The Marathon Diaries: Drilling Down on Drills, Technique and Pace

We are three weeks away from race day, Nov. 6, and things are coming together. Sid wanted to check in to see how I felt after all the business travel, no sleep (really, no sleep this time), and a 16-mile run, as well as a one-hour Zumba class I taught. All things considered, I was in pretty good shape.

This week, we continued the focus on drills, technique and pace. I’m still not great at the drills, but I’m improving! First, we did what I call "the camel walk" (or as it was called in Sid’s day, "the Hucklebuck"). This is designed to warm up the calves. I did it better this week, but let’s just say it’s still a work in progress. Then we did butt kicks (I like saying that) and Super Mario Brothers bounding. Again, all of these exercises help to warm up and prepare the body for running.

We then focused on the next item on the workout agenda: pace. The goal was to start out slowly at an 8:45-per-mile pace and work our way up to 8-minute-mile pace, my race day pace.  I ran the first mile with Sid. We did it exactly on time, starting at 8:45 and ending at 7:59. Pretty good.

Then Sid wanted me to do it on my own to feel the pace for myself. I was worried that I would be too pokey because, sometimes when you’re tired (which I was), it takes more effort to move, and you think you’re going faster than you really are. I was concerned that, due to fatigue, I would not be able to hold the pace, so I put more effort into the second mile running by myself.

Well, it turns out I did a 7:26, which is good because I definitely felt like I was MOVING. Sid was pleased (thanks, Sid!), and he felt like I was in a good place for the race. Now I can chill out a little on the pace.

Race day, I also will start out slower and gradually work my way up to my pace. Some of this is due to the strategy of not going out too fast. The other consideration is that you are in a big ol' mosh pit of people and you’re not going anywhere anytime fast anyway. Last year I wasted a lot energy trying to maneuver around the crowd. This year I'll wait and bide my time until I can get on my pace easily.

Saturday, per Sid’s instructions I ran two hours easy -- just over 13 miles.  I felt good and then I had to teach Zumba for an hour. Yay! Ironically, I think teaching right after running is somehow helping with my recovery … I seem to be not as sore the next day.

The work is paying off. The goal now is to stay the course and stay healthy for the big day.


Jennifer Turner is a veteran television executive in New York City. A certified group fitness instructor and self-proclaimed "fitness activator," she believes that everyone has ability, with the right tools, social support, and inspiration to be able to connect to fitness in an emotional way. Her mission is to activate that ability and to inspire communities across the country. Jennifer blogs at

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