Posts Tagged ‘marathon training’

Saturday’s long run was one of those runs that I think can be defined as being “banged out.” There was no high point or low point, but pretty consistent splits throughout and I felt strong.

I ran my usual Central Park/Riverside Park loops, and even though it’s familiar to me and I love it, I am getting a little sick of its predictability. Sometimes running feels easier when I have no idea where I’m going or exploring a new place. Good thing next weekend’s long run will take place in the Bronx!

When I got home, I did the usual stretching, refueling: fresh peach, grapes, walnuts and honey over Greek yogurt

And ice bathing:

Since I’m far too cheap to buy bags of ice each week, I usually just fill the tub with cold water and ice from about 5 trays that I have.  It melts a little quicker, but I think it still does the trick. My legs felt a lot less sore all day and I was able to walk around NYC like a fully functional human being.

Recently, Meggie and I discovered our mutual love for gymnastics. We were both gymnasts for many years and keep up on the sport as much as we can, so we made grand plans to watch the national championships at my apartment on Saturday night.

But first…

We needed to get our 16 Handles fix. Obviously.

It was awesome to hang with someone that “got” gymnastics, and just watching it on TV brought back tons of old memories.

On my recovery run this morning, I was still thinking about the competition and how gymnastics was once a HUGE part of my life.

I never thought I would love any sport as much as I loved gymnastics.

I also thought I’d always be able to do a round-off, back handspring, double-full. HA.

But gymnastics isn’t a sport you can do forever. It basically beats the crap out of you.

It’s funny how cough eleven cough years can change things. Even though the sport taught me a lot and I have (mostly) great memories from it, sometimes I forget I ever was a gymnast.

And interestingly, sometimes it feels like I’ve always been a runner, and I can’t imagine loving a sport any more than I love running.

It’s a different kind of love, though. With gymnastics, I was good. My goal was always to be perfect and win. And I did. Part of my love for the sport came from the medals, trophies and success I had.

With running, I’m pretty sure I’ll never win. Or come close to winning. In fact, the only person that probably cares that I run at all is me.

And I kind of love that. I can run for enjoyment, I can run to PR in a race, I can train hard for a marathon.  I can run for whatever the hell reason I want. And I usually always want to run.

So even though running is something I’ll never technically “excel” at, it makes me feel awesome every day. And if winning against myself counts, then I do it multiple times per week 🙂

Question: Is running your first sport? Why do you run?


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Happy Thursday, friends!

This week my running has been either one extreme or the other. On Tuesday I could not for the life of me get in one speedy mile and bagged a planned speed workout. Even though it was just one run, I immediately started thinking negatively:

OMG, am I burnt out already? Am I running too many miles too soon in training? Am I on the brink of injury?

Bahh. Sometimes I cannot stop this annoying voice in my head. It was still going on Wednesday morning when I set out to meet Megan, Lindsay and Ali (part of the sweat squad!) for a run. I was totally worried I’d be unable to keep up with them and feel like a big wuss.

I dressed in confidence-building gear (my favorite new I ❤ sweat running shirt from Ali’s fundraiser last week!)

I do heart sweat.

And set out for a three mile warm-up before meeting the gals. Once we started running together I finally found a grove and settled into the comfortable pace we set. My legs came alive as we chatted away the miles, and by the time I headed home I was hitting a sub-8:00 minute/mile pace and felt fabulous.

The power of running buddies never ceases to amaze me, and I honestly don’t think I would have had a great run had it not been for the sweat squad. Thanks, ladies!

I tried to continue the momentum into this morning with some tempo miles, and was kind of all over the place with pace:

  • 3 mile warm-up
  • 1 mile @ half marathon pace
  • 1 mile @ 10K pace
  • 2 miles @ marathon pace
Total: 7.3 miles, 8:30/mile average pace. Not exactly where I want to be, but it’s good enough for today.

Breakfast – cinnamon raisin sprouted grain toast, peanut butter, cream cheese and berries

Why I have not tried cream cheese on toast before is beyond me. Delish.

Hopefully I’ve squashed whatever rut I was potentially falling into, but just to be sure, I’m tweaking my training plan a tiny bit more. In addition to implementing cutback weeks, I’ve signed up for a few half marathons in the next couple of months.

Even though I’m not going to be racing them (DO YOU HEAR THAT KELLY? YOU ARE NOT RACING THEM. NOT EVEN A LITTLE BIT), I love the atmosphere of races and want to change up my long run routes a bit. I think it’ll help break up the monotony of training a too.

First up – the Bronx Half next Sunday. I’m kind of excited to explore the borough, which I’ve only ever visited for Yankee games.

I have a weird track record with half marathons during marathon training, and always injure myself immediately after I run them (and then do not recover in time for the marathon I’m training for).

Case in point: after the Manhattan Half in January, I developed a gnarly case of Achilles tendonitis that plagued me until mid-April and prevented me from running the Eugene Marathon in May.

So not fun.

I repeat: I will not race the Bronx Half Marathon. I will run at my long run pace with a few marathon pace miles during the last half. Hold me accountable, readers. Gotta keep my eye on the prize!

Question: Do you race a lot during marathon training or other training cycles?

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It’s a rainy, rainy Sunday in NYC.

Even though I really love sun, sometimes a rainy day is just what I need to force me to relax.

But rewinding to Saturday, a.k.a. long run day. I was up even earlier than usual to bang out 18 miles before heading to New Jersey to see a few of my favorite people.

Confession: I’ve been wearing all black on my long runs because it makes me feel a kind of bad ass. And speedier.

My goal for this run was to not be as wiped as I was after last weekend’s 17 miler. I read a while back that Magdalena Lewy-Boulet started taking gels on every long run because she found they helped speed up her recovery and she could actually do things like play with her kids, run errands and feel like a functional human being during the day.

I’ve only taken Gatorade with me on all of my previous runs so far and usually save the gels for my 20 milers, but decided that Magda (an Olympic marathoner) probably knows a thing or two. So I grabbed a mint chocolate Gu (a new flavor for me – I’m partial to vanilla Power Gels) along with some watered down Gatorade to take on the road.


I took the Gu around mile 10 and a). it was delicious, b). it definitely gave me more energy during the last half of the run.

After getting the first couple of slower, junky miles out of my system, the run felt pretty good. I did notice a few niggles here and there, so I’m glad this coming week is a cut-back one!

Even though the Gu helped keep my energy up during the run, I was pretty pooped afterwards. But I had places to be – New Jersey, to be exact.

My friend Meghan (who got married last September), was having a baby shower for her sister Erin. I hadn’t seen either of them since the wedding and it was SO great to finally hang again.

And eat all of their food (kind of. But that tub of hummus was no match for me).

One of my favorite things about baby showers:

Cake. And pink things (Erin’s having a girl!).

It was refreshing to get out of the city and hang out at an actual house with a yard, a pool, a washer/dryer…

Meghan and I

Sometimes I forget how different Manhattan is from other areas. We have cabs, delivery of anything and everything, the best restaurants, culture and nightlife.

But forget owning your home, peace and quiet, having a backyard, driving a car or having an apartment that could even remotely be called “spacious.”

I guess there are always tradeoffs. Besides, I’m a disaster behind the wheel, get freaked out by total quiet and actually consider Central Park a pretty great backyard.

When I think of New York compared to other places, I’m always reminded of a quote from Sex and the City.

Miranda: Why do I think living in Manhattan is so fantastic?

Carrie: Because it is.

Hope everyone had a good weekend!

Question: City or suburbs? Why? And, any tips on how not to be totally wiped after long runs?

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Hooray for it being Thursday already!

So, as I’ve been talking about for way too long, I finally have a training plan for the NYC Marathon. I think part of the reason why it took me so long to draft is that even thinking about speedwork stresses me out (let alone actually doing it), and I wanted to include a lot in this plan.

Which officially started this week!

So here it is – I’ve outlined a progression in mileage to about 60 at my peak, with three 20+ milers and two speed workouts each week. I’ll take a rest day or cross train every Monday, and Fridays will be easy runs or cross training days, depending on how I’m feeling.

I log all of my workouts in an Excel spreadsheet to auto calculate mileage (I am such an Excel geek…) – if you click on them, they get bigger.

Of course, the most important thing to keep in mind is that I have to be flexible, and swapping runs, changing things up and revising the plan (multiple times) WILL HAPPEN.

I’d love, love, love your thoughts – how are the speed workouts? Anything else I should include that has worked for you? Mileage increases ok? Too much? Too little? Halp!

Despite my fear of all things labeled “speedwork”, and despite the fact it was 75 and humid when I woke up at 5:45 a.m. on Wednesday, the first one of this training cycle yesterday was a success (!!).

The workout: 2 miles warm-up, 3×1 mile at 10K pace, ~3 minutes rest in between sets, 2 miles cool down.

  • Mile 1: 7:38
  • Mile 2: 7:35
  • Mile 3: 7:47

I was shooting for 7:30s, but since it kind felt like I was swimming in the reservoir instead of running around the track, I’ll take it. The last mile was pretty hard, and I feel great about pushing through and not easing up because I felt a little uncomfortable. So here’s to many more weeks of kicking my own ass!

Breakfast – Barbara’s Shredded Spoonfulls, berries and almond milk

Your no-bake ideas on my last post were great! I’ve also been loving somewhat of a no-bake dinner lately that’s super easy to put together.

Mixed greens, chopped radishes, carrots, avocado, broccoli, asparagus, cucumber, red bell pepper and grilled chicken topped with a very generous helping of hummus and a slice of mozzarella cheese.

I used an Ezekiel sprouted grain tortilla to make mini wraps and tons of fresh dill – I don’t know why, but I’m completely obsessed with dill lately.

I’m also thinking I either need to start implementing a weekly 16 Handles budget or start taking stock in the company.

Far too addicting.

Question: What do you think of my plan?? Any and all advice welcome. Also, what’s your favorite easy summer dinner?

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I woke early this morning (Saturday) excited to get out on the roads for my long run of 13-14 miles – the longest distance I’ve run since the marathon! It was 24 chilly degrees when I got out the door, and even though the winds were calm it definitely took a good couple miles to warm up.

I tried to keep the pace fairly easy and felt pretty strong throughout the run (and was super excited to accost/stalk run into Elyssa as I was finishing up!). Here are the deets:

Last winter I wasn’t marathon training and I think my longest runs were only 10-11 miles. Now I’m slowly realizing that winter long runs are a bit of a different beast compared with summer/fall long runs, and I think some tweaks need to be made to my usual routine as the miles increase during this training cycle. Here are some of my ideas and things I’ve noticed so far:

  • Less sweat = different hydration needs. I didn’t take in any water or Gatorade during this run and felt totally fine, and had the usual pre-run banana and peanut butter with a few sips of water.

I think I’ll bring a bottle of water/Gatorade mix to drop along my route or carry once I get over 16-17 miles since I know some glucose will need to be taken in and go from there as far as how thirsty I get.

  • Dressing is an art. There is a fine line between being too cold and putting on too many layers and getting too warm. And man, a wind chill can make all the difference. For my run this morning I wore tights, a zip-up technical Nike shirt with a sleeveless shirt underneath, one pair of gloves and a fleece headband. It was perfect, although I could have layered up the gloves a bit – my hands get FREEZING!
  • Chafing in new urrrreas. My ankles have been chafing right where my tights end, and my neck from some of my zip-up tops. Thank goodness for body glide!
  • Avoid ice at all costs. Even if a tiny patch looks fairly harmless, you could be on your ass before you know it (not that I know from experience of anything…)
  • Ice baths are still necessary. Ok, so taking an ice bath was definitely on my agenda when I got home this morning, but I just couldn’t do it. Once the runs get longer, I’ll need to sack up and get in the tub. Anyone have any tips for taking ice baths after cold runs?
  • Has anyone else noticed how friggin’ hard it is to get tights off when your hands are cold? I mean, geez! Sometimes I wrestle with them for a good five minutes.

That’s what I’ve got so far, but this is just the beginning of a long stretch of winter long running, so I expect to learn lots more 🙂

I tried something new for post-run fuel – Ezekiel sprouted grain cinnamon raisin bread with peanut butter and thawed frozen berries on top

This was amazing! The juice from the berries moistened the bread just enough.

By early afternoon I was starving and made an old favorite – grilled pear and walnuts over Greek yogurt with honey and dried cherries

I feel like I’m still trying to get warm from the run (um, which was several hours ago), and shall take refuge in heated spaces for the rest of the day.

Question: Any tips for cold long running? How do you tweak your fueling when you go long in the cold?

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One would think two weeks vacation from work would be enough, but for some reason I’ve been longing for just one more day.

Ah well – back to the grind it is.

One thing that got me out of bed Monday morning is that it was my first “official” day of training for marathon #2, and I began the day with 6 dark, chilly miles in Central Park.

My pal Meghan and I decided to run a destination marathon together – the Eugene Marathon in none other than Eugene, Oregon on May 1.

Eugene Marathon

A running dork’s paradise 🙂

I’ve learned a lot from the last training cycle and the race itself, and have been geeking out having some fun developing a new training plan, which will definitely involve more tempo runs, speedwork, marathon pace runs and races.

I didn’t do a lot of racing during NYC Marathon training because I was so scared I would get injured, but think I missed out a bit too much. I love racing, and they definitely help with speed, pacing, and overall fitness. Here’s the tentative spring schedule:

  • January 8: Fred Lebow 5 mile Race (plus 7 miles for a total of 12)
  • January 22: NYRR Manhattan Half Marathon (16 miles total for the day)
  • March 26: Colon Cancer Challenge 15K (20 miles total for the day)
  • April ??: Scotland Run 10K

I’m planning my long runs on race days to help break them up a bit and get in some decent speed. I love having a full racing calendar! Now, here’s to training smart and staying injury-free!

To fuel my training, I shall continue to consume delicious, healthy foods and treats (of course!).

This weekend I tried out a recipe I’ve been wanting to make ever since seeing it on Katie’s blog a while ago – pumpkin chocolate chip squares. I mean, pumpkin and chocolate? How can you go wrong?

I made several changes to the recipe: substituted applesauce for oil, pumpkin pie spice for cloves and ginger, 1 cup AP flour for whole wheat, and used a different size baking pan (this probably wasn’t the best idea, as it took forever to bake).

Besides still being a little gooey in the middle, they turned out great! Flavorful and full of chocolate chips.

Here’s the recipe with my tweaks:

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Squares

  • 8 x 8 inch baking pan
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup AP flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup applesauce
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°. Combine flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, salt and sugar. In a separate bowl, mix applesauce, oil, vanilla and pumpkin. Add wet mixture to dry mixture and mix thoroughly. Mix in chocolate chips. Spread evenly in cooking sprayed pan. Bake until fork comes out clean, 30 – 40 minutes (as mentioned above, you may want to try a 9×13 in baking pan instead. This took a while to bake for me, but my oven is also a bit wonky). Let cool before cutting.

Question: Do you geek out making schedules and/or training plans like me? Anything exciting (racing or otherwise) planned for this winter/spring?

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I’m definitely still feelin’ the high from finishing Sunday’s race – I keep replaying my favorite parts (First Avenue, Central Park South, the FINISH!) in my head and smiling to myself 🙂

The NYC Marathon was the culmination of many (many) months of hard training, and I definitely think each and every day were worth the awesomeness that was November 7. Not every run was all fluffy bunnies and rainbows, but I can honestly say I’ve learned something about myself, running or  both from every day out there on the roads.

  • I’m way stronger than I thought – pushing myself through many tough tempos and solo 2-3 hour runs gave me the mental toughness I needed to get through the marathon on my own
  • Smart training smart pays off – increasing mileage slowly really does help ward off injuries, and so does listening to your body!
  • Stretching and foam rolling are so essential for preventing injuries! I kept a consistent twice daily routine to help keep things loose and prevent injuries
  • Ice baths are awesome post-long run and help reduce soreness and speed recovery
  • I can fit in 10 miles before work and still get there on time
  • Sodium (salt) is an important component of a hydration plan – your body can’t absorb water without salt!
  • Running with buddies is über awesome and the runs I look forward to most – I’m so glad to have met some great running buddies during this training cycle!
  • Speedwork is really important, and next time I’ll start marathon pace workouts, harder tempos and maybe some mile repeats (gasp!) earlier in my training plan
  • Fueling is key before, during and after runs. I definitely noticed a difference in recovery when I took in protein and carbohydrates immediately after long runs, and felt great during the marathon with my fueling plan of 2 gels (miles 10 and 20) and sips of Gatorade throughout the race.  
  • I think I can push myself harder – the marathon was tough, but I think I had too much left at the end (though some IT band pain slowed me down).
  • Spectators are awesome – the support on the marathon course was crazy, and looking forward to seeing my mom and sister cheering really got me through the last part of the race

Another thing I learned? I LOVE marathons! Stay tuned for future plans on that 🙂

As for right now, I’m working on recovering this week! I took Monday off completely and spent some time with my mom and sis before they had to leave NYC, and did some yoga on Tuesday morning. This morning I made a triumphant return to the gym for some cross training 32 minutes on the spin bike (easy) and 20 minutes on the elliptical with some core work, strength exercises and lots of stretching and foam rolling.

The plan is to cross train this week, and I may try a short, easy run this weekend or early next week, depending on how the IT band is feelin’. Even though I’m still pretty sore (quads = owwww!), I’m itching to get back out on the roads. Soon enough 🙂

Sine I may be in denial that the marathon is over, here are some more photos from race weekend:

Lolo Jones and I (she was SO AWESOME) 

Grete Waitz and I

I was such a running nerd meeting these guys (and Ryan Hall and Joan Benoit Samuelson) – they were so great!

I took mom and sis to Eataly so they could enjoy some wine, meats and cheese the day before the race (I ate pretzels and drank Gatorade – not nearly as exciting!)

Some of the lead gals

Some of the lead guys

Meb and Dathan Ritzenhein

Sadly, I think this guy beat me…

Pics from 96th and Fifth

Me after our post-marathon Shake Shack feast 🙂

Thanks so much for all of your amazing, sweet comments on my race recap. I know the post-marathon excitement will die down soon, so I’m putting together a new list of goals for the rest of the year and 2011 (hey, homegirl’s gotta stay motivated!) so stay tuned for that.

Hope everyone that ran on Sunday is recovering well!

Question: What have you learned from past training plans? Any post-race recovery tips?

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