For the past 16 weeks, I have been running three times a week to make my triumphant return to marathon running with the New York City Marathon. Lucky for me, my cousin works for New York City Road Runners and had two entries into the race this year for family and friends. Also lucky for me, my Aunt lives in New Jersey (30 minutes outside of the city) and my cousin lives in New York City. When she told me about it, I knew it was an opportunity that I couldn’t just pass up. This is the marathon of a lifetime (excluding Boston) and a world class event that if I had a chance to run, would definitely take.
So far in my life I’ve run 5 marathons: Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Pittsburgh x 3 (which I will never, ever do again but that’s a topic for another post). I took 2-3 years off of marathon running solely because the training is absolutely brutal. The long runs, the commitment to running frequently throughout the weeks, and the ice baths. But I knew that if I chose to do this marathon, I would do it on my terms. I would train how I wanted to train, at the pace I wanted, and with the amount of miles I wanted.
So 16 weeks later I am sitting here injury free, eating all the carbs (400 grams plus) to get ready for the race, and feeling pretty excited to get another 26.2 miles under my belt. I had multiple long runs; the longest and most recent were 18 miles, 20 miles and I went for 22 miles – just because. Taper mode is totally on and I am like a race horse getting revved to run and get all of this pent up energy out there.
The last few marathons that I ran, I obsessed about my long runs. They had to be done on Saturday or Sunday. Those were the only days I thought long runs could be done, that was until my husband thought of an even better plan. Since I work shift work and work weekends, he thought…wouldn’t it make sense to do your long runs on your days off? Whether that be a Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday or Tuesday? GENIUS I tell you. I never thought of it that way, but this cycle I did just that…and guess what…I didn’t get any anxiety about my long runs or bent out of shape if they were on a day other than the weekend. My long runs actually felt amazing, with the exception of 22 only because it was so hot that day. I felt stronger and my legs felt more able to complete the miles than any other prior marathons I trained for.
I also only rain 3 days a week. I know what you runners reading this are thinking; THREE DAYS?! That’s not enough mileage. But for my body, it is. My IT band flairs up terribly if I run more mileage than my body can handle. So three days a week worked for my schedule as well as my body. I ran my long runs a little faster and kept my pace up during the week to make sure I was using these runs in the best way.
Overall I am ready for this race. With 50,000 runners and even more spectators, I know it’s going to be an amazing race. I fuel early (starting at mile 4) and often (every 4-5 miles after that) so that I don’t run out of glycogen. I can’t wait to tour all 5 boroughs and to get some delicious New York food. I can’t wait to see my cousin and Aunt and hang out with them for a few days. I don’t really have a goal time for this marathon. I just want to enjoy it entirely. My paces have me shooting for around 4 hours, which is totally fine with me.
We’ll see what happens Sunday, but as my old cross country coach used to say before a big meet: “The hay is in the barn and the barn door is closed.”