How They Train! Juanita Chalmers

November 2013


  • 31

How many years have you been running?

  • I started running sporadically during graduate school in upstate New York. I wasn’t consistent about it and had never run more than 5 miles at a time until 2009 when I joined a running club to meet people in a new city, Morgantown, West Virginia and trained for my first half marathon.

Did you compete in high school cross country or track

  • No

Did you compete in college-cross country or track?

  • No

Lifetime personal records

  • Fight for Air 5K, 2013: 21:21
  • Tallahassee Half Marathon, 2013: 1:40:57
  • Carmel Marathon, 2013: 3:28:48

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 to 60 

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

  • I focus my training on half marathons and marathons, but I also like 10ks and 15ks. I wish there were more of those shorter ones.

What does your typical week of running look like?

I run 4 to 5 days a week. I prefer a midweek long or doubles to adding a 6th day. Sometimes I swim as cross-training, though the frequent evening thunderstorms get in the way. I have one complete “rest” day a week.

  • Monday: Rest or cross-train 
  • Tuesday: Recovery run 6 to 8 miles       
  • Wednesday: 8 to 10 miles with a few miles at tempo pace
  • Thursday: In the winter/spring I run one long 12 to 15 miler, but in the summer/fall I run doubles. 5 to 8 miles in the morning and 7 after work with the Tom Brown Park group. 
  • Friday: Rest
  • Saturday: 8 to 10 miles easy  
  • Sunday: Long run 16 to 22 miles

How has your training changed over the years?

  • I’ve gradually increase my mileage. Also added in intervals and tempo runs. I’m a fan of periodization.  Breaking the large training block, say 16 weeks for a marathon, into smaller blocks and each block has a specific goal. I’m always trying new things and it is hard to say which one thing has helped me the most, but at the very least with the periodization the variety keeps me from getting bored.

Do you take recovery or down time?

  • After a marathon I take a full week off running and then gradually rebuild my mileage. May/June are typically low mileage months for me, when I  am not focused on training for anything.

Do you peak for certainn races?

  • Yes, 2 marathons a year, and sometimes half-marathons or 15ks in the winter/early spring.

How much sleep do you usually get at night?

  • Not enough. During peak marathon training I think I need 9 to 10 hours. On average I get 6.5 to 7.5.

What time of day do you normally run?

  • In the warmer months I do most of my runs in the mornings because it is cooler. I find it harder to get out the door early in the winter when its dark and cold, so I do most of my cold weather runs in the evenings with a headlamp.

What injuries have hampered your training over the past year? 

  • Nothing major.

Do you take any dietary or medical supplements?

  • Flintstones chewables. They taste like candy and therefore I consistently take them.
    Sometimes Emergen-C.

What type of running shoes do you prefer?

  • I’m currently rotating 3 pairs: Skechers Go Run 2; New Balance 1080 v3; Nike Zoom Elite + 6

Do you use weight training?

  • No 

Do you stretch? 

  • Yes. Yoga and active isolated stretches I learned from Kim Ortloff (Tallahassee’s resident stretching expert and owner of “Stretching Your Life!”); an hour of supervised stretching is held every Wednesday evening.

What are your favorite running routes?

  •  The Bradley’s route that starts at Bradley’s Old Country store and runs up Old Centerville Road.

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

  • Running Times magazine; Competitor Guide website; Advanced Marathoning by Pete Pfitzinger

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

  • Try to remember that every run is a gift. There are many people who wish they could run, but can’t. No matter how slow you think you are or how bad a particular run/race is, someone wishes they could run like you.