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The Chicago Chronicles: Finding A Balance

Fall marathon season is upon us! Join FLPT patient Erica Silbiger for the next few months as she logs “The Chicago Chronicles” about her training for the Chicago Marathon on Sunday, October 12. Erica is the Assistant Director of Admissions for the Columbia School of Social Work, and part of her job involves traveling around the country speaking to prospective applicants in the fall. You can imagine how that makes marathon training more complicated! “I try to run in every place that I visit as I believe that it is the best way to see and experience a new city.” She also blogs at Eat, Sleep, Travel, Run, Repeat.

Week 1 of training for the Chicago Marathon started in June on the streets of Boston while finishing up a program at Harvard — and I hope that my training ends back in Boston in April 2016. After 10 marathons, an ultra marathon, countless half marathons and NYRR races, I’m ready to refocus my goals, increase my speed and build more endurance.

There are thousands of plans out there, and everyone has their own theory on the best way to train — but the reality is, every runner is different. The best program out there… is the one that is tailored to YOU. I tend to over train and focus on the wrong things. But I’m hoping to make adjustments this fall to finally achieve my goals.

At the Virgina Beach Marathon in March, I was pretty devastated I didn’t hit my goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon — or even a PR. I followed a pretty great plan and trained “right” but if that’s the case, then why (weather patterns aside) did I not meet my goal? It didn’t make sense. I felt defeated and wanted to give up.

While training for my first marathon with Team in Training, I met Michael Conlon from Finish Line Physical Therapy. I started to go to FLPT to work with Michael (running six marathons in one year wasn’t the smartest idea I’ve ever had). After missing my goals in Virginia Beach he knew that I needed a more tailored plan and told me he would train me for my next marathon in Chicago. I don’t just want a sub-3:35 finish time, I NEED a sub-3:35 finish time. I’ve been working towards this goal for almost three years now, and thanks to the North Brooklyn Runners, I’m closer than ever. I joined this team in January 2013 and within five months, I had knocked an HOUR off of my marathon PR.

I love racing, but nothing beats the feeling of racing in a black and white singlet.

I am loving my plan so far and now at Week 4, I’m feeling better than any other Week 4 of my previous marathons. I have all the confidence in the world that FLPT will bring me to BQ and make my NBR teammates proud.

Nutrition is another aspect that everyone has theories about. And my answer is the same: the best one is the one that is tailored for you. My nutrition goals and needs are very different from the person running next to me. Just like you need to train for your body type, you need to fuel for your body type, and many athletes (like me) have difficulty finding that balance. I’ve figured out pre-race nutrition through tons of experimenting at different races but can’t seem to figure out the correct way to replenish the lost nutrients to be able to recover quickly enough for my next day of training or the next race. Especially when I became a vegetarian (almost exactly a year ago!), it’s not that I had trouble adjusting for protein, it’s more about finding a balance.

Running along the Charles River those first few weeks, passing the Citgo sign, and heading over the Boylston Street, I couldn’t help thinking about how badly I wanted to come back — but this time, with my NBR singlet and a bib number (and no textbooks!). There are a number of reasons why this race is so special to me, and the day I qualify will one of the best days of my life. Bring on Chi-town!

Erica Silbiger is a 10-time marathoner, having run her first marathon with Team in Training in San Diego on June 5, 2011. Since her first marathon in San Diego, she’s finished 9 other marathons (San Diego, Miami, Philadelphia, Providence, Manhattan, Pennypack Park in Philly, Finger Lakes 50s Ultra Marathon, Lehigh Valley, New York City and Virginia Beach). She will run the Chicago Marathon in 2014 with her sights set on achieving a BQ.

4 comments

  1. Dianne StahlJuly 2, 2014

    Erica is an inspiration to us all. I look forward to following her journey.

  2. JasonJuly 2, 2014

    Go Erica!!!

  3. Charles WilliamsonJuly 7, 2014

    Way to go Erica! Already so accomplished and still ready for more! You’ll get your BQ and blaze trails in Boston and other places thereafter!

  4. Arlene SilbigerAugust 27, 2014

    So proud of you Erica!!
    Love you
    Grandma

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