A Tale of Two Marathons: How I PR’d by 12 Minutes (with a BQ!)

Now that I have run two (2) whole marathons, I am a qualified marathon expert. Or at least, somewhat knowledgeable. Okay, I am still an idiot who doesn’t know anything. But now that I have run two marathons, I can at least compare them. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you how to run an Olympic qualifying marathon. Also, if you’re looking to run an Olympic qualifying marathon, you are very much on the wrong blog.

In this post, I’m going to take a close look at the two 26.2-mile races I’ve run in my very short life as a marathon runner: the 2018 TCS NYC Marathon and the 2019 Novo Nordisk New Jersey Marathon. I’m kind of a numbers nerd, and I thought this could be a fun way of comparing the two training cycles and races – examining what I did better, what I could still do better, and how luck and life circumstances played a role. Let’s have some fun! Or maybe it’ll just be me who has fun!

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Thoughts on My First Marathon: What I Got Right & What I Did Not

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?

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Spring 2019 Marathon Fueling

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.

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NJ Marathon Training: Week 11

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.

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NJ Marathon Training: Week 9

Woo-hoo, I am officially more than halfway through this 16-week training plan for the New Jersey Marathon! All I ask is that the warmer weather we’re finally experiencing in week 10 stick around. Please don’t leave. For the love of all that is holy. Bring spring.

Week 9 was not supposed to be a down week in terms of mileage (or anything else) but it turned out to be. I had intended to run about 56 miles. But this was the second week in a row I had a disappointing long run I cut short. The good news is that I am nailing my speed and tempo workouts on the track. Those are going GREAT. But my easy runs and long runs have tended toward the sluggish. And this week’s long run – oof. It was, in the words of Ned Ryerson, a doozy. More on that below.

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NJ Marathon Training: Week 7

Week 7 of 16 in my training for the New Jersey Marathon was solid. Due to some schedule rearranging, I only ran 5 days instead of 6 (I’ll run 7 the following week), but it was one of my highest mileage weeks ever, topping out at 52.12 miles. (In training for last fall’s NYC Marathon, my weekly mileage only reached above 50 twice.)

The week started out cold and windy but went up to balmy 40s by mid-week. Spring feels right around the corner – at least it did until week 8 started off with temps back down in the 20s. And now snow is in the forecast. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

In week 7, I visited Riverbank State Park track twice, tried a resistance band workout for the first time, and ran my longest long run of this training cycle thus far. Here’s the breakdown.

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