How They Train!

Laura McDermott


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Did you compete in high school cross country or track?

  • No, I was a dancer, gymnast, and cheerleader.

How many years have you been running?

  • Almost 20 years … running most every day since I was 18. I needed it to relieve stress when I was in college.

Lifetime personal records

  • 5k: 21:16, Palace 2015
  • 10k: 44:01, Springtime 2015
  • Half Marathon: 1:38:58, Tallahassee 2017
  • Marathon: 3:29:58, Jack & Jill 2017
  • 53 Marathons (10 international)

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

  • Marathons

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- 70 miles per week, depending on where I am in my training cycle.

What does your typical week of running look like?

  • Monday:  4-6M, easy
  • Tuesday:   7-9M with 3M of speed work at 5k pace
  • Wednesday:  10-15M, easy
  • Thursday:  5-8M, easy with striders
  • Friday:  5-12M, easy
  • Saturday:  6M or a race
  • Sunday:   10-22M easy

Do you take recovery or down time?

  • I might take 3-5 days off after a marathon.

Do you peak for certain races?

  • Yes, I peak for maybe 2 marathons a year.

How much sleep do you usually get at night?

  • 7-8 hours

What time of day do you normally run?

  • Mostly in the evening, but try to do mornings in the summertime.

What injuries have hampered your training over the past year?

  • Sometimes my hamstring feels tight.

Do you take any dietary or medical supplements?

  • Magnesium & B12

What type of running shoes do you prefer?

  • Altra Torin, but I race in Spiras.

Do you use weight training?

  • 2-3 times per week; this summer, I started body pump class once a week and use the medicine ball for arms and core.

Do you stretch?

  • Yes. I do yoga weekly and I try to stretch my hamstrings and quads after every run. I have a few back exercises I do too.

What are your favorite running routes?

  • Tom Brown, St. Mark’s Trail, Bradley’s

How has your training changed over the years?

  • I was never very competitive until maybe my 20th marathon. I got close to getting a Boston Qualifier at St. George, Utah. That fast time gave me the confidence to get serious about my training.

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

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. I have gotten most of my advice from other runners. Nancy Stedman coached me and helped me realize that both easy days and hard days have a purpose. Steve Barraco gave me good advice about my breathing and how to run uphill and downhill. Right now, Albert Wieringa is coaching me. He has helped me increase my miles without getting injured.
  • My biggest supporter has been Jack, my husband. Even though I cannot keep up with his type of training and number of marathons per year, he helps me with any goal or race without hesitation. We’ve had many good learning experiences and have made many memorable journeys as a marathon couple. I love our lifestyle.