Sunday, July 26, 2015

Chicago marathon training: Week One

And here I go again! I'm back on the plan and we've got 12 weeks to get this thing done. Most marathon training plans are 14-16 weeks, but keep in mind that I keep a pretty strong running base year round. Couple that with my weekly CrossFit sessions and yoga classes, and I'm in pretty good shape to jump on the bandwagon. This week, Becky gave me my training plan, and it is similar to last year's with 4 runs/week, an occasional bike ride instead of a run, 1-2 CrossFit sessions per week, and 1 yoga class per week. Built in are 1-2 rest days as well. We've already had to do some tweaking, since we didn't coordinate as well on some of the days, but nothing is set in stone with marathon training!
So how did week one go down?

Monday: 5 miles at race pace. My legs were still tired from last week's strength session and Sunday's bike ride. Nevertheless, I got it done.


Tuesday was supposed to be a CrossFit MetCon session, but my work had other plans for me...having me start at 8am, which wasn't going to work so well with Becky's schedule. Instead, I did another 5 miler. Again, tired legs, but I managed about the same pace. I was also excited that this top from Athleta was finally on sale. Yep, it's all about the fashion..


Wednesday: Yoga. My instructor attended a workshop the previous weekend, and for this class we did everything against the wall. It was all about the glutes and hamstrings, and I heard the now familiar refrain: "we are all quad dominant". Didn't you just hear that in my previous post about strength training and injury prevention? It was kind of funny to hear it in a yoga class, but there it was. This was a hard class but my legs felt better for it. 

Twisted pigeon. Note my back foot pressing into the wall and my knee is off the ground. I felt this one!


Thursday was my usual double workout of running and CrossFit. I had speedwork on the plan, mile repeats x 5. I haven't done speedwork for a few months now, and I wasn't sure what to expect. I set a goal for myself of sub-8 minute miles. Of course, the last time I did speedwork, it was cold out. This morning was 72 degrees with bright sunshine. Miles 1-3 were fine. Mile 4 started to get in my head, and mile 5 took everything I had not to quit. That last mile was all mental, but I was really proud of myself that I pushed through it and got it done, even though it was slower than I wanted. They can't all be pretty... you know I'm all about keeping it real. This was hard.


After this grueling workout, I went home, showered, ate, and went to see Becky. I won't lie to you, as hard as her workouts are, this is my favorite part of marathon training. Becky's been watching the CrossFit games, and was apparently inspired. The first part of my workout she had me pulling the sled. On my first pass, some guy in a truck stopped to watch me. Dude, nothing to see here, just a runner pulling a sled, now move on... I did 6 of those, alternating with me picking up a 50# sack off the ground, carrying it over to the boxes and putting it on top. It was harder than it looks! I finally figured out how to pick up the sack and get it up to my shoulders so I could hoist it up to the boxes. Marathon training? Really? Hey, whatever works! 

The last time I wore this shirt to CF, she made me carry one of these sacks on my back. Coincidence? I think not.
Friday was a "rest day". Or as Becky calls it, active rest. I did some yoga in the morning from Lululemon. Did you know they have a whole YouTube channel with just yoga videos? They had a great yoga for recovery workout, and I learned a new variation on shoulderstand. This felt amazing.
Supported shoulderstand
After yoga, I put the kayak on my car and headed out to meet one of my oldest friends for a day on the river. As it turns out, I had to buy a state sticker for my kayak. Seriously. Yes, Illinois is the most scamming state in the US. It wasn't an easy process either, and we spent about an hour trying to get that taken care of. Finally, we put our kayaks in the water and paddled downstream. We stopped for lunch at a riverside restaurant, and then headed back out. The wind had picked up, and we felt like we weren't making any forward progress. So we turned around and headed back, letting the wind take us. What a great way to spend the day!

"The sea was angry, my friends," I said. To which E. replied, "Ok, George". Still cracks me up. Maybe you had to be there...
Saturday I had plans to ride in a 25 mile bike ride for Venus de Miles, which is a charity that supports the Greenhouse scholars. I'll have a recap on Tuesday, but I will share that I rode more than 25 miles. At one point in the ride there was a rest stop, and I didn't want to stop. The volunteer flagged me the wrong way, and I ended up riding about 6 extra miles. I was exhausted after this ride. When making my marathon training plan, Becky and I got our signals crossed. On the plan, this was supposed to be a 4 mile run. Oops. I spent the rest of the day with my feet up, to rest them for tomorrow's long run.


Sunday was my long run. After that epic bike ride, I didn't want to go know how this planned 10 miler would go. Wanting to work on pacing, I set a goal pace of 9-930 min/mi, figuring that would be a good cruising speed for my tired legs. I prepared a bottle of Tailwind and headed out into the humid morning. I had foam rolled the night before and my legs felt surprisingly ok. Here's how it went down: 


That 9:28 is because of a giant hill with a steep incline. I actually had to stop to catch my breath at the top. Otherwise, the run went well, and I even had negative splits on the back half. Don't get me wrong, at mile 8, my brain was telling me to stop. I kept reminding myself that this is how I felt at mile 23 last year at Chicago, and used that memory to push myself through the hard final miles of today's run. I mean, if I quit on a 10 miler, how can I expect to hit my goal at a marathon? This was a great lesson for me, and this run set the tone for me as I approach the rest of my marathon training. And yes, I pulled out my mantras. It helped that I had some fun, motivating songs playing in my ears too. Have you ever listened to Diane Young by Vampire Weekend? That put a spring in my step as I sang the refrain out loud: "Baby, baby, baby, right on time..." 


Because yep, my pace was right on time!

What are you training for? How's the training going? Any songs you want to throw my way to perk up my playlist?

I'm linking up with Tara at RunningNReading for her Weekend Update. It's a fun linkup where everyone recaps what they're up to. Check it out!





93 comments :

  1. Nice work this week. Twisted pigeon looks pretty intense! I can feel it in my hips just looking at that photo! Can't wait to hear about your bike ride...

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    1. I need to do it today, after yesterday's ride and today's run!

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  2. Great week of workouts! I hope you get to chill out today after that long ride and then a long run. :) Today was a lifting day for me and I actually managed to get out of my pjs and go to the gym for it. I get really lazy in the summer.

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  3. Great week for you ! Looking forward to following how it goes. I will start training for my first marathon in October.... Have a great week !

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  4. You have a busy workout week! I used to have weeks like this, but the last two years or so, it's all I can do to keep up the motivation to run. CF and yoga are just so expensive I had to cut them out of the budget for a while. I should look up those Lululemon videos.

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    1. This was a little busier than usual for me--I'm off work for a week, so I was more active than normal! It was fun, tho!

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  5. I had no idea Lululemon had a youtube channel! Time to check out new yoga routines. Girl, your week it CRAMMED. That's amazing and I'm really jealous of all your activity. I'm currently training for a half in September and a full in November.

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    1. Those Lululemon yoga videos are amazing. Check out the Seawheeze ones!

      Which marathon are you doing in November?

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  6. Looks like one awesome week of training!! Way to get it done! :)

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    1. I'm feeling really encouraged! Off on the right foot.

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  7. I'll be curious to see how your marathon goes....obviously, I'm routing for that sub-4 for you.....but this training plan seems pretty doable to me....Just one 18 mile run and so I wonder if that is enough? But I know you told me before that 18 miles is the longest you've done before your other marathons, so that is encouraging...

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    1. This plan is different from a lot of training plans because I do a ton of cross training--those CrossFit intervals (HIIT) are killer! Stay tuned. Worked well last year.

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  8. That looks like an intense CrossFit workout! I'm also training for the Chicago Marathon. It is a great race, I love it!

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    1. It's all good. Pays off in the long run!

      I hope we get to meet up.

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  9. Love seeing your training plan! Do you always keep the long runs to somewhat shorter distances for your marathon training? I know most plans have several runs that are 16+ miles and at least one 20 miler. I'm always interested to hear what works for other people. :) Glad you had a great training week, Wendy!

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    1. The miles are the same as what I did last year. Since my coach is a CrossFit coach, she has me do a ton of Metcon and HIIT type workouts. This was a great plan for me, because with the lower mileage, I didn't break down like I did when I followed a traditional training plan. I never hit the wall, either!

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  10. Very impressive week! I'm excited to follow your training. :)

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    1. It was a little crazy, but a good way to kick things off!

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  11. You had a great first week of marathon training. I can't wait to watch you kill Chicago this year!!! We will all be there cheering you on.

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    1. I'm looking forward to seeing you crush that FVM! I have to do 18 that day, so I'm going to run there while you guys are racing. Multitasking! :) Love the support of my tribe! <3

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  12. Sounds like you had a great week! Your pace is fast!! I'm going to try the twisted pigeon, as the regular pigeon is one of my favorite stretches. And - I can't believe they made you get a sticker/permit/whatever for your kayak...talk about WAY over-regulating!! Have a great week!

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    1. Seriously! I take my kayak out in Wisconsin, and all you do is launch and go. Illinois is so broke, they're squeezing money out of us however they can....ok, this is a running blog and I need to stop!

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    2. I still don't know how you do speed work & crossfit on the SAME day. And 50 lbs is probably heavier than I'd care to lift. Those 40 lbs cat litter bags are plenty heavy for me.

      My husband would tell you NY is the most scamming state!

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    3. But if I don't push myself, I'll never get better, right?

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  13. Great week! You are such an inspiration. I love the pictures they seem to get across exactly how you are feeling.

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    1. I'm really like an open book. I think I'd be a really bad poker player!

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  14. I love a good color coded plan! You've got this!!!

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    1. I tried to convince myself that the guy who stopped to watch me pulling the sled thought the same thing. But I think he just wanted a good laugh.

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  16. Booyah! Awesome week Wendy. Seriously jealous of your pace. I am a little surprised that you only have one run over 15 miles on your plan. Is that what you did last year?

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    1. I did! She's all about the intervals. There's many ways to get to the finish line...

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    2. Very interesting! Most all other traditional plans call for those long, long runs.

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  17. Looks like an awesome week of training! Mile repeats sound tough! Way to go! I need to do more yoga. I didn't know that Lululemon had yoga videos. I will have to check it out.

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    1. I do love those mile repeats. Especially as they get faster with each week. It's really empowering!

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  18. Good grief what a beast of a week! Your 5 mile splits (40 min) are enough to make one pass out in the heat. Well done.
    I like the bag and sled dragging stuff, it's good to have a challenge like that. I would need someone to push me to do it.
    Love the song :)

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    1. I love that crazy crossfit stuff. It's hard but it puts a huge smile on my face. Marathon training can be so tedious. This is fun. Seriously.

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  19. You're off to a solid start! Gosh all those 5x1's...
    Not only do you need a state sticker, many lakes require a permit as well. Sucks.

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    1. Becky's all about intervals. Worked well last year. We'll see about this year!

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  20. I love Vampire Weekend and esp. that song! :)

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    1. I don't love all their stuff but this one is just plain fun and puts a smile on my face!

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  21. What a super workout week for you! All I can say is WOW! We did a wall class like that in yoga a couple of months ago and it was a lot of fun- that is one class I really miss if I have to skip. My hubby is from Wisconsin, he calls Illinois people FIB's. Not a very nice thing but........kind of funny you even need a sticker for your kayak, the paddleboard need one too? happy Monday my friend!

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    1. Tell your hubby I went to Marquette and I'm very familiar with that acronym...

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  22. Every song on that Vampire Weekend album "Modern Vampires of the City" is fantastic! Congrats on kicking butt on your long run!

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    1. The heat really tests my resolve to get it done. I'm happy that I've become much more heat tolerant! I have to credit those hard CF workouts for that.

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  23. Great week - way to go -- you are going to kill it in Chicago!

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  24. Nice week of training, especially on those mile repeats! That's so weird about having to go through such a process to kayak, but then I remember how strict living in NW Indiana was about those things. 18 miles is the longest I'm doing before my marathon, so it's encouraging to see experienced runners like you following similar plans!

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    1. I'm glad to hear your longest run is 18 miles as well. I'm always a subject of curiosity with my training plan--but I always say that there's many ways to get to the finish line. One of my goals is to avoid injury, and this plan is the best for me.

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  25. That supported shoulder stand look wonderful! Good luck with your marathon training. You are reminding that I have think about building a stronger base for mine.

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  26. Great week of training! That shoulder stand looks so lovely. I'll have to try that!

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  27. You nailed that first week!! Beast mode! Way to go!

    Thanks for the heads up on the Lululemon yoga videos. I've been looking for some good ones to do at home, that might do the trick!

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    1. The Lululemon videos are great! I haven't done one yet that I haven't liked.

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  28. You are amazing. Inspiring. And a photo of you will be featured on my blog post tomorrow! Heehee.

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    1. BTW, I hit 700 miles today! I'll be posting it later.

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  29. Mercy lady - you are KILLING it!!!! What dedication you have! .. I'm exhausted just reading all of this!

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    1. I've got a goal and I'm not stopping until I get there!

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  30. Awesome training Wendy. Very inspirational!

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  31. Great job on your first training wk. I was reading other blogs and they have already been in their training cycle. But like you say when you keep up a good amount of fitness throughout the yr training isn't so strenuous. I have been wanting to Kayak this summer. Hopefully one of these wkends.

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    1. I started around this time last year, and had no problems with my prep!

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  32. I love how balanced your training plan is. In the past I've struggled with that when I'm training for something.

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    1. Me too! The goal is to stay injury free. I have struggled when I've done the high mileage plans.

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  33. Nice job on the training. I'm getting back at it after a week in Asheville where I learned that I need to embrace the hills around my house instead of avoiding them.

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    1. There's only one hill in the Chicago marathon, and it's at mile 26...

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  34. OMG I thought you were going to earl!!!! You are one tough cookie and that training is die hard.

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    1. I felt like it! But once I caught my breath, the feeling passed. Then the endorphins started to flow. There's nothing like finishing a hard workout to make you feel strong!

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  35. Killin' it! You seriously rocked this week. I've been doing well with my Dopey Challenge Training. Hopefully this week goes as well as the last.

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    1. Oh, the Dopey challenge training has to be tough! I'd need a ton of mental strength training for that one!

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  36. it looks like you had a great week! I loved seeing your IG updates over the week too!

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  37. Wow, what a great week! So, your longest run will be 18 miles? How do you feel about that. Is that far enough? i have no idea what my longest run will be as we are going by time for my runs. Girl, are you going for a BQ here? Because you could totally get it the way your training is going....

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    1. My longest run was 18 miles last year too. So yes, I do feel like that is far enough! At that point, it's all mental, right?

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  38. Wendy you're a fitness machine! Love this energy!

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    1. I need to stay positive--then the rest will fall into place!

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  39. You're going to do SO GREAT, Wendy!! I'm so excited for you!!

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    1. I hope so, Tara! I've certainly put it out there!

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  40. Girl! You are tough. What I would give to be able to run five miles in 40 mins. One day hey?! I like that you keep it real.

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  41. I love how structured you are! I mean...you have it all planned out! Great work this week! So inspiring!

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    1. I really think you have to be structured for marathon training if you have a goal! This distance isn't anything to sneeze at!

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  42. What a great week of workouts for you! It looks like you are really committed and with your coach's help I'm sure you'll crush your marathon goals!

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  43. Wow, that's a serious week of training! I love the pics. I always try to incorporate yoga, always a good workout - pretty sure I'm quad dominant! You have such good mental strength which I think is essential for marathoners. Hope the res of your training goes well!

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    1. That mental strength is a work in progress! I truly believe that the hard workouts my coach makes me do are meant to toughen me up more than anything! I'm going to need it for my fall goal!

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  44. Great work for you! Looking forward to reading about the rest of your training.

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  45. I get so much from reading your wonderful descriptions. Even though are goals are eons apart, I still use the inspiration I get from these pages to help me conquer my own limitations and fears.

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