And We’re Off…NYCM Training: Week One

Hey, guys! So I have officially survived my first week of marathon training after several weeks months of what can only be described as “recreational” running.

This time around, Todd and I will be following New York City Marathon’s own training program for the “conservative” runner. Even after all this time, I still in no way feel ready for a more intense training plan. I’d like to get through a round of marathon training without having some sort of mental episode before I even think about attempting an “intermediate” plan, haha.

And this one seems perfect for me; it spells out exactly what I need to do in terms of speedwork, hills, etc., and keeps it really simple (I STILL don’t understand exactly what all that 4×800 stuff is, lol). Plus, it has scale-back weeks in between almost every long run, which is something that I think both of us need given how disastrous those final weeks can be with 16-mile and 18-mile and 20-mile runs all back-to-back. PLUS, it incorporates “flex” days, which I will use for my Taekwondo classes.

My first week looked like this:

Mon., July 13: 3 miles

Tue., July 14: 3 miles

Wed., July 15: Taekwondo class

Thur., July 16: Rest

Fri., July 17: Taekwondo class and 3 miles

Sat., July 18: 6 miles

Sun., July 19: Rest

Total weekly mileage: 15 miles

Well, folks, there it is. At 15 miles, I’ve just logged my highest weekly mileage since…oh, I dunno…April? And I gotta tell ya, it was not easy.


My thoughts on that first hot, sweaty 3-miler.

And guess what else? It truly does feel as though I am starting allllllllll over again. Those 6 miles on Saturday? The first half was okay, but the second half was pretty tough…especially since an earlier rainstorm was clearing up, the sun was poking through, and it got H-U-M-I-D. I can’t think of any other way to describe it other than to say that it’s like running in a freakin’ sauna. IT SUCKS.


Whooooooo’s a hot mess…?

Needless to say, miles 5 and 6 were pretty brutal. We took several water/walk breaks and kept things very easy and casual, and our pace (surprisingly) wasn’t all that bad for us given our lack of training and the heat (under a 10:30)…but it does kind of suck to struggle through “only” a 6-miler when I know I have such a looooooooooooong way to go.


Happy it’s over!

That being said, right now I have exactly ONE goal. Sure, I have my hopes set on performing better than last year, and yes, I’d like to beat my New Jersey Marathon time and set a new PR. Who wouldn’t?

But my #1 most important training goal this time around?

I want to finish this marathon without having a meltdown.

During last year’s New York City Marathon, I had a full-on panic attack…not once, but at several points during the second half of the race. I let the tough course and the ridiculously windy conditions crush my spirit. I was struggling big time and I kept letting myself cry like a little baby, CONVINCED that there was no way I was ever going to make it to Central Park.



During this year’s New Jersey Marathon? More of the same. Apparently, I finish the first half of a marathon and it’s time for meltdowns. It’s like a switch goes off and suddenly I feel as though I’ve never run long distances before. I can focus on nothing except the discomfort and the boredom and the feeling that THIS IS NEVER GOING TO END. I convince myself that *this* is the time that I will NOT make it to that finish line and what was I thinking and I’m not a real runner and why can’t my legs move any faster and I can’t do this and OH MY GOD I HATE RUNNING SOOOOOOO MUCH.

(I’m a real treat, aren’t I?)

When it comes to running marathons, it’s never my body that fails me. It’s ALWAYS my mind. My self-doubt always somehow manages to completely ruin the race experience for me, and I HATE that I keep letting myself get consumed by negativity and why I STILL cannot just believe in myself even after running five freakin’ marathons. Frankly, I’m tired of it, and I want to do everything in my power to ensure that it does NOT happen to me again this November.

To that end, I feel the best approach is to make sure I take extra steps to make my training go as smoothly as possible this time around. Obviously, running in the summer heat/humidity is going to be a BIG struggle for me, so I need to take extra precautions to prevent any major issues and keep my spirits high.


Rewarding myself with an iced coffee after a sweaty run? *PRICELESS*

For example, should I wait until the middle of the afternoon when temperatures are at their hottest to squeeze in a mid-week 4-miler? Should I not pay any special attention to my hydration/nutrition and then try to complete a 10-mile run in the sweltering heat of August…and then wonder why I feel like I’m going to die? Should I let myself get all bent out of shape when I can only manage 11-minute miles on an especially humid afternoon? Should I procrastinate on getting my long runs started on Sunday morning so that by the time I head out it’s already 85+ degrees? Should I continue to go to a zillion karate classes every week and then wonder why my legs feel like they’re going to fall off before I even start that long run? Should I “forget” to foam roll and skip rest days so that even the short, “easy” runs feel like agony?

These are all mistakes I continue to make time and time again. I struggle through so many of my training runs, and then I wonder why I’m so unsure of myself come marathon day. I know it’s impossible to avoid pitfalls when you’re training for a marathon, and some runs are going to be hard and that’s just the way it is…but this time around, I feel as though I need to focus on listening to my body and doing everything I can to continue to boost my confidence so that I can fully enjoy and experience the thrill and amazingness that is the New York City Marathon.

Because it really IS going to be SPECTACULAR. I can’t wait. And I know that the next 15 weeks of hard work are going to be so, so, SOOOOO worth it.


Have you ever set a goal for a marathon that had nothing to do with your finish time?

How are you battling the heat/humidity during your runs this summer?


  1. I trained for the NYCM 2012, 2013 and 2014. It was canceled in 2012, I had to defer in 2013, and then finally ran it in 2014. I gotta say- I’m super happy I’m not training for a fall marathon during the Arizona summer this year!! Training for a full is like having a part time job!! Best of luck to you and I’ll be excited to read your recap.

  2. My summer training keeps me from signing up for races that will have me training in the heat. I’m good through June and parts of July, but when the heats settles in, it’s really difficult to get me running.

    • Jennifer says:

      YUP! Same here. I wish all marathons could be over the winter months so I’d never have to train in temps over, say, 65 degrees, haha. Ah, if only. ;)

  3. summer training is NO joke. I am currently ramping up for Dumbo and then will continue on after that for NYCM. I am trying hard to add in more speedwork now (yes, even in the heat) and work on finishing fast. I am hoping doing some hill training will help with the elevation at NYCM.

    • Jennifer says:

      Speedwork is pretty much my arch nemesis…ESPECIALLY in the heat. But I’m with you — I KNOW I made a huge mistake by wimping out on hill training, and I definitely paid for it on race day! Not making that mistake again!

  4. Even though my PT said I should follow the training plan that is “to shave time off”, I am going to do the training plan for beginners again. Unlike you, it’s usually my body that fails me while my mind is saying Go Go Go!!!…lol. Can’t wait to follow your training again. Oh, and even though you say you were miserable during NYC, none of your pictures reflected it. You always look so happy to be running!

    • Jennifer says:

      I think beginner programs are awesome! They keep it simple and manageable, and as experienced runners, we can always make modifications and build on them if we so choose. The intermediate/advanced plans scare the crap outta me, not gonna lie, haha.

      Oh, believe me, I’ve perfected the art of the fake smile for race photos, LOL. But thank you!! :)

  5. Oh man, running in this heat is so brutal!! I have been avoiding it or running super early in the morning.

    • Jennifer says:

      Yep, sounds about right! I suck at forcing myself to get it over with early, but I know that is the ONLY way to do it without wanting to drop dead afterwards, haha.

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