Katie McGregor will be embarking on her third attempt at the marathon distance Sunday at the ING New York City Marathon. The Reebok-sponsored athlete has already experienced tremendous success thus far in 2010 with three wins on the USA Running Circuit and looks to clinch the circuit championship in New York. We caught up with Katie a week before the big day to discuss her marathon preparations, future goals, and her thoughts on training with Team Minnesota Elite.
Tell us about how your preparation has gone for New York. Has the buildup been different from your previous marathons, and if so, how?
KM: My preparation has been pretty similar to previous training. I think I had a few extra weeks of training this time around only because I took a break right after the track season.
Like many other athletes competing in New York, you ran your half marathon tune-up race in Philly in a time of 72:06. How did you feel about your effort there?
KM: I had a decent effort. I was not happy with my time at all but I had been training consistently and it was my first race since the end of June. I was glad to start racing again. I still felt confident my training was going well, I just didn’t run the smartest race. I went out way too fast, just over 5 minute pace. It all catches you in the end.
Sometimes people don’t realize quite how much work does into being a professional runner. Give us an idea of a typically day during the marathon preparation stage including runs, ancillary training, massages, etc.
KM: A typical day would include waking up, eating, stretching, running a long run or workout, stretching, core training, eating, weight training, running, eating. Some days I don’t have weight training. Depends on the workouts. I usually try to load my hard days so my recovery days are recovery.
In addition to the physical preparation, what kind of mental training do you have to do for a marathon that is different than a shorter track race?
KM: It is hard to stay focused for the long stuff, I just practice staying mentally tough during all my long runs and workouts.
This is your third time running New York. What have you learned from your two previous races on the course to help you this time around?
KM: I do know the course a little better, but each time it seems like different parts present a challenge. The last 6 miles are tough and the hills can seem horrible. I try to stay relaxed for the first half and stay on pace and then use all my mental energy for the last 10K.
Let’s say New York goes well. Is the 2012 Olympic Marathon Trials the ultimate goal, or are you also considering another go for the Olympic team on the track?
KM: I will run the Trials for the marathon and for track, no matter what happens.
What’s the plan after NYC? Many of your track PR’s are from 2005 and 2006. Will a spring track season be in your future to bring those times down?
KM: I will take a break and then come up with a plan. I will definitely run outdoor track.
You have participated in many of the USA Running Circuit events, including wins at the 15k, 25k, and 10 mile distances. What are your impressions of the series of the races? It seems to have been beneficial for the development of up-and-coming road runners as well as for veterans like yourself to compete in high-purse domestic races.
KM: I love the USARC events. They are great for everyone all around. It does help to have many opportunities to run quality races throughout the year. The competition is different but challenging from race to race and the prize purses run deep so everyone benefits. I try to run as many of the championships as I can, they play a huge part in the progression of US distance running.
As part of Team USA Minnesota, how does training in the group environment benefit your training? Can the cold weather be a pain sometimes?
KM: Team USA Minnesota has a great coach and support staff including doctors and local sponsors. The team has been around for 10 years now and it has been one of the most successful groups since it started. It is so important to have training partners. Especially when you are a distance runner, it can get very boring putting miles in by yourself day in and day out. The cold weather can suck at times, but most of our team is from the Midwest so it is normal for us. I think people have a bad impression on the winter here, it isn’t as bad as most people want to believe. The University of Minnesota allows us to use their indoor track facility and Life Time Fitness sponsors our team so we have access to the best health clubs in the country. That is huge for us.
Thank you to Katie for the opportunity to speak with her. We wish her the best in New York and in all future endeavors.