. Run Jenny Run

        Thanks Sharon! It is fun to use the template and customize it a bit. Hope you get into Chicago next year, it all my buddies get it looks to be a great group!

    1. Thanks for sharing. Very interesting !

      I haven’t yet tried salt tables, but I probably should.

      I am in the middle of my marathon training and I am finding that 3 days a week works well with my schedule and is not too overwhelming. I am using Galloway run/walk and so far, so good !
      Karen @ Fit in France recently posted…My long training runsMy Profile

      1. Run Jenny Run

        Your welcome! If you try the salt tablets, hope you get to during training. I only used it once before my marathon, I know it was a chance to try something new before the big race.

    1. I still want to run Chicago so badly! Definitely entering the lottery this year. 🙂 UGH, the absolute worst part about fall marathons is training in the summer heat. Still KILLS me. But I know it ends up being worth it. 🙂

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