Chicago Marathon Training Plan….and All That Jazz

June 3, 2015

Happy National Egg, Chocolate Macaroon, Running Day (actually it really is National Egg and Chocolate Macaroon Day as well…. read it here and here).  I’ll share my Running Day adventures with you all on Friday.  Anyways… onto Chicago Marathon Training and All That Jazz <—-get it? Ohhh I crack myself up. 

Image: Chicago Marathon 

Marathon Training Plan 

The past couple of weeks I’ve been tinkering with my Chicago Marathon Training Plan.  Last year I signed up for the Potomac River Running (PRR) Distance Training Program, but never had a chance to run with the group.  This year I decided to use the same plan and made some slight adjustments to fit in my triathlon training (which is why I had to play around with it + make my own Excel workbook look pretty).  Yup…. I have the Quantico Triathlon in August. Luckily the sprint plan I found will fit nicely into the cross-training days.  I will refer to the Run Less, Run Faster pacing tables for my running workouts – I may make some adjustments. Here is what a typical week will look like through August: 

  • Run 3x/week (Track, Mid-Range, Long Run) 
  • Swim 2x/week (Time) 
  • Bike 2x/week
  • Strength 2x/week
  • Rest day (possibly with some light yoga) 

Here is a peak of my plan for the next two weeks: 

The first 4-6 weeks is base building (I opted for the beginner/intermediate options).  The plan will have a couple of builds up to 20-22 miles.  I haven’t completed my training plan to include recovery/reverse taper for the Marine Corps Marathon.  I will probably sketch that out as I approach the fall/following the Quantico Tri. After New York, I did consider purchasing a coaching plan/service for the fall, but I decided to see how much I can improve with the resources I have (and save some $$).  I may opt for one in 2016, we’ll see. 

Keeping the Same – What Worked Last Year 

  • Train without music for distances less than 14 miles. 
  • Run races as part of a long run.  Thank you to everyone who gave me feedback for one of my races.  I chose the Metric Marathon
  • Continue strength and cross training.  I think triathlon training will help with this.  
  • Last year Rachel ran one of my long runs with me (the middle miles) – which helped a lot! It was not a pretty run, but I am glad she was there to get me through it.  Hopefully our schedules will align so we can run a couple of times this summer. 
  • Break up long runs into sections – this helped me during New York Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
  • Foam roll everyday. 

Something Difference – Some Changes for This Year (re-read my NYC Lessons Learned post

  • The plan I used last year provided ranges for the weekend long runs.. I usually ran the minimum.  This year I would like to make an effort to run beyond the lower range.  For example: On Week 10 the plan calls for 16-18 miles.  Last year I ran 16 miles.. this year I hope to run 17 or 18.  If I am feeling horrible, I will stick to the lower number.  I will listen to my body. 
  • Vary my running routes (ex. Mount Vernon Trail) to include some hills, but most of them are flat (Chicago and MCM are primarily flat, but I still would like to work different muscle groups).  
  • Complete my track workouts and run with purpose. 
  • Track my data with Garmin Connect (but do not become obsessed).  
  • Run some of my long runs (or at least portions of) at Race Pace.  My training plan did offer guidance last year, but I just ran to finish vs. following the strategy. 
  • Start one of my longer runs (16 miles +) at 8:00AM to simulate race day.  Luckily Chicago does not start as late as NYC! 
  • In addition to running with purpose, I would like to eat with purpose! Of course I will indulge a bit after some long runs ( is me), but I hope not to gain weight again this time. 
  • Core workouts! 
  • Do not stress out if I miss a workout. 

Are you training with a group this summer for your ________? (insert distance) 

Are you changing anything (ex. type of workouts, nutrition, approach) for your next training cycle?


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Run Jenny Run
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      1. Run Jenny Run

        Hopefully I can stick with it – so far so good for week one πŸ™‚ I imagine with your work schedule you’ll have to be super flexible with any training. Half training is a little more manageable for me (mainly concentrate on the long runs and runners choice with my mid week runs). Last year I did the same with NYCM, I wanted to last as long without music (1) pay attention to the sound/sights of the city (2) use music to power me through the end if I was hurting.

    1. How did you learn to run without music? I love love music but I think it’d be great to run without for many reasons (including safety), at least sometime. Maybe I should add that to my goals.

      Chicago is on my bucketlist, I’m excited for you and jealous!
      Christy recently posted…Day #2 – The Wet TestMy Profile

      1. Run Jenny Run

        Winter through Spring I run with music πŸ™‚ Last year I trained without music for the NY Marathon. I wanted to make sure I took in all the sights/sounds of the city during the race and use music as a tool to power me through the later miles in case I was hurting or losing motivation.

        Thanks, Christy! Hope you get to run it one day.

    1. Sounds like you have a well laid out plan and your sure to be successful! Marathon training is a big commitment and you have an awesome plan. I don’t know how you run without music (!!) I need to get into that habit every once in awhile πŸ™‚
      Karen @karenlovestorun
      Karen @karenlovestorun recently posted…Happy June! + Monthly GoalsMy Profile

      1. Run Jenny Run

        Thanks Karen! I am excited, nervous, and hope it works out for me. Running without music is tough at first (especially since I use it when not marathon training) – but I got use to it.

    1. Triathlon training will give you no choice but to cross train πŸ˜‰ What’s your reasoning behind training without music? Just curious. That’s one thing I definitely need to get better at if I’m going to do a long distance tri!
      Tracy recently posted…Triathlon Thoughts: Breezy Point Sprint TriMy Profile

      1. Run Jenny Run

        I am so glad I got into the pool this week – nice to mix it up! Last year I trained without music for the NY Marathon. I wanted to make sure I took in all the sights/sounds of the city during the race and use music as a tool to power me through the later miles in case I was hurting or losing motivation πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks for sharing the details of your post. In addition to Chicago you have so many other things on the calendar to keep the summer/fall interesting! I’m a bit jealous since all I’ve got on my calendar between now and Oct is Chicago.

      I am shaking things up this year for my Chicago training this year compared to last year. I’ll have to write something up about that soon. It’s been hard to get motivated about run blogging while I’ve been sick! Womp womp. I really hope to get out for at least a short run tomorrow – even just 1 mile! haha
      Kristina recently posted…VersatilityMy Profile

      1. Run Jenny Run

        Of course – it is fun reading the different approach everyone is taking. Hope you are feeling better – have you been okay to walk around? Can’t wait to read yours.

    1. Great plan! Thanks for sharing–I love seeing other people’s training plans. This looks pretty challenging but very well-rounded. You’ll definitely be prepared for both the tri and marathon! And cool that you chose the Metric Marathon! I would like to do more of what you’re doing with running races as long runs. I need so start planning now. Thanks for the inspiration!
      Jennifer @ Running on Lentils recently posted…Performance Review: Lululemon Hit Your Stride Skirt, Pace Rival Skirt, What the Sport Singlet, Run For Days Bra, Fast Paced Run Visor, Run All Day BackpackMy Profile

      1. Run Jenny Run

        Thanks, Jenn! I was actually very inspired by your training this past year and how you held yourself accountable and hit all your workouts. I considered Hanson’s training plan, but realized with the triathlon in the middle of the summer, may have been a little more difficult to balance out the swimming/biking with the extra running. Looking forward to what you have in store for your short runs and also Bird in Hand. See you in September πŸ˜€

      1. Run Jenny Run

        Marathon without a challenge… piece of cake, right? πŸ˜›

    1. I need to sit down and write out my training in an excel sheet, too! That’s awesome that you’re combining running and triathlon training – you rock! Also, I added myself onto bloglovin – thanks for the suggestion!
      Faith @ Run the Day recently posted…Decisions, DecisionsMy Profile

      1. Run Jenny Run

        Following you now! I am bit of an Excel nerd πŸ™‚ Are tris very popular where you live?

      1. Run Jenny Run

        Awww thanks Jill. I think you can definitely make it πŸ™‚ If you were to do one, is there one in mind? Likely in PA?

      1. Run Jenny Run

        Ooooh can’t wait to read and talk to you about it. I should mentioned “consult with Courtney!” for the post Chicago pre MCM period πŸ™‚

    1. Great training plan! With TWO marathons AND a triathlon, you are going to be one busy chica! That’s nice that the training for the tri doubles as a cross-training for the marathons though. Works out well! I was going to train with a group this year, but changed my mind, and decided on solo training with a modified version of Hal’s schedule for MCM. Let’s see how well I stick to the schedule. πŸ™‚
      Nathasha recently posted…One Year Ago: Ran My First Half MarathonMy Profile

      1. Run Jenny Run

        Hope we both stick to our schedules πŸ™‚ I am sure I’ll be running into you (literally) on the trails! Haha lets plan on getting post long run brunch in Bethesda or DC one day (after our solo runs)

    1. Sounds like you’ve thought long and hard about your training plan. I can’t wait to follow along in your training progress!

      And how do you do the running without music thing?!? I think one of the few times I’ve successfully done it was when you and I ran the St. Patrick’s 5k together and chatted the entire race.
      Kathryn @ Dancing to Running recently posted…Bad Ass Runner Virtual 5 Mile Race RecapMy Profile

      1. Run Jenny Run

        Thanks, Kathryn! I did it last year for NY, otherwise post marathon (this winter/spring) I listened to music. I want to run without music for as long as I can and use it as a motivational tool towards the end of the marathon (which I hear is less scenic for the last portion). That way I am paying attention to the people, sounds, sights and signs πŸ™‚

    1. Sounds like you have a great plan and it’s awesome that you’re incorporating things you learned from NYC. I trained with a group for my last 2 half marathons but I’m going to try to go it alone for this one.
      Chaitali recently posted…Reddit gift exchangesMy Profile

      1. Run Jenny Run

        Thanks, Chaitali! Perhaps I’ll run into you on the CCT this summer πŸ™‚ Or maybe even coordinate a day if you need a buddy for your longer runs I’ll be happy to jump in.

    1. Jenny, this sounds like a GREAT plan! I love that you have held on to the things that seem to work for you and are making plans to do some different things to compensate for what DIDN’T work last time; that’s something I need to keep in mind, for myself. I’m also curious about your plan to only use music on runs longer than 14 miles; what is your reasoning behind this? I find that I’m not relying on music as much as I used to…I may need to try this out, too! Thanks for sharing your plan; you’re going to do great! It’s so exciting!
      Tara @ Running ‘N’ Reading recently posted…Eight Hundred Grapes by Laura DaveMy Profile

      1. Run Jenny Run

        Thanks, Tara! I look forward to reading your marathon strategy since it was your marathon #1.5 πŸ™‚ Last year I decided to train for NY without music.. I wanted to run the marathon as much as I could without it so I could enjoy the city and race; and use my shuffle if I started to hurt or needed extra motivation. I think I put on my music around mile 16. Otherwise… during non-marathon training I listen to music πŸ™‚

    1. It looks like you have a great plan and I love your new ideas. I agree with doing at least some running at the time of your race. When I trained for a marathon, because I trained in the summer, I did all my runs starting at 5 or 6 AM. Well the race was at 8 AM and my body was not use to running from 8-12. It was used to 5 or 6 AM to about 9 AM, and the conditions are a lot different plus fueling, sleep, etc. And you know, I love doing races as a part of training! Great tempo opportunity plus I always push myself more in a race. The best thing is learning from past races and what you did right and what you can improve on. Good luck with training!
      Amy Lauren recently posted…Local in the Lowcountry: Boxcar Betty’sMy Profile

      1. Run Jenny Run

        Thanks so much, Amy! You are spot on with the running at the time of the race. During NY my body was expecting “lunch” two hours into the marathon. Lesson learned for sure!

      1. Run Jenny Run

        Thanks! Hopefully this will trigger some of my lbs hehe to drop , but I know its the calories that I need better control of πŸ™‚

      1. Run Jenny Run

        Funny to think..this time last year I thought NY would be my last marathon (#2) haha.. So much unfinished business left with the distance πŸ™‚ Glad I had this blog to document it.

    1. Your training plan looks awesome! So cool that you’ll be doing a triathlon! Love your spreadsheet too – super organized! Over time I hope I’ll be able to use what I learn to make my own training plans, though I do love working with a coach. I’m still trying to figure out what to sign up for the fall, ahh!
      Janelle @ Run With No Regrets recently posted…Ultimate Coffee Date – June 2015My Profile

      1. Run Jenny Run

        Maybe Philadelphia Marathon???…hehe. I am sure anything you pick will be fun! I think I would like to utilize a coach once I lower my time a bit and make some new time goals (ex. sub 5:00). Maybe when that time comes I’ll have to talk to you about recommendations.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing all those details. They really were an eye opener of what to really do. Glad to see how you have incorporated the lessons learned from the previous marathon. Loved it!!
      Yoly recently posted…Goofy Challenge Training Week 5/36My Profile

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