The long run-workout combo

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I signed up for the 15k months ago knowing that it would help me fit in a good long run before I headed to Pennsylvania for the holidays. My plan was to complete it as a tempo run rather than a race – a good thing considering the pre run “routine” that I undertook.

On Saturday evening I turned up the holiday music and baked some cookies. I sampled a few (ok, half a dozen) and then climbed into bed around midnight. The next morning I hit snooze a few too many times and only had time for some black coffee before heading out to Central Park. No breakfast, Megan?? Are you crazy? Maybe, but I feel that if you generally eat enough (oh hai cookies before bed!), a run before breakfast won’t kill you. Plus, the NY Times says exercising before your oatmeal might be a good thing for your blood sugar. And the NY Times = truth, in my opinion.

So, after I downed my coffee, I threw on some running gear and glanced at the clock. 7:51am. The race starts at 8:00am. And I live a mile away. I better make this warm-up mile quick!

I arrived at the starting line just as the National Anthem was finishing up, phew. The run itself was pretty uneventful. A 4-mile loop of Central Park, followed by a 5-mile loop (no Harlem Hills in this race!). I kept a steady 7:40-ish pace until the last mile or so when I sped up to 7:00 pace. Mostly, I wanted to get away from the heavy-breathing, middle-aged dude who was riding my shoulder. I thought about mentioning that I was tempo-ing this run…but Mr. heavy-breather seemed to be enjoying our little rivalry. I finished up the 9.3 mile course in 1:10:18 (7:33 pace). It was right about marathon pace and considering my preparation, I felt alright, but I can’t imagine running another 17 miles at that pace. I cooled down back to my apartment and totaled up 11.5 miles for the day. It was my longest run since the marathon and boy…did it feel like it. 6 weeks later and I still don’t think I’m 100% back to normal. I’m honestly really glad Boston filled up so fast this year – I couldn’t fathom starting marathon training a month from now!

I headed to Pennsylvania after eating a hearty breakfast and showering and I’m glad I was able to check a workout and a long run off my to-do list. Adding mileage after races seems much easier (mentally and physically) than doing a long run non-stop!

I’m going to credit my holiday cookies for Sunday’s long run success. Huzzah butter and sugar! These were inspired by some cookies that my friend Jane baked last week – usually I make peanut butter cookies with hershey kisses, but I thought that sugar cookies were a unique twist on the recipe : )

Classic Holiday Sugar Cookies (makes about 1 1/2 dozen)

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • Assorted chocolate candies – hershey’s kisses, mini reese’s cups

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 325 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  • Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl
  • In a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar, add egg and vanilla
  • Slowly add in the flour mixture and mix until combined (don’t overmix or the cookie dough will get too tough)
  • Put a heaping Tbs of dough between your hands and roll into a ball, place on the baking sheet, and lightly flatten
  • Bake for about 10 minutes, until lightly browned
  • As soon as you remove cookies from the oven, place a chocolate candy in the middle
  • Cool completely and devour!

Is anyone else struggling with building up mileage after the marathon? I’m grateful to be able to run as much as I am, but it’s tough to imagine myself doing anything close to marathon mileage.

  • Katie

    I’m not at the same level of running as you but after I ran a marathon in June it was really tough for me to get back into running. I just went with what I felt like and didn’t keep track for about a month- no Garmin or watch or anything. Then suddenly I felt like getting back into running and ended up really improving on speed. I’ve been fueling with cookies lately too! Great quick sugar!

  • While I’ve been up and running, I haven’t even attempted a longer run than 8 miles since my October marathon. I had originally been toying with a spring marathon, but I think I’m going to wait until the fall because my body is enjoying the time off!

  • Yayyyy Pennsylvania!

  • I’ve been building back up verrrrry slowly after Chicago. Well, that is after being way too ambitious with my mileage in those first few post-race weeks – and ending up injured. It’s a perfect time of year to run lower mileage though, so I don’t mind!

    Have fun in PA!

  • I drove past the W-B exit on I-81 yesterday and thought of you!

    I have no tips for building up mileage. I’m kind of a mileage whore, anyway, so I just get out and run. The weather is not helping matters, I’ll tell you that. But as long as you’re not marathon training, who cares?!

  • I’ve only run one, but looking back through my training log… yes. I took my darn sweet time building back up; heavy on the cross-training, kind of just aimlessly did what I wanted for a while until I caught the bug to train specifically for something again. Winter seems like a natural time to ratchet things back anyway, right?

  • ny times = truth in my book too. i read that article the other day! i’m not struggling per se to build up mileage but most days i really can’t see myself pushing as hard as i did during training. i’m getting back into the semi-swing of things mileage wise (even though i am NO WHERE NEAR what i was doing pre-race) it’s going to be tough to get myself to run really fast when training starts up again.

    YAY PA! have fun. and great job in the race. guess the cookie fueling worked 🙂

  • That’s a unique twist with the sugar cookie! I’ve never ran a marathon before so I can’t say i’ve struggled like you mentioned, but I can just imagine the challenge after putting so much energy and time into training and the actual race. I think your doing a great job!

  • Claire

    Since the NYC Marathon I’ve run about 26.2 miles total.

  • Cookies look delish!

    Ew what a creeper haha…hope you threw out some elbows if heavy breather got too close for comfort!

  • Right there with you. The thought of going at it for 26.2 right now is not particularly appealing. Most of my workouts have been fueled by cookies lately – whew.

    Heavy breathers are the worst. Especially when it’s two completely different races (he was obviously going all out).

  • Kristan

    Congrats on a great race, especially on a chilly morning! And I love the cookie recipe!

    I remember last year I struggled for two months post marathon. I think it just takes time and slow build up of miles.

  • You are so fast – that’s an awesome time!
    After a marathon in April and a half in Sept, I had to (more mentally than physically) take a couple of months off before starting to train again recently. (And honestly, after this marathon I think there will be a long break for me). At first I was kind of worried that running was so unappealing to me, but now I realize it’s totally normal to want a break from it and I really shouldn’t fight it. When I was ready, my mind and body came around again.

  • Nice work, Megan. I cannot imagine running a 15k at MP right now. Not even close. Have a wonderful time in PA with the fam!

  • nice race, dude. i like that you are not hatin’ on yo’ racin’ self no mo’ (don’t ask). these cookies are cute. when do you get back from PA? let’s drown ourselves in rum punch bowls again soon, yes?

  • mmmm, cookies. I think being injured post-marathon forced me to rest for a longer period of time, I’m actually looking forward to building up the mileage and starting marathon training again soon! Hopefully I still feel this way around February/March 🙂

    Hope you’re having fun in PA!!

  • are you doing boston next year?? i can’t wait to see you race if you do. i always spectate (i volunteered one year, but i missed out on seeing so much of the race that way) and it is sooo exciting!!! although i think chicago and nyc may beat boston for spectator support, but boston is just its own excitement i suppose. and i like the course since it is home to me.

    good luck ramping back up! you already have such a good base. and great 15k btw!! i don’t have any tips for getting up to marathon mileage, other than maybe focus on one key workout each week instead of multiple, and then pick it up to 2-3 key workouts when you have momentum? i look forward to following along 🙂

  • AR

    I’ve never quite gotten those people who marathon train and then are running 50 miles the next week and 70 the next. Just…no. I don’t even think I’ve hit much over 40 since Chicago. Chicago! Then again, I’m lazy…yet still doing Boston. ;p

    Also, I’m laughing at your description of getting to the race. I too prioritize coffee over food before running and almost never eat before a race. The caffeine will do just fine.;)

  • Jane

    Ah! Love the shout out :)! Your cookies look delish! Have a fabulous Christmas and see you next year!!!

  • I didn’t know you were running! Congrats on your time! I also had a competitor next to me… and one woman who kept putting her hand out like a stop sign! Very strange.

    Enjoy your time at home, and I do hope we get to see each other soon. It’s been since Leslie’s birthday!