How They Train!

Perha Varley - October 2012


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How many years have you been running?

  •  I have been running for 25 years, about 25-30 miles a week.

What are your training goals?

  • I ran my first 10 K in Seoul, Korea, in 48 minutes and a 5 K in 23 minutes.  I have finished several half marathons with a best time of 2:10.  I completed my first Marathon (Tallahassee) in February 2012. Typically, I train to remain as injury free as possible after having had both knees scoped for meniscus repair.

What does your typical week of running look like?

  • Monday: 6 miles with hills 
  • Tuesday: Intervals and hills plus weight training (5-10 lb Upper body) and floor exercises.
  • Wednesday: 6 miles with hills
  • Thursday: Weight Training (5-10 lb Upper body) and floor exercises.
  • Friday: 6 miles with hills
  • Saturday: If no race is scheduled for that day, I run long runs of 8-16 miles depending on what distance the races are in the near future. 
  • Sunday: Intervals (Track)

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

  • Preparing for the Tallahassee Marathon, I greatly increased my weekly mileage up to 40 or so miles from September to February.

Do you take recovery or down time?

  • No.  Not really.

Do you peak for certain races?

  • For longer races only, e.g. half/full marathons.

How much sleep do you usually get at night?

  • Eight hours

What time of day do you normally run?

  • 5:00 AM

What injuries have hampered your training over the past year? 

  • None.

Do you take any dietary or medical supplements?

  • Vitamins, Calcium, Glucosamine/Chondroitin daily.

What type of running shoes do you prefer?

  • Saucony Hurricane 13 with orthotic inserts from Kim Ortloff.

Do you race in a different type of running shoe?

  •   I race in Asics shoes.

Do you use weight training?

  • Yes, Twice weekly.  I use an exercise video with 5, 8, and 10 lb free weights.  All weight training is upper body.  Following that I do 15 minutes of push-ups, sit-ups, and floor exercises.

Do you run intervals?

  • I basically do intervals twice a week.  On Tuesday mornings I walk one mile and then run one mile as fast as possible.  On Sunday afternoons I go to Leon High School track and run intervals with the group coached by Paul Guyas.  This training session lasts about 1 hour and has been most helpful.

Do you stretch? 

  • No, but I will walk a good bit after every race to cool down.

What are your favorite running routes?

  • Killearn area with low traffic and lighted streets.

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

  • Runners’ World, Internet articles.

How has your training changed over the years?

  • Increased weekly mileage and running longer distances.

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

  • Intervals for speed and distance for endurance.  I’m still on a runner’s high after finishing my marathon.  Long, slow running was the best training.

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

  • Start with a good pair of shoes that have been properly fitted by someone in the know.  Listen to your body.  Start slow and short and only increase slowly, e.g. 10% per week.