New York City Marathon Training: Week 1

And just like that, the first week of marathon training is complete!

Overall, I feel good about how the week went and I’m so happy to be back on a training plan. Here’s a little breakdown of how it all shook out…

Monday, July 18: Yoga (75 minutes)

This was my first time taking a class with Brooke, one of Lyons Den Power Yoga‘s original instructors. She was great. Highly recommend. And I held my handstand for a long time, which felt awesome.

Tuesday, July 19: Track Tuesday (6.2 miles) + Yoga (75 minutes)

I started my day with some lazy (i.e. stuff I can do lying down) core exercises: glute bridges, clamshells, a series of donkey kicks and glute things, some planks, and push-ups. Then I headed for the track!

Track selfie.
Track selfie.

The workout: 3x 400, 800, 400. I flew solo for this workout, though I did have another kind of training buddy: the return of the ol’ Garmin 220. This was my first time running with a watch all year. I’m happy with the effort I put out on this one, though I do remember my times being just a bit faster when I would do this workout last year. So, room to improve! I got this workout done early (I was up at 5 and at the track at 6), and the humidity wasn’t terrible, so it was a good morning.


In the evening, I joined my friend Emily for a new-to-me class at Devotion Yoga in Hoboken. The studio is gooooorgeous, and the class wasn’t quite restorative but wasn’t as aggressive as Lyons Den. It was a nice balance, and we did lots of quad strengthening and stretching. It was a lovely way to wind down from the day. Yay NJ fitness!

After class, we met Frank the Tank! DON'T TELL ELLIE.
After class, we met Frank the Tank! DON’T TELL ELLIE.

Wednesday, July 20: November Project (7.5 miles)

That 4:20 AM alarm hurt, but the sunrise was solid.

Super #worthit.
Super #worthit.

I did some clamshells before hopping in an Uber to get to the Upper East Side. Between the workout (lots of dips, step-ups, and stairs, plus an army crawl underneath a row of people doing wall sits) and the run back to the ferry, I got in 7.5 easy-paced miles.

Surprisingly difficult and core-activating...
Surprisingly difficult and core-activating…

Then I didn’t do any core stuff because I decided to have a glass of rosé while making dinner, and apparently one glass of wine is enough to make me silly drunk. I am 12.

MYLES HATES PUPPIES. Live ones and stuffed ones and Snapchat filter ones.
MYLES HATES PUPPIES. Live ones and stuffed ones and Snapchat filter ones.

Thursday, July 21: Hills (8.75 miles) + Massage + STOKED + NW Method

Another early alarm to head into Manhattan to meet my “accountaHILLabuddies” for Cat Hill repeats. I did some clamshells and glute bridges before leaving the apartment, then ran from the ferry to Central Park and back, getting me to a cool 8.75 miles for the day. We did six Cat Hill repeats (the hill is roughly a quarter-mile long), and I felt good. Not great, not bad. Just good. I’ll take it.

We were supposed to be posing like Jack and Rose on the front of the Titanic... Did it work?
We were supposed to be posing like Jack and Rose on the front of the Titanic… Did it work?

In the afternoon, I saw my friend Isang for a sports massage, which I plan to do monthly throughout training. Isang is the best, and the massage — for lack of a less cliché phrase — hurt so good. Apparently I have a tight psoas.

Then at night, I headed to a work event hosted by Propel Co:Labs. The event included two short workouts: one with Kira Stokes and another with dance cardio queen Nicole Winhoffer. Each workout was probably around 20 minutes. They were fun, Tori Kelly performed, Whitney Port was there, and there was a braid bar.

Ball SO hard. Clearly.
Ball SO hard. Clearly.

Friday, July 22: CELINE DION DAY

So unless dancing on the plaza counts, REST.


Saturday, July 23: Long Run (12.2 miles)

I woke up at 4:20 AM ready to run. Apparently that’s what my body is conditioned to do now. Ugh. But that was good, because I wanted to beat the crazy heat.

Before heading out, I did some clamshells, glute bridges, and donkey kicks.

When I started my run at 6 AM, it was already 81 degrees and rising. Fast. The first six miles were fine, but then I got hot. I made lots of water stops on the way back. I was also quickly reminded of how much I loathe running with a GPS watch, because it was all over the place, jumping from a 4:20-mile to a 15-minute mile.

Lovely long run views.
Lovely long run views.

Sunday, July 24: SoulCycle + Yoga (90 minutes)

I almost died of heat stroke by the third song at SoulCycle, so why not follow that up with a 90-minute hot hot hot yoga class? I am a masochist. But it made for a fun Sunday with my favorite instructor, Bethany, who taught both classes.

Sweaty friends!
Sweaty friends!

Then I took a nap with Ellie.

My best cuddle buddy.
My best cuddle buddy.

The grand totals…




TOTAL MILEAGE: 34.65 miles


What went great: My Track Tuesday workout, my Thursday hill workout, and making it to yoga three times. I also ate reasonably well this week. I’ve given myself an “Ice Cream Only Once Per Week” rule, and actually stuck to it. (Brian, Ellie, and I drove half an hour on Saturday afternoon to get Rita’s — custard for me, ice for him. Smart move? Smart move.)

Will road trip for custard.
Will road trip for custard.

Where I need to improve: I didn’t do any real structured strength training (pretty sure those 3-lb. weights at SoulCycle don’t count) and I failed to foam roll even once. And even though I may have eaten less sugar this week, I could still stand to pack more vegetables and healthy things into my diet instead of eating turkey sandwiches on potato rolls and homemade pasta salad for lunch every day. (I tend to do weekly lunches so I can just buy one thing and eat it all week. Last week was turkey sandwiches and I made a big batch of pasta salad with Italian dressing, not mayonnaise. This week will either be avocado toast or cucumber and Tzatziki toast.)

Chatty bench dips = not sufficient strength training.
Chatty bench dips = not sufficient strength training.

Motivational quote that best summarizes Week 1 of training: “Groovy like a drive-in movie.” —Snoop Dogg, Pitch Perfect 2



19 Responses

  1. I’m training for NYC too!! Happy I found your blog because I love following along with more experienced marathoners during my first real marathon training experience 🙂

    I am also looooving yoga and spin to balance out my running workouts and definitely feel ya on the super early yet somehow still stinking hot runs these days.

    Excited to keep following along and see ya in Nov!

  2. Ah-mayzing! What a great read. I’m officially retired from marathons, but reading about your training got me so excited for you! Maybe I’ll come down and cheer you on from the sidelines in November! Keep up the great work!

  3. Hi Ali! Long time reader, rare commenter. I’m curious about your 400/800/400 track workout. Can you break that down? Are you taking short rets between the intervals and a longer rest between sets? Thanks!

    1. Sure! So in theory, I should time my rest to be something like 45–60 seconds between intervals. Since I’m not using a stopwatch, I’ll usually just count to 60 seconds and then run again as soon as I feel mostly recovered. I try not to rest for TOO long, and tell myself that the sooner I get moving again, the stronger I’m getting and the more efficient I’m becoming. #science, right? And I don’t think of it as three sets of 400/800/400. I take the same 45–60 seconds each time. It’s more of a continuous workout rather than three sets of intervals.

  4. Sounds like a successful week. I’m working hard on getting motivated to do more than walk the dog. I think reading blogs like yours is what helped me in the past so I’m I’m back to it!

  5. Dang, girl! You are a superstar. I like that you broke down what worked and what didn’t work this week. I can’t wait to see where marathon training takes you (although, it’s much more fun reading it than actually doing it myself ;)…)

    I’m just curious, where would you fit strength training in? I might have missed it in one of your earlier posts so I’ll go poking around too!

    1. I would ideally go to the gym on Tuesdays and Thursdays to do some lifting. I plan to do strength on hard workout days — Track Tuesdays and hill/tempo Thursdays — so I can really recover on the easier days.

  6. I love training recaps! I’m training for a half-marathon and love looking at how others train. Thanks for sharing, it’s giving me more motivation to train smart and hard this go around.

    1. It’s the best! Bethany is my favorite. Emily, Katie, Terri, and Brooke are all fab, too. (All the instructors are wonderful. But those are my top dogs. Or lions.)

  7. I love breaking down what worked and what didn’t, plus a motivational quote! Nice job on week 1 of training, sounds like a really great mix of workouts nonetheless.

    A sports massage is something I need to do ASAP although I’ve been finding the lacrosse ball pretty effective, and oh so painful these days.

    1. Good for you for actually using the lacrosse ball! Isang (massage therapist) asked me, “Do you roll out with a lacrosse ball?” And I just looked at her, completely blank-faced, and said, “I have literally never done that in my entire life, no.”

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about ali

I’m the creator of the Ali on the Run blog and the host of the Ali on the Run Show podcast. I’m also a freelance writer and editor, a race announcer, a runner and marathoner, a mom, and a huge fan of Peanut M&Ms, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (way better than the first one!), and reliving my glory days as a competition dancer in the early 2000s. I’m really happy you’re here.
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