How to Run Back to Back Marathons

Breaking the tape at the 2011 NYC Marathon

In the fall of 2011, I ran a 30 miler, the NYC Marathon, and the Knickerbocker 60k within a 5 week window.  I showed up to the start line of each race feeling rested, energized, and ready to run. 30 mile training run:  (8:34 pace) NYC Marathon: 3:46:49 (8:40 pace) including a 15 min negative split and 8:01 pace for second half – won the Foot Locker 5 Borough Challenge Knickerbocker 60k: 5:41:28 (9:10 pace) – 8th place female It seems like running back to back marathons in a short period of time (~2 weeks) is becoming more and more popular.   Here are some of the things I did to ensure I was ready for each: Let your body dictate when to run again.  There is no golden window for when you should return to running post-marathon.  There are so many outside variables that go into how long your body needs to recover – How hard did you run?  Was the course hilly?  How is your body reacting to the 26.2 miles? I found that I needed almost no time to recover from the 30 miler.  Why?  It was a long, slow run – not a race.  I ran a steady pace for the whole 30 miles Continue Reading →

How Do You Get Through a Long Run?

The tweets, facebook updates, and blog posts have begun – all discussing fall marathons and the initial couple of weeks of training for these races. That means weekly long runs are starting – by mid-summer, there’ll be plenty of 20+ mile runs being completed in preparation for the upcoming races. One question I’ve been asked repeatedly is how I get through long runs – week in and week out – without getting burned out.  When I was training for the NYC Marathon and the Knickerbocker 60k (concurrently), I had successful training runs up to 30 miles. Long runs during marathon training are just as much based on mental strength as they are on physical strength (if not more).  So how do you mentally survive running 14+ miles every weekend for a few months??  Here are some things I do to get me through my long runs: Break up the run.  Once the run begins, I try not to think about the total distance I have left to run until it’s well under half.  Being at mile 2 of a 22 mile run is a bit intimidating and can easily throw off your concentration.  When I ran 30 miles on my Continue Reading →

The “core” of my marathon training

abdominal-core-copy

This was a conversation between me and my husband two weeks after I ran my first ultra in November: Me: I don’t think I’m in very good shape right now. Hubby (with a look of bewilderment): You just ran a 37.2 mile race and finished with a 9:10 pace.  I would say you are in pretty good shape. Me: Ok. Let me rephrase.  I’m in “running shape.”  But my overall fitness level is not where it needs to be.  My legs are strong, but the rest of my body is not. Have you ever said this to yourself?   How did I let this happen? I got into a very bad habit of just running in August…I stopped doing core work on a frequent basis because my concentration was on increasing my miles for the NYC Marathon and the Knickerbocker 60k (both in November).  At the time, we didn’t have a treadmill, so I would run either early in the morning (5am) or during one of my son’s naps if a family member was able to babysit. (Note: I would LOVE to do more stroller ruins with my little guy, but he has never enjoyed just sitting in the stroller.)  I would run Continue Reading →

Pacing lessons

As I’ve stated in earlier posts, I’ve always had a problem with not pacing myself correctly on long runs or races.  I start too fast and then pay for it heavily at the end.  I had always believed that I could start fast and gain some “extra time” so that when I slow down towards the end, I’ll finish at the pace I want.  I am thankful to say that I have finally realized my theory is completely wrong.  After the SI Half a couple of weeks ago, it clicked that I REALLY need to slow down and pace myself (discussed in Rookie Mistake).  =&0=& to complete (not including 5x that I had to stop – once to fix my socks which had slipped beneath the back of my heel (I need to find socks that do not do this!), twice to pull out power gels that were in my camelbak, once to call Paul to tell him I needed more water, and once to drink the water/powerade that Paul had for me – the total time of “stopped time” was about 7 min) – Overall pace was 8:34 – I ran negative splits - the first 15 miwere covered in 129:13 (8:36 Continue Reading →

Lived, Ran, and Learned

My second attempt at my furthest distance to date went off (almost) without a hitch.  I plan on writing subsequent blogs on specific aspects of the long run (fueling and pacing), so this blog is more of a brief recap. I started the run @ 520am.  It was around 48 degrees so I decided to wear shorts, a tank top, arm warmers, and gloves.  If you dress to be comfortable and warm for the start of the run, you will be hurting yourself for a few reasons:- The more clothes you put on your body, the more weight you will be carrying.  Doesn’t sound like much – but if you are doing a long run, an extra pound or two of clothes can – and will – make a difference- If you start before the sun comes up, the sunrise will only make it seem warmer (even if the actual temperature doesn’t increase)- Once you start running, your body will warm up on it’s own (usually about 10-15 min into a run).  If you are overdressed, you will quickly overheat and sweat more than you should be – which will lead to dehydration issuesSo although I was cold the first 20 Continue Reading →

Live and Learn

My attempted 30 miler today did not go as planned.  I ran just over 16 miles before I decided to call it a day.  I am trying to remain positive and use my failed attempt as a learning tool for future long runs. The whole day started out on the wrong foot.  I had a 645am photoshoot with the Daily News in Central Park – my plan was to start my run immediately upon finishing.  Unfortunately, although I was promised it would only take 15 min, the shoot actually lasted almost 2 hours – and about an hour of it consisted of me running up and down a hill – over and over and over again.  Because of the delay, I didn’t actually start my run until 945 – after being up over 5 hours and having only eaten a piece of whole wheat bread with peanut butter.  In addition, there were refueling issues, major crowding in the park due to a breast cancer walk, and strong winds – which only added to my lack of motivation to finish the run.  Here are my key takeaways from today: read more

30 for 30

I am turning 30 next Friday.  Surprisingly, I am not having any anxiety or trepidation about this supposed momentous event in my life.  I think a lot has to do with the realization that I’m completely happy with my life and the family and friends I surround myself with these days.  I haven’t accomplished everything I thought I would by this age – I’m not holding down a powerful, high-paying job (I’m a stay-at-home mom), my family is not living in a huge house (we are in a 2-BR apt to save some $ to buy a home – hopefully in the next few months), and I often struggle to find the time and energy to head out the door each day to get a 45 min run in (nothing near my plans to have completed several ultras by this point)…But despite all of these “shortcomings”, I’ve never been so happy.   I’ve decided to celebrate my 30th birthday by doing what else?  Running!!  What better way to start the new year – and new decade – then running?  And since 30 is a special year, I have decided to run my age in miles!!   read more