Milwaukee Marathon Training: Week 1


I’m not sure if I can even count this as week 1 of training. Let’s just say it really didn’t turn out the way I had hoped. I spent the entire weekend in Chicago with family visiting from New Zealand so…bye bye long run. I was on track to still get a good amount of mileage in for the week until I skipped the 6-8 miler I was supposed to do on Friday evening, and for no other reason than I just really, really, really wasn’t feeling it and wanted to get ready to be gone all weekend.

So, I only got 20 miles in this week. I also didn’t do any cross training, because I wanted to get as much running in as possible since I would be sans long run mileage. This is…not where I wanted to be right now. It feels so unlike me. I hate feeling behind. Again, I’m not even sure this qualifies as a legit marathon training week or if I should just start next week, but I might as well recap it anyway.


Tuesday, 7/7

6 miles w/ 4 @ tempo pace
Tempo Splits: 7:49, 7:46, 7:41, 7:39; average – 7:44

My first run of training!

I ran my 4 tempo miles by effort. This really was a true tempo run: it wasn’t so grueling I felt like I was going to die… but it was hard. It was uncomfortable. I had to talk myself out of only doing 3 tempo miles instead of 4.

I’m pleased with how it turned out. I was eying this workout as a fitness test that would give me an idea of where I am now and what the rest of this season could look like. I think it’s promising. The splits are good, and the fact that they averaged out significantly faster than my goal half marathon pace gives me just a liiiittle more confidence that I might be able to hit my sub-1:45 goal in September, or at least get really close. But the best part of this workout was the straight negative split, each mile faster than the last. I was worried that my body had forgotten how to do that!


Wednesday 7/8

7.5 miles, 8:57 average

I decided to do this easy run in the evening instead of the morning to give myself enough time to recover from last night’s tempo. This is normally an easy pace but it felt labored today; I’m hoping just because I was still tired from yesterday’s hard effort. In hindsight I probably should have slowed down more.


Thursday, 7/9

3.1 miles, 8:47 average
3.3 miles, 8:25 average

Photo by Troy Freund Photography, from Milwaukee Running Festival FB page

This run was also in the evening…so that I could join the Milwaukee Running Festival social run! They were only doing 5K and I had 6 miles on the schedule, so I ran to our meeting place from work, which ended up being exactly 5K.

Since I do most of my running solo these days, I forgot how FAST you go without even realizing it when you run with a group. In the 2nd mile I looked down and saw that we had run an 8:07! So much for taking it easy today…

It probably helped that I warmed up my legs on the way there. I felt fine afterward and the next day so all in all it was a good shakeout.



Friday, 7/10

Skip-ville. I tried to at least salvage SOME of this day by doing some strength training in between getting ready to leave for the weekend. 3×1:00 wall sits, 2×1:00 planks, 30 bridges, 60/each side calf raises, and 30/each side leg lefts with the resistance band.



Saturday and Sunday, 7/11-7/12



Week 1 TOTAL MILEAGE: 19.9


I can’t help worrying that I’m totally losing any base I built up and that I’m going to get to the starting line of this marathon completely underprepared. But, I’m trying to push those thoughts out of my mind because this week is over, I can’t go back and change it now, all I can do is keep putting my best foot forward. The workouts I did this week were good and I should focus on that instead of the bad.

I wish I could tell you that I’m saying this because I’m being “glass half full” and embracing the “balance” and “flexibility” mantras I set forth for this training cycle, but the truth is I’m just so over this. I’ve spent the last 5 months obsessing over weekly mileage and getting enough running in and blah blah blah. I’ve just about had enough of it.

Well…I’ll give myself more credit than that. Some of it is me being positive and balanced and flexible (I have to admit, if you couldn’t already tell by my tone, I’m really not in the mood to write this. But I already had a bunch of it drafted so I figured I might as well follow through). I was lying in bed one night this week, debating if I should cram a 12 miler in on Friday evening so I could hit good mileage for the week when it hit me: wait a minute…this is ridiculous. I’m sitting here and it’s WEEK ONE and I’m trying to cram in a 12 miler before a vacation so I can hit an arbitrary weekly mileage goal and not be undertrained for a race that’s 3.5 months away. Does that sound “balanced” and “flexible” to you? Yeah…me either.

So I took a deep breath, and looked at the situation again, this time focusing on the positives. I had great workouts this week, and I feel good about that. My tempo run shows that I’m off to a great start and my fitness level is pretty solid. And again, it’s only Week 1. I’ve still got plenty of time and I’ve already run a marathon this year.


This week will be much more solid. I’m planning on a long run of 14-15 miles and I’m hoping to hit somewhere between 35-40 for my weekly mileage. I understand this is a big jump, but I’m really hoping that this is where the base I built up this Spring will come through for me, if any of it still exists. This weeks increase includes a long run this time and the rest of the miles will be more spread out. When I do speed work on Tuesday, I’ll be fresh off of four days of complete rest, and I’ll follow it up with a cross training and yoga day for recovery instead of another run.

Unfortunately, I already know this will not be my only test. Coming up soon, I am going to miss two long runs in a row: one to race the Cudahy Classic 10 miler, and then the next weekend because we are leaving for vacation at 5 AM on Saturday. We will be on the cruise all that next week, and I’ll be able to workout…but I don’t know how much. It will really just depend on how vacation is going. But again, I am trying to worry less and be optimistic more: after we get back from vacation, my remaining 2 months of build up will be smooth sailing. Even with two races in September, I will still be able to do 2 20 milers, 2 18 milers, and 3 16 milers. It will be fine. And even if it’s not – if I get to the starting line ever-so-slightly undertrained – is it really the end of the world? There will be other marathons. I keep going back to something Allison said when she discussed this last week: “I’m not going to turn my life upside down to shave a few seconds off my marathon time.” Vacations, summer fun, and races that I’ve been really wanting to do since last year are more important than a few missed long runs.


On to week 2!


27 thoughts on “Milwaukee Marathon Training: Week 1

  1. Thanks for the shout out 🙂 Look at those gorgeous tempo mile splits – and negative splits, no less! Aren’t you glad you did that 4th one?! I know how you feel about struggling to fit in the mileage but believe me when I say that your base will be there when your body is ready to start bumping up your miles. It’s not like you are laying on the couch every single day eating your face off and binging on Netflix (wait a minute…why aren’t we doing that?). You’re still moving and running and working out. I promise you won’t lose your base. Did you know that my main man, Pete Pfitzinger, recommends at least 5 weeks of marathon recovery before beginning again? Like 5 weeks of doing exactly what you are doing. So go easy on yourself and don’t force it or you will begin to resent running, and we can’t have that 🙂 Enjoy your summer and the fun things in life – and enjoy the time you spend running, whether it’s 5 miles or 15 miles. I know everyone posts updates about their weekly mileage and workouts but also remember that everyone has different circumstances, too – like summer is my major volume time because I am off of work, otherwise it wouldn’t be quite so high volume. So when you look at your week, know that what you did is enough and you listened to your body and gave it what it needs! I think you are a rock star and on the road to some big PRs!

    1. I always look forward to your comments, they are always so full of wisdom and encouragement! It’s weird, it’s like I can’t win for losing – in the Spring I was lonely because hardly anyone else was training for a marathon; now, I have tons of fellow marathon trainers and it just makes me feel insecure and fall into the comparison trap! I’m glad to know that The Pfitz has my back on this one 🙂 Hopefully after I get through this week, which will be more like a marathon training week, it will show me my base is still here and I can put my fears to bed once and for all!

  2. Look at those perfect splits on your tempo run! Great job!

    I’m trying to squeeze in a 4 day vacation towards the end of my marathon training and have spent an embarrassing amount of time worrying about potential missed runs. I think I have almost convinced myself that missing 3-4 days of running right at the start of my taper is not going to suddenly erase months and months of preparation. I’m trying to remember that actually enjoying my vacation is the goal of my vacation. You have built up a very solid base this year, taking time to recover and enjoying summer vacations is not going to be an issue.

    1. It’s so easy to tell someone else not to worry over some missed runs, but it’s so hard not to worry ourselves when it happens to us. Funny how that goes! You will be fine – taper is supposed to be restful anyway, and by that point your training is in the bank and you’re pretty much locked in anyway. You’re so right – enjoying vacation is the goal. I’ll have 18 weeks of training but only one vacation!

  3. I know a few missed runs feel like a lot, but it really isn’t. Your base is definitely still there, and for a first week, this is pretty good! …and you totally kicked that tempo run’s butt. Enjoy having a week of low mileage, it’s only up from here! 😉

    1. Very true. Pretty soon I can’t get away with all this playing hooky from my runs so better enjoy it while I can!!

  4. Kudos for skipping Fridays run. I always find that if I am DREADING run it is usually better for me not to do it because before I know it I end up burned out. You still had an awesome week of training! Family >>>> Running (in my opinion) : ) You definitely haven’t lost any fitness and have SUCH a strong base going into this training cycle, no need to worry over these missed runs. I’m a firm believer that we miss runs for a reason… your body probably needed the rest.

    1. Oh yes family > running always! I would have been much less worried had I not skipped my Friday run. I like your outlook that missed runs happen for a reason. My legs are definitely grateful for the extra rest, that’s for sure!

  5. You hit the nail on the head- it is week one! You are fine. 🙂 I think the fact that you are able to skip a run when you REALLY weren’t feeling it is good. It’s not like you skip runs all the time. That is exciting that you are going on a cruise!

    1. It’s true, I’m trying to remember that I’ve built up great habits so far so one moment of weakness won’t make or break me. And yes I’m excited for the cruise! We’ll stop at the Bahamas and being able to say I ran in another country should be motivation to work out at least once!

  6. I find myself in this boat all the time. I really try hard to focus on quality and Allison’s comment. I have to remind myself that a missed workout here and there is not going to greatly impact my performance on race day. Go enjoy your time and I bet you come back,refreshed and ready to get back at it

    1. I think we all need that reminder. It’s weird how it makes so much sense when we’re giving advice to someone else, yet we still need to re-learn the lesson when we go through it ourselves. I’m definitely trying to remember that soon I won’t be able to skip workouts so better enjoy the freedom while it lasts!

    1. Thank you! I guess I should look at this the way I look at a run: start slow so you can finish strong, right?? 🙂

  7. Don’t worry, your base is still there. It is week one. Besides, if you were using a different training program the mileage would be less (mine is!). You have been killing your training. You need to avoid “mental fatigue” too, if it means a day off now and then, it is all good!

    1. Very true! Mental fatigue has been the story of my life since Grandma’s. I have to admit I do feel like I’m enjoying running and training more now that I’m not running as much. Guess I better appreciate the low mileage while it lasts!

  8. You may have missed long run but that is still a great week of running. Sometimes life (and rest and fun) come before running. But I totally get the mileage envy. I see people’s weekly or monthly mileage numbers and just wish I could hit that. It might break me though. 🙂 You’re going to have an awesome training cycle!

    1. Thank you Fallon! I agree, I’ve run some pretty high mileage this year but I still can’t fathom the mileage that some other bloggers log each week. Maybe one day when I’m super fast and can run 10 miles in the time it takes most people to run 8, I can hit that mileage too. LOL dare to dream

  9. I totally know how you feel. I feel the exact same way with my training right now. It’s so hard to imagine you’re capable of running more, when you’re only managing 20 mile weeks (or 14 in my case). Don’t stress too much though, you’ll bounce back this week and I’m sure you’ll feel even better! And, it’s only the first week. You have LOTS of time to get your mileage up! Great week. Your tempo run was so speedy!

    1. Thanks! Glad to know someone else can vouch that the struggle is REAL right now! 😛

  10. There is just no way you’re going to get to the starting line of your next marathon under trained. I’ve been following your blog for over a year, and I feel like I know you, and I know that you would never slack so hard in training that you show up for a meaningful race without being fully prepared. It’s possible that at some point you’ll decide this marathon isn’t super meaningful, that you want to fully enjoy your summer and that you’re happy to run this one for fun … but if you decide it’s a meaningful race then you will RACE!

    I think you’ll find getting in running on the cruise isn’t too difficult. I always run while on cruises because they usually offer a nice track along with treadmills that look out over the ocean providing a nice view. (I don’t actually look at at the ocean because it makes me seasick to do so while running, but I hear other people love it!). When you look at your itinerary keep a particular eye days when you’ll be at sea the entire time. Those days are PERFECT for running because you’re confined to the ship and will really want to have an activity planned where you can really get moving!

  11. I am with Kristina, there’s no way you are going to be under trained and I don’t think you are losing your base either. You are so strong.
    I wish I could remember where I read it, but every training plan should have enough built into to it so you can miss some runs. I have no doubt your plan is solid! Besides, you are experienced in training now 🙂 You know better than all of us that one week doesn’t make or break you.

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