Boston Marathon – Will You Be Ready?

Making her Guest Post debut is none other than Carly Miller (who also happens to be the girlfriend of Marc)!  Carly is racing the Boston Marathon in a few weeks and she thought it’d be great to share a few things with my readers!  I hope you enjoy what she has to say and be sure to leave as many comments as you want!

My “Long Term Goal” is to stay healthy and fit.  But while trying to maintain that, just like everyone else, I get bored and plateau doing the same old routine.  When I am losing focus on my “staying healthy with exercise” goal, I incorporate some “training” goals.  The “training” goals inevitably get longer and/or faster.  So currently my objective is completing the 2012 Boston Marathon with a sub 3:30 finish.

carly redondo 5k

Carly pressing the pace

In order to stay on track this time around, I developed a plan – day by day – for 5 months.  That way, it’s already accounted for in my daily activity.  Before the training calendar can be developed, I list all my personal dates and activities (I am not going to plan a Long Run the day after my best friend’s birthday celebration or my fun road trip weekend!)  In doing this, I feel I am setting realistic goals.  Then, I set the amount of days I want to train – anywhere from 4-6 days in a week – and that can still vary from week to week.  The amount I run on various days and what day I do (a workout/tempo/long run) may change but as long as I get my total weekly mileage, I am pretty satisfied.

Carly and Marc biking

Carly and Marc biking

Beyond trying to balance a normal work/run/fun schedule, other issues definitely play a role in losing focus on my training goals.  This is my first marathon training cycle where I consistently ran 6 times a week.  I have been sore and tired on many occasions.  However, I think having a positive and realistic attitude from the onset of the training program has been helpful for me.  For example, during a recent workout of 10 800’s, I thought of plenty of reasons against running this workout on a 70-degree day in March. What made it worse is that I was still sore from all the cumulative training I’ve been doing, that after 5 800’s, I seriously contemplated quitting and going on a more enjoyable run.  But then I remembered what I set out to do and recognized that “yeah, it sucks right now, but I will (hopefully) feel pretty good on April 16th.”  Realistically thinking about all of the pain, boredom, and time-consuming training I was going to do before I even outlined my training program, made it easier not to give up during the difficult times.

There are also times when you are just unmotivated to train.  Luckily, we had a decent winter to train through so I haven’t had much weather-induced lack of motivation.  What sometimes works for me in these inevitable situations is creating a new music playlist – buy a new song or two and mix it in with some oldies you haven’t heard in awhile.  For an 8 mile weekday run, I recently titled my playlist, “I don’t want to run” and out the door I went.  I also like to change when I run during the day.  I am definitely more of an after-work runner, but once a week, I will wake up at 5:40 AM and get a shorter run done before work.  It feels so nice to know I have a free afternoon but I certainly don’t like it enough to switch to become a morning runner!

And then there’s will power…When I’m training, I have many more goals than just a time goal.  Some of them are personal goals – like losing a few pounds or beating my best friend’s PR.  And with that, I add positive habits to my training regimen and daily routine.  For example, I add strength exercises from my Nike + app, I eat healthier, and I start stretching after runs more often.  I think of myself as a pretty well balanced eater normally – but I will add in little challenges to strengthen my willpower: one month of zero adult beverages (of any kind), 1 month of zero sodas, 1 month from race day of no cheese or fried foods (random, I know!).  I don’t take on these challenges all at once, but I spread them out over the 5 months.  And it turns out, once I do without soda, for example, I am less likely to return to the habit.

During my quest for a sub-3:30 at Boston, I’ve done a few things that I normally wouldn’t do for just any race.  I’ve trained myself to be mentally tougher (no soda or drinks).  I’ve trained myself to be physically tougher (to run 6 days a week, sometimes), I’ve included more yoga and Pilates (to strengthen myself spiritually) and I’ve taught myself that at the end of all the training I’ve done, that if I put my mind to something, I can accomplish anything!

In the last months of marathon training, what do you do to get yourself feeling good and ready to race your best on the “Big Day”?  Do you have any special tricks or secrets you’d be willing to share?

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