Boston Marathon Training: Week One-Week Five

Here we are. January 31st of 2019. This month felt both quick and long at the same time, but in terms of Boston Marathon Training, it was definitely quick. I feel like I just started running consistently again and all of a sudden I am five weeks into training.

This training cycle has been a slow build. I was hardly running in November and December, so I couldn’t just jump back into 30 mile weeks off the bat. I try to train smart. Having a coach helps with that. I eased in, I still prioritized strength and yoga, and I am finally feeling a little more in shape.

It’s easy to compare my training to where I was last year at this time. Or two years ago. But I have learned I need to practice patience and it doesn’t do me any good to compare past me to current me. I am confident I will get into the shape I need to be in to run a strong Boston this year. Trusting the process!

Here’s what my first fives weeks have looked like.

December 24th-December 30th:

  • Monday – 75 minute yoga class + 4 miles
  • Tuesday – 1.50 miles
  • Wednesday – 4.27 miles
  • Thursday – HiDef class
  • Friday – Cycle 45 class + 3.32 miles
  • Saturday – 5.26 miles (with tempo miles)
  • Sunday – Rest day


December 31st-January 6th:

  • Monday – 3.50 miles
  • Tuesday – Rest day
  • Wednesday – HiDef class + 4.05 treadmill miles
  • Thursday – Hot yoga class, 3×3 class + 5 miles
  • Friday – Hot yoga class
  • Saturday – Hot yoga class + 8.25 miles
  • Sunday – Yoga flow 75


January 7th-January 13th:

  • Monday – Strength with Jake
  • Tuesday – 4.34 miles
  • Wednesday – Hot yoga class
  • Thursday – Hot yoga class
  • Friday – HiDef class + 4.23 miles + Yoga class
  • Saturday – 10.50 miles
  • Sunday – Yoga flow 75


January 14th-January 20th:

  • Monday – 5.35 miles
  • Tuesday – 5 miles + Strength with Jake
  • Wednesday – 9.26 miles speed workout (400s) + Yoga class
  • Thursday – 5 miles
  • Friday – Rest day
  • Saturday – Rest day
  • Sunday – 10.03 miles + Yoga flow 75


January 21st-January 27th:

  • Monday – Hot yoga class
  • Tuesday – 6 miles + 45 minute strength class
  • Wednesday – Strength with Jake
  • Thursday – 10 treadmill miles
  • Friday – Hot yoga class
  • Saturday – Rest day
  • Sunday – 10.28 treadmill miles + Yoga flow 75

Chicago winter has been challenging lately. I am not great on the treadmill and I have had to shift things around, but I’m embracing being flexible. Not much I can do about a polar vortex.

January was also a good month for me for a lot of non-running reasons. I gave up alcohol for 31 days. I focused on getting more sleep. I finally found an answer to my breathing problem after 3.5 months of appointments and tests. And I gave up coffee (which is something I never thought I would do). I feel better today than I have in months. I don’t plan to give up booze or coffee entirely from here on out, but I want to treat both categories as a “treat” kind of thing. I don’t need to have caffeine everyday and I don’t need to drink every weekend. Taking a step back from something let’s me really think about what it does for me and how I want to move forward. I know I am feeling better now than I was on December 31st. Little changes add up.

I’m happy with this start to the year and this start to my training. I have a good feeling about this one.

A good training cycle?

I’ve been thinking a lot about what makes a “good training cycle” lately. I am one week out from the Chicago Marathon. It will be my 4th Chicago Marathon and my 9th full marathon. I have done the training thing a little differently each time and I have learned a lot along the way. Do I feel like this time around was a good one? Yes. I think so.

(Photo: Aaron Ross Stories)

I got a late start to marathon training this time. I usually like to train for 17-18 weeks, but I needed an extra long recovery period after the Boston Marathon, so I didn’t actually start training for Chicago until the second weekend of July. To be honest, feeling behind wasn’t great for me mentally. My first few weeks of training felt awkward, difficult and not very fun. I even thought about withdrawing from the marathon. I don’t like to do things unless I give them my all. That is true for just about everything in my life, but especially marathons. I know it isn’t smart to go into a marathon under trained or feeling unhealthy, so I sat with this decision for a bit. But after a few weeks of slogging it out I started to feel like myself again. Runs started feeling easier and I had some speed back in my legs. So, I decided I was going to run this marathon after all and I was going to give it my all for the next 10 weeks.

The heat was pretty brutal this summer. And I won’t sit here and say that every single run I had from August on was amazing – it wasn’t. But I committed. I got out there when I didn’t want to, I struggled through some tough runs, and I got stronger. My peak week this time was lower mileage than my Boston training cycle. I cut a few tempo runs short. And my monthly mileage totals were a little lower than what I usually do, but I felt good. I felt like I was putting in solid work. I was running injury free and I was happy with my return to the grind.

So, this all got me thinking. What makes a good training cycle? Is it hitting 50+ miles a week? Is it running injury free? Is it not skipping any runs? Is it feeling consistently mentally strong? This answer depends on the person. I’d love to hear what you think. But I wanted to decide if for me, this training cycle was a “good one.”

Despite the late start and the first few weeks of struggle, here was my “good”:

  • I logged a long run every weekend.
  • I shuffled around my schedule to make my training work with my life.
  • I had two of the strongest speed workouts I’ve ever had.
  • I avoided over training.
  • I made it to yoga once a week.
  • I strength trained 1-2x a week.
  • I used running time as friend time when I could.
  • I reminded myself why I love marathon training.

So to me, this was a good training cycle. It wasn’t perfect by any means and I think on paper my Boston training cycle was a little stronger. But I felt good throughout these past couple of months and I am proud of myself for getting back into this sport I love. I juggled some life changes, I kept up my social life, I had a fun summer and I still logged important, happy, fast, slow and therapeutic miles.

I actually think the way I treated my training this time around was the healthiest yet. I worked hard, but I didn’t let it stress me out. I ran because I wanted to run. And I wasn’t taking my ability to train for granted. I logged my easy runs easier than ever and I ran my fast reps faster than ever. I recovered well. I took my nutrition seriously. And I can say tonight that I am truly looking forward to toeing the start line of my 9th marathon next Sunday.

I love the marathon distance. I love that you can’t cheat it. It’s always hard, you’ll have to believe in yourself to get to the finish, but you’ll also see your true strength. Am I going to PR again on Sunday? I don’t know. Am I going to enjoy every step? Yes. I love the Chicago Marathon so much and I am feeling grateful for the chance to run again. I’ll do what I always do – I’ll run the first half with my head and the second half with my heart. No matter what the time on the clock says, I will be proud of another marathon training cycle conquered and another marathon finish line crossed.

Boston Marathon Training: Week Five to Week Twelve

I had every intention of blogging weekly for my Boston Marathon training cycle, but clearly it kind of fell to the bottom of my to-do list. There’s a lot to juggle with training and life. I kept my Believe Training Journal updated each week and shared some photos of it on Instagram, but I do want to play a bit of catch up with this blog post.

So, week five to week twelve. WOAH. I have to start by saying how quickly this training cycle has gone by. I really feel like I just started, but I think that’s a good thing. I had a freak out. I thought I was injured. I took a few days off. I shed a few tears. I got over myself. I chose to trust the process. Marathon training is SUCH a journey. One day you’ll feel like you’re doing everything right and the next you’ll feel like you can’t even run 10 miles – how the hell will you run 26.2 at your goal pace? It’s a struggle. Always is. But it’s a struggle I love and I just have to keep reminding myself of that.

I have been working with a coach for the first time this training cycle, so I never knew what my week would be like. I couldn’t look ahead from February to April and know what mileage I was running on April 2nd. To be honest, that scared me. I am a planner and I do not like not knowing what is coming in the upcoming weeks. I had to adjust and I’ll tell you – it was tough. But I’ve come to like the week by week thing. It’s refreshing and I haven’t been bored or felt like I was logging the same routes and same workouts week after week. The biggest change though? No 20 miler.

Yes, you read that right. I am three weeks away from the Boston Marathon and I have not run a 20 miler. Or an 18 miler. The farthest I have run at one time is 16.35 miles. This still freaks me out. I was always the girl running 2-3 20 milers in a training cycle and still not feeling like it was enough. I loved hitting 20 and mentally knowing I’d only have 6.2 more to go. And I’m still pretty freaked out. My weekly mileage has matched about what I was doing last year, but the long runs have been shorter or split into two days. My coach is a smart guy and I have chosen to trust him. My ‘A goal’ of this training cycle was really just to make it to the start line healthy and injury-free. Straining my Achilles last year devastated me and I knew I had to do whatever I could to prevent that from happening again, so here we are. I’m still not sure how I feel about it, but I know I have run a marathon before and I will be able to cover the 26.2 miles either way.

Here’s a look at what my weeks have looked like:

WEEK FIVE – 31.31 miles

A race week. I was excited to race a half marathon on Saturday even if it was only on five weeks of training. Mileage wasn’t high during the week in hopes my legs would be fresh. And it worked. I had a new half marathon personal record by over a minute and I felt so strong. It was such a great confidence boost.

  • Monday – 5.10 miles easy
  • Tuesday – 5.0 miles with 10 minute tempos + strength
  • Wednesday – 5.05 miles of speed work
  • Thursday – Hot yoga class
  • Friday – 3.10 miles easy
  • Saturday – 13.10 miles NEW PR 1:35:22 (7:17 pace)
  • Sunday – Rest day

WEEK SIX – 30.80 miles

Recovery week. I was on vacation for the first half of the week, so I was on my feet a lot, but I loved it. Hiking is one of my favorite ways to spend the day and I got in my runs too.

  • Monday – 4.60 miles easy + hiking
  • Tuesday – 5.70 mountain miles + hiking
  • Wednesday – 4.0 miles easy
  • Thursday – 45 minute cycling class
  • Friday – 6.25 miles easy
  • Saturday – 10.25 miles easy
  • Sunday – 75 minute yoga class

WEEK SEVEN – 29.93 miles

Another recovery week. I was pretty consistently building from the start of training, so these two weeks were a reset. I needed the extra recovery coming off my half marathon PR. I had a speed workout back this week and my first hilly long run out in Barrington!

  • Monday – 5.60 miles easy
  • Tuesday – Hot yoga class AM + strength
  • Wednesday – 6.48 miles of speedwork
  • Thursday – Hot yoga class AM + 45 minute cycling class PM
  • Friday – 6.85 miles easy
  • Saturday – 11.0 miles easy – first Barrington run (hills!)
  • Sunday – 75 minute yoga class

WEEK EIGHT – 49.82 miles

Woof. This week kicked my butt. It was a big jump and a tough week personally. I lost a family member this Tuesday after saying goodbye on Sunday. I didn’t realize how hard it was going to hit me. I moved my long run to Sunday since the services were on Saturday and I wanted the time with my family. I did get up and hit all my paces during my 14 miles on Sunday morning, but it was complete with a sobbing break down on one of the recoveries. I am proud of getting all this work in despite what I was dealing with. I thought I was tough and that I should be fine. In hindsight, I wish I had taken Friday-Sunday off. You learn as you go though. I’ve been fortunate not to have dealt with a lot of grief in my life, but when I do – it hits. I think I’ll have to be more upfront with myself in the future because my freak out in Week Ten was really due to me not dealing with things.

  • Monday – 10.06 miles of tempo
  • Tuesday – 4.71 miles easy + strength
  • Wednesday – 10.55 miles of speed work
  • Thursday – Hot yoga class AM + 45 minute cycling class PM
  • Friday – 10.50 miles easy
  • Saturday – Rest day
  • Sunday – 14 miles of tempo AM + 75 minute yoga class

WEEK NINE – 45.55 miles

I still followed my schedule as planned this week. I hit all my paces/mileage. I felt okay. Tuesday was a lot for me with the long run and strength double. I was just really tired. My long run felt good though. I love being out on those hills!

  • Monday – 6.10 miles easy
  • Tuesday – 10.68 miles easy AM + strength
  • Wednesday – 8.51 miles of speed work
  • Thursday – Hot yoga class AM + 45 minute cycling class PM
  • Friday –  5.01 miles easy
  • Saturday – 15.25 miles in Barrington (tempo)
  • Sunday – 75 minute yoga class

WEEK TEN – 21.03 miles

Whoops. This week was the freak out. It had been building and I was ignoring it. I was feeling a lot of pressure about not making it to the Boston Marathon start line. I was coming up on the anniversary of my Achilles strain. I was stressed. I was sad. And I broke. Monday night I struggled to run 1 mile and I ended my night crying in my chiropractor’s office. He told me my pains/feelings of injury were 90% mental. I didn’t really believe him at the time since I literally limped into his office fearing I did something to my Achilles again, but he told me to take a few days off anyways. And to go home and drink some wine and take deep breaths. So, I did. I ran on Thursday and felt perfectly fine. Friday my head won and I took another rest day, but I got it together for Saturday and ran 15 miles without pain. I knew I needed to just stop telling myself I wouldn’t make it to the start line. I wasn’t doing it intentionally, but that is what I was thinking. I needed Week Eleven and a fresh start.

  • Monday – 1.03 miles
  • Tuesday – Rest day
  • Wednesday – Rest day
  • Thursday – 5 miles + hot yoga class AM + 45 minute cycling class PM
  • Friday –  Rest day
  • Saturday – 15 miles easy in Barrington
  • Sunday – [solidcore] pilates reformer class

WEEK ELEVEN – 47.85 miles

A new week with a better mindset. I was ready. And I crushed all the miles I was supposed to run including my Yassos 800s test on Wednesday night. My predicted time after 10 800s was 3:18 (my fastest ever) so we will see. I finally felt like myself again and it was so refreshing. It was a good week.

  • Monday – Strength
  • Tuesday – 8 miles easy
  • Wednesday – 4 miles easy AM + 11 miles of speed work PM
  • Thursday – 45 minute cycling class AM + 4.50 miles easy PM
  • Friday – 4.01 miles easy
  • Saturday – 16.35 miles easy
  • Sunday – 75 minute yoga class

WEEK TWELVE – 36.36 miles

This past week was a recovery week and a check in. I felt solid. I took things one day at a time. And I was prepping for a little racing on Sunday at the Shamrock Shuffle. I didn’t think my coach would want me to race on Sunday coming off the long run, but he told me to go for it – so I did. And I wanted to beat Kyle. I finished with a 7:06 average pace and was really happy with it. I’m in the mood to try racing shorter distances not in the midst of marathon training and the day after a long run, but I’m going to save that for later this year. Still felt good to get some speed in my legs!

  • Monday – Rest day
  • Tuesday – Hot yoga class AM + 5 miles easy PM
  • Wednesday – 8.57 miles of speed work
  • Thursday – Hot yoga class AM + 45 minute cycling class + strength
  • Friday – 6.75 miles easy
  • Saturday – 11.04 miles easy in Barrington
  • Sunday – Shamrock Shuffle 8K 35:19 (7:06 pace) + 75 minute yoga class

Phew. Eight weeks of work filled with lots of emotions. I am an emotional person and I often find myself trying to suppress or ignore that part of me, but it always comes back to bite me. I have teared up on probably a quarter of my runs. I visualize that finish line and I feel this ‘swell’ that is hard to describe. I’m embracing it because it makes me who I am. I can bet you I will be crying across that finish line, but I’m okay with it. I’ll smile too, promise. Boston is emotional for me. It’s cool to see something you’ve worked at for years finally start seeming within reach, but it’s also scary. It comes down to one day. But no matter how I perform on April 16th, I am SO proud of the work I have put in up to this point. From marathon number one to number seven – I learned a lot along the way and I never lost my determined attitude. I knew I would make it to Boston. And I did. I’m going. I get on my plane in 18 days. AND I CANNOT WAIT.

Boston Marathon Training: Week Four

And just like that we’re one month in. Already?! These weeks flew by which is pretty rare for January. I think I was much smarter this January than I was in January 2017. I ran easy more often, didn’t add in too much extra cross training, was intentional about my workouts, and will actually end up having higher mileage even though it doesn’t feel like it.

One of the reasons I love marathon training so much is because it is always a learning process. No training cycle is the same and I take what I learned the last time into the new months ahead. Plus, I’m really liking working with a coach for the first time. It helps me mentally to take the guess work out.

Here’s what week four looked like!

January 22nd-28th: 37.55 miles

Monday is the easy shakeout day. I used to have tempo runs on Monday and liked it, but it felt like a lot for the first run back from a long run. I’m really enjoying just having a relaxed run instead. I usually keep it slower than 8:45 pace and just shakeout my legs. This particular Monday it was five miles on the treadmill.

Tuesday was a double day. I was honestly not looking forward to it, just because it intimidates me. Once I get moving I’m fine, but I have to get there. An hour incline treadmill workout (6.45 miles) followed by an hour of strength training is a lot. Especially when my incline pushes were at 7:36 pace. But I took the treadmill one minute at a time while watching an episode of Gossip Girl and felt like it went by pretty quickly. The strength hour is fun even when I’m tired just because I’m out of my comfort zone. I’m not doing this because I love it, I’m doing it so my body gets stronger and I can stay injury free. But it is a good feeling to hit a new dead lift personal best.

Wednesday = speed. The dark, cold Zoo Lot speed workouts are the best. I wouldn’t want to get out there alone, but once I’m there I love it. This week I had mile repeats – 4 of them. This seemed like a big jump from the previous speed workout, so I was a little anxious, but in a good way. And once I finished the first one I knew I was going to have a great workout. Splits were 7:20, 7:15, 7:10, 7:05. With warm up and cool down I covered 7.50 miles. Plus, I went to a yoga class at lunch so it technically was a double day, but I can do as much yoga as I want. It really helps stretch out my legs! Oh and I got my Boston Marathon jacket in the mail. It was a really good day.

Thursday was cross training and a lot of it. I got a little ambitious since I was working from home which meant I had the chance to take more classes. I ended up taking a cycling class in the morning, a 40 minute strength class at lunch, and an hour long hot yoga class in the evening. My legs were tight but by the end of the yoga class I felt good as new. I love my non-running days almost as much as my running days.

Friday is another easy run for time and I got my butt out of bed before work. 5.40 miles at 8:34 pace in the sunniest weekday morning I’d seen in awhile. The only reason I can’t definitively say winter marathon training is my favorite is because of the lack of daylight, so when I get some I’m extra grateful.

Saturday solo long run of 13.20 miles at 8:17 average pace. I had tempo miles in my long run!! I was really excited. I kept my first hour easy at around 8:45 pace, had a 30 minute tempo around 7:25 pace (4.10 miles), and then a cool down. I really felt strong. The first hour flew by since I was looking forward to the tempo. And once I picked up the speed I was surprised by how much better my legs felt. I like going fast, I really do. I was lucky with a 40 degree sunny day in January and I love the effortless feeling long runs like this.

Sunday I took a Performance Stretch class to treat my body well, but I actually wasn’t feeling very sore at all. I felt worse after Tuesday, but Saturday didn’t beat me up. That’s a good thing. I love to end the week feeling as good as I did when it started.

Week five will bring me a new challenge. Why? I get to race a half marathon for the first time since July. I’m a little nervous, but I am SO excited to getaway for a runcation and spend time someplace warmer. I don’t know if I’m really ready to race after only 5 weeks of training, but it will be a good test of where I’m at. I’m trying not to put any pressure on myself. Either way, I’ll run another 13.1 miles and I’ll have fun doing it.

Boston Marathon Training: Week Three

Week three brought more speed and a little more mileage. My intention for this week was to find my routine, but not look too far ahead. It can be tough to start training again after a few months off and re-figure out how to make regular life and marathon training life happen. I’m always learning.

The weather was much more mild compared to week one and two and I actually snuck in TWO extra daylight runs. I usually run in the dark because it’s dark in the morning before I have to get ready for work and dark when I leave the office. Luckily, I had Monday off so I ran in the sunshine and snow in the afternoon and Friday I made my run happen on my lunch hour so I could get some extra sun time.

I love to run – that isn’t a secret – but I don’t love every single in the dark slow roll or treadmill hour. The sunny, beautiful runs are the ones that light me up. This week reminded me how much happier I am when I spend more time outside soaking up some vitamin D. I hope January keeps up this nice streak.

Here’s what week three looked like:

January 15th-January 21st: 35.52 miles 

Monday was a slow roll. 45 minutes running in zone 2. I kept my pace at 9 minute average and covered 5 miles. Simple, but great. Running in the snow is so much fun for me. And I had time for an extra hour long yoga class before my run that helped stretch me out and make me feel even more grateful for the day. Tuesday was strength and incline workout day. One hour on the treadmill with 10 minute incline intervals at 8:06 pace. This felt pretty tough. I was gassed after the hour and then had an hour of strength with my trainer to get through. I was exhausted by the end, but I still had a great lift and felt really proud of getting it all done.

Wednesday evening speed workouts are officially back. I’m not going crazy yet, but I had a timed interval fartlek style workout with pushes at 7:30 pace and walking recoveries. It was freezing cold, windy, and dark but I got outside. Slow warm up and cool down brought me to 6.68 total miles. These intervals felt dare I say “easy.” I wanted more and I wanted faster, but that’s a good sign. I like ending a workout feeling like I had more to give. I’m trying to be patient while my legs find their speed again.

Thursday cross training double day is a favorite day. 6am hot power yoga and a 7:30pm 45 minute cycling class. I think this combination works really well for me. I like stretching out first thing the morning after my Wednesday evening speed workout and the cycle in the evening helps flush out my legs. And I get to spend time at Studio Three so its obviously a really good day for me. By Friday my legs weren’t feeling as sore and I was able to log another easy 45 minutes at a relaxed pace with what felt like little effort. Another 5.05 miles at 8:55 pace. Just miles in the bank, but I know these type of runs are really important.

Long run Saturday brought me the biggest smile of my week since it was 35 degrees and felt like spring in Chicago. I know it’s really just a tease, but I’ll take it. I had 1 hour and 45 minutes easy on the plan. I ran to Fleet Feet, met Arielle and Steph for 2 miles of their warm up and then did the last 9 miles on my own at a slower pace. I was supposed to keep my average pace above 8:40 and I didn’t do that, but 8:32 is close right?! I was holding myself back the entire time. I wanted to let my legs fly so badly because I was feeling so good, but I restrained. It was tough. But I was so happy to be out there that it didn’t really matter how fast I was going. I wanted to run forever. I stopped for water and a little Gatorade at 5.50 miles and again at 7.50 miles, but otherwise didn’t use any fuel. I like to wait for 13+ mile runs and this one totaled 12.51 miles.

Sunday is my recovery day which means sleeping in, eating well, recapping my week, planning meals for the upcoming week, and going to yoga. I love my 75 minute yoga flow on Sunday evenings. I look forward to it all day and end the weekend feeling refreshed.

Week three was a good one for me because I completed all of my scheduled workouts, recovered well, and still felt like I had gas in the tank. It’s nice to hit another 35 mile week and not feel drained or super sore. I am trusting this plan and feeling grateful I have really learned what it means to take care of myself during marathon training.

I don’t take my ability to train for granted. I love training. I love the workouts, the schedule, the hard efforts, the dedication. I am 12 weeks out from my dream race and I’m ready to keep working hard to be in the best shape I can be at that start line.

Bring on week four!

Boston Marathon Training: Week One & Two

Is it weird that writing “Boston Marathon Training” still gives me chills? I have to keep reminding myself this is the actual marathon I’m training for. It’s unreal and I don’t think I have ever been so excited for a race.

This excitement made me feel SO ready for week one. I felt like I could have jumped into a 40 mile week with two speed workouts. My legs were ready. But I also have anxiety about getting injured during a winter marathon training cycle again. I cannot afford to derail my training or risk not making it to the start line of my dream race, so I decided I shouldn’t follow the exact same plan as I did last year. I’m still training with the Fleet Feet Boston 365 group, but I also got a coach for the first time in my life.

I’m excited to work with someone and have a plan that is so personalized for me. And week one caught me by surprise when I saw so many slow runs, a few run/walks, and no speed work in my TrainingPeaks. To be honest, my excitement faded a little bit. I don’t get excited for 11 minute pace runs on a treadmill. But I told myself he knows best and I needed to ease in.

“Ease in” and “relax” have been my mantras for these first couple of weeks. If my number one goal is to not get injured, then I know I need to be reeled in. And this is exactly why I got a coach.

I also have my PR goal in my head. I am working to improve my time, but that isn’t the number one priority either. I’m learning how to train smarter by figuring out what truly works for me (and I’m hoping that makes me faster).

Here’s what week week one and two looked like:

January 1st – January 7th: 27.39 miles

Monday and Tuesday were both easy paced treadmill runs. (4 miles, 2.50 miles) Chicago has been bitterly cold and dark when I wake up and when I leave work, so running outside on weekdays hasn’t been ideal. Wednesday I had a strength workout with my trainer – no speed workout. I’ve been loving focusing on strength work more in the past few months and I want it to continue throughout Boston training.

Thursday was an 1 hour+ of treadmill run/walking (7.89 miles total) and Friday was an easy 30 minutes (3 miles) on the treadmill after work. Saturday was my first long run back in a balmy 1 degree. I had to get outside after being cooped up all week. I covered 10 miles at 8:33 average pace and felt relaxed. I was a little nervous about the cold, but the miles went by quickly and I was grateful to see the sun. I had a relaxing day after my run and got to bed early as part of my recovery. Sunday is my dedicated recovery day. For week one, I chose to double up on yoga classes: AM & PM. It was my ideal Sunday and the perfect ending to the first week!

January 8th – January 14th: 35.06 miles

Week two was higher mileage with a little speed work thrown in. I liked the looks of week two more than one. Monday was a treadmill incline workout (5.78 miles). I don’t love the treadmill, but it is a nice way to get some extra hill work in. Tuesday I ran an easy 4.50 miles outside before my strength session with my trainer – hit a new deadlift PR which felt really good.

Mid-week I got to bring some speed back to my legs after what felt like forever. I ran 2.5 easy miles on my lunch break Wednesday and my mini tempo workout in the evening (6.78 miles). My tempo pushes were around 7:40 pace and they felt super comfortable. It was just nice to be moving fast again. Thursday was a double cross training day: hot yoga in the morning, 45 minute cycling class in the evening. I brought friends to both and had a great day. I really love yoga and cycling classes almost as much as I love running, so I’m grateful to have scheduled time for both of them.

Friday I had 40 easy minutes on the plan, so I tackled the wind and snow flurries outside for 4.50 miles before heading to a hot yoga class in the evening. I have added in more yoga classes lately and I think it’s part of the reason I have been feeling so relaxed. This was a great way to wind down before another cold cold Saturday long run. I had 1 hour and 30 minutes for Saturday at an easy pace. This meant not running with my friends, which is really hard for me, but I know I made the right decision. And Megan did hang back to run my last 5 miles with me, which was nice. I held an 8:33 average pace and never felt like I was moving very fast. The 6 degrees felt way warmer than the 1 degree from the previous week and it was sunny again, so it was a good run. 11 miles total and another tough winter day successfully completed. Sunday I took a complete rest day. It was my first complete rest day in over two weeks and I felt like I needed it. I like to do yoga on Sunday, but I was signed up for a Monday class too, so I didn’t mind not doing much of anything this day.

I ended week two feeling content and happy with how my body handled the uptick in mileage. I worked harder and covered more ground, but I also didn’t feel very tired or sore like I can during marathon training. I think this plan is going to work for me. I’m trusting the process.

Mileage will keep increasing with week 3!

2017 Race & Mileage Recap!

I actually can’t believe how quickly this year went by. I feel like I blinked in June and now it’s almost January.

2017 brought me a lot of challenges. I learned a lot. I failed. I struggled. I persisted. I earned new PRs. I had fun. This year was really a little bit of everything – high highs and low lows, but that’s life.

This is what 2017 looked like for me in terms of miles and races.

January – 140 miles

My first month of training with Boston 365 and the strongest month of January ever. We were lucky with a mild winter and I was able to do almost all of my runs outside. Having this supportive group was a much more enjoyable way to train through the winter. I built my base for my April marathon and added in a lot of cross training with classes at Studio Three. I started going to yoga at least once a week and found a new love for it. January was for trying new things. Plus I did dry January so I was feeling really good all month. And did I mention new friends?! The strong, fast women I met through Boston 365 turned out to be so much more than running partners. I could go on and on about them, but I have a lot of months to get through. Let’s just say they shaped me into the runner I was this year and I am so so grateful they came into my life when they did.

February – 169.47 miles

Sedona Half Marathon. 1:43:20. 7:53 average pace.

Lots of miles for a 28 day month! I remember how shocked I was to add up this mileage at the end of the month. I had my first race of the year in Sedona, AZ for my birthday weekend. It was so fun to escape to a warmer place and run in altitude for a few days. The race views were incredible. I think I smiled for the entirety of the 13.1 miles. I wasn’t racing to PR, but I was super happy with my time. The course was really, really hilly, but I loved it. If you’re looking for a race in Arizona, this one is definitely worth checking out. It was hard to come back to the reality of cold Chicago, but I knew I had miles to log with my goal April race in mind.

March – 195.81 miles

Get Lucky Half Marathon. 1:38:59. 7:34 average pace.

Highest mileage month I have ever had! I was just short of that 200 mark and I almost added in an extra run to hit it, but I really wasn’t feeling great – so I didn’t. And I ended up straining my Achilles on March 30th. BUT before that happened I hit all my speed workouts, long runs, and had some of the best training runs ever. I loved this month. I ran the Get Lucky Half Marathon in frigid cold with insane winds and was only a few seconds off my PR. I felt good with the higher mileage until about the last week. And that last run where I felt like my Achilles snapped led to a tearful realization that I wouldn’t be having the April I had planned.

April – 56.22 miles

Nashville Rock ‘N Roll Marathon. 3:53:51.

April was marathon month. After 3 of the strongest, toughest training months I had ever had I thought I’d be more than ready to PR at my race, but I started the month with a strained Achilles. I took almost two complete weeks off except for physical therapy. I got laser treatments, I iced constantly, and I saw a massage therapist regularly. I was trying to do anything I could so that I could run my race at the end of the month. It was too heartbreaking for me to think about those months of hard work “going to waste.” I know it was a good learning experience either way, but I still wanted another 26.2 medal after all of it. Luckily, I listened and was patient and got the okay to run my race. I hadn’t run more than 10 miles for about 5 weeks and I was terrified, but I knew I still wanted to try to finish. The race was an absurd 90 degrees in Nashville. I wouldn’t have had my goal race either way – but it actually might have been a good thing because it forced me to take it easy. I ran smart, I made a friend on the course who helped me stay calm, and I focused on the happiness of getting to still run the race. It wasn’t a PR, but I finished and I was able to run without ANY PAIN. I was shocked and elated.

May – 21.20 miles

I finished that April marathon without any pain, but I still wasn’t completely healed. I was advised to get more laser treatments, continue with physical therapy, and take a break from running. I took about 2.5 weeks off and did as I was told. The only runs I did were short and easy. I was serious about getting strong and injury free again. While I didn’t plan on having any months with this low of mileage – I knew I needed it. It was a necessary recovery and reset.

June – 117.25 miles

By June I was ready to train again. I was on the up. I started slow and honestly I was nervous. I was scared of loving marathon training again and having it crush me. April and May were hard. But I knew I had the Chicago Marathon to train for and after being cleared to train again, it was time to try. I ran speed workouts again and joined my friends for long runs. I was smiling more again. I was back to doing what I love.

July – 152.88 miles

Chicago Rock ‘N Roll Half Marathon. 1:36:35. 7:22 average pace.

Big Ten 10K. 59:03. 9:31 average pace.

July was the month I raced again for the first time since April. This was big for me since it was my longest break from racing in about 3 years. And what I didn’t know? I was going to set a half marathon PR after about 6 weeks of training. I had no expectations going into the Chicago Rock ‘N Roll half marathon, but I was running with my amazing friends and I wanted to have fun. It was a hot day, but nothing we couldn’t handle (no Nashville). I stuck with Jenny the whole time and we cruised in to a 1:36:35 – a new PR for me by over two minutes. It was a really good day. And then I ran the Big Ten 10K a week later as an easy run. I was out late the night before and I didn’t feel like racing, so I didn’t. It was just an enjoyable morning. Sometimes those races are just as fun! I had a strong month of mileage despite the heat and I still wasn’t dealing with any injuries, so I was proud.

August – 172.91 miles

Dublin Rock ‘N Roll 5K. 21:58. 7:03 average pace.

Dublin Rock ‘N Roll Half Marathon. 1:40:42. 7:41 average pace.

I think August was my favorite month of training in 2017. I loved it because it was more about fitting in miles where I could as a way to explore rather than just logging them to log them. I was abroad for about 10 days of this month, but I still got in a lot of miles. And I ran my first international race!! I did the Dublin Rock ‘N Roll remix challenge: a 5K on Saturday and the half marathon on Sunday. Kyle did the 10K too which was the farthest he had ever run. It was so fun to get to run Ireland together and I couldn’t have picked a better first international race. Exploring on foot is the best. We ran all over Ireland, took in the scenery, met new people, and loved life. It was amazing.

September – 104.57 miles

Grand Rapids Last Chance to BQ Marathon. 3:30:54. 8:03 average pace.

September was the defining month. Was I ready to run another marathon? I knew if I wanted a shot at running Boston in 2018 I needed a slightly faster time and I had to do it in early September. So, I took the leap and signed up for the Grand Rapids Last Chance to BQ last minute. I had the best girls with me who fully supported this crazy idea and came with to cheer me on. I really don’t think I could have run a 3 mile loop over and over again for a full marathon without them. They encouraged me, ran with me, and gave me tough love when I needed it. I didn’t feel great, but I crossed the finish line in 3:30:54. Enough. I did it. This moment was one of my favorite moments of the year. Sometimes when you get crazy ideas, you just have to go for it. I’m so grateful I had the support I did. And I still stayed on track throughout September to run a strong Chicago Marathon.

October – 66.65 miles

Chicago Marathon. 3:28:30. 7:57 average pace.

Chicago Hot Chocolate 15K. 1:12:52. 7:50 average pace.

October was a low mileage month because I took two full weeks off after the Chicago Marathon and I tapered for the first week. Mileage wasn’t the important part of my month. I took all the pressure off myself for the Chicago Marathon since I hit my goal time in September, but it ended up being the best thing I could have done. Since I didn’t feel pressure, I ran strong. I took another 2+ minutes off my personal record. I loved everything about this race day and I felt stronger than I had in September. This race and this month taught me that taking away the pressure can work for me. I then ran the Hot Chocolate 15K at the end of the month for fun too. Two strong races without many other miles in-between, but that’s okay.

November – 71.80 miles

The best thing about November was still being injury free after two strong marathons. I was nervous I would finish Chicago injured again, but I wasn’t. I recovered and eased back into running with more of a focus on strength and cross training. I got a trainer to work on strength. I saw a nutritionist to get blood work done and see how my body was recovering. I was smart – something I hadn’t always been when it came to my training. The miles I did run were just for fun. I didn’t follow a plan, I didn’t race, and I didn’t stress about a lack of running. I needed the off season and I’m glad I ran this month the way I did.

December – 75.80 miles

Final month of the year wrapped up with 75.80 miles today! I’m not running tomorrow, so I can total up my miles now. I definitely did not run as often as I usually do, but that was the point. I went to yoga and cycling more. I took more rest days. I listened to my body and enjoyed another month of low mileage. Sure, I could have run more miles to try and hit my yearly goal of 1400, but in the end I knew it didn’t really matter. I got stronger in a time I really needed to and I feel refreshed. I’m ready to start training again on January 1st and see what 2018 has in store.

1,344.56 total miles for 2017.

This year was huge for my running. I had a new half marathon personal record and new marathon personal records that locked in my spot for Boston 2018 and 2019. I couldn’t ask for more. I struggled with my injury, but I don’t have regrets because of all I learned and how I will treat my training going forward. Running always humbles me, keeps me guessing, and challenges me. I love this sport. I want to keep pushing my limits and seeing how far I can go year after year. Nothing beats this.

If you got to the end of this – thank you. Thank you for your constant support and inspiration! This community is incredible.

For 2018: let’s dream big. Let’s work hard. A lot can happen in a year.

Chicago Marathon Training: Week Ten (36.74 miles), Week Eleven (50.47 miles), Week Twelve (45.36 miles)

This training cycle flew by and changed into something entirely different than I expected. After returning from Ireland during week eleven of my training for the Chicago Marathon, I decided to sign up for a Last Chance to BQ marathon on September 9th. This was a scary decision, but after how well my training had gone I knew I had to go for it. So, that changed how my next few weeks looked. I’m behind on updating my training log, so here’s a bit of a flashback!

August 7th – 13th.

Monday- 6.58 miles running + 4.33 miles hiking

Hiked up Torc mountain with Kyle for a total of 4.33 miles in the most perfect weather. The views were absolutely beautiful and I don’t know if I could think of a better way to spend a day. Then we ran 6.58 miles together at 9:07 average pace once we got to Killarney. That’s a far run for Kyle, but since we were exploring I think he was distracted.

Tuesday – 7.01 miles

I got up early to run by myself around the same park as the night before. I felt comfortable with where I was going and loved taking it all in. I averaged 8:53 average pace and even enjoyed when it started to rain. Ireland is simply beautiful and I felt so at peace during these miles.

Wednesday – 7 miles hiking + 3 miles running

We spent 7 miles walking up and down the Cliffs of Moher during the day and loved every second of it. We had sunshine and perfect weather. We weren’t exactly hiking fast because it was pretty crowded, but we did cover a lot of ground. Then on our next drive, I asked Kyle to stop at a park so I could try to get some speed work in. I was planning on running 6-8 800 meter reps, but I did 3 and called it quits. It was hot, I was dehydrated, and my stomach was not happy. I know when I’m off and to listen to my body and this was one of those times. 3 miles at 8:36 average is still better than no run! And my body isn’t used to all the hiking, so I’m glad I cut my tired self a break.

Thursday – 5.15 miles hiking

Cross training day! We spent the day hiking Diamond Hill in Connemara National Park. We moved really quickly and loved the ‘course’ of this hike. It totaled 5.15 miles and we were proud of the time it took us to get all the way up and back down. It was a solid workout with amazing views. I really wish I could do this kind of thing every single day.

Friday – Rest day

Took Friday as my rest day since I knew I would be racing the next two days!

Saturday – Rock ‘n’ Roll Dublin 5K + 4 miles

21:58. 7:03 average pace. Loved this 5K! It wasn’t a PR for me, but I ran 3ish miles to the start line and then ran another mile home, so I wasn’t really going for a PR. I love to be active while on vacation, but I do treat the vacation races as fun runs more than true races. I think that’s how it should be! I’m glad I decided to add the 5K race on because it meant more medals and more time exploring Dublin.

Sunday – Rock ‘n’ Roll Dublin Half Marathon + 3.29 miles hiking

13.1 miles. 1:40:40. 7:41 average. I’m super proud of this race because despite being in a foreign country and not eating or drinking or sleeping like I normally do, I was able to have a strong race. I settled into a pace that felt comfortable and held it. For me on this specific day, that was a 7:40. So, I went with it. I have a full race recap up (previous post) to get more details. I loved this race series! I was even able to hike an additional 3.29 miles in the afternoon on my tired legs. Wicklow Mountains are beautiful and I wasn’t going to let a race day keep me from exploring. Happy my body kept up.

Week Ten – 36.74 miles running + 22.77 miles hiking


August 14th – 20th.

Monday – 6.25 miles

Recovery run. We were in Mullingar, Ireland and I felt safe enough to go out and explore in the morning on my own. My legs were tired from my races the previous two days, but I kept my pace easy and loosened them up. 6.25 relaxed miles in chilly weather that made me feel so grateful to be in this country.

Tuesday – 7.01 miles

One last run in Mullingar by myself. I got up early again for another solo run. Ran for about an hour and hit 7 miles. I loved running along this canal. The quietness and stillness are unbeatable. I felt safe and peaceful – two things I never take for granted.

Wednesday – 1.18 miles

Kyle and I decided to go on one last little run before we left for the airport. It was bitter sweet because we had the most incredible trip and neither one of us wanted to leave yet, but we appreciated every experience we were able to have.

Thursday – 9 miles. (speed workout)

I was jet lagged. I worked a full day after flying home internationally the night before. I didn’t know if I would have my speed work in me, but I decided to give it a shot. The workout was supposed to be 3-5 mile repeats. It was dark by the time I started and I was alone, so I picked the shortest option, but I’m glad I gave it my all. Mile repeats. 6:52, 6:49, 6:42. I have no idea where this speed came from on my tired legs. I didn’t think I was going to run one sub 7 minute mile, let alone all three. I felt surprisingly strong and it was a reassurance I needed. Totaled 9 miles with warm up and cool down.

Friday – 5.03 miles AM + 2 miles PM

Easy early miles and two little evening miles just because I felt like it. 7 for the day!

Saturday – 20 miles!

The 20 miler falling after returning from 1.5 weeks abroad was a little scary. I was still jet lagged and hadn’t gotten back to my normal diet yet, so I was nervous. But I was so excited to reunite with my running girls that I tried to focus on that instead of the daunting distance ahead. Once I got out there, I felt fine. Better than fine. I cruised along, chatted and enjoyed the company. We averaged 8:14 pace. I ended this run feeling super proud. Proud of the effort I put in and proud of what my body was capable of. Positive thoughts and a will to try can go a long way.

Sunday – Yoga Flow 75

Recovery day with Katy’s evening yoga class at Studio Three. My legs were tight, but I felt better after I left class. This is my favorite way to end a weekend!

Week eleven – 50.47 miles


August 21st – 27th.

Monday – 5.80 miles + Glute/Leg class

I wanted to get in extra strength work this week, so I signed up to take a glute/leg class at Equinox. I ran before and after the 45 minute strength class and knew instantly I would be super sore the next day, but it was worth it.

Tuesday – Rest day

I didn’t wake up in time to run before work and had plans right after, so it was an unplanned rest day. This happens and it’s completely okay!

Wednesday – Torch AM (1.75 miles) + 8.76 miles (speed workout) PM

I took Lucy’s Torch class at 5:45 AM. Rowing, strength and running intervals are a tough combo, but in the best way. I hit 1.75 miles during the treadmill sections. Then I had my speed workout after work. Totaled 8.76 miles with warm up and cool down. This was A LOT to do in one day for me, but I felt good. I wanted the extra strength work and I’m glad I had two strong workouts in one day.

Thursday – Cycle 45

Cross training day! I took a cycle 45 class at Studio Three which is always one my favorite ways to workout. I had missed cycling so much while I was abroad!

Friday – 5.05 miles + Yoga

I ran 5.05 easy miles in the morning before work and then had Katy’s end of summer yoga workshop in the evening! It was a fun way to flow outdoors and loosen up my legs.

Saturday – 18 miles.

Another long run I went into focusing on how much I love the company. I planned for 18 miles and was able to hold an 8:14 average pace. Early weekend mornings on the lakefront are a blessing and I’m always grateful for every mile shared. This was the last long run before tapering for the Last Chance to BQ Grand Rapids Marathon!

Sunday – 6 miles (speed work)

So, I don’t normally do speed work the day after a long run, but I had a treadmill relay charity event and I got competitive. We had a team of 3, 1 treadmill, and 2 hours to run as many miles as we could. $5 was being donated for every miles. I ended up running about 6 miles personally at around 6:30 pace. This was a little crazy, but I felt good. I wouldn’t have pushed it if I hadn’t felt good. And it was for such a great cause!

Week twelve – 45.36 miles

I closed out week 12 feeling tired, but strong. These past few weeks had been a whirlwind, but in the best kind of way. The hard work was done. I earned the taper even if my training cycle wasn’t exactly as long as it should be. I was ready to give it my all in Grand Rapids.

Chicago Marathon Training: Week Nine (38.89 miles)

Week nine was a stressful one in terms of balancing life with marathon training and trying to get everything done before I left the country on Friday. I had to make some shifts in my schedule and relax if I didn’t hit my miles exactly as planned. That’s okay. I’m proud of the work I did get done even if my sleep schedule suffered because of it. 

Here’s the week breakdown:

Monday – 5.20 miles + Yoga class

I snuck in 5.20 quick miles after work right before meeting my friends at True Food Kitchen for dinner. Then we went to Katy’s yoga class at Studio Three. I loved taking them to my studio and sharing the best kind of class with them. Such a fun girls night! 

Tuesday – 8.29 miles (speed work)

I work up early and did Carly’s speed work with her since I wanted to get it out of the way. I thought it made sense because I was pushing up my long run too. I met her in the zoo parking lot and we did 1 mile tempo, 0.75 reps x 4, with 2 minute rests in-between. With warm up and cool down it was 8.29 miles. Happy to have had a buddy and have it out of the way on Tuesday. 

Wednesday – 4.40 miles

Today was super hectic, but I convinced Kyle to join me for 4.40 miles in the drizzly rain after work. I love having his company for easy runs. 

Thursday – Hot Yoga class AM + Cyclebar class PM

Found some groundedness in Katy’s 6 AM hot yoga class despite my high stress levels. My to-do list for today was insane, but I knew fitting in exercise would help me mentally. So I made time. Yoga is an amazing way for me to start my day. I was at work later than usual since I was trying to wrap everything up before vacation, but I still made it to Cody’s 7:30 PM cycle class at Cyclebar. Kyle joined me and made the class a lot of fun. We left feeling energized, which was great since we both had all our packing left to do. 

Friday – 17 miles

I had to get my long run done super early on Friday before working a half day and then getting on my plane to Ireland at 3:30 PM. When I set my alarm for 4:50 AM when I got in bed after midnight on Thursday, I had my doubts. But I had supportive friends who were joining me and I knew I had to show up. We had to run the first few miles in the dark, but it was a chilly morning that felt like fall. I am so grateful I had complany to get me through this. My legs felt great. It was a strong run despite the lack of sleep. 17 miles at 8:09 average pace. I really didn’t think that pace would feel as comfortable as it did day of. Sometimes I surprise myself. And great long runs make me happy! 

Saturday – Rest day

This rest day was anything but restful. I flew to Ireland in the afternoon on Friday. I couldn’t fall asleep on the plane, but it was 6 AM in Ireland when we landed and we couldn’t check into our hotel until 3 PM which meant 29 straight hours of being awake!! This was really tough for me. Especially after the 4:50 AM wake up call and 17 miler the day before. I don’t exactly recommend this behavior, but it’s what I had to do to make everything work. Worth it!! And I still hit 20,000 steps on a rest day thanks to all our exploring. Going to be hiking and walking a lot the next couple weeks. 

Sunday – 4 miles trail running + hiking

Our entire day was spent outside enjoying the rainy day. I ran 4 miles along the cliffs of Ballycotton and hiked an extra 3 or 4 miles after. I LOVED being back on some trails. They were rocky, it was windy, I had to jump around a bit – and it made me so happy. Exploring new, beautiful places is so much fun. I’m grateful. This week is going to be a great one. 

I’m proud of how I handled this week. I made some changes, but I didn’t let it stress me out too much. I got in the miles I needed to. I had an awesome long run. And I set myself up for another week of success. This week will be tough because I’m traveling, but I’m determined to make it work. We will see how it goes. 

Week 9 – 38.89 miles 

Chicago Marathon Training: Week Eight (35.40 miles)

We’re almost half way there! This week had one of my strongest long runs yet and left me feeling really positive about this training cycle. 

Here’s the week breakdown:

Monday – 4 miles

I opted for shorter mileage today than planned. Just 4 miles, but my legs felt pretty good! 

Tuesday – 7.09 miles + Cyclebar class

I split this 60 minute easy run in half with a cycling class in the middle. 30 minutes before. 50 minute cycling class at Cyclebar. 30 minutes after. I actually really liked this combination and it was a great way for me to get everything in. 

Wednesday – 8.32 miles (speed workout)

I think this was the best speed workout I’ve had so far this training cycle!! It was the ladder – one of my favorites. 200m x 4, 400m x 2, 800m x 1, 1600m x 1, 800m x 1, 400m x 2, 200m x 4. Every single rep was sub 7 minute average pace except for the mile in the middle which we clocked at a 7:04. This was a tough speed workout, but I felt so strong. Running fast is fun. With warm up and cool down it was 8.32 miles. 

Thursday – Hot Yoga AM + Cycle PM

Cross training day habit has become hot yoga in the morning and a cycling class in the evening at Studio Three. I love both of these types of classes and don’t like to choose, so I do both. They both help me in different ways and are a great compliment to my running. 

Friday – Rest day

Added a rest day to Friday this week since I wanted some more rest. It helps me to be flexible with my schedule. 

Saturday – 16 miles

Longest run since my marathon in April!! 16 miles with the girls at 8:06 average pace. I was surprised with how great I felt during this entire run. I love that we can chat and run 8 minute miles as a comfortable pace. Running with friends help the long runs go by quick and they push me to hold the pace.  I was smiling all day after this run. I got back my confidence. 

Sunday – Rest day 

Still took my planned rest day because my body needed it. It’s okay to listen! 

I felt confident throughout week 8. I felt more like myself. I was reminded of why I love marathon training so much. This week held my best speed workout and long run of the training cycle so far and I can’t wait to see what the next few weeks hold. 

Week 8 – 35.40 miles