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Road to the Marathon: Jeremy’s Marathon Training, Part I

running sneakers, music player, and supplements

Join us as we follow Jeremy LaMothe, HSS Fellow and first time marathon runner, through his training for the ING New York City Marathon. This is the first installment of a series documenting his journey.

In the past, I’ve tried to win a highly coveted ING NYC Marathon spot in their annual lottery, but failed. Needless to say, I was ecstatic when I found out I had the opportunity to run this year! I was sitting in the Catskills Mountains, hovering around the one tiny hotspot of mobile phone coverage I was able to find on the day of the draw. Although I didn’t have enough bars to download the whole email, the subject line said it all. The anticipation and excitement that day carried through the rest of the week. Thankfully, I brought my runners in case I was one of the lucky recipients. Reflecting for the rest of the week up in the mountains taught me two things: First, that I had no clue where to begin training. Secondly, that I seem to really, really like the Internet and felt lost with no data coverage. I’ve never done a marathon before and didn’t know where to start training. Upon returning home, my apparent Internet addiction came in handy. I searched all kinds of resources including everyone’s favorite, Wikipedia, and “How to Run a Marathon-For Dummies”. To my dismay, most resources told me that first timers should train 4-5 months. Well, that’s not going to work because it is 12 weeks from today.

Although I have never done a Marathon before, I would grade my running experience as moderate if such a title exists. I didn’t run much at all up until moving to NYC in July 2012. The whole thought of running came from my colleague’s wife who convinced him, and by proxy me, into running the Brooklyn Half Marathon in May 2013. To train for it, I basically just put on some miles in no real organized fashion for a few days a week. I finished it uninjured, and it was a pretty great experience; there was so much energy in the scene. Although I didn’t experience anything remotely close to a “runners high” (I still don’t know exactly what that is; I just felt some pain), I was convinced running could be fun. Since then, I’ve raced in a few other short races this year including one 5K and two 10K races. I’m hoping my not-so-serious runs for those races will help me for the marathon. The Internet tells me it may help a little.

So far, I’ve learned that training for a marathon is quite involved, and requires between 4-6 days of running per week in a structured fashion. The NYRR organization offered an Internet-based adaptable/iterative training program for 12 weeks, which started today. I signed up and my virtual coach will guide me on when and how long to run. It seems that miles are just a part of the program. One needs to stay hydrated and keep nutrients coming in. To help me along my journey, I picked up some swag including a hydration belt, some energy gels, a new pair of runners, some pads for my earphones that will keep them in my ears, and some new running clothes. If nothing else, maybe I will appear to know what I’m doing when looping around Central Park. I’ve also been told anti-chafe sticks are a good idea, but I’m holding out on that for now. I put my resources into some bandages and a bottle of Ibuprofen instead.

My goal is to finish and to be uninjured. My biggest risk is overtraining and setting unrealistic expectations for myself. It tends to run with my personality. My day job is quite busy, and my training will be limited most days to what I can accomplish between 5:00-6:30 AM, which may be a step towards self-risk mitigation. Overall, I think this is going to be a busy, but fantastic ride the next 12 weeks.

Jeremy LaMothe is an orthopedic surgeon from Calgary, Canada who moved to New York City in July 2012 to pursue two years of Academic Training at the Hospital for Special Surgery. In his first year, he completed a Trauma Fellowship, and he is currently a Fellow with the Foot and Ankle Service. Jeremy started running more when moving to New York as a way to see the city from the pavement, and is training for his first marathon in November 2013. Other than running and cycling around the city, Jeremy’s wife, who is a classically trained chef, has helped him acquire a special interest and taste for the culinary arts.

Topics: Performance
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