New York City Marathon Training Recap

Guys…it’s here. It’s week 20 of training and 5 days until the marathon. Just writing that sentence is giving me butterflies. I’m so nervous!!

Last week we ran 26 total miles. We had a longer tempo run (7.5 miles total) and a shorter tempo run (6 miles total). Today we have our last speed workout (1ks) and then it’s all downhill from there. If you’re wondering why repeat 1Ks the week of the marathon, don’t worry, I found out from Jason himself. Here’s his answer:

The week of the marathon is all about eliminating fatigue and maintaining fitness. So I included one workout at AT pace to maintain fitness, but kept the volume of the workout low so it doesn’t cause any fatigue.

Then I asked, why 1Ks as opposed to 400s? His answer was simple: 400s at threshold pace would be too easy. Which is true…400s at 9:50 pace would probably feel super easy…not that I would mind ;)

Oh, who’s Jason? Well, for the past 20 weeks I have been following the intermediate plan in the Running a Marathon For Dummies book by Jason Karp. It honestly doesn’t feel like 20 weeks have gone by. Here are some thoughts I have about training and the plan.

My Training

  • I think I am ready – but I will always doubt myself no matter what. But in looking at my training for the 2013 NYC Marathon (recap), we ran as much if not a little bit more. Our weekly averages were probably around 35-40 miles. I don’t think we ever skipped a long run, tempo run or speed workout (though we might skipped an easy run here or there). I’m trying to tell myself that I AM ready…we did the training. But I’m still doubting myself and thinking, “Did we do enough??”
  • I’ve never gotten through a full training plan without skipping multiple runs due to shin pain. In 2013 I couldn’t run the last 3 weeks of training because of major shin pain.  This time around, I am running mostly pain free! I have been going to physical therapy for the past 2-3 months, and got custom orthotics. Why didn’t I get those sooner???
  • I stuck to 18 miles being my longest run. I liked that when I used Hansons Marathon Method they explained that the long run shouldn’t be longer than 3 hours. We did a few 16 milers that took us 3 hours, and one 18 miler (3:20ish). I agree with their premise that anything longer than that takes a toll on your recovery and body. HOWEVER, this works for Hansons because they have another longer run during the week (8-12 milers). We didn’t go that long during the week but had regular 7-8 milers…so we’ll see.
  • Jason’s plan had tempo runs behind run at threshold pace or 10 seconds faster (as opposed to running goal marathon pace). This really challenged us and pushed us but I think it will mentally help because we’ve been training at 9:50-10:00/mile pace, and are goal is at least a 4:45 marathon which is 10:52 pace. So it SHOULD be doable :)

Running a Marathon For Dummies Training Plan Review |

Running a Marathon For Dummies Training Plan

  • This plan starts at 4-5 days of running, and ramps up to 6 days of running. Although 6 days of running can be mentally tough, the last time I PRed was when I was running 6 days. This plan is a gradual build up of miles and intensity. I remember in the first few weeks of training I could barely run 2 continous miles at threshold pace (9:50) and now we ran 7-8 continous miles at that pace. The book does a good job of building you up, and of explaining the science behind everything.
  • While the name says “Dummies,” it provides very detailed plans for beginners, intermediates and advanced runners. Like I mentioned above, everything is explained throroughly as well.
  • If you start a plan and aren’t at the level it’s at (i.e. first week was 10 miles but I started at 7-8 miles), you can adjust it. I spoke directly with Jason about this. The key is to build up your time running every week. So if you can’t do 2-3 continous miles at a certain pace, start with 5 minutes, take a break, repeat. Then next week, 6-7 minutes, take a break, repeat. Does that make sense? That made workouts much more doable for me and also helped with not forcing my body to do something it wasn’t ready to do yet. I remember in the beginning we had 1K repeats and it felt IMPOSSIBLE. So I shortened it to 800 meters and built up to the 1Ks (which we ended up doing 8 of a few weeks ago no problem). 
  • If you are looking for a custom plan, Jason also offers customized training plans

Marathon Goals

Ok time to talk goals…

  • Realistic goal: 4:45. My mom and I have talked about our goals and we would be happy wtih 4:45. We think this is doable, and would be a 5 minute PR. Our easy run pace is 11:15-11:30ish, so I think a 10:52 average pace should be doable…right?? :-P
  • Ultimate, awesome, rock my socks off goal: 4:30. If we got anywhere near the 4:30s, we’d be ecstatic. However, that is a 10:20ish pace…and I’m not sure we can hold that the whole way. SO we’re starting with the 4:45 pace group and seeing where things take us.

I’m so nervous guys!! I was talking to my friend about all of this (she’s a therapist and is working in sports therapy too) and she was asking me why I put so much pressure on myself and time goals. I should view it as a fun experience, and run for fun. But I just can’t stop thinking this way! I want to PR. I just feel like, if I don’t OR if I have a horrible race, what were those 20 weeks of training and sacrifice all for?? Can anyone relate to this sentiment or have advice?? 

Anyway…we’re heading to the expo on Thursday, so if anyone else will be there, let me know!


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  1. It’s so exciting that the marathon is coming here! It looks like you followed an awesome plan. I’m training for Philly and it’ll be my first marathon, I can’t imagine running 6 days a week!

    I look forward to hearing how it goes. You look well prepared and ready to roll!
    Janelle @ Run With No Regrets recently posted…Philly Marathon Training Week 13 and October Monthly Goal RecapMy Profile

  2. Woohoo! I am so excited the it is almost time to run! My marathon training cycle has been a mess most recently due to a nasty chest cold. I am trying to keep a positive outlook! Loved reading about your marathon training plan. It sounds like you and your mom are ready!!! Have a great race. Maybe we will “run” into each other!!!
    Sandra Laflamme recently posted…POPSUGAR MUST HAVE BOX OctoberMy Profile

  3. It’s so completely normal to be nervous, it’s a big race and you’ve put in a lot of hours to prepare. But remember the end of that sentence – you put in a lot of hours to prepare. Trust your training and get ready to enjoy one of my favorite marathons. Good luck!! :)
    Heather @ FITaspire recently posted…Strength Training for Fat Loss (Free Workouts)My Profile

  4. Seems to me like you’ve been preparing so much that you’ll definitely rock it! Good Luck!

  5. Have a great race ladies! How fun to run with your mom. I ran NYCM 2 years ago and it still feels like yesterday. Enjoy!
    Marcia recently posted…Shed Light on Health with EverlyWellMy Profile

  6. You do seem very well prepared! It’s been exciting watching your training you got this!
    Deborah @ Confessions of a mother runner recently posted…Healthier Teeth, Healthier You Brushing EvolvedMy Profile

  7. I’m so excited for you!! I typically run 3-4 days a week, but I’ve been doing 5 days/week for awhile with my current training (my marathon is Nov. 20). I seriously cannot imagine running any more days per week…kudos to you! Six days seems overwhelming to me LOL Best of luck!! I’m headed over to read your 2013 recap ;-)
    Kimberly Hatting recently posted…Let’s Plank in November!My Profile

  8. Oh my gosh! This is so exciting! You are going to be amazing and do so great!

    Thanks for the book rec – that sounds worth checking out!
    Jenn recently posted…october wrap + november goalsMy Profile

  9. My longest run for my last 2 Chicago Marathons was 18 miles and those were my fastest marathons! You are going to be fine!

    Good luck and have fun!
    Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home recently posted…Runners, We Get Each OtherMy Profile

  10. How exciting!! You will do great, no doubt!! Have fun! :)
    Michelle Rogers recently posted…Explore North Carolina’s beautiful state parks with Hike NC!My Profile

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