In this episode of RUN with Coach Parry, we had an engaging coaching call with Alex Spiller to help her put together a comprehensive plan for the New York Marathon. This conversation is not only relevant for those gearing up for the New York Marathon but also for runners preparing for the Soweto Marathon and the Kaapsehoop Marathon, which take place the same weekend.

Alex’s Goal

Alex is aiming for a sub-4-hour finish in New York. She hopes to push herself to achieve a time around 3:45-3:50. Based on her current personal bests in shorter distances, these goals are realistic yet ambitious, providing a solid target for her marathon training.

Training Strategy

Currently, Alex runs three times a week and participates in three high-intensity barre classes. To enhance her preparation, I suggested incorporating an additional day of running. If her schedule allows, this could mean running and doing a class on the same day once a week or reducing the barre classes to accommodate more running.

Consistency and a well-rounded approach are key. We discussed the importance of balancing intensity and recovery to avoid injury and ensure steady progress. Integrating a variety of workouts, including easy runs, long runs, and speed work, will help Alex build the endurance and strength needed for marathon success.

Pacing and Hills

One critical aspect we covered was pacing, especially on hills. Alex mentioned her tendency to run fast downhill and slow uphill. For a race like New York, where the course includes several significant hills, it’s essential to manage effort wisely. The strategy should be to conserve energy on the uphill sections by running them slowly and making up time on the flat and downhill stretches. This approach helps prevent early fatigue and ensures a stronger finish.

Community Support

A key highlight of our conversation was the value of having a supportive community. Alex shared how inspiring it is to read others’ stories on the Coach Parry membership forums and how this camaraderie keeps her motivated. Engaging with a community can provide encouragement, accountability, and practical advice, making the training journey more enjoyable and effective.

The Importance of Warm-Ups

We also discussed the importance of warm-ups, even for long runs. Starting runs at an easy pace helps the body transition smoothly into the workout, reducing the risk of injury and improving overall performance. Alex discovered the benefits of warming up through her recent 5K personal best, emphasizing that this practice should be a staple in all her runs.

The call wrapped up with the exciting realization that Alex has tremendous potential and hasn’t yet scratched the surface of her capabilities. With a structured plan, consistent training, and community support, she is well on her way to not only achieving her marathon goals but also inspiring others in the process.If you’re looking to optimize your marathon training and be part of a motivating community, join the Coach Parry Training Club. Whether you’re aiming for a personal best or simply want to enjoy your running journey more, our programs and support can help you achieve your goals.


With a passion for high performance sport – Lindsey Parry is one of South Africa’s most widely recognised coaches. Having led a team to the London, Rio and Tokyo Olympic Games as well as the Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh, the Gold Coast & Birmingham, and coached both triathletes and runners onto podiums of some of the world’s most illustrious races, Lindsey has a unique ability to understand what it takes to succeed at any level and thrives on coaching, motivating and inspiring others to do the same – whether it’s on the track, on stage or behind a mic.

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