Time to Focus: NYC Marathon

Thanks to the hip flexor and adductor injury in January, the year didn't start off the way I'd hoped it would. My races have been pretty random and without any time goals. 'Training' has more or less been doing what I can to get myself back to running while mitigating the hip tightness. I didn't run the 50K in June because I couldn't yet climb, and there hasn't been a half marathon PR attempt since last October. However, the hip now seems to be doing ok (knock on wood) and I need to let myself stop worrying and move on.

It's time to focus on an actual goal race: the NYC Marathon.

My training plan is set up on RunCoach.com, which I've been using off and on for the last three months to see if I like it. There is a membership fee to access their training plans, but I was lucky enough to have a really good discount and decided to give it a try. The site uses an algorithm to create a training plan based on things you enter: preferences, past race times, logged workouts, and so on. You can recalculate the plan at any time if you have new race times or after a few weeks of logging workouts. I'm not yet convinced I can run the plan as it looks pretty aggressive for my abilities, but I suppose I'll never know if I don't try.

August Training Calendar

The most overwhelming part of the plan is the speed work. I'm incredibly scared of speed work in general, and the days with 11-12 or 12-13 miles of it after work don't feel remotely doable to me. Really, those workout are mile repeats and probably not that bad, and if I need to I could cut some of the repeats down to my ability level. We'll see how it goes. I'm telling myself not to give up until I at least try it. Confidence, right?

Example of a long speed workout. More of those come along in September.

What I DO really like about RunCoach.com is how interactive it is for logging workouts and for changing preferences. You choose how many days per week you want to run, plus it's really easy to set what days you prefer rest, cross-training, long runs, and speed work. I have always struggled with taking plan outlines and deciding how to move things around to fit my schedule, and this program does it all for me. 

Preferences and Pace Chart page.

My main race goal for NYC is to prepare well and to finish feeling strong (unlike last year at CIM where I fell apart), ideally under 4:25 for a small PR. My current PR is 4:28 from December 2013 and I think I can beat it, but I also know that NYC isn't generally a great PR course and that it'll be very crowded. And even more, this is the NYC Marathon we're talking about - a once in a lifetime event - I want to enjoy the experience without a crazy time goal!

One last thing to mention: I'm running NYC on the Every Mother Counts charity team and I'm at 48% of my fundraising goal. Any amount helps, and I'd love you're support if you are up for it! You can find my donation site here.

Now tell me, what is your fall race? How is training? What is your favorite marathon training plan?
  1. This looks so cool! Maybe I'll try to hunt down a discount code!

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    1. It's definitely cool, let me know what you think if you try it. They have a 30 day free trial too (or they do sometimes.)

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  2. Way to go. I know you can do it. I need to check out this website for some advice for training for my first marathon!

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    1. Thanks! I'm enjoying how interactive it is, let me know what you think if you try it out!

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  3. Oh wow, that site looks awesome! My marathon training just started too. I'm piggybacking off of my running partner's coaches plan. It's weird because it's time based, not mile based so that's taking some getting used to! Good luck with your training, I can't wait to follow along!

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    1. Good idea to use the partner's plan, although time based would be hard for me to get used to also. Good luck!

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  4. I'm in week two of training for my 3rd half coming up in October. I have a pretty ambitious plan to shave 9 minutes off my PR (to bring me in under 2 hours). I'm using a Nike+ training plan and it's pretty aggressive, running 6 days a week, and I'm already a little tired just looking at the plan. I'm just trying to remind myself that you can't make huge changes without a big investment of time and effort

    Does Run Coach offer plans based on desired finish time?

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    1. You can totally do it - my half PR went from 2:04 to 1:57 in one swoop - after lots of speedwork. Good luck!

      And RunCoach lets you base on recent past times, which is how it gave me the pace chart. Mine is based on a recent half where I felt good. I need to look more into setting a specific time goal, but it's definitely working with pace targets.

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  5. I love RunCoach! I've been using it for about 2 years now & I've run so many PRs since it forced me to step up my training & actually do something research-based & not resort to the "shit I Googled on the internet" plan. In my marathon plan the longest track workouts were 11 miles, which is tough, but I think really key, because it's usually in the form of "do some intervals to get tired" + "run for a while at goal pace while tired" + "run some more hard intervals". They are hard, but never as hard as I expect them to be. And I do love the adjustable-ness of it, so if you do find it to be too aggressive, you can always change your profile or shoot one of the coaches an email to do it for you. It's worked out really well for me so I hope you see good results!

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    1. So good to hear! I've been on the Googled plans for a long time now, and I figured maybe this would give me more guidance. I'm glad to hear you thought the long track workout was good because it makes me so nervous. Thanks so much for the tips!

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  6. Paulette, I like this plan, too! I posted today on the madness that is me trying to find a marathon training plan...good grief. I'll check this out. I am training for my first marathon that will be on December 27; have a half in the middle on October 24, so we'll see! You're going to do great; can't wait to hear more!

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  7. Speed work looks perfect for you.

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What are you thinking? Let me know!

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