Men’s Health Urbanathlon 2014 (Chicago): Not starting from square one

With fresh cover on the ground, and my face, it's time to put the earbuds back in and go slow and steady.

With fresh cover on the ground, and my face, it’s time to put the earbuds back in, the layers back on, and go slow and steady.

After last year’s Urbanathlon I took a solid two weeks off, which lazily bled into a third week, followed by a sidelining on-again off-again calf injury, and then submarined by Thanksgiving, and eventually obliterated by the Christmas and New Year’s combo platter.

Before I knew it I had picked up some unwanted pounds, and there I was, at the start of the coldest days of the year, recalibrating from what felt like square one (as it related to my running fitness). I was cold, achy, and winded, but I bundled up and hit the road to slowly, and mostly aimlessly, run. Not putting in the deliberate work and effort.

Fast forward to today. I’ve come too far with my gains the last several months and am not the least bit interested in reliving last year’s post-Urbanathlon backslide. But I have to balance that doggedness with the truth that I’m a little burnt out (a touch physically, a schtickle emotionally).

Still, I’ve cobbled together an informal plan to keep me lubricated through the end of the year. One that will indulge me in slightly longer, slow miles, while laying down a better strength foundation through cross training and, for the first time ever, yoga.

Come January we’ll switch things up, but the next several ‘please-stay-healthy-just-stay-active’ weeks will look like this:

Modest cross training. Body weight squats (with medicine ball), jump rope, single leg raises, ball jacks, planks, pull ups, etc. (no weights, unless I do curls)

About 6 easy miles

About 8 easy miles

About 8 easy miles


About 6 miles, with occasional hill repeats. May go a little faster here.

About 12-15 slower miles

I’m not specifically training for anything until Goldy’s 10-mile that runs April 2014 (so late January I’ll dial things up), and all I want right now is to lay down that base from which to build on come Spring.

And of course, as is my standard training manifesto:

I am flexible and adaptive about all of this. This schedule is a best-case scenario and one I’ll work hard to honor. Life is busy and things come up routinely (and sometimes I’m just hungry and would rather eat lunch). These are guard rails for an ideal week, and while I don’t delight in missing a planned workout I’ll take it in stride when it happens. When possible I’ll figure out how to do something active in its place. This should be fun and fulfilling.


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