As part of my blog I (MM) believe it’s important to learn from more experienced runners than myself to see how I can improve. I am really inspired by Tim’s (TP) journey from a marathon PB of 2:39 and he has run 34 marathons.
MM: How did you get into running and why do you do continue to do it?
TP: I guess I have been running most of my live…cross country and track in middle school than track in high school. I got into longer distance running my freshman year of college (08-09). I signed up for my first marathon on a bet from a friend that I actually wouldn’t run one and ran Run for the Red Marathon in Stroudsburg PA May of 2009. I have never really thought about why I keep with it…it’s something I love and that has become a HUGE part of my life. The running community is just like nothing else out there…such incredible people are involved in this sport.
MM: What was the thinking behind your running look? (Shirtless and the American flag on your shorts)
TP: No real thought behind it to begin with. I have always ran without a shirt when I can…it’s cooler, less irritation, less laundry, work on a tan, and just plan comfortable for me. The shorts I bought before my second or third marathon I think…we live in such an amazing country that I love. I found a pair of shorts on line and have run every race since then in a pair of Stars and Stripes shorts. Gotta represent your country!
MM: Injuries are apart of running, but not always easy to deal with, what advice would you give to runners for coping with injuries?
TP: Definitely take your time getting back to it. And for people who follow me on social media or ask advice “Do as I say, not as I do”. I am one of the most impatient people when it comes to getting back to exercising. Giving yourself adequate time off ensures that your body has healed itself an helps eliminate risk of further injury and time off. Finding a cross/strength training outlet is a great way to keep active while not running. Biggest thing by far tho is BE PATIENT…its better to take a month of and fully heal from an injury than spend a years dealing with chronic injuries.
MM: Bar running what other training do you train to improve your running performance?
TP: I try to do a decent amount of strength training…arms/shoulders, core/back, legs. I have been slacking pretty badly with all the other stuff I have had going on recently. Overall I have found that the stronger I become the better my running form and economy become for latter stages of races. I also need to get back to cycling…its a great supplement to running and it works much different muscles!
MM: My goal is to work towards a sub 3:05 marathon, with my PB 30mins of this, what advice would you give to someone like myself looking to improve their time?
TP: Be patient and do not try to drop too much time too quickly…that is a great way to injure yourself. Make shorter term, realistic goals and gradually work your way to your overall goal. My first marathon was a 3:16…2 years later a 2:59…4 years later a 2:39. Progress does not come overnight. Regardless to get that faster time you will need to add some higher intensity workout to your schedule. And everyone is going to react differently to training regimes…for me personally it seems I was at my peak when I was doing 5-8 mile runs progressing from mid 6 pace down to sub 6 at the end and my longer runs would be upper-mid 6 min with some faster miles sprinkled in. If you have tried a bunch of stuff on your own and still aren’t getting the results you want try looking into coaches. Having a fresh set of eyes and ideas can make all the difference…shameful plug I Coach! (In the works of setting up a coaching platform through my website)
MM: What’s your favourite training session and what’s the session you dread but you know you must do?
TP: I am not a huge fan of speed work…anything on a track has never been my forte. It is something I need to get better about mentally. I really enjoy 6-12 mile runs at a pretty hard effort when everything comes together…when things don’t click these workout can suck. Overall just getting outside and running makes me happy.
MM: You have a great social media presence, especially on Instagram. If you could accomplish anything via social media what would it be?
TP: Get people to become more active and maintain a healthier lifestyle. I couldn’t care less how far or fast people run, walk, cycle, swim or do anything…as long as they are being active. Most of us are given this freaking amazing gift of a fully functioning body and to see how many people waste it is astonishing. Always think of those people who are physically unable to walk/lift/run/exercise through disabilities (not obesity)…do you think they would waste such an amazing gift? The results of more active lifestyles reach (and improve) most every aspect of our lives.
MM: It’s said that the marathon is a 20 mile warm up run, with a 10k race, what mental techniques do you use to finish strong?
TP: Mental toughness is something that a person has to build within themselves and to be honest I’ve lost a little of my own over the last couple years. Having confidence in your training and your abilities can make a huge difference. Going into a race…not just marathon but any race…knowing you are well prepared and having a game plan helps a lot. Oddly enough for me (and as I understand it this doesn’t work for most people) getting inside my head and having a two way converstaion usually gets me through tough parts of races. One voice says “you can’t do thing, you’re not good enough” while the other says “Screw you, watch me!” I guess for me it comes down to why I ran a marathon in the first place…someone told me I wouldn’t so I did. I have nothing to prove to anyone but myself so self doubt motivates me to push harder. I probably sound like a crazy person but that has been how I have fought through races my entire career.
MM: You’ve run 34 marathons, plus multiple ultra marathons. From these races what was your worst and best races and what did you learn from them?
TP: I’ve ended up severely dehydrated after several races. That sucks. You can’t keep anything down, vomiting, burning hot then freezing cold and just plan misery. These races have taught me to really work on nutrition and hydration for months before going into an all out race attempt. But hey even a absolutely terrible run is better than none right?
So far my favorite race was a marathon I ran with my dad. Just an incredible experience and something I will always remember. I am looking forward to running the Richmond Marathon (Nov 12), the same race I ran with my dad 3 years ago, with my little sister this year. I guess what experiences like this have taught me is that running really does bring people closer together.
MM: From your experiences running, what do you believe to be true?
TP: People are meant to be active. Our bodies are designed to move and explore the world around us and it is one of the greatest tragedies of modern times that so many people willingly waste it. Also runners, as a collective, are some of the most inviting and supportive people. How many complete strangers have congratulated you after a race? If everyone took this attitude to their every day lives the world would be a much better place.