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Chicago Marathon Training Cycle 3

Chicago Marathon – Cycle 3: Weeks 5 & 6

  • 96 Miles
  • 3 Quality workouts
  • 1 race
  • 13 runs

This past cycle was a bit of mixed bag for me, it started out strong, got a little shaky in the middle and finished pretty well.

In the weeks leading up to this cycle and during the beginning of this cycle, I was grinding hard. I was feeling strong and running more then my hamstring wanted but it wasn’t flaring up so I kept pushing.  I was chasing miles. Week 5 started strong, I had two good workouts, a solid tempo and a Lactic Threshold (LT) Repeat workout. The LT workout was a killer…it was 4×9 minutes at 5:52 with a two minute rest. It was tough and I felt good and strong. Then came Friday the 26th…it was an easy run following a tough workout on Thursday and something didn’t feel right. It was the hamstring.

I was mad. I was made at my leg, the situation, the foam roller, etc…but mainly myself. I was mad that I was not smarter in my own training. I talk to our athletes all the time about listening to their body and not being afraid/scared of taking days off when the need arises and what did I do…I didn’t plan smartly I chased miles and was lying on the ground foam rolling wondering…did I do it again? Is this going to be a problem? When I looked back, I had ran 17 days in a row…that is way too much for my leg!!! I know people can handle it but not me…not now. I need to be smarter. I needed to rest. So the weekend had called for my first 20 mile run. It was not a stress session…it was just going to be an easy 20 but I knew that resting was going to more important than logging those 20 at this point in the training. So I shut it down for the weekend and rested. Saturday nothing. Sunday northing.  42 total miles for the week.

Week 6 was now starting on shaky ground and it was race week. I using racing the Eagle Creek Trail Half on Saturday and wasn’t sure what was going to happen.

I returned to running Monday and Tuesday with some easy miles and the real test came Wednesday. The leg was feeling good so I decided to attempt the workout. 5×1 mile repeats in 5:25-5:30 with 2:00 minutes rest. Woof. That was hard. It took everything in me to get through #5 but I came out the other side and the leg felt strong.  Following some recovery miles that night, I knew it was time to rest the leg again so no running Thursday and some easy miles Friday made for a mini-mini taper for Saturday’s race.

My Race recap explains everything in detail…  it was hard. Real hard. I was happy with the effort though. It essentially was another workout. I took 2nd, won free gear, and got muddy…it was a good hard day. On Sunday, I finished up cycle 3 with 5.5 miles of easy recovery. 54 miles total for the week.

Looking back, I should have seen this coming. I dealt with my hamstring injury for essentially the first 4 months of 2013 and need to be smarter about my running. Even though the injury is gone, if I am not smart it can easily reappear as shown by the end of week 5. The goal is 2:45 at the Chicago Marathon not great training logs. I know that I can get there but only if I am smart.

Going forward I am looking to limit my running to no more than 4/5 consecutive days with at least one day being rest or biking. This will cut down my total miles but it is the right thing for me at this point in my running. My hamstring can’t handle too many 80-90 mile weeks and that is fine. I will reach my goal.

Looking forward, the race kind of threw things off a little. I am pretty beat up so I might need to be move some of the key sessions around for week 7. We’ll see.  Being flexible and persistent are tough things to pull off in tandem.

Have you ever dealt with a nagging hamstring injury?

Do you race when training for your BIG race? If so, how often? 

What’s your weekly mileage peak when marathon training?

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