Meg is a friend from college whom I look up to when it comes to running and healthy living! When I started to think about running a marathon she was the first person I contacted. She immediately told me to do it and she gave the courage to sign up! I was lucky enough to get to answer some questions for us on running, training for marathons, eating and keeping a balance! Enjoy!
When did you start running or really love running? What is your running history – how many marathons have you done, do you participate in a lot of 10Ks or other races?
I never really started running until I took at jogging class atWittenbergUniversitymy freshman year. I was a competitive swimmer from the age of 7. By the time I was in high school, I was swimming 4 mornings a week before school, every day after school, and 2 a days on Saturdays. My life was consumed by swimming, but I loved it and it helped me gain that competitive/disciplined niche that helps me train and run in road races. My club swim coach would have us run 2-3 miles three to four days a week during spring training before we hit the water. I HATED it!!!!!! However, I was mentally tough enough to get through it! When I decided to take the jogging class atWittenberg(during this time I decided to retire swimming and pursue other things…A LIFE!), I realized that it was not only a great cardiovascular exercise, but also a great therapeutic “escape” for me! I loved it then and there!
To date, I’ve only run 2 marathons (#3 is in NYC on November 1), a large handful of half marathons (my favorite beingLondon), two 15Ks, one 10K, and loads of 5Ks. I’ve only just recently realized that I hate running anything shorter than a 15K. To me, it’s like “what’s the point? I may as well go the distance” (literally). I’ve discovered that I am NOT a sprinter. I do these shorter distance road races because they make me a stronger runner, but cardiovascularly, mentally and physically!
What made you sign up for your first marathon? Did you ever doubt that you could do it?
When I was a senior at Witt, one of my best friends (Hillary deRoo), decided that we, along with 3 other of our closest friends,decided that we should run a marathon. The five of us all took an interest to running over the years and decided “why not?” Hillary’s sister had a run a couple and she brought the idea up non-chillingly. I never doubted that I could do it. I thought, “if my best friends were going to endure the pain with me, why not go for it?” We decided to raise money to send local high school kids to Young Life camp. It made the training and the actual race easy knowing that we were doing this with so many supporters behind us!
What other fitness activities do you like to do besides running? How do you balance your workout schedule?
I’ve always been into group exercise fitnessclassesat my local gym. I’m a certified spinning instructor, so I spend a lot of my time on the bike! I’m also really intoashtanga yoga. It’s a really rigorous practice of yoga and gets the heart pumping! I like incorporating yoga into my workout schedule. I use my muscles so hard between all the biking and running that I need it to stretch and relax my body from all the wear and tear.
As for balancing my workout schedule, I’m really bad at taking days off! I always tell my spinning students not to ask me for advice when the question “how much is too much” pops up! I enjoy exercise so much that I almost hate skipping out on a day! That being said, I know the benefits that rest can do for the body, so as much as I hate it, I try to give myself one day off a week. Unless I’m training for a road race, I just do what my body tells me to do for the day. My work schedule at the gym dictates a lot of my workout choices, but I just listen to my body when I wake up in the morning and go from there!
What is the hardest aspect of running a marathon? How do you handle it mentally?
TRAINING! For me there is nothing worse than knowing I have an 18 miler coming up! I dread the runs sometimes! Who wouldn’t rather sleep in on aweekendmorning, sip coffee, watch E News, and get things done around the house? It’s time consuming. I always tell people that I am not a good runner;I have the mental toughness to get through anything that I put my mind to.I’m also a creature of routine so I know that come weekend, I will have a long run. I engrave it into my head and know that preparation starts Thursday night for a Sunday morning run. What I eat and drink, how I sleep, and sticking to my daily/weekly routine will get me though the toughest of train runs. Plus, what’s better than finishing a long run and feeling the high of accomplishment?!
You are currently training for the NYC marathon. Are you doing anything differently then you did before?
Yes! I cringe every time I look at my 16 week training schedule, but I know that it will make me stronger and help me work toward my goal (Boston Marathon). Instead of building my long run distance every weekend and keeping a somewhat steady mid-week distance, I chose a plan that incorporates lots of speed, lots of hills and lots of distance on the weekends. For example, on Wednesdays I run 6-9 mile hill runs (where the majority of my route is hilly). I also throw in hill repeats on some random long runs.For speed workouts, I incorporatemile repeats (running 1-2 miles at a 10K pace and repeating the cycle at least 3 times), Yasso 800s (running 800 meters atmarathon pace 6 times), and Kenyan Outbacks (running the second leg faster than the first – an “out and back” run). Every Sunday I have my LSD (long slow distance). And long they are! I am set to run 20 miles 2X and 22 miles 1X. UGH!
Do you have a goal time, or just a safe healthy completion?
Both! I hope to finish in 3 hours 40 minutes. I’m going to have to book, but I know I can do it! My last few road race times have indicated that I can definitely get this goal time if I stay fit, strong, and healthy.
What is your training like in terms of duration, intensity, etc?
(Look for answer 2 questions ago). Very intense, very brutal, very time consuming = very rewarding!
Did you have to significantly change your diet during training? What is your typical daily diet?
My dietundergoes minorchangeswhen I’m training. For example, two nights before long runs, I’ll make whole wheat pasta for dinner mixed with whatever veggies I have left over in my fridge. I never use pasta sauces…EVOO, lemon and garlic are my choice of dressing! The night before I’ll have either pasta or veggie stir-fry (and many times I use quinoa instead of brown rice). I run in the early morning, so I always give myself one hour to have a cup of coffee, water mixed with Gatorade, a banana and a Clif Bar. I feel like this gives me the energy I need to get going on my run. I always drink a glass (or 2) of chocolate milk after a run. Studies show that chocolate milk has the calcium, fat, sugar and calories that your body needs to repair itself after long duration of exercise. Also, this might sound weird, but I eat salt packets! Yes…it’s true! Your body needs salty foods (or straight up salt) before AND during long intense runs to maintain the body’s water-to-sodium balance. When you take the gel, take some salt with it!
I’m a very routine eater and eat the same things all the time! For breakfast, I’ll have either a Sunrise Luna Bar or Go Lean Crunch mixed with Smart Start and fruit (and 3-4 cups of coffee…I’maddicted). Around 10:30, I’ll have a snack of either almonds and a banana or trail mix and a spoonful of peanut butter. I’m not a lunch person unless I go out for lunch, so I have to force myself to eat during the lunch hour. I’ve always been this way and I don’t know why! I typically have a fresh green salad with chicken or a pita with hummus and veggies. Light, but good enough for me. As an afternoon snack I will have Stacy’s Pita Chips and carrots withhummus(my FAVE!!!!), chips and salsa, or cheese and crackers. I eat a Clif Bar before a workout (regardless of what I’m doing). Dinner is usually up in the air. It depends what I have in my fridge and what my husband wants! I love to cook, experiment and eat!
What type of running/training apparel, gear, and shoes do you wear? Do you listen to music when you train?
I wear Mizuno Wave Nirvanas. I typically buy 2 pairs of shoes at a time and rotate them when I train. I’ve been wearing these shoes for 7 years now and LOVE them! For apparel, I’m a Nike and Underarmour Girl. Nike makes the best running shorts. Underarmour makes greatcold gear and heat gear and you’ll never go wrong with comfort. It’s expensive, but if you are going to take running seriously, I highly recommend getting the best of the best.
I do listen to music when I train. I put together a HUGE playlist of songs that I know will get me to the end of my run so I don’t have to listen to any song twice. My iPod of choice is the mini that clips to your shorts!
Do you listen to music during the marathon?
No. This is my preference. There is so much going on during marathons from the crowds of supporters to entertainment to the runners themselves, that I can’t take that over-stimulation! Plus, by the time I get to marathon day I’m usually already so sick of my iTunes library that I don’t want to listen to music anymore!
What type of carbohydrate and hydration products do you like? Do you take vitamins orsupplements?
I like thePowerAdeGels. My favorite flavor is vanilla. As for hydration, I always have a bottle of water and another bottle filled ½ with water, ½ with lemon-lime Gatorade. I take a Women’s One-A-Day every morning with breakfast.
What is your favorite food?
I’ve honestly never met a food I didn’t like! I love all cheese and bread. I definitely think I’m French at heart! My freezer is ALWAYS stocked with ice cream. I never deprive myself of dessert…life is too short!
Do you have any advice for beginners who are thinking about training for and running their first marathon?
Go for it! It’s a long way to run, but if I can do it, anybody can do it! It doesn’t matter if you’re not a great runner. All it takes is heart, discipline, mental toughness and TIME!
Meg running the Paris Marathon last Spring with her sisters!!
Thank you Meg for taking the time to offer so much great insight into your running career and your healthy lifestyle!