SmartWool Employees Train for the NYC Marathon
Training for a marathon takes dedication and hard work. But that doesn’t mean it’s not fun. Marathons are a favorite goal around our office. So we checked in with two SmartWooligans busy training for this year’s New York Marathon for their tips, tricks and training wisdom.
Why did you first get decide to run a marathon?
Robin Hall, Senior Manager, Strategic Planning and Project Management:
I ran my first marathon before my oldest son turned one. It was good to have a goal, and to find a reason to make some ‘me time.’ I also loved training by pushing my new baby/running buddy in the jogger. After my second son was born, I decided to try another one. I blew out my knee in the training process, so got delayed a year, but now will run the New York marathon this November.
Abbie Solberg, Raw Materials Coordinator:
I’ve run most of my life, but never more than a half marathon. Then last year, my stepfather was diagnosed with Stage 4 Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. He went into remission in February but on March 31, I lost my aunt to cancer. So I signed up to run the New York Marathon as part of Fred’s Team, which benefits the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, the world’s oldest and largest private cancer center. It’s a way to check off this bucket list item, but with a purpose behind it.
What’s your training schedule like?
For the past few months, I’ve been training for our 400+ mile bike ride to OR (link to the bike ride post), but I worked on getting a good running base and building overall fitness. Now that the marathon is closer, I’m focused on running. I run four days a week, with one long run every weekend, and mix in cross training, biking and hiking.
I’ve loosely followed a training program, but to motivate myself to keep up with the long runs, I’ve entered races. I’ll have completed more than 17 races before the marathon, including five half marathons so far this year. The marathon is definitely the scariest thing I’ve ever committed to. I used to be nervous before a half, but this is changing my mindset.
What’s important in training?
I have to take care of my knee, so I stretch, use a foam roller, and ice it at night. Clothing is super important. Wearing SmartWool, I can just get out and go – I’m not worried about my clothes, and I don’t get too hot, too cold or too sweaty. I pay attention to nutrition, eating lean proteins and lots of fruits and veggies. Sleep is incredibly important, too.
Nutrition is important for me. I switched to clean eating last year, and lost 20 pounds in three months, which set me up to train harder. Stretching and massage are also key. As many miles as you’re getting in, if you don’t take care of yourself, you’re not going to make it to the start line.
How do you find time for training?
I work out first thing in the morning. I’ll wake up at 5:40 a.m. and get out the door by 6:00, so I can get an hour-long run in. It makes me feel like a million bucks, too. And when the day gets busy with work and the kids, I’m not trying to find time for a run.
I’m lucky to have a husband who’s willing to take on more work with our son so I can train. We’ve also gotten our son involved – he comes to all of my races with cowbells, and always wants to race me.
What advice do you have for people thinking about training for a marathon?
Try to run in a group every now and then, even if it makes you uncomfortable at first. A group can push you to go eight seconds faster or just help you forget about the run – it’s really beneficial. Don’t get frustrated if you lose momentum – take a breather, mountain bike instead of run, do something different to get excited again. And give yourself little rewards. I’ll plan to meet my kids and husband out for lunch or will schedule a massage after a long run. It’s also rewarding and fun to run races in neat destinations – like a little vacation.
I recently hurt my leg from a race, and hit a mental block – I was in pain, and it felt really hard. Then I remembered why I’m doing it. I have a list of over 40 people who have been impacted from cancer – when I feel like I don’t want to get out there and go for a run, I remind myself of these people who can’t do it or are no longer here, and it motivates me. It’s my way of feeling like I can contribute to finding a cure. And, it’s been important to have a support system. Now that people know I’m doing the run, they’ve been supportive and encourage. You have to find your cheerleaders.
What do you love about running?
It’s an easy way to get outside, which I love. It keeps me fit and active. If I’m traveling for work, it’s not hard to fit a quick run in before meetings. And I love being part of the running community.
Running is a release for me – it helps me decompress.