2017 Chicago Marathon Training: The First Month

Now that I’m four weeks in, I thought I’d reflect on how my first month of training has gone.

Strength Training
I’ve kept up with my 45-minute strength class for the first four weeks. Attending a class at the beginning of the week (Tuesday) is really helping me stay motivated to continue getting up to go. Initially, my training schedule had strength training on Thursday, but I knew it would be a struggle to get myself up so I switched it. We’ll see how that continues, but for now it’s good. The only downside is tired/heavy legs later in the week – this is probably why it was initially scheduled for later in the week, but I figure tired/heavy legs is better than not strength training at all.

Foam Rolling
I’ve actually been keeping up with foam rolling each night. I’m normally not great about this, but it hasn’t been difficult this first month. My legs are tight and sore from such a high-intensity training plan and I know keeping up with foam rolling is necessary. I can feel a difference in my mobility if I skip, so the foam rolling continues!

Sticking to my Schedule
I haven’t missed any runs this first month. I really don’t feel like there is a reason to miss a run in the first few weeks of training since the mileage is still low. What I have done is switch some hard runs for some “easier” paces. This training plan is much more demanding from what I’ve done in the past, so I have been needing a bit more recovery than scheduled. Now that I’ve cleared the first four weeks of training, I would like to push myself to stick closer to my plan.

Sleep & Recovery
Sleep and recovery in general have been good. I haven’t added mileage when I’m not supposed to and I have been pretty good about getting to bed early. My body really needs my two rest days, so it hasn’t been the least bit tempting to stray from that. Working from home this training cycle has added a new benefit I haven’t had my previous two marathon training cycles – the ability to nap during lunch! I am definitely more tired this go-around, so I am glad to have this flexibility.

Nutrition
This has been up and down, and I don’t put much pressure on myself about it. I think it’s something all runners battle – we’re hungry runners that are tired and that can make it hard to make the right choices. I’ve actually been doing pretty well with eating nutritious foods, but I’ve been kind of lazy when it comes to lunch. I started out great making yummy salads, but then got lazy and started making crappy sandwhiches. This isn’t something I am super strict with myself on – I just eat what I’m in the mood to eat, but any opportunity to eat more fruits and veggies are good ones.

What I do need to figure out is my nutrition on the run. I am planning to try some different things, but Nuun just isn’t cutting it for me anymore – I may very well be back to Skratch Labs full time.

Mental Game
Wasn’t sure what to subtitle this one, but mental game is really where I’m struggling. My training is intimidating. Even though, realistically, I am capable of hitting my paces, I seem to keep talking myself out of it. I’m hitting paces I’ve never hit before, sometimes even comfortably, but I keep talking myself into taking breaks or slowing down. Part of the difficulty is the heat/humidity, but part of it is also me convincing myself the heat/humidity means I need to stop or slow down. This could break my training, so it’s something I need to focus on getting control over.

Four weeks down, 14 to go!

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