New York City Marathon: In the Long Run

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The author.

Two weeks down, 14 to go…

Well, just two weeks into my training for the 2010 ING New York City Marathon on Nov. 7, I’ve already done it—I missed a long run.

It couldn’t be helped. I came down with a fever and chills that knocked me out of the game for a few days.

The funny thing is, I wasn’t actually planning on doing the 10-mile run on my schedule. I was camping in the Adirondack Mountains, and after two days of canoeing, I had on the docket a 26-mile hike with a total of 10,000 feet of elevation gain. I figured that would be far more taxing on my legs and lungs than any long run, so I could easily just swap it out, a bit overzealously, but swap it out nonetheless. I figured that starting my marathon training by hiking one first would be kind of poetic.

Alas, it wasn’t to be.

As I shivered under the covers of my newly obtained motel room in Lake Placid—as opposed to camping in the 45-degree night air—I bemoaned the fact that I didn’t get my long run in before the trip as much as I bemoaned the fact that I was sick and missing the hike. Had I known I’d get sick, I would have made sure to squeeze the long run in, I told myself. Had I only known, I bemoaned. Of course, if we could predict illness, we’d all probably do a lot of things differently—rescheduling a long run being the least of them.

Normally, I wouldn’t sweat missing a run this much, especially so early in the process. When you’re running five days a week, it doesn’t seem like such a big deal if you miss a run or two due to illness. But on the FIRST program—my chosen training plan this year—I run just three days a week. At times I feel like I’m hardly training at all. So missing a run seems like the end of the world because, suddenly, you’ve done just two runs in a week. And two runs do not a marathon plan make.

And thus I discovered the first hazard of FIRST—feeling like you’re running enough.

The good news is, though, every run feels like a real workout. When you run at a specifically targeted pace in a specific workout like FIRST prescribes—as opposed to just knocking out four easy miles—you feel like you’re training hard. You feel like you have purpose. You feel like an athlete.

Since I’m a bright side Sally, I’ve decided not to sweat missing my second long run. It wasn’t the all-important 20-miler, and I’ve still got 14 weeks of solid running left. So what’s the big deal? In training, as in life, things happen. If I was happy to skip the run for a hike, I have to be happy to miss the run because I’m sick. Will it matter come marathon day? Not in the long run. At least I hope.

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.


08 2010