Thursday, October 22, 2015

Chicago Marathon - The Training

No matter how you end up signed up for a race, any race, you're going to find yourself training. You can either follow a strict plan, a loose plan, but you'll be following some sort of plan if you want to cross the line without injuries and especially if you have a goal in mind.

Since I've already touched on how I ended up signed up for the Chicago Marathon and an injury, let's jump into the training.

During my first marathon training, I had set up a plan for myself that allowed for 2 weeks worth of padding in case I had to cut a long run short or life in general. I did the same this round. I ended up having to use up all the padding to cover my 15 days off because of my injury.

While my plan was fairly loose in terms of the miles or exact pace each and every run, I had a general idea of what I was going to do and had really banked on the extra weeks because I knew the hot weather may force me to cut a long run short. Well, for this Type-A gal, not having that padding stressed me out.

I suddenly felt stifled. Not exactly the right word choice. But I'm betting  you understand. I knew that if 20 miles was on tap, that's what I needed to do. Period. I also had to build back up my distance and endurance safely before I could even begin to think about my speed. When the heat is already making running difficult, trying to come back during the summer is a fairly defeating feeling.

I was doubting myself with every run. I've said it once and I'll say it again, I'm very very thankful for my running buddies who changed up their paces, their schedules and stuck by me ... whining and all.

Sometimes the toughest part became knowing that we had to get out on the run early. Earlier than normal. Now, I like getting my runs done first thing, watching the world come alive, being wowed by sunrises, but when you're forced to do so and there's not really an option, then you feel a bit resentful some days. Or I do/did. Man I wanted to sleep in later than 6 am like crazy.



Week by week, the miles increased and I felt stronger. I hit 16, 18, 19, backed off and went up again hitting 21 then a final 20. All the while I had my buddies by my side. I was also able to gradually add in speed work again. I hate speed work by the way, but started with 400s and then mixes of 400s and 800s along with tempo and progression runs.


During my previous training, I had used gels mostly for fuel. I also had major tummy issues midway through training. It went from bad to worse. My tummy was always rumbling at me. I always needed to know where a bathroom was. After long runs, I couldn't stomach food at all. I just felt terrible. And after the marathon, I never wanted another gel, ever.

This time I tried to learn a good deal about fueling both before, during and after runs. I'm going to have to give a huge shout out to Lindsay Cotter here. I perused her blog, her recipes and even annoyingly emailed her for help.

I found a new night-before-long-run meal that worked very nicely for me. I never wavered from it. I had to ditch sweet potatoes and I came up with an energy protein bite that worked well for me.



They aren't pretty to look at and were definitely not as convenient as a gel, but my tummy was quite thankful for these Matcha Date Protein Bites.

Have you ever had to completely change up your training schedule or even nutrition plan? 

Sometimes it can work out for the best. It turned out to be a good thing for me in the end, which I'll get to in my next post the actual Race Recap.