Tag Archives: marathon training


The time has come to make a plan! With the More Half Marathon sponsored by Athleta  coming up in April and the NB Reach the Beach Relay coming up in May, I can’t putter around with a run here and there!  That’s why I turned to the experts: Runner’s World Smart Coach and Laura.  Let’s just say, no two plans are alike!

I typed in my race date, average weekly running and goal time into Smart Coach and back popped this plan:


Are you confused?  I was.  This plan only goes up to 6 miles!  Maybe they are assuming I have not run any distance longer than a mile to start, but man, going from 6 miles to 13.1 seems crazy!  Or as Jay-Z would say “that s**ts cray.” Sorry, hip hop references are always apropos, right? Anyways, I think I will keep some of the speedwork ideas, but I decided to move on to plan #2, created by Laura.


Yes, that’s better.  I am actually about a week behind, but I figure if I run 7.5 this week, I will be up to 9 next week and right on track.

Last night, I did a 3.1 mile speed workout:

  • Warm up: 5 minute warm up at 10 min mile
  • Work 90 seconds at 8:30 pace
  • Recover walk at 13 minute mile pace
  • repeat for 2 miles
  • Cool down 5 minutes at 6MPH

As it’s cloudy and rainy, my long run is being pushed to tomorrow, not ideal, but I will live :).

Speaking of long runs, next week I will doing my long run with the Athleta Run Club!  They are offering  half marathon training run groups each weekend! In fact, I will actually be speaking as one of their sponsored Athletes!  Feel free to join me next week ( more details to come)!


Whether your a runner or not, I highly recommend checking out  the events calendars at Athleta’s UES and UWS stores! They offer far more than running! Kettleball, kickboxing, Zumba (this Monday!), yoga, Pilates and more.  Everything is free and open to all :)!

Resting and Running

My workout week went something like this:

Monday=20 mile run

Tuesday=Rest (but lots of walking)

Wednesday=1 Hour Spinning

Thursday=30 minutes elliptical and 45 minute arm, ab and assets class

Friday=Couch sitting.

I can home from a busy workday yesterday and barely moved from my couch.  I wasn’t feeling to hot this week, so I decided to take it easy.  I didn’t plan to do quite so little.  I had plans to do laundry and start preparing for the boy to move in, but instead I explored a variety of positions on the couch.  Waking up well rested was nice and I hopped on the subway to meet Ashley on the Queens side of the 59th St Bridge.

After the run over the bridge, we ran up 1st for a bit before turning around and meeting these lovely ladies.


Theodora, Laura and Sue!

Then we took off to do the last 10 miles of the marathon.  First Ave is definitely the hardest part of the marathon in my mind, but when you’re totally fresh, it’s not to bad!

Up to 135st St we went! All along the way, random city dwellers were congratulating us and wishing us luck! It was awesome.  Just a sample of the race day fans!

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Here I am with Rebecca and Ashley.  Yes my hair has little wings, and yes, I wear a hat and glasses. 

We ran through the Bronx back into Manhattan down through Harlem and back to the park.  The entrance at 5th and 110th provided gorgeous views of the pond and foliage.

I also loved seeing the marathon banners—look at Rebecca and Ashley go!


Once we we got off the cobblestone and into the park, I was golden.  We headed down to the bottom, ran along 59th Street, entered the park once again at Columbus Circle and raced to the finish line where bleachers were already set up.

After a quick cool down run we reached just about 13 miles and felt pretty darn good!

My ankle is a little sore right now, but I am hoping a little icing and downtime will do the trick.  After enjoying a leisurely brunch with one of my favorite people, I headed to see the boy and then back home, so it’s time to rest and tiger balm it up until I smell like a tic tac.

Only two weeks until the marathon! I can’t believe the training is basically over and the big race is finally here!  Now I just need to enjoy all the festivities and events leading up to the day itself!

Speaking of festivities, see what CELEBRITIES are running the NYC Marathon this year!!!

I haven’t mentioned my NBC articles, but I am still writing for them.

This week I posted about the Nike Sports Watch with GPS. It took me a really long time to bite the bullet and buy a running watch.  My last few forays in running watches haven’t gone so well. The Nike Sports Watch has been treating me pretty well.  There are things I like and a few things I would change.



and I also wrote about Equinox’s baby sister, Blink! A gym membership in manhattan for only $20 a month! It’s for rizzle.


25 Ways to Get Psyched for Your Fall Marathon

There comes a point in marathon training where you either can’t think about anything else or you can’t wait until you can focus on something besides running.  I’ve been on both sides of the coin.  I find October to be one of the hardest months because you know you are so close and that every last run counts, but you have also been training for 5 months and are starting to miss your other workouts. 

I am both excited and nervous for the NYC Marathon.  I don’t feel like it’s going to be my best race, but I also know that the mental side of running matters as much as the physical.  I want every run to go perfectly, but I know that’s not a reality.  But my physical training will soon be coming to an end, so I have been trying to amp up my mental game to cross the finish line strong!

Here are some of my favorite ways to get pumped for a race…

1.) Read UltraMarathon Man

2.) Buy a ruffly running skirt

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3.) Join a running club, like:

4.) Get Some Rundies, if these don’t inspire you to run your butt off, nothing will.

5.)  Watch Spirit of the Marathon..bring tissues

6.) Read one of these amazing blogs or one of these—so many to choose from!

7.) Or start your own blog

8.)Run on your very favorite route

9.) Or try out a new treadmill workout

10.) Read Born to Run (okay this is actually on my to read list, but I hear it’s good.)

Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen

11.) Or Run for Your Life, the Fred Lebow Story


12.) Browse Runners World, I love the Newbie Chronicles!

13.) Sign Up for NYRR Running Classes, if you pay, you’ll run!

14.) Pretend You’re Kara Goucher

15.) Rework Your Playlist

16.) Envision Your Post Run Meal

17.) Treat Yourself to a Massage

18.) Ask  your friends to track you or even join you for a few miles of the race

19.) Get inspired by a Star

I'm a Runner: Al Roker

20.) Imagine crossing the finish line…and know that every run and every step gets you closer to that goal!

21.) Plan Your Race Outfit…don’t forget throw away clothes!

22.) Buy your race fuel

23.) Pick out the necklace you can proudly wear once you have achieved glory

24.) Think of how 8 miles once seemed like an impossible distance and now is a welcome short taper run!

25.) Picture the medal be placed around your neck at the finish line!

Last and Hardest ACS Practice

Yesterday was my last ACS Determination practice.  I’ll definitely miss those tough Tuesday night workouts.  Fortunately, the best was saved for last in my case.  Since most people are fundraising for the NYC Marathon tonight was there longest, hardest practice.  Since I am running both the Hamptons and NYC Marathon I decided to go for it rather than tapering.

We started out by running from East 90th up to 110th Street. 


The workout went like this:

Run half way up the Great Hill focusing on technique

Run the other half way up the Great Hill at 85% effort

Recover down the hill

Run half way up the Great Hill at 85% effort

Run half way up the Great Hill focusing on technique

Recover down the hill

Repeat 3-4 more times for a total of 6-8 times up and down the Great Hill

Cool down to East 90th.

We ran about 8 miles total.  While it was pretty tough running up the hill, the recovery down the hill made it possible. 

It happened to be really really dark and there were almost no lampposts on the the hill, which meant it was actually kind of eerie.


I went home and immediately iced.

Speaking of which, this week’s go healthy article is about my 5 Tricks to Avoiding Injury.  Let’s hope I don’t jinx myself with this one!


Best of the Rest

After my 18 (or maybe even 19) mile run, I was kind of riding on high.  When a run goes better than anticipated, it’s kind of hard to imagine that anything could top that feeling. However, I had planned date night; however, I planned it when it was 85 and sunny, not 60 and windy.  Nevertheless, we arrived at the marina to get on the NYHRC Yacht and the fun began.  It was the first time I had taken advantage of this membership perk.

The boat was filled with late 20s and up ready to get their party on…the bar was swamped before even took off.  I’ve taken a lot of cruises around NYC, mainly for work functions, but this was my first yacht/party boat experience.  The captain set us off at record speed—heading no mind to the no wake zone. Apparently we were on a race to see the sunset! 

As we flew down the east river, the skipper/Dj blasted the music and the real fun began.  It was a pretty fun time.  Things got a little wild when people started dancing on the benches—um so much for always using the handrails-and Frank got spilled on.  You don’t often get spilled on before 8PM, but this boat’s theme was “party rock.” There was nothing to do but get down with our bad selves.  I love any excuse to dance—in fact, I never need an excuse, so this was the boat for me. 

We took breaks for picture taking:


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After the boat ride we made a brief visit to the San Gennaro festival before calling it a night.

Yesterday, I met a friend for brunch at Josie’s and then stopped at Whole Foods to prepare for my first soiree in enchilada making. Enchiladas have always intimidated me. Therefore, I turned to 4 different blog recipes before coming up with my ingredient list.  My enchiladas were adapted from:

Fitnessista Veggie and Goat Cheese Enchiladas

Eat Live Run Enchilada-Mom Knows Best and the Chicken Enchiladas

Simply Recipes Chicken Enchiladas

It was really a tale of two enchiladas:


Poach chicken in boiling water until cooked, cool and shred

Mix 4 tbps salsa with 3 tbsps low fat sour cream

Veggie,black bean goat cheese for me:

I sauteed half a chopped onion with a splash of enchilada sauce and garlic, then added 2 cups cooked chopped spinach, 1/2 cup  black beans, 2 tbps green chilis and a sprinkle of  goat cheese mixed to combined.’

Steam tortillas in microwave wrapped in a damp paper towel. Dip corn tortillas in touch of enchilada sauce and heat for 5 seconds  on each side iin sautee pan

Place some of the spinach mixture in the center of a corn tortilla and added a drizzle of mixed sour cream and chipotle salsa, rolled them up and placed them in a 9 by 9 glass pan.

Chipotle Chicken Enchiladas:

Again, I sauteed 1/2 a chopped onion, adding 1/2 a cup enchilada sauce, garlic and green chilis. 

Meanwhile I poached chicken in boiling water until cooked through.  I then shredded the chicken.

I prepped the flour tortillas the same as the corn tortillas and then

added chicken, the onion enchilada sauce mixture, a generous spoonful of salsa mixed with sour cream and a sprinkle of mexican shredded cheese.

Then I rolled them up and placed them in the glass pan. I topped both veggie and chicken enchiladas with the remain enchilada sauce and another sprinkle of mexican cheese.

Then I stuck them in the fridge!  I love make ahead meals!

When it was time to cook, I put them in a 400 degree oven, since they were at room temperature, they took about 16 minutes to get hot and bubbly.

Veggie and black bean enchiladas:


Chicken and Green Chili

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Overall they were very very good.  The corn tortillas fall apart a little easier than the flour, but they all tasted great.

18 Beautiful Miles

I think this might have been the best long run of the season, which is really really nice to say!

Prior to my long run, I carb loaded with a delicious dinner at La Bottega.  I’ve wanted to try this place forever, so the day before a long run was the perfect opportunity.



Since we weren’t drinking we ordered quite a bit!

The burretta caprese!


Spaghetti squash cacio e pepe—amazing appetizer selection!


Fettuccine bolegense


Orechetti with broccoli rabe and tomatoes




By the time the entrees came I was full, but I enjoyed a few bites.  The spinach had amazing lemon and garlic flavor.

So far all Martine Hotel dining experiences have been successful!

So the run….

I think a few things really helped this long run go well:

  1. A route I was excited about
  2. Cooler weather
  3. Good company

Our group met at the South Street Seaport at 9AM—so late—to meet for our run. Women’s Health Are You Game Fitness Event!  It looked so cool, if I didn’t have a long run I totally would have stayed!

There were tons of pink tents filled with fun giveaways, photobooths and spa treatments.


An awesome schedule of fitness events: spinning, rock climbing, yoga!

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ACS Determination had a tent at the event, which is why we met there!


As I mentioned I was excited about my run, check out the route my coach came up with:


Basically we ran around the tip of the island and then from the west side over the Brooklyn Bridge through Williamsburg over the Williamsburg Bridge back to the West Side around  the bottom of the island again and then up and down the east side depending on how far you were going. I love love love Battery Park City, so I was happy to do it twice :)!

I did the 18 mile route, but running home brought the run just over 19 according to gmap pedometer.  I actually forgot my watch, so I never knew I passed the 18 mile mark!

What does it take for Melissa to run 18+ miles?  Two belts and pants with pockets:


It is SO EMBARASSING that I wear a fuel belt and a spibelt and have a pocket in my running pants! Some people in my group had nothing!

Why must I have two belts you ask? My fuel belt only hold water and a couple gus (i had a pack of gu chomps today) and some money.  My spibelt hold my phone and ipod—which I didn’t need! And in my back pocket I put my key, metrocard and credit card!

I guess I am high maintenance.

This run went really well because I really enjoyed the running group and coaches and it helped the miles roll by very quickly! I never wanted to put on the ipod.  It was also cool, which was very nice and getting out of the park was essential to keeping running fresh.

I had been very nervous since my hip and ankle have really been bothering me, but they weren’t much of a problem at all today!  I am seeing a running doctor this week just in case!  At least I am very confident that the Hamptons Half will go well next weekend!

All right, I need to get ready for date night!!!

16 Miles and Vitality!


Ahh, this morning was an interesting long run.  ACS practice now starts at 8, so I welcomed the extra hour of sleep.  I did two full loops of Central Park and then ran out and back for a final 4 miles bringing my total to 16 miles.

I ran the first half without music. I have actually found that I like running without music.  However, turning on the tunes for the second half of my run energizes me.  It’s a nice balance.  This was one of my best long runs energy wise.  I felt strong the whole way and really enjoyed the journey.  The fact that it was cool made all the difference and dropped my pace quite a bit from last week.  Unfortunately, I did have a sharp pain in my hip and some plantars issues during most of the run.  It really was a problem when I stopped. I hobbled home in quite a bit of pain.  I’ve been icing as much as possible.

I will say there is something exciting about getting to 16 miles.  Only 4 miles to go until taper time! 

During the run I saw quite a few people I knew, which made the run really fun. It’s like all the runners I knew decided to hit the park.  I saw 3 TNT friends, 2 NYRR friends and a co-worker!

After the run I had a couple hours to chill before heading to Equinox for Ashley’s Vitality class. It was awesome.  Her trainer Lauren rocks.  Plus, I got to see Megan, Katherine, and Leslie! More about the class soon.

Hope everyone’s having a good weekend.  Two of my friends are having parties tonight, so I have to put myself together!

Out of the Woods

It’s been a long week.  This is my busiest time of year for work, so until the hurricane directly impacted my work schedule, it wasn’t even on my radar. Fortunately, all the supplies I ended up buying were not necessary.  I am almost out of the woods, just one week to go! 

Unfortunately, I will have to miss ACS practice tomorrow, so I am going to get up really early and do this treadmill workout at the gym:

  • 10 minute warm up
  • 1 minute at incline 7 (effort 80%)
  • 1 minute at incline 1 (effort 80%)
  • recover 2 minutes at incline 1
  • repeat steps 2-4 six to eight times
  • 8 minute cool down

Saturday’s long run was not very successful, couple rain and puddles with a nagging pain on the inside arch of my foot and I called it a soggy sneaker day at around 6 miles.  My ankle was still sore on Sunday, so I iced and decided to put in an hour on elliptical rather than running today.   Being back at the gym after so long felt amazing! Hopefully, much needed new insoles will do the trick and I will be running pain free soon!

I hope everyone is safe and sound. I promise not to disappear like that again!

Hello Healthy Philly

After a not harrowing, but definitely prolonged megabus ride, I made it to Philly.  I rushed down Market to the hotel to slip into early Healthy Living Summit registration just before it ended at 5PM.  Thanks to Kath, Heather, Caitlin, Julie, Derek and Ben for a warm welcome. On the way up the escalator to my room, I ran into my roommate Megan, small world.  She rocks, so far this conference is awesome. IMG_2098

This is the part of the post where I should post a picture of our super stuffed, granola filled swag bags, but I fear that many of you have seen hundreds of photos of them by now.  So how about goody bags in black in white?


What do bloggers like? energy bars


Apple sauce




Fit Gear


Shirts from Five Bamboo


Also exciting, FitnessNYC and Fit for Class business cards!  I was just going to print them on card stock and cut them myself, but I asked the boy if he could print them since he has a color printer and he took the liberty of getting them professionally made at Staples! If this isn’t an indicator of a keeper, I don’t know what is. 



It’s almost time for the cocktail hour and I made Ashley promise to be my buddy since I tend to get overwhelmed at these sorts of things.  Deep breathe… To be continued.

I’m back! And clearly made it through the Cocktail Hour—which was actually really fun. I mean how could anywhere with a photo booth not be fun?


I should mention the venue, The Reading Terminal Building.  It was so cool. It reminded me of the Ferry Market in San Fran.  I can’t believe we had it all to ourselves.

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Mixing and mingling…


The food!

Cheese, fruit and figs

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And of course, veggies…

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After socializing, I was ready for bed since we had a 5AM run wake up call!

I have to say the run was one of the big highlights for me.  I couldn’t believe so many people woke up so early to run.  Thanks to Ashley for suggesting it and planning the route.

The route was really scenic, we ran down Market and got on the Kelly road path, which took us along the river past pretty buildings, shell houses, fountains and more.  It was dark when we started and everything had a glow of the street lights, but on the way back it all looked totally different in the day light.

I wanted to run 13, so I ran the five 6.5 with Ashley, Theodora, Caitlin, Amelia.  Then I turned around, by then the trail was filled with lots of runners, all of which smiled and said hello.  Around mile 8, I ran into Kelly and Ben, who were kind enough to invite me to run with them. 


This was so welcome, not only because it made the rest of the run much more fun, but also because they are so nice. I’ve met (and adore) Meghann several times, so it was great to meet her awesome siblings.

We ran 13 miles and my Nike Sports Watch with GPS said  record breaker and then the screen lit up with stars and said longest run!  I love that it gives you run motivation—it’s so unexpected!




Some of these splits are a little slower due to walk breaks and walking up a giant set of stairs. But overall, I was happy with the pace.

After a much needed shower, I was ready for breakfast a day of presentations.  Since I am sure you will be reading tons of posts on HLS, I will just do my top 5 or 10 takeaways from the presentations I went to in combination with my upcoming posts!

See you on the flip side!!

Are You Prone to Running Injury?

I have been meaning to post on the injury prevention clinic hosted by Determination a few weeks ago  Krista Simon, one of head coaches, is a physical therapist that focuses on sports rehab, so she led us through a thorough workshop on common running injuries and prevention. I learned a lot! I’ve been really impressed by the knowledge of the Determination coaches.

The first thing I learned that there are three main things that contribute to 90% of running injuries.

  1. Muscle imbalance
  2. Improper footwear
  3. Overtraining

Muscle Imbalance

So many runners have knee problems, this is actually often caused by other muscle issues that cause the knee to overcompensate to balance the body and causes pain. For example, if you ankles are weak, your knee will have to be the source of balance and stability for every step and eventually will feel the effort of repetitive work.  IT band issues often cause knee pain. There are many reasons for IT band issues, one of them being the inner thighs being weaker or stronger than the outer thighs that can trigger knee pain or hip issues that again make the knees be the main stabilizers.  These are just knee examples, but often one muscle group is stronger or weaker than the opposing muscle group and can  cause pain or imbalance over time.  Likewise one leg can be stronger or weaker, and since running is a sport done on one leg at a time, this can lead to injury.

Testing for muscle imbalance:

Test #1 Leg Raise

Lay on one side raise your leg parallel and the slightly back. You want to avoid the hips rolling in and activating, so having the hips stacked and leg slightly back is key.  See if you can hold this for 30 seconds.  Then have a partner see if they can push your leg down with moderate pressure. If you don’t pass either of these, you want to work on strengthening the hips.


Test #2 One Leg Stand


Stand on one leg with arms folded behind head military style and raise the other leg parallel to the floor with knee bent at 90 degrees.  Stand here for one minute. Switch legs and try again.

If you can’t do this or one leg is easier than the other, you might work on balance exercise or strengthening the weaker leg.

Test #3 One Leg Stand Eyes Closed

Stand one one leg as above, arms behind head, other leg raised with knee bent.  Now close your eyes!  SO HARD.  Switch legs.

You should be able to do this for 30 seconds.  Let me know if you can!  I couldn’t.  That’s why I am going to work on balance!

Test #4 One leg squat

Stand on one leg and squat.  Have a partner watch the knee of the standing leg.  The knee should stay parallel. If it veers in or out, your inner and outer thighs may be of unequal strength.  You may notice that one leg stays parallel and the other rolls in.  This means one leg may be stronger than the other.

If you are already experiencing pain, you may want to consult a PT to develop a specific plan for your needs. If you noticed you didn’t quite pass some of these tests, you might want to look into working on strength, balance and flexibility.

The main exercise our coach suggested for hips, was lying on your side and doing leg lifts, Jane Fonda style.

There were many more tests, but those were the main ones, you can see all the pictures of the Determination clinic in action here.

I linked above but here are some great links from

All In The Balance

Runner’s World on

Stability training to Avoid Injury

Finding Your Balance

Hip Strengthening to Avoid Injury

Improper Footwear

Improper footwear can be a big source of injury.  Even just wearing the wrong size.  Our coach recommended Urban Athletics as a good place for gait testing.  I recommend doing some research on your own and trying a few running stores to see if they recommend the same type of shoe.  Running shoes that support your natural stride , whether you pronate or are neutral, will make a huge difference.


This is a no brainer.  Follow a plan that matches your running experience level and fitness level, less can be more.  Always trust that your plan will get you to the finish line. Hal Hidgon has many great plans for every running level. Or, think about join a great charity team like ACS :)