September 30, 2014

Chi Marathon Training Weeks 11-14: Tackling Long Runs in between Weddings

I'm really behind on my marathon training updates, but really things have been going pretty smoothly and now I'm in taper town! 

Oh and this came in the mail last week so things are getting SERIOUS. 

Chicago Marathon 2014

Chicago Marathon training 2014


This update could be called how Lauren kept up with marathon training while attending a wedding practically every weekend for the last month.  

Thank goodness for Nuun for helping me stay relatively hydrated. 

My Weekend Warrior status has been achieved if it already hadn't been-when you're double-fisting Nuun and wine at a wedding. 

Keep reading if you are still interested in how I've been running lately. There's no more wine involved!

Long runs:

During Week 11 some people in my training group were running the NCR 20 mile trail race on Sunday, but I had a Saturday evening wedding so I opted to tackle 20 miles around the BWI trails with a friend that morning. The weather was overcast and cooler, and we did the 10 mile loop twice. It was a nice change of scenery and cool to see planes taking off overhead as we were running. Besides some tight hamstrings and the usually tired/pained legs that happen after so many miles, it went super well!         
This girl just ran 20 miles and is still smiling.                

Week 12 and Week 13 included 12 and 15 mile long runs respectively around the city which went fine. The 12 miler I completed on a Monday since I had an out-of-town wedding weekend (yes, they happened all at once this year!) and that was awful. I felt tired, slightly dehydrated, and generally blahh after attempting to run after a full work day.  The 15 miler felt a lot better because I was back into my routine and finally had a free weekend. The weather was cooler, and it was great to have my friends to chat with. 

Week 14 called for the peak of my training-a big 22 miler! The gang was supposed to meet at Loch Raven Reservoir again, but I had my last weekend of weddings (finally!) so I planned to squeeze my run in Friday morning before work since I left town Saturday AM. I don't know how my body got up so early, but I was up and at 'em running downtown in the dark around 5:30 AM. I was supposed to meet up with a friend, but we never intersected so it quickly morphed into a completely solo 22 miler. I had to loop around the same parts of the city a few times, but the weather felt great.  I was proactive with my nutrition and only plugged in my iPod for the last 10 miles so I could jam out to some music. 

A helpful mental trick I used was to reset my Garmin after 12 miles so then I could focus on running just 10 more miles instead of watching the mileage slowly creep up to 22.

Although mentally I had a lot of pep talking in my head and kept telling myself I was strong, tough, and kicking ass on a Friday morning. I'm pretty sure my second 10 miles were  a bit faster than my first 12, and I was on a runner's high once I finished.  

I was also on a caffeine high from all the Gu during the run and the venti iced coffee I downed afterwards, haha! I'm still enjoying some post-run iced coffees before the weather gets cold. 

Don't worry, by the time lunchtime rolled around at work I was ready for a nap

Post-22  miler coffee selfie. 

Weekly runs:

Weeks 11-13  included hill repeats again which are always challenging. There were a couple really humid runs in there which doesn't make matters better when my legs are already feeling heavy.  

Week 14 was group speedwork, and it was a solid workout. We did 1 mile at marathon race pace (MRP), 2 miles at MRP, and then 1 mile faster than MRP. It's always great when you feel good at the pace you want to hopefully run at during the race.  

Otherwise I'e got in a few good tempo runs and kept easy runs at a slow & easy pace!

Thumbs down:  With all of the things going on this summer my mileage isn't as high as I initially hoped. I wanted to get to a higher peak mileage than 40 miles for this training cycle , but there's nothing to do now! Travelling and being busy makes me more tired and  so sometimes runs are missed or less than optimal, besides the fact that my schedule needs to get moved around.  

Thumbs up:  I'm happy that my long runs have been feeling good. My fueling has led to no problems, and things have gone pretty smoothly. Having the 20 and 22 miler go so well is definitely a confidence booster, besides the fact that I don't know how I'm going to be doing 26.2 miles faster than my long run paces!

 Do you usually feel great after long runs?  How do you tackle long runs by yourself?


  1. it can be such a challenge training during the business of life. i remember last fall while training for my first marathon, my 20 miler was on the same day of a good friend's wedding. i ran, went home to shower, get dressed and headed out to the country in VA for the wedding. then the next morning i flew to san fran. yeah. poor timing. anyway, you are rocking it!

  2. I remember having a conversation with someone who used to work at CCR with me about marathon mileage. He never went over 35 miles a week and was really fast! He looked at it as preventing injuries because his legs weren't taking as much of a beating. If you can knock out 22 miles before work on a Friday, you can crush your previous time. I just wish I was there to see it! And that we could have gotten in some miles together... but maybe in the next couple months, or whenever I'm up and running again we'll get in some fun runs.

    1. Totally agree here. There's a really good book called Run Less Run Faster if you're interested in the lower mileage running mixed with cross training. Long book short, they recommend 3 runs a week: long, tempo, intervals, slightly faster than you normally would run those things, with some cross training in between instead of slow recovery miles.

  3. Congrats on making it to taper town! I really like that mental trick you did with your Garmin...I'll have to try that when I get into the higher miles for training!

    1. Thanks so much! It's silly but when counting miles splitting it up helps me!

  4. Holy buckets doing 22 miles before work on a Friday?! Crazy! Good for you!