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Elite Marathoner Sarah Cummings on Training and Life

Sarah Cummings and her sister sit down with Urban Wellness Clinic to share how they play hard and train harder in NYC as we lead into NYC Marathon weekend.

MCC: What is your morning ritual?

SCC: Up and out! 15 minutes or less. Keep the brain in sleep mode (so you don’t realize what you are doing) and get out the door. What they say about age… I tell myself the same thing about time. It helps when the clock reads 4:20! On the weekends I love to sleep a bit later and get Starbucks before going out for my run. Pre-run coffee is such a luxury!

MCC: You know the saying “you are what you eat”. What is your philosophy around food?

SCC: Carbs on carbs on carbs! To be honest, day-to-day nutrition is my weak link. This is something that I will be devoting more time to before launching into my next training cycle. I am not the best example when it comes to diet. However, I have come a long way in terms of marathon (pre/during) nutrition. In the week leading up to a marathon I practice a version of The Western Australian Method (carbo-loading). I opt for a large carb-centric (but simple) meal close to bedtime the night before the race. I eat a PowerBar Performance with some dry granola a couple of hours before the race. I take a Nuun water mix every 5k during the race and a PowerBar double latte gel at 7mi, 14mi, and 20.5mi. The Chicago Marathon (10/12/14) was the first time I executed my race nutrition plan in full. I was happy to come away from the race with this little albeit important success. I still have a ways to go, but have learned not to underestimate the importance of nutrition and hydration!

Elite Marathoner Sarah Cummings

MCC: Inspirational quote that resonates with you…?

SCC: “What the mind can conceive, and the heart can believe, the body will achieve.”

MCC: What is the most challenging thing about your job? The most rewarding?

SCC: I have a hard time isolating the job itself from the schedule and how it fits in with my running goals and ambitions so in terms of challenges of the job, the list is long. I struggle with the schedule especially when daylight is limited during the winter months. I get in early ~6:45 and leave when the market closes and the work is done (~6pm) assuming I don’t have to attend a client event/dinner.

My role is market-driven and client-facing so I have to be on top of my game at all times. There is a lot on the line. The pace of the job can be most closely described to that of a running race or workout: fast and furious! It is go-go-go with 100% focus required and then it over. I love the adrenaline rush and this kind of environment obviously suits my personality, but is tough when I feel like I’ve already scraped the bottom of the barrel come end of day and I still need to summon the fight and willpower to bang out an interval workout.

Thanks to Dr. Kiberd, I was recently able to get a sit/stand desk. Because I don’t have the freedom to get up and leave my desk during the course of the day for more than 10-15mins at a time this was huge! With the option to stand, my recovery time from training sessions has dropped significantly and in general my work environment has been greatly improved. Just one more piece to the puzzle!

What the mind can conceive, and the heart can believe, the body will achieve.

MCC: Retail therapy?

SCC: Don’t even get me started!! Anywhere and everywhere but current favorites are Madewell, Bloomingdales, Club Monaco, J.Crew … After an especially good race I will hit up Burberry, David Yurman, Chloe, Chanel…

MCC: How about running retail therapy?

SCC: Racing flats: Brooks T7 Racer

Training Shoes: Brooks Launch, Brooks PureFlow

Clothing: Brooks

Compression socks:110% Play Harder

Watch: Garmin

MCC: Favorite restaurant?

SCC: So hard to choose but I think you probably know!

MCC: Kefi?

SCC: Yes! At least for now… Drink = pomegranate margarita at Rosa Mexicano. No question!

Marathon Finish Line

MCC: What books and blogs are on your must read list now?

SCC: I just finished two of the best books I have read in a long time and I think you would agree! The Engagements and The Last Letter from Your Lover are must reads. I spend all day on the computer at work so try to limit by computer time in the evenings but still end up reading a slew of blogs… too many to count!

For fashion my go-tos are Cupcakes & Cashmere, Stripes & Sequins, and A Cup of Jo.

When I decide I actually want to (attempt to) cook: Fit Foodie Finds and for performance nutrition: Nutrition Success.

For lifestyle: Lifehacker (invaluable tidbits), Well & Good NYC, and West Side Rag. The running category is where it gets tough!

I think that professional runners Lauren Fleshman & Deena Kastor have awesome websites chock-full of inspiration, but I take away a bit from all of the running-specific blogs I follow.

MCC: When in your life did you feel most in touch with your calling?

SCC: In the first few months after I graduated from college. Although I was not on scholarship at Princeton (none of us were) we “had” to go to practice, “had” to race. Although I was fully on board with all the decisions made for me in a running sense, I wasn’t making them myself. Running post-collegiately although entirely, selfish presented unique challenges and learning opportunities. I was forced to dig deep and identify the why and while there are still many mornings where I wonder why, particularly when it is snowing at 10 degrees, I am so grateful that I am healthy and can get hit the road and celebrate all of my blessings. As Steve Prefontaine so famously said, “To give anything less than your best, is to sacrifice the gift.”

MCC: What is your vision/dream for your life?

SCC: To be the best possible version of myself!

Thank you for sitting down with us and giving us a look into your running life! We’ll see you on Sunday!

Sarah Runs the City

Instagram: sarahccummings

Twitter: @sarahccummings