How They Train!
Michael Kennett - September 2012
How many years have you been running?
Did you compete in high school cross country or track?
- Yes, Cardinal Newman High School, West Palm Beach, Florida. Starting with my freshman year of high school, I ran cross-country in the fall to get in shape for soccer in the winter. Once my senior soccer season ended, I started to run for the sake or running.
Did you compete in high school cross country or track?
- Not really. When I was a freshman and sophomore at the University of Notre Dame, I ran some workouts with the Cross Country and Track Teams. I was second-to-last in just about every workout, but I enjoyed the chance to run with the team. I’ve never met a faster, more humble group of runners.
How many miles is typical?
- I average about 30 miles a week.
Lifetime personal records
What running events (sprints to ultra distance) do you train for and what are your training goals?
- My favorite races each year are the Pine Run 20K, the Draggin Tail 18 Mile Run, the GWTC 30K, and the Draggin Tail 25K Run at Torreya State Park.
What does your typical week of running look like?
- This represents my maximum mileage week leading up to the Tallahassee Marathon:
4 miles easy running; 10 miles commuting on my bicycle.
3-4 miles of intervals at FSU track; 20 miles commuting on my bicycle.
- Wednesday: Day off from running; 10 miles commuting on my bicycle.
- Thursday: 11 mile tempo run on the hills in Indian Head; 10 miles commuting on my bicycle.
Day off from running; 10 miles commuting on my bicycle.
- Sunday: 2 hours of weight-lifting at the YMCA. I include upper and lower body. I don’t take any rest between sets, and I don’t rest between machines. I start at the heaviest weight for which I can do 10 reps. Then, I immediately go down to the next weight and do however many reps I can do, and so on -- until I can do 20 reps at a particular weight (or I reach the end of the stack).
How does your training vary over the course of a year?
- I run longer distances during the cooler months leading up to the Tallahassee Marathon. After the Torreya run in April, I transition to shorter, more intense runs. For me, the summer track series provides a great opportunity to get in some fast, short runs. Also, I try to compete in some triathlons during the summer months; they provide a great way to get in some longer, high-intensity efforts when the weather is warm.
Do you take recovery or down time?
- Not really. I miss running if I take time off.
Do you peak for certain races?
- No, with one exception: I try to taper for the Tallahassee Marathon, but it never seems to work out. Inexplicably, I always run better at the 30K.
How much sleep do you usually get at night?
- I try to get at least 8 hours.
What time of day do you normally run?
- I like to run later in the day.
What injuries have hampered your training over the past year?
- I’ve had a sore Achilles and a sore knee that have lingered for a few months.
Do you take any dietary or medical supplements?
- I take a probiotic for digestive and immune health benefits
What type of running shoes do you prefer?
- Right now, I run in a pair of Asics Gel Nimbus shoes. But, I think the Nimbus might be too much shoe for me. I’m considering using something lighter. For off road running, I have some New Balance 876 shoes.
Do you race in a different type of running shoe?
- Yes, Asics DTS Trainers for road races; an old pair of Nike Duelists for triathlons.
Do you use weight training?
- Once a week I include upper and lower body. I don’t take any rest between sets, and I don’t rest between machines. I start at the heaviest weight for which I can do 10 reps. Then, I immediately go down to the next weight and do however many reps I can do, and so on -- until I can do 20 reps at a particular weight (or I reach the end of the stack).
Do you stretch?
- After I run, but not as much as I should and not nearly as much as I did when I was younger.
What are your favorite running routes?
- Winter on my own route through Indian Head
- Summer on the hiking trails at Elinor Phipps Park.
What running resources do you like that would benefit someone else?
How has your training changed over the years?
- Twenty years ago, I ran 70 miles a week. Nowadays, my body and my life couldn’t handle that amount of running.
What examples can you give of specific training methods, and what were the results?
- This year, I tried to focus on quality over quantity. I put in three good efforts per week--intervals; a hard, hilly tempo run; and, a medium to hard long run. In between, I either took it easy or took a day off. As a result, I felt fresher, both mentally and physically, when I ran hard. I got a little faster despite getting a little older.
What advice do you have for beginning or experienced runners to help them with their training?
- Any day you run is a good day (no matter how fast, how slow, how far, or how short you run). So, find a way to enjoy running. That’s going to be different for each runner. For me, that means running for the simple pleasure of running. In other words, I try to focus on the experience rather than any performance “metrics.” Consequently, I don’t wear a watch, and I don’t keep track of my mileage. For other people, “metrics” are important. If that’s you, then set a goal and follow a specific training regimen. Take pride in your accomplishments along the way and face the starting line of your goal race with the confidence of knowing that you’re ready.