NJ Marathon: The Plan of Attack

Well, it’s no secret I’m registered and training for the New Jersey Marathon on May 6, 2012.


Marine Corps was a phenomenal experience and the best race I’ve run to date. I’ve been back and forth hundreds of times whether or not to run it again in 2012. I know there will be extreme race envy when registration opens in a few weeks and I don’t sign up. That weekend in DC wasn’t exactly easy on the wallet, and the thought of training through a Texas summer again doesn’t sound terribly appealing.

One of my friends suggested I run the New Jersey Marathon, and the more I thought about it, the more the idea grew on me. I’m looking to shave some serious minutes off of my race time from October, and this flat, fast course is the perfect place to do it.

More importantly, this is essentially a hometown race for me so I’ll get to spend a lot of time with my wonderful family and friends. Also important: Wawa Subs, Dunkin’ Donuts on every corner, and Pork Roll, Egg & Cheese Sandwiches. AND It’ll be Brad’s first time in NJ; he’s already practicing his Jersey Turnpike. Clearly we watch way too much Jersey Shore.

I found this gem when looking for a Jersey Turnpike photo:

Deena Cortese demonstrates the Jersey Turnpike on Ed Helms

You’re welcome. Ed Helms is such a trooper.

Anyway, back to that massive marathon PR I’ve got my eye on. Given my performance at 3M at the end of January, obviously the speed work I’ve been doing is working. As much as mile repeats leave me gasping for air and wondering why I chose running as a ‘hobby’, the results speak for themselves. Speed work + tempo runs + long run = The Return of FIRST Training. I used FIRST for the Marine Corps Marathon, but my speed work and tempo paces weren’t aggressive at all. Welp, they are now.

I present to you, Operation PR in New Jersey.



Ambitious you say? I concur. This plan definitely has wiggle room, and I don’t doubt there will be some tweaking along the way (I’m looking at you, 11 mile tempo run in week 12!)

The next few months are going to be TOUGH. But you know how you learn to run fast? You train fast. I know I need to push myself and run paces outside my comfort zone. If I don’t test my limits, how will I ever know what I’m capable of?


Let’s do this.

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  1. test yourself and you will succeed…


  2. Hmmm. I’m not sure if I’m reading the chart right. It shows “training” at the 3m at 11:37 but my calculation says you ran it at 10:13. Is that right? Was 11:37 the scheduled train that day but you did competition that day? It shows the same pace for Livestrong and much slower for 10/20 and Zooma. Are those your goal paces for those races or are you setting goals lower? Anyway, as you say it’s an ambitious goal but I feel really confident that you can do it.

    • My goal was to race 3M. However, Austin, ZOOMA, and the 10/20 will be used as training runs, so they will be done at the proper slower paces. I don’t plan on racing them but if they end up even slightly faster/slower, I’m okay with that. Esp since I’m using the 10/20 as part of a 20 mile training run. Ideally though I want to run them slower so the recovery time will be shorter.

  3. Hi Melissa! This is completely not related to this thread but I wanted to let you know I received the sparkle skirt and it’s already in my suitcase getting ready to fly with me to Florida in two weeks. Thanks very much for your note and words of encouragement. I needed it as this will probably be a tough half for me. I’m recovering from the flu (stomach kind….blech!) and have a torn ligament in my shoulder that is making my gait wonky and causing me some knee issues. But, I will soldier on and am looking forward to not only the Princess medal but my Coast to Coast, also.
    Power me up, sparkle skirt. Do your magic!
    Thanks again,

    • Wishing you a speedy recovery!! Jealous you’re running princess, I’ve heard great things about that race. Hope the sparkle skirt allows you to have a fantastic race in Orlando 🙂 Coast to Coast medals — bring on the BLING!! Good luck Amy 🙂

  4. I’m in the same boat, I need to get FASTER and I’m looooving speed training right now. It’s not loving me, but I will make it love me or else.
    And you can totally kill your first marathon time. Seriously, if I can do it a month later, you can do it with all this extra training.

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