Megan’s Marathon FAQ

TGI Friday! After a week of vacation, this week has seemed very looong. My 20-miler last weekend left me feelin’ pretty tired, but I’ve been trying to prepare myself the best I can for Sunday’s ING Rock ‘n’ Roll Half-Marathon in Philadelphia. That means as much sleep as I can fit into my busy sched, scaling back on the workout intensity, and pumping myself up with some fun music. Speaking of music…big shout out to Sony for sponsoring me in the 1/2 marathon this weekend. In addition to the race, they also hooked me up with some fun goodies – a bloggie video camera and a W-series MP3 player. Stay tuned for reviews!

I’m still not entirely sure how I’m going to play the Philly 1/2 marathon – I have another 1/2 marathon in 2 weeks and that’s more of a focus race for me. I might end up running this weekend’s race as a “workout” i.e. 5 miles easy (8:30 pace), 5 miles @ MP pace (7:30), 5k @ HM pace (7:05). I think it will be a game day decision. In any case, we’re now entering the core of marathon training, t-minus 50 days. Wheee! I thought that I’d share some frequently asked questions regarding my training. Hope it’s helpful!

Click on the link to take a look at my complete 18-week training plan for the NYC marathon.


How many miles a week do you run? Since I began my marathon training plan in July, I’ve been averaging 50-60 miles per week. My highest mileage week will be in mid-October (3 weeks out from the marathon) and I hope to crack 70.

Why don’t you cross-train? Do you take rest days? Since I’m running fairly high mileage, I don’t really have time in my schedule for cross-training. Once the marathon is over I hope to return to the occasional spinning class/yoga class. Part of the reason why I don’t cross-train is that when I take a rest day, I rest completely – no exercise at all. I’ve found that a day off every 7-10 days is most beneficial to my body.

What do you eat before running? During runs? Afterward? On weekday morning runs (6-9 miles), I rarely eat anything before heading out. Keep in mind that I eat dinner pretty late (~9pm), so I’m still pretty well fueled from the previous night. Before long runs and races, I like to drink coffee and have some sort of banana/pb/carb combination.

Before the Boston marathon, I drank coffee and had a cinnamon raisin bagel and a banana with peanut butter.

One of my go-to post-workout snacks is chocolate milk (hehe, yes sometimes I get it from McDonald’s…). It has a near perfect carb to protein ratio (4-1 is optimum) and 8oz of choc milk has about 30g carbs and 8g protein. Plus it’s liquid, so it hydrates you!

Have you ever been injured? Ugh, yes! From January – October 2009 I struggled with a combination of IT band syndrome and a strained hamstring. It was a long road to recovery (partly my own fault…I continued training for Boston when I should have rested) and I had to miss out on a couple of important races such as the 2009 NYC marathon. However, time heals all and besides the occasionally ache and pain, I’m now feelin’ good! I wish I could pinpoint what exactly fixed my issues (I tried everything! ART, chiropractor, acupuncture, sports med doc, PT, yoga, rest, etc), but ultimately I think my body just needed time to heal itself.

How does marathon training affect your body weight? Honestly, I’m hungry all of the time and I’m sure that I’m eating close to 3,000 calories per day. I wouldn’t be surprised if I end up gaining a few pounds during marathon training. Running 60 miles per week (including high intensity interval workouts) is demanding and now is not the time to be watching calories. Until November 7th, the important thing is fueling myself properly and giving my body the nutrients it needs – not worrying about a number on the scale. While training for my last two marathons I gained a few lbs, but once the race was over, things returned to normal. That being said, I am trying to make smart choices (high quality carbs, fruits & veggies, protein, etc). Just because I’m running 10 miles doesn’t mean I should refuel with chocolate cake!

Do you have a social life? Haha, yes! I definitely have to make sacrifices in order to fit in work-running-blogging, etc but I have a strong support network of girlfriends and that helps a lot. In fact, the girls on my running club are some of my closest friends. We’re able to turn workouts and races into social events and it helps that we have similar goals. Running is important to all of us, so they don’t think I’m crazy when I suggest a 7am long run run!

I’m also lucky that BBB understands my crazy schedule and is willing to cook me breakfast after a race or meet my sweaty self for a bagel post-long run. Dating a competitive runner isn’t easy (uhh, sorry babe, can’t go out for beers tonight…18-miler in the morning), so it really helps to have someone who is supportive.

That’s not sweat…I’m just glowing! Hehe.

But as important as running is to me, I know that it’s not everything. I’m cool with occasionally scaling back my training plan and taking an impromptu roadtrip with my best friend. And a life without beer and yummy treats just isn’t worth it. I think it is possible to have a social life while training to be a competitive runner, you just have to identify what’s most important and figure out a way to make it happen.

I was recently discussing running with someone and they said something very wise –

“There will always be a reason NOT to run.” It might be too hot, too cold, too rainy, maybe you’ve had a long day and you’re tired, or you’re hungry, or you’re knee hurts…It’s possible to talk yourself out of anything, but if you want something bad enough, you need to do it anyway. Running isn’t always easy, but the most worthwhile things never are.

Okay, enough ramblings from me! It’s almost weekend, wheee!

Question: When you just don’t feel like doing a workout, how do you get your head in the game? Fun music? Post-run ice cream?

  • I LOVE THIS POST. It is the cutest thing I have read in a while, and so, so true. Serious running does require sacrifices, but I tend to think they more than make up for themselves in benefits (sometimes).

    Good luck this weekend! Can we expect a video post?!

  • i agree with sarah. i kind of love you even more after reading this. you make me wanna train/ race again (though my body is mad at me for doing so!)

    SO cool about the nike gadgets. can’t wait to hear about your race/ training run(?) this weekend!

  • i LOVE q&as 🙂 yay. so awesome 🙂

  • I feel so warm and fuzzy inside right now. We need to plan a post-run Whole Foods picnic on Sheeps Meadow. I’ll bring the blanket:)

  • I just remind myslef that I always feel great after a good workout. That usually does the trick. If I’m suppose to workout and I don’t, I usuallu feel guilty afterwards.

  • Yay for q&a’s! It’s really good to get the inside scoop every now and then! You’re also inspiring to hop back on the running wagon – I have been LAME this summer.

  • I just think you’re the cutest! I’m not a serious runner at all, but I always enjoy your posts. I really don’t have a lot of “fun” workout motivators, but I always remind myself how good I will feel AFTER it’s over. That usually gets me out of bed. I recently recovered from a hamstring injury, so I’m just now getting back into my running…about 15 miles a week. It’s not much, but I’m catching the running fever again (it goes in phases), so I plan to keep building!

  • I love this post too! I agree with Sarah, running definitely has sacrifices, but it’s so worth it 🙂 When I don’t feel like a workout, I just bribe myself (this has included promises of pizza, cupcakes and pedicures after the workout is complete!)

    Yes to running next week! Good luck this weekend 🙂

  • this post makes me all warm and fuzzy about running, and we know i’m not a runner. i really think you do a wonderful job of balancing something you love so much (and are so serious about) with your lifestyle. and i think it’s not particularly common for a lot of people to have an interest that they’re this passionate about – so it’s hard for them to understand that when you really, really love something, you find ways to make it work in your life because you legitimately want to. i still get to see you often for drinks, so i know you’ve got that part down!

    ps: love that bbb is now an official nickname.

  • Wow! What a great topic, thank you. Loved the closing quote!

    When I feel like not running, it’s usually knowing that I’ve got a group of girls waiting for me that gets me going … and if I’m still not feeling it halfway through, it’s usually the thought of ice cream that gets me over the hump 😉

  • I try ot just get out there, I normally have my head in the game after 10 minutes of running. Plus I love the quote “I may regret the days I didn’t run, but I never regret the days I did” and “There is no try, just do or do not – Yoda” lol

  • Great post Megan!

  • Music, music, music! That is the major motivator I have to go on a run. I actually don’t think I would be able to run if I didn’t have my music.

  • Sveta

    Gaining marathon weight, so true. Food Baby! Now to motivate myself for a 20miler in a storm – ignore the weather warnings!

  • First of all, “Good Luck” this weekend! I’ll be working at the expo Saturday (Fleet Feet North Whales booth). I LOVE this race (formerlly the PDR), but am boycotting it this year b/c now that it’s part of the “rock-and-roll” series, it’s too expensive. But the course is nice and fast 🙂 I definitely need to learn from you as far as mileage goes. I struggle to do anything over 35. Perhaps this is why I’m always singing the “close, but no cigar” tune when it comes to qualifying for Boston! haha

  • McDonald’s has chocolate milk? Brilliant.

    And of course, you are too. 🙂 Great post!

  • Bridget

    Oh-m-g, usher style, so excited to read you are doing philly this weekend! I read your blog all the time–I’m also slated for NY this year after defecting from last year’s race due to injury–so if you get the creepy sensation someone is staring at the corrals on Sunday, that’s me trying to figure out if it’s you! Hopefully I will run into you and say hi–best of luck Sunday. I’ve run the course several times before, get yourself ready for a fast one!

  • You’re logging a lot of miles in prep for NYC Marathon! I love that you aren’t watching the scale during training, and that you’re focusing on fueling your body WELL!! Good luck next weekend on the Half, it sounds like it’ll be a FAST race!!

  • I love this! I keep apologizing to my boyfriend about how “lame” I have been during my marathon training!

  • I have to use great music to get me in the mood to workout!

  • Comment number 20 is the best thing ever.

  • Eileen

    I’m running it, too! I totally agree with the above poster who is protesting the high cost. This will probably be my last Rock & Roll event. (It’s also my first.)

    Have a GREAT race!!! You’ll be waaaay ahead of me!

  • Great post. Sounds like you’re in tune with what works for you.

    Good luck tomorrow. This course screams for speedy races. Enjoy!

    However, like everyone else said, rock ‘n roll will not get any more of my money. Post to come about how greedy this organization really is…

  • oooohhhh this was a fun Q+A…i loved hearing about your racing and that is AWESOME sony is sponsoring you. go on with yo bad self girl…

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