How They Train! Tim Unger

November 2010


  • 50

How many years have you been running?

  • I was REALLY competitive from age 15-18. I started running again at 34 and have not stopped for any long term periods since.

Lifetime personal records

  • 2 Mile 10:24; Feb 1977 Sarasota Riverview Invitational

  • 5k- 16:12; 7-4-98 Firecracker-Greensboro

  • 5k Masters- 16:32; 10-14-01 Reservation Run FSU

  • 5k Grand Masters-  17:56; 4-10-10 Palace Saloon

  • 10k- 33:57; 4-25-98 Rose City Run Thomasville

  • 10k Masters- 34:31; 5-5-01 Fiesta Pensacola

  • 10k Grand Masters- 37:40; 3-27-10 Springtime Tallahassee

  • 10k Pushing Lilly in baby jogger- 38:14; 4-23-05 Rose City Run Thomasville

  • 15k- 53:04; 1-23-04 Gasparilla Tampa

  • 15k Grand Masters- 57:08; 2-6-10 Double Bridge Run Pensacola

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?

  • 25-35

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

  • I look forward to several 15k’s each year and my goal is to maintain 6 minute miles in all distances up to 15k when I am trying to compete seriously.

What does your typical week of running look like?

  • (My current summer schedule…..Add 2 running miles on Monday, Tuesday, Sunday the rest of the year.)

    • Monday: 4.2 run 4.2 bike
    • Tuesday: 5-6 run in Fartlek style speedwork using straight flat roads as “pick-up” spots.
    • Wednesday: 4.2 run 4.2 bike
    • Thursday: 5k Easy run
    • Friday: REST – 0
    • Saturday: Race or 4-6 run at hard effort
    • Sunday: 4-6 run 12-13 bike

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

  • I run year round, but go with the flow.  I tend to reduce to 20-25 miles in the summer and increase to 25-30 for the rest of the year. 

Do you take recovery or down time? Why?

  • Each Friday is a rest day unless there is a race on an unusual day.  Occasionally family or work obligations force an extra rest day and on rare occasion I take a day off for health reasons.  I have been lucky to avoid any major injury so far.

Do you peak for certain races?

  • I do like to be as good as I can be in at ALL distances in the Feb-May period.

How much sleep do you usually get at night?

  • 6 average

What time of the day do you normally run?

  • 5-6 pm

What injuries have hampered your training over the past year? 

  • Injuries have not slowed me down recently. Advancing age has slowed me down without help from the injury monster!

Do you take any dietary or medical supplements?

  • Multivitamin, Naproxen (1-200 mg daily as needed)

What type of running shoes do you prefer?

  • I am almost exclusively an Asics brand runner.  But I do use 3 different types of shoes during a weekly rotation.  I will use structured shoes, cushioned shoes, and light trainers to keep my feet wondering what I will do next.

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

  • I did use Asics Majic racers for several years.  I have become accustomed to racing in Nike Lunaracers because I like the way the wire structure keeps the shoes from self destructing so quickly.

Do you use weight training?

  • Not any more.  I did some serious experimentation with trying to make this work for me from 1995-1997.  It ALWAYS slowed me down!  I could never figure out why….I would gain a few pounds of upper body strength and it would slow my running times down.  The last straw with weight training was constant neck and upper back pains that went away when I stopped trying to make weight training work for me.

Do you stretch? 

  • Not at this time. I have done serious time in the stretching and not-stretching camps.  I may have been able to convince myself that I can run better times with serious stretching.  But, I can also point to the fact that the few running related injuries I have experienced were during those “serious” stretching related work-ups/work outs. 

What are your favorite running routes?

  • I am almost exclusively a “road” runner who enjoys the area around the Lake Jackson Indian Mounds.  When Lake Jackson disappeared I absolutely LOVED the dry lake bed run from Faulk Drive to Miller Landing Road.  I also enjoy riding the roadways on my 1974 Peugeot bicycle, usually using the new and improved Mission Road to access FSU campus area.

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

  • Lisa, my wife, and I share a daily running log developed by several serious runners to document almost everything we do day to day.  I like to use ALL of the Florida running club websites.  Lisa and I have become “Facebook” members and I will have to say as GWTC race team director, that this has completely changed the way I handle the GWTC traveling racing teams.  I am a dedicated Florida Running & Triathlon Magazine subscriber as well.

If you have been running for many years, how has your training changed over the years?

  • I used to make attempts at doing all the right things according to everybody else.  I was miserable doing long runs. So I quit doing them.  I like track interval workouts, but can’t make the time to do them with the organized groups.  Instead, I have developed my own program that works for me.

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 don’t follow the “standard” running rules very well.  I eat burgers, sausages, tacos and so forth….Stopping the 12 OZ curls (energy drinks or alcoholic beverages) a day or two prior to a big race seems to help out more than any physical change in workouts.  I ALWAYS have a total non-running day before a big effort.  Fartlek & track intervals have always done the trick for me when I feel the need for speed too.

What were the results?

  • I have wandered off with some mighty nice hardware by following some simple workouts and believing I can do the job.  I know I am not the most physically prepared runner for many events.  I do well with the mental preparation of racing that is necessary for me to have success.  I constantly work on maintaining a certain “vision” of what I should do with various racing situations to continue successful racing.

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

  • Listen to what your body tells you before you take on somebody else’s idea of what should make you go faster or farther.  Being in touch with what YOUR body tells you is the most important thing to use. I am serving as the GWTC racing team coordinator.  Going with a group of people as a “team” has always been one of my favorite running endeavors.  Consider joining the GWTC Racing Team as we plan on heading to Jacksonville, March 12, 2011 for the 15k National Championship event.  Mobile, Alabama, March 26, 2011 for the 10k Azalea Trail Run, and the Gate to Gate 4.4 mile run held on Eglin Air Force Base, Monday May 30, 2011, and you will see what I mean….