I Got Into the 2023 New York City Marathon.


It came at midday yesterday, the confirmation that I am in for the 2023 New York City Marathon. Honestly, I’d forgotten it was even a possibility. But here we are, and I have a decision to make. I’m (almost!) 48 years old. I have two young kids, a demanding job, a wife with an even more demanding job, and I am probably as out of shape as I have ever been in my life. Is now the best time to run a marathon? No, of course not. Am I going to do it anyway?

Of course I am.

When I told my son I got in, I asked him if I should run it. He replied “well how do you feel about it?” 

“A little nervous,” I responded.

“If it makes you nervous, you should probably do it” was his response.

So here we are.  

Here’s how we got here. Remember 2020? Well that year I’d gotten into the marathon in the lottery, even before the pandemic, life was crazy and I hadn’t been consistent with my training. I had all but decided I wasn’t going to run. Then the pandemic hit, I actually ended up running more to manage my stress, but the race got canceled, and those of us with guaranteed spots got peppered into the 2021, 2022, and 2023 fields. Now it’s my turn.

So what’s the plan? To use this as the kick in the ass I need to get back after it consistently. The race is in November, so no matter what the internet says, I’ve been at this long enough to know that isn’t enough time to get fast, but it is enough time to get fit enough to finish the thing strong. Here’s how I’m going to do that.

Build the base

Marathoning is all about aerobic capacity. Currently mine is utter shit. But I have some time to build it, a bit. I’m going to do this using a conservative build strategy of adding ten percent to weekly mileage per week with a cut back every three weeks. I’m going to be running these miles SLOW. Like SLOW SLOW utilizing a heart rate monitor to ensure I’m staying within my zone 2 range. For me, that means keeping my heart rate at ~135 bpm. At my current fitness level, that’s essentially a brisk walk. As I get fitter I’ll get that to a slow jog, but in the time I have to build here, and the state of my current fitness, it’s unlikely I’ll be able to break a ten minute mile while staying in Z2. 

The goal is to get to 50 miles per week, all of it Z2. Following the conservative approach I outlined above, I should be hitting that mileage by late May early June. A perfect time to start hurting a little bit.   

Add a bit of speed 

Assuming I get to June uninjured, we’ll add a bit a speed. Literally, a bit. One moderate tempo run a week if I can manage it. But only if. I really don’t care about my finishing time here, all I care about is ensuring I finish the race strong and enjoy the experience. That means this old man is going to do a lot of long runs and not a lot of Yasso 800s. 

Every little bit counts

On top of that, I’m just going to move a lot. My son has me on a basic bodyweight exercise regime (push ups, sit ups jumping jacks, squats), we’ll keep that up. We’ll get back to the bike commute (more on that later) and we’ll walk walk walk with a goal of averaging over 20,000 steps a day. 

That’s it, that’s the plan. 

The goal is threefold – use this as motivation to begin to get fit again, try to get to the starting line injury free, and enjoy a run around the city. Assuming I can get to the starting line uninjured (always a big question with a marathon, even more so when you’re starting from essentially zero) this will likely be my final marathon. One last run around the city I love. Who cares how long it takes. I’m just enjoy the journey.   

The last time I ran New York. That little guy is 9 now. “If it makes you nervous you should do it.”

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