August 20, 2014

Chicago Marathon Training #2 - Blue Collar Approach

"The schedule is pretty simple. We don’t have complicated workouts. We just do the basic 3-4 types of reps, the tempo run, and the long run with relatively high mileage. There are no drills; there is no core or lifting—any of that. I do put a little of that in myself, but from my standpoint you just need to be fit from running to be good at running." - Molly Huddle
A good quote that jives well with the approach I've been taking this summer. Here's a bunch of random but connected thoughts about my training for the past couple weeks.

My first Chicago Marathon training recap left off on July 27th (link). Since then, I've continued to make some nice progress:

After weeks of 115, 125, and 135 miles, I bumped it up just a bit over these past three weeks and did 135, 140, and 145 miles. I added one mile to the long run each week, and kept alternating between 200s on the track and 30 second hill reps once per week. Simple stuffI've continued to extend the length of the track intervals while progressively ratcheting up the pace a little bit each week. Workout details: 5 x 2000m3 x 3000m2 x 4000m1 x 5000m.

This weekend I'll run the Top of Utah Half Marathon - my favorite race in Utah and one where I've performed consistently well in the past (2011 - 1:05:40, 2nd; 2012 - 1:06:03, 1st; 2013 - 1:05:39, 2nd). I'm not in shape to challenge my course PR - my goal is to compete for the win, and continue to build momentum.

Another way to look at the first half of the buildup towards Chicago is this handy little chart...

Not impressively fast workouts by any means, but I'm staying very patient and looking for gradual, consistent improvements.

Bloodwork done a few weeks ago shows my levels moving back in the right direction after hitting a lowpoint in June:

This loop in Park City's South Snyderville Basin has become my new favorite long run:


  1. You are saying your workouts are slow, but for me still very impressive :) I am training for Chicago as well, but shooting for that sub 3 :) Thank you for sharing and keep it up! Good luck for the half marathon this weekend, can't wait to read the recap,,, I am currently for first time training at altitude for 2 weeks. Would you have any tips? Thank you!

    1. Thank you Barbora.

      How high (altitude) are you heading? You'll notice your runs will slow down a bit - don't worry about it, just run by feel. Make sure to get some extra sleep, too.

    2. I am staying at a hotel at 1 800 meters (5 900 ft) above sea level and running up to +/- 2 000 meters. For my hard workouts I try to drive down to lower altitudes. Yep, I am definitely slower, also not used to run on such a hilly terrains :) I have actually quite some trouble sleeping here, it's getting better, but still I am awake several times during the night and usually am wide awake after 6-7 hours of sleep (I am used to 7-8 back home). I try to get some extra sleep before my second session in the afternoon though. Thank you for your advice!