How They Train!

David Yon - February 2014


  • 58

Did you compete in high school or college cross country or track?

  • No

How many years have you been running?

  • Since 1983

Lifetime personal records

  • Mile 4:58+
  • 5K 16:40
  • 10K 34:55
  • Half Marathon, 1:16:56
  • Marathon 2:43:55

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

  • I have trained for every distance from the mile to 53 miles (Comrades Marathon in Durban, South Africa).

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?

  • 40-45; many years ago it was 60.

What does your typical week of running look like?

  • Monday: Rest–no exercise
  • Tuesday: Maclay Track for 3 miles of speed work.  Could be 12×400 to 3×1600.  Every week is different.  In recent times I am trying to complete the work out faster than I start it and generally trying to push at 80-90%.  Of course some days seem like 100%.
    I also try to do a weight workout at Premier.  Nothing too hard, but usually I do two sets of about 10 stations.  I try to hit everything including arms, core and legs.       
  • Wednesday: 5 miles easy with friends through FSU campus.  Post-race nutrition which usually     includes a Dog Fish 90 (beer).
  • Thursday: Pace day.  Assuming health and time permit I like to get a 6-8 mile run in at a strong effort.  85% again.
  • Friday: Off day.  No exercise 
  • Saturday: Often race.  If not racing, this day can be almost anything.  For example, I ran 15.3 miles on Old Centerville Road and pushed pretty hard after the first two miles.  I usually do a second weight workout on Saturday.  This one is usually harder than Tuesday and I try to do three sets of each exercise.
  • Sunday: I like running around 9.5 to 12 miles.  I may also turn this into a long day if I am training for longer distances.

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

  • When I stay healthy, I like to keep it pretty consistent.  In the summer I try to focus more on just covering miles and creating a strong base.  As I get closer to key races, I try and pick up the intensity of the speed work. 

Do you take recovery or down time?

  • Unfortunately, I have had a lot of downtime enforced by injuries.  When I used to run with good health and consistency throughout the year, I would take some time and drop my miles a lot for a couple of weeks.  I also like to work on a pattern of increased miles for two or three weeks and then cut my total miles back a lot for one week.

Do you peak for certain races?

  • I do try to do that, especially if I am healthy.

How much sleep do you usually get at night?

  • Not enough.

What time of day do you normally run?

  • I run some in the early morning and some in the evening.

What injuries have hampered your training over the past year? 

  • I have several years of battling ornery hamstrings.  One required surgery.  They both seem to be doing much better right now though.  Of course by the time you read this…

    I was also diagnosed with Parkinson’s in fall 2012.  That has presented an interesting challenge.  However, I have received excellent medical care that includes a bunch of meds.  In addition, my doctor is very adamant that exercise is not only good, but necessary.  I believe getting on a good treatment program has helped me stay healthy and has helped my running improve this year.

Do you take any dietary or medical supplements?

  • Well, I take a lot of meds for the Parkinson’s.  I take vitamin D (doctor’s order) and a good multi-vitamin.   I eat every little meat (only fish), so I do occasionally mix a protein supplement in with my fluids.

What type of running shoes do you prefer?

  • I seem to run in about 3-4 different types of shoes these days.  One or two that offer a little more protection and one or two that are very light.  I love to race in lighter shoes–Saucony Fastwhich and Kinvara.

Do you use weight training?

  • Yes.  In a perfect world I would lift three times a week.  However, I usually make twice.  I try and do an all-around workout.

Do you stretch? 

  • Yes. Over the years I have sort of evolved my stretching.  Most days I will stretch in the morning when I first get up and at night before I go to bed.  While I still do some traditional stretching, I am more likely to be trying to work troubled areas.  This comes in large part from the work Mark Miller (PT) showed be to help heal my hamstring.  The idea is to try and “knock on the door” of the injured area just loud enough to tell it to come out and play, without hurting it more.

What are your favorite running routes?

  •  I love them all.  I especially love our trail system.

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

  • I  love Track and Field News.  I like the E-reports they have added.  I also spend time on  I have read a lot of books over the years.  Two of my favorite books are the Competitive Runners Handbook by Bob Glover and Pete Schuder and Daniels’ Running Formula by Jack Daniels.

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

  • I run substantially fewer miles. During the best years I ran 7 days a week, maybe taking one day a month off. My weekly highs in those days were 60-65 miles. Intervals were more intense and sometimes more volume. I remember doing 4 and 5 times a mile many times.

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

  • I had very good success one year running intervals on one day and running hills another.  We used to run up the hill (maybe 300 meters) concentrating on good form and then run 75% effort back down the hill.  Jog a short bit to recover and then run a fast 100 meters for leg turnover, take a short break and run the 100 back toward the uphill.  That was one circuit and we did up to eight circuits. I achieved some fast times with these workouts.

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

  • Find what you enjoy most in the sport.  Next to friendship, it might just be the greatest gift most of us will ever receive. Build what you do around a plan that lets you experience these benefits. Learn about your body and how it is impacted by different types of training.  Be patient, training does not deliver dividends immediately.  Be aware that injuries sneak up over time.  It is often when you feel strongest that the injuries creep in. And then, never give up.  Most likely, with patience you will run again.