The Big Peak.

4 weeks until Chicago Marathon

I was so thankful to be home for this big week of training. The mileage wasn’t especially high but I had 3 key workouts that were important to really nail. To do that I needed to be hydrated, fueled and rested and it is much easier for me to control those things when I am not on the road.

Texts from Coach on Sunday before the week started OVER-emphasized the need to listen to my body. He was adamant that I didn’t go into any of the three big workouts tired and that I should push my long run to Monday if there was ANY reason I thought I wasn’t ready on Sunday. Fortunately my body handled the intensity of the workouts really well and I was able to recover and feel good going into the next one.


  • Plan: 1:00 Easy or OFF
  • Actual: 1:00 Yoga

With all the timezone madness, Coach wasn’t sure which day I had actually done my long run. Although I did it Sunday morning in Hamburg, that actually equated to Saturday night at 9:30 Chicago time. This was originally an optional run day, but when he found out I ran Sunday and not Saturday, he told me to rest.

My body was craving yoga, but none of the studios near me had a class that was convenient with my work day {and more importantly, evening plans with Jenny & Chanthana} so I fired up the Yoga Studio App on my iPad and did an hour combo session (strength, flexibility, balance) in my living room. The dogs were somewhat perplexed by this situation and Ernie kept sitting on me…giving me a little extra resistance for planks.


  • Plan: 55 min Tempo Run (7-8M) @ 7:20-30 w/optional 7:05-15 after 4M
  • Actual: 12.5M @ 7:41* w/tempo: 7:28, 7:23, 7:21, 7:18, 7:13, 7:08, 7:04, 7:04 (0.6)

This was a MASSIVE tempo workout! Luckily I woke up to perfect fall weather. Coach told me that I should feel like I was holding back in the first half and then push hard for the remainder. It’s crazy, but the 7:20-7:30 miles really did feel like I was cruising. It almost felt effortless. I definitely had to work hard for the last 3.6 when I dropped the pace, but I still felt smooth and under control the whole time. SUPER HAPPY about this workout!

*I didn’t realize until later in the week that this workout, even with the slow & easy warm-up/cool-down, put me within 11 seconds my half PR pace for 12.5 miles. That makes me want to race a half 🙂


  • Plan: Yoga + 50 min Cross
  • Actual: Yoga + 13M Ride @ 15.8 mph

I was super excited to get back to my yoga studio so I got up early and I registered for a 5-class pack and signed up for an 8:30 a.m. class…at the Naperville location. #moron. I didn’t even realize it until I was sitting outside the studio at 8:30 and no one ever came. Fortunately I was able to switch the pack and the class over to the Chicago location and with a rare morning of no meetings, attend a 10 a.m. class. It was everything my body needed, with a good mix of hard work and stretching (and sweat!). How has this been missing in my life for so long?

I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do for cross training. The outdoor pools are closed for the season, but it was a beautiful day and I couldn’t stand the idea of doing something inside. I decided to finally take my bike out for the first time since Nationals for a ride on the Lakefront. It was great except for the slow speed tipover at the turnaround. It’s been years since I have done that. Rookie move.


  • Plan: Strength Routine + 50 min “REAL EASY” Run
  • Actual: Strength + 6M @ 8:28

I got a text later-ish on Wednesday evening from my local car dealership saying they were having a customer appreciation week and I could bring in my car for a FREE detail. I am obsessed with having a clean car so I jumped right on that and told them I would bring it in first thing the next day. The next morning I woke up, did my strength work right away, then loaded Walter in the car and dropped it off at the dealership. Walter and I had a nice, easy run back home (with some extra distance added to get the full 50 min). What I find interesting lately is that when I try to keep the pace super easy (~8:25+), I end up feeling kind of crappy and out of sync. But when I pick it up just a little (~8:10-8:20), it feels much more natural and actually easier. Not sure at what point you go with what feels easy or stick to a pace that you know is in the easy range…


  • Plan: Choose Your Own Adventure Speed work: 10×800, 4x1M (both @ 5K pace) or 5K TT
  • Actual: 11.25M @ 8:21 w/800’s: 3:16, 3:16, 3:13, 3:15, 3:15, 3:14, 3:15, 3:16, 3:16, 3:16

I kind of liked this whole “choose your own speedwork adventure” from Coach. It didn’t take me long to choose…the 800’s, of course. Why? In my mind that was the biggest, most monstrous of the three workouts and if you believe in the whole Yasso thing (I don’t) then technically it would tell you how fast I can run a marathon. It was another beautiful sunny, fall day (albeit a little windy). The repeats felt really smooth and controlled and I tried to focus on taking one at a time then the recovering, instead of getting overwhelmed with what number I was on (or how many I had left). This worked really well and I cruised through the workout…until #10. Then it got tough. It seemed like the wind picked up all of a sudden and my legs were tired and I really had to fight hard for that one. But then I was DONE!


  • Plan: OFF
  • Actual: OFF

Rested like a champ. Did some cleaning and other little minor projects around the house, napped and watched a lot of TV.


  • Plan: 2:45 – 3:00 Run
  • Actual: 21.5M @ 8:17

YES! This is by far the best 20-miler run I have had in a long, long time and I think the fastest outside of a race. I took Walter for the first 5ish and started nice and slow, hoping to be able to pick it up in the last 5-10 miles. I kept checking in with my body as time went by and I continued to feel really, really strong. There were little aches that would come and go (normal) but I didn’t really start to feel the mileage until I went over 21. Then instead of pushing all the way up to the 3:00 mark, I hit 21.5 and called it a day (only had about 2 minutes till 3:00 anyway). Success…now bring on taper!


  • Run: 51.3 miles
  • Cross training: 1 bike ride
  • Strength: 1 (forgiven, because…yoga!)
  • Yoga: x 2! (including a class at my favorite studio!)

About Corey

I am a 30-something swim, bike, run addict married to my best friend and in love with my two schnoodle doggies.
This entry was posted in Chicago, Goals, running, swimming, training, walter, weekly recap, work travel, workout clothes. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to The Big Peak.

  1. Wow, I’m amazed that you can do an 8-mile tempo, 10×800, AND a 20-miler in the same week. That’s basically my dream peak week!

    • Corey says:

      Awe, thanks! This is definitely the first time ever that I have been able to do three big workouts like that in the same week. I am reallllly hoping it is a good sign for Chicago!!

  2. elizabeth says:

    dude. i have a really good feeling about your chicago race!! and, you’ve got me wanting to get back into yoga! i just read something about trying it for just 10 minutes a day to help with flexibility…maybe i will start there.

  3. erin says:

    Boom! Awesome week! You’re more than ready to rock Chicago!

    And, yay for yoga! I recently returned to my mat during IM recovery, and it’s been amazing.

  4. Pingback: Travel & Cutting Back |

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