How They Train! Andy Roberts

March 2013


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Did you compete in high school cross country or track?

  • I ran Cross country in high school but never track. It was during soccer season and soccer was my favorite sport.

Did you compete in college cross country or track?

  • I was an avid cyclist in college and competed almost every weekend. I did not run in college.

How many years have you been running?

  • I have been running pretty consistently since about 2003.

Lifetime personal records

  • 5K – 19:00
  • 10K – 39:46
  • 15K – 1:01
  • Marathon – 3:10
  • 50K paved – 4:08
  • 50K mountain trail – 5:16

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 typical week when training for long distance races is about 40 miles.  This can vary greatly because sometimes I mix in some cycling and my running mileage goes down.

What running events do you train for?

  • Lately my focus has ultra distance trail racing.  I think my best distance is 50k.  The 50 mile races are really tough.  Oddly I have found that I stay healthy doing the longer, slower runs.  Most of my injuries have come from trying to run too fast, not too far.

What does your typical week of running look like?

  • Monday: 1 hour bike ride   
  • Tuesday: FSU intervals, Gulf Winds Track Club, with extra warm up and cool down – 8 miles. The warm up and cool down are usually the only time I run on pavement all week if I don’t race.       
  • Wednesday: This is a day that I am always changing. Sometimes I do a 40-50 mile bike ride other times I do a1 hour or 1.5 hour run.
  • Thursday: Tempo run at the Miccosukee Greenway 5.5 miles
  • Friday:It is very rare that I exercise on a Friday
  • Saturday: 15-20 mile run  
  • Sunday:5-10 mile run or 30-60 mile bike ride

Saturday and Sunday often get swapped based on what other people are doing.  I like to run with groups on the weekend.

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

  • I am one of those unfortunate souls that gets injured once or twice a year.  Normally during that time I do a lot of biking.  I have never had a running injury that prevented me from cycling.
    This really helps with coming back from injury and I am usually able to get back to running well in just a couple of weeks.

Do you take recovery or down time?

  • If I am taking down time from running I am usually cycling

Do you peak for certain races?

  • Yes, for the past few years I have focused on a big race in the fall (50 mile) and another around the end of January (50k).  I do other races as preparation for the target races, but usually without digging so deep that I will not be able to run the next week.

How much sleep do you usually get at night?

  • 7 hours

What time of day do you normally run?

  • My favorite time to run is right after work around 4:30.

What injuries have hampered your training over the past year? 

  • I have problems with my soleus muscles fairly consistently

Do you take any dietary or medical supplements?

  • No

What type of running shoes do you prefer?

  • Asics 21XX for pavement,  Montrail Mountain Masochist for the trails

Do you race in a different type of running shoe?

  • No, being injury prone I have never found using light weight racing shoes to be worth the risk.  I find it funny to see people who are 10lbs or more over weight running in 6oz racing flats.

Do you use weight training?

  • I try to motivate myself to go to the gym but I am not very successful.

Do you stretch? 

  • Not much at all prior to runs, I have found that a slow warm up is just as effective.  During the day I do a good bit of stretching for my hips and soleus muscles.

What are your favorite running routes?

  • Locally the Ft. Braden trail is probably my favorite.  It is one of Tallahassee’s best trails and it is barely used.  I also love running the Miccosukee Greenway and the Orange Blazed hiking trail at Forrest meadows. 

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

  • I think has been one of the greatest sources of information for me since I started running long distance. I have learned quite a bit about nutrition and equipment from the interviews and improved my finishing times substantially as a result.

If you have been running for many years, how has your training changed over the years?

  • I think the biggest change for me is that I quit doing so many 5k’s and as a result I do not have near as many injuries.

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

  • As you can guess with living in Florida we don’t have too many long climbs to help us prepare for mountain races.  To deal with that I spend a good deal of time on the treadmill with it set at 15% grade walking at about 18 minute pace.  If a hill is that steep you need to be good at walking, not running.  I also have found that intervals at the track and more bike riding have given me more strength for running hills. 
    This year I was able to run up hills much better in my races and my times dropped.

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

  • Go to some group runs and meet the friendly people in town that run.  They will motivate you to run more and make the runs much more fun.  You can make some great friends through running. There are experts in dealing with injury, let them help you. I have found that ignoring pain or trying to wait it out just does not work. I am quick to make a visit to Center for Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy when I have aches and pains now and I have found that I have been able to stay active and recover from injury much quicker than in the past.  There is just no way to match their knowledge of how to work through problems.