How They Train! Bill McGuire

March 2015


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Did you compete in high school cross country or track?

  • Yes, track and X-C at Chaminade HS, Mineola, NY (same HS as Bill Law, former TCC pres.)

Did you compete in college cross country or track?

  • Yes, attended Fordham U., Bronx, NY, on track scholarship

How many years have you been running?

  • Won my first track medal in 1960.  Now in my 55th year of competitive racing.

Lifetime personal records

  • 400 meter hurdles: 51.6 (at age 19 yrs.)
  • 440 yd: 47.4 (at age 19)
  • 880 yds: 1:52.5 (at age 21)
  • Mile: 4:27.85 (at age 32)
  • 5k:    15:57 (at age 41)
  • 10k:  33:49   (at age 42)
  • 20k:   1:11: 36 (at age 39)
  • Marathon: (one and done): 2:59:53 (NYC, age 32)

What running events do you train for or what are your training goals?

  • These days, I pretty much train with 5-10k events in mind.  I’m also contemplating doing some track training for the summer (maybe 400, 800, mile).  Don’t know if I’ll actually do it, but it’s fun to think about!

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?

  • I ran 750 miles last year (14.4 miles per week).  That is more than my total for the 3 previous years combined. From 2011 thru 2013, I averaged less than 5 mpw.  During one 6 month period in my late 40’s, I averaged 40 miles per week…my best ever.

What does your typical week of running look like?

  • Monday:  4-7 miles.  I usually warm-up into my runs for the first mile or so, then they become tempo runs.  Almost all are run with negative splits.  On my better days, I may run race pace for several miles.
  • Tuesday:  4,000-5,000 yds. swim, about half of it  doing intervals with a group.
  • Wednesday:  Same as Monday
  • Thursday:  Same as Tuesday
  • Friday:  If I’m racing Sat., I’ll swim 3,00-4,000 on my own, or rest, depending on the state of my body.  If not racing on Sat. I will do either a typical run, 30 min. on bike trainer (spinning 
    in low gear, or rest.
  • Saturday: Swim, as on Tues./Thurs., or race. 
  • Sunday:  Swim, as on Tues./Thurs.

How does your training vary over the course of a year?

  • I seek shade in the summer, and sun in the winter…haha! If I run Summer Track, I’ll throw a few track workouts in during late spring.  In reality, my training adjusts to my various injuries, rather than adhering to any type of periodization schedule.  My swimming stays pretty steady, year ‘round.

Do you take recovery or down time?

  • My ongoing injuries seems to provide more than enough recovery and down time!   

Do you peak for certain races?

  • I stopped doing that a long time ago, when I finally realized that my good races were merely“manna from Heaven”, and had almost nothing to do with my training, or anything else!  And for the last 10 years or so, I haven’t run hard or far enough to “taper” for a given race, 

How much sleep do you usually get at night?

  • Lately, between 6 ½ and 8 hours, which is more than when I was working. Probably average around 7, now.

What time of day do you normally run?

  • Late morning or early afternoon, now that I’m retired.  I HATE, HATE, running….or doing any form of exercise… earlier than 9:00 or 10:00 a.m.

What injuries have hampered your training over the past year? 

  • Lower back and hip (subluxation), groin strain, knee (meniscus), hamstring (aka, “butt disease”), and calf strains. 

Do you take any dietary or medical supplements?

  • No, I’m totally “clean”!

What type of running shoes do you prefer?

  • Flexible and cushioned.  I’ve been using the Asics Gel Speed star 4 for several years, but I’ve had to completely slice through the outer sole across the arch area with a butcher knife to get the flexibility I want.

Do you race in a different type of running shoe?

  • I’m racing in a K-Swiss shoe these days (don’t know the model name).  It’s got great flexibility, but I’d like to find something lighter.  (Hello, Capital City Runners?!?)

Do you use weight training?

  • No, but it’s on my “to do” list as a new retiree.  First, I need to find someone who specializes in  setting up programs for older, broken down runner/swimmers.  I’ve already got my Medicare-issued “Silver Sneakers” card, so I’m ready for the gym!   

Do you stretch? 

  • I do, when I think about it, AND have the time.  The active/assisted stretching didn’t seem to do much for me, so I’m back to passive stretching.  Again, I need some guidance to put together a consistent program for my particular situation. 

What are your favorite running routes?

  • I love the Miccosukee Greenway; it’s a great 5 mile conditioner to go from Edenfield to Thornton Rd., do 2 (counter-clockwise) loops of “Bob Deak Field” and go back to Edenfield. Along the Greenway from Thornton to the northern Micc. Rd. crossing and back is also a nice run (about 6.5 miles) …and shady!  You can run hard on those trails without breaking your ankle (or skull!)  I also like Lake Heritage Trail, especially between Alford and Piney Z.  For a X-C racing venue, ARP is the gold standard….what a great course!!

What running resources do you like that would benefit someone else?

  • Among my favorite resources are the Masters Age-Graded Tables.  They’re a great source of information about the relative quality of your running performances across age, gender, and varying distances.  They can also be a great motivational tool, especially for those of us who would rather not focus on our ballooning race times!  You can find these tables on numerous sites; just Google “Masters age-graded tables”, and check them out!

How has your training changed over the years?

  • Haha….it’s gone from 10 years of almost exclusive interval training on the track (for indoor and outdoor track seasons)), to 40 years of year-round road running with some trail and X-C running increasingly mixed in there.

What examples can you give of specific training methods, and what were the results?

  • The thing that has worked best for me over time has been to “train like you race”.  When I was running decently, the more   closely I could simulate race conditions, the better off I was.  Lots of tempo runs approximating race distances, and LONG interval training runs…at a mile and even 2 miles.  400’s or 800’s never seemed to help me much for 5k/10k racing.  When I ran short intervals, I would do anaerobic stuff, at, or near, race pace with very short recoveries.

What advice do you have for beginning or experienced runners to help them with their training?

  • When in doubt, do less, rather than more, in your training.  And that goes for racing, as well.  Despite the hyped-up marketing of marathons and Ironman triathlons as “glamour events”, they invite overtraining and/or injury.  I believe that, in general, both developing or experienced runners and triathletes would be much better served by targeting 10 mile or 20k running events, or Olympic distance triathlons, as ultimate goals.