Tapering’s the Word

source: runnersworld.co.uk

source: runnersworld.co.uk

All the fuss about Tapering. What is it? How is it done and why it is and can be beneficial to you the marathoner are some of the questions I’ll attempt to to shed some light on while I try to get you, “Speedy,” – that would be me – to slow it down some in order to bring it home on marathon day.

To Taper or Tapering, with respect to marathon training,  is the process whereby runners reduce their weekly mileage and effort in the final two to three weeks before the marathon so as to be completely recovered from previous workouts and be rested for the big day. Sucessful runners across the board swear by this as a vital part of training and preparation while it’s aim is to secure your marathon goal; even that of first-time marathoners.

The Tapering Phrase usually consists of the two weeks (sometimes three) prior to race day. During this time a concentrated effort is made to ease up on the long and hard runs, usually reducing workouts by as much as 25-50% leading up to race day. For example, for a two-week period, long runs which generally consisted of 20-24 miles should be reduced to 14-16 miles in the first week with two rest days while the second week should ideally be an easy running week with -say- one 10 mile run with three leg-rest days. Reduce weekly mileage so that runs average between 5-7 miles on other running days with the week leading up to the marathon consisting of less mileage than the week prior. One may be tempted to push it a bit, since with the cut back you might be feeling stronger and think you can go faster and longer, but coaches stress that this is where it is important to stick to method over ability so as to avoid injury and compromise on optimal muscle repair. It is wise to note that there is nothing you can do in those two weeks leading up to the marathon that will make you perform better on race day. You’ve already done it all so resist the urge to add anything new or do any more than – just enough.

Benefits of Tapering

1. Provides ample opportunity for muscle restoration and repair while allowing you to get some much needed rest from a rigorous training routine.

2. Decreases the risk of injury and setbacks.

3.  Encourages a sustainable training methodology that secures your race day plan and increases your chances at goal realization due to optimal performance.

4. Allows you time and energy to listen to and care for your body, which time may not have allowed for before.

5. Allows you to place yourself in a total state of preparedness for marathon day. Here the focus is on proper nutrition, sleep, rest and getting the necessities together for the event.

While tapering is no exact science and largely depends on the individual, their needs and the distance of the event; it is a fact that some measure of this process can benefit you the runner. Be open to making the method work for you by tailoring it to suit your needs. For example, instead of long, hard runs, consider short sprints to regulate speed and bursts of energy. Given that this is my sixth time around, I’d say you have it on good authority that it works to maximize your marathon day performance and in every instance makes you an all-round better runner. So talk aside, let’s taper on!

References: Runner’s World, MarathonTraining.com


Life Around Running

Source: runningfitnessmag.com

                Source: runningfitnessmagcom

I often hear the expression “I am not my job,” with a bit of ambivalence. I’m not sure, but how do you get up for the most part, five days per week and spend eight to ten hours at a job for years and not become some part of what you do? It’s like saying, I don’t smoke, but I sell cigarettes. Maybe it begins as just a job, but I think that if you do “it” for long enough it becomes a bit more than that. Like Aristotle, I too, believe you become what you repeatedly do, sometimes with little effort on your part; however, more often effort is the game changer. Some would argue that effort actually turns mediocrity into super real talent; add a little passion, and the result is unparalleled excellence.

“So what of a social life?” “Do you guys live outsider of running?” Someone once asked. Most runners will say running is a social sport. I recently went to a birthday event of a runner friend and was thrilled to meet other runners to which races and PRs and other running chit-chat was par for the course. What can I say, you get a bunch of runners in a room and it’s bound to happen. We eat, shop, dress, socialize, serve – and if we could – work; all in the context of running. It is what we do and while there may be times of disappointment, we factor it in as part of life and never a result of running.

The life of a runner is spent pretty much.. well.. running; life happens while, when, and on the run. Just like with any other passion in life, running becomes the central activity that everything else adjusts to. The average runner prepares and trains for a race not with that race as the necessary goal but always with his or her eyes on an even bigger race/ prize. Technically there’s no off-season so it’s year-round training and racing with a slight let-up in colder months.

“Slow down,” many, who clearly don’t get it will often say. They see the constant movement as a dissatisfaction with life and self, not understanding the innate desire for personal achievement and wanting to make a difference the best way we know how. Ultimately, it is what drives us and gives purpose to our lives; why we live to run and surround ourselves with all things running. For the non-runner, your challenge is to discover your passion -whatever it is- and run with it. Your happiness depends on it.

Running Groups Rock!

Source: precisionfitpb.com

Source: precisionfitpb.com

They’re that bunch of people you sometimes catch a glimpse of as the run by followed by infectious laughter and animated chatter, and sometimes, the tell-tale sounds of a playlist. I used to sneer at the raucousness, all serious and solitary-like,  wondering if they seriously got any anything done until I understood the camaraderie-boosting and encouraging spirit that embodies the running group.

Very early on my view of running had always been that of a get-out-there-get-the-job-done kinda sport with not much room for socializing on the course. I mean, who wants to be fighting to conserve energy one minute and wasting it in the next breath. My reasoning, though sensible, was flawed as it left no room for the ability to converse at varied paces as well as the need and right by some runners, to seek clarification, encouragement or even the opportunity to distract themselves from, what may be, a tough run. I felt it was do it, get over it..why prolong the suffering. My reward was delayed gratification via a race of some kind where my pace, form and endurance told the story of my application. “Where’s the fun in that?” You may rightly ask. My response is absolutely no where. Thank God I grew and matured in my views; it opened up a world of knowledge and opportunity in my running life.

I have come to appreciate and even love the running group. I now understand the dynamics at work with the aim of fostering a community of like-minded people who share a common passion. I’m such a convert that when my schedule allows, I’m first up and looking to hook myself up to the closest one; talk about transformative thinking. Here’s why my views changed:

-Running groups are a good way to meet people and make friends. It provides the avenue for social interaction and has become the basis for many a meaningful and lasting connection.

-Such groups are a deep well of encouragement, knowledge and opportunity to the runner, providing information on issues from nutrition to injury prevention and every and anything that concerns running.

-A running group is your very own personal cheer squad. They not only provide you with the impetus for running and training, being right there with you on your journey, but come the all-important race day, they are there to cheer you along and celebrate with you.

-Groups provide a benchmark for your development and success with the varied paces they offer. The average runner starts out running at any given pace but with repeated effort and training gets better and better and can measure their progress.

-They have the in when it comes to first-hand information on registration, specials, giveaways and discounts on races and can often-times provide group deals on running apparel and incentives for runners.

-Joining a running group or club comes with the opportunity to advance your running game. You can gain points and bragging rights depending on the competitive nature of the club.

-Most groups are free and only require you to show up while running clubs often ask a nominal fee to cover operational costs which is nothing compared to an annual gym membership.

-Also, you get the chance to be passionate for a good cause. Groups participate in charity events like Cancer walks, runs and relays and you have the opportunity to take a stand and make a difference.

Here in New York City we boast an endless array of running groups from the fun meet-ups to the competitive clubs, there is a group for everyone. Whether you’re a twice-a-week runner for fun or you’re training for a marathon or 5k, whether you thinking about starting, just started or have been running forever you can find your place or pace among dozens of runners who feel you.

Some of the well-known running groups in major cities including here in NYC stem from the stores that sell sports and running wear: Nike, Lululemon, Paragon, Northface, the Running Company and Jack Rabbit while some popular running clubs in and around the city include: New York Road Runners -host of the New York City Marathon, Central Park Track Club, New York Flyers, Front Runners, Dashing Whippets, Brooklyn Ross Runners, Forest Park Runners, Van Cortland Track Club among many others. All paces are welcome.


It is the quintessential uniqueness of New York that welcomes all runners of all abilities to come and share their love, their story, their experience, their encouragement with every and anyone lucky enough to call it home. If that isn’t enough reason to love them, then I don’t know what is.


Soaking Up the last of these Running Summer Days


September is upon us and Fall is legit in the evidence before us from the slightly turning leaves to the just-turning-chilly evenings, though you would never guess by these extra humid days we’ve been having. One would go so far as to say it’s July all over again; just don’t plan your life around this weather, its uncertainty is just about the only thing you can rely on these days. Weather aside..somewhat..as we really can’t discount it entirely, I have really enjoyed city running this summer. Past experience ensured that I was able to use all avenues available to me to ensure I maxed my running potential, which is not over just yet; still a few days left to appreciate the sun, humidity and running at a dusk that’s not dark.

Seeing we’re into marathon season here in the Big A, runners are greedily sucking up the daylight in parks and any and all outlets available for getting those miles in. And who can blame them, we all know what the end of summer signifies. While so many welcome cooler weather, there are those of us who know only too well what follows and so we unapologetically hold on tight to and draw out all that’s left of these magical summer days.

I , for one, am spending a lot of it training, mostly in the evening times, and as crazy humid as it has been I’m still not surprised by the sheer numbers out there. Everybody’s training for something even if it’s just to feel good about themselves. It makes you, if you’re the average Joe, want to grab a pair of sneakers and have a go at it. And why not? You can only benefit.

Most evenings I’m in Central Park among hundreds of others carving out a little space for myself either on the hills doing speedwork or running the loop to the tune of a tempo or easy run or even a few loops as I make a long run out of it. Some days I go at it alone due to my schedule, and too, sometimes I’m just in that zone, others I meet up with a workout group and we share our pains, joys and dreams on the go; those runs are always twice the fun. Yet still, there are my twice weekly early morning volunteer runs in mid-town, which adds so much meaning to my miles and hopefully do a lot of good. Wherever or whatever I’m running, I’m just glad to be in the moment sweating- more like dripping these days- winded and gasping, living this summer before it’s all gone.

10 Reasons to Run a Marathon this Fall

Source: smileswithmoms.com

Source: smileswithmoms.com

You never know what life is gonna throw at you. One day you could be trading stocks on Wall Street, the next serving a humanitarian crisis in South Sudan. While that may be an extreme there exists many others; from health to sickness and every and anything in between, a person’s goals and life could change in an instant. And so we plan, our God-given right we believe, in the hopes of a million dreams coming through while ironically we have no control whatsoever over any of it.

So what does that mean for you the runner? For my part it says that while planning is necessary to maintain an illusion of order and control in our lives, it is far more important to live in the moment – making use of the days and seasons as they come and fulfilling our dreams as far as we can now. Dreams of running, loving, living, adventure, missions, service..whatever they may be, more often than not, we only get one shot at.

With that in mind, I propose a running dream come true this Fall. How about a marathon? The ultimate running experience for every person who considers him/herself a runner awaits you.  There will never be a better time, a more perfect season or better reasons to challenge yourself. Here’s why:

  1. Fall weather rocks a marathon with near perfect running conditions and is the most scenic and awe-inspiring to runners who are closet nature lovers. Think trails, mountains, foliage etc.
  2. It’s great for destination marathoners. That would be me! I love to pick a beautiful city right off the map just because it promises a beauty of a course.
  3. This is the best time to run (for first time marathoners), complete and even record a PR as it follows Summer where you would have had ample opportunity for executing a great training plan.
  4. Generally, travel rates are lower since it’s post summer so deals are on to make it a few days vacation with a marathon added for good measure.
  5. It presents the perfect opportunity to cross off that bucket list event or new year resolution. I’m guessing a marathon was high up on there.
  6. If you’re anything like me, you love a challenge. Well maybe I’m a bit much, but hey.. how about a Fall challenge to take it to the next level. For steadfast half-marathon folks or those who enjoy still shorter runs, how about pushing those limits while increasing your mileage and building endurance and ability. I promise you will be pleasantly surprised.
  7. Lots of charity runs happening this Fall as we head to October and Cancer Awareness month. Your marathon miles can do a lot of good to so many.
  8. Training for a marathon could just be what you need to put you in tip-top shape for the upcoming holiday season and all the irresistible food and treats that will surely tempt you then. The hard work you would have put into training to get you looking so svelte will help temper your palette as you will want to stay fit and healthy.
  9. A marathon is an inspiration to so many people, those who can’t run, those who do, and others who want so much to. Why not earn bragging rights as a marathoner while inspiring others to do the same.
  10. Lastly, if you didn’t know it, Fall is unofficially marathon season with two really big marathons taking center stage, the New York City Marathon and the Chicago Marathon. You could have a place in either one of these and run the opportunity of a lifetime. Now which runner out there can say no to that?

I guess if after all that you’re not thinking in terms of 26.2 then there’s really no hope for you. Tick-tock, tick-tock, the clock’s a’ticking – to marathon or not to marathon.

Celebrating 100 Running Posts

Back when I came up with the idea for this blog in 2012, I did so with the idea of sharing my passion for excellent health: running and exercise, while encouraging anyone who would care to listen to give it a try. Today, my goal is no different; I’m still your biggest cheerleader on your way to the finish line, whatever that may look like for you. I love that technology via social media has made it so easy to connect with people across a broad spectrum on a variety of topics. There is so much we can amass, learn and share with the click of a button for indeed we all have a story that’s worth telling to someone who cares.
I feel particularly blessed to have come this distance in my running with you, my readers and fellow runners (some of you) and feel it necessary to impress upon you how instrumental you are in my journey to running excellence. Without running and the strides I’ve made in this regard, this blog would be obsolete as it would be near impossible to share on something I have no experience with. More so, to be relevant and hold your interest requires continuous evolution and development on my part so that I can be authentic and real with you. There you see, you’ve made me a better runner and by extension a better person. I’m eternally grateful.

dfa009067d12db28196387f0aaf8a00eLet’s Drink To That!
Even as I continue to grow and strive to be the best runner I can be, I am heartened and continually inspired to dig deeper for a way to make this last past my running years. There are so many stories and lives that are changed through runnning that I know if I look hard enough or run far enough I’ll find a way to do justice to this great Sport that gives so much and requires nothing but what we are prepared to give. Maybe it’ll be a way to ensure others, who have the desire but no opportunity, gain a pathway to fulfill their running dreams, or maybe it’ll be an opportunity to contribute to its longevity or legacy, I expect I’ll be inspired yet again soon enough. 
8174096-gift-box-and-star-christmas-celebration-backgroundMeanwhile, I will stick to my not-so-distant dreams, I hope, of the World Marathon Major, Triathalons, Marathons in as many states as possible, The Marathon Des Sables and an eventual Ironman. I am learning that I am only limited by what I tell myself I cannot do. 

Is there a Runner’s code?

2014 Boston Marathon

                   2014 Boston Marathon

“That day, for no particular reason, I decided to go for a little run. So I ran to the end of the road. And when I got there, I thought maybe I’d run to the end of town. And when I got there, I thought maybe I’d just run across Greenbow County. And I figured, since I run this far, maybe I’d just run across the great state of Alabama. And that’s what I did. I ran clear across Alabama. For no particular reason I just kept on going. I ran clear to the ocean. And when I got there, I figured, since I’d gone this far, I might as well turn around, just keep on going. When I got to another ocean, I figured, since I’d gone this far, I might as well just turn back, keep right on going.”  – Forrest

Quite a few times in my writings you may have seen me close off with the term – “runner’s honor.” As to whether there is indeed such a thing, I can only speculate and hope, on good basis I might add, since my observations & experiences with runners over the years have been overwhelmingly positive. I surmise that in all likelihood there exists an unspoken but very real code of honor that we runners adhere to. If I were to put it in words it would look something like the above quote from the movie Forrest Gump.

Formost among others, runners have an enormous capacity for endurance and the unerring and dogged ability to pursue a thing to its end.  Fortified with vision and purpose, there is little that can stand in the way of us realizing our goals.  Day after day, week after week, month after month, we condition our minds, bodies and spirits to achieving the pinnacle of our dreams through tireless practice, the sacrifice of other pleasures and dedication of our time. We are the most accomplished when we’ve gotten our daily run in.  Runners recognize that we belong to a community of passionate believers, that many will call crazy, who respect the human body as being the ultimate machine that will take us as far as we let it – only insofar as we care for and treat it right.

Runners share a camaraderie of spirit which propels us to encourage and cheer on fellow runners. This is evidenced by the many times I have either been on the receiving end of, or given, words of encouragement or a running hand to other runners on the course. Also, runners expect and give respect on the course. It can be harrowing sometimes at the start and at other points on the course with the share numbers out there; while competitiveness is the norm, we never allow this to overstep our respect for the runner behind, in front or beside us, giving way or making way as we run along. Another code runners honor is that of the injured runner. We look out for, ask after and if necessary give comfort and support to those who are hurt or in pain. Here, I particularly remember the Boston Marathon of 2013; a tragedy that touched the world but more so, the running community. Everyone united “Boston Strong” and ran for months after in support and solidarity with those injured and the three spectators that died that day. Even today we speak of them with such pride and admiration. Still, we are mindful of our purpose and will no sooner see a runner helped than we are off single-mindedly to pursue our goal.

Additionally, an important code runners share is their solidarity to the sport and sometimes cause of running. Runners unite in the achievement and vision of other runners and support the advancement of the sport and the use of running as a platform to make a difference in our world. It does not take ingenuity to decide that running can impact the lives of thousands but it does take ingenuity to decide to run to make this happen. Time and again, we dedicate out time and talent to transforming lives through our passion for running. We spearhead, support and enlist the help of our running and wider community to highlight the disadvantages that many in our world face through many charities and causes. Lastly, runners are continuously inspired to run longer, faster and stronger. We are united in our efforts to become the absolute best version of ourselves, which simply means constantly pushing beyond perceived limits and challenging ourselves to another PR.

As with all things human, we will often find a lot to complain and disagree about, and if we look well enough we may even find those that do not ascribe to the general code, but I argue that they would be the exception to the rule. Runners by far are the most giving, gregarious, open and welcoming folks I have had the fortune to know. I do no say it lightly when I say runners rock. They do!

Summer’s Running Don’t Get Left Behind



If this Summer came with directions it’d be “ENJOY!” We know so many clichés that could tell us exactly how to do that – tomorrow’s not promised, live for today etc., –  but all too often, come Fall, we find ourselves wondering what the hell happened with the time and why didn’t we do “that thing” we promised ourselves we would do.

magazine. fox news.com

magazine. fox news.com

Last evening, I went running as I’m wont to do – shocker, and imagine my surprise to find myself running for consecutive days in the mid-seventies with a forecast of much of the same or even lower in the succeeding days.  Mind you, it was perfect running weather, I, more than anyone else, appreciate that, but it got me to thinking how much I’m truly thankful for these summer months. Effortless months I call them, that time in life when you let go and go a little crazy and it’s ok because you’re not alone. You’re not alone in running two times a day..just because; in committing to as little clothes as possible, in going to the beach every weekend, in keeping some crazy ass hours which leave you with a hangover like the worst drunk, not alone in taking on adventures like a marathon, an endurance or fun extreme racing event, or some such challenge that will cause you to remember this summer with glee and a what-the-heck-was-I-thinking-but-I’m-glad-I-did feeling. The rest of the Summer world salutes your ingenuity, your sense of adventure, your crazy passions, your desire for challenge, your wanton disregard for the boring and ordinary and your limitless craving for sunny days and warm and starry nights.



As it presses on, so do we; searching out our next thrill. What form will it take? A city cruise, boat ride and party, street festival, summer concert, rooftop fashion show, smorgasbord and drink fest,  outdoor exercise and activity on summer streets, a mountain hike, swimming in the lake, volleyball on the beach, surfing, a day trip to the lovely Hamptons’, horseback riding, biking the boroughs, picnics, water fights or soccer in the park, an outdoor movie and/or a play at sunset or a Yankees game? With so much yet to do, will there ever be enough time? I don’t know but I promise to do as much as I can and I know you will to. Runner’s honor.😊

Cross-training: An Umph Element to your Marathon Training

Source: wiserunning.com

Source: wiserunning.com

Never one to settle for just doing it, I’m always game for doing it better. By “it” I am of course referring to running that much coveted 26.2 miles. Being a runner and a bit of a “gym girl” have had its advantages: I’m in pretty decent shape, I’m told I look way yonger than my age and I could run with many in that category too, I manage to stay pretty healthy and I keep up with on-going trends, research and data as it pertains to being fit and healthy. All of this I credit with my passion for running though I’m pretty sure my gym workouts as well as other random physical exercise have helped in shaping this 3:29:24 PR marathon girl.

What is Cross-training
That form of exercise, pertaining to runners, whereby runners train utilizing other modes of fitness training to supplement their running. For example; cycling, swimming, a fitness/aerobic class or strength training.

The Cross-Training Debate
There has been may debates of the benefits or not of cross-training for runners. Conventional wisdom says runners should run, as you perfect what you practice while there are others that argue cross-training can inmprove running performance and reduce workout boredom and burnout. Current school of thought seems to be leaning toward the way of cross training to improve the all-round performance of runners with an emphasis on low-impact workouts that complement your running without the same impact of running.

Using Cross-Training to better your marathon time
The focus of the marathoner is on increasing speed, endurance and fitness level. Cross training improves your endurance base without adding unnecessary stress on your body. It can
help you improve your race-day goal while reducing the risk of injury assosiated with intense high-impact training (Jeff Horowitz, certified personal trainer, running & triatholon coach and runner of 150 marathons across 6 continents). Jeff highlights three considerations in choosing the cross training mode that is right for you:

(1) It should be an aerobic exercise that you can engage in for hours at a time, at a moderate intensity level (at an RPE of 6-7)
(2) Is it low-impact ir no-impact? While high-impact exercises is necessary for training as it prepares ypur body for the stress of the day..you need only so much and no more or it increases your risk of injury. The idea is that lower impact workouts as identified in cross training provides you with the means of strengthening supporting muscles and lowering your risk of injury.
(3) Does this option complement your running? Aerobic cross-training will help you become a better endurance athlete, afterall you’re working with breathing, muscle-building and endurance, but to get the most out of it you need to choose a mode that works different muscle groups in support of your running, and thus becoming a more balanced, injury-resistant athlete.

What works for me
Cycling/Spin: Cycling is touted as maybe the best mode of cross-training as it complements your running training by working supporting muscle groups such as the quadriceps, which are super important in supporting the knees and are not effectively worked by running. Strengthening them can reduce the risk of knee, IT Band and patella problems.

Spin classes are something special; they encourage comraderiere, motivate, the hell out of you, kick your butt and pushes you to discover the badass within, all without the continuous pounding of the feet, providing necessary rest for the knees.

Strength Training/ Weights
Because of my small frame, I’m always mindful of weight-lifting. I can get really muscular without even trying and so I often limit my reps dependending on the muscles I’m working on to 4 sets of moderate to heavy, increasing weight as I decrease reps. Weight training is so versatile and there are so much variety to work on any one area – I tend to usually work my legs, calves & thighs together, then back and shoulders, or chest and arms and do core exercises separate; employing a yoga or pilates class to assist in this area. The benefit with weights is that you get to utilize & build muscles that are not necessarily in primary use while running, but again supports your running by providing strength & support to those secondary areas, which decreases your chances of injury and helps you develop power and ultimately your best physical self.

As an aerobic exercise it’s on par with developing power, performance and efficiency. For my part, the focus here is on breathing and strengthening leg and arm muscles. Although I don’t go often, when I do I spend 1 & 1/2 to 2 hours in the pool, half as much time as a cycling workout as recommended by Horowitz.

Finallly, Cardio Classes
To me these are the real test of any mettle. An hour per class of constant movement: jumping, punching, swinging running, crawling and everything in between is geared to condition you into the finest athlete; build stamina, test endurance, defy limits and leave you fit and hurting and enhances and supports running training. Classes such as cardio kickboxing, mentally strips me and burns calories like crazy but it mentally and physically challenges and develops me for long term, which for me means race day.

I can’t promise that I’ve peaked or that I’m even performing at my best now, I believe that is still ahead but I continue to improve race by race so I know that I’m doing some things right most times. For the times I bum out, I remind myself that I’m a work-in-progress and I shake it off and try again – always with hope and the training as outlined above – pushing for a better race next time.

Sources: Active.com, Competitor.com, Runners World, Runnersconnect.com, Healthland.time.com

Speedwork Your way to Your best Marathon this Fall


Source: running.competitor.com

You could probably tell I’m in marathon training mode as these days it’s all about the marathon. I eat, dream, not sleep yet, talk, train, shop, everything about the marathon. Is that a runner thing or am I just obsessed? Regardless, at the very least, you get to benefit from my ramblings; I hope anyway.

Over the course of two years doing this marathon-thingy, I now know that a training regimen is necessary to complete a successful marathon, one where you can actually live the experience and not want to die and totally swear off it at the finish. I would love for you to have this experience. Thus, throughout training season, I’ll share with you my pointers on running your best 26.2.

The Magic of Speedwork

If there’s any magic at all it is in the time, effort and dedication that you put into your speed training. Now admittedly, not everyone is trying for a PR or wanting to qualify for a race, some are just happy to finish and rightly so if that’s their goal. To those, read on anyway, who doesn’t like to do anything better? We, runners, are a competitive lot and love to outdo even ourselves.  A few common speed workouts are: interval training, pace runs and hill repeats. There are many advantages to working on the speed aspect ( or short fast repeats) of your running, aside from the fact that it will improve speed and stamina thus making you a faster runner, these include:

Improvement to your running economy (the amount of oxygen consumed at a given pace) which makes it less likely that you’ll burn out and can be confident in your ability to stay the course.

Speed work develops focus and determination. The intensity of speed work requires a level of drive and ambition that will see you time and again defying your perceived limits as reps calls for either a faster pace or a higher climb.

It adds some variety to your marathon training. This avoids the common “pace rut” problem that marathoners are known to fall into as training lengthens. Also, it challenges you to faster leg turn- over.

You learn to listen to and command your body.
The human body is capable of so much but we hardly ever realize our potential as we’re all too often comfortable with just making it. Speed work asks..hell, demands of us a push that renders – I can’t – an improbability. You learn quickly that you can and do have what it takes while including recovery time to import the correct amount of stress on your body to achieve optimal performance.

Speed work, because it’s shorter and more intense, allows you to increase your running at a pace significantly faster than your marathon race pace which will make it seem much easier to do.

It teaches you discipline and commitment. These are two traits that will take you through and beyond the marathon and will help you tolerate both physical and mental discomforts while racing. When you’re between miles 17 and 23, it is your tireless attention to your speed leg-work coupled with commitment to seeing it to the end that will bring you through.

It would be remiss and downright irresponsible of me not to mention that with all the advice from coaches and the experts out there, speed work is not recommended fo the newbie marathoner and certainly not without a coach with a tried and true method. Attempting this on your own is dangerous for your health as it increases your chances of injury exponentially the closer you get to race day. You run the risk of hindering your ability to participate in the event itself and in the necessary long training runs which are so very important to completing a marathon.

When it is all said and done, you’re the one in charge of you here. You know your body and always want to do the best for you. Making wise choices can improve your performance a hundredfold. Always do so keeping in mind that there is no one-size-fits-all approach. A proper plan designed specifically for you will consider factors such as your age, genetics, running experience, ability to stay injury-free and the choice of speed workouts incorporated into your training, all of this with a realistic goal in mind.

References                                       McMillanRunning.com, MarathonTraining.com, Active.com

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