Chicago Marathon Training: Week 1 Recap

“It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great!” – A League of Their Own


I had an awesome first week of marathon training with Nike Chicago (a free training program). I decided to switch to the beginner Nike plus coaching plan rather than the intermediate. Read my recap below.

Week 1 of marathon training
Dates: 23-29 June 2014
Number of runs: 5
Total Distance: 20.25 miles

Monday – 23 June 2014
Ran – 3 miles (training plan called for 3 miles)

The Nike Chicago marathon training group met for our first group run. Nike didn’t open training to just anyone but mostly to those who attend Nike Training Club and others who showed interest. Sarah Lowe and Eve Horbol, Nike Chicago employees and leaders of the crew, told us that all of us were specially hand-picked to train with Nike. I felt honoured to be chosen to train with Nike because I love the Nike community and the brand 🙂 As everyone gathered at the Nike Bucktown store, we met the whole team including the coaches. We were also greeted by a special guest, CAREY PINKOWSKI, the Executive race director of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. He got us all excited about our training program and running the Chicago Marathon. He told us that Nike will have some fun rewards and other things planned for us throughout the next 3 months. I can’t wait 🙂



After the meet and greet, the group then went out for a run. The beginners ran 3 miles and the intermediate runners ran 4 miles. I don’t remember what the advanced runners ran but I do remember that there were very few advanced runners. Most people in the group have never ran a marathon before. Our first training run ended at Lemmings Tavern in Bucktown. We were treated to some delicious food (lettuce chicken wraps, grain salad, and drinks). Nike provided us with the official Nike 16 week training schedule which also follows the Nike plus phone app. Mine was the FINISH STRONG beginner plan. Everyone was also given a piece of paper to write down why they are running the Chicago Marathon. My reason was BECAUSE I CAN.




Tuesday – 24 June 2014
Ran – 4.17 miles (plan called for 5 miles)

WET & RAINY run. Today, I didn’t run the full 5 miles but I was close. I ran with Fleet Feet Sports, Chicago ‘Chicks Night’. Today was the day to meet new people and run with a different running group. The Nike training plan had me running fartleks, a Swedish term that means ‘speed-play’. I was supposed to alternate between running a faster pace for 3 mins and then running 2 mins at a slower pace. I tried to keep this up for 3 miles but it was raining and I was miserable…lol. Also, I didn’t run a full 5 miles because I am still healing my left ankle.


Wednesday – 25 June 2014.
Ran: 0 miles (plan called for 3 miles).
Cross trained at Lakeshore Sports & Fitness gym

I decided to use today as my cross-training day because I had already signed up for a fitness event a few weeks ago. The event that I attended was #Sweatworking which was planned by Jeanna over at FabFitChicago. She plans fitness events once a month this summer where men and women gather to workout. I attended my first sweatworking event this month and had so much fun exercising.

For only $10, everyone got 3 mini workouts (20 minutes each) at Lakeshore gym (Illinois Center), some food and refreshments afterwards, and we all left home with a goodie bag that included a 2 week membership to Lakeshore Sport & Fitness. My favourite part of the workout was boxing. I invited 3 of friends to this event and had a blast 🙂 I even met a new friend who is South African and is training for the Chicago marathon as well. I gave her the details on joining the Nike marathon training crew. The pictures below are courtesy of FabFitChicago.



Thursday, 26 June 2014.
Ran: 3.68 miles (training plan called for cross-training**)

I didn’t run yesterday so I ran today. Since I did a bunch of cardio exercises yesterday, I decided to run at a comfortable pace. I ran on my own around my neighbourhood. I really wish some of my running friends like Emily and Cindy lived by my apartment because I would love to run with them during the week. At least I see them when Nike meets for our group runs, which are every Monday evening and every Saturday morning.

**For those who don’t know, cross-training is any activity that isn’t running such as biking, swimming, yoga, or walking. The point of it is to get your body used to using other muscle groups and allow your body to recover from running.

Friday, 27 June 2014
Ran: 0 miles (training plan called for 3 miles).

I can’t remember why I didn’t run today. I think I had to get up early for work and I went to bed late last night. Oh, I remember now why I didn’t run. It was because I wanted to rest up for tomorrow’s long run.

Saturday, 28 June 2014.
Ran: 6.2miles (training plan called for 6.2miles) & cross-trained with Nike Training Club (NTC).

This morning, the Nike Chicago training crew met for our second group run. Saturdays are for long runs. The beginner group ran 6.2 miles, intermediates ran 8 miles, and the advanced group ran 10 miles. It was hot out there even though we started running around 6:30am. Although I stopped a few times to take brief walks, I’m glad that I finished running. I enjoyed the fact that Fleet Feet Chicago had water stations out by the lake/beach running path. I grabbed a drink of water around mile 2/3. I decided to jump for joy at the lakefront after completing my run 🙂


After running, I walked/biked over to NTC Summer Tour (week 3 of the tour) with my running friends Cindy and Tristan. Cindy rode her bike in the morning to Nike Training Club (where we all met before our group training run) and she allowed me to ride it after running. I had so much fun riding along Chicago’s beautiful lakefront.


What is NTC Summer Tour? Well, Nike Chicago is putting together a series of fun workouts (free) in different Chicago neighbourhoods on Saturdays this summer. They call this fitness event ‘NTC SummerTour’ and the workout is just like any Nike Training Club (NTC) workout – high-intensity cardio drills. Participants will have a chance to win fun prizes during each week’s workout. To sign up, go here.

The workout today was in Lincoln Park south fields and it was intense mostly because I had ran 6.2 miles earlier in the morning. I still had fun though because we worked out to 80’s music. It was great to see my friend Lesley again and my friend Sam, who will be moving abroad in August for 8 months to work as a photographer on a cruise ship. I was chosen as a VIP because I invited some friends to the workout so Sam and I got to attend an exclusive brunch with Nike and some of the other VIPs. The food at Stanley’s was delicious.





Sunday, 29 June 2014.
Ran: 3.14 miles (training plan called for a rest day).

While I should have rested, I wanted to make sure that I reached my full mileage for the week. I knew that I only had to run 3 miles to meet my weekly goal of 20.2 total miles. So I went out and ran then stretched afterwards.

To conclude, I’ve met my training crew, got my training plan, and finished week 1 strong. I’m looking forward to this week. I promise to keep my next marathon training recap short. Haha, this was a long blog post but I hope you enjoyed reading it. Actually, my goal in writing this blog is for my own benefit. So what if this was a long post? I can’t wait to look back at this blog when I’m older and share my adventures with my future husband, kids, family, and friends.




How was your first week of marathon training? If you are training for another distance race, how is it going? Comment below 🙂



4 thoughts on “Chicago Marathon Training: Week 1 Recap

    1. Thanks Jeana. I had so much fun at #Sweatworking. It was great to see you randomly on Saturday as I ran. Looks like you were having fun on your bike 🙂

  1. That is so cool that you were selected to run with Nike and that you got to meet Carey. Yay!

    Looks like you had a great week!!

    Love your photos and the little taglines (Aggie Runs) that you use. What app is it?

    1. Thanks 🙂 I’ve enjoyed training with Nike so far. Meeting Carey provided some extra motivation for me to push through these coming training weeks.

      The app that I use is called Pic Frame. A fellow blogger told me about it.

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