Chicago Training Prep, Chapter 4: Getting Ready

Base building is crankin’ up: first “long run” and longest run in over a month! It feels good to start getting my mileage up again!

I really can’t believe that I’m going to be training for a marathon soon. The sound of liquid sloshing in little water bottles on a muggy summer long run…the long intensive workouts…that slightly nauseating scent of well-worn tech gear lingering in the crowd of runners at the start line of a tune-up half marathon…the electric tangle of nerves and anxiety the day before I’m going to run 26.2 miles without stopping… all of that is about to be part of my life soon and it’s both exciting and sort of scary at the same time. Am I really about to do this – be in training for the Chicago Marathon – soon?

I am. Three weeks from today, in fact. While that’s a generous amount of time, I’m sure it will go by before I know it, so I’ve already starting doing some of the final prep to get myself ready to dive in to training life.

I went shopping


Sigh…I’m pretty much gonna fail at this whole “minimal marathon spending” project, aren’t I? Ah well. I like to think that I’m doing it like a true scientist in that I’m more concerned with learning and answering questions than proving myself right, so even though I’ve already strayed the course quite a bit, so to speak, I’ll keep documenting so that at least at the end of this we’ll all learn something for next time!

Anyway, I do plan on instituting a running spending ban when training starts, so l’ve been taking advantage of our mortgage grace period this month to spend on some new gear for training.

I used to have a generic, cheap foam roller that worked just fine until the cats tore it up (seriously, I can’t leave that thing alone for a second when those two are around), so I decided that if I need a new one I might as well spend the few extra bucks and get a nicer one. I’ve actually never been much of a foam roller, but one of my overarching goals for this training is to take better care of myself and feel better overall, so I’m going to be a lot more diligent with post-long run and post-workout recovery this summer.

I got a new hydration pack because my old one only has one large bottle, and I really prefer to have both plain water and sports drink on my long runs, so I wanted a new one that held two bottles.

I also need to get Hammer gel and reusable packets for it, but I’ll be ordering that online because our local running store doesn’t sell the big jugs of it. I’m trying to be more eco-friendly and minimal and avoid gel packet waste by buying gel in bulk and using reusable gel packets.

At some point during the summer I will probably need to buy new shoes, as I’m not sure any of my pairs will be good through October. I’m not sure if I’ll get them this month and stash them away until September, or make an exception to my shopping ban during training.

My training plan is ready!

I think I’m done making all the pre-training adaptions to my Brad Hudson Marathon Training Plan that I’m going to make for now, so…I have a training plan!

As I mentioned in Chapter 2, the only big adaptions I’m making now are adding more long run mileage in the first 10 weeks of training and tweaking or removing a few of the early workouts so that I’m focusing more on aerobic development (where I really feel I’m lacking going into training) than speed.

The basics: the first few weeks of training have 4 runs per week, but after that I’ll be running 5 days per week, which is my preference for marathon training. I’ll be doing long runs on Saturday and using Sunday as a complete rest day. I want more balance in my life this training cycle, so it’s really important to me to have one weekend day that I can take completely off from running, sleep in, and be a normal person with free time to do house stuff and spend time with Kevin. Workouts are on Mondays and Thursdays, so my second weekly rest day will be either Friday or Wednesday each week. My weekly mileage starts in the low 20s and peaks at 50.

It will be interesting to try something different. This plan has a lot more variety and is not nearly as formulaic as the training I usually do, so it will be a little outside my comfort zone, but I’m really hoping that pays off by allowing me to break out of my plateau and see some new fitness gains.

I’m getting a little healthier

I’ve started cleaning up my diet a little bit this month. On May 2nd, I decided to give up soda again – tomorrow will be two weeks soda-free!

I’ve also starting cutting back on my alcohol consumption. I started doing these two things in combination with resuming a running routine so that I could shed some of the pounds I gained when I wasn’t exercising last fall/this winter, and I’m planning to continue through the summer and develop better dietary habits in furtherance of my aforementioned goal to take better care of myself and feel better during training.

I’ve also started working on improving my sleep quality. I did this because no matter how much sleep I get, every day I feel like total shit trying to get out of bed in the morning, and I’m sick of it. When Jennifer posted about improving sleep quality a couple weeks ago, I didn’t think her suggestions applied to me since my problem is waking up, not insomnia…but I’m so fed up with how I feel in the morning that I decided to give the Deep Sleep with Andrew Johnson app a try anyway. I’ve only been using it a few nights (I skipped Fri and Sat – oops), but I could swear I already notice a difference and feel slightly less tired first thing in the AM! I’m supposed to use it every night for three weeks to start, so I’ll wait until the end of the month to give a full report.

I’m setting my training cycle goals

I probably won’t have a race time goal until I’m nearing my peak weeks of marathon training, when I can start to get an idea of what shape I’m in for the marathon. But I am setting several other goals for myself for marathon training #4. So far, they include: nail my taper and race week routine/nutrition; the aforementioned shopping ban; be more diligent about recovery, especially after long runs; and, as I’ve discussed at length so far, taking better care of myself – eating, sleeping, and recovering better. I also am trying to be better at managing my time this training cycle so I can feel happier and have more of a run-life balance than I’ve had in the past. I’ll be switching to morning running once training starts in order to accomplish this goal, and to minimize the summer heat.


Now there’s not much to do but keep running, and wait!


5 thoughts on “Chicago Training Prep, Chapter 4: Getting Ready

  1. I always mean to be super healthy come marathon season, and I always fail so hard at it haha. It’s really tough! (At least in my experience.) Even though I logically know marathoning (and just training in general) would be so much more pleasant if I would commit to doing the things I should do in my non-runnning moments (eating well, getting enough sleep, stretching, doing PT exercises, foam rolling, etc.), I never seem to be able to convince myself to actually follow through. Maybe this year….


  2. Hooray for minimizing waste!!! If you are looking for reusable gel packets, I really like the Gear Well EnduraPouch! Granted, I am a bit invested in them since my husband owns the company, but they are so easy to clean since they go into the dishwasher. (I also have a discount code: THISRUNNERSRECIPES for 15% off). It’s so much cheaper to buy gel in bulk also.
    Also, congrats on being soda-free!


  3. This all sounds great! I’m excited for you and can’t wait to follow along. I think I might also buy the Hudson book because I’m curious based on what you’ve posted. I feel I’ve really learned a lot about what my body needs and have tailored my running to that recently, and that’s worked really well for me. Also, I would love a 5 day a week plan, but I just don’t think that’s possible for me because I’m a slow runner & need to spread my miles out over more time (days). Glad you got the Deep Sleep app & have seen improvements. Don’t you love Andrew?


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