Tag Archives: marathon training

Boston Marathon Training – Week 5 in Review

Hello blog world! How was your long weekend if you had one? Mine was very good. Just the right mix of busy and relaxation. Before I get into that, I want to do a quick recap of my fifth week of training for the Bostom Marathon because I felt as though I made it over a mental and possibly physical hump this week.

I had a rough start to training. My first two weeks, I could only summon the energy to run 14 and 17.5 miles in total. Not ideal and not how I wanted to start this training process.

Things started to get better in week three – for weeks three, four and five, I hit my weekly mileage total and ran five days a week. And then finally, last week I started to hit a groove where every run didn’t feel so tedious and running five times a week was almost actually routine. Here’s how my training is looking so far:

Last week, I ran 3.5 miles at the gym on the treadmill on Monday; 6.12 miles outside in Central Park on Tuesday morning; 4 miles at the gym on Thursday; a frigid (I’m talking under 5 degrees) 12 mile long run with Lauren on Saturday; and a 5.29 mile run outside again on Sunday.

I’m finding that mixing the treadmill with outdoor runs is keeping me from becoming bored with either one.

A quick word on the 12 miles run upstate this weekend. That was officially the coldest weather I’ve ever run in. Lauren and I took the cold weather VERY seriously and bundled appropriately. I wore my arctic tights (the warmest things ever), ski socks under my tights, a Nike base layer, a really warm hooded sweatershirt, a hat, gloves and a neckwarmer that I actually pinned to my hat so that it would stay up and cover my face. We looked fabulous:


We may have looked ridiculous, but I was very warm and toasty with alll of this on. The neck warmer covering my face was crucial! I was so happy I brought it and thought to pin it up.

For any people training from spring marathons out there – what are your winter running tips and tricks?

I’m feeling like winter is looking particularly messy this year and I can’t seem to remember how I made it through training last winter. I’m taking it week by week and coping with each weather set-back as necessary. I will say that winter training definitely makes you appreciate it when the spring weather finally rolls around. 🙂 Happy winter running all!

Treadmill Avoidance

Yowza – it’s Thursday already? Seriously, where is the time going? And next week it will be November. That is just crazy.

I started yesterday off with a yummy and filling breakfast of oatmeal with banana and topped with brown sugar.

Lunch was pretty boring – just leftovers of my shell-less taco from the night before.

I Can’t Let Go…
It was such a dreary day yesterday, that I had planned on heading to the gym after work to run a few miles on the treadmill, but part of me just wasn’t ready to take that step indoors yet. So I’m going to try to run outside tonight instead. I want to take advantage of every last second of outdoor running before darkness, cold and snow force me inside more often. I honestly can’t quite understand how I trained for a May marathon from Jan-March of last year in the cold and snow. I guess I must have just sucked it up and bundled up or made nice with the treadmill.

How are you coping with the shorter days and the loss of daylight for outdoor running?

As you can tell, I am not welcoming it with open arms.

When I got home after work, I set to making us some dinner. We had some mushrooms in the fridge that were begging to be used. So I came up with this creation…

Sautéed mushrooms, carrots and broccoli with chicken in a butter, white wine, garlic and lemon sauce and sprinkled with Parmesan cheese. This was pretty yummy and I made enough to have some leftovers for today.

On an unbelieveable side note: I was attacked by a mosquito again last night. I woke up this morning with 5 bites on my left arm. I guess I should be relieved they aren’t on my face. I know it’s happening because our screens in our windows are soo bad and there are gaps that allow mosquitos to squeeze through. It’s sad to say this, but I am actually really excited for it to get cold so we can close the window. Why is the mosquito army attacking me?!! I found the culprit on the wall this morning after I showered and made Hubby kill it. But I am seriously contemplating buying Skin So Soft and using it as a moisturizer at night. 😦  And I’m praying for a more restful night tonight.

How I Got My BQ

Sorry for being completely MIA this weekend and not posting my comparisons between my first and second marathon. I was totally hit out of nowhere with either a bad stomach bug or a slight case of food poisoning. I was completely out of commission starting Saturday afternoon through today. Hence there won’t be any food pics, since I barely ate anything this weekend. Ugh!

But what I can do is finally give my comparison between how I trained for my first marathon vs. my second marathon in order to obtain the coveted BQ. So here are the main areas where I changed things up a bit and I think it helped: 

Work on Speed: For my first marathon, I didn’t really focus on speedwork at all. I was solely concentrated on logging the necessary mileage. For the Pocono Marathon,  I started incorporating some speedwork into my shorter runs. It wasn’t as formal as other runners, but I would consciously push my speed during certain runs and see if I could run the next mile at a fast pace or I’d pick landmarks and do short bursts of speed. I think I probably could have gotten a bigger benefit out of going a more formal route – running 400’s, 800’s, etc. at a specific pace. But I wanted to ease into speed a bit.

Get a Garmin: For my first marathon I trained using a regular sports watch and mapped out all my long runs on mapmyrun.com. I could guestimate what my average pace was based on the total time it took me to run it and the distance, but I never knew how my speed was broken down. I received a Garmin for Christmas last year and definitely put it to good use during my training for the Pocono Marathon. I was surprised to see how fast I was actually running sometimes. I think using my Garmin gave me better control over my speed and my pace. It helped me learn how to really kick it in at the end of races as well. I know Garmins are expensive and sometimes people think runners become too attached to them. But I think if you are trying to BQ they are almost a must.  

Increase Your Mileage: For my first marathon, I based my training plan off of Hal Higdon’s Novice plan. At the end of it all, I had run 383 miles in training (including the marathon). I was running 4 days a week. For my second marathon, I upped it to 5 days a week and increased my total mileage to 540 total miles (including the marathon). I based my second marathon training plan on Hal Higdon’s Intermediate I Training Plan. I did not stick to Hal’s plan exactly – I moved some of my running days around a bit. But I think that increasing my mileage that much really helped me. Others may not need to run that much or run 5 days a week, but I needed to train my body to run harder more often.

Choose Better Food/Fuel: I didn’t really pay too much attention to what I ate while I trained for my first marathon. I started my blog last October and started training for the Pocono Marathon in January 2010. At that point, my focus on healthy eating and my plan for better eating during this training was pretty solid. I ate soo much healthier this time around. I incorporated new grains like barley, couscous and quinoa into my diet, and upped my intake of fresh fruits and veggies. I made the switch from light Yoplait yogurt to Greek yogurt (generally Chobani) and found that my foods were keeping me full longer. I fully admit that I ate whatever I wanted during the first training – candy, desserts, junk food – all that. I thought that because I was burning so many calories, I was entitled to eat as much of everything I wanted. Wrong! And this leads to my next point.  

Find the Right Weight: I weighed between 113-114 pounds during my first marathon. I weighed about 108-109 pounds for my second. I know this doesn’t sound like a big difference, but I’m 5’1 and have a petite frame, so an extra 5 pounds on me does make quite a difference. I actually gained weight while training for my first marathon. I chalked it up to “gaining muscle” and it’s probably true that I did. But I also think I gained a little more weight than was necessary for me. Going into training for the second marathon, I had lost a little bit of the weight from the first marathon. But as I started training for the second AND continued to eat right, the rest of it just kind of melted off. I wasn’t trying to lose weight – but I think it came off naturally because 108-109 is actually around the ideal running weight for me.

Use Races: I kind of went through a racing slump for a few years. I would run 1-2 races each year, but that was it. As I began training for this second marathon, I decided that I needed to incorporate some more races into my plan to get myself used to maintaining a race pace. If you check out my Race History page, you can see exactly what I races I ran from January – May.  I ran five races of varying lengths – ranging from 5 miles to a half marathon. I actually made some of these race days my long run days. So I would run the race and then tack on some additional mileage to reach my long run day total. This worked out great for most runs – but my last long run was pretty torturous.

Run Hills: Ahh the dreaded hills. Knowing that my second marathon might be a bit hilly, I tried to incorporate hills into every run I could. Central Park has some pretty decent hills, but when I would run from my parent’s house in Upstate NY, I would add some really terrifying hills to my routes. My parents and friends would ask me why I was torturing myself by adding all these hills and my answer was: to be overly prepared. Plus, the general benefits of hill training have been touted everywhere!  Training on hills improves leg-muscle strength, quickens your stride, develops your cardiovascular system and can even protect your leg muscles against soreness. Basically, it can help make you a stronger, faster and healthier runner. You know the saying – what doesn’t kill you, only makes you stronger!

Set the Goal: As scary as it may seem, I think it’s important to set your BQ goal and tell people about it. Recognizing that your goal for this race is different will help you get into the right mindset. My goal for my first marathon was simply to just finish! A goal like that puts you in a different frame of mind than knowing you’re trying to qualify for Boston. Setting a specific time goal can be scary, but it also keeps you well-grounded during the race. Plus, once you’ve said that goal outloud or shared it with…umm the entire blog world – it makes you push that much harder to achieve your goal. I can honestly say that I thought about all the people who commented on my blog and gave me great BQ advice. I didn’t want to let you guys down after you’d listened to me drone on and on about wanting a BQ! I wanted to make you all proud! 

And lastly – believe you can do it!! Visualize yourself running that perfect race and finishing in the time you want. There is no better motivation than knowing you’ve put in the training and hard work that is necessary to obtain your BQ. And although the actual race may be far from perfect (mine certainly was), it will be that belief in yourself that will ultimately take you to the finish.

If you haven’t read my second marathon Race Recap, feel free to check it out – that can give some insight into what a non-perfect race can feel like. And thanks again to all who gave me advice on how to achieve my BQ.

What was the best BQ advice anyone ever gave you?!

Now I’ve got to rehydrate and get 100% better so I can do my first post-race run! I’m starting to go through withdrawal. Have a great Monday all.

Let the Carb-loading Commence

It’s almost here. I can feel it. My body can feel it. My nerves are on fire and the marathon is on my mind. I can’t really get it out of my mind actually. I catch myself picturing my run at least a few times every day. And with that mental picture, my stomach drops!

I don’t know about other marathoners, but a marathon is really the only race I get nervous for anymore. Since my last marathon (October 2009), I’ve run quite a few races and felt relatively calm before almost all of them. I knew they weren’t THE RACE, the BIG race – they were just training for the real deal. I did end up racing and setting PRs in many of those races, but I never experienced the full-on nervousness. Oh the nerves.

So it’s Thursday and the race is only a few short days away. So it’s time to get serious. My birthday indulgence is done and I am on a strict carb-load, hydrate and eat-right plan. I fully support carb-loading 3-4 days before a marathon, and not gorging yourself on carbs the night before.

For all you marathoners out there – when do you start your carb-loading? And how do you prep the few days before?

So Wednesday truly began my carb-loading. I started off at breakfast with a big bowl of original Puffins and some blueberries on top.

Then for lunch, I heated up some leftover pasta with chicken from Monday night.

Afternoon snacks were Chobani with Kashi Heart to Heart cereal mixed in and three clementines.

After work, I headed to the gym for a quick run. It wasn’t exactly raining outside, but the skies looked ominous, so I played it safe. I ran 3 miles in 26:28 – a nice and easy pace. It was hard going that slow and I actually thought I felt tired, which made me even more nervous. I should not be tired after 3 miles – did I take my taper too far?!

I left the gym and headed home and threw together a quick dinner of baked tilapia with a large side of rice.

I have been seriously ravenous lately! And I’m not running a lot right now, so it feels a little weird. After dinner I was still hungry, so I ate a healthy dessert of strawberries and blueberries sprinkled with crushed puffins on top.

This hit the spot and I was FINALLY full. Again, I tried to go to bed early because I know that I likely won’t get too much sleep the night before the marathon, so I want to be as well rested during the week as possible.

And I had a strange dream about the marathon last night. My husband and I got there and he decided to help me warm up. We ended up getting lost and running like 11 miles before the race even started! There was road work going on and we had to take a detour and then we were sprinting to the start of the race and I was exhausted! Oh the stress.

How do you guys cope with nerves before a race?! Help!

Have a great Thursday all – I am trying to put the race out of my mind for the entire day….starting now!

Happy Birthday to Me!

Good morning all! I feel very refreshed today for two reasons: 1) I went to bed last night at 9:30, and 2) It’s my birthday today!!

To be honest, I haven’t really gotten very excited about my birthday in a while, but I am feigning the excitement for you all. I’m not sure what if any birthday plans I have for tonight – maybe go out to dinner or at the very least, convince Hubby to make me dinner. 

 As far as a recap of yesterday, breakfast was very good. Oatmeal with banana and peanut butter in my brand new bowl that my momma gave me for my birthday (thank you!). The old red ones were looking atrocious and she agreed it was time to retire them.

Lunch was a peanut butter and apricot jelly sammy (I am loving the apricot lately). I also had a side of carrots.

My afternoon snacks were a blueberry Chobani yogurt and an apple. Boring – no pics.

After work, Hubby and I set out for a nice WINDY run along the East River promenade. I swear, every time I run with my husband the weirdos come out: the man talking to himself and gesticulating, the strange girl dancing enthusiastically by herself and singing, the car that veered off the road unexpectedly and came to a screeching halt, etc. Seriously, every time we run together we encounter strange people.

My Garmin was acting up and didn’t start working until more than .5 miles into our run. Here are our stats from our 4+ mile run, of which only part was captured.

Mile 1 – 8:33
Mile 2 – 8:03
Mile 3 – 8:27
.86 – 6:54

Total mileage – 3.86 in 31:59. Average pace – 8:17 minute miles.

I think in total, we probably ran about 4.5 miles. I am taking tonight off as a rest day and a birthday treat.

After our run, I had planned to make chicken and rice and soon realized we had no rice. Second choice was chicken and pasta. I also threw some carrots into the mix as well.

After dinner, Bill proceeded to become engrossed in the Stanley Cup hockey game and I think Murphy wanted some attention. When Bill finally picked him up, he showed off a little bit.

Big kitty stretch!

Like I said, my night ended pretty quickly when I turned in at 9:30 p.m. I was exhausted from getting very little sleep on Sunday night. I am feeling a little more rested and awake today.

So what about you guys? What is the best birthday you can remember? And what do you like to do on your b-day?

Have a great day all!

Long Lost Blogger

Hi all – how is everyone? I don’t know because I haven’t been able to check many blogs lately and have been so super busy – I have no clue what is going on with people. I am trying to catch up, but I’ve missed so much!

Things with me have been crazy at work and outside of work. Last week I only ran 3 of my 5 training days – eeek! And my marathon is this Sunday!! Can you believe it? I can’t. My nerves are out of control.

This past weekend we headed to Utica, N.Y. to visit Bill’s family and celebrate Mother’s day and his sister’s 50th birthday. Our drive up Friday night was good, the weather was clear and slightly cool, but not too bad.

On Saturday morning, I woke up to some blustery weather – about 37 degrees, overcast and a slight drizzle. I decided to suck it up and bang out my last “long” training run. It wasn’t so long – only 8 miles, but I wanted to make sure I got it in. Here are my stats from the run:

Mile 1 – 8:32
Mile 2 – 8:08
Mile 3 – 8:18
Mile 4 – 8:07
Mile 5 – 8:33
Mile 6 – 8:12
Mile 7 – 8:30
Mile 8 – 8:27
.23 – 1:43

Total mileage – 8.23 miles in 1:08:33. Average page – 8:20 minute miles.

I finished up my last “long run” and felt pretty great. And as I did so, I finally reached over 500 miles on my training plan.  I won’t reach my total goal mileage, but I’m not too far off.

On Saturday night we went to dinner at a Greek restaurant in Whitesboro, N.Y. called Symeon’s. It was pretty good. I had the THRACIAN CHICKEN: Fresh boneless skinless chicken breasts marinated and charbroiled  and served with rice pilaf. I could have gone a more authentic Greek route, but I wasn’t feeling entirely adventurous. I’ve found as races approach, I tend to try to play things a little safe.

What is not so safe is that everyone around me seems to be getting sick! Bill’s one sister didn’t make it this weekend because she was hit with the flu, his nephew’s kids were sick, and then my parents both got hit with a cold of some sort on Sunday just before we were planning to drop by. My mom called to tell me to stay away because she didn’t want me getting whatever they have right before the big race.  Ahhh!!

On Sunday I was originally planning to run 3-4 miles in the afternoon, but I scratched that idea when it started SNOWING!! I kid you not. It was really snowing in Utica. It was insane. It was freezing cold outside and I didn’t have appropriate running clothes with me, nor did I feel like confusing the heck out of my body. I just kept praying that this coming weekend is drastically different. Can you imagine running a marathon in the snow? I’m sure people do it and do great, but those are not the right conditions for me.

The rest of the day Sunday was busy and we didn’t actually get home to NYC until 11:30 p.m. and I didn’t get to sleep until 12:30 a.m., so I am pretty darn tired today. I just keep telling myself that I need to get through this week and power through the marathon and then I get a break!! I need one.

How was your weekend? Do you seem to have busier times during the year? For me, Spring always seems to be chock-full of activities and my free time is non-existent!

I hope to catch up on what’s going on today. Have a great day all!

The World According to Irving

Good morning all. How are you? I’ve been a frazzled mess recently. It primarily has to do with stuff going on at work. I may have been in the office yesterday at 7:45 a.m. It was hectic to say the least.

Anyway – I’ll do a quick recap of the past two days. Breakfast on Monday was oatmeal with mixed frozen fruit.

Lunch was salad – unpictured and then I didn’t really snack in the afternoon because that’s when things go C-RAZY. I probably would have work to all hours of the night, if it hadn’t been one of my best friend’s birthday on Monday! I met up with Katie after work for a quick dinner. We were going to try Blossom Bistro on the UES, but we simply didn’t have enough time, so we hit up Ariba Ariba! instead. And I had a much-needed margarita, along with this a yummy and HUGE chicken burrito.

It was very filling. After our quick dinner, Katie and I headed to the 92 Street Y to see John Irving speak. Mr. Irving is one of our favorite authors. We saw him speak back in October and simply could NOT pass up the opportunity to see him again. He is so amazing and so charismatic. Hey there John!

Mr. Irving spoke from 8:00 – 9:30 and even shared some draft material from a potential future book, as well as some interesting and entertaining stories. He is soo great! They were pretty explicit about no photos or video, so I put my camera away for the night.

Are you an Irving fan? What books of his have you read? What is your favorite?

I haven’t read them all, but I’ve read: A Prayer for Owen Meany, The Cider House Rules, The Water Method Man, The World According to Garp and A Widow for One Year. I have his newest book (an autographed copy!), so that is on my list of books to read. I’m pretty sure Cider House is my favorite. 🙂

After the reading, I called it a night so that I could get up super early on Tuesday. My breakfast was a bowl of Puffins with Almond Milk.

This was my first time trying Puffins and I really liked them. So much so, that they might have been my dinner last night as well. Hehehe.

No other food photos from yesterday. I was busy, busy all day. I had a Peanut Butter and Jelly (Apricot – yum!) sandwich for lunch and my usual snacks.

After work I FORCED myself to run at the gym. There were big rain clouds threatening, so I played it safe and ran 5 miles at the gym in 41:25. I can not believe that my marathon is NEXT WEEKEND!! Holy cow.

I am trying to get myself in a good frame of mine – build my confidence and visualize myself running my marathon strong and in the time I want. I need to figure out my race-day outfit and all that as well. I’m getting so excited and nervous!! And of course, I am praying for perfect weather!

Have a great Hump Day all! Hubby comes home from being out of town – so I’m super excited about that! YAY!