A year ago, Molly Pritz was the top American female runner to cross the ING New York City Marathon’s Central Park finish line, making a remarkable marathon debut with a time of 2:31:52. Molly, an ASICS elite, will be back this Sunday hoping to repeat her success in the Big Apple after battling an injury and moving across the country for better health and fitness resources. We talked with Molly about her training (she logs around 110 miles a week!) and found out the 24-year-old’s future running plans. Here’s what she had to say:
What went through your head last year as you crossed the finish line?
My blood sugar was so low for the final few miles, I honestly could not figure out how many miles I had left at mile 24. This left me unsure if I had even crossed the finish line when I did! Luckily, a nice volunteer informed me that I crossed the finish line and my immediate reaction was pure euphoria. The adrenaline and “runner’s high” going through my body after that was unlike anything I have ever experienced. I knew, immediately, that I was going to do everything I could to run the ING NYC Marathon again the following year.
What have you been doing to prepare and improve, compared to the past?
I went into last year’s marathon segment coming off of a stress fracture that left me with a short eight weeks to build back my mileage and regain my strength. Consistency with training is the key to increased fitness, so this time around I vowed to do everything I could to stay healthy. I moved from Michigan to Boulder, Colorado in order to have better resources for therapy to keep me healthy. I have also ensured that I am hitting hard workouts, but never making any week so hard that it puts my body over the edge. My training is very similar to last year, with a few longer tempos, but the paces are much faster even though I’m at altitude rather than sea level. For me, it is very exciting to track and compare my fitness level and workouts to other segments so I can see my hard work pay off. Keeping a training log has worked wonders for my motivation.
Besides running, what else does your training include?
I vowed to do strength and flexibility training three times a week to keep my body healthy and able to handle the high mileage and intensity needed to run a solid marathon. Full body strength training, not just core work, is essential to keeping me healthy and my stride powerful through those long tempos. Vinyasa yoga has also facilitated my recovery from hard sessions by bringing my body back in balance. Read more
In less than two weeks, spectators will line the Big Apple’s streets across all five boroughs to watch professional athletes and running enthusiasts, alike, pound the ING New York City Marathon pavement. Among this year’s ASICS elite lineup is U.S. Track & Field member Julie Culley, who placed first in the 2012 5,000m Olympic Trials. Julie has switched gears since returning from London, preparing to make her marathon debut by racking up around 95 miles a week. We discussed the upcoming race with the speedy 31-year-old, who shared running tips, her go-to grub and more. Here’s what Julie had to say:
What does your typical marathon training week look like?
A typical training week includes 90 to 95 miles in six days with either a rest day or a cross-training day on the seventh. I typically do two harder effort workouts either on grass, roads, track or dirt trail depending on the day’s assignment. I have a strength coach and hit the gym at least twice a week and also have a number of corrective exercises I do at least five days a week. I do a full dynamic warm-up of drills and openers at least two to three times a week and try to rest as much as possible between each session. Naps are a necessity, as well as weekly chiropractic treatment and massage!
Do you have any race day rituals to get you in the zone?
I usually start the morning with a shake-out run along with a hearty breakfast of oatmeal, cereal or a gluten-free bread of sorts along with some juice, lots of water and usually two cups of coffee. If I can get my hands on some espresso, that is a plus! I typically braid or twist my hair with a number of pins and always top it off with a headband to match my uniform. My race day playlist is pretty specific. There are a few songs that get me in the right frame of mind ranging from U2 to Jay-Z.
Do you carbo-load the night before a race?
I’m not normally fixated on carbo-loading as much as having a well-balanced meal including meat and lots of vegetables. I usually always have a glass of wine the night before a race to help me relax, unwind and sleep. My favorite pre-race meal is gluten-free pizza!
Do you have any tips for runners looking to increase their mileage?
Take it slow! I’ve only increased my mileage by 15 miles a week from the 5K to the marathon. More importantly is getting the quality workouts and quality long runs in the books. Doing too much too quickly can lead to injury. You have to get to the starting line healthy!
Favorite running apparel item?
Accessories! I love accessorizing my running outfits with headbands, hats, colorful socks, cute bags, etc. ASICS has some great accessory items out to match some of the beautiful fall and winter colored apparel items on the shelves!
For more information on the New York Road Runners’ premiere event, check out their website and be sure to check in and cheer on Julie as she crosses her first marathon off the bucket list!