Does Running Ever Get Easier? (Women’s Running Post)

This is a post that was written for Women’s Running several weeks ago: ————- I ran the Honolulu Marathon last month with my youngest sister. It was her first marathon and without question, the most memorable, special 26.2 miles I’ve ever run. We finished hand-in-hand, smiling and crying happy tears. But it was a tough race for her from the start, due to stomach problems beginning at mile 4. Later that evening, as we were falling asleep in our room, she asked me: “Does running ever get easier?” It’s not an easy question to answer. I know I’ve had the same feelings and questions. There have been countless times I’ve thought about a speedier-than-me runner while completing a tough workout and wondered how easy their tempo runs or long runs must feel. Or thought about how easy it must be for them to be that fast. In my opinion, some aspects get easier. But others are just as hard, if not harder, as they were when I first started running marathons 10+ years ago. I think running truly never gets easy (especially if you are training for a time or goal or PR). It just changes over time. read more

Boston Marathon Training Update (T-12)

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I’m trying to get back into the habit of sharing my weekly training updates for my next marathon. Boston is 12 weeks away (from Monday). Mid-April sounds so far away, but in reality, it’s just ten long runs.  And for me, it’s actually only eight since two of my weekends are taken up with races (a one-miler and half marathon). Last week was another week of base building and getting used to running on a regular basis again. Because there were no speed workouts or set paces for any of the runs, I took advantage and ran all without a garmin. I’ve run the roads by my home so many times that I know the mile markers based on cracks in the road. Garmin-free running has made the last few weeks so incredibly enjoyable. There’s no worry or thought about pace – running too fast or even too slow – and just running what my body feels is right for the day. It’s allowed me to enjoy the simple act of running – and to fall in love with running all over again. read more

What Strength Exercises Should Runners Do?

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As I mentioned in my goal post a couple of weeks ago, I’ve been incorporating some strength work into my weekly routine for about 6-7 weeks now. I feel a difference – in literally every single run. Speedwork has been faster, long runs feel more comfortable and easy runs have been effortless (I have been running garmin-free for these so not sure about paces). It’s likely due to a few factors (reducing processed foods and sweets) but one of them is definitely the strength work that is now a regular addition to my weekly training plan. Below are a few of my favorite moves – I will preface this all by saying that I am not an expert, certified trainer or anything along those lines. So there may be more efficient moves that I can be doing or maybe I should be doing more reps, less weight – but these seem to be working for me. I tried to explain them as best I could as well! I’ve also been hesitant to share them because regardless of how I feel in training, the true test of whether strength work is paying off will come on race day. But I don’t Continue Reading →

When You DON’T Regret Skipping a Run

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I’m hosting an awesome giveaway for a Garmin Vivosmart – courtesy of Garmin – on Instagram! ——————————— After returning from Honolulu and running the marathon with my sister, I was ready to jump back into training. I took the following day off (which was a complete travel day) and began running on Tuesday (4 miles). I continued with nothing but easy-paced 8 milers the rest of the week – one day had 10×1 min on, 1 min off pickups in the middle. I went to bed Friday night excited and to resume long runs – coach had 19-20 on the training plan for me and physically, I felt ready. I woke up Saturday morning and from the moment my eyes opened, knew something was off. My head was aching and I felt like I was coming down with something. After a cup of coffee, I still didn’t feel any better and made the decision to skip the run for the day. Part of me wanted to just suck it up and go. I kept hearing various phrases and inspirational images that are often thrown around social media: The only run you regret is the one you don’t go on I never Continue Reading →

Birthday #33 + Finding My Rhythm

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Last week was a solid week of training. I feel like I have found my rhythm – I’m working hard during the workouts, running easy on the easy runs and feel recovered and energized through it all. I ran a total of 73 miles, did core work 4x, strength work 3x, cross trained 2x (30 min each on trainer) – and did most of it while single parenting for the week. My husband has been traveling a lot for work lately and I was worried about how I would fit in all of these miles either with the stroller or on the treadmill. I’ve learned that there will be always be an excuse if you let yourself have one. If you really want something, you will always find a way. I also know that there are plenty of people busier than me – either at home with their kids, working full time or managing full time work and being a parent. Anytime I start to make an excuse, I think of these people and how they make their training work…and suddenly my busy week seems a bit easier. 73 miles, 7 runs, 3 workouts. Highlights are below: read more

Marathon Madness + Foot Locker 5 Borough Challenge (again!)

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I realized last week that I am running three marathons in the next 8 weeks. I mean, I’ve known that I was running these three for a few weeks now, but I never sat down and thought about running THREE. It both excites and frightens me. I’ve run back-to-back-to-back marathons (+) once before – three years ago – when I was training for my first ultra and really enjoyed the experience. But, I am not racing all three marathons – there’s no way I could do this physically nor would it be smart to try to ask that much of my body. Below outlines the timing and purpose of each: – NYC Marathon – Nov 2 (12 days): I mentioned on social media already that I am running the NYC Marathon for a 3rd time this year. This was a late addition to my calendar – but a no brainer and honestly, trumps my own goal race two weeks later. I am honored for the opportunity to guide my good friend, John, for the race. John is participating in the Foot Locker 5 Borough Challenge and is representing Staten Island – just like I did three years ago. (Side Note: If you have Continue Reading →

2014 Staten Island Half Marathon Race Recap

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Happy Monday! I keep forgetting that today is a holiday. My oldest is off from school but my husband has work – so it doesn’t feel like an actual holiday! Yesterday was the Staten Island Half Marathon. It was the 4th time I ran this race. Other than the first year, I can’t say that I’ve had a good experience with the race. Here’s a quick run-down: – 2010: 2:00:15 – 6 months pregnant. Ran it with my husband and good friend from college. Had a blast! – 2011: 1:38:57 – Ran it as a tuneup 3 weeks before the NYC Marathon. Was shooting for sub-1:35 but started way too fast and had a rough 2nd half. – 2013: DNF – Ran it as a tuneup before the Philly Marathon 5 weeks later. Started fast and started feeling hamstring pain around mile 8 so stopped at mile 9. I really was focused on a strong race and effort, regardless of the finish time – but I also was looking to get a big course PR and try to get an overall PR. For some reason this course is considered a fast course – but I really don’t know many runners who will agree Continue Reading →

PR Spotlight: How To PR Every Race Distance in 12 Months

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It’s been a while since I featured a runner here. I am trying to get back into a better routine with blogging – and part of that is this feature which I think can help a lot of other runners! I’m excited to share the store of Joe, a local runner from Staten Island, who I have had the absolute pleasure of coaching for the last year. Joe reached out to me last summer after running a handful of races including the Brooklyn Half Marathon and Scotland 10k. He was looking to improve his running – no specific times or goals – just wanted to improve. He is now a few weeks away from his first marathon – the NYC Marathon! And he has set some pretty amazing PR’s along the way: – Mile: 8:11 —> 7:22 – 5 miler: 49:31 (9:55 pace) —> 44:37 (8:56 pace) – 10k: 1:01:59 (10:00 pace) —> 59:07 (9:32 pace) – 10 miler: 1:42:12 (10:14 pace) —> 1:35:48 (9:35 pace) – Half Marathon: 2:18:05 (10:33 pace) —> 2:08 (9:51 pace) read more

Want To Run Faster? Start Here.

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This post was originally posted on Women’s Running. It can be found here. ——– There are a ton of resources available if you are looking to get faster – websites, books, even other runners. But before you can start incorporating some of the workouts into your training, the first thing you probably want to do is become familiar with the lingo- which can be a bit overwhelming if you are newer to the sport. I didn’t understand what a lot of the terminology was until I had already been running for years, but once I did, I was much more open to adding speed workouts into my training. Below are some of the most common types of speedwork. There are literally endless variations for each (and you can even get crazy and combine a few of them!) – but these will give you a good foundation from which you can build upon. Fartlek: Fartlek means “speed play” in Swedish and involves short periods of fast running followed by short periods of slower running. There’s often no set distance or pace. You can even do it without a watch or Garmin. Fartleks are a great way to get your feet wet with Continue Reading →

5k PR -> 1st Sub-20!

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I showed up to the start of the RnR Philly 5k with no expectations. With the exception of a tough, tired interval workout this past week (that didn’t leave me feeling very optimistic), I hadn’t done formal speedwork in weeks (July 29th to be exact) and so didn’t have a good feel for how the race might go. My one goal was to run strong and consistent – to not go out too fast and finished satisfied with my effort and execution. Races like this turn out the best for me. No stress or pressure. Just the excitement of being at a race atmosphere (which I LOVE). The course was touted as being flat and fast – but just looking at the start and finish, I knew it wasn’t completely true (the finish had a very steep, short hill right at mile 3 – heartbreaker!). And the first mile was a very gradual decline (so mile 3 is a gradual incline). My garmin shows about 130 ft of gain (mapmyrun shows 110) – not anything huge – but even the smallest hill in a 5k feels like a mountain! read more

Staying Active as the Summer Ends

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As much as I look forward to summer, I’m always a little excited when it starts to come to an end. I love the crispness in the air as temperatures start to drop and I always have this overwhelming desire to do anything and everything outside again. Although this summer wasn’t sweltering like it has been in recent years, I still avoided some of the more demanding outdoor activities with the boys during the days in July and August (unless it involved a pool or water). But, as always, once the cooler days start coming around, my family and I try to take advantage of the weather and do as much outside as we can. Below are a few of our favorite activities: Nighttime Stroller Running: We’ve only been doing this a few weeks, but it’s a family favorite already. We either take the double and alternate pushing or we each take a single.  It’s a great way for my husband and I to catch up on our days, for the boys to get that last bit of fresh air and for us all to stretch our legs. Lately, the boys have been asking to “run” when we get close to home, so we Continue Reading →

New Fall Marathon + How To Run A Faster Marathon

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So not so great news to share…I have deferred my entry for the Wineglass Marathon until next year. Life, family and circumstances sometimes get in the way of our big plans and goals and as much as I was looking forward to racing in a few short weeks, ultimately, it really was the best decision for me, my training and my family. (Not trying to be vague but also not sharing all the details here.) I hope to still race a marathon sometime in November – just haven’t registered for one yet. My short-list (right now) includes: Philly, Richmond and Potomac River Run. Have you raced any of these? Thoughts? ——————————- I wanted to share my thoughts on how to run a faster marathon. Let me preface this all by saying that after taking a considerable amount of time off from my first to second marathons, I’ve mostly stayed at the same finish time (I’m working on improving that time right now and will obviously update this as necessary when I do!). read more

Falmouth Race Recap

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Sunday was such an amazing day and I am extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in such a historic and celebrated event. (If you are unfamiliar with the history of the race, you can read about it here.) Unfortunately, it was not a good day of racing for me. It was a start too fast, crash on the hills, crash a little harder from the heat/humidity and suffer for about 50% of the race. Before I get into the racing specifics, I wanted to share an overview of the day. Race Morning Wakeup was scheduled for 5am but ended up being around 4:30am when my oldest son decided it was a good time to start the day. And the whole room was awake by 5! The good news is that I didn’t have to fumble around in the dark trying to be quiet. The bad news is that I left my husband with a dog and two tired kids while I went and raced. I had some coffee, got dressed and made my way down to the lobby by 5:45am to meet Chris (who was also racing) for our hour+ drive to the Cape. We were parked Continue Reading →

Training Update: Good Intentions

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Just a reminder to get your daily vote in for the Runner’s World Cover Contest! Prior to our trip to Alaska, I hadn’t taken a day off from running in weeks. My new coach has me running seven days a week right now – often one long run, one or two workouts and the remainder easy/recovery runs (8 miles each)- with one of those being lower mileage (5-6 miles). It’s definitely out of my comfort zone and I’ve always been a big proponent of having one full rest day, but I’ve put my faith in my experienced coach and will follow what he prescribes. It’s been a while (= weeks) since I’ve given any type of training updates, so before I get into my running in Alaska, let me rewind a bit more. Week Prior to Vacation: 7 runs, 2 workouts, 59 miles Workout #1: 10 miles w/ 5x mile repeats with 1/4 mile recovery (roughly 2:15-2:30). Splits: 6:35, 6:33, 6:34, 6:37, 6:39. Positive splits were the name of the game. It was 81 degrees + 62 dew point = 143 suck factor. I knew I should adjust the target paces but my body doesn’t always follow what my mind Continue Reading →

Training Catch Up + Fall Marathon Plans

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I’m honored to have been selected as one of the 10 Fittest People You Aren’t Following on Instagram. I’m in some pretty amazing company, too. ———————– It’s been a bit since I updated you on training. So here is a quick overview of the last few weeks…I’m a couple of weeks into training again post-NJ Marathon and am beginning to see signs of the leg turnover returning. The first couple of workouts were painful – I wasn’t hitting paces I had hit in the fall nor did I get into a rhythm during the workouts. And they just felt like “blah”. It’s hard to stay positive after workouts like these – but I have been reminding myself that this training cycle is long and my target race isn’t until October – so I have months to work hard and improve. It’s about patience and focusing on the small steps we take each week that will add up to the huge jumps we are hoping for on race day. read more

National Running Day + Adding Fun into Training

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Happy National Running Day! I’m sure you’ve been inundated with information about events and deals…so here’s just a quick recap if you haven’t heard yet: Westin Hotels: If you are in NYC today, come by Westin Grand Central at 10:30 for a chance to win some free gear, meet NY Yankees pitcher David Roberston and go on a 5k run! Timex: Use hashtag #IMARUNNER on Twitter and Instagram to celebrate the day. For every use of #IMARUNNER on National Running Day, Timex will donate $5, up to $20,000, towards the Boomer Esiason Foundation’s Team Boomer program.  Individuals who contribute content via the hashtag #IMARUNNER will also be qualified to win Timex® IRONMAN® watches. Sparkly Soul Giveaway: Enter to win one of three 5-packs of headbands Rock ‘n’ Roll Races/Festival: Register today and save $20 on all US races (today only), learn about the new Running Festival at 5 locations across US Rock ‘n’ Roll Fun Runs: 21 locations across US and Canada are hosting fun runs I Run This Body gear: All shirts are on sale (today only!) NYRR events: Fun runs, giveaways and/or water stations will be set up at various locations across NYC. Women’s Running Magazine: Subscribe today for only $1 an issue! Continue Reading →

Fast is a State Of Mind

For years when I was younger, I viewed myself as fast – I was point guard on my high school basketball team and remember being able to chase down almost anyone on the court to steal the ball away. Then West Point and our basic training (aka Beast Barracks) began. On our 1st morning, we took a physical fitness test which concluded with a 2 mile run. Each morning, the 1,000 or so of my classmates would do exercises with our companies and then we’d split off into run groups based on the run times from the PT test. My ego took a hit when I learned that my run time (16:02 for 2 miles) put me in the Red Group – the slowest group of runners. I was no slower than I had been the previous couple of years, but for the first time in my life, I felt slow. And I remember being so envious of some of my girlfriends who could effortlessly run sub-13:00 times and wonder how they were SO fast. Running those paces seemed unfathomable to me. Over the course of my four years at West Point and first few years as an officer in the Continue Reading →

Transitioning to Ultras -> Tips from an Ultra Runner

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I periodically receive questions about ultra running – how to make the transition into longer distances, nutrition, training, etc. I’ve run a big ‘ole one ultra – a 60k a couple of years ago and while I loved it and definitely plan to run more ultras in the future, I know I am not the person that should be offering advice on races more than 26.2 miles. I think there is the misperception that you need to run a ton of miles more each week to transition to ultras. Or that you need to walk away from road races and marathons completely…you can easily transition to longer distances by piggybacking on your marathon training and can mix both into your racing calendar for the year. And so while most readers here are probably running the marathon distance {or less}, I thought it might be beneficial to have an post on longer distances in case you were toying with the idea of giving it a try. I reached out to my friend, Claire, to see if she would be willing to provide some information.  I shared Claire’s story about 18 months ago – right after she became the youngest female (EVER) to finish Continue Reading →

The Line Between Dedicated and Obsessed

I was pretty beat up after my fall marathon (hindsight: I am pretty darn happy with how I did – it was one of my fastest marathons I’ve ever run). As most people do after a missed goal, I tried to pinpoint some areas that needed improvement. But even more importantly was trying to figure out why I was so devastated – missing my goal felt like my world had just ended (not exaggerating here). I moped for several weeks, whined in this post and then after some feedback, told myself to buck up and move on. Six months removed from the race and I can 100% say that I focused too much on that one race, that it meant too much to me. I had become obsessed with a single goal and it completely controlled my life. I have a very “all or nothing”, somewhat OCD personality (I’m not diagnosed OCD – just have some OCD tendencies). I feel that if I can’t dedicate myself 100% to any goal I set – whether it’s running, cleaning the house or blogging –  then it’s not worth the time. I love setting goals, coming up with a plan and then doing x, y and Continue Reading →

Running Catch Up + Sparkly Soul Winners

I hope you had a wonderful weekend! I flew to Charleston, SC on Thursday afternoon for one of my college (/Army) girlfriend’s bachelorette celebrations with my closest classmates. I stayed up late, did some drinking, danced and laughed harder than I have in years, saw some sights and tried delicious local cuisine. And as I write this, I still feel like I need a few days to recover. So definitely a successful weekend. —————— I wrapped up my first week training post-marathon with a total of 56 miles spread over 7 runs. Here’s how the mileage broke down: – Monday: 8 miles on a new route by my home + drills. I got into the habit of doing almost the same route for the majority of my training runs in the fall and winter. Does anyone else do that? One of my goals this training cycle is to find different routes so that my body doesn’t get used to the same little hills and so that I work different muscles each day. I found a 4(ish) mile loop with 3 long climbs and a ton of small rollers on Monday’s run – not a route I will use for intervals Continue Reading →