How They Train!

Alyssa Terry - October 2018


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Did you compete in high school cross country or track?

  • , I ran cross country for Wellington High School, which is near West Palm Beach, Florida.

Did you compete in high school cross country or track?

  • No, I wasn’t nearly fast enough. I wish I was though, because I know I would have loved it!

How many years have you been running?

  • I’ve been running for 11 years. I began running during my freshman year of high school when I tried out for the cross country team. I knew I would be playing lacrosse throughout high school, and I figured cross country would be a good way to stay in shape during the off season. Strangely enough, it turns out I loved cross country even more than lacrosse!

Lifetime personal records

  • 1 mile: 5:44
  • 5k: If we’re only considering official time, then 20:01; however, my watch said 19:59, so I’d prefer to go with that time.
  • Half Marathon: 1:39:43
  • Marathon: 3:24:45

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

  • I’ve really only specifically trained for marathons. When I’m not marathon training, my goal is to maintain my training in a way that I’m ready for whatever Gulf Winds race is scheduled for that weekend! I do this by maintaining a mileage of about 30 to 40 miles per week and include 1-2 days of speed work per week. I’ll begin training for the 2019 Boston Marathon in December; after the marathon, my plan is to focus on training for a half marathon, since it’s never been my main focus before.

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 typically run between 30 and 40 per week when I’m not marathon training. During marathon training, my mileage is higher and is more like 50 to 60 miles per week.

What does your typical week of running look like?

  • Monday:   Take the day off from running and go to the gym for a full body workout
  • Tuesday: Evening intervals at the FSU track, which is always a highlight of my week. I begin my completing a 1-2 mile warm up, which is followed by 3 miles of speed work and then a 1-2 mile cool down
  • Wednesday:  Moderately long run that can range anywhere from 5 to 12 miles depending on what I’m training for at the time.
  • Thursday:   Typically a tempo run that can range from 4 to 6 miles  
  • Friday:   Often times I’ll run an easy 4 miler
  • Saturday:   Race day!!! Distance completely depends on what races are happening in Tallahassee that day.
  • Sunday:  : Long run at an easy pace. Lately I’ve been running between 10 to 14 miles, but I’ll begin to run farther when I begin marathon training again.

Do you peak for certain races?

  • For the past couple years I’ve begun marathon training in the fall and will continue the training through the winter for a marathon in February or March of the following year. Then my mileage will decrease during the Spring and Summer; during this time, I enjoy training for shorter distances such as 5ks and 10ks.

How much sleep do you usually get at night?

  • I typically get at least 7 hours of sleep but always aim for at least 8 hours.  

What time of day do you normally run?

  • I run in the evening on weekdays and run in the morning on the weekend.

What injuries have hampered your training over the past year? 

  • About a week or two after my marathon this past March, my LCL in my knee became injured, causing me to take a couple of months off from running. I’m 99% sure it’s because I didn’t give my body enough rest during the couple of weeks following my marathon. As time goes on, you learn more about what your body can tolerate, and this was definitely a learning experience. It’s amazing how much I can take running for granted sometimes; however, it did give me a chance to focus some different activities during this time, such as biking and strength training.

Do you take any dietary or medical supplements?

  • . Since I’m vegan and my body does not absorb iron very well, I have to take an iron supplement every morning. My other nutritional supplements include a multivitamin, vitamin B12 pill, and magnesium pill. I also drink a Vega vegan protein shake after hard work outs to help with my recovery.

What type of running shoes do you prefer?

  • I love Hokas for runs longer than 6 miles. For shorter runs, I tend to try out different shoes whenever I have to buy new ones; currently, I wear Adidas Adizero Adios 3, and I think they’re great.

Do you race in a different type of running shoe?

  • No, I train and race in the same shoes.

Do you use weight training?

  • . Unfortunately I’ve only had time to do one day of weight training at the gym per week lately. I would prefer to be able to go to the gym 2-3 times per week, but I find it difficult to do that since I run most days; instead, I try to do a few at-home strength training workouts per week using dumbbells and body weight exercises.

Do you stretch? 

  • I really need to stretch and foam roll more often! I make it a point to stretch after each run when I’m running higher mileage during marathon training, but I haven’t been doing a good job of it lately.

What are your favorite running routes?

  • I absolutely love running at Miccosukee Greenway, as well as the trails throughout Tom Brown Park and Lafayette Heritage Trail Park.

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

  • I worked with a running coach when I was training for the Albany Snicker’s Marathon this past March, and I still can’t believe how much I have learned and improved throughout that time. If you have a goal that seems unattainable, I’d highly recommend attempting to work with a coach. Other than that, I typically go to my friends in Gulf Winds whenever I need running advice.

How has your training changed over the years?

  • Well, in high school, I just followed the running plan that my coach set for my team, which was probably about 25-30 miles per week. Then in college, I continued to run, but I wasn’t able to run as much or as fast as I had in high school, which I later found out was due to anemia. Once I moved to Tallahassee for graduate school at FSU and my anemia was resolved, I discovered GWTC. Through GWTC, I’ve met great friends, including the Tallafasties, who constantly motivate and encourage me; consequently, I’ve been able to constantly improve and better myself. Now that I’ve graduated from grad school, I’m having fun setting new goals for myself and experimenting with what methods work the best for me. I definitely don’t have it all figured out yet!

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

  • In my experience, the best results come from a mixture of training methods. I believe track intervals have really helped to improve my speed, but I also know that long slow distance, trail running, and running on hills have made me a stronger, more balanced runner who is ready for a variety of different race distances and terrains. Also, ever since getting my dog Remy in April, he joins me for the first mile of every run that I do from home… And to put it simply, he has a ton of energy, resulting in very fast segments within that first mile (minus his bathroom breaks). So if you’re wanting to add some extra speed work into your week, get a dog and run with him/her!

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

  • Don’t compare yourself to other runners! Whether you’re a beginning or experienced runner, there’s always going to be a faster runner than you. It’s easy to compare yourself to others and begin to wonder what you have to do to get as fast as them, but this mindset takes away from your own accomplishments. Focus on how you have improved whether it means getting a PR, running a mile farther than last week, or gaining more confidence in your running abilities… It all matters!