How to train for the NYC marathon

If you’re training for the NYC Marathon on November 1st, then you know that the first day of training of a 16-week program begins this Monday.

So if you’re new to marathon training or looking for new ways to train for NYC – here’s my rundown of training programs (from $ to $$$$$$):

Hal Higdon’s (free)- I’ve used his programs for half-marathon training and they’re really great and easy to follow.  He has SO MANY different training programs for every marathoner level from “novice 1” to a “marathon 3” one.  Also, these training programs are free.  Although it looks like you may have to pay to use the app?

Runkeeper (free)- I’ve played around with this app and actually plan on using it for training. They have a number of free training programs including one that starts right on time for NYC marathon training.  It also acts like a GPS app (similar to Mapmyrun) which also logs your workouts for you. While most of these training programs are free, a few advanced ones you need to pay for.

NYRR Virtual trainer ($49.99-$999) – Depending on length of training and what perks you want on race day (there’s what that $999 falls in) changes the trainer price but base price is $49.99.  My sister used it last year and took 30 minutes off her PR. Here’s what my little sister, Kathy has to say:

(for the record, I told her a paragraph and this is not even her whole review…get at her on Twitter if you want to know more)

I was considering shelling out the big bucks to join a coached program, but my work schedule was so irregular at that point, with my work hours changing at the last minute, I would definitely not have been able to keep up the commitment. 

Signing up for the NYRR Virtual Trainer definitely gave me the best of both worlds: the feeling of being coached and having a tailored training plan, but without the priciness of it. The big sell for me was that I could change my workouts according to how I was feeling or if I had any conflicts during some of the days that week. The program first asks you to input demographic information like age and gender, and your history with running and marathons. The program then uses an algorithm to come up with three different training plans: a conservative, and intermediate and an advanced plan.The more advanced the plan is, your projected time goal would be faster, but there would be more days of running and more mileage covered each week.

Another great thing with the program is, if you sign up for any races prior to the marathon you’re training for, like the France 8k or Staten Island Half Marathon, you are able to input those and train for those races as well.

I’ve found pretty great success with the training plan. I bounced back and forth between the beginner and intermediate plan for those 16 weeks, with a projected time goal of 5:09-5:17. Miraculously, I finished the NYC Marathon in 4:47. It might have been the feeling of adrenaline that carried me to the finish line faster that I expected that day, but nonetheless,I will definitely be using the NYRR Virtual Trainer again this year for the 2015 NYC Marathon.

JackRabbit ($315) – When I started this blog almost 2 years ago, I had won this training program via Twitter but instead of training for NYC, I was training for Philly which brought training to 18 very long weeks. I loved that they have this program both in the Upper West Side but also Prospect Park so Saturday morning long runs at 7am was less painful to get to.  There are two group workouts usually with the weekday workout being speed or hills and Saturday being a long run.  I’m not sure if this would be great for newbies since it’s kinda hardcore.  There’s a group forum which gives us guidelines and weekly plans on how to train but I always felt like it was too much for me. I did however love having people and coaches to run with.

Individual race coaching ($50 – $1000) – There are a ton of resources and individual coaches. Some may include coached outdoor runs or just develop a training program for you. It’s up to you but there’s where you get the variation in pricing.  A few that I’ve looked into and have considered in the past are Race Pace Wellness and Hot Bird Running

Mile High Run Club ($520 – $1200) – Each class at MHRC is $32 and I love taking their classes for the strength portion and the speed/hills portion on the treadmill.  They have 8 & 16-week training plans depending on what you want to do.  Not sure that I would train just merely doing MHRC because long runs are huge for training but it definitely helps on getting speed.

[EDITED 7/10: They have long runs but I have no idea how you’re supposed to figure it out on their website – “adventure runs” = outdoor runs = long runs apparently. BUT DO YOU REALLY WANT TO DROP $1200 ON A TRAINING PROGRAM?]

Now that you have some idea of how to train, here are some random tips from me:

  • DO YOGA! – how to get injured 101 = no stretching. This is how I got injured during my first marathon. Don’t make the same mistake I did.
  • Buy a foam roller! – see above^
  • Make room in your schedule for life – Training is really time consuming so say goodbye to your social life (unless all your friends are runners). Also, plan for those times you know you’re going to be slammed with work. For me, my life will begin to be insane as soon as September hits with class and all so my base really needs to be up there before then. 
  • Get a SO (significant other) – Remember how said training was time consuming? Say goodbye to Friday night happy hour when you’re doing a 22 mile run the next morning. So if you’re single, either lock down that cutie you’re dating or just embrace that you’re gonna be single until after the marathon. Or you can take a cue from Run Selfie Repeat, on how you have a 61% chance of finding love at the NYC Marathon. Also, you’re SO should be really good at giving massages because physically training is grueling. 
  • Figure out your diet – I realized training for my first half that I was lactose intolerant and to get through training I couldn’t be eating the way that I was. Same goes for marathon training. Diet really fuels your long runs.

Alright, I’m done for now. Did I miss any tips and any marathon training programs? Get at me in the comments! 

3 thoughts on “How to train for the NYC marathon

  1. Thanks so much for sharing! Lots of thanks for this post.I think it is a very good post. It helps us many away. So many many thanks for this article.


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