How They Train! Ann Centner

May 2019


Did you compete in high school cross country or track?
• I competed in cross country and track at Oconee County High School in Watkinsville, GA.

Did you compete in high school cross country or track?
• I competed in cross country and track at the University of Georgia in Athens, GA.

How many years have you been running?

Lifetime personal records
• 800m – 2:17
•Mile – 5:07
•5K – 17:38
•10K – 36:57
•Half Marathon – 1:21:00

What running events do you train for or what are your training goals?
•Mile up to 25k so far! I really enjoy 5ks. I run to win and improve my times.

Consider your training over the past 6 months to one year. How many miles a week do you typically run when not injured and consistently running?
•My average for the last 6 months is right over 50 miles a week. During training, I run daily. Weekly, I include two shorter days of 4 miles; a track workout; a tempo workout, hill repeats, or a race; and a long run of 10-16 miles. I’ve reached 60 miles, then had down weeks where I’d take 3 days off and run 14-20 miles. I take these down weeks after a long race or series of races.

What does your typical week of running look like?
•Monday a.m.: 8 miles ~7:30min/mile pace
•Monday p.m.: 30-40 min. stationary bike OR 10 min. stair climber & 20-30 min. bike; 3-4 sets of 10 – leg machines at the gym; 3-4 sets of 10 – arm exercises with 10# dumb bells
•Tuesday a.m. 20-40 min. bike on trainer 6 pull-ups, 5 min. core
•Tuesday p.m.:4 mile progression tempo ~6:30min/mile pace; 3 mile GWTC interval track workout @ FSU track; ~low 4:55-5:30 min./mile pace depending on interval (common workouts are 12x400m’s, 6x800m’s, 4x1200s, 4xmile) 1-2 mile cool down
•Wednesday a.m. 8 miles ~7:30min/mile pace
•Wednesday p.m.: Mile or 30 min. swim 10 min. core
•Thursday a.m. 4 miles ~7:30min/mile pace 4 miles ~6:20-30min/mile pace OR 12 hills
•Thursday p.m.: 20-40 min. bike on trainer 10 min. core 6 pull-ups or arm ex. w/ dumb bells
•Friday: 4 miles ~7:30min/mile pace 8-12 striders
•Saturday: 10-16 miles progression -finishing strong (6:30 or faster) or race with long cool down (~12 miles total; best race paces are: ~6:10min/mi for half marathon, high 5min/mi pace for 10k, and ~5:40 pace for 5k)
•Sunday: 4-5 mile easy ~8:30 pace; sometimes 20-40 min bike

How much sleep do you usually get at night?
•It really varies—at least 5 ½, once a week 9-10 hours

What injuries have hampered your training over the past year?
•I felt some tendonitis in the left knee. I was able to run through it and wore KT tape all the time which helped. No major injuries this year.

Do you take any dietary or medical supplements?
•. Yes, I take iron, vitamin D, glutamine, BCAAs. Sometimes I take a B-complex and fish oil/omega-3’s.

What type of running shoes do you prefer?
•I wear Brooks trainers most days and Nike flats for track workouts and races because they are lighter.

Do you stretch?
•.Everyday! For at least 10 minutes. General static stretching and yoga.

What are your favorite running routes?
•I usually just find some loops or an out and back from my house. On vacation I usually do an out and back. My favorite route to run in Tallahassee is out and back along the Miccosukee greenway.

What running resources do you like that would benefit someone else?
•I recommend running autobiographies and memoirs. I’ve listened to some great books this past year. The top four being Meb Keflezighi’s “26 Marathons” and “Run to Overcome;” “Running is My Therapy” by Scott Douglas; and “Marathon Woman” by Kathrine Switzer. These four books are extremely motivational, and their perspective on running and life is very insightful. I also recommended Runner’s World and post-race interviews—especially pro female distance runners :).

How has your training changed over the years?
• In middle and high school I averaged 20-35 miles a week and did not run much between cross country and track season. I was a competitive swimmer in the winter and summer. In college I attempted to run 60 miles a week, but was seriously injured a lot so there were many weeks I was not running at all, then build-up weeks, then injury again. Overall, no consistency. The past 5 years I’ve gradually increased by mileage from 20-55 weekly averages, and only had minor injuries requiring 3-7 days off running. I’ve always done and enjoyed doing two workouts a week, but the length of workouts has increased considerably over the past 2 years. In my early running days I trained for the 800m, 1600m, and 5k and in college the 1500m, mile, and 6k. Now I train for the mile up to the 25k.

What examples can you give of specific training methods, and what were the results?
•Training method must match your goals and ability. My goal is to be fast and I focus on road distance races—5ks, 10ks, and half marathons. So, my training is focused on speed and endurance. My mileage is high, but not too high because I consistently suffered injures with higher mileage. I only do one really easy day a week, and I include at least 2 workouts per week. I also include a long run that typically includes some faster miles. I make sure to include hilly routes. In addition, I cross train. This training has produced great results for me, including PR’s in the 5k, 10k, and half marathon. But, it has also taken awhile for me to figure out what training works best for me. I design a training cycle with 2-4 target races in mind and build up for 6 to 12 weeks. I taper the week before the last race to “peak”, then take 3 days off following race day. I ease back into running over the next week and a half.

What advice do you have for beginning or experienced runners to help them with their training?
•My training advice for someone who really wants to improve is to talk to and pay attention to how the successful runners around you train, and their overall lifestyle. Local running clubs are a great way for any level of runner to get plugged in and improve by participating in workouts and training runs with others. Having a few key friends or a coach to talk to about running is also very helpful to keep motivation high as well as to avoid overtraining or undertraining. Novice runners, or runners coming back after not running for awhile may find run/walking and gradual build-ups helpful. I haven’t had a coach in years but I’ve used training plans from The plans on this site helped me structure my training cycles especially when I was getting back into running. The site includes plans for distances from the 5k to marathon as well as beginner, intermediate, and advanced versions. When training for the 2018 Tallahassee half marathon I followed a great plan on This plan includes longer and more varied workouts than and really helped me improve as an advanced runner.