WHAT is protein? Protein is one of the three macronutrients (along with fat and carbohydrates). If amino acids are the building blocks of protein, then proteins are the building blocks for our muscles. Because we can’t store amino acids, our bodies need to either make them from scratch or modify others. The amino acids our bodies can’t make are referred to as the essential amino acids (histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine) and these must be eaten daily.

WHY do we need it? Most athletes know that protein aids recovery. Protein is also needed for regulation, blood clotting, fluid balance, hormone and enzyme production, and cell repair. Runners need a greater amount because the act of running breaks down muscle proteins and damages muscle fibers.

Continue reading “Protein”

Marathon Preparation Workout


As a marathoner, learning to run the correct pace is important, and the only way to do that is by practice!  If you have a time goal for your next marathon, this is my favorite confidence-boosting workouts.  I believe it is what helped me run my first sub 3 marathon. Not only does it teach your body pace, but it is a workout that you can easily see and measure progress. I find that when I can see weekly progress, it motivates and encourages me.

WHAT TO DO…   The first session, just do a single 5k at marathon pace (with a warm up and cool down) so the total run is about 7 miles. The second session, warm up with 2 easy miles (slower than marathon pace). Run a 5k at marathon pace or 5-10 seconds per mile faster. Recover for 0.9 miles (slow jog, but no walking). Run a second 5k 5-10 seconds faster than marathon pace, then cool down 1.9 miles so the total run is 11 miles. I try and run the second 5k slightly faster than the first.  If you were to do 3 x 5k, it would be a 15 mile work out, and if you did 4 x 5k with 2-3 easy miles at the beginning and end, it could be a 20 mile workout. When I ran my sub 3 marathon, I worked up to 4 x 5k, with the first one at marathon pace, and the final one about 10 seconds faster (per mile).

As a marathoner, learning to run the correct pace is important, and the only way to do that is by practice! If you have a time goal for your next marathon, this is my favorite confidence boosting workout. I believe it is what helped me...

PACING is very important. Be sure to warm up slowly, and jog the recovery slowly. Focus on breathing during the recovery and relaxing during the interval.  If the effort is difficult, then reevaluate your goal. 

TIMING of these workouts is also a consideration. It should not replace speed work or a tempo run because those are faster than marathon pace. Depending on your weekly mileage, it can be a midweek medium long run, or in place of your long run when you are doing 3 or 4 repeats. If you find they make you tired, be sure to focus on recovery and do an easy workout the following day.  Some runners are able to build up intervals weekly, others need to do so bi-weekly.

LOCATION: I know I am in the minority, but I do not mind the treadmill. In fact, there are times when I see it as a beneficial tool. This workout is the perfect example. If the goal is to teach your legs the correct pace, a treadmill can be helpful for leg turnover. 

PERSONAL EXPERIENCE: I worked up to 4 x 5k when I ran my sub 3, and I did 5 x 5k for my marathon PR (2:53). I am hoping to work up to 5 x 5k again for Boston. One thing I did notice, as your marathon time gets faster, it becomes more important to run each 5k progressively faster. The photo above is from my 2 x 5k last week. I can’t wait to do 3 x 5k tomorrow!

NOTE: This was originally posted on my former blog in 2017.

Marathons in the RUN717 Area

Here is a list of marathons within driving distance in the South Central Pennsylvania area. Let me know if you know of any additional races that should be added.

Would you like some guidance on how to pick a marathon? Read my post for some tips: How to Pick a Marathon

George Washington Birthday MarathonGreenbelt, MD2/16/2020
Lower Potomac River MarathonPiney Point, MD3/8/2020
B&A Trail MarathonSeverna Park, MD3/15/2020
RnR DC MarathonWashington DC3/28/2020
Two Rivers MarathonLackawaxen, PA3/28/2020
Two Rivers MarathonLackawaxen, PA3/29/2020
Salisbury MarathonSalisbury, MD4/4/2020
Western Maryland Rail Trail MarathonHancock, MD4/5/2020
Coastal Delaware Running FestivalRehoboth Beach, DE4/19/2020
Discover Bank Delware MarathonWilmington, DE4/26/2020
North South MarathonGettysburg, PA4/26/2020
Pittsburgh MarathonPittsburgh, PA5/3/2020
Potomac River Run MarathonCarderoc, MD5/3/2020
Cleveland MarathonCleveland, OH5/17/2020
Jim Thorpe MarathonJim Thorpe, PA5/17/2020
Pocono Marathon aka Run for the RedPocono Summit, PA5/17/2020
York MarathonYork, PA5/17/2020
Independence SeriesVarious6/3/2020
God’s Country MarathonGaleton, PA6/6/2020
1/2 Sauer 1/2 KrautPhiladelphia, PA6/13/2020
Conquer the CanyonWellsboro, PAend of July
Drakes Well MarathonTitusville, PAbeg of Aug
Run the Loop MarathonDowningtown, PA1st Sun Sept
Abebe Bikile Peace MarathonWashington DC9/12/2020
Via MarathonAllentown, PA9/13/2020
Chasing the UnicornWashington Crossing, PA9/13/2020
Erie MarathonErie, PA9/13/2020
Potomac River Run MarathonCarderoc, MD10/3/2020
Wineglass MarathonCorning, NY10/4/2020
Morgantown MarathonMorgantown, WV10/4/2020
Monster Mash MarathonDover, De10/7/2020
GAP MarathonFrostburg, MD10/7/2020
GAP Trestles MarathonMeyersdale, PA10/9/2020
Salisbury MarathonMeyersdale, PA10/10/2020
Hancock MarathonHancock, MD10/11/2020
Steamtown MarathonScranton, PA10/11/2020
Baltimore, MDBaltimore, MD10/17/2020
Marine Corps MarathonArlington, VA10/17/2020
Bucks County MarathonWasington Crossing, PA11/8/2020
Harrisburg MarathonHarrisburg, PA11/8/2020
Richmond MarathonRichmond, PA11/14/2020
Philadelphia MarathonPhiladelphia, PA11/22/2020
NCR MarathonSparks, MD11/28/2020
Rehoboth Beach MarathonRehoboth Beach, DE12/5/2020