PART II – TRAINING TIPS FOR LONG DISTANCE RUNNING
Ultramarathoner & medical student
Experimenting in sport with scientific analysis on performance
Sponsors: Runners Plus, Honey Stinger, HIVE
TRAINING TIPS FOR LONG DISTANCE RUNNING
Do you have a training routine that works for you?
In the past, there has been a pretty general routine of run hard two days during the week with easy runs following each of those then building up to back-to-back or even back-to-back-to-back long runs. I always incorporate easy days into my schedule and believe that moving the body and clearing out the breakdown products from the days-previous workout is an important part of recovery.
This year I have trained under Coach Matt Urbanski with his company Team RunRun. I decided to make the investment when I was drawn to run in Western States because I have never really had any formal training as an endurance athlete. Matt’s experience has been pivotal in the success I have achieved this year with PRs in the marathon and 50k as well as a great sub-24 hour finish at Western States.
What hasn’t been successful for you in the past?
Running too hard on long runs. If there is one important lesson I have learned over the years, it is that you don’t incorporate too many stressors in one workout. Each workout should have a goal-oriented purpose. Long runs are meant to put time on your feet, build up your mental tolerance to a prolonged effort, and put gentle stress on your ligaments and tendons to stimulate growth. Trying to consistently run race pace for long workouts is one way I have ended up injured.
What do you think about when you run?
I don’t remember where I heard it, but someone once commented you think about nothing and you think about everything. My mind just wanders from topic to topic. Sometimes this is really productive and I solve emotional dilemmas for myself, but usually there are just random thoughts that come and go.
A very small portion of time is spent performing mental simulations and goal-oriented imagery. I routinely put myself at mile 80 and imagine the hardships that will occur during those moments, pretending to solve problems and pushing through physical exhaustion.
Who is your crew for 100 milers?
Do you cross train?
In the last year I haven’t done much for cross training. In the past I have biked and done some swimming; however, I have found that if you want to get better at running, you need to run.
I do include some light weight lifting into my training which includes hip and ankle exercises with or without weights as well as some upper body weight training when I can fit it in. This is usually all circuit work and rarely do I spend more than an hour in my home gym.
I include meditation in my training with short morning meditation sessions for 15 minutes as part of my daily routine. I have found this helps with both my demeanor as a physician and my composure as an athlete.
Recently, I have included sauna sessions into my training in order to prepare for the heat of summer races. I have done some great reviews on heat training, and the bulk of what I have found is all positive.
Do you set a plan? If so, explain the process.
In years past I have made my own schedules with some success; however, in the last year, I wanted to try to compete at a higher level which made the investment in a coach worth it. I love the athlete-coach relationship and have learned a ton from Matt in the few months that I have worked with him. With how hectic my school schedule has been this year, having my plan laid out for me has been invaluable and kept me consistently moving forward.
I would like to note here that my friendship with a local ultrarunner has perhaps been the most influential aspect of my running career. Jay Smithberger has run the Grand Slam of Ultrarunning (note: Western States 100, Leadville 100, Wasatch 100, Vermont 100) and the Badwater 135 twice, and I have the pleasure of spending many long hours with Jay running the trails in Yellow Springs. He is one of the most humble athletes I have come across and has selflessly mentored me – perhaps unknowingly – for the last few years. I look up to and respect Jay immensely and cannot thank him enough for all he has done for me in this sport.
How many shoes do you go through a year?
I typically run through about 6 pairs of shoes per year, usually putting more miles on them than I probably should. The road shoes tend to wear down faster than the trail shoes, but I put more miles on the trails so things tend to balance out.
Catch up on Part I - Introduction
Part III - Fueling and Hydration
Part IV - Injury Prevention and Recovery
Feel free to DM Teddy on Instagram with questions!