Try Ryan Vail’s TCS New York City Marathon Workout

Ryan Vail, a five-time All-American at Oklahoma State University, will race the TCS New York City Marathon for the third time on November 6. He’s looking to cap off his year on a high note after having to pull out of the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials due to a series of stress fractures.

The 30-year-old Portland native was the top American finisher and 13th overall at the 2013 New York City Marathon, and the second American and ninth overall in 2014. His personal-best marathon time of 2:10:57 came at the 2014 London Marathon.

While preparing for the TCS New York City Marathon, Vail shared with New York Road Runners his favorite workout for those training to race 26.2 miles. If you have experience running 20 miles or more, give it a go. Perform the workout as your Saturday or Sunday long run about three weeks prior to running a marathon, and adjust the pace to fit your training.

The Ryan Vail Workout

  • Four-Mile Tempo: Begin your workout by running approximately four miles at an easy pace (6:30-6:45 mile pace for Vail).
  • 10-Mile Run: Run slightly faster over 10 miles, putting in a moderate effort (5:30-5:45 mile pace for Vail).
  • Four-Mile Tempo: Finish your workout by running approximately four miles at a slightly faster pace than your first four-mile tempo (6:15-6:30 mile pace for Vail).
  • Two-Mile Cooldown: Don’t stop after your last tempo run; leisurely jog a couple more miles until you gradually reach a walking pace.

A word of advice from Vail: Take hydration seriously during this workout: “Don’t forget that part, because it will come back to haunt you,” he says.

Vail also recommends not stopping and starting during the workout; just slow down if you’re feeling tired.

“It’s not only about pace, but also getting the minutes and miles on your legs,” Vail says. “When preparing for marathons, it’s more efficient to slow down and get the volume in.”

To read more about Vail’s training for the TCS New York City Marathon, check out his blog at

By Stuart Lieberman