Weeks 4 and 5 of NYC Marathon Training

Magnificent Mile Half

Five weeks down out of a 12 week plan! Yippee!

I have said it before, but I’ll say it again, I am really enjoying using a virtual training program as I prepare for the New York City Marathon on November 1. I get an email every evening reminding me of my run for the next day and I can log all of my runs and times online. Even better, the program has been adjusting suggested paces as I have logged my times to reflect the fact that I am running faster than anticipated.

Week four was all about the lead up to the Magnificent Mile Half Marathon on September 6. This was my first half marathon in a year and a half and I thought it would be good practice on my way to the marathon and would give me a better sense of my fitness level.

Week Four:

Monday, 8/31: While I was scheduled for a three mile run, I took the day off instead, still pretty tired and sore from my 14 mile long run the previous day.

Tuesday, 9/1: I shifted this week around a bit, doing Monday’s three mile run today at an 11:12 pace, followed up by my regular physical therapy exercises for my back and some weights.

Wednesday, 9/2: Today I did the five mile interval run that had been on tap for Tuesday (but today was a scheduled flex day, so this is where I could catch up). It was a hot and humid morning, but I got the intervals in, averaging just over 11:00 per mile overall.

Thursday, 9/3: Since I have a race on Sunday, the schedule called for me to do a “pseudo-long run” today – so I got up crazy early and got in seven whole miles before work in crazy high humidity! I was sopping wet with sweat by the time I finished, but I got it in at an 11:06 pace – not bad at all considering the humidity.

Friday, 9/4: A rest day! Yay!

Saturday, 9/5: Today was an “as you feel” run of just three miles – so basically running a route I know well without timing it. This was a good warm up for the half marathon the next day.

Sunday, 9/6: Half marathon day! I was very nervous about the weather beforehand as the forecast called for it to be close to 80 about halfway through the race. The race coordinators had runner Lauren Fleshman there leading warm ups, which I followed along with (not something I normally do!) and I think it really helped to loosen me up more than usual. I decided to start with the 2:30 pace group even though I hoped to finish in at least 2:25 or even 2:20. After only a mile or so, I decided to speed up past the pace group and soon settled into a very steady 10:45ish pace. I think my experience hiking in the Balkans earlier this summer in 90+ degrees helped me with the heat because I really didn’t feel too bad from it. In the end, I finished in 2:20:48, which I was pretty happy with!

Week Five

My big question this week was how I would recover from the half marathon and how I would deal with a crazy busy work schedule AND a trip to New York.

Monday, 9/7: Today was a MUCH needed rest day, although I did a full hour of yoga in the morning to help stretch me out from Sunday’s race.

Tuesday, 9/8: I got in four miles today at a surprisingly easy pace of 10:50. I thought I would still be feeling some effects from the half marathon, but apparently not!

Wednesday, 9/9: Tonight was another interval run – and desperately needed as I was super stressed at work and needed to let off some steam! I did two half mile intervals and two 3/4 mile intervals, covering six miles altogether in an average pace of 10:28. Go me!

Thursday, 9/10: Today wasn’t scheduled to be an off day, but I worked from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. so running was not in the cards!

Friday, 9/11: Today was a flex day, which I used to get in an hour of yoga.

Saturday, 9/12: This morning I was in New York for my run. I was staying further south than usual (37th street) so my three mile run barely got me to Central Park and back. On the plus side, I figured out that about every 20 blocks going north/south in New York is equal to about a mile.

Sunday, 9/13: Big day today as I was going a much-anticipated 16 mile run in New York! My plan was to try to follow the end of the marathon course in preparation for November. On the advice of some folks in the virtual training forum and using MapMyRun.com, I planned out a route from my hotel at 37th and 8th Avenue over to 1st Avenue and up to the Queensboro Bridge. Then I would head over the bridge and back before continuing up 1st Avenue to 138th and then over to 5th Avenue south again to Central Park.

Things did not go down like this! I was out the door by 6:30 a.m. with my fuel belt (with a small bottle of Gatorade and 2 packs of raisins) around my waist and carrying a bottle of water, as well as cash to buy more along the way if needed. It wasn’t super hot or humid so I wasn’t sure how much I would need. First of all, my Garmin and the MapMyRun app on my phone did not match up at all in terms of mileage – MapMyRun thought I was much further along than my Garmin. Second, when I got to 1st Avenue and 59th/60th, I couldn’t figure out how to get onto a pedestrian path to cross the Queensboro Bridge! So I had to scratch that plan. Instead, I went north on 1st Avenue to around 125th, where I ran into the same problem – I couldn’t see a pedestrian path to cross the bridge to continue up to 138th. So instead I detoured over to 5th Avenue and headed toward Central Park.

When I got to the park, I decided to make a full lap around the exterior before heading inside the park for the end of the run. Little did I know there was some big race for breast cancer taking place on the west side of the park! So I was fighting through serious crowds just to get through. I made it to the south end of the park and started heading east, only to run into folks from another race!!  So I gave up on the park altogether and ran over to Park Avenue and just ran north another two miles and then turned around and ran back south on Lexington to 34th and back over to 8th Avenue. At the end of the day, my Garmin said I logged 16 miles while MapMyRun said I did 16.5. Who knows? All I do know is I did the last four miles under an 11:00 pace, which is pretty great. Overall, I ran the 16 miles at an 11:34 pace, right on target.

Now, after increasing my mileage every week for the last month, I finally get a much needed cutback week this week. My 18 and 20 mile runs will be here before I know it!

Seven weeks of training left also means I have seven weeks left to meet my fundraising goal of $3,500 for the marathon! Please make a gift of any size today to support buildOn and the great work they do to promote education and alleviate poverty around the world!

2 thoughts on “Weeks 4 and 5 of NYC Marathon Training”

  1. What kind of physical therapy appointments were you doing for your back? My husband and I are training right now and he seems to have strained a muscle or something, while lifting baggage out of the car for my in-laws yesterday. Life has been insane lately and I know we should probably go get it looked at by a specialist, but we may not be able to afford that until next month, and I’d love some suggestions that might help his back until then.

    1. I’ve had an SI joint problem in the past, so I do a lot to strengthen my core and hips. Unfortunately, I don’t know how to describe anything very well that I’m doing – it includes clamshells, hip lifts, walks side to side with a resistance band around my ankles, planks and a few other things.

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