Chicago Marathon Mid Training Update

This is the third training cycle I’ve done for a marathon, and by far, it has been the best one up to this point.  With the exception of running with the Outer Banks group for one of the weeks, I have run all of my runs solo.   I think that mentally, it is tougher to do that.  The time may go by a little slower than when running with others, which is good practice for the real race.  Although in a way I am running with others at the race, I really am not.  There will be runners there that are running with others. I suppose I could run with a pace group, but I don’t really want to do that (although I have with half marathons and usually like it).  I will be running solo at Chicago too, so running solo now is good preparation. I still may have occasional runs with someone during training, but I expect to finish my training mostly with solo runs.  I do listen to music on the solo runs, but I might not use it at Chicago because last time there was just so much crowd cheering, it was hard to hear music anyway!

My training goals are the following:  no injuries, lose weight, experiment with fluid intake and gels, diet, and follow the training schedule I’m using as closely as I can.  Here’s how these things are going so far:

Weight Loss

I’m doing pretty well with weight loss.  Back in January I was as high as 230 lbs.   Now I am around 213 as of my last weigh in from a couple days ago.  My goal is to be under 200 lbs before the marathon, so I have a couple months to go still.  Hopefully I can accomplish this.  During my week at the beach, I ate EVERYTHING!  But I also ran 32 miles between Sunday-Friday, so that helped me neither gain nor lose weight.

Injuries

With running experience comes wisdom, but that doesn’t mean I still won’t get injured.  I have had my fair share of injuries in the past, and they can be a race wrecker.  They can come out of nowhere, literally overnight.  I am fully aware of this, and my weekly miles are starting to increase a lot compared to what I usually run.  30+ miles/wk is a lot for me, and it is about to increase into the 40s.  So I need to be on top of things like stretching, foam rolling, and doing elastic band walks.   I have been trying to do these regularly after runs or the day after/before a run.  I usually do not do elastic band walks right before a run.  I did once, and my knee hurt on the run.  It could have been a coincidence, but I am not chancing it.   On this training cycle, I have had a sore quad that took 1+ miles to warm up to where I could increase my pace. I am keeping an eye on that muscle, and on my last run, it did not bother me.  I have had pains here and there sometimes, but they all have been temporary so far.   Let’s hope that I can just get through the next 4-5 weeks of very long runs and make it to the taper!  Usually I get a massage at some point, probably 2-3 weeks before the marathon.

Fluid Intake

This is something I have struggled with.  This time I am training with what they will serve on the course, which is Gatorade Endurance formula.  I have bought the powder and have been using it on my longer runs.  I usually carry water and Gatorade so that I can alternate with them while running.  But I have struggled in the past with symptoms of dehydration in the last part of the race – around or after 20 miles.  Symptoms like nausea, as well as “hitting the wall” symptoms.  I still need to figure this part out.   I had problems in the last 2 marathons with this and haven’t even finished a marathon without some walking involved.  It’s never an issue for me in half marathons (except once – very hot weather).  Also post marathon race, I still experienced the dehydration symptoms.  It is odd, but if I try to take in too many liquids, then I feel worse while running.   But I am a heavy sweater, losing up to 3 pounds on a 6 mile run for a 75-80 degree day.   I am not sure how fast liquids clear out out of my stomach normally, and in a race, it is even worse because blood is going more to muscles, etc. during all that exertion.  For energy gels, I have been using Gatorade chews, but I know the Cliff energy chews (non-caffeine) also work for me.

Training Schedule

I used this training schedule before but never as closely as I am able to this time

I know my limits pretty well.  For example, I know that I feel worse if I run 3 days in a row.  My training schedule has me running Fri/Sat/Sun in a row, so instead, I have eliminated the Saturday run and tacked those miles onto the other days.  So I am still hitting the weekly mileage target, just with longer runs.  This has worked well for me so far. I am also trying to get some weightlifting in  a couple days a week.

So that’s about it. I am satisfied so far with my runs, but it’s about to get intense.  My next long will be easy (14 miles – Update – this run went well), but after that it is 18,20,20, 15, 22.  If I get through all of that, I will have made it to the taper.  The 16 miler that I did last week went very well, but I had good weather on my side.  On that run, I felt like I could have run 4 more miles to get to 20.  I probably should have!  But I am trying to just stick with this Runner’s World schedule.

Shoes

I forgot to mention that I have been running in Newton Aha shoes for 2-3 years now, and they have discontinued the shoe.  I cannot even find a pair in my size online anywhere, so I had to find another shoe.  I found a new shoe and will talk about that in another upcoming post.

-EJW

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