Monday, September 19, 2011

Chicago Marathon Taper Has Begun!

This Saturday I completed my final 20-mile training run in anticipation of the 2011 Chicago Marathon, and I'm excited! I had a good 10.5 mile early-morning solo training run, then met-up with my wonderfully trustful and steady-paced training partner Allison and the Kenyan Way group, where we together ran another 10 miles. Thank God for the ice-cold Gatorade provided every two or three miles by Sean Wade (a huge perk of Kenyan Way versus other Houston-based marathon training programs!)

Despite high starting temperatures of 75 degrees and 90% percent humidity I managed to hold onto my goal Chicago marathon pace (MP) of ~8:00 for 15 miles (I'm shooting for a 3:29 so-as to re-BQ by 6-minutes for 2013). However, the heavy sweat running down my legs directly into my shoes and socks gave them each nearly a full pound of added weight, which combined with my increasing fatigue from holding my goal pace despite such conditions translated into a slowing cadence and pace. Nevertheless, for the full 20-miles I was delighted to have averaged an 8:22 pace despite such conditions, which - knock-on-wood - I will not find in Chicago on October 9th!

This morning, in surveying my list of top running-related blogs I read an especially apt one from Pre-Dawn Runner, recommending that we treat our tapers both as an opportunity to invest in ourselves while mixing things up in our tapering training runs. I'm completely on-board both recommendations. During past tapers I've typically offset my gradually reduced mileage with a gradually increased pace, eventually with all my remaining training mileage matching my goal MP. However, at Memorial Park today feeling especially sharp due to my having taken yesterday off I ran my full eight miles a good ~30-seconds per mile faster than MP, which felt great!

To everyone also running the 2011 Chicago Marathon (or another marathon two to four weeks out) I wish you the best of luck, and truly encourage each of you to have a great experience!


  1. I thought I was going to catch you after you passed me, but you turned left onto the grass right before Jackson Hill, whereas I went to the corner. Hopefully that says something about me!

    You've done all the right things, so I expect you to have a strong performance in Chicago.

  2. Good running Mark considering the conditions. I'm sure you'll find 8-minute pace very comfortable in Chicago - surely they can't have another hot race!