Chicago Marathon Training

Week one for marathon training has officially been completed and I am full steam ahead into week two!  Today’s post sets the overall tone on how I’m planning to conquer the Chicago Marathon this October…

The Training Plan:

I’m following the Hal Higdon Intermediate 1 training guide. I’ve decided to use the same training plan for the Chicago Marathon that I used for the Marine Corps Marathon last year. I feel that the mileage worked well for me and I’d like to focus on my pace this time around more than I had done last year. Last year was about running a marathon; this year is about running a marathon faster.


Strength & Cross Training:

The only complaint I have about Hal Higdon’s training plans is that strength training isn’t built in, and in my opinion keeping those muscles strong and able to handle the miles ahead is an essential component. To incorporate strength training I’m working a dedicated strength day into my training plan which right now is on Mondays but I’m quickly thinking that may need to move or Tuesdays or Thursdays (in addition to the miles I need to run on those days). In terms of exercises I’m focusing on keeping my quads and hamstrings strong and my hips and IT band stretched through a series of exercises I’ve picked up over the years (mostly physical therapy exercises from injuring my IT band multiple times).

Also, I’m continuing to incorporate Pure Barre once a week on Wednesdays. So my Wednesdays right now consist of 5 miles before work and Pure Barre after work – needless to say my legs are tired on Thursday!

I’m also planning to increase yoga during training since yoga is such an important component. There are even special “yoga for runners” classes out there. I highly encourage anyone to make yoga a part of their training! I will likely work a yoga class into my cross training days (Mondays) since a nice stretch the day after a long run is incredibly beneficial and feels sooooo good on the legs.


Preventing Injury:

As I mentioned above I’ve injured my IT bands, I’ve injured my left IT band twice and my right IT band once. The left one is always something I need to be conscious of and stay proactive about. To do that, I foam roll my IT bands and quads after almost of all of my runs, and sometimes before I run if they feel tight. I also do certain strength exercises as I mentioned in order to keep the muscles around my IT band strong and to prevent any muscle imbalances. Also, I’m starting to incorporate the graston technique which is something that has worked wonders in coming back from my IT band injuries in the past. I’ve never had it done outside of physical therapy, so this will be a first (and my first appointment is tomorrow!) but my left IT band feels like it needs some serious TLC and I know that the graston will have an effect.



I won’t go into too much depth, maybe this can be its own post later on. The point is that fueling your body for running is just as important as the runs themselves. I like to stick to whole foods where I can, making sure I incorporate fruits and veggies in my diet as much as possible. I love my carbs (preferably whole grain) and am best friends with any kind of pasta. In terms of protein I’m all about peanut butter, chicken, fish, beans, protein powder, and some dairy like Greek yogurt. Healthy is a must but one of the benefits of running is that you’re burning a lot of calories too so if I want ice cream, or chips, or some other type of “unhealthy” food, I have it but I try to keep it in moderation. I just try to make good choices about what I’m eating and pretty much leave it at that.


Overall How I’m Feeling:

Good! I honestly was nervous about my 8 mile run yesterday, which is a little weird to catch myself being nervous about running 8 miles. But luckily it went fabulously and I’m looking forward to only adding on one additional mile this week. My legs were definitely tired Tuesday through Thursday last week so I think this week will give them time to “catch up”, if that makes any sense.

In addition to the physical aspect I’m also working on laying the foundation for a positive mental state going into training. Training can be more a head game than anything, and making sure I have the positive attitude and confidence to tackle the miles that lay ahead can be a make or break. I think so long as I keep my training and injury prevention in check, I’m good to go! Now on to week 2…


Are you training for anything? What are some of your best training tips?

3 thoughts on “Chicago Marathon Training

  1. I’m training for Chicago on a tweaked Hal Higdon Plan as well- I added a strength workout and yoga on Tuesdays and switched some things around to fit my schedule. I’m going to look into the Graston Technique as I’ve had some IT band pain as well… thanks for the post!

    • So great to have a fellow Chicago marathoner in-training! I love what you’ve done to change up your training plan too. If you try out the graston I would definitely recommend going to someone that’s certified, usually a physical therapist or chiropractor. Be forewarned, it certainly doesn’t feel “good”, but it definitely does the trick (for me at least!).

  2. Pingback: Chicago Marathon Training Update | In The Long Run

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