How They Train!Jack McDermott - February 2012
How many years have you been running?
I ran cross-country in high school, then went to college and got fat eating pizza and chicken wings. I began my “comeback” at age 30 – so I have been running seriously for 12 years.
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 run about 55-60 miles, but I have done as many as 84 and as few as 31 depending on my training, tapering, and marathon schedule.
Lifetime personal records
- Mile: 5:01
- 5K: 17:28
- 10K: 36:39
- 15K: 56:30
- Half-Marathon: 1:21:20
- 30K: 1:58:24
- Marathon: 2:50:15
- 50K: 3:29:15
- 50-Mile: 6:27:24
What are your training goals?
October is the beginning of “marathon season,” although I am still flirting with ultras. My big races are the Tallahassee Ultra-Distance 50-Miler in December, First Light Marathon in January, and the Boston Marathon in April. I would love to get PRs in the marathon and the 50-miler – but that is my goal every year.
What does your typical week of running look like?
- Monday: Gym for upper body work-out – run 8 miles
- Tuesday: Run total of 6 miles including intervals
- Wednesday:Gym for upper body work-out – run 8 miles
- Thursday: Run 5.5 miles easy with Thursday group in Tom Brown Park
- Friday: Gym for upper body work-out – run 3 miles
- Saturday: Either race, or run tempo run of 7-8 miles
- Sunday: Run easy 10 miles with Sunday Streaker group – maybe another 5 by myself.
How does your training vary over the course of a year?
I really try to ramp it up during marathon season (October – April) due to the cool weather; in the summer heat I merely try to avoid getting fat.
Do you take recovery or down time?
Do you peak for certain races?
- Not really — it depends. I go in cycles where I just run marathons for fun; at other times, I am focused on racing.
How much sleep do you usually get at night?
I work best on 8-9 hours of sleep – but usually only get 7 hours.
What time of day do you normally run?
I try to run twice a day — during lunch (3 miles), and after work (5 miles)
What injuries have hampered your training over the past year?
.I have chronic problems with my sacroiliac joint – which usually manifests itself with pain in my butt and right hamstring, but it is manageable.
Do you take any dietary or medical supplements?
After the University of Exeter studies on beetroot juice – I am a firm believer of taking this before races, which I think helps. Other than that – dietary supplements just give me gas and do not improve my performance. (Shark Cartilage? Honestly!)
What type of running shoes do you prefer?
I still use the Brooks Beast for my training.
Do you race in a different type of running shoe?
I am really depressed about this; I love the Spira Stinger shoes, but they stopped making them. I have yet to find a racing flat that I like at the moment.
Do you use weight training?
Yes — Upper body; I do this to maintain my physique – not sure it contributes to performance.
Do you stretch?
I try to avoid stretching as I am convinced it causes injuries. I do believe in warming up before big races, and I am thinking about experimenting with massage.
What are your favorite running routes?
Tom Brown Park
What running resources do you like that would benefit someone else?
Marathonguide.com and Runnersweb.com.
What examples can you give of specific training methods, and what were the results?
I am a firm believer in interval training, and in doing tempo runs. However, I recommend that people focus on longer slower runs. Running a 4:00-4:30 marathon for fun is a great workout for me. It is the “time on your feet” that really counts, not the speed.
How has your training changed over the years?
- I now focus more on longer distance events; on rare occasions you will see me at a 5K.
What advice do you have for beginning or experienced runners to help them with their training?
The biggest problem for beginning and experienced runners is not training and injuries – it is motivation. I believe in developing a multitude of goals, especially goals that are not linked to PRs. One of my goals is to run 500 lifetime marathons (I now have 144); another is to run a marathon in all 50 states (I now have 36), or run with my wife Laura in all 50 states (we have run 14 together – she has done 19 states total). Keep creating goals that do not pertain to performance and you will always be motivated to run – otherwise it is only fun to run if you are setting PRs.