2018 NYC Half Marathon Recap

This is a few weeks late but better late than never!

I had such a great time running the NYC Half. It was my first time doing this race…not that it mattered because the course was brand new this year.


I didn’t really have any time goals. I just wanted to finish 13.1 miles feeling good. I loosely figured I could do it in 2:30 but wasn’t chasing a certain time or anything.

So let’s dive right into the NYC Half Marathon recap!


I was running this race with 2 of my running group friends. Thankfully one of them was in the corral with me. My parents drove us in (from NJ to Brooklyn), which meant getting up at 4:30 AM. I know a lot of people like to stay closer or at a hotel, but I just prefer to sleep in my own bed, and have my set routine. My mom and I got a hotel for the 2011 NYC Marathon and although it was nice being closer, I feel I do better just sleeping at my place and getting up earlier.

So we drove into Brooklyn and got there no problem. A lot of people were bummed that the new race started in Brooklyn…it is kind of a pain for people driving in from outside of Manhattan. But since it was so early we didn’t hit any traffic.

We got to the start area around 7 AM for our 8:30 AM start.


Bag check and all that was pretty easy and quick. We got into our corral around 7:30 AM, and started warming up around 7:45 AM.

Oh yeah…it was cold! Around 25 degrees. So I wanted to make sure to do a good warm-up. My old running coach Marc, recommended warming up enough that you’re sweating before starting. He also told me to run in just a long sleeve and leggings…which I should have listened to lol. I ended up wearing a running vest because I was afraid I’d be cold.

So I did some drills and strides to warm up and actually felt fine temperature wise while waiting in the corral. My running partner had numb toes but wasn’t sure if it was because of the cold or being nervous (it was her first half marathon).

I loved that they had bathrooms right inside the corral. I pee a lot so it was convenient and I was able to go right up until we started. 

The start was 8:30 AM but we didn’t get started until about 8:45 AM. Even though there was wave 1 and wave 2, they had staggered starts within each wave as well.


Time to go!

Miles 1-3

We crossed the start and I pretty much was warm right away. Mile 1 was pretty flat, but then you got to the Manhattan Bridge, which was one of the toughest portions for me…despite only being mile 2!

It was probably a half mile climb up the bridge? Maybe more? I just kept trucking along and telling myself to take it easy. We’re only in mile 2. Nice and easy. Control your breathing. We were trying to keep the 2:30 pacers in sight, but we already lost them on the bridge because of how many people there were. Oh well.

When you get off the bridge you turn right around a corner and are basically at mile 3. That’s where my family was for the first stop. It was so weird having my mom be a spectator vs. running with me! (She didn’t get into the lottery.) I had told my dad they could just do mile 6 or 7 and then finish, but he wanted to catch us at multiple spots…thanks dad!


That’s my mom waiting for us. We’ve been using our Paraguayan flag for big races (like NYC Marathon) because it’s super easy to spot from far away. It’s always easier for the runners to see the spectators than spectators to see the runners.

For some reason I didn’t think to pass my family my vest when we passed them. I was getting hot and ended up taking it off like a minute after we passed them. I didn’t want to toss it so I looped it around my running belt. Should have listened to Coach Marc and not worn it!

Miles 4-7

I was not a fan of this portion of the race. Basically from 4.5-7 you’re running on FDR drive. I think NYRR thought this would be cool because of the views but I didn’t like it because 1) No spectators in this area 2) I don’t really care about views during a race so for my this portion was just long and monotonous and 3) It was really windy since we were by the water.

I just kept telling myself to get to mile 7. Plus, at the strategy session in the expo, they said mile 7-8 is where the race really begins. They said, “You want to get to mile 7 feeling like a caged animal.” I just kept repeating that to myself, though I was starting to get tired and doubting I’d be feeling like a caged animal lol.

At mile 7 we were in Manhattan, and my family was going to be around there. We found them right before Grand Central Station and I gave them my vest at that point. 

Miles 8-10

At mile 8 you’re on 7th Avenue going up Times Square. We had a few of our other running group friends cheering us on there too. I got an energy boost after seeing them, which was needed on the incline heading into Central Park. Because of this energy boost, I was feeling good and even sped up a bit…I was like wow I might actually be able to speed up for the finishing miles! LOL nope.

You enter Central Park around mile 9 and for some reason my energy just totally died back down there. The rolling hills leading to Cat Hill had me tired, so I let my running partner go ahead because I wanted to stop and put some music on. I knew I’d need it to finish strong.

I made the climb up Cat Hill, and my family was right at the top thankfully! I threw them my fuel belt and they cheered me on. I wanted to look strong for them but after 1-2 min after passing them I stopped to take my first walk break. 

I was beat. I gave myself a pep talk and said only 3 miles left. Come on!!!

Miles 10-13.1

I turned up my music and chugged along. I’d try to pick someone ahead of me to catch, or if someone passed me I’d try to stay with them. At this point in the race it’s just mind games to stop telling yourself that you’re tired. 

You turn left through the park, and get to the west side. This is where the “3 sisters” come in. 3 rolling hills. I was familiar with this loop because of all the NYRR races in Central Park. So I knew what to expect. I took a few more walk breaks here after cresting hills, and then would try to speed up on the down hills. 

Check out the elevation at the end in Central Park!!!


Run The World by Beyonce came on and I was like Ok, I got this!!

The last mile or so is pretty flat or downhill which is amazing. I started feeling good again. I think because I was so tired and not thinking, my brain was thinking of the NYRR 4 mile race loops. So in my mind, the finish was farther than it was. All of a sudden, I saw a sign that said 800 meters to go and I think I actually said out loud, “Wait what? Only a half mile to go?” I was so pumped.

I told myself it’s 2 laps on the track, I can do that easily. I tried to speed up but my legs were pretty done. 

I saw my family with 200 meters to go and was really trying to push. Those 200 meters were never ending!! I was trying to sprint…and then I crossed the finish line! As I crossed, I noticed both photographers were looking at their camera…so I didn’t get a finish line photo which is a bummer. But whatever, I ran 13.1 miles!



I finished in about 2:33 I think? Maybe 2:34. I was totally fine with that time, and it was around what I thought I’d run anyway. I got my medal and found my friend. We both felt great!


 It’s funny because this is my slowest half marathon to date, yet probably the best one I’ve ran. I finished feeling great…not tired, puking, with stiff legs, etc. I felt good throughout the race with no fueling or hydration issues. I was definitely feeling that runner’s high after!

It’s funny – despite it being 25 degrees, I still had salt all over my face from sweat. I’m a heavy sweater, and what’s really helped me is GenUCAN’s hydration packets.

Anyway, we took our finisher pics and headed to bag check. Similar to NYC Marathon, you have a long walk out of Central Park to meet your people. We stopped to stretch and roll for a bit (I had my handy Addaday roller) then started walking out. Our meetup for the marathon is always the West Side YMCA, so we went there for this race too since it was close to the finish.

We met the whole group there and took some pics. It was so nice to have family and friends there supporting us. Seeing them on the course really helped! I returned the favor by watching a few of them run the Philly LOVE Run Half Marathon the following weekend. 

Here are some post-race pics:




Overall, it was a great day!! 

Final thoughts:

  • I liked the course minus the portions on FDR drive. I never ran the old course, but feel like I would have been bored with the majority of the miles being on the West Side Highway. I think this course is better.
  • Maybe winter/cold races are for me? It was cold but I felt great!
  • Kinesio taping really helps my shin issues.
  • The elevation at the end of the race was killer but feels that much better when you conquer it.
  • Now it’s time to focus on 5k races and getting a new PR :)

Have you ran the NYC Half Marathon before? Did you do it this year? Thoughts on the new course?

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6 Half Marathon Race Day Tips

I’m so jealous of everyone about to run their spring half marathons! I was 2 weeks into training for the NYC Half when I started working with my nutritionist and she advised against it. (Insert crying emoji)

That’s why I’m excited to join the Race Day Tips linkup hosted by You Signed Up For WHAT?!Running on HappyBrooklyn Active MamaOrganic Runner Mom, and Coach Debbie Runs.

Here are my half marathon race day tips (which can be applied to the marathon too):

Read these 6 half marathon race day tips  before your next big race! | http://reach-yourpeak.com

Don’t Worry About Sleep The Night Before

Now, I’m not saying don’t worry about sleep at all. Definitely TRY to get sleep. But if you don’t, don’t worry about it. The night before isn’t as important as the week leading up to the race. For a full week, or more, before the big race, you should be trying to get your best sleep yet. I’ve gotten 2-3 hours of total sleep before a 5K before and somehow PRed.

I remember last summer we had a long training run in Central Park with NYRR and I got legit 3 hours of sleep (I’ll explain in a sec), and that was my best paced long run up until then! For some reason when I have a big race or long run the next day, I just toss and turn all night thinking about how I have to get up early and run. And worrying about whether I’ll be able to do it. But as long as I’m well rested from the week before, it has not affected me.

Watch Something Motivational 

I love watching elite runner’s race videos the night before a half marathon or marathon. It just pumps me up and then on race day I envision myself running as smoothly as them. Runners who inspire me are Shalane Flanagan (obv), Jenny Simpson (can’t believe I ran with her once in Central Park!), Brenda Martinez, Emma Coburn, Molly Huddle and Kara Goucher. Go follow them on Instagram to see their workouts and and stuff! 

Here are a few videos I’ve watched to get me pumped in the past…my mentality is, if they can put in all this hard work and gut it out, so can I:

FloTrack also has great videos following athletes in their workouts – those motivate me for races AND every day runs:

Take Lots of Pictures and Video

My mom is great at this – she doesn’t get nervous before any race. She will take photos and videos…be smiling throughout the morning. I’m usually a hot mess and can barely eat my oatmeal. I’ll be like OMG MOM STOP YOU’RE SO ANNOYING. Yet, after the race is over, I’m like “Can I see all your photos and videos??” lol

This past NYC Marathon I told her I’d be less cranky and try to take more photos and videos too so she can be in them. Since I felt so amazing (read my NYC Marathon recap here), I took the majority of video that day, which you can watch in this recap video I made…and maybe use it as motivation too :)

If you have spectators, you can ask them to take photos as well…maybe they’ll capture gems like this one from my first marathon:


I laugh every time I see this photo.

And that’s it too – you will want even the bad photos to look back on! :-)

Focus On Details When The Going Gets Tough

This is a tip my friend, who is a therapist, gave me. She knows I struggle with mental strength when things get hard in a race. So her tip is this: When you start feeling tired or like you’re struggling, start focusing on all of your senses. What do you see? Focus on the details. The bead of sweat on the person in front of you. The waving flag in the distance. Or what do you hear? Focus on the crowd? What chants do you hear? Listen to the breathing and footfalls of the runner next to you. Or the conversation going on behind you. Really get detailed with it. It distracts your mind, at least for a little bit.

Add Intervals Towards The End (If You’re Struggling)

This has helped me in countless races, whether 5K or marathons. If you’re struggling in the last mile or 2, start doing intervals. It will help time go by faster and the changing of paces helps switch things up. Distance depends on how I feel. I will pick up my pace from one light pole to the next, and then slow it back down. If I have a watch, I will pick up the pace for 1 minute, then slow down for 1 minute. If I’m REALLY struggling, it will be more like 30 seconds. But as long as you continue that forward motion, you’re getting closer and closer to the finish.

Take In The Finish Line

It’s so easy to sprint (or try to) towards the finish and want to just be DONE. But really take it all in. This past NYC Marathon was the first time I really did that, and it brought tears to my eyes. Look around you – all these runners are in the same boat, and all of you are accomplishing your goals. You did it! You crossed the finish. Stop and just take it all in, snap a picture if you have your phone. Get a volunteer to take a photo of you. Smile!!!

I hope these tips help! As I was writing these and looking through my race photos, it just made me miss running so much. I can’t wait to get back out there with my mom. 

What spring races are you doing? Do you like taking lots of race day pics and videos?


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Week 2 of NYC Half Marathon Training

Alright so, last week was week 2 of NYC Half Marathon training. Kind of a slow build up, and skipped some days due to holidays/New Years. Week 1 was uneventful with only 2 runs, so starting my recap with week 2 (last week).

Monday: OFF

Tuesday: 40 minute run. As I mentioned in a previous post, I purchased Jason Karp’s half marathon training plan off his website, and his plan is in minutes as opposed to miles. So today was a 40 minute run, which I ran 3.2ish miles. Slow for me, and felt INCREDIBLY out of shape, but I know that’s normal. Went to PT after for the first time since the marathon – definitely needed that!

Wednesday: OFF

Thursday: Tempo workout. 1 mile warm-up, 4×5 min at tempo pace (by effort) with 1 min walk break in between. Tempo pace effort was about 9:55-10:00 per mile. 1/2 mile cooldown after.


A photo posted by Patty Rivas (@pattyrivas13) on

Friday: “Long” run. It’s in quotations because it was 5 miles lol. We ran for 60 minutes, and it ended up being 5.1 miles or so. Still kinda “slow” for me but I didn’t stop to walk at all and felt really good! Just went by easy effort in order to complete 60 minutes with no walking. Felt like I could have kept going but obviously didn’t haha.

Saturday: Spin class. I had signed up for my studio’s Best Of 2016 class and was super pumped for it, so it served as cross training for the day. It ended up being a great class, and I was at 17.5 miles by the end, so just kept biking till I hit 20 miles.


A photo posted by Patty Rivas (@pattyrivas13) on

Sunday: OFF because Dan and I both were exhausted from NYE and didn’t move off the couch all day lol.

Overall I’d say it was a decent week. I didn’t run as much as I was supposed to BUT was able to run 60 minutes without walking, which shows I’m slowly getting back into shape.

That 5 mile run/long run was done at an easy pace ranging from 11:45-12:00/mile. I didn’t care about pace, just finishing those 60 minutes. Hoping to continue dropping that easy pace as time goes on.

Anyone else running NYC Half? Or a spring half marathon?


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How To Prevent Black Toenails (Besides Bigger Shoes)

If you’re a long distance runner, you know black toenails are common. We all joke about it.

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But hey, it happens.

My mom has suffered from black toenails/toenails falling off since we started training for longer races. No matter what, it would happen. She tried sizing up in shoes…and sizing up again. But nothing helped.

Then we went to the local shoe store, and a new guy was working who gave us THE ANSWER!

Do you get black toenails? Here's a tip for stopping that from happening!

The sneaker store employee told her to rub BodyGlide or Vaseline on her toes and toenails before the run.

She has been doing that since, and has not had throbbing toenails or black toenails. He told us that sometimes black toenails happen because of the friction between your toes and socks. It is similar to getting blisters.

So now you know…

Other tips for preventing black toenails include:

  • Trying a bigger shoesize. You should have about a thumb’s width space in the front of the shoe (from your biggest toe).
  • Trim your toenails regularly.
  • Wear wicking socks so your feet are dry. Wet socks (as with any wet clothing on your body) can cause chafing and blistering.
  • And a tip for your feet in general: don’t get rid of your callouses! I hate that part of pedicures anyway so I have no problem asking them not to do it. But yes…leave your callouses alone. You need those to prevent blisters :)

Do you get or have you gotten black toenails? Or lost toenails?

What other things would you say are “runner probs?” :) Hmm…I’d say chafing in general. Despite using BodyGlide I still chafe around the outlines of my sports bra…so attractive!


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Are You Doing These 3 Types of Running Workouts?

Last week, my mom and I had a really good 8 mile run. It was our last long run before the Long Branch Half Marathon (which is this weekend). Since we missed a few days due to traveling back from Paraguay (didn’t run Tuesday or Wednesday), I wanted to make it a workout as well.

My inital plan was to do a 2 mile warm up, 2-3 miles at tempo pace (anywhere from 9:30-9:50), then 3ish miles at normal pace to cool down. Instead, I decided to do a 2 mile warm up, 2×2 miles at tempo pace (9:30-9:45), 2 mile cooldown. We had a 5 minute recovery period in between.


A photo posted by pattyrivas13 (@pattyrivas13) on

This workout was tough, but I loved it! I could keep that pace for about 3/4 reps…here are our splits: 9:28, 9:33, 9:41, 10:30 (yikes). I really fell off on that last one. Clearly not ready to run those paces for any sort of long distance race, but that is why I want to keep doing this workout.

For me, my weakness isn’t speed. I love track workouts and even with faster paces I have no problem completing it. My issue is endurance at a certain speed. That’s why I have not been able to improve my half marathon times. I just can’t hold a faster than comfortable pace and I end up slowing down and feeling defeated. I know I need to “get comfortable with being uncomfortable” and I know I need to do more tempo runs.

Anyway, I didn’t know if you’d categorize this as a tempo workout or an interval workout…which is what led me to this post. I wanted to talk about different types of running workouts and how they can help you improve. 

3 Running Workouts You Should Be Doing

Tempo Run

I think I’d say my workout was a tempo run. It was sandwiched between easy miles, and was run at (hopeful) half marathon pace. A tempo run, according to RoadKill Racing, is:

 A 20-40 run done at a pace you could sustain for an hour long race.  For slower runners this may be close to your 10k pace for faster runners this would fall between your 15k and half marathon pace. For this type of tempo run, do a few miles at easy pace then 20-40 minutes at tempo pace followed by a few miles at easy pace.

Tempo runs are sometimes also referred to as threshold pace runs. Dr. Jack Daniels, Olympian and renowned running coach, is a big proponent of them as well. If you haven’t read his book, Daniels’ Running Formula, you should! He outlines every type of workout, why it is beneficial, goes into the science behind everything, and gives you training plans. It is REALLY sciency, so if you like data you will like his book. 

Back to tempo runs…Jack Daniels is all about tempo/threshold pace runs. 

By running tempo runs and cruise intervals at your threshold pace, you can raise your lactate threshold. This will enable you to race faster and farther before fatigue sets in.

Here’s more info on the benefits, according to him, as well as a handy pace chart.

McMillan running talks about tempo runs as well, specifically Tempo Intervals. This is what I did in my run.

Tempo Intervals are like fast tempo runs broken into two to four repeats with relatively short recovery jogs. The appropriate race paces for tempo intervals are 0:30:00 and 1:00:00 race pace and they should last between eight and fifteen minutes. In this case, you jog two to five minutes between each repeat then start the next one.

A tempo interval workout that I’ve had particular success with is two (or three) times two miles at 0:40:00 race pace effort with three minute recovery jogs between repeats. Following a thorough warm-up, these provide a great training stimulus to prepare you for an upcoming 5K or 10K race. The effort required, the pace judgement and the mental discomfort all help immensely when race time comes. Do this workout seven to 14 days before your next 10K.

Both Jack Daniels and McMillan Running emphasize this: Don’t run your workouts too fast. It is tempting to sometimes treat workouts as time trials, but it won’t benefit you. Stick to your paces in your workouts and you’ll recover faster which will lead to better times. Daniels says that go by feel instead…if a workout felt tough the first week, but in the third week it feels much easier (and you’re running the same paces, not faster), then that is how you know you are improving.

Interval Workouts

This is your typical speed/track workout. My favorite day of the week is the day I get to do a track workout! I love pushing myself in these workouts, and this winter I was doing a lot of 400 repeat workouts which are my favorite.

According to RoadKill Racing,

Interval pace is somewhere between your 3k and 5k race pace.  Distance of each interval can vary from 200m-2000m but Jack Daniels pegs the ideal duration at 5 minutes, this being optimal for raising your VO2 Max.

Interval workouts are done with rest that lasts between 50% to 100% the duration of the interval.

Coach Marc would regularly prescribe track workouts for me, and in my Philly Half Marathon build up I was doing all sorts of repeats: 400s, 800s, milers, etc. For me, 800′s are the most challenging…2 laps at around 5K pace is tough! I don’t mind mile repeats because I usually do those a bit slower (more like 10K – half marathon pace).

Check out my post on track workout ideas if you want to start doing more interval training.


I haven’t really done much of repitition training, probably because most of the time I’m training for a longer race. Repetition training helps improve your leg turnover, and you’ll be running at faster than 5K pace.

According to Jack Daniels,

R pace is very fast training aimed to improve speed and running economy. The training is performed as short interval training, with typically 200 m, 300 m, or 400 m work outs, with full recovery intervals in between. No more than 5% of the weekly miles should be R pace.

And RoadKill Racing (pretty informative web page!),

Repetitions should play an important role in everyone’s training regardless of race distance. Repetition paced intervals are done at your mile race pace +/- 5 seconds.  200 meter to 400m reps are most common but they can be done up to 800 meters..Repetitions are normally done with full rest either walking or jogging. The purpose of repetition running is to improve running economy and speed.

I can remember one time where I did 200 meter repeats. I do like sprinting (or attempting to), because I feel fast…I really should throw more of this into my training. Usually my “sprints” are just striders at the end of my runs. I am not fast at all…definitely never even attempted to do shorter distances in Track & Field in high school!

I’m really excited to continue training hard after this half marathon on Sunday. My mom’s friend is running it, which is why we are also running it with her. If it were up to me, I probably wouldn’t since I know I’m not fully ready, but it will be a fun run AND it is where we ran our first half marathon!

Running goals after this half marathon are:

  • Work up to 25-30 miles per week as a base
  • Peak around 40-50 miles per week once I start marathon training
  • Fall half marathon PR
  • Fall marathon PR

But as always…we’ll see what happens. I wanted a half marathon PR last fall and that did not work out as planned. But that’s the thing with running – anything can happen, and you just have to dive back into training and keep going after your goals!

What is your favorite type of running workout?

Any tips for how I can “race” a half marathon? I always just end up running halfs/fulls at a comfortable pace because I’m scared of suffering in the later miles…I know I need to work on my mental strength!


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Training in Paraguay

I wrote a bit about my trip to Paraguay last week, and today I want to talk about my running down there. I was surprisingly pretty consistent…and running in the mornings! :-O If you’ve read here for a bit, you know I am NOT a morning person and do not run in the AM haha. 

I got to Paraguay on Friday, April 3, but obviously after a 9 hour overnight flight I was not about to go for a run. How does anyone sleep on overnight flights?? I wish I could afford the tickets for first class, where you get a semi-bed:

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Wouldn’t that be nice?? I’m pretty sure those seats are over $5,000.00 though.

Anyway, back to running…

Saturday morning I went to the main park in Asuncion, Paraguay, which is a 5K loop. I went with my mom and met up with my aunt, uncle and grandma. It was rainy, so I was surprised when they still decided to meet me! My uncle ran with my mom and me, and my aunt and grandma walked a loop.

Since it was in the 80s, the rain actually felt nice. I don’t mind running in the rain when it’s hot…though the humidity sucked. Since I have been running inside all winter, being in 80 degree weather plus anywhere from 60-90% humidity was a shock to the system. So I didn’t even wear a watch and just ran by feel.


A photo posted by pattyrivas13 (@pattyrivas13) on

That day I just ran one loop (5K). Each day I made sure to run in the mornings because afternoons and evenings were filled with either visiting family members or going out places with my grandma and aunt (dinner, bowling, shopping, etc.). I would wake up around 7:30 AM and start running probably around 8:30. I don’t know why it was easier to wake up and run while on vacation than it is here at home…shouldn’t it be the opposite? ;)

On Sunday (Easter), I met up with my aunt and uncle again at the same park. This time it was 80s again and 96% humidity!! Tough. We ended up breaking the run up into sections…running the first mile, then running 400 meters, walking 100 meters, repeat. We ran about 4 miles that day. 


A photo posted by pattyrivas13 (@pattyrivas13) on

On Monday, we went back to the park again, and ran about 5 miles. Filmed this quick video with exercises you can do at a park…all you need is a bench! I like using benches for step-ups after runs to get in a little strength workout:


A video posted by pattyrivas13 (@pattyrivas13) on

That day would end up being my mom’s last run for the whole trip. She was feeling a bit frazzled scheduling everything between running, visiting family, etc. so she decided to just take a break. I took off Tuesday, Wednesday we were SUPPOSED to run 9 miles but I woke up with a crazy stomach ache, so took off again.

Then Thursday-Saturday I ran at another park that my aunt and uncle introduced me to. I loved it! Although it was only a 1,500 meter loop, it was shaded and had some hills, so it provided a change of pace. I ran 5 loops each day, and we walked 1 mile there and 1 mile back home so about 6-7 miles total for the day.


A photo posted by pattyrivas13 (@pattyrivas13) on

Sunday was my great grandmother’s 90th birthday party so I did not run…plus it was the hottest day of my trip…96 degrees!

Monday I ran at a local soccer field because I had no one to drive me to the park. I ended up doing a speed workout. Approximately 3.5 miles with something similar to 400 meter repeats. Again, ran watchless. And Tuesday we flew back. 

The Thursday we got back we ran 8 miles, with 2×2 mile repeats in the middle. Felt pretty good! We are running the Long Branch Half Marathon on Sunday so we’ll see how it goes! I know we won’t PR, and our longest run has only been 8 miles, so I’m not expecting anything. It will be my first race with my mom where we are just running by feel and running for fun. 

I think, since I am not trying to PR or anything, I want to try a run/walk method. According to several websites and calculators (too lazy to look up links right now), I need to run for 4 minutes and walk 1 minute to average around 9 min./mile. If I want to run 9:40/mile, I need to run the 4 minutes in 8:40ish pace…can I do that?? I have no idea. But I want to try.

During the time I was in Paraguay, I ran about 19-20 miles in a week. I’ll take it! I ran about 20 miles per week consistently for about 4 weeks I think. So I know I can run this half, but we’ll see what the final result is!

Anyone else running the Long Branch Half/NJ Marathon?

Has anyone tried the run/walk method?


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Week 13/52 of Training – 2015

Pretty proud of last week in terms of training. Only missed one of my planned runs and I was okay with that…just a 3 miler. Here it is:

Monday: 3 miles – track workout. Did this on the treadmill again because of the weather. 1 mile warm up, then 3×800 meters at 7.2 on the treadmill, cooldown. I forget what 7.2 pace is…I think 7:46 or something? It was 3:52 per 800. This was tough. It’s one of the workouts in the Run Less, Run Faster book, and I was supposed to do 4 but I was struggling by that third one. But I used to struggle with 6×400 at 8.2 pace and finally was able to do all 6 so I know I’ll get there!

Tuesday: off

Wednesday: 5 miles – tempo run. 2 mile warm up, 2 miles around 9-9:30 pace, 1 mile cooldown. Didn’t quite hit the paces, first mile was 9:07, second mile was 9:54 (clearly I died haha). But it was a consistent effort. I always doubt myself in tempo runs because I don’t think I’ll be able to push myself for miles at a time. Though I guess that IS the point of tempo runs isn’t it? To gain confidence. 


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Just wanted to point out that this whole outfit is from T.J. Maxx! You all know I love workout clothes from T.J. Maxx! <– click that link for a round-up of my favorite deals, which I wrote a few months ago. The top I’m wearing is “Head” (the tennis brand, but it is so cozy), and the pants are “Marika Tek.” I think each one was around $12-$15? My favorite brands I use from T.J. Maxx are RBX Activewear, Marika Tek, and MPG. In case you cared or were wondering :-P

Thursday: 7 mile – long run. This is the longest we have ran in a loooooong time. It was just an easy paced run. At mile 2 there was a 1 mile long hill, no joke, 1 mile. Needless to say our pace dropped precipitously (SAT vocab right there). We ran from my town to our YMCA, which was 7 miles. It was really hilly and we walked a few times but we plan on doing this route regularly. And it was finally in the 50s, so I could wear a t-shirt and shorts!


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Friday: Off

Saturday: 4 miles. My mom and I met at the Y and ran on the treadmill. I know for many of you 30s isn’t cold but I prefer running inside when it’s below 40 :) We did this treadmill workout, which made time go by much faster.

Sunday: Off…this was the day I should have ran 3 miles. I was out all day with Dan and then we went out to dinner with his family in the evening. 

Total miles: 19. Still not a huge number but working my way up! Would like to get to 25-30s consistently before starting marathon training.

Do you think running hilly routes helps for a flat course? Or should you run flat routes for a flat course?

What’s your temperature minimum in order to run outside?


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Questions About Training For a PR

Happy Monday everyone! We’re not even going to go into my training last week because I was home sick most of the week therefore only ran twice. One easy run and one speed workout on the treadmill…which is actually what is prompting this post today…

I want to hit some PRs this year. I’m probably running a spring half end of April or in May, but I know this probably won’t be a PR, and I’m okay with that. My main goal is a fall half marathon and marathon PR.

I’ve been reading Run Less, Run Faster because so many of you recommended it to me in previous posts. It’s definitely intriguing. While I don’t think I will only be running 3 days a week (I do want to experiment with higher mileage and see what happens), I do want to do the workouts. 

Run Less, Run Faster

I was looking at the 4:10 marathon plan since my goal is a 2:05 half marathon. The track workouts are definitely speedy for me, but I’m willing to put in the work. Which is what leads me to these questions:

  • Should you be running faster than usual to get faster? For example, some plans, like Jack Daniels or others, use training paces in relation to your most recent 5K or other race. Meaning, my track workout paces would definitely not be what’s in plan in Run Less, Run Faster. BUT, I want to train to get faster…does that make sense?
  • Some people say too much intensity leads to injury…but then we have people doing crazy fast sprints/hill sprints on treadmills as a HIIT workout…people who might not run on a regular basis at all…(random point I know…I’m just thinking outloud here).
  • Lastly, even though intensity could lead to injury, many plans also say “if you want to run a half or full at a certain pace, you need to train at that pace,” so then…why would I be going based on my most recent 5K time, and run workouts at a pace that I’m already running?

Like I said, I’m mainly just thinking outloud and would love to hear feedback from you. Especially if you’ve used the Run Less, Run Faster plan.

Today I’m supposed to be doing 800 repeats at 7:47 pace I think. That’s fast for me, and I did it last week but could only finish 2.5 repeats (I was also sick)…so we’ll see how it goes!

Have you used the Run Less, Run Faster plan to set a PR? Did you find the workouts really challenging? Or do I need to “step down” a plan?

What do you think of my questions regarding training intensities?


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Week 11/52 of Training – 2015

Not a very good week of training in terms of days run. Yeah I know…I need to be more consistent with my mileage. I asked a question in the reddit running forum about qualifying for Boston (one day) and basically everyone was like you need to RUN MORE ASAP. I mean, it’s no surprise. My running coach has been telling me the same thing. I know what I need to do it’s just a matter of doing it. Questions for you runners:

  1. How do you balance running with strength training (for those of you who run almost every day)? I just do not feel like lifting after running but obviously need to.
  2. What’s your best tip to motivate yourself on days you really don’t feel like running?
  3. Have you ever gone through a running rut where you’re just blah about running?

Even though I’ve been kinda blah, last night I found this blog, Miles To The Trials, and was reading about her story. She went from a 4:07 marathon to qualifying for the Olympic Trials! That really motivated me and I told myself I can qualify for Boston one day, it’s just a matter of dedication and hard work. And I need to buck up and do the work. 

Anyway, here was last weeks training:

Monday: First longer outdoor run! 6 miles at 10:00 pace. Felt okay, shins kinda hurt after but I figure it was because it was my first longer run outside. My body was EXHAUSTED the day after, no joke, I felt so fatigued. Anyone have this issue when transitioning from treadmill to outdoors?

Tuesday: Off because of the fatigue issue mentioned above.

Wednesday: Track workout…finally outside as opposed to the treadmill! 1 mile warm up then 6×400 meters at 1:50 per lap. Doubted myself because I figure it’s a bit easier on the treadmill to keep a certain pace…but actually could do it! Challenging but fastest I’ve ever done a 400 meter workout :)


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Thursday: Off because shins were really sore from the track.

Friday: Off because I’m lazy. I know.

Saturday: St. Patty’s Day 5K. 28:45ish (there was no start timing mat so I crossed a bit after the gun went off). Felt really good throughout the race minus one huge, long hill in the middle. I’ll take it for not having been running much but I really do want to get a 5K PR this spring! Current PR is 25:13. After the race we all went out for St. Patrick’s day since it was the parade, festivities in the town. Running a morning race + day drinking = being in bed that night at like 9 pm haha.


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Sunday: Off.

Going to go for more miles this week. I know I need to be more consistent…I don’t know what’s wrong with me lately in terms of motivation. Help!

Do you get super tired from running outside after being on the treadmill for a while?

Motivation tips please!


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Why You Should Get A Gait Analysis

Recently, I talked a little about my running form and asked for your thoughts on the importance of sneakers. I’ve been doing more research and actually listened to a very interesting podcast hosted by blogger and elite runner Tina Muir. Check it out here.

But from what I’ve read, when it comes to running, there are many important factors besides pronation, which is usually what they look at in running stores. Just because you over pronate or don’t, doesn’t mean you must wear a certain type of shoe (like stability). The more important thing is to find shoes that are comfortable for you. Which I do think is true because any time I have tried wearing stability shoes it just doesn’t feel right. Here are two points discussed in the podcast:

  • If Haile Gebrselassie walked into a running store, he would likely be put in motion control shoes, but he wears neutral shoes; things are not always as they seem.
  • How heel striking does not lead to a greater risk of injury; In one study, over 90% of elite and sub-elite marathoners were found to be heel strikers!

No really, listen to it to learn more…it was interesting stuff!

So anyway, on Instagram you may have seen some of my slo-mo videos I had my mom take of my while running. I wanted to see what my running form looked like and also get feedback from Coach Marc, who offers gait analysis services.

Why You Should Get A Gait Analysis

When I looked at the videos, I thought I pronated, but then other people said I don’t…so who knows ;) I sent the video over to Marc, and he sent me back cool photos showing the angles in my running. Here are a few examples:

gait analysis

gait analysis2
Pretty cool stuff right? He also looked at my video and saw during my kick back, my feet were kind of going to the side. He said, “Think of a piston in a car – if it had the same non-linear motion as your feet when they are behind you, the car wouldn’t operate smoothly. Form drills prior to running and maintenance post-run will do wonders for your pains and your form.”

The drills he mentioned are A-skips, B-skips, high knees, butt kicks, etc. I do usually do them in my warm-up but only for probably a total of 2 minutes max. He does them with his XC team for about 15 minutes during a warm-up. Clearly I need to do more.

I do want to go to a sports therapist and get an in-person analysis done so perhaps they can really tell me my issue with my shins. But from what I now know from these videos, hip strength and working on my form might help a bit. This is why it could really benefit you to get a gait analysis! Here are some key reasons (besides to see whether you pronate or not):

  • You will be able to see how your body moves. I had no idea my legs kicked back and inwards as I ran. This could be causing issues and I had no idea about it.
  • An experienced person will be able to look at the video and instantly pick up on muscle weaknesses and imbalances, like hip drop, which I read more about this week.
  • Provides you with a “before and after” source so you can see your improvement. You can try to change your gait or strengthen weak muscles but how will you know it worked if you have nothing to compare it to?

I really liked this quote from Active regarding why gait analysis is important:

Gait analysis is about looking at your entire body as a holistic organism—a single amazing unit. It goes far beyond an untrained eye watching you jog in a pair of sneakers.

It really is so much more than just your feet and the degree to which they roll inward or outward. Often times, it could be issues like core strength that are contributing to your lower leg issues, not necessarily if you overpronate or not.

As I had mentioned, Coach Marc provides gait analysis services along with this virtual coaching. If you want someone to take a better look at your running form and give you suggestions, definitely check him out! Plus, if you need a customized training plan in general, I highly suggest you connect with him and see if his coaching would be a good fit for you.

Have you had a gait analysis done?

What do you think is the weak link in your running?


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