How They Train! Stan LiintonJanuary 2020
Did you compete in high school cross country or track?
I competed in both cross country and track at Wakulla High School. I was coached by Paul Hoover.
Did you compete in college cross country or track?
I competed in both cross country and track at Florida State University. I was coached by Bob Braman.
How many years have you been running?
Lifetime personal records
- 3000m – 8:25
- 5000m – 14:27
- 10,00m – 29:56
- Half Marathon – 1:04:58
- Full Marathon – 2:18:43
What running events do you train for or what are your training goals?
I train specifically for the 10K up to the Marathon, but I like to hop in the shorter races. My goals are to improve my PR’s in all events. Before I’m done racing on the track, I would love to run under 14 minutes/29 minutes in the 5K/10K.
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 usually hang around 95 to 110 miles per week but depending on the stage of my training it might vary. For example, it’s not unusual for me to run 110-120 miles during the base phase and 70-85 miles during the peaking phase. I run twice a day on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and occasionally Wednesday if I have time. The shorter run is a 5 to 6-mile jog.
What does your typical week of running look like?
- Monday: Recovery Day: 6-8 miles easy + Core/Weight Workout
- Fartlek or VO2 Session
- AM: Easy 6 Miles (Slow)
- PM: Deek Quarters (Named after Rob de Castella, Australian Marathoner) involves running 8x400m at 5K pace or slightly faster, with a recovery period of only 200m. The 200m is usually a float, making the workout challenging. This workout comes out to 3 miles. Whatever you can cover the 3 miles in is a good prediction of your 5K time. 3 miles of jogging for warm-up and cool-down.
- Fartlek or VO2 Session
- Wednesday: Medium Long Run, Easy 14-15 Miles
- AM: Easy 6 Miles (Slow)
- PM: 10 x 200m climb with 600m jog recovery. Pushing hard and straightening the back leg in order to improve power/drive. Focus is on form opposed to speed. 3 miles of warming up, 2 miles of cooling down.
- Friday: Easy 10 Miles
- Saturday: – Lactic Threshold Session
- AM: 2-2-2. This workout involves 3 x 2-mile repeats at or slightly faster than Lactic Threshold pace. The recovery periods are 1-mile float jogs at 45 seconds to 1 min slower than the average pace. Example: 2 miles @ 5:10/mi, 1 mile @ 6:00/mi, 2 miles @ 5:05/mi, 1 mile @ 6:00/mi, 2 miles @ 5:00/mi pace. Comes out to 8 miles continuous running. During marathon training, will add another 2 mile rep/1 mile float to make the workout 11 miles. 2 miles of jogging for warm-up and cool-down.
- PM: Easy 6 Miles (Slow)
- Sunday: Long Run, Easy 18-22 Miles
Total Mileage: 96-104 miles
What types of training do you do?
Easy Running. There are many reasons we run easy. Some of these reasons include: 1. Improve stroke volume of the heart, 2. Improve resistance to injury, 3. Development of mitochondria (better oxygen transport to muscles), and 4. Development of capillary beds to utilize blood sugars and oxygen. There are many other reasons, but these are just four examples. Long easy running is especially important because we can make these developments over a longer period of time. The vast majority of my weekly mileage (roughly 75%) is easy running.
Threshold Training. Improve endurance and lactic threshold by running continuous workouts. In these sessions, you never take a break until the workout is done. An example would be a tempo in which you run continuously at your lactic threshold (Intensity at which you can race for 1 hour) for 20-40 minutes. Another example would be a track session in which you run a hard lap, followed by a lap at an easier pace, similar to a fartlek. I focus more on this type of training because of the long distances I race, but you should try to not exceed 10-12 % of your weekly mileage in one session.
Interval Training. After I’ve put together a couple of months of continuous threshold training, I will then incorporate traditional interval sessions like 5 x 1 mile, 8 x 1200m, or 10 x 1000m to improve my aerobic power. I usually start interval training about 5-6 weeks before my goal race of the season. Usually about 8% of your weekly mileage.
Repetition/Hill Training. Fast running done at current mile race pace helps you improve running economy (how economical are you). In other words, how much additional energy is being spent to run a certain way. Similar to cars and gasoline, how much gas does a low performing car burn vs a high performing car depends on its fuel economy. To improve running economy, we run repetitions or run up hills to improve our form/technique. The recovery after these “reps” should give you plenty of time to recover for the next rep. For example, 12 x 200m @ mile race pace with a slow 200m jog recovery. For hills, pick a hill with a gradual incline, length anywhere from 200-800 meters. Charge up the hill, focusing on your form, and drive your back leg to get power. Total volume of a session is usually about 5% of your weekly mileage.
How much sleep do you usually get at night?
7-9 hours usually
What injuries have hampered your training over the past year?
The only injury that hampered my training past a few weeks was when I broke my big toe playing pickup football on the beach. I had to sit out for 6-8 weeks. As far as training injuries, I haven’t sustained any major injuries that have really impacted my training. I would say this is a result of regularly replacing shoes and adequate sleep/recovery.
Do you take any dietary or medical supplements?
- .I take Iron, Chromium, Complex B-Vitamin, and Vitamin C.
What type of running shoes do you prefer?
Nike and Asics. I’ve never felt bad running in the Nike Pegasus, after a decade of running in different versions of this shoe. I also run in the Asics Gel Nimbus and Gel Cumulus. I run track races in the Nike Matumbos, XC races in Nike Victories, and road races in the Nike Vaporfly 4%, so you could say I’m a big Nike fan.
Do you stretch?
- Yes, but only before and after workouts/weight sessions. I use the Hypervolt Massage Device on muscles that are tight.
What are your favorite running routes?
- I’ll have to narrow this down to three, because I can go on about the trails in Tallahassee.
- Forest Meadows – Starting on the lake overstreet loop (5 miles), crossing the road and running 5 miles in Forest Meadows/Phipps Park. Great 10-mile run, and mostly shaded.
- Old Centerville Road – Start at Bradleys, then turn left on Sunny Hill Rd, and run to Thomasville Rd. Great for marathon training.
- Fern Trail – Start at the Publix parking lot off of Blair Stone Rd/Park Ave, then head towards Mahan Rd on the sidewalk. Under the first bridge you encounter, you’ll see a single track leading into the forest. This single track will lead you into Tom Brown Park, Piney Z, and Alford Greenway.
What running resources do you like that would benefit someone else?
- Jack Daniels Running Formula – Jack Daniels
- Running to the Top – Arthur Lydiard
- Road to the Top – Joe Vigil
- A Training System for Distance Runners – Chris Wardla
- There are also videos on YouTube where individuals like Jack Daniels and Arthur Lydiard discuss their own training concepts.
How has your training changed over the years?
- When I just started training on my own, I had no clue where to start. I tried many different methods and learned from many coaches/mentors. There are two ways my training has changed over the years:
- Training with a Purpose – When I was a freshman in college, I used to hammer every training run, even if it was an easy run. I worked out 4 times a week and I raced almost every weekend. When I started reading books on training, I discovered I was doing too much and not letting my body recover. I learned the science behind running and adapted my training accordingly. I feel you should always know the purpose of the training you are doing. This will help you develop an unbreakable belief in yourself and your training.
- Using a Systematic Approach – I started picking a goal race that I wanted to train for, and then structured my training in a big chunk of weeks called a macrocycle, which involves different microcycles. An example of my last macrocycle was for the Grandma’s Marathon. The purpose of Microcycle 1 (Weeks 1-6) was to build an aerobic foundation and resistance to injury. The purpose of Microcycle 2 (Weeks 7-12) was to introduce long threshold work into my training and improve my endurance over long periods of hard running. The different goals in each microcycle helped prepare me for the big goal of the macrocycle, which was to run to my potential in the marathon.
What examples can you give of specific training methods, and what were the results?
When I started running higher mileage, I saw results instantly. I went from a PR of 16:04 in the 5K to 14:56 in 1.5 years. 85 miles per week was the amount I was running during this period. I did not jump up to this amount overnight. I regularly increased my weekly mileage by a few miles each week. A good rule of thumb is to increase weekly mileage by 10% when building your mileage up.
I really learned how to perform well in the longer races, particularly over an hour, when I started doing long tempos of 8 to 9 miles. These tempos are usually broken up and include a period of “floating” that is not easy, but slower than the intensity of the tempo. Continuous workouts help you greatly during the race, because you are never stopping in the middle of a race like you do in a traditional interval workout. An example of this is running 1 mile slightly faster than threshold pace, followed by 1 mile about 40 sec slower. Repeat this for 6 to 8-miles, and it makes a great threshold session.
In the case of the marathon, the two specific training methods that helped me go from 2:45 to 2:18 was the regular 10 to 12-mile threshold session and keeping the long runs easy. A lot of folks incorporate a workout in the middle of their long run, but I prefer to keep my hard-running separate from the long run. The long runs are another opportunity for me to recover and I get more time on my feet if I just run the long run at an easy pace. Marathon paced workouts allow you to practice taking fluids/gels while running at desired race pace, but the pace is not fast enough to be considered threshold work. Both paces are important, but I would focus more on improving your threshold first, and then introducing marathon paced workouts closer to the marathon.
What advice do you have for beginning or experienced runners to help them with their training?
For beginners, starting out is not going to be easy and it’s going to take some time before you see results. It’s going to be tough the first few days/weeks, but it will get easier. I would give it at least 2 months before you start seeing significant changes in your fitness. This sport is about consistency. One recommendation is to find a friend to start out with. You can regularly meet up for runs and hold each other accountable.
Embrace the process and be consistent. Some days you are going to think “I really don’t want to run today” or “It won’t hurt to take a day off”. That’s fine every once in a while, but long-term development occurs after weeks of consistency. You can’t always expect to be motivated. That’s why you have to be disciplined when you lack the motivation.
Keep your easy days easy. There is going be a time to lay down the hammer, but it should not be on your easy days. There are many reasons we run easy, but one of the main reasons is to adapt to the stress from the hard workouts or races. A lot of your development takes place when you are recovering, so it’s ok to go slow after a hard day of training. This also helps in injury prevention. Your body can repair itself much better when you are taking it easy.
You can’t quit. There is going to be adversity. Some days you are going to feel as if you didn’t perform to the best of your ability. You’re going to get knocked down, you’re going to get dropped from the pack, you are going to fall way off pace, but you can’t quit. These moments are influential in your overall development because of how you respond to them. The same goes for bad workouts. Use the disappointment as a reason to do better next time. There’s always a silver lining to a bad race or workout. Learn to persevere in the presence of adversity and you will go far.