Wednesday, October 13, 2010

NYC Marathon Training: What I've Learned

My taper for the NYC marathon officially begins next week. I've changed my approach this cycle and really enjoyed it, and I've learned quite a few things.

1. Running outside is better than running on a treadmill. I've always known this, but since my living situation in the past had limited me to running on a treadmill Monday-Friday (except during June and July) I wasn't able to see for myself. I still believe that running on a treadmill is good training, and runners can certainly make large gains through treadmill running alone. However, by running outside you get the added benefits of the sensation of running in a race, the hills, the terrain, and the pacing. Plus, it's just more fun. I really dread going back to a treadmill for those freezing mornings in January and February. I've been doing all of my intervals on a track-- which I didn't have access to before I moved into my new house. And it really feels like a race when you are controlling your pace and forcing yourself to push.

2. Fundraising isn't easy. One final plea to my blog readers, please donate $10, or even $5 to Central Park by clicking here. I have raised 88% of my goal at $2641.20. Every little bit helps maintain the park for the millions who visit each year. I'm very thankful to my friends and family who have donated, and the company that I work for was especially generous with a $300 donation.

3. Having a balanced attitude is more important than a PR. I was obsessed with qualifying for Boston for two years. I ate, drank and slept Boston and the magical 3:40 that would get me there. Despite my strong training and multiple significant PRs in other distances, I haven't gotten my marathon time down in over two years. That's over 4000 training miles since my 3:51 in March of 2008 and I haven't run a marathon any faster. So, back in May, after my most recent failed attempt, I just said "F" it. I wanted to focus on my upcoming marriage and my life with my husband. So, this time I have taken a much more relaxed approach. I wrote my own training program and I have been very loosely following it. Usually re-arranging it based on how my body feels. Most of my runs have been with my husband. I wrote his plan as well (slightly lower mileage) and he's been following it practically to the letter. My goal in NYC is not to run the best race I can, but to enjoy the incredible experience that is NYC with my new husband-- supporting him in his first marathon.

4. I love my running clothes. I have acquired far more outfits than I need, and I could probably go running every day and not need to do laundry for three weeks. I was folding my skirts this evening after doing the laundry, and just noticed how pretty are the colors are.

And that's just a few of them. I also have the winter-themed red skirt with the snowflake on the back and a few "spare" zebra print ones. Oh, and some black ones! Now that I am married I have twice as much running clothing to wash, and it's amazing to see it all hanging up on the drying rack.

5. Stretching isn't that important. I know there are many people who will disagree with me here. I think that if you are having chronic problems in certain areas, then stretching is crucial to keep injuries at bay. But I have really slacked on the stretching this training cycle and I've felt better than I ever have. It's probably just a coincidence, but now that I don't belong to a gym anymore, it's not part of my "routine" to go to the stretching area afterwards. I just walk in my door and go upstairs to shower. I usually do some quad stretches and ITB stretches, but not to the extent that I had been doing.

6. It feels great to bring home the hardware! My husband recently pointed out that I have won an age group award at each of the past three races I have run: a 5K in July, a 10K in September, and a half marathon in October. Wow! I have a strange feeling that this will not continue when I run the Army Ten Miler.

A quick training recap for the past few weeks:
Week of Sept 20: 58 miles
Week of Sept 27: 48.5 miles (includes half marathon)
Week of Oct. 4: 43 miles (recovery from half marathon, includes 18-mile run)
Week of Oct. 11: 60 miles on schedule, including 21-miler-- then the taper begins.


  1. As always, I love your post! You are one of the smartest runners I know. I'm so sad that I can't run NYC (still on the fence, but I know I shouldn't) "with" you, but will be cheering you on from the sidelines (or the way back of the pack).

  2. Love this post and I couldn't agree more about ALL points. I was in the same boat about being PR obsessed, trying to hit a certain goal. It was all-consuming and stressfull. When I finally let go and relaxed a bit, suprisingly I ran faster. I hope you find the same to be true. Either way, you will feel better about yourself.

    I also LOVE cute running clothes. It's almost ridiculous how attracted I am to them.

    Keep plugging along, girl!

  3. Great Post!!! Balance is always are those awesome running clothes. I have to weed mine out now that I saw yours.

  4. I like the zebra at the bottom of all your running clothes because not just that you love zebras bc that's sucking up... It's because it's not plain and dull... I had a thin black and white striped shirt in college I used to wear and save specifically for house parties on the weekends and the est was the darkness and the florescent lighting and people who was wasted and the room was spinning already. I know it caused one person to throw up which I found hysterical. Oh I know that was so long ago. Lots of people were like dude you're shirt is making me more messed up. I would just be like, I didn't tell you to drink all that. Trying to lessen alcohol poisoning lol. I know no purpose for here but besides you at this stage, whose going to look back this far. I can be Trump like in a sense lol...