3 things that helped me run my fastest marathon in 5 years – 5th BQ!

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18 days ago I ran my 12th marathon & fastest marathon in 5 years earning my 5th BQ. After my marathon, I looked back and jotted down everything I did differently this time & what worked. Below I am sharing 3 things that I did differently this time that I haven’t done or done as well in past years. I believe that they truly made a difference this time around!

1.) No Pressure.
After running Boston in 2013′; I immediately jumped back into training only to end up completely fatigued. Running began to feel like a chore & I was burnt out and soon after injured then injured again. This time I took a different approach – I stuck to my plan but instead focused on running for joy! Yes, I had paces I needed to hit in my workouts but I took my training day by day & run by run & guess what? I got that BQ!!

2.) Treat Yo-self
My diet is super healthy, it has been for years. A healthy diet is so important while marathon training but in the past I restricted myself from cheating at all! This time – I allowed myself that Sunday night post run glass of wine, I allowed myself that slice of pizza πŸ• once a week & if I wanted some fries 🍟or Froyo – I had it! 🍦

3.) Hit Snooze (allowing myself extra zzzzz)
Sleep – extremely important for marathoners! Our muscles rebuild while we are sleeping – skimping on sleep will not benefit you in any way while training!Β  Every Friday night; I went to bed without setting my alarm – allowing myself to sleep 10, 11 and sometimes 12 hours into Saturday morning. It was glorious!!!

Do you treat yourself while you are training or do you follow a super strict diet?

Do you also allow yourself a sleep in day?

What changes have worked well for you?

Thank you as always for following my journey! Mere @meretherunner14

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FINALLY! A Pair of Leggings that Stay Up While I Run!

Has anyone ever found an absolutely adorable pair of running leggings only to put them on; head out for a run and end up pulling them up every half mile because they are literally falling off? Not staying in place? Just plain uncomfortable? Well that has been the case for this runner many, many times! I can recall race photos where I am actually tugging on my pants; pulling them up so they stay in place! I was so HAPPY when I finally had the opportunity to try out Dona Jo – Jo Jo Leggings! These leggings are not only superΒ  CUTE; they are also moisture wicking and the BEST part —-they actually stayed up while I ran!!! Woohoo!!

Dona Jo Leggings come in sizes 1, 2 and 3!

  • Size 1 fits sizes 0 – 8
  • Size 2 fits sizes 10 – 14
  • Size 3 fits sizes 16 – 20

I ordered size 1 and they fit like they were made for me! I am wearing the “Airbrush” pattern and seriously love these pants! The moisture wicking material made them extremely comfortable and easy to move in!

Dona Jo – Jo Jo Leggings get an A + & thumbs up in my book!! I highly recommend these leggings to fellow runners and fitness enthusiasts! πŸ™‚

Use promo code meretherunner14 at https://www.donajofitwear.com and receive 20% off your total purchase!!! Enjoy!! πŸ™‚

dona jo

 

 

February Training Recap – Almost There!

Another month of marathon training in the books for this girl! Along with the month of February came more crazy weather here in the Garden State! There were negative wind chills and there were beautiful spring-like days! I ended the month of February with 177.2 miles logged; the most miles I’ve logged in one month since training for Boston 3 years ago. In February I focused on getting extra sleep; so important while training for a marathon. I focused on fueling properly, getting in enough runs at goal pace and putting in the hard work! I kicked off February with some speed work; mile repeats!

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To be completely honest after 2 stress fractures; speed work was something I shied away from in my past couple of marathons out of fear of injury. This time around; I decided to face my fears and give this training cycle all I’ve got while focusing on extra sleep & proper nutrition. My first week in February was a recovery week as I prepared for the higher mileage to come. 1st long run of the month consisted of 14 miles; we got a bit of snow so I had to make it work the best I could!

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Don’t worry; I didn’t run all 14 miles through the snow, lol! I’m not that crazy! ” πŸ™‚ With the second week of February came chilly weather; including negative wind chills! With an 18 miler coming up; I wondered “How am I going to get this done?” That Saturday; I braved the freezing temps/negative wind chills for 6 miles!

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With more negative wind chills in the forecast for that Sunday (also Valentine’s Day); there was no way I was taking my long run outside so I took my 18 miler to the treadmill!

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A big THANK YOU to my hubby who uploaded all new music onto my IPod for me the night before this run! It actually made this long treadmill run a lot less painful than I expected it to be! Overall a great run in my book! Week 3 of February arrived; the temperatures warmed up a bit and I was finally able to take my running back outdoors!

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With this week came more focus on marathon goal pace runs! This included a mid week tempo run that consisted of 9 miles! It’s been quite a while since I’ve run this kind of mileage or done a mid week run of this distance, but I went into it with pure determination & confidence! “I can and I will!”

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And guess what? I did! This run was windy, but I pushed through and hit my goal pace! That Saturday marked exactly one month until my marathon; so I put on my Shamrock Marathon shirt from when I ran in 2010 (pic below) every time I look at this pic it makes me smile!

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Shamrock Half 2010′

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Sunday arrived and with Sunday came warmer temps & a 20 miler for this girl! I took my run to one of my favorite trails!

This run went really well; I practiced fueling and pacing for race day! I enjoyed the beauty on the trails around me and waved to other runners also getting their long runs done as they passed by!

I was pleasantly surprised on this run and this finally gave me that confidence that I needed to believe that my goal of running my 4th BQ may not be so impossible after all! The final week of February arrived and with that came another mid week tempo run; this time – 10 miles! It was pouring rain/windy and 61 degrees, but I went for it!

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This was a tough one; rain and wind but I did it! HUGE runners high after this run! Something about running in the rain that I just love!Β  As the weekend grew closer the weather warmed up a bit and I took full advantage of being outdoors as much as possible!

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My last Sunday run of February consisted of 15 miles; it was a recovery week as I prepared for my peak run; 22 miles on 3/5! I took my run to the beach. It was a beautiful day; not a cloud in the sky!

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I enjoyed the ocean breeze in my hair and the sun beating down on me! The wind was pretty fierce that day, but the clear blue beautiful skies made up for it! At mile 5 I ran into my sis-in-law Jess then again at mile 10 I saw her again; as we passed one another I gave her a high 5! That high 5 gave me that motivation that I needed to finish my last five miles strong; it is just what I needed! Thanks Jess!

I ended up finishing this run with the final 5 miles in the low 8:00’s and high 7:50’s!

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It was a perfect day at the beach in my book!

On Saturday I did my peak run – 22 miles (8:16/mile) along the beach and I am officially in taper mode or as I like to call it “taper madness”! Just 12 days until Marathon number 10!! πŸ™‚

Thank you as always for following my journey to marathon number 10!!

How is your training going? Does the taper drive anyone else crazy? What do you do to keep yourself busy during the taper?

In It for The Long Run

Marathon training does not come without obstacles and in the end that is what makes crossing the finish line that much more rewarding! I am currently training for my 10th marathon and along with training for a Spring marathon comes weather challenges! Watching the weather and seeing snow or very cold weather in the forecast when I have a long run on my plan; one of my first thoughts is “Where will I do my long run?” Β “Should I run outside despite the cold?” “Do I take my run to the treadmill?” This past weekend; that was the case! With negative wind chills; I had to make the decision whether to take my run inside or bundle up and take it outdoors! Here is how it went! Friday morning; I made the choice to take it to the treadmill. 5 miles with the final 2 fast 7:53, 7:52.

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Saturday arrived; it was another cold one. I didn’t want to take my run to the treadmill again! I was determined to get back outside so I dressed in layers and decided to give it a go. 2 long sleeve Nike combat tops. a North Face jacket, fleece lined shorts with fleece lined pants, 2 pairs of socks, gloves and a hat!


I was warm and toasty and ended up logging 6 beautiful miles.

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The view was just perfect! So glad I was able to get outside!

I watched the weather Saturday night and saw negative wind chills in the forecast for Sunday. There was no way I was braving the cold for 18 miles; to me it was just unsafe. I haven’t done a long run on the treadmill since training for Boston in 2013′, but I was determined to make this run happen no matter what! I packed up my fuel – GU the night before, had my waters ready in the fridge, had my breakfast made and ready for me on Sunday morning; I headed to bed early and set my alarm for 6am so I could get to the gym at 7am when the doors opened! I woke up at 6am; hubby uploaded all new music to my Ipod after I went to sleep (he’s the best) so that I would have enough music to get me through this 18 mile run! I ate my breakfast, put on all pink for Valentine’s Day, grabbed my fuel and headed off to the gym with all positive thoughts. 18 miles on the treadmill was not ideal, but it was what I needed to do so I was going to make it happen! I planned to start off at an easier pace then increase pace as the miles increased! I started off with miles 1-12 at a comfortable 8:25/mile, at miles 12 I received a text from a fellow runner also doing her 18 miler on the treadmill that gave me motivation to keep pushing through! I picked up the pace at mile 13 as planned; still feeling strong! πŸ’ͺ MilesΒ 13-15 at 8:20/mile ! My goal for this run was a fast finish and that is exactly what I did! Mile 16 at 8:10/mile, Mile 17 at 8:08/mile and mile 18 at 8:06/mile! I sprinted that last mile just envisioning myself crossing that finish line with a sub 3:40 earning my 4th BQ and it helped me give that extra little bit!!

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I finished my 18 miler in 2:30:29! This run was definitely a test of mental toughness and I was so proud of myself for pushing through this treadmill run and never giving up! YOU ARE SO MUCH STRONGER THAN YOU THINK YOU ARE! πŸ™‚

I finished this run just after 10am; headed home, stretched and spent the rest of the day with my Valentine! It was a great day!

my love

Have you taken your long run to the treadmill? What keeps you motivated on the treadmill? What keeps you warm on long winter runs?

Thank you for following my journey to marathon number 10!

January Recap (154.58 Miles) – Marathon Training Check-In

Along with the kickoff of a new year came new goals for this girl. New goals; including my goal to put my 10th marathon in the books! When 2016′ began; I knew for sure I wanted to make this happen, although I had no idea which race I would be running. After running TCS NYC Marathon in November 2015′; I decided to try to maintain my endurance the best I could for when training started up again! After taking a few days off and not pushing myself until I felt 100% recovered. I maintained a distance of 10 miles on my Sunday long runs; hitting the trails

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or running along my favorite beaches just enjoying every single step!

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In fall 2015′; I entered a giveaway on Instagram; winning a free race of my choice through @RacePlace. I provided them with my top five choices and together; we chose the Yuengling Shamrock Marathon! πŸ™‚ Just like that; I was it was official; I was training for my 10th marathon! Woohoo!! With just 12 weeks left to train; I wrote up the rest of my training plan! That Sunday; I hit the trails feeling determined and excited to be training for my 10th marathon / chasing my 4th BQ!

I knew that chasing my 4th BQ would take a bit more hard work this time around! It would mean adding in tough track workouts and more goal paced runs, but I was ready to do it! Winter weather – snow caused me to take many of my runs to the treadmill in January ; including some of my long runs and most of my speed workouts!

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I hit the trails running through snow, but I refused to miss a run despite the weather.

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I slowly began increasing my mileage every week. Taking my runs to different trails and beaches to keep it interesting as I’ve always done in the past!

I took my Thursday Tempo runs to the treadmill due to snow, ice and dark roads after work.

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On January 24th; I was registered to run my 26th half marathon in Central Park! I was so excited as Central Park was the place where I ran my first ever race in 2009′. For that reason, running in Central Park is so special to me. That Friday night before the race; a big snowstorm hit and we got over 27 inches! The race was cancelled! I was disappointed, but determined to still run the 13.1 miles I had on my plan for that day! The plows cleaned up the streets well enough for us to get out on Sunday and many businesses opened up including my local gym. I decided to take my half marathon to the treadmill! This wouldn’t be my first long run on the treadmill as I did many of my training runs for The Boston Marathon on the treadmill a few years back! I went into this run with pure determination!

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I completely surprised myself on this run; I was so glad to get in my half marathon and not miss my run despite the snow! Messy; snow covered roads kept me on the treadmill for many of my weekday run, but I was able to get back outside in time for my final January miles and that made this runner very HAPPY!

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I took both my Saturday and Sunday runs to the beach to end January; ending January with 15 sunny, stunning miles with the ocean wind in my face!

I ended January with 154.58 miles logged and excited for February!

Week 1 in February I logged 44 miles and week 2 – 43 miles! Just 6 weeks until marathon number 10! I can’t wait! πŸ™‚ February training recap coming soon..

Spring marathon training doesn’t come without weather challenges in this part of the country, but I am determined to keep following my plan! πŸ™‚

Has winter weather affected your marathon training? Have you taken your long runs to the treadmill? Thoughts? Please share. πŸ™‚

Thank you for following my journey!