The Road to Chicago Series

This past Saturday, I hit two big milestones in this training cycle and in my running overall:

1. I’m officially halfway to Chicago!
2. I hit a new PR for weekly mileage

In truth though, it’s been a couple weeks of different benchmark tests. Some I crushed, some I checked the box and moved on, and one I totally missed.

Feeling like a beast off that half marathon benchmark, I headed into Week 8 with one thing on my mind: this is going to be my highest mileage week EV-ER! The plan had 41 scheduled and I’d previously maxed out at 39.

Here’s how it all went down:

Group Run Monday

I showed up for my group run tired. Thanks to my four-legged friends at home I did not sleep very much and had zero desire to do a 4-mile tempo run. No one else wanted to run that pace either that day so I figured I had my out. I’d tag along with a few people for their slower pace and it’ll be fine.

“I still have speed work on Tuesday so missing one day of speed training won’t be the need of the world,” I rationalized.

As we approached the end of mile 1, my friends tried to shake me off and get me to go do my tempo the rest of the way. I just didn’t have it in me though and stuck with them. Then breathing & talking & running got harder. I looked down at my watch and sure enough we had been running at my tempo pace.

Even though they didn’t intend to run faster, or want to run faster (I know, they said it! ha) , these three people quietly picked up the pace to what they knew I needed that day and all I had to do was keep up. THAT is friendship right there.

Speed Workout

I had 8 miles with a few of the people from Monday’s group. The workout also included some 3 x 3 intervals (3 min push, 3 min recovery pace) mixed in with a goal of pushing both speed & endurance simultaneously.

Again, I was tired going into this run and so I would’ve been happy to just keep it at a 10:30 pace, but overall I averaged under that.

Well, sure enough I got it done. I walk away from this run really proud of myself for staying closer to the 10-minute mile mark. I had to push but I wasn’t totally breathless.


Key Takeaways from Week 8

My biggest observation for this week overall is that I’m tired. I put myself to bed by 8:30 p.m. multiple nights and fell asleep within an hour. Throughout the week I asked myself, “Have I been doing too much between training and work or it’s just normal at this point in a training cycle?”

I clung to the hope that my exhaustion served as a sign that my body is growing and improving.

Stress + rest = Success

I chanted that over and over to get through the week.

The final result? I logged 41 miles, more than I had ever done before. It may not all have been pretty, but I did it.

Halfway there. Halfway.


Channing Muller is an award winning marketing & public relations consultant and the principal of DCM Communications, based out of Chicago. She works with event professionals and business owners to grow and scale their businesses with refined marketing strategies developed through one-on-one and group consulting, customized marketing programs and public relations. She has been named a "25 Young Event Pro to Watch" by Special Events magazine and "40 Under 40" by Connect Meetings. Channing is an avid runner, lover of Labrador Retrievers, good food, delicious drinks, and an advocate for the American Heart Association.

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