October 9, 2014

Chicago Training #6 - Wrapping it all up

The 2014 Bank of American Chicago Marathon is this Sunday, October 12th, and the gun goes off at 7:30am Central Time. 

Here's the link for Runner Tracking. I'll be wearing bib #344.

Here's the link for the 

Men's Preview from Letsrun. Bekele vs. Kipchoge is going to be awesome.

OK, time for my longish recap of the training cycle along with some charts and tables. Some of this is duplicate, as I already did five posts over the summer leading up to this one...


The 2013 season ended on an upswing - 1:05:54 at the IMM 1/2 on Nov 2, then 2:20:41 at CIM on Dec 8th. The 2014 season started on a good note as well - I tried some different things in training (lower mileage, bigger emphasis on faster track and threshold-type workouts) and was building fitness from January through April with visions of running a big half-marathon PR on the streets of Duluth in June. For a variety of reasons, I completely fell apart in May. I encountered a perfect storm of physical and mental stress (the body interprets both the same way) and didn't handle it well. By the beginning of June I finally came to terms with the fact that I was on a major downslide, over-trained, and decided not to race or do workouts for a while. At the end of June I got really sick (likely salmonella poisoning, which rocked me hard since I didn't take any antibiotics), and officially hit my fitness nadir. That's where the Chicago buildup began...

14 Weeks to Chicago...

Over July 4th weekend Andrea and I debated whether it was even possible to get in reasonable marathon shape by October. We decided that if I used my time wisely, focused on my strengths (not my weaknesses), didn't race much, and kept the expectations low, it was worth taking a shot. While timelines are arbitrary, I considered the week starting July 7th to be the beginning of my Chicago Marathon buildup, as that was when I laid out the first draft of the training schedule and mentally committed to the race.

The first cycle of training was simple - a track workout once per week, building in repetition distance and decreasing in pace. Long runs got a little longer each week. I alternated 200s and 30s hill reps once a week as well. The TOU 1/2 was the first checkpoint: I won in 1:07:37. Winning is always nice, but after running 1:05:40, 1:06:03, and 1:05:39 the previous three years at the same race, it was obvious I still had a lot of work to do.

After that race I was essentially done with interval-style workouts. I moved on to progression runs and eventually wave tempos. I kept the total volume high, and tried to run on grass/dirt as much as possible. A few of the long runs got faster (a 26.2K "simulator" and the TOU Marathon). My workouts throughout this entire cycle were consistently quite a bit slower than I've run in past marathon buildups, and I didn't do a lot of race-specific workouts, yet I wasn't really too concerned. Aerobically I was building a very strong foundation, and I felt that would be enough to run well in Chicago, and then propel me forward to whatever comes next. 

Then about a week ago I did get concerned. My right hamstring, which has been bothersome (off and on) since the 2012 TOU Marathon, decided it was time to be annoying again. I had to take a few days off (rare for me) and basically throw my plan for tune-up workouts during the taper out the window. For a couple days I was a total basket-case and questioned whether it was even worth making the trip to Chicago. At this point I don't really know how it's going to hold up for 2+ hours of fast running, but I feel decent enough to toe the line and find out.

Early in the summer, I said I'd be thrilled to get to a point where I felt like my PR was within reach by October. So that's what I'm aiming for on Sunday - under 2:20:41.

Some things I think I did well...

-Averaged 130 miles per week over 13 weeks (from 14 weeks out until 1 week out)
-All the workouts were done in sets that progressed and made sense
-I stayed committed to the 200s/hills (until it was time to phase them out during the last month)
-Created a template that I'll replicate (with adjustments, of course) next spring and fall. The training was smart.
-14 weeks was a nice chunk of time to stay focused on one race. I see the value in dedicating 16-20 weeks to a marathon buildup, and maybe I'll be more likely to do that in the future (assuming this one goes well!)
-I really enjoyed the training this summer. Running was fun, every day.

There are a few things I will adjust in the next big buildup, but for now, I'm focusing on all positives.

Now, the exciting stuff - all my charts and tables...

Summary of the Chicago buildup
(I had to make a few adjustments in the final two weeks)
Weekly Mileage

The entire summer training in calendar fashion (Big View)

Blood values don't correlate to performance, but this tells me I was building myself UP
this summer, not breaking myself down. Eight-minute miles on grass/dirt are valuable!

Some more specifics of the workouts during the first half of the cycle
AT runs after TOU 1/2
Wave runs over the last three weeks. The hamstring prevented me from doing these exactly as intended.

And finally, after evaluating all of my choices, this was the decision...

1 comment:

  1. i love all the charts and tables. time to attack chicago! [google search for "wolf claw slash" gives me this http://goo.gl/FBNh0e and this http://goo.gl/vqHCQD]