How They Train!

Birgit Maier-Katkin - April 2013

How many years have you been running?

  • I started running three years ago and am now covering (running and walking) about 50-60 miles a week. My goal has been to finish a variety of races from one mile to 50 miles. For three years in a row, I have participated in the Ultra Distance races at Wakulla Springs. My next adventure is the 50K Draggin’ Tail Race at Torreya State Park. The terrain is gorgeous, stimulating and offers a nice challenge. At some point, I hope to find the time and participate in the Silvretta Ferwall Marathon in Austria.

What does your typical week of running look like?

  • Monday: 8- 12 miles (Monday through Friday I take my two dogs on a walk in the neighborhood. The intensity varies; we either walk or jog depending on what my dogs are up for).
  • Tuesday: 5 miles walk/run with dogs, followed by a flexibility and conditioning class with Beth Culley at Premier Health & Fitness         
  • Wednesday: 8-12 miles run/walk
  • Thursday: 5 miles run/walk, flexibility and conditioning class
  • Friday: 8-12 miles walk/run
  • Saturday:Distance races from 5 K to 50 Miles 
  • Sunday:20 miles training run with my running partner Sandra Canada

Do you take recovery or down time?

  • Family and travel schedules, summer and winter breaks tend to enforce down time. During those days, I walk, bike and engage in different physical activities.

What time of day do you normally run, and how much sleep do you usually get at night?

  • I normally run or walk in the early mornings and get about 6 hours sleep at night.

What injuries have hampered your training over the past year? 

  • None. So far I’ve had the good fortune to receive solid advice and help whenever small problems arose.

Do you take any dietary or medical supplements?

  • At times, I add whey protein to my post-running chocolate milk and every once in a while I remember to take multi vitamins.

What type of running shoes do you prefer?

  • Brooks Ariel for the road and Salomon XR Mission for trails.

Do you use weight training?

  • Yes. During my biweekly conditioning class, I use eight pound weights for chest, back, shoulder and arm exercises.

Do you stretch? 

  • Yes. Twice a week for 45 minutes I attend a flexibility class. After each run or walk, I use a foam roller as well as the stick. Following a long Sunday training run, I like to take an Epsom salt bath and call it a “spa” day.

What are your favorite running routes?

  • St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, St. Marks Historical Railroad Trail, as well as the streets in my Summerbrooke neighborhood.

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

  • At times, I pick up a running magazine for a long airplane trip or I read an article on However, the best advice and information has come from other experienced runners.

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

  • I have to admit that so far speed has not been my primary concern. During the week, my two dogs set the pace. On long Sunday runs, the objective is to cover the mileage, time is secondary. I enjoy the combination of a Saturday race and a long run on Sunday. The experience of long distance races has given me confidence to participate in any kind of distance race ranging from 1 Mile to 50 Miles.

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

  • Try to enjoy your run and treasure the moments when you move through particularly beautiful nature spots. When the rising sun creates this Floridian “lightshow.” it feels good to be out there.

    A special thanks goes to Fred and Margarete Deckert who introduced me to Gulf Winds Track Club.