How They Train! Ettore AldrovandiFebruary 2019
Did you compete in high school cross country or track?
- No (believe it or not, I played volleyball)
Did you compete in high school cross country or track?
How many years have you been running?
- 14, more or less
Lifetime personal records
- 1:06:12 at the Turkey Trot in 2013, and the ones are especially dear to me are: 03:26:54 at the Soldier Marathon in 2014, 4:32:53 at the TUDC 50K in 2013, and 7:53:20 at the TUDC 50M in 2018.
What running events do you train for or what are your training goals?
- You can tell from the above that I like long distance. Right now I am training for the 50K in Blackwater State Park. These past two years the 50 Miles in Wakulla was the main goal, and it might be the same this year too.
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?
- It depends on what I’m training for, but for the last 6 months it was 70 something miles at peak training.
What does your typical week of running look like?
- Monday: Rest (or active rest)
- Tuesday: 12-14
- Wednesday: 8
- Thursday: 10-12
- Friday: Rest
- Saturday: Long, it varies from 20 to 25
- Sunday: Longish, between 12 and 18
How does your training vary over the course of a year?
- Usually I take a break at the beginning of the year, meaning I go into maintenance mode. I still run 3 to 4 times a week with one longer run on Sunday, but my weekly mileage goes down to about 20 or so.
Do you peak for certain races?
- Yes, for the 50 miles. I start specifically training for it during the summer, meaning that by then I have to run comfortably for about 18 miles and it ramps up to what I described above. Peak is around late October. The longest long run for that is 50K.
How much sleep do you usually get at night?
- Not enough! About 6-7 hours. But I would sleep a little longer, if I could.
What time of day do you normally run?
- Well, I have to drive my son to school early in the morning, and I’m not a morning person anyway. And then there’s work. So on weekdays I usually run at night, or late afternoon. Long runs are in the morning.
What injuries have hampered your training over the past year?
- Fortunately the past year has been injury free. But I have had to deal with plantar fasciitis toward the end 2016. I am also prone to lower back problems, so I am very careful. The past two years have been very good, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed!
Do you take any dietary or medical supplements?
- . Nope, nothing. I believe in keeping a healthy and balanced diet.
What type of running shoes do you prefer?
- It depends on the distance. In general I like low drop, but not zero. I have had bad experiences with Altras, and very good ones with Topo and Hoka, which are my current favorites for long(er) distances. A caveat, at least for me, concerning Hokas is that it’s hard to find a model I like, and they keep tweaking them in ways that are not always satisfactory. But there are a few models I do like. Saucony Kinvaras are my other frequently used model. So, currently I run in: Topo Athletic UltraFly and FlyLite2, Hoka Napali, and Saucony Kinvara 7 (I had a bunch of those). I actually love the first trail version of the Kinvaras, the TR1.
Do you race in a different type of running shoe?
- Not really, it’s one of the ones I usually train in. The last 50M was in Hoka Napali.
Do you use weight training?
- .Not really.
Do you stretch?
- A lot. Every day, or I try to. I focus on my calves, plantar for most of the stretches. So, a lot of calf stretches. Then, I also work on the IT bands, which is not the easiest thing to do, but there are some positions that help. I also do a lot of press ups and forward bending in order to keep my torso flexible.
What are your favorite running routes?
- For practical reasons a lot of my running happens in my neighborhood, Waverly Hills, which I like a lot. I have several routes there covering various standard distances. For example, I have a route that is more or less 6.2 miles; I use that a lot when I’m training for the ultra in Wakulla, as it’s the same kind of distance per loop. Other than that, I like the Greenways a lot, because of the surroundings and the nature. I’m not great at trail running, but I like Tom Brown Park a lot, in particular the Lafayette Heritage Trail. In fact, the Tails & Trails is one of my favorite races.
What running resources do you like that would benefit someone else?
- One book I like is “Relentless forward progress,” by Bryon Powell. I enjoy reading the adventures in the Ultrarunning online magazine. There are also several blogs with gear reviews which I find occasionally useful, like roadtrailrun.com or irunfar.com
How has your training changed over the years?
- It’s not a lot of years, but certainly there where changes. I definitely pay more attention to what I’m doing, in particular my running form, than before.
What examples can you give of specific training methods, and what were the results?
- Due to where I live I have to do a lot of hills. I have also been paying a lot more attention to my running form in the past couple of years, and consciously changed my stride. The third thing, also very important, is that I ditched the music. For uphills, the result is that I can now defend myself (wink!). For the stride, I have become a midfoot striker, or becoming one, and I believe that overall improved my physical well being. In particular, I don’t suffer from pounding anymore (which is good for a number of things, your back in particular). The music is probably the most important: I am a music lover, but now that I don’t listen to anything at all while running, I can focus on feeling my body. It’s almost like some form of meditation.
What advice do you have for beginning or experienced runners to help them with their training?
- Well, I’m not sure I’m in position of giving advice. However, if one is to be given, I guess it’s to ditch the urge of “getting there” and simply enjoy the moment. Maybe it applies to life in general too, but it’s certainly true for running!