How They Train! Jay Wallace

January 2011


  • 46

How many years have you been running?

  • About 18, divided into two sections

Lifetime personal records

  • Youth
    • 1600m – 4:23
    • 3200m – 9:18
    • 5K – 14:46
    • 10K – 30:42
  • Masters
    • 5K – 16:42
    • 10K – 34:48
    • Marathon – 2:58:54

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?

  • 25-40

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

  • Mostly 5K and 10K, but I also enjoy the 15 – 20 K races

What does your typical week of running look like?

  • Monday: Off
  • Tuesday: 5-7 moderate intensity
  • Wednesday: Off
  • Thursday: 5-7 moderate intensity
  • Friday: Off, or mow the grass plus 3 miler
  • Saturday: Fartlek interval work, usually 15-25 minutes worth of surges with equal or slightly less rest time.  Higher intensity ones are every other week.  By high intensity I am referring to roughly 5K pace or faster.  Try to get the pulse up to the 160+ range on the last intervals.
  • Sunday: Easy distance 10-15 miles.  Shorter on week of high intensity speed work and vice versa.

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

  •  More speed work in summer, more distance in winter

Do you take recovery or down time? Why?

  • I don’t bounce back from races as quickly as I used to.  I try not to schedule two races a week apart.  On a seasonal basis, I tend to take a break from racing and high intensity training during and for a few weeks after the Holidays.

Do you peak for certain races?

  • I try to peak for Springtime, Pine Run and Turkey Trot, but they all seem to blend together these days.

How much sleep do you usually get at night?

  • Six to 7 hours but I could use more.

What time of the day do you normally run?

  • This varies, depending on my home and work schedule.  I don’t mind running in the middle of a summer afternoon as long as it’s in shaded trails.  Sometimes I am out in the dark at 8:00 p.m. around my neighborhood.

What injuries have hampered your training over the past year? 

  • Some knee aches and pains, but no serious injuries.

Do you take any dietary or medical supplements?

  • Multivitamin with minerals, omega-3 fatty acids, garlic, vitamin D

What type of running shoes do you prefer?

  • I am not wed to one specific shoe.  I have bought Nike Pegasus, Asics Gel Equation lately and they work well.

Do you race in a different type of running shoe?  If so, what is it?

  • Usually a New Balance racing flat for road races.  I usually run in training flats for trail races.

Do you use weight training?

  • No.  I do daily push-ups and sit-ups plus some simple core exercises for the legs.

Do you stretch? 

  • Some – basic hamstring, quad and calf stretches, usually in the evening.  This is one area I should not be sought for advice.

What are your favorite running routes?

  • I like to combine the Phipps and Overstreet trails for long runs.

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

  • My old coach and friend Dave Griffith has much wisdom.  However, since he hasn’t published a book I would recommend Arthur Lydiard, whose principles Griff followed to a large extent.

How has your training changed over the years?

  • In my high school and college years I ran nearly every day.  We focused on base mileage in the off-season with sharpening during cross country and track seasons.  Now I try to maximize what I can get out of 4 – 5 days per week.  Running is more of a luxury than a way of life now.

What examples can you give of specific training methods (for example, long slow distance, hill repeats, track intervals, trail running, etc.) that have produced results?

  • I prefer fartlek to the track for speed work.  When trying to peak for a certain race, I build up to the most intense speed workout two weeks prior to that event.  Also, just a few longer than usual long runs in the preceding weeks seem to help. 

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

  • Ease off on the intensity and mileage if you feel aches and pains in any joints.
  • Anti-inflammatories can be helpful, but if you need them just to get out the door for a run, then you should take some time off and possibly see a doctor.  Don’t run the risk of worsening your injury and/or getting a bleeding ulcer.
  • Avoid doing more than one speed workout per week.  I’ve found that injury risk rises considerably when doing more than one.
  • Races can count as a speed workout day (at least the 5Ks to 10Ks)
  • This is an important one: If for any reason the PRs and points and milestones start to consume you, STOP for a moment.  Put everything in its proper context.  Many of us are obsessive-compulsive about our running, but if it starts to become another stress in an already busy life then maybe we need to rethink our approach.  It doesn’t hurt to step away from it all for a few weeks or months either.  Sorry for the preaching, but I speak from experience on this one.