Hi there! Welcome to my little blog about running, fitness, health, school, life and my own personal journey through it all! I’m Abby, and I’m addicted to running (“hi Abby”). It’s a crazy habit to have and I’ve been afflicted with the addiction since I was 10 years old, which is 21 years now. *Shhhhhh* don’t do the math. Along the way I’ve played nearly every sport out there (basketball, baseball, cheerleading, track, cross-country withhonorable mentions in volleyball, touch football and badmitton) and acquired a serious love for all things fitness. Aside from a detour into musical theater for, oh, 12 or so years, fitness has been the focus of my life for as long as I can remember.
Beginning with watching my parents run in a road race from the lawn of my grandparents’ home in New Jersey to wanting to play baseball so badly that, at the age of five, my parents made me the only girl on the baseball team in our district, I was hooked on sports pretty much from birth. Go Mom and Dad! And I never stopped playing. On my first day in high school freshman year, we were all asked to write down where we see ourselves in ten years. I still have that notebook. It says, “something to do with sports medicine.” And here I am!
What I want this blog to be is a place where people can get tips, advice and honest-to-goodness educated answers to fitness questions. I will share my experiences on this fitness journey with you and you can feel free to share yours with me. I’d love to hear your stories! I am a certified personal trainer and I have been working in the field for 13 years (9 of them in NYC), have a pre-med background, and I am studying to be a doctor of physical therapy, so I have A LOT of science and experience to back up what I say. People may not always agree, but I promise I will never give an answer to a question I am not qualified to answer. I will ask someone smarter than me to answer it and then pass along the information to all of you. Let’s make this journey to our most healthy selves together!
Let’s get started, shall we? I figure I’d start with a question I’m asked about often regarding marathon training–
Q. How many weeks do I need to train for a marathon?
Well, for me it’s all about the quality of the workouts, not the quantity. I’ve sort of perfected my workouts over the past 8 marathons I’ve run (told you I was addicted) and found that it’s easy to overdo the running, but so much more important to cross-train. I make sure I can do 8-10 miles comfortably before I train for 13-16 weeks. Actually, my best marathon time came out of a very
lazy relaxed marathon schedule I had two years ago. I don’t recommend people who are new (or new-ish) to running do more than 3 runs a week with two days of strength training and at least one day of yoga. Too much running too soon is a perfect recipe for an overuse injury and can take you out of a race before you even get started.
For example, I’m running the Philadelphia Marathon this year with my hubby, JB, in November. We’re running now (just came off of the New Jersey Marathon on May 1st) and keeping the long miles between 8-12 on the weekends. I am only running three days, spinning once, doing yoga once or twice, and lifting once or twice a week. This is strength building time, baby! My runs are relatively short and hard and my run club-mates can attest that short distances do not equal easier runs. My lifting sessions are designed to make me stronger and they do, much as my legs might hate me for 48 hours every single week. I’m practicing on my stamina, strength and balance in yoga, and if you see me in a class you have to promise not to laugh. A pretty yogi I am not. All of these practices are designed to keep me in good shape so that when mid-July roles around and I start on a marathon schedule, my body is strong, lean and ready to go for 16 weeks of training.
It’s not always easy to take time off from running, which is why I’m so thrilled that I found an awesome spin studio here in NYC! I have found that spinning and swimming are the best ways, aside from running, to get my heart rate up and work through my anaerobic cardiovascular routine without being too tough on my legs. And since swimming reeks havoc on my long curly hair, I avoid the chlorinated pools in the city like the plague. I know, it’s vain. Seriously, though, I pay way too much to have my hair done to wreck it in the pool. I’ll wait for the beach, thankyouverymuch. But spinning I can get into! I sweat like an animal (more on this later…probably in every post) and feel totally spent, but rejuvenated, after every class. It’s a great substitute when you have a motivating instructor. For example, my instructor last night was a lean, enthusiastic, fabulously gay man with shoulder length curly hair who kept on telling us “I don’t care if you don’t crank it up, but you’re just cheating yourself. Leave it all on the bike!” And did I? Boy howdy!
The moral of the story? Less is more in the off-season, but make sure you can run 8 miles comfortably 16 weeks before your marathon so that you’re ready for your schedule. You’ll pick up the days of running to 4-5 during those marathon training weeks and cut back on the cross training a little bit so you don’t overdo it, but if you prepare properly, you’ll be ready for anything come marathon morning.
Variety is the spice of life and that goes for your workouts, too! And if you live in NYC and happen to catch me in a yoga or spin class, don’t be jealous of how much I sweat. It’s a gift.
Tell me–what do you do to cross-train? Pilates? Swim? Sleep? What makes you feel strong??