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Brooklyn Half Marathon and My Training Routine

I'm still on a high from my half marathon on Saturday! I finished 13.1 miles in 2 and a half hours and I just couldn't be prouder of myself. I felt energized, confident, inspired, I had a killer playlist with nothing but trance music and I just fed off the crowd of runners and the very supportive spectators. It poured for about a half hour during the run but I just kept going, hoping my iPod wouldn't get damaged. My earbuds went kaput though; the right one lost sound as I began the last portion of the run so I only had music coming into my left ear. It was better than nothing and I got to hear the crowd. I used my music to time myself too so I was hoping the other earbud would not crap out. What a run! This was my first NYC long run; so much time and energy went into my training, not to mention worrying and even though I said this would be my last long run, I'm already thinking about a run in the fall.

So, what did I eat before I ran, what did I do, how much did I run when I trained, I can't wait to share all of this with you. I worried alot about this run because I only started seriously training in March due to the extreme cold. I started slow so that I wouldn't get injured like I did in 2013 before my 10 mile run. So, I built up to an 11 mile run only a week before the half marathon. I wasn't sure if my body was going to be used to that many miles at once. You really do surprise yourself sometimes.

Running is alot of mental preparation as well as physical training. I did alot of envisioning and thinking about running when I wasn't actually on a run. I imagined myself on the course, breathing steady, pushing myself to a point where I could sustain my pace, envisioning myself crossing the finish line. My training runs were going ok but I had two weeks where I felt physically exhausted after 7 miles. I was frustrated and worried. Then I PREPARED! I started going to bed earlier so I could wake up earlier. I made my breakfast the night before: chia seed pudding and 3 cups of water with a little lemon. I woke up, got dressed, ate, drank and took the quick bus trip to Central Park and just ran like the wind. Sometimes I ran to the park, ran around it and ran home. The whole time, I thought, is this enough training? I did 3 shorter runs and a long run on Saturday of each week leading up to the half. I had a great breakfast (a protein, carb and fat) and plenty of water. The morning runs that I prepared for were by far my best and I eventually got out of the 7 mile slump and burst through to the 11 mile run.

Chia seed pudding recipe:

2 tbsp of chia seeds
3/4 cup of light coconut milk
2 tsp of maple syrup
2 tbsp of peanut butter

Mix well, place in the fridge overnight and eat a half hour before running

Race day: I woke at 5AM so I could get the subway too the start early enough. I had chia seed pudding (above recipe); I also brought a Clif bar to eat a little closer to the start of the run. I also drank water, probably not enough, but during the run, I stopped at every rest stop. I worried about my time, my endurance, the weather, only to finish within an impressive amount of time (in my opinion). Running far makes me feel like a superhero. It's exhilarating and it's fun to push myself.

My recovery meal was brown rice, tofu and kale in coconut oil. I also snacked on rice cakes and then popcorn later in the day. I was going to have a big dinner but I wasn't feeling it. You can recover with a giant smoothie or a nutritious bean, rice and veggie dish but be sure to stick with whole, unprocessed foods. And drink plenty of water, stretch, take it easy and get a full night's sleep after the run.

Tofu, brown rice, kale recipe:

1 cup of brown rice
1/3 piece of extra firm tofu
2 cups of kale
1 tbsp of coconut oil
1 tbsp of ground cumin
1 tsp of sea salt

I have a rice cooker but if you don't have one, make the rice according to the package. Cut the tofu into cubes, spray a pan with coconut oil and turn the heat on low. Cook the tofu and then add the kale. Add the tablespoon of coconut oil last so that the coconut flavor seeps into the tofu and kale. Add the cumin and sea salt and stir. Remove from heat when done and serve with the rice. I love this meal, it's filling and super healthy.

It's Tuesday morning as I write this and I haven't run since Saturday-I may do a 6 mile run on Thursday. I'm enjoying not having to wake up early and run. I'm going to continue to train easy so that a 6 mile run is my base distance.

Taking care of yourself when training for a long run is key. Try to avoid alcohol because it's dehydrating. Make or buy a smoothie instead of getting coffee. Eat as clean as possible, whole, plant based foods. Stay hydrated, stretch, do yoga, lift weights, get 8 hours of sleep, stay focused and believe in yourself!

I signed up for a plant based cooking class with the Rouxbe Cooking School with the intention of getting back to the basics when I'm in the kitchen. Creating new recipes for this blog is my goal for the rest of the year, I want to feel refreshed and energized in the kitchen and I need some guidance. If you sign up at for a free trial, they will give you a discount code when you become a member.

Running, eating, cooking, meditation, friends, that's what my life is about in NYC. I want to be all I can be in this life and cooking is at the top of my list. Spreading veganism by showing it on my plate so you can show it on your plate. Like my facebook page for articles that I share about the vegan lifestyle and for updates to my this blog. Also, sign up here to get my blog updates via email!

Peanut Butter Blast smoothie:

2 frozen bananas
12 oz of oat milk
1 tbsp of cacao powder
2 tbsp of peanut butter
2 medjool dates (optional)

Blend well and serve. Great recovery shake.

Another meal for the night before a run that involves rice rice rice: rice wrappers and rice cakes. Use the tofu and kale you made for the above recipe and add it to brown rice wrapper along with kale or even spinach. Roll the wrappers well so they close. Once they dry out they get sticky. Top your rice cakes with mashed avocado, cumin and fresh garlic.


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