Marathon Monday: The game plan for Chicago.

Welcome back to Marathon Monday and it just so happens I am talking about marathons today! What are the chances. Today is day 1 of an 18-week Chicago Marathon training plan and I am ready to rock. I am slowly learning that not all plans work for all runners and finding your training rhythm is key to a successful race day.

Marathon Monday

Yesterday, I slept in and then made some banana oat and flax pancakes before going on a long bike ride with my dad. Banana oat pancakes = carbs on carbs on carbs. It wasn’t actually an extremely long ride but in the wind it felt twice as long as it actually was! We did just about 70km with our first half speed about 24 km/h and our second half speed just over 31 km/h. Can you guess which half had the headwind?


post ride


Check back for a follow up photo at the end of the summer. My cycling tan progress so far:

tan lines

As I mentioned in THIS post, I took this past week to do the workouts I wanted, when I wanted. I actually ended up only running once! I just didn’t really feel like running the rest of the time and did other activities instead! I got in a lot of strength training which I have been loving lately and it felt awesome.

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If you check out my Calgary Marathon training posts (both years) you will probably be able to pick out my mistakes right away. Some weeks I went harder than I should have in the early stages of training because I got excited and thought I would “get ahead of the game.” FYI: NOT how marathon training works. 😉 As my mileage gets higher I tend to drop things like strength training, stretching, and foam rolling… you know, the important stuff! I am continuously adjusting to find what works for me so this time I am using a completely different marathon training schedule.

You can find the schedule HERE. It is an 18-week beginner marathon training schedule. The only adjustment I made to it was shifting it one day earlier, so “Tuesday” runs will be done on Monday, “Saturday” runs will be done on Friday, etc.

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A few things about this schedule:

  • 18-weeks chosen over 16-weeks. I need a longer time to adjust to higher mileage. Right now I am not running as often as I was last spring so a longer training period is hopefully going to help ease me back into marathon training.
  • 4 running days. I do a lot of other exercise, as I’m sure you noticed from my weekly workout recaps, so running 4 days a week is where I feel most comfortable right now. This means my peak mileage is “only” 40 miles but after that point I become super prone to injury and would rather risk being under a couple of miles than running a couple of miles too many!
  • “Beginner.” A marathon is hard, and I really don’t feel in marathon shape right now, or even close. I have taken time to develop my cycling and strength and unfortunately that takes away from running a little bit. I’m okay with starting at the bottom, so my training plan should too.
  • Prehab. My new favourite word so get ready to hear me use it a lot. I am SO over rehabbing an injury, therefore I’m going to “prehab.” Stretching and strengthening is key to creating stronger, leaner, and more resilient muscles.
  • Saturday long runs. I’m going to try out doing my long runs on Saturday instead of Sunday. As much as I “enjoy” running a million miles on Sunday, then being exhausted the rest of the day and heading back to work or school hungry as eff on Monday, I think I’m going to switch things up. I might have to alternate for a bit as I work some Saturday mornings but I like the idea of getting the long run over with on Saturday morning and being able to enjoy Saturday night.
  • June challenge: stretching 10 minutes a day. I really hope this helps me in remembering to stretch after each and every workout. I’m too prone to hopping in the shower and getting on with the day before taking time to increase my flexibility and stretch each muscle.
  • NUTRITION. More on this later but essentially more protein, less refined carbs, more water, more healthy fat.

I am heading out for a 2 mile run this morning, as per the schedule! The two things that won’t be happening during this round of marathon training = stress or injury. 😀

What are essential marathon training plan components for you?

Saturday or Sunday long run?


  1. I love the prehab bit! Sounds like you are being really smart about your training. I changed my long-runs to saturdays instead of sundays a few months ago – and I Love it! It’s so nice waking up sunday morning knowing I only have to do a short recovery run or, usually, just easy x-training. Hope it works out for you! I’m totally on board with the nutrition thing…it’s the big thing holding me back. I just find it so hard to change – it’s like I’ve programmed myself for carbs and sweetness. I also feel guilt that I HAVEN’T changed my bad habits after all this time when I should (and do) know better! Ugh.

    1. Yup, nutrition is really holding me back right now. It sucks because I pride myself on being super healthy and trying my hardest to eat really well but I just can’t seem to get it together! I KNOW what to do but just get stuck DOING it! Turning over a new leaf *now*! Haha 🙂

  2. Oh no! Your poor burnt legs. I don’t know why, but my legs just don’t burn or tan… ever. My back/arms/face definitely got a little torched this weekend, despite the SPF.

    Your training plan sounds perfect – I’m definitely guilty of the too much too soon mentality and it gets me into trouble EVERY SINGLE TIME.

  3. Yay Chicago!
    I’m excited to hear how this plan works for you.
    I’ve hired a coach and I’m pretty sure my mileage will get rather high, but I’m excited to see what happens.

  4. I think finding the right plan for you is key. Some people run 6 days a week some people run 3. Neither is right it’s just what works best for your body and your schedule. Good luck with training.

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