I was driving past Busse Woods in Schaumburg early Saturday morning, when I saw a bunch of runners on the path who looked a little like they were doing a race. Then I remembered what time of year it is. The end of September. Fall. Marathon season!
They were in the middle of Chicago Athlete's 'Ready to Run 20 miler'. They enjoyed a pretty good day for it too. The thousands who took part in CARA's 20 miler along the lakefront also had a wonderful day for it. Hopefully, it was a good experience for everyone.
The 20 miler has become kind of the standard for most runners training for a marathon. Typically they reach the 20 mile threshold in their training about three weeks before the race, then begin to cut back or taper in the days before the race.
There is lots of debate about whether 20 miles is enough, or whether you should do more than one 20 miler. I would tend to say yes to both questions. I've generally always peaked at 20 or so miles, and I have usually done more than one before a marathon. Depending on your goals, however, just finishing the 20 mile distance at least once before the marathon is good.
It's important for confidence, which is a huge factor in the marathon. It's also important for your fitness. If you can run 20 miles in a training run, you can run 26.2 during a race with fans and support along the way.
The weekend marked three weeks until the Bank of America Chicago marathon. Where did the summer go? It seems like only a couple weeks ago when people were signing up, and I was considering whether to run it this year.
I guess it's too late to start training right?
Maybe for me, but not for the masses who have dedicated themselves to building their mileage all summer so they can toe the starting line on October 12 in Chicago, or one of the many other fall marathons to choose from.
I'm planning on running Naperville in early November. Unfortunately, my recent injury troubles have assured that I will not attempt the full 26.2 miles. I will stick to the half marathon. But on the bright side, at least I will finish and then be able to pull up a chair and watch the top marathoners finish.
Now that many of you have finished your 20 milers already though, its time to think about the race, and your preparations for it. That's why the annual seminar sponsored by Fleet Feet Sports, 'Breaking through the Wall' is so good. This year it features Chicago marathon director Carey Pinkowski, and Olympic marathoners Deena Kastor and Meb Keflezighi along with a local coach and nutricianist. It's a good way to spend late Sunday afternoon after the Bears/Packers game! http://www.fleetfeetchicago.com/breaking-through-the-wall_14-event-942.php
Whether you are preparing for a fall marathon or not, at least get out and enjoy the fall weather. It's the best time of the year to run. Take advantage!
See you on the trails.......