My Plans for 75 Hard and the Chicago Marathon

Things have admittedly been getting hectic around here.

Back to school season is here, which is our first time going through this. My oldest is heading off the school this year after a few weeks of Summer break and it’s been an adjustment, to say the least.

We’ve been living in a world of daycare so having a new schedule has been tough. Especially with my daughter being home on summer break.

I’ve been doing a great job at getting in my training runs, but my nutrition and self care has quickly become a second thought (if even a thought at all if I’m honest).

Plus some of the bad habits – like the eating and drinking – have the potential to derail my progress with the marathon.

So this weekend on my long run I listened to the latest Real AF podcast episode with Andy Frisella and his wife Emily, and they went more into detail about the changes Andy experiences when he does the program, as well as what Emily notices.

They also mentioned they were both starting a round this week.

This really made me think.

I was planning to start a round after I completed the Chicago Marathon, but I realized my reasons for doing that were just excuses.

In reality, 75 Hard could be the thing I need to get back on track and help me mentally train for race day.

There will never be a perfect time to start the program – there will always be a birthday, wedding, event or something else that will always be coming up.

So I figure – why not join in?

So I decided that’s exactly what I’m going to do. I’m going to join in on this round of 75 Hard.

In this post I’ll share with you my plans for doing it, how I’m planning to do it with my training and upcoming taper, and more.

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75 Hard

So what exactly is 75 Hard?

75 Hard is a program that was created by Andy Frisella that’s part of his Live Hard program. The 75 Hard is the first part of the year long program.

You commit to doing certain tasks daily for 75 days.

A lot of times this program is called a challenge but it’s not. It’s part of a larger program that is designed to improve your mental strength and discipline.

The program is free to do and doesn’t require anything special to complete.

There is an official app and book that make it easier to track and give more details, but they’re not necessary to do the program (Andy also has a podcast episode dedicated to the program that gives a lot of the details).

Daily Tasks

The daily tasks to complete 75 Hard include:

Two 45 minute Workouts a day – one must be outside

10 pages of reading a nonfiction book

A daily progress photo

Drink 1 gallon of water

Follow a diet

No cheat meals or alcohol

For the diet and exercise you can choose whichever you want, but they need to challenge you.

You can’t say your going to track macros and then eat a bunch of junk food the entire time.

1st phorm nutrition tab

Chicago Marathon and 75 Hard

Initially, when I was thinking about doing 75 Hard I was planning to wait until my Chicago Marathon training was complete.

I’ll be honest with myself and made up a lot of excuses on why I should wait.

Excuses like

I’m already running for 2-3 hours a day, I don’t need to do an extra workout

I don’t have time to do this with the kids home

Marathon training is enough to focus on

However, after listening to the latest 75 Hard podcast episode on Real AF this week, I realized I was just making excuses to myself.

75 Hard could benefit me.

I’ve been working so hard on the physical training for the race that I have been neglecting the mental side.

Sure, it does come with it when you’re out there running for 3 hours on end but then it suddenly disappears when I’d get home.

I’d fall into bad habits of not eating properly, having a drink or two to celebrate my good training and give myself an excuse to relax for the rest of the day.

And before I know it my poor eating and drinking would completely destroy any progress I’d make that day or even week.

Chicago is a really important race to me and I feel as though I’m on track for a PR. I’ve done a great job with training and staying on track with my training runs, but I really need to get my head into the game.

So I’m joining Emily and Andy (and a lot of others) and starting a 75 Hard.

75 day hard challenge tracker

My Plans for 75 Hard

I think the biggest misconception of 75 Hard is that you have to do 2 really extreme workouts a day.

While you can do that, you can also do other workouts like yoga, pilates, and mobility work – all things that I usually skip over.

It’s workouts I know I need to do, but I never make time for it.

So here are my plans on how I’m going to be tackling the daily tasks.

2 Workouts a Day

For the 2 workouts a day, my primary workout will be my run or strength training that my coach has scheduled.

On the days that I run, that will be my outdoor activity so then later on in the day, I’ll do a 45-minute yoga, mobility or pilates class.

On the days that I do strength training, my secondary workout will be a Peloton power walk. I admittedly don’t get in my daily steps unless I have a run so this will help me get steps in on non-running days.

Follow a Diet

For my diet, I’ll be following the macros my 1st Phorm App Advisor has set for me.

This includes actually tracking – which has been a habit that I’ve been struggling with since Summer began.

I’m not in a cut since I’m marathon training, but I want to make sure I’m getting in more protein as well as shifting to more whole foods focus.


Drinking a gallon of water shouldn’t be a problem, especially on long run days. However on non long run days this will be as struggle so my game plan is to go back to my habit of drinking 20 oz before I have my coffee in the morning to give myself a head start.

Progress Pictures

I’ll be relying on the app to remind me to do this. This one seems simple but it’s the easiest one to forget to do.

75 hard app screenshot

No Alcohol / Cheat Meals

This one’s going to be tricky for me especially with some weddings and birthday parties coming up. However, I stuck to this in the last few months of marathon training last year so I know I’ll be able to do it again.

10 Pages of Reading

This is one that I’m more excited about. I love reading but it’s the first thing that I give up when things get busy. My plan is to get in my reading early in the day to make sure I get it in.

My Goals

Ultimately my goal for doing 75 Hard at this point is the get back on track. I’ve let a lot of bad habits form over the summer that are making me feel like I just need a reset.

I also really need to work on my mental focus, especially when mile 20 hits on race day and I need to dig deep.

So here’s to day 1 of 75 Hard!


  • Ali Van Straten

    Ali Van Straten is the founder and journalist of Champagne and Coffee Stains. She is a Peloton expert, certified running coach and certified nutrition coach. Champagne and Coffee Stains provides information and resources on Peloton Interactive, running and recipes.

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