Marathon Training: The Home Stretch

With the Chicago marathon a mere 5 weeks away, I suppose you’re wondering how things have been going. The only way training can be described is “okay.” Even though it’s only okay, it’s the first training cycle I’ve had since my training for my very first half marathon (back in May 2010) where I haven’t gotten sidelined by a running related injury! I have, however, had a few struggles with my GI, most recently the flare-up that caused me to try giving up gluten.

The longest run I’ve completed to date has been 14 miles. Originally I was planning to get in 2-3 20 milers, but with a trip to Europe, my GI woes, and life in general, that just isn’t going to happen. So instead, after this past weekend’s run I’m planning on a 16, 18, and a 20 before tapering. For a lot of people that probably doesn’t seem like enough training, but before my first marathon last November I only completed one 18 miler, and I survived. I realize this means I probably won’t smash my PR, but I have high hopes that I’ll at least come in under my 4:37 PR simply by having more experience and being faster overall.

I’ve actually read quite a few articles that believe the elusive 20 miler isn’t necessary aside from being a mental boost. Most of these plans mention doing a 3 hour run. For someone like my husband, that means a 20 miler (plus some). But for someone like me, that’s more like an 18 miler. A big reason for this is due to weekly mileage – someone like me worries about my long run on the weekend, and doesn’t run nearly enough during the week, which hurts training just as much as not doing a long run. So, if it means keeping my mileage during the week higher and doing a shorter (but still long!) long run, I’d be willing to give it a try. I’ve also read some suggestions on running two medium length runs back to back, instead of one super long run (i.e. a 10 miler Saturday, and a 10 miler Sunday). I’m obviously not experienced enough (nor do I have enough time left) to have the room to experiment much, but I’m at a point now here I have to just run as frequently as I can, while keeping my mileage at the right amount to make sure I’m successful in the marathon without hurting myself before or during.

Running both Chicago and New York give me a unique opportunity – if Chicago isn’t a huge success, I still have another marathon a mere 4 weeks after. Obviously this will only work if I’m not too beat up after Chicago, which fingers crossed, I don’t think I will be. Only time will tell!

Any words of advice in my last few weeks of training?
Who’s running Chicago? New York? Both?! 

10 thoughts on “Marathon Training: The Home Stretch

  1. You’re right- you’ll be fine. Especially if you’re not planning on some super lofty goal. Enjoy the final weeks of training, and good luck!!


  2. There’s a reason for the 3-hr. rule–for runners who don’t hit 20 miles by that point, you can get diminishing returns after that 3-hr. mark. So much time on your feet leads to more breakdown, more chance of injury. I think you will be just fine!


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