Allison Konderwich is your average 28-year-old. She’s a newlywed and first-time homeowner. She works full-time in higher education and part-time at her local Fleet Feet in Albany, NY. She enjoys spending time with her husband Mike, their puppy, Scout, and her family and friends. What sets Allie apart is her love for the marathon and her dedication to the sport. She just completed her 19th marathon, the 2018 Boston Marathon, and continues to do whatever it takes to achieve her goals.
Allie has been running her entire life. As a kid, her parents would cart her and her siblings to local road races, where the kids would participate in the one mile run, like it or not. She ended up liking it, and ran her first 5k at 8 years old (thank you Athlinks), and the rest is history. After playing college basketball for four years at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, she decided to run her first marathon in November 2011. She followed a plan found online, ran every run easy, and finished the Philadelphia Marathon in 3:39:24.
Fast forward 7 years and Allie is tapering for her all-time favorite race, the Boston Marathon. Her life and training is a little bit different than that first training cycle leading up to the 2011 Philadelphia Marathon. Her nonchalant approach to marathon training involving 4-5 easy runs per week has been replaced by an intense focus on a training plan built for her by her coach, Mat Nark.
Allie describes herself as an endurance monster who loves the big mileage weeks.
This training cycle, she’s averaged upwards of 85 miles per week, peaking out 110 weekly miles in mid-February. She strength trains regularly, runs doubles 3-5 times per week and doesn’t miss a mile. “It’s important to me, so I make it work,” says Allie. “Training for a marathon can be incredibly selfish and lonely, so the way I see it, if I’m spending 3.5 months living and breathing marathon training, I ought to give it my all.”
That’s exactly what she does, and it only works because she works hard to balance it all. “It’s really all a balancing act. I love running, but I am also incredibly career focused and love spending time with my husband, family and friends. I know that I need to make sacrifices, but I do my best to make it all work,” she says. For that reason, she does a lot of her running early in the morning before most people are awake.
Her alarm is set for 4:00 AM most week days so that she can get a shorter run (6-9 miles) and strength session, or a longer run (10-14 miles) in before work. She squeezes her second run in during her lunch break or at the end of the day. “My Tuesdays and Thursdays can be tough. I try to strength train on those days, and have had 14-17 miles in two runs on those days almost every week since January. It’s challenging because I work 8:00 AM- 8:00 PM at the College those days, so I have no choice but to wake up super early and run at lunch or when I get home at 9:00 PM which is pretty much my bed time,” says Allie of her schedule.
The long days aren’t all bad though – her full-time schedule is condensed into four days, giving her Fridays off. Originally, the Fridays off were intended to be days to relax, catch up on sleep, get a longer run in, run errands and do the chores that she typically tries to avoid so that her husband will do them.
Soon after she shifted her schedule, she began working part-time at Fleet Feet Albany and spends most Fridays and Saturdays there.
“I love working at Fleet Feet,” says Allie. “I’ve been shopping there with my family for as long as I can remember, and Fleet Feet Albany is such an integral part of the running community. We do really good work, and everyone that works there really cares about what we do. It’s a job of course, but it’s incredibly fun and rewarding.”
Allie knows that she can’t necessarily have it all, but she is willing to try. Each week is planned down to the minute, but she moves through the week with as much flexibility as possible. She packs a bag of running clothes with her everyday so that she can run whenever she needs to. If she’s tired, she’ll sleep an extra 30 minutes and find an extra 30 minutes later in the day to squeeze in another run. She socializes with her friends that love running while running, and does her best to coordinate time with her non-running family and friends during weeks that her running or work schedule is less hectic.
“I am so lucky that my husband, family and friends are as supportive as they are,” says Allie. “My husband, Mike, is training for an Ironman, so his training schedule is even more regimented than mine is. My family has always been immersed in or around the sport, so they understand it. Some of my best friends don’t always get it, but they know that it’s important to me so they support me. They’ll probably never come for a run with me, but they’ll cheer me on from brunch!”
She went into Boston with a 2:56 marathon PR, set last fall at the Hartford Marathon. Her goal was to run as close to 2:52 as possible at Boston. She ran the NYC half marathon as a tune-up in March, and ran 1:23 on a tough course on a cold, windy day, putting her right on track.
What comes after that for the woman who plans each week down to the minute?
“I want to qualify for the Olympic Trials one day, and my husband and I want to start a family,” answers Allie. “I’m not sure how to make both of those work, and I know they won’t happen simultaneously, but I figure there’s no reason why I can’t continue trying to have it all.”
Published: April 2018