Pre-training is DONE! I’m so proud of myself for sticking with my plan, and I am geared up to start training for the 2021 Chicago Marathon! I’m filled with a mixture of emotions: excitement, anxiety, hesitancy, pride. It’s a lot to sort through, but I’m definitely proud of myself for “fulfilling my intention.”

New Weekly Updates

As I mentioned, as part of my training, I have been reading a lot of blogs and following Instagram accounts for other runners. One that I’ve been devouring is The Runner Beans, a blogger named Charlie based in the UK. I’ve enjoyed reading about her running journey and her tips as someone who is somewhat a new runner and trying to get better. Before many of her races, she posts training updates each week, and I really enjoy reading about the types of workouts she does. I am going to do this to keep myself accountable for marathon training since I am doing it on my own. It will also be a fun way to document my journey to the start line.


This was supposed to be a strength day, but I just took a walk. I really struggle with strength training because I don’t enjoy it. Everything I read shows how important it is, so I need to prioritize it. I signed up for Apple Fitness+ which is pretty good. The sessions are easy to use and filters allow you to find different lengths or types. I just need to get my lazy self up to do it!


Three-mile run. I’m still doing heart rate training trying to run as close to a 144 heart rate as I can. In theory, this will help me run faster by improving my aerobic fitness ability. Tuesday was a particularly hard day – my heart rate monitor on my Apple Watch wasn’t working. My average heart rate was 173 and an 11:44/mi pace.


Another 3-mile run. I did a better job keeping my heart rate lower (154 bpm) and a 12:26/mi pace. This was global running day, and I enjoyed seeing all of the posts on Instagram from runners about the day.


I did a 5K in celebration of Global Running Day (not sure why) but also to earn the NYRR Global Running 1M Strava trophy. Only had to do a 1M, but oh well. I also earned the June 5K. Heart rate was 152 ppm and a 12:02/mi.

Pure Barre

Friday’s are scheduled to be a strength day. I signed up for Class Pass and decided to go to the Pure Barre by my house. I stopped my membership there over the winter because I couldn’t handle working out in a mask and was tied of online class. Wow, I missed it. Class was back to normal and kicked my butt! This is the type of strength training I need. I love this class and plan to do this every Friday going forward.

Cyclebar Welcome
Loved this welcome on my locker!

Saturday is cross-training day. With my Class Pass, I decided to try out Cyclebar. It’s a spinning class similar to Fly Wheel, but the team was so friendly and helpful. I had an awesome class and plan to integrate this into my training, too. What a great, low-impact workout. I would love to ride a real bike some time, but maybe this can help me get into shape for going on a bike trip somewhere.

Finished my final 6-miler of pre-training!

My final 6-miler! I went out around 6 am with a focus to cover the mileage and keep my heart rate around 144. While I am able to run more consistently, I get in a groove then see my heart rate go to 167 or so. Then I walk to bring it back down, which takes a lot of discipline. This morning was very humid which affects me poorly. We’re getting to that point of the year in NC that I need to remember to just focus on the miles. The run is done, and I feel great! Average HR 147!

A look back…

Pre- pre-training started on November 23, 2020. I followed Hal Higdon’s very beginner plan for this. My goal for this period was to have the habit of running 3 days/week and build up my ability to run. I didn’t want distance to scare me, so it was mostly 1.5-2 mile runs. I wish I would have known about low heart rate training then. It kept me throughout the winter – in the cold and dark – plus it helped me regain the confidence I had been missing in running. I wanted to lose weight, too, but that didn’t happen.

pre pre training for chicago marathon

I started pre-training on March 15, 2021. This was the Hal Higdon longer Novice program. My goal for this was to take me to running consistently 4 days a week. I learned during my first half marathon the importance of these short runs in avoiding an injury. This process was great because the mileage wasn’t daunting, so I still focused on the habit of getting out there. I completed almost all of my runs, so I would consider it a huge win!

The most important thing is that I feel great! Running is fun again, and I get such a high when I’m finished. Stay tuned! Big things to come next week!