Fall 2016 Running Playlist + My NYC Marathon Playlist

My last running playlist update was at the beginning of the summer, so this one is certainly long overdue.

I’ve added a good amount of songs to my running repertoire since then. Plus, I also want to share my 2016 NYC Marathon Playlist.

My race playlists are always a little more carefully curated then my regular, everyday running playlists.

For my regular running playlists I’ll throw in a really wide range of songs, including songs that I’ve only heard a little bit of and I’m not even sure if I like. That way I can test out new songs while I’m running and it’s not such a big deal if I feel like it’s a dud.

But for race day, you can’t have any duds. I mean, at least I can’t. I need an entire playlist of songs that makes me want to jump out of my chair and rock out like I just scored a touchdown in the Super Bowl.

running playlist dancing football touchdown

But that’s just me.

OK so first, here is my most recent “regular” running playlist. It doesn’t suck or anything (at least I don’t think so), but these are songs I like and enjoy running to, but that don’t quite have that World Series “wow” factor that qualifies for my race day running playlist.

Fall 2016 Running Playlist

  1. Treat You Better – Sean Mendes
  2. Starving – Hailee Steinfeld
  3. Let Me Love You – DJ Snake
  4. Never Be Like You (Feat. Kai) Flume
  5. Roll Up – Fitz and the Tantrums
  6. All We Know – The Chainsmokers
  7. Greenlight- Pitbull
  8. Call On Me (Ryan Ribsck Remix) -Starley
  9. Smoke Break – Carrie Underwood
  10. Run – Delts Rae
  11. Don’t Wanna Know – Maroon 5
  12. You Gotta Not – Little Mix

You can listen to it/follow it here on Spotify.

Now, for my marathon race day playlist, which is actually quite short because I don’t plan on listening to music unless I REALLY need it. I’ll probably turn it on during some of the spots on the course where there are less crowds on the sidelines (like on the bridges and in upper Manhattan.

fall running playlist

2016 NYC Marathon Playlist

  1. Unstopabble – Sia
  2. Fight Song – Rachel Platten
  3. Sit Still, Look Pretty – Daiya
  4. Cold Water – Major Lazer (Feat. Justin Bieber and MO)
  5. Die Young -Ke$ha
  6. Timber – Pitbull (Feat. Ke$ha)
  7. Touch The Sky – Brave Soundtrack
  8. Don’t Let Me Down – The Chainsmokers
  9. Emily – Mika
  10. Work This Body – Walk The Moon
  11. The Greatest – Sia
  12. Homecoming – Kanye West

You can listen to/follow my marathon playlist on Spotify here.

If all else fails, and I really need an extra motivation boost, my plan is to play Sia’s “The Greatest” on a loop for as long as I need. The lyrics are the best:

“I won’t give up, dont give up…”

“Running out of breath, but I got stamina…”

Perfect motivation.

And I think she has also inspired me to use “I won’t give up” as my mantra to repeat when I’m feeling like I’m battling The Wall.

Simple, but effective.

Aside from that, my other mental strategy is to remind myself of the following reasons I decided to run the marathon when I’m feeling like my legs might crumble or I want to quit:

  • Because Marathon Day is my favorite day of the year in NYC and years when I’m not running I feel sad and/or jealous of the other runners
  • To prove to myself that I can run it faster than I did last time and that I can finish the whole race without walking (last time I walked several times)
  • For the simple reason that I love to run, and especially love distance running
  • Because I want to inspire anyone out there who might have doubts about what they can accomplish

I have to commit all of these reasons to memory because when the miles start to build up and my legs are calling out for relief, they will keep me running strong — or at least moving forward!

Alrighty folks, that’s a wrap on my final blog post before the race tomorrow. If you want to follow my race day shenanigans from the start line to the finish, head over to my Instagram page and follow me there.

Next time you hear from me here, I’ll be sharing me race recap. AHHH!

But for now, head down to the comments and let me know…

What are your favorite running playlist songs right now? Leave a comment and let me know! I would love some more recommendations!

P.S. To celebrate NYC Marathon week, I’m hosting an EPIC fall running gear giveaway with my friends at Only Atoms. There’s $500 in prizes up for grabs and there will be lots of winners, so click here to enter for a chance to win!

NYC Marathon Giveaway

True Life: Marathon Taper Made Me Cry

Ladies and gents, it’s that time during training: the marathon taper … and I have officially gone bonkers.

Even though this year’s NYC Marathon is my second, this is actually my first time experiencing the bumpy, winding, loop-de-looping roller coaster known as the marathon taper madness. (Training did not go quite so well the first time around.)

Anyhow, if you’ve trained for a marathon before, you are probably familiar with marathon taper madness. If you’ve never gone through this yourself, once I explain a few (slightly embarrassing) stories you will understand better.

Marathon Taper: Am I Going Crazy?

My “crazy” first showed its face in the form of ridiculous dreams.

First, on Friday night I dreamt that I stood Anna up for our planned 10-miler (the last long run of marathon training) on Saturday. In my dream, somehow I just entirely forgot about the run until later in the afternoon, at which point I began to panic not only because I completely left Anna to run it alone, but now, when was I going to run this workout?!

The next night (Saturday) I had a ridiculous dream that I missed the birthday brunch I had planned for Sunday afternoon. Somehow I ended up at my parent’s house on Long Island and my dad was driving me back to Brooklyn. Well, brunch was planned for 12:30, but when I looked at the clock in the car it said 1:00 and we weren’t even close to being in Brooklyn. Cue Dream Katie having a panic attack and feeling like a huge jerk for standing up all her friends.

Oh and these two dreams weren’t the first time I had the “Oh crap, I’m late” nightmare. Earlier during this training cycle I already had a dream that I was late to the start of the marathon. I also had that same dream the night before I ran the marathon in 2014.

Clearly I have anxiety about being late for and/or entirely missing events.  I’m curious to see what other silly dreams the rest of this week might bring…

Anyway, back to the main topic: marathon taper madness.

So my final example of this madness occurred this past Sunday evening while I was scrolling through Instagram, mainly looking at silly videos of dogs (don’t pretend you don’t also do this).

So I came across a video of this little Dachshund puppy named Oakley whose owners made a video pretending it was his first day of school.

They woke Oakley up. They dressed Oakley in a little striped polo. They brushed Oakely’s teeth. They packed Oakley’s lunch and book bag. They told him to have a good day and sent him off .

Cut to a clip of a big yellow school bus driving away. Then cut to Oakley, with his cute shirt and backpack sitting at the end of the driveway. He says, “I missed the bus … Shit.”

I paused for a moment and then … waterworks. Full on crying like a baby. I couldn’t contain it. But after about 30 seconds I realized how ridiculous I was being, and Mark was sitting next to me howling with laughter (but at the same time looking quite concerned) and then my crying started to turn into this ugly half crying, half cracking up fit that I just couldn’t shake.

Mark said to me, “Are you sure you’re ok? Is there something else I need to know about?” 

I said, “Oh I think I’m fine. But I guess this is what they mean when they say you go kind of haywire during taper.”

So you can see for yourself, here is the video that set me off. But I warn you: if you’re tapering too, watch at your own risk.

This morning I had my final speed workout and it went really well. My legs are feeling fast and strong and mentally I feel ready to tackle this race.

In terms of “craziness,” we’ll see what else the rest of this week has to bring, but no matter what happens or what stupid videos make me cry, I’ll be ready on race day for sure.

Have you ever experienced feeling a little “crazy” during taper? Leave a comment and share your story! 

P.S. To celebrate NYC Marathon week, I’m hosting an EPIC fall running gear giveaway with my friends at Only Atoms. There’s $500 in prizes up for grabs and there will be lots of winners, so click here to enter for a chance to win!

NYC Marathon Giveaway

5 Reasons You Should Run With A Buddy

You could call me what some would refer to as an “introvert.”

I’ve always enjoyed my “me time.” When I was younger I would plop myself down in the playroom and I could easily entertain myself for hours on end with Barbie, Ken, baby Kelly and their new RV camper, complete with built-in bunk beds and a Barbie barbecue. I was perfectly content exploring my imagination and creating fairytale worlds of my own. I didn’t need a say from anyone else. 

When I got older and our family got its first computer, I was perfectly content spending hours on my own, typing up magical stories about princesses and unicorns. (Unfortunately, this was pre-internet, and probably pre-at-home printers, so those stories were never preserved.) 

Knowing this, it’s no wonder that in my adult years I’ve gravitated towards such a solitary sport.

Run With A Buddy 4

Running is my new Barbie playtime. It’s my new “type up make believe stories on the computer” time. (Although, in a way I still do type up “stories” on the computer — couldn’t give that one up.)

Running is my Me Time where I can escape to that cerebral place that us introverts value oh so much; you know, the alone time we need in order to recharge so later we can interact with others and just generally function in our everyday lives. 

I’ll be the first to admit that all of the above very accurately explains why I enjoy running so much, but over a few years of logging quite a few miles, I’ve also come to learn that running with friends (whether one or four or 15) is a good thing too.

Run With A Buddy

Why You Should Run With A Buddy

I’m naturally inclined to want to run alone, but after having recently completed the majority of my longer marathon training runs with other runners, I’ve decided that it should be a more regular part of my routine — especially for longer runs where the miles seems to drag on because you’ve got nothing but some music or a podcast and your thoughts can only preoccupy you from the struggles of distance running for so long.

When you run with others, instead of begrudgingly counting down the miles you have left or focusing on how not great you’re feeling, your attention is (hopefully) pointed to an engaging conversation.

Run With A Buddy 2

Side Note: My friend Anna, who also happens to be one of my running buddies, recently came to the same conclusion in a recent episode of her new podcast, which I highly recommend you check out! 

Four more benefits of running with friends:

  • It can help you change up your pace
  • It’s safer
  • It can help you make new friends and engage with your local running community
  • It can help you improve your time management skills since coordinating workout times with others can be a challenge sometimes

I promise I’m not making these benefits up. They are real and I’ve experienced them all thanks to the company of other runners during my workouts.

If you’ve ever run with a buddy, then I’m sure you would agree.

But if so far you’ve only hit the road solo, then I strongly encourage you to find a running buddy who will log some miles with you. It doesn’t have to be for every single run — in fact I would argue that it shouldn’t, we all need that Me Time, right? 

Try it for even one or two workouts a week and you’ll definitely understand what I’m talking about. Heck, you might even develop a newfound love for running!

Now your turn! What do you prefer more? Running alone or running with a buddy? Leave a comment and let me know!

Strength Running Marathon Training Plan Review: The Halfway Point

Alrighty, so I’m actually 12 weeks into my marathon training (AHHH!), but I think doing a  marathon training plan review and a check in on my progress now — and then another after the race — will be helpful for all of you AND myself.

I’m happy to report that so far, overall my training is going really well. Last week in particular was been the most challenging, as I was running on legs that ran 42 miles the week before — the highest weekly mileage I’ve ever done — and I also ended up getting a little sick and was in bed for two days at the end of the week. Luckily I only missed one easy run as a result.

Overall though, I’m feeling strong and I’m confident that finishing out this 16-week plan is going to have me VERY prepared for race day.

The plan I’m following is the intermediate marathon training plan from Coach Jason Fitzgerald’s Injury Prevention for Runners program on StrengthRunning.com.

Marathon Training Plan - Preview

Strength Running Marathon Training Plan Review

When you purchase the injury prevention for runners program from Coach Jason, you get all of his injury prevention workouts, a ton of in-depth content about how to run strong and healthy, AND access to 12 training plans — a beginner, intermediate and expert level plan for the 5K, 10K, half marathon and full marathon distances.

What I’ve found most beneficial about the Strength Running marathon training plan so far, is that not only does it tell you which running workouts to do each day, but the schedule details which strength workouts you should do each day as well.

For example, instead of designating certain days for running and then other days for “strength training” or “cross training,” where you have to figure out what you want to do on those days, all of the cross and strength training work is spelled out very clearly for you. There’s no guess work. If the plan says “Claymore Routine,” I open up the Injury Prevention for Runners Library, click “Strength and Rehab Routine Instructions” and then open up the Claymore workout so I can follow it.

Easy peasy.

Additionally, one of the most important things I want to point out is that I’ve never been able to run such high weekly mileages before without getting injured. I know this is due to a lot of different factors that are important parts of training, but I really believe that these different strength and rehab routines are making a huge difference in terms of keeping my legs, feet, knees, IT band, etc. healthy.

The plan does have me running quite a lot (for example, this week I ran my long run on Saturday, recovery runs on Sunday and Monday, and then a tempo run on Tuesday (36 miles total in 4 days) with a rest day finally on Wednesday, which is something I’m not entirely used to, but from what I can tell so far this strategy is working for me. 

Marathon Training Plan 1

In other words, running more seems to be improving my endurance and overall performance. I keep thinking back to a blog post I read once (I can’t remember where, sorry!) about running more miles to better prepare for the marathon. The author offered all the data she had collected from each of her training cycles over the course of several years. With each training cycle she increased her mileage, and with that, each time she improved her marathon finish time.

Now, I’m not saying this strategy will work for anyone and everyone and I’m DEFINITELY NOT telling you to go out and start running a ton more miles right off the bat (remember what Coach Jason says, your body needs to be prepared to do that — mileage needs to be increased strategically and this marathon training plan is doing that for me), I’m just saying so far it seems to be working for me; I’m very interested to see how I preform in the marathon this year compared to in 2014 where I wasn’t running anywhere close to the amount I’m running now (and where so many other things went wrong). 

So that’s a general overview of what I think of this marathon training plan so far. Now, let’s get into some of the details so you can really decide if this would be a good plan for you!

A Typical Week

Without giving away the whole training plan, here’s what a typical week of the plan looks like at each stage of the training cycle. 

Note: This is a very general overview and does not include what the cut-back weeks at week 7 and week 12 look like. For those weeks there are more rest days and the overall mileage and long run mileage are lower.

If you’re wondering what strides are, you can read more about them and why they’re important here.

Also, each workout is prefaced with a warm-up, which is also outlined in the Strength and Rehab Routine library.

Weeks 1-4
Marathon Training Plan Review - Weeks 1-4

Weeks 5-12
Marathon Training Plan Review - Week 5 -12

Weeks 13-14
Marathon Training Plan Review- Weeks 13-14

Taper Week 1
Marathon Training Plan Review - Taper Week 1

Taper Week 2
Marathon Training Plan Review - Taper Week 2

As you can see, as the plan progresses it’s a lot of running with only two rest days for most weeks — and the total weekly mileage gets as high as 44 miles during the two peak weeks of training (weeks 13 and 14).

I’ve had to sacrifice social activities and have had many, many very early mornings in order to fit it all in, but that should be expected with marathon training, so even though it’s a lot of work, I haven’t found this plan to be unmanageable. Basically, it’s marathon training as expected.

One of the best parts is that each strength, rehab or cross training workout only takes about 10 to 20 minutes, so they are all very easy to squeeze in right after a run, at the end of the day, or whenever you happen to have a little bit of down time.

The Running Workouts

Another thing that I really love about this plan is that while there are challenging running workouts included, the majority of the running that you do with this plan is at a moderate or recovery pace, which might sound weird, but that’s actually how it should be

In the first 12 weeks, speed work is reserved for Tuesdays with tempo workouts, and with the amount of time you spend working at a tempo pace progressing with each week.

After that you’ll get into some more specific speed workouts. That include tempo work and intervals. I’ve only just reached that point this week. On Tuesday I did the first speed workout that also included intervals. It went like this:

6 miles with mile 3 @ tempo pace + 8 X 1-minute @ 10K pace with 90 seconds rest between each

Nothing too crazy, but definitely challenging.

I’ll weigh in on the rest of the speed workouts once I complete them and write my post-race review of the plan, so stay tuned!

The Bottom Line

So far, I’m very happy with this plan. Yes, I’ve had a few setbacks, but that’s entirely expected with any marathon training cycle. 

In fact, in 12 weeks of training I consider having only a few very minor setbacks to be a success.

Marathon Training Plan 3

I’ve never trained for this long running this many miles so successfully before, which is exciting all on its own. In a superstitious way, I was a little nervous to officially declare that since there are less than 30 days until race day now, but I also need to have confidence in my training (and I do!) and trust that no matter what happens over the next four weeks, I’ll be physically and mentally prepared when I get to that starting line on Staten Island!

I do have to say, though, one new development is that at the beginning of last week I very suddenly developed an achey sort of pain in my right calf. Since then I’ve really been nursing it, I took one of my easy runs to the elliptical so it could rest more, and I may have to take a few days off this week to let it recover completely. But I really don’t want to freak out about it, I’m icing it a lot and I’m going to take it one day at a time. I’ll keep y’all updated!

Now your turn! Are you training for a marathon this fall? How was your experience been so far? Do you have any questions about training or this plan in particular? Let me know in the comments!

NYC Marathon Training Update: Learning To Press Pause

Sometimes you just have to stop and take a break.  It’s that simple. This is especially true when you’re training intensely for a big race (e.g. you’re 12 weeks into NYC Marathon training). I think no matter how many times I learn this lesson or how far I continue into my running career, this lesson will be one I’ll have learn again and again.

So a bit of backstory: On Thursday, I woke up feeling totally fine, no indication whatsoever that I shouldn’t  run. But then things got strange …  About three miles in I started feeling off and was wondering whether I should turn back. I brushed it off and pushed on. Then, by mile four I knew something was wrong and knew to head straight home instead of finishing the entire six miles.

NYC Marathon Training Update

After my run I went downhill FAST. I went from “OK, I just need to rest a bit before work,” to  “CRAP, I can barely get out of bed.” I was achey,  I came down with a fever and could barely stomach a thing besides crackers and ginger ale. Luckily, I was able to work from home that day and since I knew I needed to rest more, on Friday I called in to take a half day; I got my urgent work out of the way in the first half of the day from home and then literally laid in bed and watched Gilmore Girls for the rest of the day.

To my very happy surprise, by the time Mark got home and made dinner, my fever was gone and I was starting to feel like a human again! This morning, I’m feeling back to 100% (YAY!) but I’m taking today as another day to rest because I’d much rather play it safe this close to the race and my long run can wait until tomorrow.

That said, these next five weeks of marathon training are SO SO important and I can’t risk any setbacks if I want to perform my best on race day. This means that I had to admit to myself that I’ve been trying to do too much all at once (working full time, marathon training, keeping up with my blog, maintaining a social life) and that I need to cut back.

NYC Marathon training is priority numero uno now and that means less time for blogging over the next several weeks (no waking up early to schedule social media posts and answer emails before my workouts), letting myself sleep in past 6 a.m. on rest days, getting to bed by 9 to 9:30 every night and putting some social events on hold until after race day.

Not an easy thing to admit to myself (or all of you!) but totally necessary if I want to stay healthy for race day and avoid getting sick again.

I’m happy to report though, aside from this and one other brief head cold a few weeks back, my training has been going very well and I’m feeling strong and confident. I ran a total of 144 miles in September. That’s more than I’ve ever done before!

NYC Marathon Training Update

So that’s my (quick)NYC Marathon training update, but before I go, I just wanna say two more things: (1) Thanks for all the well wishes y’all sent when I mentioned I wasn’t feeling well on Thursday, and (2) Be kind to your bodies and minds. Slow down and take a break (in whatever form) if you need one!

If you’re interested in learning more about some of the ways I try to treat my body and mind better, you can check out my blog post about how runner’s can be kinder to their bodies right here.

Leave a comment and share your training stories with me! How do “press pause” when you realize it’s time to take a break and let you body rest?