NYC Marathon Training Recap: Week 12

Week 12…I am so glad that you are over. My job, the wedding planning, and an enormous lack of motivation collided at the detriment of my marathon training, and I’ve been feeling pretty guilty and frustrated as a result. I dragged my feet before starting every. single. workout. I couldn’t even get myself to run before work on Tuesday and only managed to squeeze in 3.5 out of the scheduled 5 before it got dark the next day. Thursday? Only 3 out of the called-for 7 completed (on a dreadmill).

I lost my mojo. It happens.

I’m trying not to let it rattle me too much. As a first-time marathoner-in-training, every deviation from THE PLAN feels like a big failure, but the more rational part of my brain knows that failing to complete 4.5 miles this week won’t prevent me from finishing my marathon. I’d have more reason to worry if I couldn’t finish the long run, but I did! There was a silver lining, but I’ll get there in a minute. First, this week looked like…

Week 12 (Monday, September 19) 
Monday: Rest 
Tuesday: Rest 
Wednesday: 3.5 mile run 
Thursday: 3.0 mile run 
Friday: Max level class at Yogaja
Saturday: 4.0 mile run 
Sunday: 12.0 mile run 
Total Mileage: 22.5 miles

The bad: I’ve already bemoaned enough of the bad stuff up there.

Cute pup doesn’t care if you didnt finish your run or not, just if you have treats and cuddles

The good: A return to studio yoga! I’ve been trying to do Adrienne‘s
“Yoga for Runners” video 1x a week, but I haven’t stepped into a studio since I lived in D.C. There was a non-profit studio in NoMa that I loved to visit – inexpensive classes, a favorite teacher, a 6-minute walk – but it’s been months since I took a class. I have zero excuses (with the exception of cost) because I live within a mile from Yogaja. Anyway,  it was wonderful. I sweat. I stretched. I kicked up into a headstand on the wall for the first time (!!!). My hamstrings are still sore three days later, and I will be back for more.

Most importantly, I practiced a lot of “mental toughness” – especially on Sunday’s long run. For the most part, I’ve had some really awesome long runs, and even the bad stretches (“how much longer? why am I doing this? owww”) don’t ususally last more than a couple miles. This weekend, however, I was ready to turn around after mile 2. I shouldn’t be too surprised seeing as how the rest of the week went, but it still sucked.

It’s not that my legs hurt or that I went out to fast…mentally, I just wasn’t in it. I was bored. I wanted to go home and crawl back in bed with episodes of Parenthood. I wanted to eat a big, slow breakfast and clean my house or unpack the explosion of wedding presents in the living room. Maybe bake something. Anything but run 12 miles. Each mile was a battle. I chose an out-and-back route instead of my usual loop, and as a result, the way back was especially painful – I knew exactly how much more was ahead of me.

Okay, okay – I know! This was supposed to be part of “the good.” I’m getting there.

I think that you learn more from bad runs that you do from the great ones. I secretly welcome the mid-run rain, side stitches, high temps, and cranky knees because when I work through them, I know that if I’m plagued with the same problem on race day, I’ll be able to call up those moments and remind myself that they are surmountable. On Sunday, I learned to push through almost 10 straight miles of “Are we there yet?” I took it one mile a time. I practiced breaking the run into pieces – to that road…to that sign…through this loop…etc, etc. On the way back, on a convenient, but boring stretch of bike trail, I practiced a suggestion I’d learned for the NYC Half. After the excitement of running through Central Park and the Times Square, the course takes you down the West Side Highway, and it can be tough – I was told to focus on the Freedom Tower (within sight, and near the finish), and “lasso” it to me. This time, I focused on giant electricity towers along the path and lasso’d them bit, by bit, until they were right in front of me and then I’d choose a new target. It really did help.

Week 13, 14, and 15 are peak mileage weeks with corresponding long runs of 16, 18, and 20 miles. If I was going to flail around any training week, I guess it might as well have been this one because the next ones are going to be work!


NYC Marathon Training Recap: Week 11

As I’ve been doing a mad catch-up on my training recaps, I’ve found that even though so much work is put in during the weekday, these posts primarily glorify the long run. I sort of glide over the 5:30am wake-up calls to make it to the gym when it opens at 6, or pausing to do strength and warm-up exercises before each run. All of those acts make the long run pain-free and possible.

I’ve been thinking about this…because I’m going to excitedly write about another awesome long run. Whoops. In my defense, it really is the best one yet.


More sleep and puppy cuddles, plz
Week 11 (Monday, September 12) 
Monday: Rest 
Tuesday: 5.0 mile run 
Wednesday: Rest 
Thursday: 7.5 mile run + 35min evening walk 
Friday: Rest 
Saturday: 16.5 mile run 
Sunday: 3.1 mile run 
Total Mileage: 32.1 miles


Long run friends: oatmeal, black coffee, and a little Every Mother Counts reminder
I was in NYC this past weekend for my last and final wedding dress fitting. Unlike the last time I was there, I had a mean, long run planned for Saturday. I was doubling my previous 8 miler in Central Park for 16. I’ve been really looking forward to this run for a couple reasons. 1.) A new “longest run ever” distance. 2.) An opportunity to run in new neighborhoods. Most importantly, 3.) A chance to cover some real distance on the actual marathon course!

Luckily, this time, my mom and I arrived in the city very early on Friday so we had time to explore a lot before dinner. The last time we were there, we’d barely landed before I proclaimed I needed to go to bed in preparation for my run. Marathon training does not make you fun on the weekends. (Fun fact: my phone actually died that night and I slept in too late to run before my dress fitting and had to do it on Sunday). We had a delicious dinner at Eataly, returned in time to watch a movie in bed, and I was pretty well-rested come Saturday morning. I had coffee and oatmeal while I finished my pre-long run routine (braid hair, apply loads of sunscreen, prepare a water bottle with Nuun, finish PT exercises) and got out the door at the fairly early time of 7:30. Even with 16 miles to run I have trouble motivating myself to start early.

I had consulted the race course and used Google Maps to come up with a plan on my laptop, but I only came prepared with a screen shot of the final product, not turn-by-turn directions. Excellent.

16 miles DONE

It was fine – I just plugged in the next big destination as necessary and that worked out pretty well. I was a little concerned with my navigation skills in Brooklyn, but I was comforted by the flow of the occasional runner passing (and later, big, organized groups with a pacer) to feel like I was on the right track. I covered the four big parts of the race I knew I could easily mimic: 1) Brooklyn, course miles 10.5-13.5 2) Queens + the Queensboro Bridge, course miles 13.5-16 3) First Avenue, course miles 16-18ish 4) Central Park, course miles 23ish-25ish. I actually fell short of what I had planned, as I had intended to run up 1st Ave to the top of the park and run all the way down to 59th, but I had finished my mileage for the day. It turns out I had initially routed to cross the Williamsburg Bridge, but the mistake was well worth crossing the Brooklyn Bridge instead. It was beautiful.

Anyway, it was glorious. Even if I didn’t run all of the exact streets I will on race day, I feel like I’ll be much more prepared on race morning having covered what I did. I’m also so glad I could mimic running Central Park on tired legs – just like on actual race day.

OooooOoo it’s getting real.