New York City Marathon Training: Week 4

Hello from the other side of my fourth week of New York City Marathon training! We are officially 12 weeks out from Race Day, which seems…soon. Holy cow.

Week 4 marked another really solid week of training for me. My mom was in town visiting from New Hampshire (Mom, come back! I miss you! Ellie misses you!), and it was a scorcher of a week here in the northeast, but I still managed to get all my miles in, plus two doses of yoga and one quick trip to the gym.

Three generations of Feller girls.

Monday, August 8: Yoga (75 minutes)

I was up at 5 AM to get work done before heading to Lyons Den for a 75-minute class with Bethany. It was hard and sweaty, but I felt pretty strong and grounded. I love starting my week with yoga.

At night, I cooked zoodles for dinner. I am amazing. I know.

My first zoodles!
My first zoodles!

Tuesday, August 9: Track Tuesday: 8 x 400 + 1 mile at marathon pace (7 miles total)

Another 5 AM wakeup, then off to the track. And my track buddies were back! Sam and Emily were both at the track, and what a difference that made!

My babes are back!
My babes are back!

We did eight 400m repeats, and then I was supposed to run a mile at marathon pace (8:30–8:45ish, TBD) without looking at my watch. The goal for this workout is to get your body used to locking into goal pace on tired legs. If you’re going by the numbers, you could say the marathon mile was a fail, but I’m obviously not mad it was much faster than intended (7:54 pace).

I loved this workout and loved having company for it. Those 400m splits are getting faster than they were a few weeks ago! (Check out the last one: 1:34!)

8 x 400 + 1 mile
8 x 400 + 1 mile, and #TBT when all the Garmin numbers were more simple and easier for me to understand. (Why all the columns, Garmin?! What does it all mean???)

Wednesday, August 10: November Project (9 miles)

That 4:20 AM alarm, ouch. This week’s November Project workout was Olympics-themed, naturally.

THIS IS JERRY. He loves to give kisses!
THIS IS JERRY. He loves to give kisses!

We got really dirty doing lots of on-the-ground stuff. Mix humidity and sweat with dirt, and I was filthy by the end. During the 5:28 AM workout, I was paired with Ryan Starbuck, who is one of our fastest guys, so I had to bust my butt to keep up with him [and he slowed way down for me — nice guy]. Between the workouts and the run back to the ferry, I got 9 miles in for the day.

Ryan and me. Different heights, equally filthy. Maybe not equally, actually.
We were supposed to dress like our favorite Olympic team or something, and I figured, “What’s more American than over-priced indoor cycling classes?”

Thursday, August 11: Easy Run (6.2 miles) + Strength Training

Up at 5 AM — or so I tried. I apparently reset my alarm and woke up at 6, at which point it had already gotten hot enough outside for my run to feel steam room-ish. I ran 6.2 easy, steamy, unremarkable miles under the very hot sun.

I woke up like this.
I woke up like this.

And at night, I actually went to my building’s gym to lift! It felt so good, and spending some time with dumbbells reminded me that I need to make this a priority. I was excited to wake up a little sore in the arms the next day. I also want to start building my core strength and doing more plank stuff. I used to be able to hold a 5-minute plank (dude, how??) and now I struggle to maintain proper plank form for two minutes. I managed a 2:17 plank this week, so I’ll try to build off that, while working in side planks and other fun planking activities.


And then, I cooked dinner, after which Brian wanted to go to Ben & Jerry’s to get ice cream. So we went, and guess what? I didn’t get anything. I wanted to save my weekly ice cream for the weekend, so I resisted. I’m so brave.

CHEF ALI, AT YOUR SERVICE. But only like, once a month.
CHEF ALI, AT YOUR SERVICE. But only like, once a month.

Friday, August 12: Long Run (14 miles)

I always like to think I am unaffected by the heat. But I am wrong. I hate to complain about the weather, but it’s been pretty brutal around these parts lately. It’s so hot, the sun is so strong, and the humidity hovers at something like 90 percent. It makes for rough running — and functioning in general.

I woke up at 5 AM to get my long run done, and it was suffocatingly humid the moment I stepped out the door. I took the ferry into Manhattan so I could run up the west side, over the George Washington Bridge, and then south to arrive back home in West New York. Operation “Mix Up Long Run Routes” in effect. Hooray!

The view from the bridge.
The view from the bridge.

The first seven miles went great and I was loving running up toward the Little Red Lighthouse (a classic long run for marathoners-in-training!). Then I got a little lost trying to get to the ramp leading up to the bridge (I’ve done it by bike plenty of times, but I attempted a slightly different route by foot, and it didn’t go well) which was frustrating.

The Little Red Lighthouse!
The Little Red Lighthouse!

Once I got over the bridge (so fun and pretty!) and ran the nice downhill into New Jersey, I was dead. I struggled to put one foot in front of the other, the sun had come out, and I was miserably hot. I took a bunch of walk breaks and somehow made it home, but it wasn’t anything special. I just keep telling myself that all these hot summer runs will lead to a faster fall — right?

Last bridge photo. For now.
Last bridge photo. For now.

And then I failed to function for the rest of the day. I was beat.

So ladylike, Ellie...
So ladylike, Ellie…

Saturday, August 13: Yoga (90 minutes)

Hot yoga on a hot day. Such a good idea. I took Bethany’s 90-minute class at Lyons Den, which felt like a bold choice considering the weather. But I like doing yoga the day before a race, so there I was, melting in the only place in the city that was hotter than the weather outside. What a bunch of masochists we all were in the studio that day.

Bethany, you and your sneaky savasana photos...
Bethany, you and your sneaky savasana photos…

But class was fun and I overcame my fear of snapping my neck to do my first-ever classical headstand! I’ve been able to do tripod headstands for a little while now, but was always terrified to do a “real” headstand. Now I can do it, though! And I just want to keep doing it all day long. And making Brian watch.


Sunday, August 14: Brooklyn Mile Race Day (2 mile warm-up + 1 mile race)

The inaugural Brooklyn Mile was so much fun! It was my first mile race, I was super nervous about it, and I wanted to hopefully break 7 minutes. I ended up running a 6:23, which I am totally pumped about, especially since the race started at 9:30 AM, when it was already super steamy outside. I had a great day with my November Project teammates, and am proud of my time. Recap forthcoming.

I don't know when post-race herkies became a thing I do on the regular, but here we are...
I don’t know when post-race herkies became a thing I do on the regular, but here we are…

Until then, here are the week’s totals…



TOTAL MILEAGE: 39.2 miles

TOTAL ICE CREAM: 1 scoop of vanilla ice cream. But only because it came with my chocolate lava cake dessert on Sunday…

TOTAL ALCOHOL: 4 glasses of bubbly stuff. One glass of champagne at dinner with my mom and Brian on Tuesday, another at dinner on Saturday, and two glasses of sparkling rosé at dinner on Sunday.

Here is Ellie holding my strength workout hostage so I couldn't leave to go to the gym. Wicked games you play, Ellie.
Here is Ellie holding my strength workout hostage so I couldn’t leave to go to the gym. Wicked games you play, Ellie.

What went great: Tuesday’s track workout was a confidence booster, I actually went to the gym to lift (only once, but that’s more than in the previous four weeks!), I did a headstand, and I beat my sub-7:00 time goal at the Brooklyn Mile. I’m seeing improvements, and that excites me tremendously.

Track Tuesday is my favorite day.
Track Tuesday is my favorite day.

Where I need to improve: I did not get on my foam roller even once this week. Fail.

I got a haircut! This is short for me!
I got a haircut! This is short for me!

Motivational quote that best summarizes Week 4 of training: “I am the best goddamn dancer in the American Ballet Academy, who the hell are you? Nobody.” —Maureen Cummings, Center Stage

New around here? Here’s how training has gone so far:

TELL ME ABOUT YOUR TRAINING THIS WEEK! What went awesome, what went less awesome, and how many glasses of champagne did you have?



18 Responses

  1. Sounds like a great week! I’m training for the NY Marathon too and I am so excited to be running this race! I live in Virginia Beach and the heat and humidity are brutal right now. I’m finding if I don’t get my runs in before 8:00 it’s just too hot. Managed 6 miles of “hills” today. (sarcastic air quotes because I live at sea level and we basically have one man-made “hill”)

  2. Oh!!! And in an attempt to curb my ice cream consumption, I made coconut milk chia seed popsicles with rasberries. It is *not* a true replacement for ice cream; but I felt better about eating those when it was a million degrees in my apartment this weekend rather than consuming a gallon of ice cream.

      1. Why did I *not* throw in chocolate chips to begin with?!?!? Next up I’m going to try a peach popsicle (just blended peaches – nothing else) and then after that will be another coconut milk based version – but with crushed Oreos for a cookies & cream version.

        Ummmm….and I also bought two different kinds of ice cream at the store on Saturday. It wasn’t my fault – they were on sale!

  3. I got sick last weekend (the 6th and 7th) and ended up canceling any classes I was signed up for and skipping my weekend long(ish) run. When I still didn’t feel better at the start of the work week I began to panic, because I had a 10k to run on the 14th!

    Thankfully I was able to run yesterday and I’m really pleased with how it went! I wish I could say it was “easy” but that would be a lie. However, I was well enough to run, I recovered well, and the race went as “planned” – all wins!

  4. Ali on the Run! Great headstand. More ice cream. More alcohol. You know it would please me greatly if you put up a transportation tally.
    Boat $90
    Uber $60
    Taxi $4.50
    Subway $2.75

    1. OMG NO! Never! I delete those Uber receipts the minute I see them (well, after I show them to you) so I can forget about them and pretend they never happened! A tally of travel expenses would kill me!

  5. What time do you usually go to sleep/how do you always make yourself get up at 5? This has been my struggle the past few months 🙁

    1. I try to get to bed between 10 and 10:30. And trust me, those 5 AM wakeups aren’t easy. They suck. But I’ve just kind of conditioned myself to [most of the time] refuse hitting snooze and GET UP. I know I’ll be happier if I do. (On the days it really doesn’t feel right, I let myself snooze, but most days I just force my eyes open when I hear the alarm. It’s not fun, but I know I’ll realistically never wake up at 5 AM feeling refreshed — so I get up, I run, and I feel better afterward!)

  6. Love the quote at the end!! I almost want to print that out and put it on my wall haha. Definitely feeling you with this miserable heat. We’re getting through it stronger than ever though! NYC won’t be able to stop us.

    0 glasses of champagne for me but lots and lots of hard pressed cider.

  7. That sounds like a good week-well done. I think you are so brave running in the heat (even early morning) and a little crazy for doing hot yoga. I live in the south of Spain and I have to come back to England every summer! My long run went well but my weekly speed session involved struggling with a stitch. Great blog..I always look forward to reading it. Thank you.

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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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