Crush Your Marathon Goals with NYRR Virtual Training

A runner celebrating at the finish line of the New York City Marathon

So, you got a spot in the 2019 TCS New York City Marathon, and you’re already dreaming about what it will feel like to cross the finish line of one of the world’s most iconic races. But with just about three months to go until race day, you’ll need to start training (if you haven’t already).

Fortunately, NYRR can provide coaching for runners of all backgrounds and skill levels, from seasoned veterans to runners just looking to complete their first-ever marathon, thanks to the TCS New York City Marathon Virtual Training Program.

Recently, members of the NYRR blog team were able to speak with Tammy Salazar, who has been an NYRR Virtual Training coach for about two years, for more insight into how the program works.  

NYRR Virtual Training coach Tammy Salazar, left, at the TCS New York City Marathon Training Expo, discussing the TCS New York City Marathon Virtual Training Program

Q: What are the benefits of NYRR Virtual Training?  

It caters to you and your needs and your lifestyle. We ask you a series of questions asking you about your run history—asking you how many days you usually run, asking you what kind of workout you like, whether it’s hills or track. We, based on that information, formulate a plan, either [12 weeks or] 16 weeks or 20 weeks depending on the one you choose, and it gives you a projected finish time and we give you a day-by-day plan catered to what you inserted.  

Q: Is there any particular level of runner NYRR Virtual Training is geared towards?  

It’s geared towards everyone! We even have some people who do a run/walk. We have to tweak it on our end in order to produce that kind of plan, but we have people who do it.

Runners in the New York City Marathon

Q: Do you have any tips for first-time marathoners?  

For first-time marathoners, I would say don’t go too crazy on the mileage. You want to slowly build up—take your easy runs easy and your hard runs hard. Just because you want to have a sub-[four-hour marathon] doesn’t mean you have to run that pace every single run, because that probably leads you to getting hurt more than helping you.  

One of the biggest pieces of advice I give is: Focus on you, because you get to hear all these things from other people and it can feed into your brain and you compare yourself [to others]. So just focus on you and take things one day at a time.  

Q: How do you know your easy run is easy enough?  

The best way to describe it would be: If you and I are running right next to each other, you and I could talk about our favorite movies the whole run, and none of us would be passing out in a corner the next minute. You should be able to maintain a nice conversation; if you want to start singing a song, you should be able to sing a song.  

Hard is basically anywhere from “you can talk but you don’t want to,” to “you’re starting to breathe a little bit heavy.”

An excited runner smiling for the camera during the New York City Marathon

Q: What inspired you to get involved in virtual training?  

I just think the fact that I get to coach a lot of people at once, and there’s people all around the world using this. It’s not just New Yorkers—yeah, we specialize in the TCS New York City Marathon—but you can run the Paris Marathon, or the Dubai Marathon, and we’ll build a plan for you.


Brandon Wiggins

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