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Chicago Marathon Training Plan

by Meghann on June 22, 2010

I finished my Chicago Marathon Training Plan! Woop Woop!!

But first, let’s get to the eats.

Morning Snack = The last of my Goldfish Pretzels & Chocolate Grahams


Lunch = Watermelon Salad + my last of Heather’s Cherry Chocolate Scone.


I’ve never had watermelon on a salad before, but I really, really liked it. It was so fresh and crisp on a bed of spinach with feta, cherry tomatoes, raisins, and almonds. And with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar it the perfect summer salad.



I’m going to miss these scones! I’m so happy I won them through Bobbi’s Bake Sale. I was able to support a great cause and received a yummy treat in return. 🙂


Now, on to the plan!!

As my goal is to ultimately to BQ (run a sub-3:40 marathon), I wanted a plan that focused on speed work. I know I can run far, I just want to make sure I can run fast while doing so. After combing through a few suggested plans I buckled down and created one of my own by combining what I liked from Emily’s Marine Corps’ Plan, Megan’s Disney BQ Plan and what worked with my schedule.

ChiPlanJuly  ChiPlanAug

ChiPlanSept  ChiPlanOct

I know, you can’t read any of that. 😉 Please feel free to click here to read the plan in its entirety. 

As you can see this plan is VERY aggressive. It’s all about speed, speed, speed! My plan is to run 4 days a week and do hot yoga 1 day a week (I would LOVE to do yoga twice a week, but my wallet doesn’t love it so much). The remaining two days are flexible with a mix of weight training and cross training as I see fit. I hope to keep these ‘easy’ or ‘active rest’ days.

I know there are no defined rest days, but hot yoga or weight training are rest days in my opinion. If by chance I feel I need a complete rest – do nothing -day, then I will take it.

No training plan is ever set in stone. If I need to adjust the plan, then I will. This is just a starting off point to lead me in the right direction. No one said training to BQ would be easy, but I’m ready and willing to give it a shot.

Bring it on!!

1 britchickruns June 22, 2010 at 2:09 pm

Good plan! I’m impressed you managed to create your own – I’d be terrified 😛
Good luck with it all 🙂

2 J. June 22, 2010 at 2:12 pm

if weight training is a rest day, you are not doing it right! trust me. but then again, i am one of those weirdo girls who actually enjoys the challenge of the weight room as much as the challenge of marathon training.

3 Jessica June 23, 2010 at 2:22 am

Seconded! I am way more exhausted and sore after a good weight training session than I am from a long or hard run!

Total rest days are great for your body and your sanity, I highly recommend them!

4 kaztronomic June 22, 2010 at 2:13 pm

I admire your dedication to your training plan. 😀 Your drive and motivation is inspiring.

Watermelon on a salad? Hey, that doesn’t sound bad at all!

5 Amanda June 22, 2010 at 2:21 pm

Good luck! I’m sure this plan will set you up for success!

6 Mary June 22, 2010 at 2:25 pm

I love the plan! Good luck, I’ll see you in Chicago! I’m running it too 🙂

7 Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday June 22, 2010 at 3:05 pm

Looks like a really TOUGH plan!! Yikes 😛

8 sweetersalt June 22, 2010 at 3:07 pm

I’ve been seeing watermelon with feta (and blue cheese as well) in recipes and I’ve been skeptical. But… I might just have to try it!

9 Becky June 22, 2010 at 4:16 pm

Watermelon with feta is a DELICIOUS combo!!

10 julia June 22, 2010 at 3:08 pm

Your salad looks so good! I’ve had watermelon on a salad with goat cheese before and it’s delicious.

11 Britt @ Runnerbelle June 22, 2010 at 3:12 pm

personally I like a rest day before my long run, but if it works for you then go for it.

Speedwork is definitely important in training for a BQ, I am a firm believer in it as it made that BQ marathon pace “easier”. Due to speedwork and hills I went from a 4+ hour marathoner to a BQ’er!! I am sure you can do it too. 🙂

12 Olivia @ Blissful Runner June 22, 2010 at 3:12 pm

I more or less created my own plan today too. I’m scared!! Good luck!

13 Marilou @ Mostly Healthy June 22, 2010 at 3:13 pm

Fruits on salad totally mades up for salad dressing! Good luck on your monster plan 😉

14 Kristina @goodnweird June 22, 2010 at 3:38 pm

your training plan looks great. i have already seen a huge improvement in my running time from speed workouts. YOU CAN DO IT!

15 Heather @ Junk Food Break Up June 22, 2010 at 4:11 pm

I would have never thought of watermelon on a salad before, but it looks great. I’m going to have to try that.

And good luck with the plan, that’s impressive!

16 Amy June 22, 2010 at 4:14 pm

That’s awesome, Meghann! You can do it. 🙂

17 Brie @ Brie Fit June 22, 2010 at 4:16 pm

Yaaay Chicago! Your goals are much more impressive than mine, but I’m excited just the same. Hooray!

18 missyrayn June 22, 2010 at 4:32 pm

Being flexible is great. There will always be something that comes up during training so not being rigid helps a lot.

19 RacheD June 22, 2010 at 4:34 pm

I’d suggest not doing a run two days before your marathon. I know you’ve done marathons before, but if your goal for this one is speed, you want really fresh legs. Take it easy on yourself and wrap up running that week on the Wednesday before and just do a walk or yoga on Thursday. Your legs won’t forget how to run, I promise!

20 paigebaum June 22, 2010 at 4:49 pm

Saw a great deal on [me] & goji mixes and thought of you. Maybe Maddie can get her own mix… 🙂

21 Whitney @ Lettuce Love June 22, 2010 at 4:54 pm

Watermelon in a salad– why haven’t I tried that yet! Your plan is awesome 🙂

22 Lauren @ Running Examiner June 22, 2010 at 4:55 pm

Hmm, I definitely would not consider weight training or hot yoga to count as “rest days.” Done properly, but should be invigorating and challenging–and you should feel it. I’m often sorer on the days following two hours of bikram than I am the days following a fast 12-mile run.

Not a criticism; I’m just urging you to maybe reconsider your take on these forms of exercise. As you said, your training plan is very aggressive. I think taking one actual rest day once a week is appropriate.

23 Lauren @ Running Examiner June 22, 2010 at 4:57 pm

*both, not but.

24 sarah (the SHU box) June 22, 2010 at 5:14 pm

agree with the above that one FULL rest day a week might be truly beneficial. perhaps the day after your long runs? other than that, the plan looks very well thought-out and FUN.

25 Lisa @ bakebikeblog June 22, 2010 at 5:59 pm

that is one impressive training plan!!! Can’t wait to follow your progress as the weeks pass by!

26 Matt June 22, 2010 at 6:05 pm

Wow that plan looks tough! You might actually have a few too many speed workouts in there… Make sure you are recovery properly!

27 Kellie June 22, 2010 at 7:11 pm

awesome plan. I am thinking I might try it too.

28 Jenna June 22, 2010 at 7:19 pm

Good luck!!

29 Kelly June 22, 2010 at 8:23 pm

Your salad looks amazing! I really need to work on combining my fruits and veggies in salad form. For some reason I really like to just keep the separate.

30 Heather @ Side of Sneakers June 22, 2010 at 8:52 pm

Sounds awesome- Boston here you come!!!

31 Sarah June 22, 2010 at 9:12 pm

Hey! That’s great you are trying to qualify for Boston:) My boyfriend ran it this year and it was so cool to watch. I’d like to as well, but for the following year. I would DEFINITELY need to add speed workouts to my training (which I don’t like..hahah!). I did a long run/cross-train (or rest) on the weekends for my training this time, and wouldn’t think to run both days. That’s ambitious!

32 Emilyeatsclean June 22, 2010 at 9:16 pm

Good luck with that plan!!! Sounds like another great challenge!

33 CEW June 22, 2010 at 9:27 pm

Looks like a good plan other than the lack of rest days. I agree with some of the above comments about weights and yoga not counting as rest. It seems a trend in blog world lately to not add rest days into training programs. There are many good articles out there that discuss the importance of rest days for training programs- particularly for injury prevention and optimal race preparation. You might want to research that a little more. Good luck.

34 Kate June 22, 2010 at 10:25 pm

Looks like a great plan!

My only concern would be that your long run goal paces are a little on the fast side for a 3:40 marathon- I’d expect high 9:00s for an 8:25 race pace (and JD agrees! see This is consistent with your other PRs (including 5k, which is probably your best performance?)

I actually found that really long slower runs were great for my marathon training, cos I was used to being out there for 3:40+. So my vote is keep it slow in the weekend, and save the speed for speed and tempo days!

35 Miranda @ MirandaJeans June 22, 2010 at 10:38 pm

Spinach watermelon salad. I love it! Now that I know how to pick a fresh watermelon (thank you Iowagirleats), I have a new fresh take on watermelon…. watermelon for salads. Thanks 🙂

36 Tyly June 22, 2010 at 11:20 pm

Hi Meghann! I’ve been a long time reader, and I just wanted to let you know that I gave you a shout out in my blog – I hope you don’t mind that I included you! I posted links to my 5 favorite blogs, and yours is one of them! Again, I hope you don’t mind that I linked you! You can find the post here:

37 danielle June 23, 2010 at 2:31 pm

Hey Meghann – I was just wondering how you pace yourself so exactly. When I run, I might say “oh, this feels like about a 10 minute mile” or whatever, but I could never be as precise as a 9:54 pace other than on a treadmill! Does your Garmin tell you your current speed as you go? Or is there some other trick to it?

38 hungryforbalance June 23, 2010 at 10:29 pm

Good luck! Sounds like a lot of hard work but totally worth it!

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