Tips from the Pros
Running is a sport of trial and error. None of us instinctively knows the best way to train or race. We rely on others who have been there before. Especially for newer runners, every coach or training partner is a source of information on what works, and what doesn’t. We’re all constantly learning.
We decided to ask some current and former professional runners– and our own National Training Manager – for their best tip on training or racing. The lessons they’ve learned along the way apply to all of us.
“If you're going to change anything with your training (higher mileage, different shoes, more speed work, longer long runs etc.), do it gradually.”
Deatherage finished in fourth place in the 1,500 meters at the 2004 Olympic Trials for Track & Field. After retiring from professional running, she completed the 2010 Grandma’s Marathon in 2:49:25.
“Focus on recovery. Your biggest gains in training are made during workouts (tempo runs, intervals, long runs). Make sure to take it easy in between those sessions to maximize your ability on race day.”
Carlson recently finished in 6th place at the Olympic Trials Marathon, running 2:11:24.
“Try everything during training, don't try anything new on race day.”
McGregor added a bonus tip:
“Be sure to throw in some shorter distance speed sessions during marathon training. For example, 200's, 400's or short hill sprints. You still need turnover for the longer races.”
One of America’s most consistent distance runners over the past decade, McGregor recently finished 11th in the Olympic Trials Marathon. Her personal best is 2:31:01.
“Pay special attention to nutrition during your taper phase. If you start the carb-loading too soon, extra pounds are likely to creep on. A traditional carbo-load cycle is only 4 days before a marathon, and is not needed for races under 90 minutes. To avoid extra weight-gain, I like to focus on eating more protein & veggies during the rest of the taper phase. That should keep your weight stable during the taper, though a few pounds of water weight will still be added once the carb-loading begins. This is normal, as water is stored with the glycogen (from carbs) and will be beneficial for race-day hydration.”
Mayer is the National Run Training Manager at Life Time Fitness. She ran her personal best of 2:59:05 at the Boston Marathon in 2008.
“Set a range of goals starting with one that is fairly easily attainable, and a harder goal that would be a great performance if you achieve it. Reward yourself accordingly, like a piece of cake for the small goal and new shoes or a fancy purse if you achieve your big goal.“
Frey recently finished 22nd in the Olympic Trials Marathon. Her personal best is 2:35:51.
“There are very few races where the concept of "banking time" early on works. The experts say that you give back 2-4 seconds in the second half of your marathon for every second that you "bank" early on. In my experience this has definitely been true. Do your best to pin down a reasonable goal pace and stick to it. This is your best race plan.”
Lehmkuhle competed in three Olympic Trials Marathons, finishing 9th in 2004, 5th in 2008 (in a personal best time of 2:12:24) and 18th in 2012.
“On race day, make a plan and stick to your guns.”
Moen has personal bests of 46:38 for 10 miles, 1:02:52 for the half marathon and 2:23:16 for the marathon.
Submitted by Pete Miller, National Run Project Manager at Life Time Fitness. He owes everything he knows about running to great coaches and training partners. For more information on Life Time Run training programs, go to www.lifetimerun.com, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.