Marathon Training

Training for your first marathon is exciting, but it can be intimidating. Having a good training plan, shoes that fit you properly and proper clothing are no-brainers. But what are some of the other things you need to ensure you have a successful training season? You don’t have to spend a ton of money, but you do need to invest a little money on the things that will enhance your training the most.

Here are 7 must-have items for marathon training:

1st Time Marathoner Essential Accessories1. Foam roller
TP Therapy rollers are my favorite. They don’t take up a lot of space, are pretty easy to travel with and don’t break down the way rollers made out of foam do. However, any foam roller that is firm will do the job.

2. Training journal/log
A training journal or log costs $0. Tracking your workouts and your progress is essential. You can use an excel spreadsheet or an online tracker for free. Tracking your workouts can help identify where you need to improve, why you are feeling tired as well as help you choose a training plan for your next race.

3. Good running socks
Never underestimate the impact a pair of socks can have on your run. What works for one person may not work for another person. No one wants to run with blisters for miles and miles. If your shoes fit properly, but you’re still getting blisters, then you need to buy new socks.

4. Body Glide
If you haven’t had issues with chaffing, then you’re lucky! When you start running longer distances don’t be surprised if you start to feel a stinging sensation in random places when you jump in the shower post-run. Seams on clothing often cause rubbing which over time can lead to chaffing. Cover your “hot spots” in body glide or a similar product to prevent this unwelcome side effect.

5. Mini Bands
You have to do strength training and a mini band is an easy and inexpensive tool to have at home. It will allow you to strengthen your core muscles and won’t take up hardly any space in your home.

6. Sunscreen
You know why you need sunscreen, but now that you’re training for a marathon you will be spending a lot more time in the sun making it even more of an essential item.

7. Watch
No, you do not need a fancy, expensive GPS watch to successfully run your 1st marathon. A simple old-school timex watch or any watch with a stop watch feature is all you need to train for your first marathon.

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15 Minute Workout for Runners

Your excuses for not incorporating strength training into your training plan are no longer valid. 😉 I know what’s it’s like to pile on the miles, spend time foam rolling and stretching only to not have any time left for doing strength workouts. However, the benefits we get from cutting a few miles off our schedule and taking that time to do strength training are immeasurable.

Strength training will make you a stronger runner, help prevent injuries and quite possibly even help you set a few PRs. It will also improve your overall health and fitness by helping you to increase your lean muscle mass, prevent osteoporosis and maybe even help drop a few pounds.

Incorporating strength training into a running program can seem complicated so I’m making it easy for you. I’ve created a 15 minute workout you can do three times a week on alternating days. (I even bet that after you’ve done the workout a few times it will only take you 10 minutes!)

Click on the image below to get the entire workout. After you’ve completed the workout tweet me to let me know what you thought. 

15 Minute Strength WO for Runners


This past Sunday, Rick and I ran the NYRR Retro 4-miler. I’m really loving racing all these shorter races, though I have to admit that running as hard as I did during the race wasn’t fun at all in the moment. It hurt.

When we woke up Sunday morning neither of us were feeling well so we got a little off schedule. I had half a cup of coffee and a picky bar before the race and we jogged 1.72 miles to the start line.

This week I was in the red corral which is one corral closer to the start than I’ve been in previous weeks. I have no idea why some weeks I’m in the second corral and others I’m in the third. I do know that being in the second corral is much more desirable when I’m trying to run fast. Generally speaking it was easier to run the effort levels I was looking to run with barely having to weave around people.

Race Morning Timeline

Mile 1: 7:33

My goal here, just like a month ago, was to run an effort level 7. The gun went off and the start of the race was super slow. It is so congested that there’s no other choice than to go with the crowd. I figured that since my fitness level is still not great especially in terms of keeping a fast (for me) pace, that whatever time I lost here I’d make up for later on.

Mile 2: 6:52

This is the fastest portion of the race and my fastest mile. My goal here was to run at an effort level 9. I’m pretty sure I was at that effort level, but I also felt like maybe it was a little too fast and if I didn’t recover on the west side hills I’d crash and burn. I did not want to crash and burn during a race that’s only 4 miles!

New York Road Runners Retro 4 Mile Race

Mile 3: 7:38

This is where the hills are and where I knew I needed to slow my roll. My goal here was an effort level 7, which meant every single person passed me. I didn’t care though as I knew after running such a fast mile 2, I had to slow down if I had any hopes of running a strong final mile.

Mile 4: 6:55

I really struggled with knowing when to pick up my pace and find an effort level 9. I waited until I was safely up the third and final west side hill. I found a pace that hurt and fought the urge to back off every single step until the final turn onto the 72nd street transverse. It hurt, but I played a game of get to the next tree/light/turn, and it worked.

I honestly don’t think I’ve ever been running at an effort that felt so incredibly hard and convinced myself not to slow down.

Race Stats & Comments:

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I realize my race strategy doesn’t seem logical, but considering where my fitness is right now it gave me a chance to recover between hard efforts. I know I’m not even close to being able to all out race for any distance, but I know that these short races are increasing my overall fitness level.

I was 4 seconds off from running a PR race. However, it was the fastest race I’ve clocked since 2010! I haven’t ran 2 miles under 7:00 since doing mile repeats during my build up to the Rock’n’Roll San Diego Marathon, so I’m pretty happy about that. My PR is a 29:10 and I ran 29:14.

Next up is the NYRR Front Runners 5-Mile race. I’m not sure if I’ll race it or run it. At this point I feel like I just need to focus on training, but who knows what I’ll end up doing.


2015 UAE Healthy Kidney 10k Race Recap

It’s no secret that the 10k is my least favorite race distance. It’s just a sufferfest. The distance is too long to be short and too short to be long. It is not my sweet spot. I’d much rather run a 4-miler (popular in NYC due to the layout of Central Park) or a half […]

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4 Post-Run Simple Summer Smoothies

Summer is definitely my favorite time of year. I run best when it’s warm outside. And although I once falsely proclaimed to love winter running, I lied. I hate winter running. I love summer. I love warm weather. I love sunshine. I want to bottle up all these feelings I have about warm weather and […]

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2015 Brooklyn Half Marathon Race Recap: I’ve Got a Long Way to Go

Training: After a stressful few months, I decided to make some changes to my original Brooklyn Half Marathon training plan and just do base-building runs (though I did full on race one 4-miler and semi-raced another). My mileage peaked at 26 miles the week before the race. I took a mini taper for race week with […]

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The Skinny on this Season’s Run Shorts

The collection of barely worn shorts and the amount of money I’ve wasted on them is frustrating. It feels as if I’m forever on a quest to find the perfect pair that don’t ride up, chafe or fit like a diaper. Speaking with other women runners I know, I’m not alone in feeling frustrated. Since […]

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Shoe Review: Hoka One One Clifton

This is not a sponsored post. I purchased these shoes at New York Running Company’s 3rd Avenue location in NYC.  Several weeks ago after being online friends for quite some time, I finally got to meet the lovely and speedy Kristy aka DressySweats. Over brunch on the Upper West Side I got the inside scoop […]

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Run As One Race Recap: Racing My Way Into Shape

I finally have my race plans for 2015 in place. I’m registered for a ton of NYRR races and am excited to race all the races. 😉 Since I haven’t raced any NYRR races in a few years my corral seeding has officially been downgraded. Seeding is based on your best race time for a […]

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Are We Really Willing To Give What it Takes to Reach Our Running Goals?

As a fan, a participant and coach it’s been an overwhelming week in the world of running. I’m not sure I’ve ever been so inspired by a group of runners as I was on Monday and maybe even more so today as I procrastinate doing my own workout as I read race recap after race […]

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