Hi! Rachel & Lauren here from the Brooks PR team. We just completed our first 26.2 mile race – the sought-after NYC Marathon – and wanted to share our experience with you guys as newbies to the marathon scene. It was quite the journey getting to race day and hope you enjoy our first-hand tips and tricks!
Being a part of the Brooks Running team, running is a constant topic of conversation for us. Between the runners we interact with every day, to the product and athletes we pitch to media, it’s a rare day when we aren’t thinking about the sport. That being said, it’s become almost ingrained into our lives. We both never even thought of trying to train for a marathon before working with Brooks, but it slowly became more attainable hearing about others achieving marathon-status and/or conquering their race goals.
Long story short, we decided to bite the bullet and sign up for the full NYC Marathon experience in 2015. After 16 weeks of training, more than 400 miles (each!) and a few pairs of shoes, we’ve compiled our best lessons learned for conquering the race below. Enjoy, and we hope to see you on the race course soon!
Anyone can do it!
A lot of runners and non-runners alike think they could never handle 26.2 miles (hey, we weren’t sure ourselves a few times!). Not only did we conquer this feat, but we were amazed by the runners alongside us pushing along to the finish line. There is nothing more motivating and inspiring than seeing people of different ages and abilities moving along the course, step by step.
A dedicated training plan helps keep you accountable
We both signed up for a virtual training program through New York Road Runners, the organizers of the NYC Marathon. Each day, they sent us an email with instructions for that day’s run or workout. It definitely helped us get out of bed on those dreary and rainy mornings, when we might have otherwise stayed in our dry and cozy apartments.
Having a buddy and/or support system is key
Full disclosure, we not only work together a lot, but our desks are also next to each other. It was great to come into work and chat about our morning tempo or interval workouts. Knowing someone else was feeling the burn pushed us to get up and out the door to complete our workouts.
That said, we also had excellent support systems to keep us going throughout our training. Our family, friends and coworkers knew we were training hard and with a goal in mind. If we needed to head home on Friday night to carbo-load and rest instead of happy hour, they understood. If we really needed that burger after a long run, they were happy to meet us at Shake Shack! And on race day itself, we had friends and family galore cheering us along at multiple points throughout the course to give us that extra energy and support when we needed it! Special shout out to all the “punch for power” signs along the course. If we didn’t physically punch your sign, we were mentally doing it on the inside!
Be flexible. Have a Plan A & Plan B
This is a big one! We really had to learn to be flexible with our training plans. If it was going to downpour on Saturday when we usually would do our long runs, we’d move things around and run on Friday or Sunday. If we had a project deadline at work coming up, we’d be sure to wake up a bit earlier and get our miles in before the sun rose so we couldn’t use “stuck at work” as a reason to miss out on a run. That same strategy came into play on race day. We both had time goals in mind going into the race as “Plan A”, but also had a “Plan B” in case it just wasn’t our race day scenario. While we missed the mark on our times, we are still on cloud nine from our race day experience. We completed THE NYC MARATHON! We are marathoners. No one can take that away from us. We are proud. We are (run) happy. We did it!!
Celebrate along the way – not just on race day!
As each week’s “long run” got longer, we celebrated. When we conquered a new (& possibly hilly!) running route, we celebrated. All that time and effort was balanced with a nice burger and beer or a fun brunch with friends afterward. We work hard, but also know it’s important to play hard afterward.
Take it all in on race day
Touring an entire city on foot (five boroughs!), passing millions of people cheering for you with signs and noise makers, it was truly an unforgettable experience that not many can say they’ve done. Like we said, we’re still reeling in excitement and accomplishment from the past weekend and probably will continue to talk about it for the next few weeks months.
Our last tip for race day? Smile for you, for your fans and for those photographers on the course – they can be sneaky! It’s fun looking back on your time during the race and you’ll want to see your pearly whites at the end of the day.