2014 Bank of America Chicago Marathon Diary: Amy Hastings Takes on the Chicago Marathon, by Cait Chock

Amy Hastings is one of most accomplished American woman distance runners. From this interview, by Cait Chock, the thoughtful reader will note that Amy is not only focused on the Chicago Marathon, but, two years away, the real goal: the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. 

The road to Rio has begun, and the road to Beijing will be part of that journey as well. But, for October 13, Amy Hastings will be in the Windy City, focused on running her race...

Amy Hastings, winning 2014 ATC Peachtree, photo by PhotoRun.net

Amy Hastings Takes on the Chicago Marathon

By: Cait Chock

Amy Hastings comes to the 2014 Chicago Marathon as the top American Woman in the field. With headlines shouting this is to be a sub-2:20 venture for defending champion, Rita Jeptoo, this is sure to be a fast race. 

For Hastings, with a PR of 2:27:03, this marathon prep is seeing her nailing her best workouts and feeling her most confident. Coming off of her 2nd place finish at the 20k Championships behind training partner, Molly Huddle, Hastings accomplished her goal to run controlled at the shorter event and assess where her fitness stood in regards to the marathon.

While immediate eyes are on Chicago, this is just one step closer to Rio. Her break following Chicago also times perfectly with her wedding so she may fully relax and enjoy a different, equally special milestone in her life. 

I caught up with Brooks runner, Amy Hastings, about her training, the race at hand, and what it's like being a part of such a power-house training group:

1)   You just finished 2nd behind training partner, Molly Huddle, at the USA 20k Championships, on what was a pretty hot and humid day. What were your expectations going into that race, how had training been going, and how did you feel?

Training had been going really well at that point. The goal beforehand was to go 1-2 with a solid time, but to run smart enough in the early parts of the race that I could accomplish that without dipping into the well. I didn't want to have to take weeks to recover after this one. I wanted the race to let me know how my training was translating to racing and to help my training progress. The weather was rough that day so the solid times didn't happen but being able to finish that close to Molly gave me a better idea of where I am and what I need to do and my training has progressed nicely since then.    


3)   You're part of power-house training group over there, your racing schedules vary a bit but how often are you and Molly (and Kim [Smith], poor thing, hope she's healing up fast!!) able to do workouts together or are you doing a large chunk of your marathon work by yourself?

We have a great group here in Providence! For my last two marathon build ups Kim was there nearly every step of the way which was amazing. Kim has been battling injury during this build up though, so I've been doing most of my runs with Molly. She brings a great energy to runs and I've been feeding off of that. The drive that she brings to practice every single day is contagious- which is exactly what you need at the end of a long run! 


4)   Can you talk about your training, what's your volume like and what are some of your key workouts?

My mileage varied from week to week because we are on a 10-day cycle, but it averages out to around 110 miles per week. The key workouts are tempo runs and 1.5-2 mile repeats.  


5)   What is one of your favorite workouts? In prepping for a marathon what's a workout that, if you can nail it, you know you're ready and gives you the most confidence?

My favorite workouts for this marathon buildup have been two-mile repeats. Ray has us do them very fast which is something I had never really done before. Last year, I struggled a lot with them, even on paper I had a tough time wrapping my head around them, but now I've got them down and every interval I finish is a big confidence boost! However, there is no one workout that lets me know I am ready for a marathon, it's when I can string a bunch of good workouts together and when a tough one doesn't set me back that I know I'm ready to race!


6)   For a marathon nutrition is much more crucial than in the lower distances, what are some of your staples and nutrition habits that you've found enable you to perform at your best?

I do find that it is extremely important to eat well in order to perform my best. Every bit of food I eat fuels my runs, so it better be premium. I keep a good variety of lots of healthy, whole foods in my house and I keep the bad stuff out. At the same time, if I never gave myself a break I would go crazy, so if I feel like a doughnut, I go get a doughnut.     


7)   Let's talk Chicago, you've got Rita Jeptoo and Florence Kiplagat in the field, as our top American what are your goals and game-plan going in?

Training has been progressing well, so I'll be ready to go on race day and I won't let myself get away with anything other than my best!    


8)   And after Chicago, what are your plans after this race and can you time-line some goals between now and Rio?

Already, everything I do is geared towards Rio. I am getting married in November, so I will take a short break during that time but then it's back to work! I want to build on this fitness instead of losing it completely. Every marathon between now and 2016 is a step towards Rio!


Caitlin Chock (caitchock.com) set the then National High School 5k Record (15:52.88) in 2004 and previously ran for Nike. A freelance writer, artist, and designer she writes about all things running and founded Ezzere, her own line of running shirts (www.ezzere.com). You can read more, see her running comics, and her shirts at her website.

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