New York City Marathon Training: Week 6

This week was pretty status quo as far as training goes. I rode my bike twice, did yoga twice, and hit my highest mileage week so far. I foam rolled more than once (OK, only twice, but still), dealt with a finicky stomach, and executed a solid solo track workout.

This week also kicked off a marathon few days of traveling for Brian, Ellie, and me. We spent the weekend in Beverly, MA, for Abby’s second birthday party, then continued on to New Hampshire for a few days to stay with my parents, and next we’ll venture to Vermont for Brian’s annual bike race. I know I’ll get all my runs in while we travel, but the cross-training may be another story. I’ll figure it out.

I ruined the view with a jumping photo. Sorry.
I ruined the view with a jumping photo. Sorry.

In much more detail…

Monday, August 22: Bike Ride (16.3 miles) + Yoga (75 minutes)

Brian woke up at 4:45 AM on my day to sleep in, which was super cool, so then I, too, was up at 4:45 AM. I knew I wouldn’t fall back into a solid sleep, so I hijacked his bike ride and joined him for 16.3 easy, breezy miles. It was really nice out, so this was a happy — if sleep deprived — start to the week.

After that, I headed to Lyons Den for my usual 75-minute class with Bethany. This class was so hard. Bethany decided to focus a lot on “shoulder integration” and made us do entire vinyasa sequences squeezing a block between our thighs. AKA “take this series and make it even harder.” Ouch.

At night, I foam rolled! Gold medal for Ali!

Tuesday, August 23: Track Tuesday: Mile, 1200, 1000, 800, 400, 400 (7 miles total)

My plan called for a sort of reverse ladder workout, which was surprisingly fun. I woke up at 5 AM as usual to head to the track, but this week all my track friends were away, so I was flying solo. I love running with friends, but I also know it’s good to have the mental and physical strength to be able to push through tough workouts alone.

This workout went almost perfectly in the sense that each segment was a little faster than the previous one (except for the very last 400m repeat, boo!). I was very pleased with my effort!

If only that final effort were three seconds faster... Would've been #flawless.
If only that final effort were three seconds faster… Would’ve been #flawless.

Wednesday, August 24: Easy Run (8 miles) + Yoga (60 minutes)

I had plans to go to November Project, but after being up way late the night before, I knew getting up that early would be unwise. So I issued a hard pass on the 4:20 AM alarm and snoozed until 5:00. (That extra 40 minutes helped!) My hip felt achy and my stomach was a mess, but I ran 8 slow, easy, unremarkable miles.

Pretty, though.
Pretty, though.

At night, I went to a Sound Off Yoga class. It was dubbed as being a vinyasa class, and we did flow a bit in the first half, but it was mostly restorative and gentle, which felt good (and I don’t do enough). The room was gorgeous and the teacher was cute, but I didn’t love (or, frankly, get) the whole headphone yoga thing. Interesting experience, but not really my jam. (It was also dubbed as being “Sexy Beats” or something like that, and while it was mostly R&B music, it ended with “Amazing Grace.” IDK about you, but I do not consider that song to be a sexy beat.)


Thursday, August 25: Hills! (8.5 miles)

I met my friend Beaney in Central Park to do a few Cat Hill repeats, which was so fun, and the social time with her was very necessary. We only did four repeats up the hill since we were both feeling tired and both had sore hips (WTF, hip?), but it was good to be in the park with her, and we finished up with some strength stuff (planks, donkey kicks, glute things — all the stuff we should’ve started doing much sooner in training to avoid having these cranky hips).

10 MPH. Totally.
10 MPH. Totally.

Then I went home and foam rolled!

Friday, August 26: Long Run (16 miles)

It's hard NOT to make a "just the tip" joke here... SRY.
It’s hard NOT to make a “just the tip” joke here… SRY.

I knew I’d be traveling and with family all weekend, so I wanted to get my long run done on Friday. I was up at 5:00 to get out the door for 16 miles. I took the ferry into Manhattan, then ran south along the West Side Highway until I reached the November Project workout location, where I scooped up my friend Lucy (the one I wear tiger suits with) to join me for a few miles.


My GPS was annoyingly off while we ran up the east side and for most of the run, so I just ran by feel and kept it at a conversational pace. Lucy abandoned me after a few miles (super rude), then I ran solo until 57th Street, headed west into the city streets, stopped in at Whole Foods for some water, and then ran into Central Park for a lower loop. I exited the park at 72nd Street and was feeling mostly dead — hot, tired, cranky, ready to be done. So it was very lucky that I quite literally ran into my friend Dani, who was wrapping up her own long run. She kept me company for the final four miles, during which I complained nonstop. I’m a good friend.

I took (er, wore — will I ever learn to actually get an entire gel in my mouth and not on my cheeks and shirt?) a chocolate Hammer Gel around mile 7, which was fine, but not delicious. And it wasn’t until I finished the run that I realized I ran the entire thing without listening to music or a podcast. I like that! I also made one very urgent and almost tragic bathroom stop. All good, though.


Then I spent the rest of the day in the car driving to Beverly, MA, to visit Tyler and Abby! (And the rest of my family.)

Saturday, August 27: Ellie’s First Mile! (5 miles total)

I had been waiting for this day for months: the first time I got to run with my dog! It was finally cool enough out to take Ellie on a little test run! We trotted 1 mile together, and it was the smiliest run of my life. She did great. Obviously. She’s the best.

Running buddies!!!
Running buddies!!!

I dropped her back at my brother’s house, then set back out for four easy miles of my own before Abby’s party.

She looks miserable, but I swear she loved letting me braid her hair...
She looks miserable, but I swear she loved letting me braid her hair…

Sunday, August 28: Bike Ride (36.4 miles)

Next stop on the Cristiano Family Tour: New Hampshire! We’re staying here with my parents for a few days before we continue to Vermont, so after arriving in sweet lil’ Contoocook, Brian and I took our bikes out for a ride.

The plan was to ride to Mount Kearsarge together (10ish miles away), and then he’d put out a hard effort up the climb (8ish miles to the top) and I was just going to wait at the bottom until he was done, then we’d ride back home together. But then I was like, “I’ll just ride up it until I can’t anymore.” Imagine my surprise — and Brian’s — when 3,000 feet of climbing later, I was at the top of the mountain!


I definitely surprised myself by doing this, and definitely surprised Brian, who was at the top as I rolled up and was probably the most excited I’ve ever seen him. Riding down was less fun than riding up the mountain — I’ve never squeezed my brakes so hard and had to stop once to let my rims cool off — and I complained the entire ride back home. I am the funnest workout buddy.


The final tally…



TOTAL MILEAGE: 44.5 miles (my highest yet!)

TOTAL ICE CREAM: One scoop of Moose Tracks at Beech Hill Farm. I wasn’t even craving it, but it’s a home-visiting-my-parents tradition. And I have to say, now that I don’t eat ice cream on the regular, I don’t crave it, and it didn’t really do anything for me. Weird.

TOTAL ALCOHOL: 4 glasses of Prosecco. All while out in Boston Saturday night. (My brother and sister-in-law took Brian and me to Sorellina in Boston. Whoa that place is good.)

Pre-dinner drinks with my college girls!
Pre-dinner drinks with my college girls!

What went great: Two yogas, two foam rolling, two bike rides, and a good track workout.

Where I need to improve: My workouts so far have gone mostly well, but my long runs haven’t. I’ve struggled quite a bit, and have taken more walk breaks than I’d like. I want to feel more confident on my longer runs, like I do during my track workouts.


Motivational quote that best summarizes Week 6 of training: “Here’s the deal, I’m the best there is. Plain and simple. I wake up in the morning and I piss excellence.” —Ricky Bobby, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby

Brian had a little BOLD jersey made for Tyler, so they can be twins. It's my favorite thing.
Brian had a little BOLD jersey made for Tyler, so they can be twins. It’s my favorite thing.

New to the neighborhood? 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 times did you actually foam roll? 



17 Responses

  1. That block between the thighs during yoga – did you use a foam or wooden one? My yoga teacher makes us do sun salutations with blocks between our thighs now and again – a sorta remember to squeeze your thighs.

    1. Foam block! SO HARD! My thighs were trembling and I wanted to punch my beloved teacher in the face every time she told us to hold Chair Pose for “five breaths.” Brutal!

  2. Wow, sounds like a great week — way to go!

    I did absolutely no foam rolling, but at least I keep thinking about it. 😉 My long run was miserable — I overslept and it was 80 degrees by the time I made it out the door and 88 degrees by the time I made it home. But it didn’t kill me, so you know… 🙂

  3. I just wanted to comment on the “gel” situation. I take a gel every 30 minutes on my long runs. Maybe you are not feeling stronger on those long runs because you are about to bonk. Just a thought!!

    1. Definitely possible! I need to play around with fueling, that’s for sure — timing, what type of foods I’m using, etc. My nemesis! (Thanks for the tip!)

  4. What a great week. I’m impressed by all the miles and workouts you get in (I need some serious butt-kicking for some cros-training).

    That black jumpsuit t looks amazing on you!

  5. Did you happen to get the molten chocolate cake at Sorellina?!?? It is the. best. ever. I ate there two years ago and I swear I still talk about that cake at least once a week. And I’m not even a chocolate cake person! I live in Boston and I think it’s my favorite dessert in the whole city

  6. How exciting that you are going to be able to start running with Ellie 🙂 My vizsla Matilda is the best running partner, but it definitely took time and work to get her there. I didn’t start running with her until she was a year either per our vet’s advice, but i know all breeds are different. Good luck!

    1. IT’S SO EXCITING! And makes me appreciate running! I don’t care about my pace or where I’m going, I’m just excited to have her by my side!

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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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