New York City Marathon: Training Begins

New York, New York. Photo by Fergal Carr.

New York, New York. Photo by Fergal Carr.

Cue the theme from Rocky: “Gonna fly now…. Getting strong now…” Yee-haw. Marathon season is here. This week marks the start of training for the 2010 ING New York City Marathon. Come Nov. 7, I’ll be strong and ready to fly.

Or will I?

This past weekend, I took a sailing class out in New York Harbor. We sailed from lower Manhattan past the Statue of Liberty to the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, the iconic start of the race. It was a view of the bridge I’ve never seen before. As the boat cruised underneath, I looked up at the mass of steel and bolts looming above me. My blood rushed. In just 16 weeks I would be crossing that bridge at the start of the New York City Marathon.

I looked back up the bay toward Manhattan. The island was tiny in the distance, seemingly a word away. I gulped.

Seeing the course from the vantage point of the sea was impressive. I could see Staten Island, Brooklyn and Manhattan all in one eyeful. Suddenly, I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe that I would cross the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge from Staten Island into Brooklyn and then, essentially, run home, making a not-so-little detour through Queens and The Bronx. Say what?

I wanted to rub my eyes and shrink the distance, but after a few blinks, it was all still there. Let me tell you, 26.2 miles looks frighteningly impressive when you can actually see it stretched out in front of you.

The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. Photo by Fergal Carr.

The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. Photo by Fergal Carr.

We turned around just past the bridge and headed back to the city. Someone asked our instructor how fast we were sailing, and he guessed about 5 knots—roughly 6 miles per hour. That’s about how fast I’ll be running the race. I marveled at the fact that instead of sailing back to Manhattan—powered by the wind—I will be running back to Manhattan—powered by my own legs. Even crazier is the fact that I’ve actually done it twice before.

Yes, this will be my third time running NYC, and my fourth marathon overall. As awful and awesome as the race seemed sitting out there in that sailboat, it was also beckoning to me. The official start of my training was just a day away. What a way to start training!

As in years past, I’m following a 16-week program that will put me through my paces, both literally and figuratively.

This year, I’ve decided to give FIRST a chance. I’ve read a lot about the Furman Institute of Running & Scientific Training, and I’ve been intrigued by the concept of “Run less, run faster.” Who wouldn’t? So after a careful examination of a few different training plans, I’ve decided to give it a shot.

My FIRST schedule has me running just three days a week, but all of those runs are specific workouts at a targeted pace—no junk miles here. I’ll do speed and interval workouts faster than my 10K race pace; tempo runs slightly slower than 10K pace; and long runs at or slightly slower than my marathon pace. Phew. Then, two days a week I’ll do some cross training along with one day of rest.

Just four days into the program, I’m feeling pumped. On Tuesday I did my tempo workout right on pace and it actually felt good. Could it be a sign of good things to come? We’ll see. Today, I’m due for some intervals.

So start spreading the news. I’ll log my progress here on “Run, Karla, Run,” as I count down the weeks to the start of the world’s biggest marathon: New York, New York!

Karla Bruning is an award-winning journalist and running nerd. She has completed three marathons, trains with the New York Harriers and is a member of New York Road Runners. Follow Karla’s “Notes From a Running Nerd” at, Facebook and Twitter@KBruning.

Karla Bruning


Karla Bruning is a race announcer at the TCS New York City Marathon + other major events, TV host for the New York City Triathlon + contributor to Shape, Redbook, Runner's World + other publications. She used to report for Newsweek but spent her free time squeezing in workouts. Now it's her job. She's run 8 marathons, 30 halves, 10 triathlons + open water swims. When she's not running, talking about running or writing about running, she's snuggling her baby, spoiling her dog + compulsively traveling.


07 2010

3 Comments Add Yours ↓

The upper is the most recent comment

  1. 1

    Fantastic pics and layout (per usual).

    So jealous that you get to run the NYC. I signed up and didn’t get accepted in the lottery (second time).

    Keep up the updates!

  2. Karla Bruning
    Karla #

    I earned an entry through NYRR–one of the perks of living in NYC. But keep trying with the lottery. If you don’t get in three years in a row through the lottery, you’ll get an automatic entry the following year. You’re almost there!

    And you can always run for a charity. That’s how I got in my first year:

    I’ll let you know how training goes…

  3. Dee #

    Ah the glory of new beginnings and a sparkle in your eye to make it all happen. Good on you for making the marathon training cycle one more time and reaching a little higher with a new program. I look forward to reading about this new finagled FIRST thingy, let us know if it’s everything it claims to be.