Chicago Marathon Training Week 11

I’m into the final 4 weeks before race day.  My biggest milage weeks are behind me, what’s most important in this final block is to keep up my fitness and get to Chicago healthy.  This week will look similar to many of my past weeks, but my threshold for shutting down a workout if I feel a niggle or I’m overly fatigued is much lower.


My plan for the week was to do quality workouts on Tuesday and Thursday, and my long run Saturday.  Heading into the week I wasn’t sure what I was going to do for my quality workouts, I wanted to see how I recovered from the Harvest Half over the weekend.

M: 7.2km easy.  I woke up Monday still feeling the effects of Saturdays race.  As opposed to running first thing, like I usually would, I decided to have breakfast first.  After eating I was still feeling some fatigue so I decided to run a 7.2km route I’m very familiar with and see how I felt.  The run went alright, I had heavy legs but no pain.  I had intended to run the same loop again in the afternoon, but the weather was poor so I decided I’d rest as oppose to forcing another run.

Tu: 3 x 3km.  My legs were still a little heavy when I woke up, but I figured once I got going I’d feel better.  Sure enough that’s what happened.  I wanted sub4:00/km pace for all of my splits, but I wasn’t worried about torching the route.  I ran 3:54, 3:56, and 3:59 pace and was happy with the run.  My legs came to life and even though I was working, I felt good running the 3k’s.

W: Easy 17k.  Legs felt a little heavy from yesterday, but not too bad.  Got this run in first thing (was done before 7AM).  Pretty steady easy pace, wasn’t watching my watch as I ran.

Th: 6 x 1k.  I woke up and my legs didn’t feel great.  I put off running until just before lunch.  I wasn’t sure what I was going to do for a workout, but I decided I’d try some 1k’s along a flat stretch on Shepard.  My first 1k was 3:30 and I was energized to keep going so I decided I’d do 6.  I was really happy with 3:30, but that would turn out to be my slowest.  My times were 3:30, 3:28, 3:25, 3:23, 3:21, and 3:25.  I was running on about 2:00 rest in between them.  This turned out to be a great workout for me and a huge confidence booster; I hadn’t done this workout in 6-8 weeks and it showed me just how far I’ve come.

F: Easy 15k.  After yesterdays workout my run began a little gingerly as I still had some soreness.  After a couple km’s my legs loosened up and it was a good, cruise 15k.

Sa: 30k long run.  Saturday morning I still had some fatigue in my legs.  My run started tight and I stopped to stretch at about 4k.  I got going after that and felt a little better, but my legs were heavy.  I ran 10 x 1:30 pickups, I wasn’t targeting a specific pace but I would have liked to have run them quicker.  The final 4k of the run were pretty tough, it was a struggle to get back home.  I only took 1 gel during the run, I felt a little off and wasn’t really interested in them.  After the run I was extremely fatigued and really hungry.

Su: 0k run.  I took an off day.  My legs still had a deep fatigue from yesterdays workout.  I thought of trying to go out for a short run, but thought better of it and just rested.

Total Milage: 101.5km for the week (first time in 4 weeks I’m back over 100k!), 1103.25 total.

Chicago Marathon Training Week 10

This was an up and down week of training.  It started on a low, my leg was sore so I skipped my run Monday, but ended on a high with a great race at the Harvest Half. 10 weeks down, 4 to go!


I was racing the Harvest Half on Saturday.  Ideally I would have done my quality workouts on Monday and Wednesday, but between a tight left leg, and travelling home from Tremblant, I decided I wouldn’t run Monday.  This meant quality would be Tuesday/Wednesday.  I wouldn’t be able to get in the same level of workout as a Monday/Wednesday would allow, but it would work.

M: 0km run.  There was still some soreness in my left leg, and I was travelling back from Tremblant, so I decided to skip an easy run in favour of rest.

Tu: 6k tempo.  I ran 6k tempo at about 3:49/km pace.  I was happy with this run, my legs felt good, and I was happy with my push.  After the run my left leg tightened up again.

W: 4 x 1km intervals.  I ran my 1k’s in 3:32, 3:36, 3:46, and 3:32.  I was really happy to see times in the 3:30’s.  I felt like I could get my legs moving really well.  My left leg got a little tight between the second and third 1k, and I told myself if it got worse, or caused me to alter my run gait I’d stop.  Fortunately it didn’t cause any troubles.

Th: Easy 10k.  I originally planned to run 15k but my legs were sore from the previous couple of days.  If I wasn’t racing on Saturday I would have likely pushed through.  I wasn’t going to be fully tapered for Saturdays race, but it was a fitness test for me and I didn’t want to be bagged at the start line.

F: Easy 7.2k.  I ran a familiar route to keep my legs loose the day before the race.  I did a couple strides to get my leg speed up briefly, everything felt good.

Sa: Harvest Half 21.1k.  The harvest half was a great race for me.  I ran 1:19:19, approximately a 3:46/km pace.  I was really happy with my results on an honest course and this race has set me up well for Chicago.  I wrote a full race report HERE.  My legs were pretty beat up after the race.

Su: 0km run.  I decided to take an off day after the Harvest Half.  My joints were sore when I woke up so I figured a day of recovery was much better than some easy milage.

Total Milage: 72km for the week, 1001.75km total.

Chicago Marathon Training Week 9

Week 9 of marathon training brought me from my race out in Edmonton on Monday to watching Lisa at the 70.3 Worlds in Mont Tremblant on Sunday.  This week I got over my cold, but picked up a bit of an achilles/calf injury.  It wasn’t my best training week in terms of milage or quality,  but I finish this week as focused as I’ve been on performing well in Chicago.


Between my Olympic Triathlon on Monday and 2 big days of travel I knew it would be difficult to fit in key workouts if I was 100% healthy, but I also had a cold that was lingering to deal with.

M: Edmonton ITU Olympic Tri (10.1km run in 38:36, 3:49/km pace).  The run portion of the race was 10.1km, which was essentially a hard tempo run.  My legs would have liked to have gone quicker, but I was still congested and my lungs couldn’t keep up.  All-in-all it was a good run for me.

Tu: 0km.  Had a long day of travel from Edmonton to Toronto (had to be at the airport 4 hours early to check bike!) so I decided to take a rest day and try to get over my cold.

W: 12k easy-ish.  After having a day off my legs had a lot of pop in them, but I got tired fast.  I started and finished with a couple sub 4:20km’s, I didn’t mean to push the pace but my legs were going.

Th: 2×4 hills.  This is a workout I should have cut short.  I was running the hill into Colonel Danforth Park.  Part way through my first set of running the hill 4 times I felt some tightness in my left leg near the bottom of my calf/top of my achilles.  After my first set of 4 I jogged to the water fountain and then massaged it out. It was sore jogging back, but I decided I could do the hill 4 more times so I did.  I didn’t notice it too much on the hill, but I really felt it on the jog back to the car.  I was using an older pair of shoes.  Both shoes have wear on the inside part of the sole, but it’s especially pronounced on the left shoe.  These shoes have now been retired.

F: 0km.  This was a travel day to Tremblant and my leg was too sore.  I focused on icing it so I could complete my long run the following day (a key workout for me).  Good news is that I had shaken my cold!

Sa: 33k long run with 1-1-2-1-1-1-3-1-1-1-1-4 pickups.  I woke up and my legs didn’t feel too bad, some minor tightness but nothing that would be enough to stop me from running.  I was going to run a route I knew in Tremblant, the Ironman run course.  Things started off well and after 4k I started getting into my pickups.  I was able to accelerate and run fast.  I was done my pickups by the 21k mark and was running back towards the village where I was going to meet Lisa for some water.  At about 23.5k my leg started getting sore, and by the time I got to our meeting point at 26k it was REALLY sore.  After a little water and some massaging it was loose enough that I felt like I could run again.  My plan only had me going 34k but I really wanted 36.  At 28k my leg started getting sore again and just short of 32k my leg suddenly got so tight that I was forced to stop.  I massaged it again and tried to walk it out (I needed to walk back to the village anyways).  After a few minutes I tried running again, but for the sake of a couple more km’s I decided it wasn’t worth the risk and shut it down at 33k.

Su: 0km.  I took the day to rest my leg and watch the 70.3 Worlds.

Total Milage: 74.25km for the week, 929.75km total.

Chicago Marathon Training Week 8

This week I was still in Alberta.  I’d make my way from Calgary to Canmore, Banff, Lake Louise, Jasper, and end up in Edmonton to race in the ITU Grand Final.  That meant that this week was going to have to take on less of a run specific focus, and make some time for cycling and swimming.  My week started great, but the combination of limited sleep, cold temperatures, travel, and lots of activity left me sick and weak.


My plan was to do tempo Monday, hills Wednesday, and my long run Friday.  I wanted to do my long run Friday so I could still get it in while giving myself time to recover for my race on the following Monday.

M: 8k tempo @ 3:56/km pace.  This was a great run.  I got up early to do this run in Banff.  It was just above freezing but my legs were feeling good.  I was really happy with my pace and ended up running 18k total because the scenery there is so beautiful that it’s hard to stop.

Tu: 12k easy.  This wasn’t such a great run.  I was exhausted from my drive to Jasper, and later on in the week I learned I was feeling the early signs of falling ill.  It was a struggle to get my legs moving, which is why I cut my run from 15k to 12k.

W: 8.6k with some limited track work.  I drove from Jasper to Calgary and began feeling worse.  I didn’t get around to my workout until the afternoon, and when I did it didn’t go well.  I planned on 4 or 5 1600m repeats but pulled the plug on that 800m into my first one.  I ended up running 1x800m and 4x400m.  This wasn’t a workout for the record books.

Th: 15.3k with some track.  I began this workout by heading to the track to do a bit more track work.  I did 3x800m in 2:52, 2:48 and 2:48.  From there I did an easy run that felt pretty good.  I was optimistic about my chances to do a long run tomorrow.

F: 16k (not) long run.  My plan was to run 34k.  I felt pretty ragged when I woke up but I wanted to give the run a shot.  I figured I could do at least 24k.  I felt okay once I got going, but by 6k the wheels began to fall off and I turned around at 8k.  I was really disappointed in myself and knew with my race on Monday that I wouldn’t be able to make it up.

Sa: 3.5k easy.  The plan was to do some running in the morning.  And then run the watch the pro womens race.  Maybe run a little while it was going on, and then run home.  All that ended up happening was I ran to the race.  I still wasn’t feeling well, and a little nervous about my race Monday.

Su: 0 run.  I decided to not run to let me body rest (and hopefully get over the illness) before my race on Monday.

Total Milage: 73.5k for the week, 855.5k total.



To get ready for my race the following Monday I ended up swimming about 4000m and cycling about 60k.

Chicago Marathon Training Week 7

Coming off the high of A Midsummer Night’s Run last week, this week was going to have a tough time topping it.  But I was headed to Alberta (my first trip to Western Canada) so I’d have a new playground to stretch my legs.  Calgary as a city I only found alright, but I did have a great long run there.


I was back on my normal schedule of quality workouts Tuesday/Thursday, and my long run Saturday.

M: Easy 15k.  This was my first run after Midsummers and my legs responded surprisingly well.  It was an easy run so I didn’t really look at my watch, but I finished with a 4:49 pace (anything under 4:55 for an easy run usually means I’m moving well).

Tu: 9 x Colonel Danforth Hill.  I decided to do hills instead of speed because I figured it was a little easier on my legs.  I’m not sure how long the Colonel Danforth Hill is, but I love (hate) it.  It’s steep, and part way up it gets even steeper.  I’ve never run up it and not felt like my lungs were on fire!

W: 17k easy.  Legs were okay, not great after yesterdays hills.

Th: 2x4k tempo (3:56 and 3:54 pace).  I left my house without much pop in my legs and wasn’t sure what I was going to do for a workout.  I decided I’d run a 7.2k route I knew and would see how it went.  After 3km I decided I was just going to go and test my legs.  It wasn’t an amazing tempo run but I was happy with my effort.

F: Easy 15k in Calgary.  I flew into Calgary first thing in the morning and had some time before I could get into my run so I ran from where I was staying down to the Bow River and back.  I ran along the road not realizing there was a path running parallel to the road all the way down to the Bow.

Sa: 32k long run in Calgary.  It was great doing my long run in a new place because the time flew by.  I did pickups of 2,1,1,3,1,1,4,1,1.  For my route I ran from where I was staying through Nose Hill Park.  From there I headed south to the Bow River to run along the waterfront path.  I ran west when I got to the river, and then turned back east at about 14.5k through my run.  From there I went through Prince’s Island, St. George Island, and then finally turned back west to finish in China Town.

Su: 9k easy.  My legs were REALLY sore.  A combination of my long run, and walking/cycling around the city.  I wasn’t too concerned with turning early, my legs needed to recover.

Total milage: 120k for the week, 782k total.


I biked about 70k on Saturday after my long run.  I wanted to check out the Saddledome, Stampede Grounds, Olympic Park, and UofCalgary, so I figured my bike was the best way to do this.  It wasn’t a workout, but I was in the saddle for a few hours.

Chicago Marathon Training Week 6

This past week was a huge week for me.  I had a couple of really good runs, and then a breakthrough race at A Midsummer Night’s Run 30k.  My performance there has caused me to reevaluate my goals, I am very happy with how my training has progressed.


I usually do quality runs on Tuesday and Thursday, but since my race was Saturday evening I wanted to give myself some extra rest so I did quality Monday and Wednesday.  Also, my quality workouts weren’t as hard as they would have otherwise have been.

M: 2 x 4k steady state run at 4:05 pace, 16k total.  This was a good run.  Took a little bit to get my legs going at the start, I’ll blame this on some fatigue from my 36k on Saturday.  I hit my paces, so I was happy.

Tu: Easy 17k.

W: 5 x 1200m track (4:11-4:18), 16k total.  Really happy with this track workout.  I haven’t made it to the track this year as much as I’d planned to.  I scaled back from 1600m repeats to 1200m because of the race on Saturday.  I felt like I was running really well.  I ran in the Saucony A5s I just bought, this was my second run in them, and they felt fast.

Th: Easy 12k.  I planned on running 15k but right from the time I left my house I felt hungry and low energy.  I expect that was in part some residual fatigue from the track yesterday.  The goal of this week is the 30k on Saturday so I had no problems turning early.

F: Easy 10k.  After feeling a little tired for yesterdays run I decided today would only be 10k.  I just wanted to continue to get in the milage and keep my legs loose.

Sa: A Midsummer Night’s Run 30k race in 1:57:17 (1:57:24 by my watch for the full 30k).  I wrote a race report which can be found HERE.  This was an incredible breakthrough run for me.  24 of 30 1k splits under 4:00/km and 3:55 pace overall.  I exceeded my expectations and I will look to adjust my goal for Chicago accordingly.  Read the race report for more details.

Su: Rest day!  The 30k was last night so I decided I’d take the day off.  My quads are pretty sore, so they need it.

Total milage: 101k for the week. 662k total.