Road to Chicago: Fatigued but Focused

Monday, 8 September 2014  |  Running + Triathlon


5 Weeks to Chicago Marathon!

The past couple of weeks have been quite challenging.  While I start the first half of the week feeling fresh, I end the back to back weekend runs struggling to lift one foot in front of the other.  Cumulative fatigue from the past 3 weeks of running 70k to 80k per week have certainly taken a toll on my legs.

For our Sunday runs the past couple of weeks, I started the run wondering how the hell am I going to hit over 20k today when I can barely feel my legs after running daily from Thursday to Saturday?  Yet, as I’ve learned the past weeks, the mind is even more powerful than the body.  If you think you can do it, then you most likely will.  And so, I plodded through the first 5k like a zombie, then slowly my legs loosened up and I found myself completing the distance exchanging high fives with friends.


Ton, Lit, and I complete our back to back weekend runs of 13k + 16k two Sundays ago.  We look ecstatic don’t we?


I am so grateful to be running completely injury free despite the high mileage.  I dropped by Peak Form two weeks ago to loosen up my tight legs to keep injury at bay.  Better to be safe than sorry!


Happy to bump into friends Bea, Lea, Ardie, and Maria for my 18k tempo run last Thursday


I survived my back to back 10k – 26k weekend!  First thing I do after the run?  I drink my Enervon HP to replenish lost nutrients and aid in recovery.

I must confess though.  Every now and then, doubt creeps into my mind.  Will this program work?  Will I be able to hit my marathon pace on race day if I’m so exhausted even before I start an easy run?  Am I getting stronger?

A few days ago, I emailed my coach, Coach Melissa Johnson-White of Hanson’s Marathon training program, to seek her advice. (She has a PR of 2:32 for the marathon so, yes, she knows her stuff!)  I asked if it was normal for me to feel this worn out during training, especially the tempo runs which is done at a pace that I usually feel comfortable with in the past.  Here’s her reply, which is so helpful that I thought of sharing it with you.  By the way, she’s also training for Chicago Marathon:

Hi Jaymie,

We are getting to the peak mileage in the training plan so our legs will feel pretty fatigued during some of these workouts.  The tempo’s shouldn’t feel like the speed workouts, but they will feel more similar to the last part of the marathon when you are running on tired legs.  So while you should be starting to feel stronger I don’t think I would describe the tempo runs as easy.  Teaching yourself to push through when you get tired will help you during the last 10k of the marathon.

Sometimes we trick ourselves too by thinking the workout should feel really easy and then when it doesn’t we start to worry.  This happens all the time with the last workout before a race.  You always think it should feel easy and it never does.  When the workouts are starting we prepare ourselves by knowing they will be hard.  You are now able to run more miles and are increasing the tempo runs so these next few weeks will be tough.  Once you start the taper you will notice that your legs feel more fresh and ready to race.

The easy runs offer a lot of benefit to the program.  Each day has a purpose and no one workout is the most important.  They all are important and work together to train different systems.  Make sure you are running your easy runs at an easy pace and the strength workouts at the specific pace.  If you are running too fast on either of these the tempo run will feel much harder.

So, with Coach Melissa’s assurance and 5 weeks to go, I cast all doubt away.  I’m focused on running strong, pushing hard, and enjoying every minute!

Thank you to Unilab Active Health for supporting my big adventure, Chicago Marathon!