Recent Istanbul Cup winner Caroline Wozniacki has decided to push her athletic boundaries by running in the 2014 TCS New York City Marathon in November. Few professional athletes have decided to tackle the big distance race, but Wozniacki sees it as a way to enhance her still blossoming tennis game.
“A marathon is actually quite similar to a tennis match,” Wozniacki said. “Both are mental games, and I think doing this race will improve my focus. It will make me stronger. Not to mention the fact that I will be in the best shape of my life.”
Wozniacki has flirted with the idea of running a marathon for quite some time, but she says that it is still outside her comfort zone. What finally drew her to commit was the opportunity to participate as a New York Road Runners Team for Kids Ambassador. It will allow her to raise funds for global youth running programs dedicated to helping kids stay physically active.
“The marathon has always been on my bucket list,” she said, “but I am really doing it for the children. This charity resonates with me because I want to teach children about maintaining active and healthy lifestyles. Hopefully I can show them how to set and obtain hard-to-reach goals.”
Wozniacki runs four miles a day and plans to periodically increase her distance as the race approaches. In addition, she will implement one long run per week in order to prepare her body for the endurance shock that comes with running 26 miles for the first time.
According to recent Boston Marathon winner Meb Keflezighi, success in a long race is determined by mastering the art of perseverance. His biggest advice for first-time marathoners like Wozniacki?
“Stay healthy, have consistent training and when it comes to race day, execute, but be patient,” Keflezighi said.
Although Wozniacki is satisfied with her tennis game, she believes marathon training will continue to bolster it.
“There is always room to enhance my mental toughness,” she said. “I am also looking to improve my serve returns. My family thinks I’m crazy, but I feel this will really help me. Especially with the increased intensity tennis has seen in the past 10 years.”
Away from the nets, Wozniacki has a positive outlook on her future, despite recent media frenzies over the break-up with British Open winner Rory McIlroy.
“I feel like I’ve moved on from the recent press about my personal life,” she said. “I am happy with my life. I am so excited for the future. There are so many great things coming.”
Can we expect to see Wozniacki running in more marathons?
“Well, it depends on how well I do in this race,” she said. “To be honest, I don’t have a time goal, because I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself. I will just be happy to complete the race — and if I have to crawl over the finish line, I’ll do it.”