The Prairie Path is great, but I wasn't a huge fan of the crushed gravel. Riding through Oak Park, was probably my favorite section; the streets are wide and the houses are pretty.
After my break, I immediately jumped into the program I wrote for the 2015 BoA Chicago Marathon. This year, after a somewhat disappointing result in Duluth and conversations with teammates, I decided it was time for me to try a higher mileage approach again. After years of off and on injury, I'm a little gun shy about higher mileage (consistently 80+ mpw), but it felt like my body and mind were getting to a point where I could and should increase my average mileage.
This is the first program that I've ever tried to execute that outlines every single day of the cycle. The two driving forces behind trying this approach were 1) to plan recovery days/weeks to avoid falling into the trap of trying to string together as many 90+ weeks as possible (I ended up injured doing this before) and 2) to reduce the stress of planning when I'd be getting my runs in for the day/week. Of course I use the term "stress" here sort of lightly however since I've made run commuting a habit, it does require some additional thought and planning to get one's self and stuff from one place to another. I figured if I could reduce some of the constant unknowns, by planning ahead as much as possible I could be more relaxed and enjoy my training more.
I'll post my program in another post to keep things focused more on the execution of the program itself.
Eight weeks into my program and with six weeks to go, it seems that this approach has certainly helped me stay healthy while increasing my weekly mileage into the 90 mile range.
It's also been helpful to have a plan for commuting/running. Of course I've deviated from this plan due, but in general, it's been helpful to have a plan for the week. An added benefit of planning recovery runs/commutes is that I've been a lot more consistent about getting in strides throughout the week. I'm still working on being consistent about strength and mobility training, but it seems like the strides have helped running at faster paces become more comfortable.
Workouts have been consistent and for the most part pretty solid. The last three workouts in particular have been good efforts. Shout out to the 6am Fleet Feet / Nike Racing Team crew!
My long runs on the other hand have been a bit of a struggle. I've made some dietary changes, moving away from consuming as many grains in order to become a little leaner/lighter. This along with my return to running coinciding with warmer weather/poor hydration habits have resulted in my early long runs ending with me jogging or walking home. Lately, the weather has been a bit more tolerable and my long runs have been a bit more encouraging.
Looking ahead, the next three weeks feature my peak mileage for the cycle (I'll average ~95/mpw over these three weeks) and my hardest long runs and race specific workouts including a planned 24 miler at 90-95% marathon pace (which may need to be adjusted) and Oak Brook Half Marathon on Labor Day (9/7). I'm looking forward to these harder efforts as training seems to be going in the right direction.
How is your training going? What is your goal for the fall?
Have you ever made dietary changes while training? What differences did you notice?
Thanks for reading!