3 Month Marathon Planning

So as I was going for a walk last week, I started thinking about what my next race should be.  And then it hit me…the Chicago Marathon is 3 months away!  That is my next race and training needs to commence immediately!




I must say that I am slightly sad to have triathlon season over.  I held out hope that I would be able to fit in another late summer race, but between my trip to Israel and a few upcoming weekends in Wisconsin/St.Louis, that’s just not going to happen.  I bought an old version of Hal Higdon’s book Marathon a few months ago and it was time I pulled it out and started putting together a running schedule.  I wanted to challenge myself a bit and so I chose the Intermediate I plan.  On this plan, you are running 5 days per week with 1 rest day and 1 cross training day.  He has you doing 2 longish runs back to back (ie an 8 mile and an 18 mile run) followed by a rest day. 




For my previous marathon, my training was not this planned out.  I trained for and completed my first Olympic Distance Triathlon mid August and then freaked out when I realized that my mileage was not where it needed to be.  Fortunately, all of the cross training had built up a strong cardiovascular base and I was able to increase my miles each week while running ~3 days each week.




5 days of running scares because I think it is too much for my body and my mind.  I’d love to schedule in some cross training and yoga, so I am thinking I may just run 3-4 days with 1-2 days of yoga/cross training and of course at least 1 day of rest.  With Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays off from work, I am just trying to determine the best day for long runs.




This morning was my first medium distance run (in quite some time) and should have been completed at ‘race pace’.  For me, the race pace goal is 9 minute miles.  I got up early-ish and was out the door by 8:05am packed with my water bottles for a 6 mile run.  The first mile didn’t feel too hot, but by mile 2, the sun was beating down strong and my body felt heavy and slow.  I don’t know if it is the heat, my lack of training, my recent travels, the fact that I was exhausted and slightly anxious about my fall work schedule, or what, but it was a challenging 6 miles.  I walked through water breaks every mile and needed that time to catch my breath.  I slowed significantly on the back half stopping for water 2 times a mile.  I pulled it together to finish strong, but not nearly fast enough.  It was really hard not to be disappointed in this run.  I get that in the big picture, grand scheme of things, it doesn’t really matter.  But I have been struggling all week with 3, 4, and now 6 mile runs and I have no idea why.  My immediate thought is the 80 degree heat that sucks out your energy as you paw through it, but I’m just not sure.  Do I need to rethink my diet, sleep schedule etc.?  Or readjust my expectations for hot runs? 


When I got back home, I was reunited with an old friend.  Note crazy amounts of sweat glistening off my legs…Yuck!




Although I should have been moving more, all I really wanted to do was lay down and crash.  In this round, I’d have to score the HEAT 1; Jen 0!  Here’s to hoping I have a chance at a rematch or it’s going to be a long and painful 3 months of training.




To avoid double disappointment, I am considering going to a yoga class with a friend tomorrow (where I’m hoping to lengthen and tone my muscles while also getting used to intense heat) and postponing my 9 mile run to EARLY Saturday morning.  I’m looking for running buddies to help with the early morning wake ups if anyone is interested?!


Important Questions…


How many days a week do you run when you are training?

How do you determine your schedule?



How do you beat the heat?

21 thoughts on “3 Month Marathon Planning

  1. Wow 5 days a week is a lot!! I would die hahaha. The heat kills me too, I have to get up early if I am going to go for a longer run!! Run before the sun!

  2. I usually run 6 days/week but that’s just how my body feels best. If I add in too much cross-training, I tend to get injured and if I go a week without a rest day, I feel really exhausted. Try not to stress out too much about your run today… it was hot AND humid, the most obnoxious combination. I was drenched after 2 miles!

    • You make me feel so much better! It was rough out there today and I was not up early enough to brave the humidity. I think I liked it better in the desert : ) Wow, 6 days per week is a lot and I think that is amazing. I’m not sure my body or work schedule would allow it. It’d be great to meet up for a run and a chat some day soon. I could use the early AM motivation!

  3. I wouldn’t worry about the run! 1) It was hot. 2) You just got back from a super busy holiday on a totally different time zone!
    I used to run five or six days a week but I know that my body would never let me do that now!
    I think it would be a good idea to cross train a couple days, especially since you love doing other activities too!

    • Thanks so much for your comment! I appreciate your words of wisdom because I was really feeling down this morning (which is not my usual post run mood). I agree that the travel and heat were working against me and I am hoping for better runs ahead!

  4. I am doing the Chicago marathon also! So fun! I’m using the Bart Yasso intermediate plan. But doing 4 runs, 2 cross training, and 1 rest day.

    You were on vacay for a while. Once your body acclimates again you will be good to go! Just work through it! It’s hard but you can do it. 🙂

    I still have to go through your Isreal posts too! Can’t wait to see pics!,

    • Leslie, thank you! That is so exciting…how is your training going? I will have to take a look at that plan (if it is available on line). There is so much information out there it’s hard to know where to start, but I was hoping to be more educated before this race. I hope you enjoy the pictures!

      • I think my plan is 16 weeks. It has a good mix of easy, hills, speed, tempo, and long runs. I haven’t been following it to a T but I will get with it soon!! 🙂 Yes…so much info and so little time. Everyone says something different!!

    • Amy…thank you! I can imagine that it is tough to find the time and energy when you have a little one at home. And with the heat, you can’t take her with you. You will definitely find your stride soon!

  5. I love that you’re running Chicago! I did that two years ago… it’s close to my homeland of WI. ❤
    For me.. I run 6-7 days a week depending on the week and my place in my training.
    Can't wait to hear how it all goes!

  6. I know it’s not for everyone but I beat the heat by getting on the treadmill. I love catching up on all my reality shows while I run. Good luck on your training!

    • That is a good idea! I also have access to an indoor track that I think about for winter but would be perfect for super hot days too! Love an excuse to watch something embarrassing while I run!

  7. No need to stress your run! Everyone has off runs – they’re the ones that make the good runs that much better. Running in heat + humidity used to just crush me, and the only thing that helped me get through was actually running in it more. After acclimating, it’s not so bad, and I actually kinda enjoy it! Just be sure to carry water! I also choose routes that have water stops (there are a ton of fountains around the lakes here), so that helps, too. At the start of IM training, I was running 5-6 days a week to build a base (now it’s 3-5 days a week). I think it’s good to run on tired legs a bit. My long runs are Saturdays, followed by long bikes on Sundays.

    • Thanks Erin! That is GREAT advice! I love hearing all that you are doing as I was checking out the Steelhead site today and wondering if I can fit that into 2014. The hot yoga and warm weather (if it comes back) will hopefully get me more acclimated! Although I much rather run in this nice cold weather!

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