Moving on from the marathon

So you were supposed to run NYC…now what? An Equinox coach preps you for your alternative race.

You trained and trained, and you got your body primed to run 26.2 miles on Sunday, November 4. But you didn’t. You probably did something else instead — most likely another less physical activity in excess — but by now the dust has cleared and you’re setting your sites on an alternative route like the popular Brooklyn, Philadelphia (which opened up 3,000 spots for NYC runners today) or Harrisburg marathons. So what now? Do you resume your training? “It was a very difficult situation, and all you can do is make the best of it,” says Equinox Tier 4 Coach and marathon expert Chris Heuisler, “I encourage every runner out there to find a race and go for it.” Here, he shares his advice for moving — and running — on:

  1. Stay steady: "Because you just tapered, your body is going to feel exponentially better than it did four weeks ago. Don’t get ahead of yourself. Don’t run faster, don’t run longer. That will only lead to injury. You’re not going to lose your fitness unless you just stop running. Just run at the relative pace that was in your training program. The goals don’t change now that you have extra time."
  2. Manage your expectations: "If you’re running this week, I’d repeat what you did last week in your taper and just throw in an extra mile or two — or four. The pressure is off. You have nothing to lose, which can position you to have a really great run."
  3. Extend you taper: "Most people’s taper is between 20-30 percent of the weekly mileage. If you’re doing Philadelphia or another race that’s two weeks out, this week, begin repeating your final 2 weeks leading up to New York. Then you’ll be in a safe spot."
  4. Note the silver lining: "Most marathons are easier than New York, which is to your advantage. Three of my clients are now doing Harrisburg this Sunday. That course is flat and fairly easy, and it’s really conducive to watching because it’s essentially two loops. Plus this year it’s the highest ever participant level, so it’s going to be a lot of fun. It’s just a matter of how you spin it."
  5. Know your new course: "The only thing that changes is your mental approach to the specific race you’re doing. What’ the course like? Hilly? Flat? What’s the temperature? Those types of things definitely change. I’d recommend checking out Marathonguide.com. It’s like Yelp for runners. People rank the different marathons and give personal reviews, and you can get some guidelines for the course."