Chicago Marathon Training Week 8

Okay, officially kinda freaking out! It is week 8 and the longest run I’ve done so far is 10 miles. I was supposed to do 14 miles while I was away in Myrtle Beach, but there was no way that was happening with the heat wave and humidity. Someone tell me it’s okay I am not past 10 yet…?!?

Last week’s training was decent. Didn’t run this weekend because I was down the shore for birthday celebrations with friends :) But despite all this, it’s the first time this year I’ve hit 100 miles in a month! (104 to be exact.)

I plan on getting back on the horse this week. Striving for 35 miles. Here’s last week’s training:

Monday: Off (last day in Myrtle Beach)

Tuesday: 5 miles. Treadmill run with my mom! We did a 1 mile warm up, then hill repeats for 2:20 minutes with 2 minute rest, 1 mile cooldown.

Wednesday: 4.5 outdoor miles. 95 degrees but only 40% humidity which was fine with me after those 85% days in SC! Took it easy.


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Thursday:  10 miles. We started outside but as soon as we started I knew it would be too hard. It was hot and humid after rain earlier in the day, and my exercise induced asthma kicked in. We completed 3 miles outdoors then headed inside to finish 7 miles on the treadmill.

Friday: 4 mile recovery run. Reeeallll slow. I hate recovery runs because I always feel SO stiff and sluggish!

Saturday: Off

Sunday: Off


This upcoming week I’m going to try making my long run 13-15 miles. I’m running a 5K in NYC Thursday night (Anyone else?) and think I’ll go in early to run about 12 miles beforehand. We’ll see. 

Are you marathon training? What’s your longest run so far? I feel like I have some catching up to do!


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5 Reasons You Should Hire A Running Coach

I’m back! I was in South Carolina for 9 days (Myrtle Beach) and it was great. Although I was working throughout the trip, I took time off from blogging…I wouldn’t have had time anyway. Most days were spent on the beach, and evenings were spent exploring, dining, etc. It was really fun!

Anyway, being back means getting back into the grind of marathon training. Unfortunately, I only ran 3 times (total of 10 miles) while away. The humidity killed me and on one run I could barely even finish 2.5 miles. I just ended up giving up and enjoying the break.

Now I need to get back into it ASAP…Chicago isn’t as far off anymore! As some of you know, I’ve been working with a running coach, and wanted to talk about why it may be beneficial to work with a running coach yourself. I’ve touched upon the topic in the past, and wanted to add in some new insight.

5 Reasons You Should Hire A Running Coach

Workouts Aren’t Set In Stone

When you follow a plan found online or in a book, it lays out every workout for you which is great. But what if you can’t do that workout that week or want to change things around? Sure you can just pick another workout from a different week of training in the book, but how do you know if it is really beneficial for you and where you are in your training?

While I was away, I tweeted at Marc saying that I didn’t want to do the tempo run workout he had listed for me because of the heat. I knew I wouldn’t be able to hit those paces so I asked him if there was another workout I could do.

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He responded quickly with a new worokout I could do and we were able to move around the training plan. He knows what my goals are and prescribes workouts based on those goals.

Tough Love

I wrote about running by effort a few weeks ago, and a Twitter exchange with Coach Marc. He basically told me I need to stop worrying about pace while running and go by effort. When you have a running coach, you have someone who will (hopefully) tell it to you like it is. 

When I used to complain about running in the rain, he’d always respond with “Are you going to melt in the rain?” Ha! I don’t mind it as much anymore. The only real thing I actually didn’t like about it is the sopping wet shoes and socks but whatever.

A running coach should be able to “be real” with you, whether it’s you complaining about weather conditions, you having doubts about a workout, or you not wanting to run, etc. I’ve heard it all! Whenever I want to skip a run, I immediately think of what I would tell Marc…I can’t just say “I didn’t feel like running today” so I just suck it up and go for a run.

Working Through Problems Together

Marc and I have gone back and forth for years (literally since 2010) about my shin problems. I have consistent shin pain that never goes away no matter what I do. So it has become an issue of just managing the pain and trying to avoid it. He always sends me helpful information or links he might find online, and whenever I can’t do a workout or run, I am able to tell him it’s because of my shin pain. He will tell me to take it easy or go cross-train instead, or offer different options depending on when in training we are (such as don’t run the planned 5K race this weekend or take a few days off to ice and stretch).

A good coach will help you work through your issues, whether it’s injury related or something else. I would do this with my clients when I was a personal trainer as well. If they had some recurring issue, I’d always think of them when I came across articles that could potentially help them. Plus, if nothing else, you have someone to vent to about your running problems! I’m pretty sure my friends could care less about my shin pain/don’t understand why I keep running if my shins hurt :)

Piecing A Training Plan Together

Marathon training (or any training) isn’t just about the running. A running coach will help you put all the pieces of the puzzle together, that includes cross training, strength training, core, drills, etc. Marc has sent me videos of warm-up drills to do before runs, and schedules in XT and lifting into my schedule so I know when to do what. It’s not just a guessing game.

Answers Your Questions

If you have a question about a training plan in a book, who are you going to ask? You can try to tweet the author (The coaches who wrote Hansons Marathon Method actually do a good job of replying) or searching online or contacting other people who have done the plan, but you might not get the answer you’re looking for.

When I have a question about something, I usually just tweet to Marc and he responds in a timely manner. Such as yesterday:

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If you have a random question, it might not be found in your training book or it will be hard to determine the right answer. Having a running coach means you  have someone who you can ask anything related to running, and they should be able to help OR they will work to find you the answer.

All in all, it’s been great to have someone to help me create my training plan and someone to talk about running with. You know you’re in good hands with Coach Marc since he has been running forever. He ran in high scool (and recently was inducted into the South Jersey Track Coaches Hall of Fame) and ran collegiately at Villanova as well. He also currently coaches high school and track & field. So yeah…you know he’s pretty knowledgeable about running and training!

If you want to learn more about his coaching services, head on over to his website! He also offers other services such as video gait analysis and training logs (which are great).

Do you have a running coach? Would you ever consider hiring one?


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Chicago Marathon Training Week 6

Not the greatest training week but not the worst. Writing this in my hotel in Myrtle Beach so let’s just jump right into it…(yay for being on vacation for 9 days!):

Monday: Easy 5 miles

Tuesday: Off

Wednesday: 5K time trial. I was supposed to run the trail series I have done a few times this summer, but had to go shopping with Dan for our vacation, so I had to run earlier. Decided to do a time trial on my own and was actually very surprised! My splits were: 9:22, 9:07, 8:42 and the last .1 in 7:45! I finished in 27:47! Only 2 minutes behind my all-time PR. It started pouring halfway in and that just always gives me a boost. I felt so strong throughout and felt like I could have maybe even pushed harder. Excited to see this type of progress continue with Coach Marc!

Thursday: 5 recovery miles. Really struggled on this run. Slooowwww miles. I hate recovery runs because I just feel so slow!

Friday: 8 miles. The long run that wasn’t. My mom and I went out for 12 miles but as soon as I hit mile 1 I just knew it wasn’t my day. Did not feel good and my shins were hurting. Decided I’d turn back at 4 miles and we finished with 8. I figured I’d make up some miles before my race on Saturday. Found this quote that was relevant…must remember not all runs will be good.


A photo posted by pattyrivas13 (@pattyrivas13) on

Saturday: 7.2 miles total. Wanted to go for anywhere from 8-10 but it started POURING during the Run To Breathe 4 Mile race in Central Park (and lightning), so they cancelled the race (as soon as we crossed the finish line no joke) and told everyone to evacuate the park. My mom and I had done a 2.7 mile warm up, then the 4 miles, then a .5 mile cooldown. I’d say overall it was a fun race and as always, felt kinda bad@$$ running in pouring rain!



A photo posted by pattyrivas13 (@pattyrivas13) on

Sunday: off…traveling to Myrtle Beach! :-)


My goal was anywhere from 33-35, but some days are just not good run days, what can you do. I tried to get as close to 30 as possible, and that will be my goal this week too. I know runs will be tough because of the heat and humidity AND I know I won’t be getting a long run in (let’s be real). But I’m going to try to run anywhere from 5-7 miles daily.

What are your tips for running in humidity and/or on vacation?? I’d love to hear them!


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Strength Training Workout For Mud Runs

As I mentioned yesterday, I ran a mud run/obstacle course race this past weekend…and it was awesome! It was the Rugged Maniac in New Jersey, but they have locations all over the country and in Canada as well. If you find one near you, definitely try it out. I’m going to go into a detailed recap later this week and add in reasons why you should do it. I noticed yesterday a lot of you said you’re nervous about injuries…so was I! But still…you should do one ;)

The day after my race I was actually surprised at how sore I was. I consider myself in decent shape, though I know I’ve lost muscle and strength in the past few months. My arms were really sore after the race and my quads. Weird! So today I wanted to share a strength training workout specifically for those who might be training for a mud run.

These races are a lot of pulling yourself up and over things, squatting, crawling, etc. So those are the types of moves I focused on.

Try this workout if you're training for a mud run or obstacle course race!

As always, do A1, A2 first, then move on. Perform each exercise for 3 sets of 15 reps. So do A1 15 times, then A2 15 times, then repeat 2 more times before moving on to the B exercises. Okay here we go:

  • A1: Lat pull downs (Reason? Strength for pulling yourself up on obstacles like wall climbs)
  • A2: Push ups (Reason? Chest and shoulder strenght for those barbed wire crawls)
  • B1: Squat hold (Hold for 60 sec. Reason? Some obstacles require you to go through it in a crouched or squatting position…talk about quad burn!)
  • B2: Negative pulls ups (Reason? Monkey bar or rings – where you need to use upper body strength to cross. Negative pull ups help build up strength so you can do unassisted pull ups. Start at the top of the bar, and take 3-5 seconds to lower yourself down SLOWLY. Use a box to boost yourself up to the top of the bar, repeat)
  • C1: Walking lunges (Reason? You need quad and glute strength for all that hill running you’ll be doing!)
  • C2: Inverted row (Reason? More upper body/pull strength)
  • CORE: Planks, walking planks, any type of moving planks. (Reason? A lot of crawling is involved in mud runs, so planks/moving planks are good practice)

I was so tired during the barbed wire crawls because I know my core strength is lacking. I ended up rolling myself under them instead of crawling LOL.

What exercises would you add? 

If injury wasn’t an issue, would you try a mud run? 


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Chicago Marathon Training Week 5

I was scrolling through #chicagomarathon on Twitter and then saw that we are under 100 days to go! The race will be here before we know it…kinda scary!

So far, training has been going really well knock on wood. Not much pain or fatigue. Again, knock on wood.

Here’s my recap of last week:

Monday: 6 miles. This workout was tough because it was something like 70% humidity out and almost 90 degrees. We were supposed to do a 1 mile warm up, then 8×2:20 minutes at 10K/half marathon effort, with 30 sec. break, and then repeat that one more time before a 1 mile cooldown. It sucked. I felt like I was really struggling. Which prompted me to write about this post about running by effort.

Tuesday: off

Wednesday: 10 miles. We did 6 outside and 4 on the treadmill due to thunderstorms. For some reason I was really doubting myself all week about this. I didn’t know if I could do it…though I knew I technically COULD since I can run 8 miles no problem, but I guess the double digit aspect of it scared me. But we did it!

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Thursday: 60 minute recovery run. Ended up running about 5 miles. We took it sloooowwww…

Friday: 60 minute run. Felt pretty good! We ran each mile a tiny bit faster (though mile 3-4 was slow because of a long hill), and ended with the last mile in 9:30. We ran 6 miles total. Also, I just started using Strava and love it! How do I add people? If you’re on there let me know!

Saturday: Rugged Maniac 5K. I did this obstacle course/mud run with my sister and it was so much fun! Skipped a few obstacles and am still sore today from it. I think all that climbing. Clearly need to work on my uppder body strength haha.

rugged maniac

It was fun doing a race just for fun and with my sister. I was really nervous leading up to it but I think I would do it again next year! I’ll be writing up a recap later this week.


I can’t believe I’m already at 30 miles! This week I am aiming for 33-35 miles. I am running the NYRR Run To Breathe 4 miler Saturday (anyone else), but plan on running 6-8 beforehand to get in my long run that day. I am sick of my usual running routes and running in NYC always makes the long runs go by faster.

Have you ever done a mud run? Did you like it? If not, what kind of  “specialty race” do you want to try (color run, mud run, etc.)?


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Running By Effort

Today I want to talk about running by effort. How hard is it?? 

On Monday, I had to go out for a 6ish mile run that was a workout. Coach Marc wanted me to do a 1.5 mile warmup, 8×2:20 minutes at 10K/half-marathon pace with 30 second break, then 90 second break before repeating those 8 reps again. 

Monday was hot and HUMID. I knew as I started the run that it was going to be a struggle. I took my warmup and cooldowns pretty slow, with some walking. I tried as hard as I could for those 2:20 repeats. Yet, when I finished, my watch still showed 11:30 average pace!

Well, not my watch. I actually downloaded Strava and used it for the first time, but for some reason saved it as cycling and not running, so I couldn’t see my splits. So then I REALLY didn’t know what paces I had been running haha.

Anyway, I was frustrated and tweeted about it and had this Twitter conversation with Marc:

Even when I’m just on recovery runs I wonder what pace I’m running. I won’t wear my GPS watch or track the run but I’ll still end up going home and calculating the distance and time…I know, ridiculous!

I guess because for me, one of my main goals is to make my easy pace faster. I have been stuck at an easy pace of 10-11 minutes per mile for years now. So I end up watching my pace during runs.

I know that on a hot humid day my pace will be slower and my body will have to work harder. I know that runners should go by EFFORT on any given day due to various factors. I also know that I shouldn’t eat as many cookies, but I still do ;)

I guess when I do workouts I want my paces to be sub-10 because I hope that is what my marathon pace will be. It’s definitely something I need to work on, and I’ve been mindful of it by not wearing my GPS watch and just wearing a normal watch.

I guess the point of this post is to ask advice: 

Do you worry about your pace? How do you stop worrying about it and just go by effort? Do you think it’s made you faster in the long run?

I have a 10 mile run today (hopefully…if it doesn’t storm later), and I plan on just going easy.

Thanks for your advice in advance!


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Chicago Marathon Training Week 3 + 4

Hi everyone! I feel like it’s been so long since I’ve opened up my WordPress to write something (it’s been, like, a week haha).

Time to get back into the swing of things! So I’m just going to jump right into my recaps of training for week 3/4 of training (so this past week and the week before that.

Mon. June 22 - Off

Tues. June 23 – XT (lifting). Decided to use my XT this day, I forget why. But I was SO SORE for days after. I did abs and an upper body routine which you can find linked below in my 8 mile recap.

Wed. June 24 - 8 mile workout/treadmill run. Longest treadmill run to date! I really liked this workout by Coach Marc. It didn’t feel super challenging and I liked running around 9:40ish pace…which will hopefully be my marathon pace in October!


A photo posted by pattyrivas13 (@pattyrivas13) on

Yeah my shirt had an embarassing amount of sweat on it afterwards…

Thurs. June 25 - 5 miles (recovery). I hate recovery runs because I feel SO SLOW but I like recovery runs because I can run as slow as I want ;)

Fri. June 26 - 3 miles fast. I was crunched for time so my mom and I went out for a 3 miler…though as we started running we just naturally started running faster. She was ahead of me for most of the run and in my mind I was practicing catching up to her and “reeling her in” which I did with about a half mile to go! I felt awesome, and we finished in about 27:30 which is fast for me.

Sat. June 27 - 6 miles. Ran in the rain! I forgot how peaceful and relaxing that can be. Though I really hate when your socks get soaked. Are there waterproof socks or sneakers?? Refueled with my favorite protein powder afterwards!


A photo posted by pattyrivas13 (@pattyrivas13) on

Sun. June 27 - 4 easy-ish miles. Easy-ish because we threw in 6 hill repeats in the middle, but not sprints…just normal pace, running up and down.


Week 4 was kind of a bust…

Mon. June 29 - Off. It was a crazy hectic day which I will recap in my Cape Cod trip post (I was there from Tuesday-Friday). It involved the DMV/inspection station, that says it all right? ;)

Tues. June 30 - Off. Traveling to Cape Cod. Woke up at 5 am and left around 5:45 am for the 5 hour drive.

Wed. July 1 - Off. Meant to run but didn’t. Packed day of doing touristy things and a one hour drive back and forth to Provincetown.

Thurs. July 2 - 7 miles. Had an awesome workout! I like this workout by Coach Marc as well. It’s repeats of 5 minutes at 5K effort. Feels challenging but you know you only have minutes to go before you get a 1 minute break. Felt really strong throughout the run.


A photo posted by pattyrivas13 (@pattyrivas13) on

and this is where the week went downhill…

Fri. July 3 -  5 miles. It was a blah run. Recovery run after yesterday’s workout but I felt tired and weak. This was also after driving 5 hours back home and not eating lunch, so that probably had something to do with it. Still proud of myself for getting out there as soon as I got back though. Who wants to run after a day of driving/traveling?

Sat. July 4 - Off. I really wanted to complete 28 miles this week, and on this day was supposed to do 10 miles. But my calf was killing me. It started hurting after my 7 mile run on Thursday, and even my friend commented on how I was walking weird. It was tight and felt like it would cramp at any moment, and my right shin was super sore. I decided to take off for the weekend. I figured I could do it this early in the training season without too much repercussions and could use it as a “cut back week.” Right??

Sun. July 5 - Off. Though I did do 30 minutes of pool running since I was at my complex’s pool.


I really need a deep tissue massage on my calf muscles. Any suggestions? Should I find a masseuse who does sports massages? I saw Massage Envy does deep tissue massages with BioFreeze now for athletes. Has anyone tried it? I am open to any and all suggestions!!

If you’re training for a marathon, how is your training going? 

Do you get bummed when you miss days of running or do you just move on and forget about it?


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On Vacation!

I meant to post this Monday but it was such a hectic, chaotic day. I’m currently in Cape Cod (or on Cape Cod? What’s the proper phrasing?) with my best friend! I’ll be back on Friday and will recap next week :)

Enjoy your 4th of July weekend everybody!


The 8 Mile Treadmill Run

Yesterday I ran my longest run on a treadmill – 8 miles! My previous record was 6 miles. I never would be able to do this at one steady pace though. I can only run on the treadmill for more then 2-3 miles when I have a workout and am switching up paces and inclines.

Coach Marc had a workout on the plan for the day which was this:

  • 1.5 mile warmup
  • 2 min. at 9:30 pace, 1 min. jog
  • 3 min. at 9:45 pace (did 9:40), 1 min. jog
  • 5 min. at 10:00 pace, 1:30 jog
  • repeat workout portion one more time through
  • 1.5 mile cooldown

My mom and I decided to run on the treadmill because it was hot and also mainly because how else would I time myself/know my pace? I have a Garmin but it wasn’t charged…oops.

When we got to the gym I told my mom that if we finished the workout and were around 6 miles, we should just keep going in order to hit 8 miles and get our long run done for the week. She agreed.

I only did a 1 mile warm up because I hate warm ups on the treadmill, and then got into the workout. I did walk a bit of the rest portions for 20-30 seconds then I would jog. 

1 time through the workout came out to 2 miles. So I knew that going through it again we would be at 4 miles + 1 warmup mile. After we did it 2 times through, I threw in some hill intervals before starting the routine again (to switch things up). Then we did it another time through (3 times through total), and finished at 7.4 miles then did a .6 mile cooldown :)

I really felt great. I honestly felt like I could have kept running, and today I’m not feeling much soreness at all. Where I AM feeling soreness is my upper body. I did an upper body workout and abs on Tuesday and can still barely move my arms. It hurts to even lift my arms up to change or even open doors! Here’s the workout I did:


A photo posted by pattyrivas13 (@pattyrivas13) on

I didn’t even do 25 reps each of the abs workout…I did 15..and could barely finish…and my abs are still sore. Clearly I need to do more lifting and more core work.

Today calls for a recovery run of 55 minutes. Trust me, it will be super slow and easy. 

What’s the longest treadmill run you’ve done?


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Chicago Marathon Training Week 2

I’m glad today is a rest day (I’m making it one) because my achilles is killing me for some reason. It really hurts going down the stairs and I really hope it’s just soreness. 

Here’s how last week’s training went:

Monday: off

Tuesday: yoga class (ShoeBuy event), then 3 miler. I could barely finish this run. Of course as I started running the rain stopped, and the sun came out. Making it a really hot and muggy run. I had to stop and walk a few times, and basically walked the last half mile. 

Wednesday: 6 miles. 1.5 mile warm up, 5×5 minutes at 5K effort with 1 min. rest in between, 1.5 mile cooldown. Actually felt really great! Also probably because the weather was actually good for running (low 70s, cloudy, no humidity).


A photo posted by pattyrivas13 (@pattyrivas13) on

I was dreading this workout because I doubted myself (once again) but then ended up feeling really good running at a harder pace.

Thursday: off (it was my brother’s graduation day)

Friday: Long run – 7 miles. We were supposed to do 8 but AGAIN was not feeling good because of the heat and humidity. I’m still adjusting and it sucks how it affects your running. For me, it’s mainly my breathing. I feel really out of breath throughout the run, which makes me stop and walk to catch me breath. So I cut this run short.

Saturday: 5 miles. After a crappy run yesterday, I decided to do something harder today. I did a 1 mile warmup, 1 mile time trial (8:27), 2×800, 1×400, a few strides, then 1 mile cooldown. I felt good during the run (and it was drizzling and cool out!), but afterwards my achilles got really tight and still hurts today. Really hoping this goes away.

Sunday: easy 3 mile recovery run.

TOTAL: 24 miles

This week, my goal is to start lifting regularly. I plan on going today and Wednesday…perhaps Friday too, we’ll see. My mom and I want to do our long runs on Friday evenings so that our weekends are freed up. I really prefer this to waking up early on a Saturday (and also sacrificing plans in the summer with friends).

So far, so good!

When do you prefer to do your long runs?


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