NEW YORK (WABC) -- Elizabeth Laub is ready to hit the starting line of this year's TCS New York City Marathon.
This former Division I tennis player set her sights on the sport of running after college but setbacks almost had her sitting on the sidelines.
"I'd run a lot, I would get hurt, I would rest. I would run, get hurt, rest, and I felt like I was kind of trapped in this cycle of repeated injuries and nothing was really making it go away," she explained. "And I wasn't even sure why it was happening in the first place. So when I decided that this was the year I was going to take on the marathon, I knew I had to do something different."
She was diagnosed with stress reactions that can lead to stress fractures.
Enter the Hospital for Special Surgery and its running performance services, connecting Elizabeth with resources like Coach Kate, who offered a more holistic approach to marathon training.
"Like she said, she was kind of stuck in a cycle and she didn't know why this was happening," Kate Baird, coordinator of running and metabolic services at HSS, said. "Between her work with Dr. Goolsby, Asma - the physical therapist who did her running analysis (and) introduced her to me - and then the actual programming and the fitness testing, we were able to figure out, I think pretty clearly, what sort of factors were contributing to that and manage them across a 14-week program."
HSS offers any runner, new or seasoned, services like running mechanics and metabolic analysis, as well as personalized training plans because as Coach Kate says it's never one size fits all.
"You get an idea of what a marathon program should look and feel like and you don't realize that what it looks and feels like for you is not going to be like what's sort of advertised out there in the world," Baird said.
"It's a hard mindset adjustment going from like I want to do my miles, I want to follow the plan to a T, but realizing that that may not be what's best for you and I think that was an important shift that I had to take during this time," Laud added.
That mental fitness is just as important as physical when facing 26.2 miles.
Elizabeth says she'll lean on what she's learned at HSS and the energy of her friends, family, and Coach Kate cheering her on as she races toward the finish line.
"To have 26 miles of people cheering is just insane, so I think that's going to get me through the aches and pains that I'll inevitably face," she said.