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 →

Saucony Shoes + BOMF Entry Giveaway Winners

After two weeks of recovery after the NJ Marathon, I am ready – physically and mentally – to begin training again. Not marathon training per-say (still have to finalize a fall goal race) but really any sort of training feeds into marathon training (if done correctly). I am focusing on consistency, building a solid foundation (mileage, strength/core work) and improving on speed in the shorter distances (<10k). I am actually racing my first 5k in a couple of weeks (I ran a 5k with the double stroller last summer) – kind of excited and freaking out about it all at the same time. Anyway, more to come on my plans for the next couple of months as well as some details about my new coach (yay!). So now onto the fun stuff – winners of some of the giveaways! Please email me at nycrunningmama@gmail.com so we can get the prizes sent over to you ASAP! Back on My Feet – Shannon C. Saucony shoes – Katrina P. Congratulations to both ladies!! The winners will have one week to contact me (I will also email you) before a backup winner is selected. read more

NJ Marathon – Take 2

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Sunday will be my second attempt at the NJ Marathon. After last year’s bonking and DNF’ing (ugh), I thought I would never want to give this marathon another shot. I guess time makes the sting go away a bit because here I am…two days out from running the NJ Marathon. I have some times in mind that I’d like to run Sunday, but similar to the LA Marathon, I am really looking to just have a steady race.  Truth is, I am not totally sure what I am capable of running. I ran a lot of miles on the treadmill this winter. I wimped out a bunch during the brutal winter and then had to rely on the treadmill more than I wanted the last couple of months with my husband’s work schedule (he was gone for lengthy trips a handful of times). But rather than dwell on the “what ifs” or what I didn’t do, I’m focusing on what I DID these last 7 weeks (since the LA Marathon): 2 x 20 milers, 2x 18 milers (including an 18 miler with lots of miles at goal pace) First 80+ mile week Changed up some workouts – did a few tough Continue Reading →

Weekend Happenings and Training Catch Up

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Happy Monday!! I started off this morning with a 20+ mile run. Truth be told, I had initially planned on getting this run in yesterday but after a jam packed, fun and exhausting weekend, I made the decision to postpone it one day. I felt that it was better to get more sleep and recover from the weekend’s festivities before I put my body through any more stress. I wanted the run to be outside which meant that the run had to happen before my husband had to go to work…which meant starting before 5am. That’s still a bit too early and dark to be running alone (for my liking) so I did the first 7 on the treadmill and then layered up (it was 38 degrees this morning!) and ran another 13.3 outside. I’m really happy with how consistent the splits were – 7:42 pace inside and 7:38 pace outside and with the exception of the first two miles of each, all miles were between 7:28-7:44. The 20 miles also capped off a great week of training and a great weekend with family and friends: read more

Falling Off the Early Morning Workout Train

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To subscrive via email to NYC Running Mama, click here! ———————- I’ve always been an early morning riser – I can remember being in grade school and waking up early each morning so that I could shower, have breakfast and watch TV – all while the rest of my family was still sleeping. The Army and I got along great because I enjoyed the super early wakeups for physical training (PT) or other drills. When running entered my life, it immediately occupied my “first-thing in the morning” space and I’ve never really looked back. I feel more productive throughout the day, I tend to make better choices about food and I’m more committed to getting my workout in when it is first thing in the morning. After Philly and Rehoboth, I gave my body a break from early morning wakeups and slept in a lot. It was glorious. After months of really early workouts for Philly and Lake Placid, it was amazing to not have to rush out the door at 5am to ensure I’d be back in time for my husband to go to work. Some days I was able to run while the boys napped, other days the Continue Reading →

My Favorite Home Workout DVDs

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After making the commitment a few weeks ago to get back into the habit of doing core and strength work on a more regular basis, I decided to purchase a few workout DVDs to help me stay on track. I have some regular exercises that I enjoy doing, but have heard amazing things about barre classes and wanted to do more Pilates and felt that a little structure would be the best for me. After mentioning the DVDs to a couple of friends and then on twitter, I saw that there were quite a number of people interested, so I figured I’d share them here. *Note: These DVDs were purchased by me – I am not affiliated with the companies or with Amazon.com. Pilates Abs Workout (with Ana Caban) I first purchased this DVD over TEN years ago. I remember doing the 30-minute DVD on a fairly regular basis when I was a 2LT living in Sierra Vista, Arizona. Each morning, I would head to the gym for my cardio and then return home to complete either a yoga or Pilates DVD.  Unfortunately, the DVD was lost at some point so I haven’t done this workout in years but was ecstatic Continue Reading →

Update on Training -> Be Smarter Than Me

If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you may have seen that I briefly mentioned I was having knee pain the last few weeks. But I haven’t gone into detail…so here it it is: About three weeks ago, I began feeling something in my left knee. It wasn’t painful – just kind of a tweak when I was walking up/down the stairs and at the start of each run. Since it wasn’t painful, I decided to continue with my scheduled running that week – including mile repeats on Thursday evening and an 18 miler Saturday. No pain during either of those stress workouts but by Saturday afternoon, my knee had had enough and I had a hard time even walking up the stairs. Mistake #1 -> I should have skipped the speedwork on Thursday and even taken a day or two off to let my knee rest. I had just changed shoes the week prior and I don’t think I was getting the support that I was used to. Sometimes all it takes is a day or two off with some icing or stretching to let your body reset. read more

Tempos vs Intervals

Two quick things to share: First, my good friend, Kristin (who is also running the LA Marathon – yay!) is running 37 miles on a treadmill on Friday for charity. She is also hosting a virtual race in conjunction with her run (you can win some awesome prizes!). You can read all about it (and how to donate!) here. Second, Zulily picked their 10 Favorite Health and Fitness Bloggers and I’m thrilled that I made the list along with some of my friends: Christine, Kristin, Madeline and Katie!   ———– I’ll be the first to admit that until a couple of years ago, I wasn’t completely sure of the difference between tempo and interval workouts. I knew that intervals should be faster than tempos, but I didn’t understand the purpose of either nor did I know what distance/time/pace I should be running them at. Today, I have a better understanding of their importance as well as how to incorporate them into my training plan (I am constantly learning and improving on this and am NOT an expert by any means!).  I typically aim for two workouts each week during marathon training – often one tempo and interval. read more

Keeping The Dream Alive

So first, I want to give a special CONGRATS to one of the runners I coach – Joe D (from Staten Island) who ran a 6+ minute PR at the Fred Lebow Half Marathon this past weekend! Despite super frigid temperatures and a tough course (two+ loops of Central Park including Harlem Hill), he ran a steady, strong race.  His slowest mile was his first (!!) and his three fastest miles were miles 9, 10 and 13! Congratulations, Joe!! =) —————- I found out on Wednesday that I was selected by Daily Burn as a Fitstagrammie. Dailyburn created a list of the 25 Best Instagram Accounts to Follow and somehow I made the list amidst names like Lauren Fleshman, Lindsey Vonn, Nike, ToneItUp and Blogilates. I feel a bit out of my league but grateful and honored to be selected. ———————- I go through love-hate relationships with the long run. I feel like it’s a pendulum that is frequently moving back and forth. I’ve had some terrific periods where I looked forward to my 2-3 hour workout each weekend. But I’ve had my share of stretches where I dread it and spend the whole run counting down the miles rather Continue Reading →

Miles for Meg + The Beauty of Flexibility

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Another week of training for the LA Marathon is complete. It was a good week of running and I was able to get in all my planned runs while also hitting my highest mileage (of this training cycle) – 64! Monday: 10 treadmill miles (8:06 pace). Nothing exciting about this except that I finished watching Homeland – holy WOW. That is all I will say (I was super late to the Homeland party and started watching the show a few weeks ago). Side note: My last position in the military was division lethal targeting officer. I was in charge of the Intelligence for my division while we were stationed in Baghdad and in some ways, it was similar to things Carrie does in the show (I did not run assets or go out on my own or anything like that!) It was the best, most rewarding, exciting job I had during my six years in the Army. Tuesday: 8 treadmill miles with a 2×2 mi tempo in the middle. Splits of 6:53, 6:48 for the first set and 6:47, 6:40 for the second (with 3 min active recovery in between). I am really happy with how this workout went. Faster paces are starting Continue Reading →

Treadmill Running with Little Ones

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As I’ve talked about a few times, I am not the biggest fan of the cold weather (by cold, I mean <25 degrees) nor running in the pitch black at 5am. So I tend to rely on the treadmill a lot during the winter months. Since we have one in our basement, I also tend to sleep in more since I have the luxury of running during the day while I am home with the boys.  On average, I’d say that 2-3 runs/week have been happening during the day and the other runs occur earlier in the morning before my husband goes to work. Truth is, my youngest is still a bit too young to have around while I run. We don’t have anything blocking the front of the treadmill and I am too worried he will just wander over mid-run.  Actually, yesterday was the first time I attempted to run when both boys were awake. It took an episode of Sesame Street to keep my youngest sitting on the couch and away from me, but it worked and I manged to run a few miles. But normally, I only run while he is napping and since the boys’ naps are Continue Reading →

Running in Cold Weather

It’s that time of year again, friends! I didn’t think that we would see temps in the 30s for another few weeks but winter seems to have crashed the party early. I tweeted this out before my run Saturday morning as a way to convince myself to dress the way I knew I should and I got a lot of feedback from others that they needed to hear this as well…so I decided to share it here: It was 35 degrees at the start of my long run Saturday morning and I was having a hard time deciding what to wear. I always have the urge to overdress…it’s hard not to when you sitting inside, in a heated house, sipping on a warm cup of coffee, dressed in long pants and a comfy sweater. Who wants to strip down to shorts and a long-sleeved shirt at that point and brave the cold? Umm. NOT me. I wanted to share some things I {try to} keep in mind when running in cold weather. Keep in mind that each person will have a different threshold for cold tolerance. You may opt for pants, layers, gloves at different temps than I do (and Continue Reading →

Halloween + Longest Long Run

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Well, friends…we are officially in peak week! AGH! I feel like the last few weeks have completely flown by. And let’s not even begin to discuss that the big day is now less than three weeks away. This past weekend was my longest long run of the training cycle. My coach wanted me to run for 3:05. No set pace or distance. I was supposed to “just run” for 185 minutes. The purpose was to get some time on my feet. All of my long runs up until this weekend have been 16-18 milers (+ one 20) and have maxed out at 2:30. Since I’m going after a specific time and I need to run strong from start to finish, it was important to do a really long run. Despite knowing I was going to be running for over 3 hours, I wasn’t nervous at all (a change for me for a long run!) and somewhat excited about the run. It was really great not having to worry about anything except moving – no marathon goal pace miles, no fast finish. My plan was to look at my garmin as little as possible and run on how I was feeling. I Continue Reading →

Finding the Motivation: Running Truths

Truth: There are some days where I wake up not wanting to run.  I doubt if there is anyone who really truly wakes up every morning with the burning desire to run. I’d say 90% of the time, I’m pretty quick to pop up when the alarm goes off…there is virtually no hesitation on those mornings. But the other 10% of the time is a fight to get me out the door.  I want to go back to sleep or just sit on the floor with the boys while I drink my coffee in my comfy pjs rather than brave the dropping temps outside {did winter not get the memo that it’s only October?}. But, I’m getting better with dealing with the 10% mornings. Below are some ways I try to fight/deal with them. Truth: It’s okay to not want to run every. single. day. I used to berate myself every time I didn’t want to run. Convinced myself I wasn’t serious about training or that I wasn’t a real runner. I would end up not running and feeling like crap the rest of the day. Truth: I am training hard and I have the desire to improve. I’m becoming more accepting of these days and Continue Reading →