Training Diaries

The summer and fall edition of Race Pace Training Diaries follows Jess D, a Race Pace Runner, training for the 2014 New York City Marathon with the goal of becoming a faster runner and setting a new Personal Record. Learn more about Jess and her goals here.

NYC marathon week has finally arrived! If you are anything like me, this is probably a very emotional week for you. Whether you are running or spectating, there’s something magical about this week in NYC…nothing compares to it!

The NYCM finish line being built in Central Park yesterday morning.

The NYCM finish line being built in Central Park yesterday morning.

But race week didn’t arrive without any hiccups along the way. Just when I thought I would be cruising right into the last leg of my training, the unexpected happened…a horrible virus. I was out of work for 3 days and could barely get out of bed. This washed out my last 20 miler, and pretty much all of what would have been my “peak week.” I may or may not have cried myself to sleep just about every night thinking about the sabotage that was happening to the 13 weeks of perfect training I had put in up to that point.


When the virus finally passed and I started to feel my strength coming back, I had a trip planned for months to visit a girlfriend in Colorado. I had visions of beautiful mountain runs with the wind blowing through my hair. WRONG. Can you say altitude fail? I could barely breathe. It literally felt like someone was pinching my lungs shut. It was a struggle to bang out a 4 miler and I chugged the entire time.

By the time I get back to NYC I was busting at the seams to get back into the park. To try and see what my body could handle after so much unplanned forced rest time. The taper crazies were setting in way too early. Well that first run ended up being done on a treadmill due to a downpour and it was rough. I felt like I was working really hard to hit paces that came easy to me prior to the virus. My confidence was starting to rattle. Jess assured me that by the weekend I should be back on track…and as always, she was right.


The next day I hit the west side highway for a 10 miler. All I could think about was kicking this run in it’s a$$. Nothing was going to ruin this marathon for me! And just like that, I clocked the fastest 10 miles I had during my entire training period. Even managed to squeak out mile 5 at a 7:48. WOW. I was back.

That 10 mile west side highway run was followed by another glorious 10 miler this passed weekend- the last 10 miles of the NYCM course. Jess organized this group run through Girls on the Run and everyone had a great time. There were so many runners out running the course- the energy was on fire.

GOTR Solemates New York City Marathon

I’ve learned that you can’t control the unexpected. But you can make the most out of every minute you’re given and hope for the best. I plan to enjoy every part of NYCM week. Walks through the park to see the finish line and flags, morning runs to finish off my training, the expo at the Javitts Center…I’ll be there, smiling ear to ear and feeling grateful to be a part of this special time in the city I love.


It’s New York City Marathon Season! As always, I couldn’t be more excited. It’s definitely my favorite time of year even when I’m not running the race. This year I’ll be out on 1st Avenue cheering. I’ll be sure to let everyone know where exactly I’ll be so I can high-five you on the course or so you can join me in cheering.

If you are running the race, I know how difficult race week can be. Since all the physical work is complete, sitting around and resting up during the taper can bring on quite a bit of anxiety. One way to squash those uncomfortable feelings is to do something daily that helps you prep for race day.  Being organized leaves you with very little to be anxious or nervous about. If you cross your t’s and dot your i’s early on in the week, you won’t have to worry about forgetting something on race eve.

To help, I’ve made a calendar of to-do’s for each day of race week. Just remember to add in anything that you need to do that I haven’t listed here.

Happy Marathon Week!!

Click on the image to download a printable version or to save to your computer.

NYCM Race Week To Dos



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Chicago Marathon

Excuses or reality? It’s easy for me to tell one of my athletes what the clear picture is, but it’s not so easy to tell myself the same thing. As I write this I still debate what the real truth was and I struggle a bit with how everything played out in my mind during the 26.75 miles I ran this past Sunday.

But here are some things I  know to be true and give me more satisfaction than having a good race ever will.

#1. I wrote a Chicago Marathon training plan for Kerry S. last year. She used that training plan again this year and punched her ticket to Boston! Last year she ran a 3:44 and this year she took an additional seven minutes off her time and finished with a 3:36.

#2. Sarah D. dominated her first marathon! She did every single workout that I assigned to her without missing a beat. I can’t even begin to tell you how impressed I was by her dedication and hard work. It paid off and she excelled in Chicago.

#3. So this one I can’t even imagine doing myself! Whitney, another one of my inspiring athletes battled what may have been food poisoning during Sunday’s race and still managed to squeak out a PR! Can you even imagine continuing to run? This girl is the real deal.

Chicago Marathon

Coaching is a lot of things, but mostly it’s caring more about your athlete’s race than your own.

This wasn’t the first time I was sick the week before a race, but it will be the last time I’ll wear blinders when I arrive at the start line after illness and think that maybe I still have a chance. I didn’t want to just show up, I wanted to give it a go no matter how things had played out in the days leading up to the race. And honestly just being able to show up and accept whatever comes my way is enough for me as long as I’m healthy, have two legs and the ability to run.



Training Diaries

The summer and fall edition of Race Pace Training Diaries follows Jess D, a Race Pace Runner, training for the 2014 New York City Marathon with the goal of becoming a faster runner and setting a new Personal Record. Learn more about Jess and her goals here.

The last couple weeks of training have been amazing. I started seeing some really noticeable results in my runs and workouts- and nothing makes for a happier runner.

While the physical results and hard numbers are a huge part of training, you might have seen in my earlier post that half the battle is mental as well. This was something I was struggling with before working with Jess, and I’ve really grown in these past 13 weeks. That become clear to me at the Staten Island Half this past Sunday.

Jess and I had a great race plan laid out for this day. I finally felt ready to go sub 2 and she provided me with a race day strategy to help me achieve this goal. The plan was to go out with the 2 hour pace group and when I hit the last 5k of the race to push ahead of them. For the last 800m I was going to give it all I had and end on a high note. I felt great about this.

Staten Island Half

Well, nothing like a snafu in your plans to give you race morning anxiety.

The race was 10 minutes from start time, and I couldn’t find the 2 hour pace group anywhere. It skipped from 1:55 to 2:05. Crap! What do I do? I made a game time decision to go out with the 1:55 group and stay with them as long as I could.

Well, that didn’t work out so well either. The pace leader was moving around quite frequently, and when you couple that with a congested course, it doesn’t make for a great running situation. I tried to swerve and keep up – this resulted in me twisting my ankle twice in potholes I couldn’t see coming. By mile 4 I was physically and mentally exhausted. I knew there was no way I would be able to sustain that for 9 more miles and I made the decision at the 4th mile marker to let the pace group go.

I felt overheated, slightly light headed and deflated. I thought back to advice Jess had given me during the week- if you feel like you’re struggling, back off of your pace by 15 seconds. So I did just that. I gave myself 15 seconds of a run walk, pulled down my arm sleeves, guzzled my water and said to myself, “you haven’t come this far to let yourself bonk in a race now. Suck it up and give this all you’ve got.”


I re-started my run. And paced myself the remaining 9.2 miles. I focused on each mile, not the outcome or the horrible start of the race, but getting myself to the finish line and trying to salvage the goal that we had set. And that’s just what happened. I finished in 1:59:01.

While seeing the official time was AMAZING, what was more exciting to me in that moment was that I knew that 4 months ago that race would have played out completely differently. I would have allowed myself to have a pity party that my game plan didn’t work, and mentally self-sabotaged the rest of the race…and probably the rest of the day to be honest. I felt emotional. Not because of the numbers on my watch, but because I know I have grown so much in these past 13 weeks and I couldn’t be happier about it and content with this place where I am right now.

I hope that the NYC Marathon is a culmination of this experience for me. I hope that I crush it and have the best marathon day ever. But if for some reason I don’t, I can honestly say I will be ok with that now. I won’t self-sabotage, I will reflect positively on this amazing journey. I wouldn’t change a thing.


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{Printable} Marathon Packing List

by Jess on October 8, 2014

How many times in the last year have I written out a packing list when prepping to travel to a race?

Way too many!

I love making lists with paper and pen, but the monotony of listing out every single item from underwear and sports bras to safety pins and hair ties finally got to me. So, I created a list for both of us to use over and over again, while saving us the headache of wondering if we left off anything important.

I hope you find this packing list useful as you get ready to travel to your fall marathon!


marathon packing list

If you have any burning last minute marathon questions you need answered right away, I want to help you have your best race yet! So, let’s schedule a time to chat!

A Goal Setting Session or Race Day Consultation can help you with any number of concerns including the following:

  • Nail down realistic race day goals based of your training and race history.
  • Establish a pre-race routine and race day fueling strategy.
  • Set-up an easy to follow race day game plan.
  • Train your brain to get mentally strong for 26.2

Stop googling answers to your marathon questions and get real answers about your unique situation and goals.

Session rates start at $50. Let me know what concerns you have about your upcoming race and how I can help!

Happy Marathon Season!!


In 2004 I ran my third marathon, the Chicago Marathon. Having had a grueling experience while foolishly running the New York City Marathon while injured the year before, I was thrilled to be injury free and running a flat race.

I ran my first three marathons in a pretty simple fashion.

I wore cotton, didn’t have a fueling strategy, a time goal, or a GPS watch on my wrist. Heck, I didn’t even know how to use the lap function on my Timex watch.

Chicago Marathon

My training was as simple as my gear. I ran for time, not pace or distance. I ate a carb-heavy, low-fat diet. I refueled with bagels and lox. I didn’t strength train, get enough sleep, foam roll, go to physical therapy or give up dairy.

I knew very very few people who had qualified for Boston and no one who was vying for a BQ time in their next race.

And ya know what, I loved nearly every single minute of nearly every single run because being a runner and calling myself a marathoner was enough.

Now, I stress over too many minor things. It took me way too long to find the perfect running shoes for this season. I still can’t decide what shorts to wear for the race. And with a mere ten days away from the start of the race, I haven’t quite nailed down my race day fueling strategy.

Every single option for every single question a marathoner can ask is answered in a different way by nearly every single runner visible on social channels giving me the option to second guess the decisions I have made for my next marathon, the 2014 Chicago Marathon.

As I sit here in my kitchen wondering why I’m taking my taper so seriously (and by seriously, I mean I haven’t ran since Sunday) and why I’m not motivated to lace up my shoes and go for a run, the answer is clear.

*Alternative title for this post: “Why’d you have to go and make things so complicated?”


Race Pace Training Diaries: The Fab 4

September 30, 2014

  The summer and fall edition of Race Pace Training Diaries follows Jess D, a Race Pace Runner, training for the 2014 New York City Marathon with the goal of becoming a faster runner and setting a new Personal Record. Learn more about Jess and her goals here. Now that I am a little over half way through my […]

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Welcome to the Pain Cave: It’s Time to Rewrite the Script & Dig Deep

September 16, 2014

Ladies and Gentleman, are you ready to embrace the drama? If so, then let me tell you a little thing about running a relay race, it’s full of drama. Imagine this: 12 runners without sleep,  very little “real” food or clean showers are crammed into two vans navigating their way through unfamiliar territory while running […]

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Race Pace Training Diaries: The Mental Struggle

September 15, 2014

  The summer and fall edition of Race Pace Training Diaries follows Jess D, a Race Pace Runner, training for the 2014 New York City Marathon with the goal of becoming a faster runner and setting a new Personal Record. Learn more about Jess and her goals here. The past few weeks of training have had a lot of […]

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Relay Race Round-Up: Tips on What to Pack, How to Fuel & Know What to Expect

September 10, 2014

Two years ago I ran my first relay race. It was equally exciting and exhausting. I was somewhat organized, but definitely didn’t properly fuel or bring enough clothing options. This weekend I’m running my 2nd relay race with New Balance, and I’m much more prepared. In fact, I’m probably over-prepared! In case you aren’t familiar […]

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