Marathon Talk with Monica II

Mastermind Weekend 1/16

Hey there!

I'm Tina

I’m the owner of Carrots ‘N’ Cake as well as a Certified Nutrition Coach and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner (FDN-P). I use macros and functional nutrition to help women find balance within their diets while achieving their body composition goals.


An in-depth, 4-week reverse dieting course for women who feel like their metabolism has slowed down, think they might have hormonal imbalance and can’t lose weight no matter what they do.

Hey, hey!

Here’s another edition of Marathon Talk with Monica! If you missed the first one, you can read our Q&A here.

So, Monica is my go-to person for whenever I have a running-related question. We talk pretty much everyday, so it’s easy to ask her any (and everything) that comes to mind. Monica knows a lot about marathons and running, and I love that she gives me real, straight-up, not sugar-coated advice. That said, here are some more questions that I recently asked Monica and her replies!

camarillo marathon review running blog 2 (600x800)

I hardly ever drink water on my long runs, but I know it’s important, and I want to start practicing for race day. How often should I drink water during a long run? 

One of the important things is to go into your run well hydrated and aim to take in some fluids every 15 minutes or so – more on hot days or when you feel like you’re sweating more.

If I do my long run on the treadmill, is it okay to change speeds? If so, how much is too much?

Yes. It is good to be consistent on long runs since they are meant to be steady state cardio (most of the time). But – it’s even better to do negative splits = where you end faster than you started. So if the first 6 miles were an average pace of 9:30, but you feel up to doing 9:20s for the last 6 – that’s great! You just don’t want to turn it into a speed or fartlek workout since that’s not what’s on the agenda.

Does a Soul Cycle class ”˜count’ as a tempo run? I mean, there’s a warm-up, pace pick-up, and then a cool-down. It’s kind of similar, right?

A tempo run is a specific workout meant to get your body ready for some long and speedy miles. Yes, it is similar but I don’t think one could be exchanged for the other as a rule. If you are feeling an injury coming on or your body is telling you to take a break from running, this could be a nice option over complete rest. It’s a great workout! But it’s just not a tempo run.

I was sent a pair of NANOspikes to review. I’ve never used them before, but I want to try them on an upcoming run. Is this okay?

Running in NANOspikes is better than slipping or falling. For sure. But, it is going to be different than running in running shoes on dry ground. This might affect your foot turnover rate and gait so I would be careful of that when running in spikes. Really you should be mindful when trying anything new that might affect your foot strike since it’s important to prevent injury. Be smart.

Is it okay to switch up my training plan for road races?

Yes, it’s good to get out the jitters and have a dress rehearsal race. Aim to put it in training around the same time as a long or harder run since racing definitely takes a lot out of your body! And realize you might have to tweak the runs leading up to or after the race to properly rest and recover.

I keep comparing my mileage to other runners who are training for Boston. I’m following my plan pretty much to a tee, but I can’t help but think I’m not running enough. What do you think?

DO YOU. At this point you know your body better than anyone else. You know your strengths and limitations. You know when your body is telling you it can push more and when you need rest. Don’t compare yourself to other runners with other bodies and other experience and other toes… you get my point.

Running three days a week is a unique training plan. Most marathon training plans have you running 4 or 5 days a week. But you have already run 2 marathons and have a history of injury and a weird hip (I don’t know the technical term for your weird hip). You have to be smart about getting ready to run 26.2 miles and walk the line or training enough AND not getting injured.

If you feel like you can or should run more talk to your Stonyfield coach and see how she would suggest tweaking the plan. But if you feel like this is a good balance between getting in marathon shape AND not getting hurt – stick with it. Do you, Boo.

I missed a bunch of runs last week because I was sick. Should I rearrange my training plan or just move on to the next week?

Many marathon training plans are 18 weeks long. Over the course of that 18 weeks you might get sick, go on vacation, have a birthday party, get stuck in a Netflix tunnel for 48 hours… a lot can happen. So, it’s pretty common that you will miss one or two runs living your life. It’s okay. Most of the time I say move on to the next week since you really don’t have time to ‘make-up’ for lost runs without over-doing it one week.

You should not increase weekly mileage more than 10% per week, so as long as you’re not breaking that rule, move on and jump right back into training 100% healthy!



  1. Bart Yasso once told me that all training plans are built with the expectation that you would follow them about 80% of the time. I thought that was pretty valuable advice and made me feel a lot better about adjusting the schedule for illness and/or life!

  2. Love Monica. These are great tips! I am awful about drinking or fueling during a long run. I just dont even think about it, but Im sure my performance will be better if I do.

    I have another half coming up in May and whenever winter comes around I switch from running to strength and HIIT workouts, so now I am going to have to shift my focus a little bit. Thanks for the timely post!

  3. Everyone in the northeast right now needs to read this post with all of the snow-hell that has been happening this winter. I get stressed when I see how much other people are running all the time/wondering am I running enough/ugh it’s freezing raining outside/is the treadmill cutting it out? Thanks for sharing!

  4. Very helpful tips. That first one though–I hate carrying water with me on my runs. I don’t know what to do about hydration except drink before and after, since I’m not about carrying with me a water bottle.

    1. @Linda @ TheFitty:
      I’ve dropped water on the long runs before. Just use new bottles so you know they are not tampered with. I would do it every few miles the night before the run (we would do long runs really early so couldn’t drop water in the morning).

  5. This is awesome! I love Run Eat Repeat – very helpful Q&A. I love running, but struggle with shin splints at times. I’ve never done a marathon (or any kind of organized run, for that matter), but it’s long been something I’ve wanted to do. Maybe this will be my year! I think it’s probably a good idea to start with a 5k though 😉

  6. Tina, if you feel like you want to be running higher mileage, you could do a shorter easy run on one of your cross-training days. Not a key workout in your plan, but then you get the benefits of having a few more miles under your belt for the week. I am training for Boston too, mainly using the Furman FIRST plan but replacing most of the track workouts with hill workouts (so sort of merging it with your plan!) and I’ve heard running for 1 day of cross-training suggested for runners using FIRST.

  7. This is a question for Tina or Monica. My husband and I are both new to running so we decided to have a challenge for June. We will be running on a treadmill and the first person to 8 miles regardless of the speed will win. I have been running consistently at 6 mph for 40 minutes which is 4 miles. In order to beat my husband should I start off by increasing my speed and stay at 40 minutes or should I increase my distance and stay at the same speed.

  8. There is absolutely nothing wrong with training for a marathon at less mileage and days. If your goal is just to finish then don’t stress. If your goal is to qualify for the olympic trials then perhaps 3 days a week isn’t the right way to go. =)

    I have pretty much ALWAYS trained for marathons running 3 times a week. Maybe there would be a 4th run the day after a long run but it was always an easy and light 3 miles.

    I see people posting mileage in the 40s and 50s for a week but in 5 marathon training cycles the most I ever ran in a week was 36 miles.

    I’ve run anywhere from a 4:38 to a 5:28. It’s perfectly fine for my personal goals and I’ll continue to do 3x a week training until I feel like I want a different outcome.

  9. Great tips, love Monica!

    I have a Question-there is a road race I do each year, and its 9 miles. I have not run in months! and I was beside myself when I saw the race is in 4 weeks!
    Do you think I could get safely get my mileage near 7-8 in the next 3.5 weeks if I start training now?

    I know its a tight sched, but I love this race so much and with all the snow, I haven’t been out at ALL. (even went to walk my dogs this morning thinking yesterdays warm weather may have cleared the sidewalks. Um, no!)

  10. Yes. Great post. Great questions. Great answers from Monica! I too am nervous about Boston and fear failing the team and being the last runner/person finish. It is a lot of pressure.

  11. Running a marathon sounds pretty intimidating. The most Ive ran is a half marathon and that was pretty intense. However, I also know we can do anything we put our minds to so maybe in the future I’ll surprise myself and run one of these.

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