Current State of Running + Why I Run Marathons


Check out Instagram for a fun summer giveaway by Nathan Sports!——-

I drafted so many posts the last 4-5 weeks with updates on running, but each time, I was hesitant to share the progress I had been feeling because I didn’t know if it was permanent. I didn’t want to come here and shout that I was feeling great to only feel like garbage two or three days later.

Even now, I’m cautiously optimistic that I’m finally on the road to recovery. It’s two full months since Boston – 60 days. Almost 9 weeks. I had what I guess you can call my best week of running post-Boston last week. 44 miles with a whooping 13 mile long run. I know it doesn’t sound like much, especially when Timehop reminded me this morning that I ran a 63+ mile week one year ago. BUT, it is a huge improvement for me – given how I have been feeling the last two months.

To be completely honest, I’m still not 100% sure what caused me to feel the way I did (and still do to a lesser degree). I think it was a combination of a whole lot of things – nutrition, lack of sleep, back-to-back-to-back tough, breakthrough cycles. And so I’ve been working hard to get those things back in check. Vitamins every day. More sleep at night. Naps on the weekend. Lots of rest and recovery.

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    2016 Boston Marathon Recap!


    I don’t post here every day but I share my running and other daily happenings on instagram!

    I have so much to say about the entire weekend, but will try to focus just on the race here and save the rest of the weekend for another post!

    My nutrition stayed the same for most of the week. I tried to not deviate too much from it – so I ate the same, had popcorn and wine at night and snacked like I normally do – when I felt like it.

    I started increasing carbs Friday night – pasta and a baked potato and then over Saturday and Sunday increased it a bit more (bagels as snacks, pasta for dinner Sunday evening, etc).

    I also took more rest days this week than I ever have before. I talked about how I felt off in my last post – and so I tried to take as much time off and focus on sleep and nutrition so that I could feel good on race day.

    But I think the increase in carbs coupled with the decrease in running made me feel really tired and lethargic as the weekend went on. I had spent 4 months of running almost every day – and I think going from that to virtually no running for 8 days was not the best decision. I’ve already made a mental note to not do either as much as I did this cycle.

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      2016 Boston Marathon: Celebrating a Breakthrough Cycle


      Monday was my third Boston and the 14th marathon finish line I’ve crossed. It was the most prepared and in shape I have ever been before even though the results don’t necessarily show that.

      I finished in 3:25:53. I positive split like a champ. 1:33:17 through the half. And 1:52:xx the 2nd half.

      Of course I am disappointed. I didn’t bust my butt for months to run 13+ min slower than I did in the fall. But, some days, you’ve got it. And some days you don’t. And there’s no way to plan it so that you race on the days you have it.

      But like I have said the last few weeks – this training cycle was a huge success – regardless of what the finish line clock says when I cross it – and I still believe that to be true. It was truly a breakthrough cycle for me and I’m grateful and excited for what I was able to do the last few months. And regardless of anything else, it’s a pretty darn good day when I can finish a marathon!

      I plan to do a full recap later this week. My husband, mom and I returned home almost immediately after the race (I went back to hotel, took a bath and then we were on the road by 3:15pm). I took off on Tuesday but I stayed off my computer and social media and spent the day with my little guys – lunch, Barnes & Noble, basketball and soccer in yard and then dinner. So no time has been spent writing down my thoughts yet.

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        BOSTON Marathon Tracking!


        4-15-13 #BostonStrong


        EEEEH! Race weekend is so close to being here! I will consider it “race weekend” when I log out of work and am walking out. Work has been INSANE this week so I haven’t had much time to think (aka obsess) over this weekend or Monday. It’s definitely a blessing in disguise!

        My mom and I will be heading up to Boston early tomorrow morning and will be stopping at the expo before we check in or do anything else. So we hope to be up there around 1:30/2pm! If anyone will be at the expo during that time, please let me know!

        I’m looking forward to a relaxing couple of days up in Boston – visiting with friends, keeping my legs up, hydrating and enjoying the company of my mom (and husband who arrives Sunday afternoon).


        Tracking Details

        I am bib 8743!

        If you want to track me on Sunday, you can do so in several ways:

        • Text alerts: Simply text RUNNER to 234567 using you cell phone. You will then receive a text response with instructions on how to submit a runner’s bib number (mine is 8743). I think you receive start, 10k, 15k, half, 25k, 30k, 35k, finish (or something like that!)
        • Download app (details here)

        Hope you all have a great weekend. Good luck to anyone racing on Monday! Let’s keep praying that the temps decide to go down a bit

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          How to Pick a Goal Marathon


          One of the most asked questions I receive via email is what marathon is the best for a first-timer. In my opinion, that is completely up to the individual runner. There are a lot of factors that will go into what makes a race a great race – for you – things like travel, family/friends at event, course, time of year to travel, etc.

          Deciding to run a marathon is only a small part of the first step. One of the biggest and most important steps is choosing your goal race – which can be pretty overwhelming since the number of marathons grow each year.

          So how do you go about choosing your goal race? There are a ton of factors that have gone into every marathon I have run. I’ve learned that it’s really hard to find a race that satisfies every single criteria I want. So, the order and importance of these factors typically change cycle to cycle. I’ll start with what is the most important to me for my next race and then begin eliminating from there. There have been instances where I want to pick a good course to chase down a PR (Wineglass) and others where I want the experience of the race (Boston) and other times I want a race close to home (NYC).

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            2015 Wineglass Marathon Race Recap – 3:12!


            This past weekend I completed my 12th marathon – and set a 3:11 min PR with a time of 3:12:04. I have an entire post that I will share when I get a chance to edit it – it highlights the last few months of training that got me to Wineglass in the best shape of my life. I wrote it during taper as a way for me to look back on training as Coach and I were going over race plans and time goals. But, I decided to hold off on sharing it until post-marathon.

            I am thrilled with another PR – my 2nd big PR in as many attempts this year. Six months ago, my PR was 3:21:32. It is now 3:12:04. I have taken more than 9 minutes off in just over 5 months after years of fighting to break 3:21…and I am now knocking on the sub-3:10 door.

            There is a small part of me that is a bit disappointed that I didn’t walk away with a faster finish time. I had a pretty amazing training cycle this summer – the best training cycle of my life – and the numbers definitely pointed to a sub-3:10.

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              Wineglass Marathon Training (T-5) + RnR Virginia Beach!

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              So, this was a tough week of training. Physically, I am feeling fine – the pain in my foot disappeared as quickly as it appeared and I have been running pain-free all week.

              But mentally, it was a challenging week. I flew out to SF on Friday morning for one of my college gf’s weddings, so coach and I adjusted the plan so I would get my long run in on Thursday. Realistically, there was ZERO chance (or desire) of me running long while I was in SF – my focus was on spending as much time with my West Point girls as possible – and a 21 miler did not fit into the plan.

              So we decided to shift the week and do the long run on Thursday. Unfortunately, I woke up Thursday and just didn’t have the motivation to run for almost 3 hours. I made it 5 miles and called it a day. The thought of another 16 miles – alone and mostly in the dark – sounded miserable to me.

              So the plan changed to me running at 4am on Friday. I’ve never run that early before but I needed to be on my way to the airport by 8am. I was in bed by 9pm with my alarm set for 3:30am. But of course, things never run that smoothly when you have a short timeline. I woke up at 12:15 and was up for a bit before hearing my older son awake around 1am. I ended up in bed with him for a few hours until he finally drifted off to sleep just after 3am. It was one of those nights where you just stare at your clock as it gets later and later and as you constantly do the math to see how many hours of sleep you could still manage if you fell asleep at that moment.

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                Juggling Family, Work And Life With Long Distance Running


                This post was originally featured on Women’s Running (it can be found here).

                Training for long distance races (half marathon, marathon, ultras) is difficult in and of itself. It becomes a whole other challenge when you factor in all the responsibilities many of us have–being a spouse, having children, owning or maintaining a home and/or working a full or part time job.

                I had more flexibility with my time before I was married and had kids. It was fairly typical for me to spend a couple of hours each day working out or at the gym. I’d run (with no set training plan–just however far I felt like running that day), cross-train and do some strength or core work.

                These days it is a delicate balance to juggle my responsibilities with my training. My “free” time is limited. I no longer have the luxury of running whenever and however far I like. And so, my training has to be adjusted a few ways.

                Make each mile count. Gone are the days where I just head out to run with no idea of how long or far I will be out. I’ve been forced to get smarter with my training. I am no longer able to waste my time running “empty” miles. Nowadays, each mile has to matter and every run has to have a purpose. I follow a training plan and ensure that when I leave the house, that run means something to me and my goals.

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                  Wineglass Marathon Training (T-12)


                  I am getting into the swing of marathon training so I wanted to bring back the weekly updates in case you were interested in my training leading up to Wineglass!

                  But first, I want to rewind a moment. Before I tell you what I’m doing right now, it’s fair to give a brief overview of what has been going on the last few month. It’s been almost three months since Boston. I still feel like it was yesterday (and yes, STILL riding that PR and race high). Since the race, my focus has been on a few things:

                  • Recovery: This preoccupied most of the first four to five weeks post Boston. I ran four or five days post-Boston but kept all runs short and easy for a few weeks before starting any type of “faster” running. Some light core work but no strength work. My legs were pretty trashed from the hills so I decided to use only cycling and easy-paced running during the important recovery and regeneration phase.
                  • Consistency and base building: Last training cycle, I took a rest day the day after my long runs (some weeks I would cycle easy, but 75% of time, it was a complete rest day). This cycle, we’ve added in a short recovery-type run (3-5 miles) the day after my long runs – with the option of a rest day if I need it. Mileage has been averaging in the low 50s. That will naturally get bumped up a bit as training continues and long runs become longer – but shouldn’t be by that much.
                  • Strength, Core, Cross-Train: I was REALLY good about this for a couple of weeks, but I’ll be honest here – not much was done while we were in Alaska for 3 weeks. I had intentions of maintaining my core and strength routine, but the reality is that we were on vacation and I felt like running was enough time away from my boys and my in-laws. So I just accepted it and will be focusing on these over the next 12 weeks. Monday was my first strength and core workout and man, did I feel it!
                  • Maintaining mid-distance endurance: The longest I have run since Boston is 16 miles. Most of my “long” runs have been in the range of 12-15 miles. That is a sustainable distance for me. If I were to run 18+ milers on a consistent basis for more than a few months, I would probably risk injury and/or overtraining. Since we are 11 weeks out, the long runs will start to get longer (17 miler this weekend).
                  • More Tempo Long runs: Last cycle, I only did two long tempo runs. I’ve already done two (both 13 milers with 7 tempo) and likely will have another 1-2 before the race.


                  Here’s what last week looked like:

                  Monday: 15.5 mile long run (talked about it here)
                  Tuesday: 4 recovery miles with my husband
                  Wednesday: Travel day
                  Thursday and Friday: 8 “easy” paced miles
                  Saturday: 13 miles with 7 uptempo (see below)
                  Sunday: 5 recovery miles

                  6 days of running (1 planned rest day due to travel/jet lag)
                  53.5 miles
                  2x stress workouts

                  There was nothing but hills while we were in Alaska but the upside was that the humidity was low! I was able to run 3 weeks during the summer without battling the Northeast heat and humidity while getting some awesome hill workouts in. Win-win.

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                    Fall Marathon Plans + Back Home!


                    If there’s one thing I’ve learned about planning your racing calendar out, it’s that it’s not set in stone…not even your goal race.

                    Last fall, I had my eyes on the Wineglass Marathon in October, but after a few weeks during the late summer where I wasn’t feeling great and wasn’t up to long runs, I decided to forego Wineglass and chose the Potomac River Run Marathon in November – which gave me an extra 5-6 weeks of training.

                    Earlier this year, I signed up for Wineglass again. I wanted that to be my goal race this fall, but after Saucony reached out to me to be part of the 26 Strong program again, I decided, once again, to forego Wineglass and choose a later marathon. I had entry to NYC Marathon, so decided that would be my goal race with the Chicago Marathon with Ruth (as part of 26 strong) as a long training run.

                    But there’s been this nagging feeling in my stomach about the fall that I couldn’t shake. My worry is that running 26.2 miles in Chicago with Ruth could jeopardize NYC three weeks later. I’m not the type of runner who can run 26.2 miles and recover and then RACE 26.2 miles soon after. I’m concerned that there will be some fatigue from Chicago that is lingering by the time NYC rolls around.

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                      More Recovery + Serendipitous Boston Weekend


                      I think the tendency is to not talk much about recovery because let’s face it, it’s not too exciting. But a good recovery can set you up for a strong and successful training cycle. And a shortened or ignored recovery period can derail your next training cycle – or even worse – cause injuries.

                      Boston was 15 days ago. My longest run since Boston has been 8 miles. I’ve run a whooping 40 miles in 14 days. 9 miles the first week. 31 miles last week. And probably 40-45 miles this week. Almost all garmin-free. All easy effort. And all honoring the purpose of the recovery.

                      I’m darn proud of these miles (or lack there of). After hating me for the better part of the week post-Boston, my body is happy again. I feel rested, recovered (almost) and excited to jump back into training (but not quite yet – still have another week of easy running). If all goes well, my long run this weekend will be double digits – maybe 10-12 miles. Speedwork is tomorrow – it’s 10 x 1 min just to get my legs moving again. But nothing too hard or taxing because my body is still in the recovery stage.

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                        Recovery + Weekend Fun


                        Hibachi with my sons and niece!

                        This past week was wonderful. No running, sleeping in (well, until the boys wook up at 5:45/6am), drinking wine every night and eating whatever I had a hankering for (which seemed to be a lot of chocolate and french fries).

                        I woke up incredibly sore on Tuesday – more sore than I ever remember being post-marathon. Tuesday and Wednesday were just painful – the stairs mocked me each time I was on them. But it was a happy kind of pain – I still don’t think the smile has left since last Monday!

                        I didn’t do much moving at all on Tuesday (which was necessary!). Wednesday, the boys and I went to the zoo for a few hours. It felt good (yet still a bit painful) to walk around – but it was too gorgeous of a day to keep them inside!

                        I got on the bike on Thursday and Friday and did 30 min of easy spinning (didn’t even break a sweat) just to get my legs moving. No core work. No strength work. No running.

                        Saturday was my first run. 4 achy, not-so-great miles. No garmin but I think it was about 9-9:15 pace. My quads still felt a little sore – I felt fine walking and assumed the run would be okay – but it was clear I needed another day or so of recovery. (I took Sunday off and ran 5 miles yesterday which felt much better.)

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                          2015 Boston Marathon Race Recap


                          Until Monday, my PR has been 3:21:22 – for six years. That’s a long time. Especially considering I’ve spent the last two years training for a PR.  Running a PR became my own elusive unicorn – something that until Monday, I wasn’t 100% sure would ever happen based on recent races.

                          Maybe I just needed to go back to Boston. My two fastest marathons – ever – have been run in Boston. The previous two springs (2013 and 2014) I chose the NJ Marathon over Boston because I was focused on that PR and assumed picking a flat course over the hilly and challenging Boston course would mean an automatic PR for me. But NJ chewed me up and spit me out both years. But not Boston. For whatever reason, I run well in Boston.

                          Maybe it’s the rolling course and it’s ability for me to break the course up into easily manageable segments.
                          Maybe it’s the crowd and spectator support (I really feed off the energy).
                          Maybe it’s because I respect the course so I go out more conservatively than I would for flatter and supposed “easier” marathons.
                          Maybe I am a better hill climber than I give myself credit for.
                          Maybe Boston is just my race.

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                            26Strong: Looking for a Female Wannabe Marathoner!!

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                            me and hallie2

                            If you’ve been reading here for a bit, you may remember that I participated in the 2013 Saucony 26 Strong Campaign. I had a blast – and especially loved mentoring and coaching my “cadet”, Hallie, as she trained for her first marathon.

                            I was fortunate enough to be asked to participate in the 2014 Saucony 26 Strong Campaign last year and got to share the journey with my youngest sister, Nicole. Saucony sent us to Hawaii to run the Honolulu Marathon and it was truly an experience of a lifetime! Running 26.2 miles by her side and being with her as she crossed her first finish line was so incredibly special.

                            I’m SO SO excited to share that I have been asked to participate in Saucony’s 26 Strong program again!! This year, Saucony and Competitor are once again putting together a team of 13 “veteran” marathoners and 13 “cadets”. But this time, the goal race is the 2015 Chicago Marathon!

                            SO, that’s where you come in. I am looking for a wannabe marathoner to run side-by-side with me for the 2015 Chicago Marathon!!!! I will run your pace, grab your water, hold your gels, be your cheerleader and support you as much as I can as we cross the finish line together (and promise to not annoy you too much throughout it all!).

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                              3:15 -> Long Time Coming!!


                              So thankful that I saw Pavey at the finish – and will be forever grateful he captured a special moment for me!

                              I will write a full recap (or two) later this week but wanted to pop in and give a quick update on the 2015 Boston Marathon.

                              I am on cloud nine. The race could not have gone any better for me – fueling before and during was better than it’s ever been, I ran 100% by feel (I saw total time on my watch and only received the mile split notifications), Heartbreak did NOT break me, I ENJOYED every single mile, I high-fived the amazing spectators from the start until the finish and most importantly, did not let fear, doubt or pain get in the way of the race I knew I could run.

                              The weather was less than ideal but not as bad as I was expecting based on some of the forecasts I had seen.  The rain wasn’t a factor for me – I don’t even remember it coming down for most of the race (I think having some long runs in the rain and snow helped). The wind was there and you could definitely sense it slowing you down a bit (especially when the wind gusts came) but it seemed more of a crosswind for the first 20 or so miles (the wind was coming from the east and we run northeast for most of first part of race). The last 4-5 miles was when I really begin to feel the headwind. I tried to duck behind other runners which helped conserve energy and minimize the effects of the wind – but I ended up running more than 26.6 miles as a result of the weaving to try to find runners to shield me. (Note: garmin says 26.41 but I lost satellite going under an overpass the last 1/2 miles).

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                                2015 Boston Marathon -> One Week to Go


                                A week from today I’ll be running my 11th marathon – the 2015 Boston Marathon. After about 4-5 weeks of subpar runs and workouts, I’m more than thrilled to finally start to feel strong again. Runs are more enjoyable, my stride feels more natural and relaxed and I (finally) had a great workout last week.

                                Workout: 2 mile warmup, 8 mile AT tempo, 2 mile cooldown. Goal pace 6:55-7:05 for 8 miles. I decided to start on the slower end and see how I felt. The week prior’s workout of 4 x 2 didn’t leave me with a lot of confidence since even 7:00 pace felt difficult and uncomfortable.

                                I was on the treadmill for this workout again (husband was away). Incline was at 1% for entire run with occasional jumps (every 6-8 minutes) to 2% for 30 seconds at a time.

                                Splits: 7:08, 7:03, 6:58, 6:58, 6:55, 6:53, 6:48, 6:35. Average pace of 6:55. 

                                The run was definitely not easy but I hit the paces and felt stronger as the workout went on. So that’s a victory in my book.


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                                  Mentally Training for Boston

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                                  philly marathon

                                  (Some of the below was part of a post I wrote for Women’s Running)

                                  If you have been following me on social media or reading here for a bit, you probably know that I am not the strongest racer. It’s been a frustrating couple of years for me. I have these strong, successful training cycles (and yes, they ARE successful cycles even if I didn’t reach my goal on race day). I work my butt off during the cycle, but there was always something missing as each race began— and as a result, I came up well short of my goal.

                                  The mental strength was missing. I had spent months strengthening my body— nailing workouts, completing long runs. But I paid zero attention to the mental side of running. As a result, I was not prepared to quiet the negative thoughts when they started creeping in during the later miles of the marathons. My mind would quit long before my body was ready to. Once the mind gives up, the body doesn’t stand a chance.

                                  Learn to use your mind or your mind will use you. Actions follow our thoughts and images. Don’t look where you don’t want to go. – Gary Mack

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                                    Boston Marathon Training (T-9)

                                    valentine's day

                                    I feel like my motivation to run in the cold is dwindling. I think it’s easier to suck it up and run in sub-0 temps when you know it’s just one or two days. But, for the last week, it’s been mostly sub-0 in the AM – and the 7 day forecast doesn’t look any better.

                                    Too funny not to share…and kind of what I have been feeling!

                                    Last week included a bunch of treadmill runs. Monday’s mid-week long run, Wednesday’s tempo, Saturday’s long tempo, Sunday’s recovery – all happened on the treadmill. Wednesday and Saturday I opted for the treadmill because the real-feel was single digits and my coach and I both felt that it was okay this week to use the treadmill to get the workout in (I would have had to adjust my paces significantly if I did them outside to account for the cold temps). Tuesday and Thursday were early morning runs outside (small victories).

                                    Planned: 10-11 miles with 6-8x :20 strides

                                    Actual: 11 miles with 8x :20 strides

                                    I followed the same plan as last week’s run and incorporated a lot of 1:00 spurts of climbing. This week was 20x 1:00 at 4.5% incline. The remaining time was at 0% to give my achilles a break. Changing up the incline and / or pace are the only way I can get through a treadmill run these days. Although this run was almost 90 minutes, it went by surprisingly fast since I was playing with the incline every 1-3 minutes!

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                                      What Do You Need To Run Your First Marathon (Women’s Running Post)

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                                      Happy Wednesday! Hope you are having a great week! I shared my thoughts on the necessities of running your first 26.2 miles on Women’s Running several weeks ago. What are your thoughts? What’s really necessary and what can you forget about?


                                      Is 2015 the year of your first marathon? Or maybe you are itching to give the marathon a try but not sure if you are ready to make the jump? Whatever the case may be, the decision to run your first marathon is a big one – and can certainly be intimidating. There’s no shortage of information out there for advice, gear and training plans. But what is really necessary (and what can you skip) for your first 26.2?

                                      The Necessities

                                      • Desire: This may seem obvious, but it’s important that you 100% are committed to the distance for your own reasons. If you are signing up for the marathon for anyone except yourself, you may end up quitting when things get tough.
                                      • Running Base: You don’t need to be logging 40 miles a week to be ready to run a marathon. But having a solid base is imperative. You should be running about three times/week, ideally for about a year, before you decide to make the jump to marathons.
                                      • Training Program: There are tons of great, free training plans for you that will get you ready for 26.2 miles without overtraining. Find one that starts off with your current fitness level (base mileage/number of days per week) as well as one that doesn’t stretch you too thin by the end. For example: if work, family, other commitments or even desire prohibit you from running more than three to four days/week, do not select one that has six days of running!
                                      • The Right Shoes: The more mileage you are logging, the more important the shoes on your feet become. Read this post for the top-5 shoe buying tips for runners.
                                      • Pre- and Mid-Run Fuel: All of your runs up until this point may have been completed without mid-run fuel – or even worrying about pre-run fuel. However, once your mileage begins increasing, fueling becomes more and more important. There is a wide variety of gels, chomps, beans, etc. Give a few a try over the course of your training to find what works best for you.
                                      • Time: The core of marathon training is the long run – which may be just 6-8 miles when you begin but will build up to 20 miles at the peak of training. You’ll need a solid block of time at some point during the week (doesn’t need to be on the weekend) to get those miles in (at least 3-4 hours is a reasonable estimate).
                                      • Your Goal Race: Again, an obvious one…but when it comes down to it, picking your first marathon can be a bit overwhelming. Before you begin the training plan, you’ll want to have a race and date selected so you can ensure that you have enough time to get those long runs in! (Not sure how to go about finding the ideal marathon for you? Check back next week for tips on how to select your first marathon!)

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                                        Boston Marathon Training (T-11)

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                                        Photo via Twitter

                                        Well, apparently we have another six weeks of winter to look forward to. Way to go, Punxsutawney Phil.

                                        I remember saying a few weeks ago that I felt like winter had been fairly mild. Yes, we had some cold days. But we hadn’t had any snow or any days where it was just plain miserable to be out running. Well, all that changed rather quickly and last week was a another week of horrendous weather (that much of the country has been dealing with).

                                        I managed to run outside three times – and was forced to the treadmill the other three (once because of the blizzard and twice because of ice on the ground).

                                        Planned: 8-9 miles with 6×20 sec strides
                                        Actual: 10 miles – no strides

                                        I did this run as the snow was starting to fall Monday morning – I knew that at least two days would likely be on treadmill so I wanted to save my I’m going to lose my mind cards for later in the week when it was 100% necessary.

                                        It was actually quite beautiful to be out while the snow was starting to fall but I opted out of the strides because the roads were pretty slushy by the time I was finishing up.

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