Chi Town Half Training: Week 4

TRAINING WEEK 4: Strength in Numbers

Completed 5/5 workouts for a total of 20 miles for the week + 2 strength workouts. I added this basic strength routine to my training, which is simple and straightforward (exactly what I need when I’m not used to strength work), and my body was feeling it. Between the number of workouts, miles, and added strength work, it was Crankytown – Population: Me. I slept like a pro this week… and I wanted to sleep more. Can I go to bed now? All of my runs were on a treadmill this week, and for whatever reason, I was having a hard time finding a good groove on that damn machine. Paces felt hard, concentration felt scattered, and fitness felt…non-existent. No rainbow runs this week, but that’s ok.



    • Workout #1: 35 min tempo (7:45-8:00)
      [Actual: ~15min warm up; 5min progression down to goal pace; 1mi @ 8; ~5min @ 9min]
      I struggled SO MUCH on this run. The gym is under construction, and everything is really close together right now. I felt claustrophobic, hot, and sluggish. Holding the lower end of my goal pace felt way harder than it should have, and negative self-talk and defeatism only exacerbated an already bad run. I cut this a few minutes short, feeling frustrated and confused. Some of this is adjusting to the heat in the gym (this treadmill didn’t have a fan), but I think of lot of it is just that my fitness is still building, and longer workouts are going to feel hard for a bit.
    • Workout #23 @ goal race pace (currently 8:15 – 8:30)
      [Actual – 4.5miles: 1mi WU; 2 @ 8:45; 1mi started at 8:30 and squeezed to 6:30; 0.5mi walk CD]I watched the Olympic Marathon Trials during this run. Knowing that my body tends to need a good 10 minutes of warm-up on the treadmill (and that my legs were super sore from the strength workout a few days prior), this workout was a little longer than prescribed. For the first 1.5mi of the actual workout, it was hard to find my race pace, and I settled into a bit slower 8:45. My legs finally woke up a bit, and I was able to pick up the last mile to an 8:30, squeezing the final 0.25mi down to a 6:30 pace.I walked another 1/2 mile, trying to catch the last dramatic miles of the women’s race (how inspiring was the Amy/Shalane finish?!). I chased this with a more abbreviated strength workout (1 set of legs and core).
    • Long Run: 7 miles on the treadmill.  
      [Actual: 6 miles] My legs continued to be incredibly sore for this run, and I knew that 7 miles on the treadmill would challenge every bit of mental fortitude I possessed. I made myself a deal: 60 minutes at whatever pace I could handle on the treadmill, and any time/mileage after that would be a bonus. I felt surprisingly good, albeit slow. The first mile was a creaky, slow warm-up, after which I settled into a 10min pace. My legs loosened up, but never sped up, so I maintained that pace for the duration. I had every intention of continuing to the full 70 minutes, but my left knee started feeling a bit cranky, and I felt comfortable saying “better safe than sorry,” as I hopped off and stretched.


This week was hard. I completed two strength sessions, which trashed my legs far more than I expected, and I definitely felt the added mileage in my legs. I forgot how hard the treadmill grind can be – finding a groove is a finicky process for me – but I’m being kind to myself and remembering that things aren’t going to happen overnight. I completed all of my workouts, and adding the strength routine (something I’ve been wanting to do for … always) are big wins that I’m not taking lightly. I’m still trying to figure out how to configure my strength work (my schedule has me doing two days; I’d like to add a third somewhere). This week’s forecast includes some seriously mild temps (hello, almost 60* on Friday!), and I plan on taking full advantage where I can.


Add yours →

  1. I feel like the first few weeks of all training plans always seem sluggish and lame. The payoff is coming, though!


  2. There is no groove to be found on a treadmill unless possibly one is drunk.


    • I can usually fall into a flow mode if I’m watching something I’m really engaged in (winners tend to be Wheel of Fortune and Survivor, not sure what that says about me…), but more often than not, the treadmill is wobbly, or the tv options are limited, or I’m feeling grouchy, and it takes every ounce of concentration to overcome that.


      • I think that’s when you get the greatest mental benefit from running. When you have no pleasant distractions and you have to concentrate and fight through the surroundings.


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