Along My Run 22 | Jan-Feb Marathon Training

For the third consecutive year, January signaled the start of spring marathon training. As I've done for the last two years, I plan to run the Illinois Marathon at the end of April.

I am a member of the local running club, which sponsors a half and full marathon training program. The program includes organized group runs in pace groups. This year, I have taken on the role of pace group leader, which means I have some additional responsibilities - keeping the group on pace, knowing the route and keeping folks together. I try to keep the group "entertained" with "witty banter" (i.e, they get to hear all the weird stuff that happened to me the previous week, like my quad injury and the squirrel that nested in my daughter's car) and encourage conversations so we all get to know each other better. I've gained numerous friends through this program, learned a ton about running marathons and gained confidence in my running ability. I now try to encourage new runners and first time marathoners.

Back in the fall of 2015, I started a Wednesday morning running group and we have continued thought the dark, cold winter months. What started as a small group of friends from yoga class has expanded to include co-workers and marathon trainees. I am amazed that I've somehow convinced a bunch of people that it is fun to run at 5:30am, in snow, rain, bitter cold and darkness. We had our biggest group a few weeks ago, with 9 people. Of course the week prior we had, um, one person (that would be me) running in pre-blizzard conditions. I guess everyone has their limits!

January - February 2016 Runs
1. First Run of 2016! , 2. Pre race. Perfect day for a trail run, 3. 6 mile view, 4. Right Here Right Now, 5. And Marathon Training has officially started , 6. Cold Weather Don't Care , 7. First Snow run of the season. , 8. Four Crazies on this morning's run in fresh snow! , 9. Winter's Canpoy, 10. Prelude , 11. Back At It, 12. Tank top Running weather. , 13. In the Groove., 14. Strata Sky, 15. Chime My 14 Miles

January Stats:
120 miles, including a trail race to start the New Year

February Stats:
98 miles, lower than plan due to the Quad injury I sustained while stretching in yoga class. I took a full week off from activity to let my leg heal.
I ended the month strong with a weekly mileage PR - 40 miles in one week.

So that's what's been going on with my running. With the time change to Daylight Savings Time, our morning runs will start and end in darkness again, but the promise of warmth and light increases daily and it is starting to feel like spring.

Optimistic Existentialist  – (March 23, 2016 at 6:48 AM)  

Wow - best of luck with the marathon training. Now you have motivated me LOL

Unknown  – (March 23, 2016 at 12:33 PM)  

What an inspiration you are, Shirley, and your running group sounds like so much fun.

You are not alone with those morning runs. Rain, snow, cold, no matter, I begin mine at 4:45am each morning. I just love being out there when no one else is. :-)

Amy at love made my home  – (March 23, 2016 at 5:04 PM)  

Hope that your training keeps going well and that you do well and enjoy the marathon too! xx

Jennifer @ Dashing in Style  – (March 23, 2016 at 5:57 PM)  

I'm so jealous of your morning group runs! I don't know of any morning run groups here. And very cool that you're a pace group leader for your running club. I love the camaraderie of group runs and hope to do more this summer.

Nicki  – (March 23, 2016 at 8:29 PM)  

Your dedication and enthusiasm to running is aweinspiring. Well done and keep up the hard work.

Barb  – (March 24, 2016 at 3:52 PM)  

Looks like you and I are both off the injured list. Let's be smart and try to keep ourselves off! I go through a series of calf stretches now every morning, with special emphasis when I ski. When I was still running, I usually had to train alone. It would be fun to run with a group. I look forward to your marathon race!

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