So, you missed your 20 miler…


With the Chicago Marathon just three short weeks away, you are probably nearing the end of your training calendar. You likely started in July and have been sticking to the weekly long runs with rigor.

You made it through the double digits in the heat and we’re gearing up for the longest run of your training plan. The big 20. And then, things kind of fell apart.

If you were like me, and planned your 20 miler on Sunday morning, it may not have come to fruition. Or, if you were like many of my running friends, and you got hit with one of the late summer viruses that seem to be making their way around with a vengeance, you also may not have hit the mark this weekend.

This past Sunday, we had nonstop rain and lightning that resulted in the cancellation of my planned 20-mile training run. I was looking forward to the course support and pacing groups to get me through the daunting mileage. However, the race was canceled when lightning was spotted around the area. While most runners understood the need for the cancellation, it was still disappointing, and left many runners feeling slightly frantic as the longest run did not get done.

If you fall into this boat, take a deep breath. It’s ok. It didn’t happen when you had intended it to happen, but it can still happen. You have a few options. You can try to get your 20 miler in sometime through the course of the week. One way to do this with a hectic work schedule is to do 10 in the morning and 10 at night. You will not feel the same impact of the 20 compounded together, but you will still get the effect of 20 miles in one day.

Another option is to do it this coming weekend. I know it is not at the exact time indicated on most marathon training plans, but that is OK. Your performance on race day will not suffer if you run the 20 one week later.

And finally, if it just does not work this week or coming weekend, fall back on the rest of your training. Realize that you’ve already logged countless miles, and have prepared yourself in every other way. The 20-mile training run will not make or break your race day if you have a strong foundation already in place.

Running has many variables that you just can’t control. Between the weather, sicknesses, injuries, and personal commitments, it’s not always easy to stick to a written plan. Just like life, you have to make adjustments as you go along. Roll with this change in your training plan and keep your eye on the prize of October 8th. You’ve got this!


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