How They Train!

Elizabeth Stupi - February 2013


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How many years have you been running?

  • Probably 14-15 years. I took some time off from running when I first started college. I competed in high school cross country and track in Tallmadge, Ohio.

Lifetime personal records

  • I don’t remember most of my lifetime PRs for shorter distances as they came while I was in high school. Half marathon–1:52; marathon–4:26; 50K (trail)–6:37; 50 mile (road)–9:15; 100 mile (trail)–29:13.

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’m not sure I have a “typical” week, but maybe anywhere from 40-60 miles if I’m not tapering or peaking.

What running events (springs to ultra-distance) do you train for, or what are your training goals?

  • I’m mainly training for ultramarathons with a focus on 50+ miles. I’m entered into 4 races of marathon distance or more in January and February of 2013, but those are mostly for training. My big goal right now is Vol State, a 314 mile race across the state of Tennessee in July.

What does your typical week of running look like?

Please note that this “typical” week is somewhat new. I did things a little differently when training last spring/summer. This is because I’ve only been running ultras for a few years and am still trying to figure out what works best for me. Also, I’ve started “streaking” with some of my FUR (Florida Ultra Running) friends.

  • Monday: Easy run 2 miles, lift, incline walk on treadmill (15% for 20-30 minutes)
  • Tuesday:  Yoga in the AM; intervals in the PM (recently, the FSU track has been closed, so I’ve been doing time based intervals on my own – i.e. warm-up, repeats of 2 minutes on and 2 minutes off, cool down)       
  • Wednesday: Mid-distance run (up to 12-15 miles)
  • Thursday: Short, easy run in the AM (maybe 5 miles); tempo run at the Greenway in the PM
  • Friday: Easy run 2 miles, lift, incline walk on treadmill (15% for 20-30 minutes)
  • Saturday:  Long run (18-20+ miles) or a race (I prefer to enter races for long runs of 25 miles or more, so will do marathons or 50k’s as training)
  • Sunday: Easy run with distance varying 2-15 miles depending on how far I ran Saturday

Every day will also include at least 50 push-ups and 50 sit-ups. The FUR streak I’m doing requires 2 miles, 50 push-ups and 50 sit-ups. I’m trying this as a new means of training for ultras. I’m not absolutely strict about my training schedule though. Sometimes things get moved around because of the rest of my life. As long as I get my 2/50/50 each day and long run each week, I try not to worry too much.

How has your training changed over the years?

  • Since I’ve started to focus on ultras, I am running more miles per week, longer runs on the weekends and more races. I’ve also tried many different things since I’ve started training for ultras. My current plan of running every day is the newest idea I’m trying. With ultras, you have to figure out what works for you

Do you take recovery or down time?

  • Only when absolutely necessary. For example, I recently took two weeks completely off because I couldn’t shake a chest cold and had DNFed two races in an 8 day period (Ancient Oaks 100 miler at 41.5 miles and TUDC 50 miler at 43.8 miles)

Do you peak for certain races?

  • Yes, usually my longest races

How much sleep do you usually get at night?

  • I try to get 8 hours, which usually means going to bed fairly early

What time of day do you normally run?

  • I prefer to run in the morning, but will run other times if my schedule requires.

What injuries have hampered your training over the past year? 

  • Nothing too serious, mainly just tightness in my hamstrings and glutes

Do you take any dietary or medical supplements?

  • Multivitamin when I remember but daily take an immune system boosting gummy.

What type of running shoes do you prefer?

  • Brooks Adrenaline and Nike Zoom Structure for road or non-technical trail; Montrail Mountain Masochists for trail; Nike Free for speedwork

Do you race in a different type of running shoe?

  •  For really short races (15k or less), Nike Free

Do you use weight training?

  •  I try to go the gym, but it’s the first thing to go when I get pressed for time. 
  • Twice a week if possible; full body but do try to work upper body and core especially

Do you stretch? 

  • If yoga counts; also some sporadic static stretching of my “big” muscles (glutes, hamstrings, quads)
    Yoga is once a week; static stretching tends to be at night if I’m feeling particularly tight

What are your favorite running routes?

  • I run on the roads around my house (Killearn area), and the trails at Lake Overstreet and the Miccosukkee Greenway. I really love the more technical trails at places like Torreya.

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

  • I’m a member of the FUR (Florida Ultra Running) facebook group. I belong to two ultrarunning email listserves and subscribe to Runner’s World and Ultrarunning magazines. I read just about anything I can find on running.

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

  • I do lots of miles of slow running where I can talk and finish feeling like I could run more if I needed to.  This has built my endurance so that 50 miles into my first 100 miler, I still felt great.

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

  • A lot of running is mental. I think the key is knowing that there will be bad patches, but believing that you can get through them. Also, if running isn’t fun, then change something. Maybe run without a watch for a week or train with a friend or run somewhere new.