I signed up to run the Run as One 4M Presented by JP Morgan Chase back in February. I knew that running a race just eight days before the New Jersey Marathon wasn’t ideal, but I didn’t sign up to get a PR. This race held a more personal meaning for me.
The Great Taper has begun! Week 14 is the third-to-last (antepenultimate, FYI) week in my 16-week training program for the New Jersey Marathon. It is also my first week of tapering, which basically means I’m taking it down a notch. I still logged 48.38 miles this week, down about 9 miles from the week before. I probably could have notched it down a bit further, but too late now!
I started writing this post last December and then never finished it. As I’m winding down my second marathon training cycle (the NJ Marathon is in less than two weeks!) I decided to revisit it with some fresh perspective.
I wrote a full recap about the TCS NYC Marathon I ran last November. This post will be less of a recap and more of a look back at what I got right and wrong – both in the weeks and hours before the race, as well as during. I no longer feel any regret about the race but, as always, I want to learn from my experiences so I can get better instead of worse, which I think is always the idea?
Lucky week 13 of training for the New Jersey Marathon was my highest mileage week, ever: 57.51 miles! And, luckily, nothing went terribly wrong. No soreness. No catastrophes. No icy rainstorms, no numb fingers. The week ended with my longest training run of the cycle, which went… not exactly as planned. But not horrible, either.
This would be the last week of training before the Great Taper, which, as of this writing, I have just begun. Crazy that I’m here already. I feel like the race was so far away for so long. Now I have less than three weeks to go. I can almost taste the Jersey Shore salt water taffy now…
I am officially 75% of my way through my training for the New Jersey Marathon!
It’s starting to feel very… real. I’m visualizing the race more and more. I’ve read over the Athlete Guide. I’ve double-checked that I pre-paid for the bus ride down from NYC. I’ll be picking up my bib the morning of the race. I’ll make sure to bring a clear, drawstring bag to check. I’ve been experimenting with fuel. Should I buy new racing shoes? Not sure. The Saucony Kinvaras I wore for the NYC Marathon only have 195 miles on them. They feel good and are probably fine. But I kind of want new shoes? Hmm.
Week 12 was great and one of my highest mileage weeks ever. I seem to have recovered from the weird foot thing I had early in week 11. I ran six days this week, which included one speed workout on Harlem Hill, one marathon pace tempo run in which I discovered something about myself, and one long run that began in Central Park and ended at an Indian restaurant in Queens.
I was going to just keep track of my fueling experiments in a spreadsheet, but I decided to turn it into a little old blog post. For the next four weeks leading up to the New Jersey Marathon, I’ll update this post every so often with how I’ve been fueling for my runs, what’s worked for me, and what hasn’t. Probably mostly on my long run days.
Fueling is a highly individual subject. There’s no one right way to do it. I see a lot of runners ask, “What should I eat before a race?” Well, that’s up to you. That’s just one of the things you need to figure out as you train. Experiment, try different things, and see what works.
For example, I once read that Ben True likes to eat six bagels before a race. (I don’t know if he still does.) Personally, this would not work for me. I would not eat six bagels before a race. I would not eat six bagels in one sitting, anytime, ever. But that’s just me.
Week 11 was a down week to be forever etched in my mind as the Very Down Week. My foot hurt and I took three extra days off from running. I suppose this was inevitable. It actually wasn’t all that bad: I was forced to rest a bit, I focused on strength training, and (spoiler) as of this writing I am fully recovered.
I can’t imagine that running 22 miles on March 16 (the Saturday of week 10) was all it took to hurt my foot, but I think being on my feet for several hours the following morning while volunteering at the United Half plus the fact that weeks 8 and 9 long runs had been cut down to 13 and 12 miles – which led to a big bump in long run mileage in week 10 – probably had something to do with the soreness I felt in my right foot on Monday.