Written by NYC Flywheel Instructor Sarah Ballan @sarahballan
So the Chicago Marathon has come and gone, but that just means its time to gear up for your next big event! So in preparation for that here are a few words of wisdom from your favorite Fly instructors, experienced in Marathons, on their individual running rituals. This is what Bethany Welsh, Jessica Forseth, and Emily Fayette have to say!
Q: How many Marathons have you done?
Bethany: Three so far. This will be my fourth, but I’ve done lots of half marathons.
Jessica: This will be my second Marathon. I also did Chicago in 2014. I’ve done ten half Marathons as well.
Emily: Three full marathons.
Q: When did you first begin training?
Bethany: I started running about ten years ago as a senior in high school but started running competitively four years ago post-college.
Jessica: I started running eight years ago.
Emily: I always loved to run, but the first time I trained for a Marathon was in 2014. For each marathon, I give myself a solid 20 weeks. I also train small groups for Marathons and take on around ten athletes a season.
Q: Did you do smaller races to build stamina?
Emily: Yes. Once I felt comfortable with a half marathon I wanted more of a challenge.
Q: How often do you run?
Bethany: Five times a week. Usually, 6-12 miles on average with some longer runs mixed in.
Jessica: I teach full-time so I try not to overdo it, but I typically run 3-4x/week. One is distance focused, others include speed, hill, and interval training.
Emily: I run every day (even pregnant!) Running is my commute.
Q: Were you always a runner?
Jessica: Not at all! Believe it or not, eight years ago, I was living in Minneapolis and was overweight in post-college lazy mode. I decided to run but had never even attempted a 5k! My first race was a fluke to get back in shape. On my very first run, I walked most of the time. It took me 38 minutes to run just under 2 miles. It really was a kick in the face.
Emily: I always played sports growing up, specifically soccer, basketball, and lacrosse. In college, I played lacrosse. I discovered running after college because I was no longer on a team. Adding races into my life allowed me to play sports again.
Q: What shoes do you run in?
Bethany: Nike. Any Nike shoe works for me, but I’m rockin’ my Nike Zooms for this Marathon.
Jessica: Nike Pegasus!
Emily: I race in my Nike Vapor Fly 4%, but I alternate all brands when I train.
Q: Do you track your progress on a fit bit/smartwatch?
Bethany: Yes. Garmin! Phoenix 5s.
Jessica: I use a fit bit bursa and my Nike plus running club app.
Emily: I am sponsored by Polar, a smart GPS watch, so I track my activity on that.
Q: What do you listen to when you run?
Bethany: Sometimes my Flywheel playlists, but other times I chat with running buddy.
Jessica: I love to run to a mix of ratchet rap music, heavy hip hop, and cheesy dance remixes. I always have Meek Mill and T.I. on my running playlists.
Emily: I love listening to audiobooks when I run. I constantly replay the book “Born to Run” for inspiration.
Q: Favorite running route?
Bethany: Central Park Loop (6.2 miles)
Jessica: In San Fran along the water from the ferry building up and over the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s beautiful.
Emily: The 6-mile loop in Central Park, and bridges!
Q: Favorite time to run?
Bethany: Early to mid-morning.
Emily: ALL THE TIME.
Q: What do you eat pre/post workout?
Bethany: If it’s early in the morning I don’t eat before I run, but if it’s later on, I’ll have a multigrain waffle and a banana with peanut butter. Post-run I like to eat a big salad with avocado, protein, and some kind of rice or quinoa.
Jessica: Shake with a banana, almond milk, or oatmeal and peanut butter. Also, watermelon!
Emily: Protein oats, healthy carbs, sweet potato with any kind of nut butter.
Q: What part of the marathon do you find most challenging?
Bethany: You start to fatigue the most at the end. For me, miles 20-24 are the toughest. I tell myself DON’T STOP NOW
Jessica: For me the late teen miles, around 16-20, are the toughest. You’ve passed the halfway point, but there’s still a lot to go – you haven’t even hit the 20’s yet! Once you hit mile 20 you get that mental moment and you know you’re good. Seeing the “2” changes everything.
Emily: Miles 20-26.2. You train up until mile 20, and once that comes you have to fight the fatigue.
Q: Are you running for yourself or raising money?
Bethany: I am running for myself this time, but in the past, I have raised money for Tisch MS and Team for Kids.
Jessica: I didn’t join a charity team this year but I created a Facebook fundraiser for the Alzheimer’s Association instead. I recently found out a second grandparent of mine has Alzheimer’s. [The race] is easier to finish when you’re doing something close to your heart.
Emily: Charity! Running for charity puts meaning behind each mile. In the last two marathons, I raised money for AKTIV against cancer, a foundation that raises money for research that movement should be part of cancer treatment.
Q: What is the best advice for someone new to running (competitively):
Bethany: Start. Don’t stop. Gradually build up mileage. Talk to a coach to avoid injury and burnout.
Jessica: So many times I’d say I could never. My advice is, why not try it? What’s the worst that could happen? If you have the itch to do it, go for it. Get a support system to cheer you on.
Emily: Set goals, but don’t set your goals too high. Enjoy the journey!
For more running inspo, follow them on Instagram! Training for your own race? Let’s get moving!