How They Train!

Susan Cornwell - March 2012


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How many years have you been running?

  • Running for 22 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 approximately 20 miles a week, unless there is a long race “up ahead”; then I increase my mileage.

Lifetime personal records

  • Since I started running relatively late in life, I haven’t kept track of PRs. Courses and weather conditions influence outcomes from race to race. Completing my first ½ marathon and first 30K were special events for me. My favorite finish was the 2004 Tallahassee ½ Marathon in 2:09.

What are your training goals?

  • I like to be ready to run a 10K at any time, so I complete a 6 – 8 mile course every week. My primary goals are to enjoy this special time running outdoors and not experience a setback from an injury.

What does your typical week of running look like?

  • Monday:  Rest
  • Tuesday:   3 Miles 
  • Wednesday:  3 Miles
  • Thursday:   3 Miles
  • Friday:  Rest
  • Saturday:  6 – 16 miles, depending upon future events
  • Sunday:   3 Miles

    I adjust my rest days, as needed. If a 15 – 30K race is in my future, I determine how much time (in weeks) I have to prepare, then I increase my mileage by approximately 10% per week, until I’m close to the distance of the upcoming race. For a 30K I’ll do at least 16 miles the week prior.  For a ½ marathon I’ll do at least 12 miles the week prior. For my first ½ marathon I lacked confidence that I would finish, so I did a 16 mile training run the week prior! I work in an office all day, so I enjoy a brisk walk at night.  I frequently walk two – three miles after supper.

Do you take recovery or down time?

  • After a ½ marathon or 30K I take two days off. For shorter races I maintain my usual schedule.

What time of day do you normally run?

  • During my work week I run in my neighborhood before I go to work.  My pre-run routine is to down some cranberry juice, a Clif or Power Bar and tea/coffee. I usually leave the house around 5:45 a.m. On weekend days I run sometime during the morning. If I run more than an hour, I follow the run with eating yogurt, cereal, mixed nuts, and drink some tart cherry juice. Due to the constraints of my work schedule, I train alone.

What injuries have hampered your training over the past year? 

  • I’ve been fortunate to have no injuries so far.

Do you take any dietary or medical supplements?

  • A multiple vitamin, fish oil, and calcium. My intent is to meet my nutritional needs with food. I eat every day, as if I’ll be running a race the next day.

What type of running shoes do you prefer?

  • I preferred Mizuno Wave Riders, until the last pair of Wave Rider 14s I bought, which I don’t like. Since then I purchased a pair of Asics Gel-1160 which I’ve really liked, though they feel a bit heavy, compared to the Mizuno. I like to rotate among three different pairs of shoes.

Do you use weight training?

  •  I used to try and hang on to a very energetic young lab. I use free weights three or four times per week for biceps and triceps. I also do abdominal exercises and modified pushups three to four days per week. Happily this does not require membership with a club.

Do you stretch? 

  • I stretch my hip flexors after a run, and during the day I’ll periodically stretch my neck, shoulders, back, and legs. I don’t have a set schedule.

What are your favorite running routes?

  • Miccosukee Greenway: seeing the sun come up, when you top the hill, is spectacular. Also there are singing birds, other runners and walkers, and the seasonal changes of the foliage.

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

  • I’ve read Runner’s World for years. It provides helpful information for beginners, longtime runners, and everyone in-between. Experienced runners have given me good advice, as well. Watching runners in age groups that are in my future is very inspirational. I read Prevention magazine for its research-based, overall health information.

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

  • My training goals are to enjoy the time running and reap the benefits.  I plan to continue running as long as I’m able.

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

  • For new runners, be encouraged with incremental improvement. Find a time and place that bolster your desire to continue your training. Avoid overtraining, which may put you at risk for an injury. Listen to your body, and heed its signals. Read inspirational or motivational material. Participate in races. Out-of-town race opportunities have been especially interesting and fun for me. Share running experiences with others for encouragement and support. Many runners are helped by running with a partner, which can create accountability for both. Enjoy yourself, and when you feel overwhelmed or discouraged, recall the reasons you started your running program.  I think of running as a gift; I have the privilege to be able to run and be part of a very special club.