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Last Year’s ING Top American, Molly Pritz, Returns to NYC

"Although running is an individual sport, the support of others is the only way I could continue to pursue my dreams," said Molly. (Photo courtesy of ASICS)

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.

What’s your favorite training-friendly snack?
A perfect balance of whole grains, proteins and fat keeps me fueled through every run. My favorite snack is a piece of whole grain toast with freshly roasted peanut butter and honey. It gives me that energy surge to get me out the door and the peanut butter sticks with me, so I do not come home famished from my workout and eat too much junk food.

What’s next?
Just like anything in life, running needs to have balance. I've been working on my marathon strength since July, so after a two week break from training (sometimes not training is part of training!), I plan to run some indoor 3k-5k races and the USATF Cross Country Championships. After my speed segment and another week of downtime, I want to run a marathon on a flat, fast course, rather than a difficult course like NYC. This will allow me to test how fast the combination of speed and strength sessions has made me. Running is a lifelong sport and I want to do everything I can to keep my career balanced and progressive so I can be answering questions like these for years to come!

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