Chicago Spring Half-Marathon Training, Week 1 | Lessons From My Slow Start

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I almost didn’t share this half-marathon training recap, but I wanted to share the lessons I have learned about balancing fitness and family/life. It’s never easy, but it’s important to remember your why. Why is this training important to me?

  • I want to be a good example to Victoria.
  • I want to feel stronger.
  • I want to be healthy.
  • I want to prove to myself I can do it.
  • I enjoy running (when the weather isn’t miserable).

Monday: 1.65 miles at Orangetheory Fitness.

Floor workout included:

  • 800-meter row
  • 250-meter all-out row
  • 500-meter row
  • 980-meter row
  • Weighted reverse lunges (30/20/10/10)
  • Static crunch scissor kicks (30/20/10/10)
  • Squats (tapping the bench) (30/20/10/10)
  • TRX strap squat jacks (8 reps, 3 sets)
  • Bench stepups with 12 pounds (8 reps, 3 sets)
  • Side plank hip dips (8 reps, 3 sets)
  • Goblet squats with 20 pounds (8 reps, 3 sets)

Tuesday: Strength and restore yoga, 60 minutes.

We didn’t do a single Warrior pose or full sun salutation, but it still felt challenging. Most of the class focused on hip and shoulder openers because the two students (including myself) requested them. I found Fierce pose, aka Chair pose, especially difficult, probably because I haven’t done it in months.

Wednesday: 2.2 miles at Orangetheory. I chose to attend class over doing group training outside. Sorry, not sorry, because it was 30 degrees, and there was no way I was running outside. I used to do it all the time, but lately I ask myself, why do that when you have a membership at Orangetheory?

Floor exercises included:

  • High rows on the TRX straps
  • Two 700-meter rows (My time was 3:09 for each.)
  • Squats with 15-pound weights
  • Alternating Supermans
  • Leg lifts
  • Single-leg deadlifts

Thursday: Rest day. Light stretching.

Friday: 1 mile run and yoga at home. I wanted to run the 3-4 miles it said on my training plan on this 75-degree day, but by the time Graham was home and I could go outside, it had cooled down to the low 50s with wind that made it feel in the 40s. Chicago weather is just so fun! I made it about a mile before I realized I was underdressed and returned home.

Saturday: 1 mile. I tested out how I felt in the weather and I was not up for it at all. The wind makes a drastic difference.

Sunday: Rest.

Mileage: 5.85 miles.


Yes, I realize this mileage is pathetic. I don’t feel completely out of shape, so I know I will still be ready for the half-marathon in seven and a half weeks. This will be my eighth (I think) half-marathon (in addition to two marathons, two 10Ks and four Ragnar Relays), so by now I know what it takes to prepare myself for a race. While I am disappointed in my slow start, I am celebrating the small victory that is beginning my training (officially).


Don’t feel guilty for prioritizing family. I skipped Sunday’s workout to sleep in, cuddle with the family and then get ready for the Shedd Aquarium. I knew I would surpass my step goal that day, so I didn’t beat myself up about it.

Track macros and steps. Hitting your rest day counts is just as important as your training day macros and steps. Watch portion sizes!

Be flexible. As much as I’d love to stick to the schedule I set in my planner, life gets in the way sometimes. I might schedule a 6:45 p.m. workout but then I have no child care or work runs late. I write down other workout options in my planner in case that happens. For example, my planner will say 6:45 OTF or 8 p.m. OTF. If I can’t run outside and there are no classes available, I will try to instead do some yoga and exercises at home using videos or my own teaching plans.

Be kind to your body. Lately I have needed more rest days because of my shoulder and back soreness. While most of the discomfort has subsided by now, I still want to be careful in my workouts to make sure I am not overdoing it. It’s also important to incorporate stretching, foam rolling, massages (on your own or professional), and other self-care methods.

What are your current fitness goals? How do you make time for fitness/your hobbies?

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