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Chicago Marathon training update and tips

Chicago marathon training update

The city of big shoulders will soon be the scene of one of my most challenging adventures – a Chicago Marathon training update

The Chicago Marathon is just over two months away as the annual race is held this year on October 13. Since the date is rapidly approaching, I have begun to ratchet up my training for the upcoming adventure.

A couple of weeks ago I ran ten miles. I should say I attempted to run ten miles. I felt like crap at the half way point, which is never a good sign. I had to stop after seven miles, and I spent the last three miles in a run/jog mix.

This experience was a wake up call. I had gotten off to a good start training, but I have kind of stagnated due to travel. Weekend trips to Ohio and Wisconsin have started to hamper the effort not only from missed work outs, but also taking away precious energy.

Chicago Marathon training update

Stretching out before a run

This past weekend was a crucial weekend.  I stayed in and did absolutely nothing during the weekend except run.  I ran six miles on Friday and ten miles each on Saturday and Sunday. Both days I ran ten miles I did so without having to stop except at the midway point, where I always take a little break. I would not say the ten mile runs were effortless, but I completed them with relative ease. This weekend was a corner turner as I significantly upped my miles and restored my confidence after the debacle a few weeks earlier.

Chicago Marathon training update

A ledger of my effort last weekend

I hesitate to write a marathon tip article because I have not completed one yet, but I learned a valuable lesson.  A lesson I was already aware of, but one I needed a reminder in. Vince Lombardi said it best: Fatigue makes cowards of us all.

I love my weekend adventure trips, but those trips combined with the fact I was getting about five hours a sleep a night during the week turned into a bad combination for my training. I could not believe how much better I felt this last weekend after getting significant rest.

Chicago Marathon training update

Although I could paddle the Wisconsin River every weekend – I need to focus time and energy on the Chicago Marathon

I do have some trips on the horizon between now and the race, but I am going to put September aside and concentrate on some hardcore training. I will be hiking in late August, which I think will be a good break from running and act as cross-training.

Early marathon training tips:

  • Start running as early in the year as possible and get a good base in

I started running four miles at a time in December and moved to six mile runs in January. I ran a hundred miles in January training for the Birkebeiner cross-country ski marathon. Since then I have averaged about eighty miles a month, which I will significantly increase in August and September.

  • Break in your next pair of shoes early

I bought a new pair of shoes after getting sore running on my old ones. I broke them in with some walking, but not nearly enough. I endured a couple weeks of annoying pain due to the skin being ripped off the back of my ankle after running on my unbroken in shoe.

Chicago Marathon training update

Hitting the treadmill while in California

  • Bring your shoes when you travel

Every mile counts, so if you can get a run or two in while traveling, that is great. While in Ohio I had the pleasure of running in the beautiful Cleveland Metro Parks.

Cleveland Metro Parks

Running from the Tinker’s Creek Gorge in the Cleveland Metro Parks

  • Change up your running location

This is something I have not done, but plan on doing more this and next month. It gets tiring looking at the same scenery over and over again. I am going to go to Wisconsin for at least one weekend in September and set up camp just to run.

  • Find an interesting place to run

I run along the Chicago River, and I have seen some pretty cool things which help to take the mind off of the work out. I have seen coyotes, red foxes, deer, three kinds of herons, kingfishers, and an owl (not to mention a red-winged blackbird that kept attacking me).

Cleveland Velodrome adventure

Doing some cross training at the Cleveland Velodrome

  • Cross-train

Biking, hiking, cross-country skiing are all great activities to do that help your stamina and strength and are a nice diversion from running.

  • Rest

Concentrate on getting a good nights sleep every night and do not over do it with the running. Let your body tell you when to rest. If you are exhausted then take a day off and remember the immortal words of Vince Lombardi.

drinking beer

Sometimes a little rest is good

  • Water is not a enough

Everyone tells you to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate, and it is true that you cannot drink enough water. Water alone will not replenish the nutrients you lose, especially when you increase the mileage. Mix in some juices, gatorade, smoothies, and protein shakes from time to time. I have been taking advantage of Speedway gatorade coupons. Four 32 oz gatorades for $5.00 has been keeping me well hydrated with nutrient replacing liquid at a decent price.

  • Eat well

This is an area where I really need to work on the next two months. The local pizza place knows my voice and I am on good terms with the Domino delivery guys. When you run you get really hungry, but do not always let temptation pick up the phone for pizza. I am not a nutritionist, but any fool could tell you to mix in some fruits, vegetables, and less fried foods.

I will have more updates on my progress and of course posts from the race in October. If you are training, good luck with your regimen and if I missed any tips, please feel free to add them in the comment section.


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20 Responses to Chicago Marathon training update and tips

  1. Trips By Lance August 9, 2013 at 8:44 pm #

    Ted, I have a couple of tips for you. One of them is very vital.

    I’m not sure what kind of long run you’re doing but the long run is the most important aspect of any marathon training. Instead of taking a weekend and doing two straight 10-mile runs do a 14-mile run and rest the next day. The next week up it a mile. Ideally you need to get a long run of 20 miles in by the time you get one month out. No need to run a long run of more than 20 miles, although it can help with the confidence factor. When I’ve trained for marathons my training period if already in shape is three months. Over that three-month period I run four days a week. Three of those four runs don’t matter that much. They can be two miles or 10 miles. Those are just to keep things going, so to speak. The vital run is the long run. You’ll be surprised by how easy they ultimately become.

    My other piece of advice: Eat tons of protein within an hour after those long runs. And drink chocolate milk. The chocolate milk will take care of the immediate muscle fatigue. The protein-heavy meal will take care of the long-term recovery that will enable you to get back out there. Obviously carbs the night before. My protein recovery meal is usually several eggs, maybe some chicken.

    Contact me if you have any questions.
    Trips By Lance recently posted..Memphis: Food, Music and History (Non-Elvis Edition)

    • Ted Nelson August 10, 2013 at 4:47 pm #

      Thanks Coach Lance. Great tips that not only add to my post, but also add to my training knowledge. I like any training regimen with chocolate milk. I also like the idea of doing one longer run and resting more. Thanks again, these tips are much appreciated.

      • Lance | Trips By Lance August 10, 2013 at 7:01 pm #

        Funny you say coach. I did coach high school track for two years. I don’t have a ton of marathon experience (I’ve only run one), but I did run cross country and track in college. So seriously, if you have concerns or just want a sounding board feel free to shoot me an email. I don’t run as much anymore. I’ve basically retired to a bike because my knees and ankles are in terrible shape from years of 80-mile weeks.
        Lance | Trips By Lance recently posted..In Search of the Bronte’s Haworth: A Yorkshire Detour

        • Ted Nelson August 10, 2013 at 7:49 pm #

          Although I was slightly joking with the coach remark, I do appreciate the tips. You have 26.2 more miles of marathon experience than I have. I am already listening. Today I am going for a 12 mile run and resting tomorrow instead of doing two ten mile runs again. Next week I plan to do a 14 miler on Saturday. I definitely will hit you up if I have any questions.

  2. Leigh August 10, 2013 at 10:48 pm #

    I also recommend chocolate milk and I think changing up the venue makes it interesting. I like loop runs so you commit. Have you got a running partner? That can be good for motivation too. I think the long runs really will give you confidence. Two months is going to go by really fast.
    Leigh recently posted..Baffin Island Backpacking: Across the Arctic Circle in Photos

    • Ted Nelson August 13, 2013 at 1:01 am #

      I sure love a training regimen that included chocolate. I am sure a lot of other non-runners might join up too if they knew that. I am a big fan of running loops, but they are hard to come by here in the city of Chicago. The only places to really run long distance are bike trails unless you go out to the suburbs. I don’t have a running partner.

  3. Anita Mac August 10, 2013 at 11:41 pm #

    I am still in awe that you are doing a marathon….as a non runner, the most serious I get is the 5K color run…a couple of months of off and on running and a 5K is all I am up for! Love the cross training though – saves on the running! Good luck – it will be here before you know it!
    Anita Mac recently posted..Live the Photo: Montreal Bagels

    • Ted Nelson August 13, 2013 at 1:18 am #

      I am ready for it to come and go, so I can get on with my life. I have and will enjoy the training, but it takes a lot of time and energy. I doubt I will be one of those marathon junkies. I might do another, but I don’t plan to make a habit out of it.

  4. Raul (@ilivetotravel) August 11, 2013 at 1:58 pm #

    Ted, that as far as you can stretch??? 🙂

    I agree with your tips. It is important to emphasize that not every run needs to be a long run (that is counterproductive) and that days off are important too. For a half marathon, there is only one long run a week (building up to 13 miles; adding mileage, say, every two weeks). Then a constant 7 mile run once per week and then 2 shorter runs during the week. I have trained twice for a half starting with never having run more than 3 miles and this formula worked (I didn’t come up with it). Not sure how exactly it translates for a marathon but mixing up the runs and taking days off are still likely true and, probably, more important!

    Good luck with Chicago!
    Raul (@ilivetotravel) recently posted..Four Decades of the Panama Canal

    • Ted Nelson August 13, 2013 at 1:19 am #

      Thanks Raul,

      I think I could go another inch or two on the stretch.

  5. Craig Zabransky August 12, 2013 at 12:31 pm #

    ““Once a man has made a commitment to a way of life, he puts the greatest strength in the world behind him. It’s something we call heart power. Once a man has made this commitment, nothing will stop him short of success.” – Lombardi

    I know you have commitment, I’ve seen it at RWTBEX… good luck sir… and please more photos of those legs… stay training, Craig
    Craig Zabransky recently posted..Sunset Sunday – Luang Prabang, Laos and The Mekong River

    • Ted Nelson August 13, 2013 at 1:21 am #

      If I put half the effort I put into running as I did getting drunk at TBEX, they will soon be putting a medal around my neck. I only plan on putting a 1/4 of the effort, so no medals in my future. Thanks for the good luck and more leg shots on the way. May they soon be found around the walls of Chiang Mai.

  6. @mrsoaroundworld August 12, 2013 at 12:35 pm #

    Brave man you are! Best of luck with the marathon training!
    @mrsoaroundworld recently posted..Ole! A girls lux weekend in the South of Spain

  7. Lola DiMarco August 13, 2013 at 3:19 am #

    I can’t believe you’re on good terms with the Domino’s delivery guys 😉 Good luck with your training especially now that you’ve got all of this new advice!

    • Ted Nelson September 2, 2013 at 9:48 pm #

      Thanks Lola. I am on friendly terms with a few pizza places out there 🙂

  8. Leah Travels August 13, 2013 at 1:37 pm #

    Would you mind running an extra mile for me? I’ve given up exercise for Lent…three years ago.
    Leah Travels recently posted..Luxury and Leisure at Maui’s Fairmont Kea Lani

    • Ted Nelson September 2, 2013 at 9:49 pm #

      I think if I have to do 27.2 miles instead of 26.2, I would need to run to the hospital.

  9. Pola (Jetting Around) August 29, 2013 at 9:41 pm #

    I could not see myself running for pleasure, ever… but I admire your commitment. Good tips for your fellow runners. Good luck in October!!
    Pola (Jetting Around) recently posted..Photo of the Week: Bookstore in Buenos Aires

    • Ted Nelson September 2, 2013 at 9:49 pm #

      Thanks Pola. I might start a new website called running around.

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