I predict my Dumbo medal will win for my cutest medal ever. And also? Wyatt will steal it.
I could not fathom officially training for that long, but I am starting to think about training plans for these races. I’d like to officially start training for Dumbo at 12 weeks out – so in 3 weeks. I’ll need to keep NYCM in mind when I choose my Dumbo training plan since they’ll overlap for a few weeks. This isn’t a huge deal -- it just means I’ll have to do runs longer than 12mi towards the end of my Dumbo training.
Normally, I don’t stress much about training plans. I just plug my numbers into Runner’s World’s Smartcoach and loosely follow that. But I need a change. Smartcoach is not working for me lately. I haven’t raced well in 6 long months.
This is likely not Smartcoach’s fault. Rather, it’s user error. I was sick for a lot of December and January, so using my old paces for a training plan wasn’t my wisest move. It’s also probably what lead to my IT band woes in March and April.
Hmmm. Not my best training cycle!
Still, I think I want to try something new for Dumbo and NYCM. I really want to PR in the Disneyland half (I’m just going to take it slow in the 10k) and the marathon.
The training plan I choose has to meet the following requirements:
- 4 days of running per week, including 1-2 days of speedwork per week.
- 2 days of cross-training per week (I have a sprint tri in September after all).
- 2 days of yoga or lifting per week, likely combined with my cross-training or easy run days.
- 1 day completely OFF per week.
- Low mileage. I don’t want to go over 40mpw for marathon training to prevent injury. I’ve never been a high mileage runner and don’t want to start now… or ever.
- Two 20 milers. One seems like too few, three seems like too many. Two is just right!
- Flexibility. I usually have no problem getting all of my runs in, but they don’t always happen on the planned days.
Here are my thoughts for training plans:
1. Hal Higdon Intermediate Marathon training plan. I’d have to tweak this a bit. I’d need to add 3 more weeks to make ample time to train for Dumbo. I’d also replace one run per week with cross-training.
Oddly enough, Hal’s plan calls for a half and a full 9 weeks apart – the exact amount of time between Dumbo and NYCM.
Pros: There are only two 20 milers, and after I replace one run per week with cross-training, the max mpw peaks at 43mi. Not too far off my goal.
Cons: No speedwork or pacing guidelines. I could try to combine it with Hal’s advanced marathon training 1 program, but that plan calls for 6 days of running per week so I feel like merging the plans could get sloppy. Plus, there is nothing “advanced” about my marathon skills!
2. Runner’s World Smartcoach. I could go back to my old tried and true training buddy, but use a new recent race time instead of going by my old paces.
Smartcoach thinks way too highly of me. A 3:30 marathon?! Hahaha.
Pros: I know Smartcoach can work. It allows you to adjust it as you go, and you can make the plan for as long as you want. You can even customize your training intensity level – moderate, hard, or very hard. I usually choose “hard”.
Cons: I’d have to run a race in a few weeks. Paying to run a race when I’m out of shape does not thrill me. True, I could do a fake “race” around my ‘hood, but I know I wouldn’t perform as well. Besides, I kind of want to try a new training approach this go around.
3. Hire a running coach. I’ve been toying with this idea for a while. It would definitely have to be a virtual running coach because I don’t have the time to meet up with someone on a weekly basis. A lot of my favorite bloggers are Road Runners Club of America certified running coaches. I’ve been curious to see what they have to offer.
Pros: My own personal cheerleader! I haven’t had a running coach since high school, and this may be just what I need to take my training up a notch. I also may stick to my plan better because I wouldn’t want to let someone else down.
Cons: The price. I don’t know if I can justify spending that kind of money when I know how to create a training plan myself. Can a running coach really guarantee that they can create a better plan for me? Will a running coach allow me to be flexible with my training? The pressure of not letting someone else down may also get to me.
How do you guys choose training programs? What are your favorite plans? Have you ever worked with a running coach? Was it worth it? Is there anyone you recommend? Thank you SO much for the help!
I’ve been using my new Garmin -- the Garmin Forerunner 10 -- for 3 months now, and have received a lot of questions about it. Some people even told me they bought this Garmin because I mentioned it. Eek.
So, I feel that it’s necessary that I share my thoughts about my newest running gadget. This post is not sponsored by Garmin.
The short version – I’m not a fan of this Garmin. Keep in mind that I don’t use the fancy functions that come with it – like the virtual pacer or auto lap options, for instance – I just want to know my overall time, pace, and distance.
It’s not all bad, though. I really am a Garmin fan. I got the Forerunner 10 because my old Garmin – the Forerunner 305– wasn’t holding it’s battery well anymore. I had it for three years and used it 4-5 times a week. I loved the 305 abd felt like I got my money’s worth out of it, so I didn’t think twice about buying another Garmin. I had been eyeing sleeker styles and heard good things about the Forerunner 10.
- It’s pretty! In addition to neon green, it also comes in bright pink, purple, orange, and black.
- It’s light and not bulky like the 305. I’d always take off my 305 immediately after a race because it was so big and uncomfortable.
- It can be worn as a watch.
- It has a pretty long battery life. It supposedly lasts about 5 hours if used continuously. I usually charge it every week and a half or so – which is about 30 miles or 255 minutes.
- It takes forever to locate the satellite. Forever! I gave up after 16 minutes once on a sunny day. Other times, it’s shut itself off because it was searching for satellite for so long. My other Garmin always took a few minutes, too, so I’d place it outside, go in and put my shoes on, come out, and it was always ready in time. That never happens with this one. I find this really strange – I’d think a newer model would locate the satellite more quickly?
- It doesn’t seem as accurate distance-wise. When I started using this Garmin, all of my runs were coming up a bit short. I thought I was remembering my routes incorrectly or something. This past weekend, I ran with my friend on a 4mi course I know like the back of my hand. She wore her Forerunner 10 and when we hit what I know was 4 miles, her Garmin only said it was 3.75ish. Granted, it was a shady route, but that’s still a huge discrepancy. Plus, my old Garmin always got this course accurate. This makes no sense to me because I’d think all Garmins would use the same satellite?
- You have to toggle between screens – and wait – to see all of your stats. This Garmin doesn’t display time elapsed, distance, and pace on the same screen like my old Garmin. I usually run with time and distance displayed, and have to toggle the screen to see my pace. I didn’t think this would be a big deal but the Garmin pauses for a second and there’s an extra screen that tells you what the next screen will show before it actually displays your pace. Waiting those few extra seconds is annoying and unsafe when I’m running with the jogging stroller.
- You can only charge it by plugging it into your computer (ETA: unless you have a wall USB charger -- which I didn't know existed until you guys told me in the comments!). Maybe I’m the weird one, but I never charged my old Garmin using my computer – it’s just so much easier to plug it into the wall (I never upload any workouts so my Garmin is never near my computer). This is a hassle, especially when I’m traveling.
Who else has the Forerunner 10? What are your thoughts? I hate to give such a negative review, but I regret the purchase and don’t want anyone else to make the same mistake.
It was a pretty weird race -- for me personally, not because of anything the NJ Marathon organizers did. They were actually great! This was hands down one of the most well-organized races I’ve ever run. I was expecting chaos. Since Boston, we runners have been receiving a lot of new rules updates from the race directors. The course isn’t a loop, spectators and runners weren’t allowed on the same bus (at least that was my understanding), and in previous years, there was horrific traffic getting to the start. I had no idea how I’d find my dad after the race or how we’d get to the race without sitting in traffic for at least an hour. But it couldn’t have gone better.*
I was also really impressed by the increased security. There were police officers and dogs everywhere. It was odd to see so much law enforcement presence at the race – especially when the loud helicopters were circling overhead for the first few miles – but I appreciated it. This sadly is becoming the new norm everywhere.
Anyway, onto the race! It was pretty chilly and windy – only about 40 degrees at the start. I did not check the weather the day before – umm clearly I took this “no pressure” racing approach a little too far – and regretted only wearing shorts and a long-sleeve tech tee. It was not enough clothes for me. I heard a few other runners commenting on the “great” weather, but I couldn’t feel my fingers until mile 7. I guess I need to accept that I’m becoming a southerner. Sigh.
I hung out with Steph before the start and tried not to whine about being cold too much. We lined up right behind the 1:50 pacer. I had no clue what I’d run for this race, and that was her goal time, so we huddled together until it was go time.
Then I took off because I’m crazy and thought I was fast. But then I remember that I’m not! The first 6ish miles were a mental struggle. I felt strong and though I could push harder, but I kept reminding myself to hold back since I was super undertrained. Still, I knew from the race clocks that I was holding a 8:10ish pace and thought I’d have no problem finishing sub-1:50.
Ha. I actually did set a PR in this race. I shattered my old record of 2 bathroom stops in a race! Once again, since it was just a “for fun” race, I did not watch my diet closely enough in the days beforehand and really paid for it. Lesson learned. I was so mad at myself. But I was also happy to be running a large race where there were plenty of portapotties. Every time I saw another bathroom opportunity, I swore to myself I’d never run a small race again for that reason.
Thanks to my not-so-awesome stomach, I knew by mile 10ish that this would be one of my slowest halves in a while, but I was surprisingly OK with that. I really, really love the Long Branch half course – not quite as much as the old loop course, but this one is still good. It’s flat, goes through quaint neighborhoods, and has awesome spectators. I saw Theodora, Danielle, and some other friends in the final few miles and it was really wonderful! I was feeling gross so it was great seeing familiar faces. Every time someone cheered my name, I ran a little harder and felt a little lighter. Spectators really are what separates racing from running.
The last 2 miles were the most challenging for me. I was feeling better and, as we made the left off Brighton Ave. to run alongside the beach my friends I used to go to, I kind of lost it. The wind was strong at this point, and it was hard for me to see the destroyed boardwalk.
I’ve been trying to avoid seeing Sandy damage since I’ve been home because it’s so upsetting, but I couldn’t ignore it here. But after a few minutes, I just felt thankful. I’ve been angry about Sandy and Boston and during this race, there were constant reminders of both events. But I just felt grateful that the Jersey Shore and running community are recovering and moving forward. I wasn’t running well, but in that moment there was no where else I wanted to be.
I crossed the finish in 1:51:49. Not my slowest, not my fastest, but given the circumstances, I’m proud of the race.
Thank you so much to the NJ marathon and Long Branch half organizers. I’ll be back to run every year that I can! Maybe one year I’ll even do the full… maybe.
*I’m sharing getting-to-the-start details so people who run this race in the future know what to do: we avoided route 36 to get to Monmouth Park. If you get off the Parkway at exit 105, I highly suggest taking back roads to the race track. We sat in a little bit of traffic, but not nearly as much as we did in ‘09 on route 36. My dad easily dropped me off at Monmouth Park and he parked – for free along a side street -- near the finish at Ocean Place Resort. I ran with my phone, called him after I finished, he picked me up 5 minutes later, and we took roads that were already re-opened to race traffic home. Super easy!