Preparing For The NYC Marathon

Hi everyone, Cesar here chiming in on marathon training prep! While the NYC Marathon is still more than 20 weeks away, many runners are starting to ponder how they will be preparing for their big race in November.

If this is your first marathon, I strongly suggest follow a training plan. Why you ask? Training for a marathon is unlike any race you may have done previously. Training for a half marathon is no where close to training for a full marathon. I highly encourage runners not to try to β€œwing it” with your training. I’ve seen people do this and it results in injury and none of us want that!

With so many training plan options out there today, choosing how to prepare for a marathon can be almost as daunting as running the 26.2 miles! Doing a simple google search for “Marathon Training Plans” will give you several results, all of which will cost you nothing to follow them. On the other extreme, organizations suchs as New York Road Runners offer comprehensive plans with different features that can add up and cost you a pretty penny. Since your race fee is so high, opting for one of these may not make sense for you.

So what is runner to do? Every runner will be different on how they will approach this however I wanted to suggest a couple of things that you should ensure are included in your training.

Remember It Is Your Plan! There are alot of plans out on the internet that are very generic in nature. They will tell you to run the mileage but once again, every runner is different. Some may need more time to build up their mileage than others. If this is your first marathon, ask yourself and be honest with yourself if jumping to 26.2 miles will be a big jump for you. If so, be mindful of these generic plans and how quickly they outline your jump in mileage. Also make sure that the paces prescribed in these generic plans make sense for you. If you need help figuring out what pace you should be training at, you can drop me an email at my contacts below!

Build the Base First! While everyone is eager to get race day ready, it is extemely important not to progress your mileage too fast. Make sure that your plan has you building a base of miles first before you jump into higher mileage or jump into drastic speed work. Your first 3-4 weeks of your plan should include building your base. your runs should be around 4-7 miles and not much longer. Also these miles should be done at an easy conversation pace and no where near your race pace. Adding in some strength training and core work at your gym will also help prepare your legs for the demands of increased mileage which will come soon!

Once Your Base Is Built It’s Time To Build Mileage This part of the plan is inevitable. To run 26.2 miles, you need to train for 26.2 miles. However this is the area where many people risk injury. It’s not a smart practice to jump from 6 mile long runs to 15 mile long runs. That’s where injuries occur and exhaustion can set in because your body just isn’t used to that increased mileage. A good rule of thumb is to increase your weekly volume by 10%. If your plan has you jumping more than 10% to a new long run, maybe it time to think twice about that plan.

Also something to note, based on how many weeks you are training, try to maximize your longest run between 20-22 miles. This is where the longer plan (ie 18-20 weeks) is prefereable. There are a lot of plans that max out their longest long run at 18 miles. That’s 8 miles more that you are asking your body to give you without knowing how it will respond. With that being said, be mindful of trying to rush your training to get to a 20-22 mile long run. Getting there should be a gradual process that progresses along the lines of what I previously recommended of adding 10% each week.

Don’t forget speed work and hills! Speed work may not be for everyone but if you are looking to run a certain time then don’t skimp on the speed work. Long intervals such as 1200 meter repeats and mile repeats are perfect speed drills to implement when training for a marathon.

Unlike speed work, for the TCS NYC Marathon, hill work should definitely be part of your training! There are 5 bridges to overcome on this 26.2 mile trek in addition to other hills (more on those at a later date). Make sure that your training plan implements hill repeats thru out! If you live in the NYC area, I strongly suggest working out on any and all of the bridges that are part of the course.

  • Pace is a critical part of your training! I’ve seen so many plans that just detail the mileage to be done on a daily basis with no mention at all as to pace. Some experiences runners may know the paces they need to run during their training but not every runner will know! Your plan should be descriptive as to what your pace should be on a daily basis especially if you are looking to run under a certain time. Long runs should be done at a vey relaxed pace or how some call it, a conversation pace. Speed workouts should be done at a much faster pace but not necessarily all out. Then of course for those who are looking to run under a certain time, there is the ever popular “marathon pace”. This is the pace that you will need to average to hit your desired time. Some of your runs should be run at marathon pace but it shouldn’t be all of them. I’ve seen people train at marathon pace all the time and that type of training is not sustainable over the course of 16-20 weeks. On some of your runs, your plan should include portions of your runs where you work up to marathon pace and hold it.
  • Somewhat related to this is working on achieving negative splits on york long runs. For those unfamiliar with the term, negative splits is when the second half of your run is faster than your first half. Training your body for this will help you overcome “the wall” which usually hits in the second half of a marathon.
  •  In closing, there are ALOT of things clearly to consider when choosing a plan but it is worth your time to research and ensure some of these are addressed by your training plan. After all, it’s your race, and you want to run YOUR time!

    If you are still unsure about which plan to choose or if you are unsure about the paces your training runs should be at, you can always drop me a line at wearenycrc@gmail.com and I would be glad to assist!

    Additionally contact me about personalizing a plan as well based on your needs! Good luck to all marathoners and their training!!!

    Cesar

     

     

    Long Runs, Grete 10K, All on Saturday!

    Hope everyone is having a fantastic week and is ready to crank up the miles this weekend!

    We have three opportunities for you to get your runs in on Saturday and we are pretty sure that no matter where you are in the 5 boroughs, you will be able to get to us somewhere along the way! Read ahead to find out about the three opportunities!

    *STATEN ISLAND HALF MARATHON TRIAL RUN – LED BY LISSETTE*STATEN ISALND HALF PIC

    One of our members Lissette is a resident of Staten Island and has been looking forward to leading this trial run. She knows the course and is ready to lead our members thru the course so that they can run the race with confidence next week!

    She has also arranged for lockers at a new gym called “Goal Mine”. For $20 you can store your items in a locker there, shower and use the sauna after the trial run. The gym also has a cafe inside if you want to get a bite to eat after.

    Goal Mine is close to the start of the SI Half marathon course. Meet up is at 8am in front of Goal Mine. If you don’t want to use Goal Mine then just come over and meet up with the runners to run the SI half course!

    β€’ WHAT- Staten Island Half Marathon Course Trial Run (approx. – 13 miles)

    β€’ WHERE- Goal Mind Gym, 4 Minthorne Street, Staten Island, NY 10301

    β€’ WHEN – Saturday, 10/6/18

    β€’ TIME-Meet up at 8:00am, arrive earlier if you would like to store your items inside the gym.

    *NYC MARATHON COURSE LONG RUN – LED BY MYRNA*

    MyrnaLongRun

    These folks did 15 a couple of weeks back – now they are ready for 18 miles!

    She led a 15 miler a couple of weeks ago and she is at again on Saturday. This time she is going for 18 miles and wants you to join her! Starting in Bayridge Brooklyn, this run will go up 4th avenue and mirror as much of the NYC Marathon course as possible into Greenpoint, over the Pulaski Bridge and over the 59th street bridge into Manhattan. Once in Manhattan they will head up 1st avenue just like the marathon does and end around 96th street. The end goal is 18 miles but you can do as many as you need to! Bring some cash and a metro card with you in case you want to jump into a store along the way of feel like breaking away at any time!

    β€’ WHAT- NYC Marathon Course Long Run (approx. – 18 miles)

    β€’ WHERE- Bayridge Brooklyn, 92nd Street & Dahlgren Place

    β€’ WHEN – Saturday, 10/6/18

    β€’ TIME-Meet up at 7:15am

    *NYRR GRETE GALLOP 10K*

    BRONX 10 MILE GROUP PIC

    After crushing the Bronx 10 miler last week, the crew is ready to head back to Central Park for a nice 10k stroll in the park in honor of women’s marathon legend Grete Waitz! Its the annual NYRR Grete Gallop, a 10k race in Central Park. The team will be meeting up at 7:30am across from the bandshell where Race Day Central will be setup! Don’t miss the group picture prior to the start!

    β€’ WHAT- Grete’s Gallop 10k Race

    β€’ WHERE- Central Park NYC, Bandshell Area

    β€’ WHEN – Saturday, 10/6/18

    β€’ TIME-Meet up at 7:15- 7:30am

    Hope to see you out at one of the above!

    This Weekend – Run With Us!

    It’s Friday and the weekend is here! The general population is looking to see what parties and other weekend plans they can get involved with, but at We Are NYC RC, we are looking to see what runs we can get into! And this is the life of a runner!! (haha)!

    View of Park Avenue from a previous “Summer Streets”

    Don’t worry, we have ya covered! But be warned, both of our offerings will require you to wake up early so if you were looking to catch up on zzzz’s this weekend, do it after you run!

    Saturday 8/11 – Summer Streets Run (led by Marjorie!)

    Each year in the first three weeks of August, New York City shirts down certain portions of the city for recreation and fun. This Saturday, Park Avenue from 72nd street down to Centre street by City Hall will be closed to traffic. We are having a run that will run thru the closed streets. The entire stretch is 7 miles but if you need to do more you can always run back or a portion back. Bring some cash and a metro card to buy water along the route. Meeting details below! Run will happen rain or shine!

    • When- Saturday 8/11/18
    • Time- 7:15am (Run happens rain or shine!)
    • Meeting Location- Chase bank (corner of 72nd street & Lexington Avenue)
    • Route- Start at 72nd st & Lex, go over to Park Avenue, go left on Park Avenue and run straight downtown (approx 7 miles!)

     

    Ready for 15 miles on Sunday!

    Sunday 8/12 – TCS Marathon Training Series – 15 mile run sponsored by New York Road Runners

    If the weather holds up, join us and thousands of other runners as we do three loops of the 5 mile loop in Central Park as the preparation continues for the TCS NYC Marathon. As of the writing of this post, there are still spots open for this training run. Sign up here if you are interested!

    Over 30 of our members have signed up for this training run and we will be meeting before the race in “Race Day Central”. More info below!

    • When- Sunday 8/12/18
    • Meetup 6:15-6:45am / Race starts @ 7:00am
    • Location- Central Park 102st Tranverse and East drive
    • Route- 5 mile loop in Central Park 3 times!
    • Meetup Location- look for softball field 8- we will be on the concrete path on the 3rd bass/left field side of field 8
    • Hope to see many of you this weekend and if not, have a great RUNNING weekend!

    Weekend Recap & This Week’s Group Run!

    Happy Monday to all the runners out there reading this!

    Hope there were lot of miles crushed this past weekend! Over at We Are NYC Running club, we were most definitely crushing miles and keeping busy and we didn’t let the extreme weather keep us away!

    Picture of our club members speaking w/ potential members at the NYRR Club Fair! (Photo by Micheal Anderson)

     

    Before we crushed those miles, a number of club members came out to help represent the club at the NYRR Club Fair on Friday afternoon! Several runners in search of a club got a chance to come to the fair to see what a handful of club had to offer. We Are NYC RC was of course in attendance not just giving out valuable info but also healthy vinegar shots, complimentary electrolytes and of course some delicious bite size cupcakes. Several “would be” members walked away happy hopefully with a favorable first impression of the club!

    Group run in Greenpoint before 12 miles thru Queens & Manhattan!

    On Saturday, despite a mid morning downpour, 12 “marathoners in training” crushed 10-12 milles thru the Queens portion of the NYC Marathon route over the Pulaski and Queensboro bridges. Runners continued on 1st ave in Manhattan and turned around at various points between 80th and 110th streets based on the mileage they needed to tackle that day. Although the skies opened towards the end of the run, everyone got their long runs in and were eager to tackle that route again. To view the route taken see, route description here.

    Heat Warriors at the NYRR Manhattan 7 Mile!Β 

    On Sunday, even though it was bone dry out, the mercury was soaring early in the morning! With temps in the mid 90’s several of our runners crushed the NYRR Manhattan 7mile. For those that did, they were awarded with a personal record as this was the first time the race was run!

    Looking ahead to this week, we will have our Midweek Central Park Group Run on Wednesday (8/8) this week. Details below and hope to see you all there!

    • WHAT- Weekly group run in the park (5-6 miles)
    • WHERE- Meeting at NYRR Run Center (320 West 57th street, New York, NY 10019)
    • WHEN – Wednesday, August 8, 2018
    • TIME- Meet at Run Center at 6pm / depart for run at 6:15pm
    • OTHER INFO- Lockers are available at the run center. No lock is required as lockers are smart lockers. Please bring your own water. Run should be over by 7:45pm

    As always we encourage and welcome all runners as this run is open to all! All paces are welcome so come on out and join us!

    Weekly Group Run This Thursday!

    Hang in there runners the weekend will be here soon enough! Here is a way to give you something to look forward to before the weekend and to also help you notch some miles under your belt!

    Join We Are NYC Running Club this Thursday for another of our weekly group runs in Central Park! Each week our running club meets once during the week to log some miles! Those miles become even more important now as marathon training is in full swing for many!

    All skill levels are welcomed for these group runs as we will split up into pace groups! Here are the specifics for Thursday’s group run!

    • WHAT- Weekly group run in the park (5-6 miles)
    • WHERE- Meeting at NYRR Run Center (320 West 57th street, New York, NY 10019)
    • TIME- Meet at Run Center at 6pm / depart for run at 6:15pm
    • OTHER INFO- Lockers are available at the run center. No lock is required as lockers are smart lockers. Please bring your own water. Run should be over by 7:45pm

    Any questions regarding the group run can be directed to Cesar at wearenycrc@gmail.com!

    See you all there!

    Trying Out Virtual Racing

    There isn’t a weekend that goes by where I don’t run. Of course some weekends, I even race. However with winter having NYC in its grip, I haven’t run a race since Thanksgiving and that is a long time for me! Last week, I once again looked at the New York Road Runners website hoping there was something sooner than February 4th that filled my needs. They have a half marathon coming up this weekend, The Fred Lebow Half Marathon however I don’t think I am half marathon ready yet.

    The lack of races made me look at something that I had overlooked and flat out ignored on their website, their virtual racing series. Virtual racing is basically a fancy name for “do it at home” racing. This particular race was a 5K distance. The way it works is they give you a length of time to complete the distance. In this case, it was two whole weeks and at any time during those two weeks, you can run the 5k and track your run using the Strava Application, which is a free download. Once you have run your race, your time gets uploaded to the Strava site and NYRR then throws your time into a pool of all of the other runners running the virtual race and they rank you by time. No traveling on your part. You can do this in your neighborhood!

    I took part in the virtual 5k and allow me to break down the pros and cons of this type of race and maybe it will help you decide whether this is something you want to part take in.

    PROS:

    • There is no traveling involved and no schedule to adhere to. You don’t have to worry about commuting to the race or driving to it, or being stuck in traffic or even parking! Just strap on your shoes and go.
    • This particular race was free. Free is always good!
    • You can run this race wherever you want. No need to deal with a hilly course if you don’t want to. Just pick out a flat course and fire away!
    • No dealing with crowds

    CONS:

    • For me, there is no adrenalin rush of the crowds, the spectators or even the starters gun. It was me hitting my watch and just saying “go!” lol
    • I don’t know that the timing on a Strava app can be that accurate. I enjoy the fully automatic time of most races.
    • It was a pro above, but for me its also a con – you can run this race wherever you want and get away with a much faster course for the distance than what you may usually run. I chose to run the 5k on a track for example. No hills at all. Is that cheating? There were no rules against that! I think by being allowed to do this, it discredits time, placing etc.

    PERSONAL TAKE AWAY:

    Look, I ran the race because I was desperate to run a race. I ran it on a 400 meter track. I don’t think I have ever run a 5k on a track (lol). This presented a flat course with no hills. Guess how I ran? Personal record for 5k by 8 seconds (22:31 to be exact). Strava app says I PR’d but do I count it? If you are looking for a good workout and looking to see how that workout compares to others, then this might be a good “race” to run. Another thing I wasn’t a fan of and this may be isolated to New York Road Runners, they actually tried to charge for a variation of this race. As this was their first virtual race of the year, they have an incentive, that if you ran 6 of these virtual races, then you automatically qualify for next year’s Brooklyn Half Marathon. The catch however is that if you want these races to qualify for the half marathon, then each virtual race costs you $20. That’s 6 races at $20 each and ending up costing you $120 to qualify for a race that you will pay another $100 for. I’m sorry but that is just not for me. I have no problem paying a race fee when I get the full experience, the adrenalin, maybe a medal and a fully automatic timed race. But $20 for me to run in my neighborhood to be timed by a free app – I just can’t justify a fee for these.

    Will I run these virtual races again? I don’t know. I guess it depends on how my race schedule looks at the time. I enjoy racing for the full experience. The commuting. The buildup before a race. Having to use the bathroom countless times before entering a crowded corral with thousands of other runners. Hearing the national anthem before the race, hearing the starting gun, then having all of these other runners push me along the course. Finally, nothing like coming down the home stretch of a race with spectators cheering you on. Thats the race day experience for me!

    Anyways, I thought I would share my “virtual” experience with you. Have you run a virtual race? What was your take on it?

    Baby Its Cold Outside!

    It seems that winter decided to come early on the east coast this year! Technically, it is not winter yet and we have already had 2 snowfalls and on Wednesday, we had windchills of single digits! If this keeps up then we are in for a very cold and perhaps, even a long winter.

    For some of us, we have some races coming in the spring that we would like to get ready for. Personally, I have the United NYC Half Marathon in March and that is going to require me to workout all winter! I’m praying for nice conditions come race day. Pictured just above is the scene from last year’s NYC Half- cold with snow on the ground!

    For some of you reading this, you might be eager to just start a running program. The weather can be a deterrent for starting a running plan unless you choose not to let it! Barring the fact that you hit the lotto tomorrow and relocate to warmer climates, here are some cold weather tips that I follow when I need to run in the cold and nasty weather! Follow these and you should be able to confront cold frigid temps!

    • Check the weather and plan accordingly. This might sound obvious but you have no idea how many times people tell me they didn’t realize it was ‘that cold’. In winter, the wind chill is a factor and while the mercury might read 40 degrees out, the wind chill can make it feel like 30 or 20 degrees. That difference is huge if you are dressing for 40 degrees. You do not want to underdress for winter weather.
    • Once you have checked the weather, dress for weather 10 degrees warmer than it is outside. Once you get going on your run, you are going to heat up. Having too many layers may make you a sweaty and uncomfortable mess.
    • Layer up! I know folks think they can wear that one super thick pullover or sweatshirt but that’s not ideal. Layering up is the way to go. I tend to start with long sleeves at 50 degrees and add a layer for every 10 degrees it goes down. The layers don’t have to be thick because they will trap heat in between. The key thing to be cognizant aboutΒ is the layer against your skin. This layer should never ever be made of cotton! Cotton doesn’t wick away moisture and being wet and cold is not something you want in cold weather. Go with wool or other materials that wick away moisture. Under Armour makes great shells for cold weather that I love as bottom most layers and their layers wick away moisture also!
    • As winter drags on, you know that most of the time you will likely have to deal with night time running. Here is a post I wrote a few weeks ago with tips specifically for running in the dark. Make sure to implement these during your cold weather runs!
    • Cover those extremities! Gloves, hats, scarves are a must especially a hat. It’s aΒ known fact that 90 percent of your body heat leaves via your head. I can never understand why folks run in cold weather without a hat! Those fingertips need protection too. Don’t worry about the iphone, they sell gloves with special fngertips for the phone too!
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    Picked these up at this year’s NYC Marathon expo and they are racking up winter miles!

    • Ok so you are now dressed. No running yet because you must stretch, stretch and stretch some more! I am a big believer of stretching in general. In cold weather, double or even tripleΒ the amount that you stretch! Your muscles tendΒ to contract more in the cold and they will take longer to get loose and limber. A lot of muscle strains happen in cold weather because people do not take the time to adequately stretch. Don’t let this happen to you!
    • If you know you will be dealing with wind on your run, and there tends to be a lot of wind in the winter, plan your run accordingly. Find out which way the winds are blowing and break your run up into two segments. Your first segment, should have you running into the wind so that when you come back, the wind is at your back. In the cold weather, you do not want to do the opposite!
    • If the temperature tends to get extreme, in my opinion single digits or anything below zero is extreme, then it may be time to find a treadmill. I personally despise the treadmill but Wednesday night for example, I bit the bullet and ran 5 miles on the treadmill. Wind chills were making it feel like 5 degrees and for me, after a long day, I was not in the mood to deal with the cold, theΒ winds and the dark.

    Wednesday night was also the motivation to write this post! It would have been very easy for me to stay home and throw on sweats and call it a day. But remember, its December! There are still parties to come, still tons of food to consume and you need to stay ahead of the game! Don’t let the cold weather keep you on the couch and feeling guilty. Follow these steps above and you will be ready to brave the cold and come back from your run feeling like you have conquered the world!

    Have a great Thursday my friends!