Chicago Marathon Training Week 15

What was supposed to be peak week, but wasn’t. Almost but not quite.

Guys, I know I keep saying how nervous I am but I AM NERVOUS. I know that I’ve been running consistently for the past 15 weeks, and haven’t really skipped days or anything (minus those 3 days where I was REALLY fatigued)…but I just feel like mileage wise I should have been higher. 

My peak was 37 miles…then I found the Chicago Marathon training plan written by Nike from last year for beginners and they had them going up to 50, which is what I did in my 2013 NYC Marathon training cycle. 

Lately, I have had this nagging pain in my shin and I’m not sure what it is. It has been bothering me for the past 2 weeks, which is why I cut my long run short this past week from 18 miles to 13 miles. I have been talking to the athletic trainer at my job and she thinks it is just muscle tightness and (hopefully) nothing serious like a stress fracture. 

Anyway, here is this week’s training:

Monday: off

Tuesday: 4 miles. UGH this run made me so angry. I was supposed to do 6×800 repeats but barely finished 4. My legs felt like cement and I was supposed to run the 800s in 4:40, yet the last one I eeked out a 4:57. I called it off after that because I didn’t want to force it too much since I knew I had a long run in 2 days (Thursday). Was feeling annoyed and frustrated, but coach Marc reminded me that I ran the 5th Avenue Mile Sunday and it is normal for your legs to feel that way. I created this image for Instagram that night because sometimes, we all need to remember this!

Screen Shot 2015-09-21 at 10.16.57 AM

Wednesday: 6 miles. Just an easy paced run.

Thursday: 13 miles. This was supposed to be my last LONG, long run, and supposed to be 18 miles. I wanted to quit after the first 6 and was SO CLOSE. But I knew I had no other time to do it. I contemplated quitting and somehow finding the time to do it Friday night (I was going to be working late), but sucked it up and told myself, I will complete this no matter how slow I have to go.

I just felt off from the very first mile. Isn’t that the worst feelling? After 6 I didn’t think I could do it. But then I rallied and told my mom, look I feel like crap, I’m going to have to do run/walk intervals and see if I feel any better after a while. So I would run for 2 minutes then walk for 1 minute. After the next 3 miles, I started feeling better so I changed it to run 6-7 minutes, walk 1 minute. My shin was hurting and I just did not feel 100% so I was ok with taking it slow. 

By 8 pm we had finished 13 miles, but I decided to stop there. My shin was hurting with each step and it was now really dark, despite having a flashlight. We ran for 2:40ish minutes, and I figured that was good in terms of  “time on your feet.” Now though, I am kinda wishing we were able to finish those 18…


A photo posted by Patty Rivas (@pattyrivas13) on

Friday: Sloooow 5 mile recovery run.

Saturday: 3 miles. Another crappy run. Needed to do 5 but legs just felt like cement again. Every run this week was crappy. I ended up walking at 2.75 until mile 3 and called it a day.

Sunday: 4 miles. I did this on the treadmill and did some intervals. After yesterday’s slog, I wanted to try to do some faster pace stuff and knew the treadmill would help me. Honestly, I did NOT want to run considering the day before we had been tailgating for hours and then didn’t get to our hotel until 1 am, and THEN had to drive 2 hours home…but got it done anyway.


To make myself feel somewhat better, I went back to my 2013 training log and calculated my average weekly mileage. Despite peaking at 50 miles one or two weeks, my weekly average miles was 32. Currently, my weekly average is 30. So not too far off.

What do you do when you have a whole week of bad runs?

Do you think that a 20 miler is necessary in marathon training? I personally think 16-18 is good depending on your weekly mileage. I like Hansons Marathon Method because of that. They calculate your long run based on the percentage of your total weekly miles. Your long run, according to them, should never be half of your total miles.


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  1. I don’t think you need 20 miles at all. Don’t worry so much about how much other plans say you should be running or how much you’ve run in the past. All training cycles are different. You just gotta get outta your own head.
    Nicole @ Fitful Focus recently posted…Thin Mint Ice Cream Sandwich (gluten/soy/lactose free) + Arctic Zero GIVEAWAY!My Profile

  2. Honestly – I’m an over prepare-er. I have yet to train for a marathon yet but I feel like I’d try to sneak runs closer to the full distance since I’d be paranoid!
    Carmy recently posted…Fueling for the Scotiabank Half Marathon with BurnbraeMy Profile

  3. i’m reading the chansons book right now and agree that 20 miles is a pretty arbitrary number. once you read the science behind it, there’s no real reason for it. i think you’ll have a great race in chicago!
    courtney @ eat pray run dc recently posted…Running Gear I’ve Been Lovin’ LatelyMy Profile

  4. Poor thing! I hate shin splints. Don’t push a 20-mile run yet. All training schedules are different. Good Luck!
    Margo recently posted…Bruno Mars Ride with Foos, Fitz, B.I.G, TLC, and MoreMy Profile

  5. Pain in your shin is no joke. Sounds like cutting your run is the smart thing to do. I iced a lot when I had that and wore compression socks all the time. Hope you are feeling better this week
    Deborah @ Confessions of a Mother Runner recently posted…Freekeh Black Bean Burgers-Meatless MondayMy Profile

  6. The longest I’ve ran in this cycle is 15. I’m trying for another 16-18 next weekend, but I think time on your feet is a better predictor than running for 20 miles. I was aiming for 3.5 hours OR 18 and ran for nearly 3. Your body doesn’t know how far you’ve gone, just how long and at what effort.

    After trying Hanson’s I’m personally not a fan. While there isn’t a long run, running 6 days a week and 10 and 16 miles on the weekend was both mentally and physically exhausting.

  7. The longest I’ve ran in this cycle is 15. I’m trying for another 16-18 next weekend, but I think time on your feet is a better predictor than running for 20 miles. I was aiming for 3.5 hours OR 18 and ran for nearly 3. Your body doesn’t know how far you’ve gone, just how long and at what effort.

    After trying Hanson’s I’m personally not a fan. While there isn’t a long run, running 6 days a week and 10 and 16 miles on the weekend was both mentally and physically exhausting.

  8. Sorry your shins are causing so much trouble! I think the length of long runs depends on several factors – just wanting to finish and not caring about time, what your pace is if 18-20 is going to take 4 hours then it is more detrimental (or so my coach told me) for recovery, but if looking for a PR performance it’s usually beneficial to do multiple at the peak mileage. When I was in my hardest cycle of training I did 20 3 times. I don’t know too much about Hanson method but I think that calls for long runs closer to MGP? I just like the longer runs for peace of mind! The crappy long run weeks will pass and make you mentally tougher for Chicago!
    Gianna @ Run, Lift, Repeat recently posted…Narrows Half Marathon RecapMy Profile

  9. My longest run last year and this year is 18 miles. Don’t sweat it. There’s nothing magical about 20 miles. In fact, one of my readers who lives in Europe told me that the long run there is 30k, which is about–you guessed it–18 miles. You’re good.
    Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home recently posted…Marathon training week 9: It’s Goin’ DownMy Profile

  10. When I used to run marathons 18 miles was the most I would do. I am sure you will get out of the running funk and get back in your groove.
    Daisy @ Fit Wanderlust Runner recently posted…Things I Am Loving LatelyMy Profile

  11. Sorry to hear that your long run didn’t go as planned. Some days are great for running, and other days they just aren’t. Hopefully this next week will go much more smoothly.
    Kathryn @ Dancing to Running recently posted…Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon Training Log – Week 2My Profile

  12. so sorry it was a tough week for running. I think sometimes things just happen. I’ve only run one marathon and did a 20 but can’t say whether that makes a difference or not. I think for me is was more mental than anything else. Take care of yourself and the rest will follow!
    Mar @ Mar on the Run recently posted…Milwaukee Half Training Week 3My Profile

  13. Aw. I’m sorry the week wasn’t everything you hoped for, but that’s ok. Next week will be better! It always gets better!

    Personally, for me, I need 20 or 22 miles. My brain needs to know I can cross that 20 threshold. However, I know plenty of people who are good with 16-18 and think it works just fine. Everyone is different.

  14. So…for all 3 marathons I’ve run I have always had a 20 miler. I thought it was necessary for confidence purposes. I’ve never run over 40 miles in a week either. This time around my longest run will be 18 miles. But the training is so different, with the majority of my mileage coming from weekly runs. He believes in running on tired legs and how that is more beneficial than the 20 miler. I’ll let you know what I think after I run my marathon in October. Not going to lie, not running it makes me nervous. But with that said, there is a lot of research saying that longer than 3 hours on your feet isn’t really good for you. Many schools of thought here.
    Sue @ This Mama Runs for Cupcakes recently posted…MCM Training Recap Week 11My Profile

  15. You’ll do fine with that mileage, I’ve run some of my best races on less! You’d be surprised what you can do come race day :)
    Bri recently posted…{Friday Favourites} The best reads in fitness, health and wellnessMy Profile

  16. You did the smart thing by cutting your run. I learned that heard way that shin pain or even discomfort shouldn’t be ignored.
    jill conyers recently posted…Daily Habits That Increase ProductivityMy Profile

  17. Hope your shin starts to feel better quickly! Bad runs and weeks are bound to happen and I just try to remind myself it won’t matter when I cross the finish line.
    Becki S recently posted…Guest Post: Autumn SoupMy Profile

  18. I’m using Hansons this time. So far I’ve only managed a 15 mile long run, but have two 16 milers planned. I think a big piece of the marathon is mental – I’ve run 4, I’ve run two of them in the same weekend, I know I can finish. Knowing that has allowed me to trust the lower mileage long run to do what I need to do. We’ll see how I feel after Marine Corps Marathon LOL.
    MCM Mama Runs recently posted…Center of the Nation Series Half Marathon Day #4 – WyomingMy Profile

  19. Great trainign week. Regarding the 20-22 mile trainign run. I think if it is your FIRST marathon running that distance is good because those last few miles are mostly mental. If you can go back and know that you ran 20 miles and survived… the extra 10K won’t kill ya :)
    Rachel recently posted…Manitoba Harvest Hemp Heart Bites {Review}My Profile

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