Chicago Marathon Once Again, and The Summer Challenge

I entered the drawing for the 2023 Chicago Marathon not expecting much, having heard (that allegedly) spots would be (more) limited to out of towners and that the drawing might be a bit tighter across the board.

Well, they drew me once again!

So I’ll be heading out there next October, just a few months after Vancouver 2023.

Obviously, I’m running Vancouver in May, so this means not only a 2nd 2023 marathon but a relatively quick turnaround, as marathons go. After a couple weeks off from Vancouver, I’ll have only 20 weeks before Chicago.

So, sorry Frank Shorter, but I won’t be in any position to forget about my last marathon by the time I need to resume base training for the next one.

Of course, in the weeks leading up to this, I had still been planning long-term just in case, presuming I was going to run Chicago. I drew up different schedules, measuring their build, the estimated marathon shape in October, to see what would work. I had also formed plans for what to work this summer on if I didn’t draw in and the summer was free, but that’s a moot point now.

Much like the injury-failed Indy Marathon campaign last year, my big challenge is to endurance train effectively during the Vegas summer. The difference now is I learned and now know a lot about training in these circumstances that I didn’t know last year. (And also, knock on wood, that I have a 100% hamstring and hip flexor complex that’s better built to handle training)

I’m now training at 3000′ altitude along significant hills on weekdays, with similar hills at lower altitude (2300-2500′) on weekends. I’ve focused a lot in the cooler weather on nose breathing on the run as much as I can reasonably handle, only mouth-exhaling or even mouth breathing if the going (usually an extended hill climb) gets tough enough to justify it. My Osler-style base training and the resulting gradual mileage build has been reasonably comfortable. I’ve also scaled back my cross training and walking, sticking mostly to brief walks and some backward walking.

Already, Runalyze has showed my measured VO2max has jumped a great deal, and I’m not even into the real (midweek 8 milers and 3+ hour long runs) meat of training yet. I’ve barely done any fast running, other than a Turkey Trot 10K that went well on no race-specific training and despite not having run farther than 6 miles on any run.

Osler training and the progression has gone quite well, and I’m probably going to stick with it going ahead. Ultimately, after months of easy base training with one tempo or time trial a week, I’ll follow his advice and add in sharpening work towards the final couple months. I may not add as much as he recommends, as March and April tend to add their own stimulus: Increasing temperatures. People tend to forget that’s an added training stimulus in spring! So, if my base runs in hotter weather are suitably tough, I may just keep them the same.

Going back to Chicago could be weird, as a tourist this time. I’ve found (and paid a pretty penny for) a good centralized hotel with a kitchen. The city’s a lot harder to deal with when you don’t have a home base away from the main drag you can retreat to. Unlike Vancouver, I probably won’t stay terribly long following the marathon, though I’ll at least stay the following day.

Meanwhile, it’s rather premature to put a ton of thought into Chicago 2023. I still have to train for and run Vancouver! More to come as it becomes relevant.

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