Training for Chi Marathon

Night run are still my fave summer runs

Mid-year already! That’s right we’re running through June at the speed of a twister. And no surprise, with the weather we’ve been having, that we’ve already had a few tornado warnings this month. We’ve only not had hurricanes; but hail, heatwave, humidity, rain, we’ve had it all and we’re  still here! Speaking of here, and just like that it’s marathon training time. I think I mentioned before that I’m running the Chicago marathon this Fall so here goes training. I’m getting a leg up this year by starting training early to give myself time to ease in with no rush or fanfare; I’m usually a last-minute sorta person and don’t mind the fuss. LoL.  I’m hoping this  strategy of mine will pay off with big gains in the areas of pace and endurance.

So this year, I decided to try something new: engage in a full 17-week marathon training program. In the past, I’ve mostly done my own thing with a of couple weeks here and there with the B.A.A training program when I ran the Boston marathon, but I’ve never committed to an entire training program that’s seventeen weeks long! This is new ground for me. One thing that I’ve discovered with training though is that at the beginning you always feel like you have forever to prepare but the reality is that weeks are just days that seems like a lot until it’s not. All too soon it’ll be down to tapering time and I’ll be wondering wherever did the time go; but by then race day will be days away and I’ll either be ready or not. I’m putting it out there that I will be ready because of the training I’m about to embark upon to master my speedwork, tempo runs, long runs, and recovery runs. The result will be worth the sacrifice to bring me, quite literally, up to speed and prepared to run my best race.

But really, what does that look like? Well, this is the second week of training so it’s early yet to give any stats but what I can say is that I’m using the Nike run club app. Nike is  the main sponsor for the marathon and those running folks have a plan all prepped and ready to run. I mean I think those guys know what they’re talking about, they’re the pros after all, and it’s time I learnt something new anyway. This is the ideal stage of the game to get uncomfortable with routines and try something new to mayhap get a “new” result. I’m here for it. And, can I tell you? I’m off to a great start with the audio-guided runs! Who knew that was a thing? Likely, a lot of runners while I was all about my “own thing.” How it works is a virtual coach explains, encourages, and leads you through the specific run for that day with a focus on helping you to maintain pace. This is great for me, for though I have years off running experience, I oftentimes struggle w pacing on longer runs. So, here I am, reimagining running this training period and so far so great. A lesson I’ve already learnt is that all runs should start off slow and easy. In all honesty, I didn’t not know this, buried somewhere under the need for speed I’ve always known that building up one’s pace is far better for progression and far more sustainable over the long or longer run but like many people, I haven’t been good at the application process.  No excuses, but for all practical purposes I’m not particularly patient and well I’m just not very good at slow and easy. LoL. Let me correct that, in the past I haven’t been good at practicing patience but I’m doing much better now at exercising that particular spiritual fruit. Thank God; It’s never too late to learn.

The plan is pretty straight forward,  for now at least, 5 days of running with 2 days off: 2 consecutive recovery run days, a speed run day, followed by a recovery run day, and capped with a long run day. Strength training is recommended for day 6 followed by a rest day. I have to say that the most challenging aspect of this training is staying consistent and getting those runs in during the coolest part of the day. My ability (we’re talking tenaciousness here) to do those two things will determine the success of this plan. Yes, I can. And so too, can you!

Cool Running

Source: active.com

Source: active.com

Eighty degrees plus days are here! Whether you’re up early or running late, the challenge is to find a time that’s right for you and run with it. The life of a person with a typical nine to five job reduces opportunities for running to early morning, late evening or night and weekends. Practically speaking, who wants to engage in daytime running anyhow as it can easily get up in the hundreds and there would be no chance of keeping your cool then. Of course there’s the option of the gym and anytime running on the treadmill but there’s no fun in that. Summer calls for fresh breeze, swaying trees, the scent of a million nondescript things amidst the colorful voices of chatter and laughter and chirping and buzzing in the glow of sunrise or the aftermath of sunset.

Schedules-smedules, it really dictates your pace. For my part, I’m stuck with evenings and night-time runs; not too bad really, but for the fact that I prefer early-morning runs. For one thing, it’s way cooler then as the sun hasn’t warmed up the day as yet. It’s also perfect quiet time. If you’re aesthetically inclined then you’ll appreciate this aspect of early-morning: the quiet and solitude, the just-there fresh dew upon the ground, plants and trees, the apparent newness of the day and the clean and sharp feel to the air. There’s nothing quite like waking up to greet a day that embraces and invites you to place your mark on it. Other advantages to running at this time include: a minimal amount of traffic but a prevailing sense of safety, air pollution is at its lowest, it’s not necessary to run with fuel if you’re heading out for a short run and there’s no need for extra cover and/or sunblock. It’s an added bonus that an early- morning run opens up your appetite and leaves you feeling pumped and ready to sieze the day.

If you’re a late-evening runner like myself chances are you run into night often enough and I’m talking big-moon-starry-night. For me, that’s the best part: the stillness the night carries inspite of the traffic and noise, the scatter of city lights against the darkness, the illusion of aloneness in the city parks even with other runners on the course, the opportunity to literally run the issues of the day away juxtaposed to doing an internal review of your day and planning for the next, it’s also easier to meet-up with a running group or a buddy since most people share a nine to five schedule and running after work is pretty popular, which provides you with motivation and accountability. Of course minimal wear and minimal or no sunblock is par for the course which leaves you with the only real disadvantage being wrapping up late and getting to bed then. But after a while of doing this, your body learns and it becomes part of your routine. A heads up on hydrating during these runs since it’s still pretty warm and often humid, you need to fuel up beforehand, during and after running.

Another option for cool running in the summer is running in the rain. It’s actually a favorite of mine around this time. Lots of thunderstorms hanging around and it’s the fiercest feeling you get while running through one. Go figure..it’s you against the elements. We know who wins. Ideally if it would thunderstorm during the day, on weekends, those would make for some perfect runs but you really take it when you can get it. Afterall, our goal this Summer is simply to stay running and stay cool.

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