Goals for the New York City Marathon

So we’re only a few days away from the New York City Marathon!!!

I can’t believe it’s almost here. In some ways, it feels like I’ve been training FOREVER…and, in others, the last couple of months seemed to fly by. Our final weeks of training have come and gone, and I’m VERY MUCH enjoying my taper. :)

In addition to walking on eggshells trying not to get sick or hurt myself this week — and doing very little running, because I think my body is crying out for the extra rest — I’m thinking about my race day goals. And working on gathering the rest of the pieces for our race day “costumes,” of course…which I’ll post by the end of the week. :)

The thing with me and race goals is that they have a tendency to treat my mind like their own personal playground. If I have a time goal in mind during a race, the second I feel it slipping away, the mental breakdowns begin. It consumes me. It taunts me. And more often than not, I end up getting negative and frustrated and beating myself up, and it puts a black cloud over my entire race experience if I can’t manage to get back on pace.

Time goals don’t seem to motivate me like they do so many other runners…I guess because I still have a tendency to slip back into my “old” ways. That negative, self-deprecating person I used to be when I was heavier almost always manages to make an appearance during a marathon. I usually end up feeling like a failure for not maintaining a certain pace or for struggling more than I anticipated or for having to take extended walk breaks. I consistently have full-blown meltdowns during marathons. I’ve almost come to expect crying and freaking out as part of my race day experience. And that’s just plain sad!

Well, that’s the plan…

Long story short, my #1 goal for this race was to NOT. HAVE. ANY. MELTDOWNS. It happens time and time again, and frankly, I’m tired of it. The second I start to struggle in a marathon, I let myself become absorbed in self-doubt and I completely fall apart. Physically, I’m usually okay…but, mentally, I’m a mess.

Still, I feel I would be remiss if I didn’t set at least some loose time goals for this race. After all, Todd and I busted our butts all summer, and we did everything we were supposed to do. And, truth be told, our last several long runs/races have gone surprisingly well!

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Honestly, I’ll be happy no matter what. I let the fact that I struggled so much last year bring me down, and I hated that I let the time on the finish line clock in any way damper my accomplishment. This Sunday, I’m running the New York City Marathon. I was fortunate enough to enter the lottery and get a second chance. AND get in with Todd! For that, I will be forever grateful.

Still, a little redemption would be nice. :)

GOAL A: PR with anything under 4:57:34

Hey, a girl can dream, right? That’s why I’m calling this my “A” goal…my absolute best-case scenario, everything goes right goal. My current marathon PR was achieved in the New Jersey Marathon, which happens to be a COMPLETELY FLAT course. And, as you all know, the New York Marathon course kicked my butt last year. But I honestly feel that this has been our most successful round of marathon training yet. So…we’ll see!278430_193648296_Medium

GOAL B: Finish under 5 hours

Honestly, this is pretty much always my goal for a marathon right now. If I cross the finish line in 4:59:59, I’ll be happy. Based upon how our training went this time around, it’s definitely doable. For me, the first half of the race almost always goes swimmingly, and then when I start to fall apart (mentally) in the second half, that’s when everything goes awry. Based upon our training, it’s a time goal we should be able to beat, if I can just KEEP IT TOGETHER. So, we’ll see!


GOAL C: Do better than I did last year — mentally and physically

This is my most conservative goal, but it also happens to be the most important to me. After I bonked so early in last year’s race, and ended up bawling like a baby at several points along the course, I really want to ENJOY the race this year. I wasn’t at all happy with last year’s finish time of 5:17 (I had to walk…a lot), but what bothered me more than my finish time was the fact that I had such a negative attitude for most of the second half of the race. This year, I want to feel confident. I want to feel strong. And I want to head into Central Park with a smile on my face. And I mean a REAL smile, not just a “hey, there’s a photographer up ahead” kind of smile. Is that too much to ask?! :)


GOAL D: Have the time of my freakin’ life

Who says I can’t come up with a “Goal D?” :) I’m pretty much guaranteed for this one to come true. I plan to stop for a few pictures along the way and soak it all in and have an amazing experience. I’m beyond thrilled that we’ll be running together this year, and I know it’ll make the race that much more special. Do I want to meet a time goal? Sure, of course…that’d be awesome. But at the end of the day, what matters most to me will always be the experience.

And there is nothing — NOTHING — like the New York City Marathon. I CAN’T WAIT!


How do you set your race day goals?

What are your goals for your next big race?


  1. I hope you and Todd have a blast this weekend! The weather forecast seems to be a lot better than last year!

    I’ve decided not to run, though I supposed I could still change my mind before Saturday, but thats unlikely. I ran a huge PR at MCM Sunday and at the Baltimore Half the weekend before so I’ve decided to give my body a well deserved weekend off and rest up for Wine and Dine! Maybe I’ll run into you in Disney!

  2. i am totally with you on the mental breakdown thing; when training goes well, race day is FULL of pressure and i beat myself up the entire time. umm, aren’t races supposed to be fun?! but, i totally think you’re going to rock it and i can’t wait to hear about it!!

  3. GO GET IT!!!! Have so much fun! I can’t wait to hear all about it when you get back!

  4. Hope to see you this weekend. I know you and Todd will have fun and throw those self doubts out the window. You are different than your past and your training was great this time.

  5. Good luck on Sunday! I can’t wait to virtually cheer you on, and hopefully celebrate with you as you reach most if not all of these goals! You’ve got this!

  6. christi in ma says:

    you can do this, Jennifer!!!!
    good luck to you and Todd this weekend!

  7. great goals!! Hopefully we will see each other before the marathon! I am so excited!

  8. I am so excited for you!
    To be honest, I go through the same self doubt you do. So far my training runs have gone great but I am so worried that if I fall behind pace on race day that I’ll get discouraged!
    I will be cheering you on on Sunday!

  9. Go Jennifer and Todd!! Best of luck this Sunday!

    You have the right idea setting an “A” goal and a “B” goal. Plus, you know the course now, so you’re more familiar with where you need to put in the effort and where you can hang back (take it easy on the Verrazano, cruise conservatively through Brooklyn, and don’t let the Queensboro crush your spirit!)

    If I may offer one small bit of humble advice – keep your time goals fluid. In other words, if you find yourself off pace but you feel OK, don’t try to make up the time – just do the next mile at your goal pace. If you’re off pace and you’re dragging, then mentally steel yourself to just keep on keeping on and forget about the clock. And lastly, if you’re *ahead* of pace, congratulate yourself but don’t let the excitement get the best of you; slow down and run the race for which you trained.

    If you do all that, Goal “C” will come naturally.

    Most of all, though, Goal “D” is the best one. HAVE FUN!!!! You know as well as anyone else that there’s nothing in the world like the NYC Marathon!

    Rest up…eat up…and then get out there and tear it up!

  10. I like you am not particularly motivated by time goals, I typically asses my marathon success based on how much fun I had and how little pain I was in!

    Also, just seeing that picture of you and Todd as Think 1 and Thing 2 literally made me thing, “they are perfect for each other.”

  11. Good luck!! Eek so excited for you and Todd!

  12. Hope you had a great race! So glad I spotted you guys at the finish! LOVED your Big Apple costumes! Put a big smile on my face.

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