NYC Marathon 2024 training & diet log, tips and information. April 1 - Nov 3 #tcsnycmarathon

DALL·E 2024-04-10 05.56.20 - Design a logo for the 'New York City Marathon' without any brand names. The logo should feature an abstract, stylized version of the Statue of Liberty

This old man is running the 2024 NYC Marathon! I registered for the lottery and got in, which apparently is a 4% chance. I never won a lottery before but for this one I get to pay 300 bucks and run 26 miles haha. I’d rather mega millions🤓 but I’ll take it!

I got the note of acceptance 4 years to the DAY I ran my 1st and only marathon. I did that one all alone on the streets of Orange, CT during the early days of COVID. The actual marathon got canceled. It was eerie. No one was out, literally.

The NYC marathon will have about 50,000 runners. Tiny bit more motivating! I’ll run all 5 boroughs and I hope to complete it around 3 hours and 50 minutes.


I’ll run this on my wife’s birthday, Nov 3, and about 3 weeks ahead of my 50th.
For anyone interested, I’ll be logging my training, diet, tips and info here.

This log will be an open conversation format. Many people have contacted me over the years about distance running. This log will serve as a way to communicate about it all. If you have any questions along the way you will post them at that link as I proceed through training.

This training log is also here to inspire YOU to get out and run. Whether it’s a 5k or a marathon.

Let’s GO!

#TCSNYCMarathon #Run #Lift #Hike #Yoga

Keep scrolling down for the daily training log.

I address all of the following:

  • Run Training
  • Strength Training
  • Diet & Nutrition
  • Flexibility & Recovery Training
  • Gear
  • Music
  • Apps

I wanted to kick this off with a brief history of my running coming back to life. I ran a bit when I was young but never consistently and never more than a mile or 2. I stopped running for a solid 10 years and in that time between the ages of 30 and 40 I packed on a solid 40 pounds of fat. This had little to do with running, it was more the food and alcohol, but that extra 40 made it hard to run distance. I also have flat feet so that made it very painful. I solved both problems. 40 pounds off for years and located Brooks running sneakers (Glycerin GTS).

I now love to run. Like a madman at 5:30am in the dark when it’s 12 degrees. I don’t care. If it’s run day I’m running. Unless it’s crazy rain, icy or dangerous. I minimize risk of injury from something I could prevent.

I went through a period in my 40’s where I ran almost every day. I don’t do that anymore but I’m glad I did. These days I’m more of a hybrid trainer. Run, lift/strength train, yoga, hike, basic calisthenics, sprints etc.

When I started running in my early 40’s I did it all on trails. I barely ran on roads my whole life and didn’t like it. But then I realized I was spending so much time driving to a place just to run there that I’d simply RUN to that place and run home.

This is my first piece of advice to begin running distance:

1. Stop driving somewhere to run (gym, track etc) if you live in a safe place. The further you get on foot the further you have to run back. Run, jog, walk or crawl!

If you do not live in a safe place, I understand. Drive to where ever you have to. But if it is safe, just run right out of your front door. That’s how it started for me. One day I ran 2.5 miles from home in a straight shot. Turned around and ran back. 5 miles. BLEW ME AWAY.

In March of this year, I ran 9x, around 90 miles, more or less 2x per week. In those runs I did a 10 miler and three 1/2 marathons. The rest were between 6 and 8 miles. I also did a few thousand air-squats, hiked, walked and strength trained with barbells and counter balanced that with at least 10 hours of stretching and yoga.

I want to talk about how I got to this new place. It was quite a process and one I’m happy to have gone through it.

To be continued…



4/1 - 4/2
Strength Training and lengthy Zone 2 walks. 10,000-12,000 steps each.


I started run training yesterday with a 6 miler at 5:45am. Just coming off three 1/2 marathons in March and consistent strength training, so I wanted to step back the runs for a few days. I also did an upper body strength training session in the afternoon.

I did a 70 minute Bikram yoga style class today, full body stretch head to toe. 110 degrees about 20 postures or so. I’m going to film my modified class this Summer in the heat for reference.

Food today was around 2300 calories, 100 or so grams Fat, Carbs and almost 200 protein. Building up for a lengthy training run this weekend - 14-16 miles. I do believe proper loading and recovery via food is a major factor of my training. I will ramp up carbs again tomorrow.

When you run 14-16 miles it’s a massive shock to your system. You have to go into it fueled and actively repair and recover from it, like it was a trauma to your body. Because, it kind of is.


Fast and furious strength training today. I did a power and isometric push-pull routine with Barbell squats as the focus of the workout. I believe that very long greulling sets of a moderately heavy weight in the 14-20 rep range really help give my legs the extra power needed to sustain the long runs.

Airsquats 10-20-30-30-20-20
Barbell Squats 135lbs x 5 reps - 135x10 - 155x5 - 185x5 - 225x17
Bicep Pulldowns 3 sets increasing weight on pulley
Pullup Isometric holds 3 sets various hand grips 20-40 seconds



Preparing for a 14-16 mile run tomorrow I did a 70 minute Bikram yoga style class this morning around 7:30am, full body stretch head to toe. 110 degrees about 20 postures or so.

I did a pretty killer upper body strength session around 3pm. Maintaining my 100lb for 6 incline dumbbells and several sets of hex bar shrugs staying at around 190lbs for 15-18 reps.

I did Bring Sally Up one set of dips and a killer drop-set of triceps.

My calories were lower today but I did high lean protein and high carbs. Lower fat, less heaviness. Around 1900 calories. I’m going to drink a couple BEERS tonight as I always do the night before every long run. It’s a long time ritual and I don’t know if there’s any merit to it but I do it every time.

4/6 Long Training Run


Upon wakeup I ate a about a 1/4 cup of Grandy Organics Classic granola, a banana and a tablespoon of Maple Syrup. Last night I had an additional 100g carbs really trying to prep my muscles with a full carb load.

download - 2024-04-06T070533.008

When I go 10 miles or under, typically, I run with no breakfast of any kind. Some call this “fasted” I just don’t eat, I prefer the light feeling of as little food as possible for running. (I don’t do this for strength training though)

When I go beyond 10 I like to stack carbs a bit from simple to complex, to make sure my energy stays even and steady. The only time I ever eat or consume calories in-run is beyond 20 miles.

Another ritual I do ahead of a long run is a hot shower. It’s another thing I do that just might be in my head (like the beer the night before) but I feel it really loosens me up. Especially here in CT where it’s cold most mornings.


The wind was a bitch today but all in all this felt great. I haven’t gone over 13.1 miles in 4 years, today I smashed past that and hit 16. I took the pace slower than I wanted to to make sure I could sustain and I feel very good about this as my starting point for the back half of a marathon. I won’t do a run this long for around 3 weeks and my next will be in the 18 mile zone.

Active recovery tomorrow

@TerryA @pjballas


For repair I took in around 200g protein today from various sources, mostly “animal”. Kept carbs and fats moderate with a total of around 1900 calories. I do track calories several days per week to make sure I hit my macros. I’m mostly concerned about hitting protein goals daily and the carbs are usually a concern ahead of lengthy runs.

I did a pretty intense but short upper body strength training session. I focused on flat barbell bench which I’ve slowly been working back up for some time from the dead. Despite my flat dumbbells being quite high my barbell has been lagging.
135x8 - 135x12 - 155x4 - 185x4 - 205x6

I also added in pretty heavy pull downs and 4 lengthy (30-40 sec) isometric pull up and chin up holds.

I also think that maintaining upper body strength, keeping muscle mass and protein intake up are very important. One thing that can happen with marathon training is catabolizing muscle via overtraining.

Muscle catabolism is the process whereby muscles start to break down instead of growing. It is an undesirable phenomenon, especially for people who want to increase their muscle mass or improve their athletic performance. In certain situations, catabolic processes can escalate into more intense ones. One such case is overly intense physical training.

The rest of the day I just did normal busy work, light activity. My lower legs, calves and lower back are most affected by the long run. But all in all I think the air squats training has really helped power my runs to a new level and fend off the extreme soreness I used to get 5 years ago when I’d do similar runs.


Hit approx 5 mile hike today. I also did around 500 pushups and 1 Bring Sally Up

Rather than hill sprints, I did hill “jogs” being very mindful of my sore muscles from the 16 miler. I can say I’m at 80% or so and will be good to do a training run tomorrow. I’ll aim for 7 miles in the early AM and will do a running recovery yoga class in the afternoon. I’ll film it and post it.


Upper body strength training and somehow hit a new PR for incline dumbbells: 100lbs x 7 reps!

I filmed when I hit 100 x 6 here:

I did 50lbs for 15-20 or so reps, 75 for 11, 100 for 7 clean. I did a nice lengthy drop-set for triceps and biceps (arms)

Later that day I filmed and did a 30 minute active recovery yoga inspired class, I will post it tomorrow. Steps and movement were limited to normal day to day, very light.


Early this AM I did a 3 mile hike and hit a new PR for a single air squat set of 450 reps in a row. 450 is literally insane. It’s like a marathon of leg work. I believe this type of calisthenics work is one of the reasons my legs can take the runs so well now. Hill sprints and barbell squats help too.

Later in the evening I took a fast paced (Zone 2) walk for another couple miles. It was the perfect temp and felt great. I still have not done a distance run since the 16 miles. I’m aiming for a 7-10 miler Friday or Saturday. My next several runs will be moderate training runs. I may go for speed but not distance.

I plan to do an 18 miler about 3 weeks from now.

I have been consistently hitting around 2000 calories and 170-200 grams of clean single ingredient protein a day. Carbs are between 70-120 grams regularly. I don’t track fats really

4/11 Active Recovery

Legs smashed from the PR set of 450 straight air squats yesterday.

Did modified Bikram style yoga class this am.

70 minutes in 110 degrees head to toe basic but fundamental stretches and yoga postures. Another one of those “secret weapons”.

Call it what you want to me it’s a stretching DVD in a hot room. Same thing every time and sometimes that’s a good thing. There’s one pose that I build up to mentally and it’s “fixed firm”. I put that one up there with “frog” as the best worst postures of all time. Knees, ankles, back it’s insane. I do go all the way back with arms overhead. It ain’t pretty but I do it.

If you are starting to run a lot, make sure you stretch a lot. Try a Hot / Bikram Style (not flow or vinyasa) class at Yogativiti in Shelton, CT if you’re local.

This is my first piece of advice to begin running distance:

1. Stop driving somewhere to run (gym, track etc) if you live in a safe place. The further you get on foot the further you have to run back. Run, jog, walk or crawl!

@TerryA @pjballas


Lengthy full upper body training session:

Flat Dumbbells: 50lbs x 20 reps - 75 x 12 - 100 x 8
Hex Bar Shrugs 140lbs x 30 reps - 190 x 18
Bring Sally Up
Dips x 25
Pulldowns 110 x 26
Standing Curl Pyramid 20lbs x 15 reps - 25 x 12 - 30 x 8 - 30 x 12 - 25 x 18 - 20 x 19 (OUCH)
Tricep Drop Set (will film this soon!)

Legs still a bit smashed from that 450 rep air squat so I did a bit of active recovery stretching.


I didn’t set out to run a 1/2 marathon today but I did around 12.2 miles with a solid 8:30 pace and a bit of a walk. Some days I go out there and it can feel like my feet are lead and some days I feel very light. Today was one of those days. I really only planned for 7-8. I honestly felt I could have done 18-20 but I had to still pack for vacation :rofl: and didn’t want to be fully smashed.

If I kept my phone on me all day today I think I was at 18 with all the suitcase and other vaca prep, oofah!

This 30 minute class is designed to stretch the affected areas, sooth and lengthen the muscles and aid in a speedy recovery.

Active Recovery is essential to prevent injury!

Yoga-inspired stretching as part of active recovery can significantly benefit recovery from marathon training in several ways:

Improves Flexibility: Yoga stretches target multiple muscle groups, including some that may be neglected in typical marathon training. Improving flexibility helps to prevent injuries by maintaining a range of motion and reducing muscle tension.

Enhances Blood Circulation: Stretching exercises enhance blood flow, which is crucial for recovery. Increased blood circulation delivers more nutrients and oxygen to tired muscles and helps in flushing out metabolic waste products accumulated during intense training.

Reduces Muscle Soreness: Active recovery through yoga can help in reducing the onset of muscle soreness (DOMS - Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) after long runs. Gentle stretching helps to relax the muscles and alleviate tightness and pain.

Promotes Relaxation: Yoga incorporates breathing techniques and mindfulness, which aid in relaxation and stress reduction. Mental recovery is just as important as physical recovery in training for endurance events like marathons.

Supports Joint Health: Yoga helps in strengthening the muscles around the joints, thereby providing better support and reducing the load and impact on joints during running.

Incorporating yoga-inspired stretches into your recovery routine can speed up the recovery process, enhance overall performance, and decrease the risk of injury.

I am a certified e-RYT 200 Yoga Teacher with 15 years of experience. My goal is to make the benefits of yoga more accessible to people who say “I’m not flexible so I can’t do yoga”. You do yoga to get flexible. I avoid overly complex poses, feminine / “dancey” movements, “sanskrit”, anything cosmic. I like to get into deep holds and target specific muscle groups for specific reasons and leave any narrative out of it.

I did a 7 mile run up the Hilton Head Island beach. Doing another tomorrow. Fueled by the 25 beers I’ve had since I got here



4/14 - 4/24

Surviving Family Vacation, Alcohol while Continuing to Train

Well I did it. 7 days on Hilton Head Island South Carolina at the Omni with no loss of progress. I fully detached my digital brain and focused on relaxing. It’s really a very relaxing resort even with an energetic 6 year old. We got really perfect weather for pool, beach and a couple great runs. I did a 7 miler early on and a 9 miler around half way through. I was also able to do a ton of walking, swimming and everything that comes with a 6 year old at a pool. Games, throwing balls, throwing him, marco polo you name it. He keeps my old ass moving!

However, I also indulged on many beers along with a few margaritas. I averaged 3-6 beers per day. So to offset this indulgence I simply ate ZERO typical vacation nonsense like fries, baked goods, fried food, desert etc. I brought much of my own food, high quality portable protein and only got their fruit and one day had the breakfast buffet where I only had eggs, bacon, coffee and water.

I am super thankful to be able to shut alcohol off and turn alcohol on at will. There’s something magical to me about days of sun, some deliberate exercise, tons of natural movement and good beer. I literally never sleep better.

I won’t have another drink for weeks.

I got a bit of bloat but didn’t gain weight, in fact I lost a bit - just feeling flabby and bloated even though it’s mostly in my head I can notice less muscle definition and belly fat after just 1 week of consistent beer.

My recommendation for anyone, whether training for a marathon or just not wanting to get your progress destroyed on vacation is to fully avoid nonsense food and make sure to have the forethought to bring your own.

I also (like a madman) brought my IronMaster dumbbells and did 2 floor strength sessions along with one day where I incorporated around 500 air squats.

Upon return, after a 16 hour car trip (UGH!) I did a Bikram style yoga class in 110 degrees and today I hit the woods for a short hike, few hill sprints, 560 air squats and a new PR of 460 in ONE SET.

I have my home food going and doing a bit of a “detox” (I hate that word) of simply eating clean, single ingredient protein 170-200g per day, fruit and nothing else. I’ll add some of my clean granola ahead of my next training run which I expect to be Fri or Sat.


I did a 70 minute Bikram yoga style class today, full body stretch head to toe. 110 degrees about 20 postures or so. I did it 2x this week ahead of my next long training run. I plan to do a 10-14 miler this weekend after my legs heal from yesterdays insane air squat set of 460 in a row.

Later in the afternoon I did a decent strength session with several sets of dips, one bring sally up, pullups, pulldowns and a nice biceps drop set.


I followed that with about an hour of running around outside with my 6 year old, soccer and basketball. I actually tracked it at 5000 steps/2 miles.


Hit a 1/2 today. Felt great but I took it a little slow but still a decent pace. Setting myself up to hit an 18-20 miler next weekend.

Pre run as in the day before I had up to 4 cups of watermelon, 3 cups chicken bone broth, banana, oats… Around 150 grams carbs. When I woke, I had another 1/4 cup granola, honey and a 1/2 banana. I started to feel hunger kick in around 10 miles but hit 13 no problem.

Recovery tomorrow



I hit a pretty heavy upper body strength session in the am. Hit 90’s for 9 which is one over my previous PR, it felt great. Over all very strong. This video is a good reference for what the workout looked like:

I followed that with modified Bikram Yoga 20 or so postures, temps hitting close to 115.

Took down 2200 calories today to help recovery. Around 210g protein from various sources, mostly animal based (beef, eggs, turkey, cottage cheese) and a dose of Pea Protein Isolate. I replenished glycogen with a bunch of fresh pineapple, banana, some clean granola.