Interview with Jason Fitzgerald: USA Track & Field certified coach and 2:39 marathoner.
How long have you been running?
I started running in the fall of 1998 as a freshman on my high school’s cross country team. Haven’t looked back since!
How many miles a week do you run?
It varies based on the type of race I’m training for, but I aim for 70 – 90 miles per week during my peak training weeks. Last year I ran just over 3,000 miles and this year I should be at about 3,250. It might sound like a lot to some runners (or even a little), but it’s taken me a long time to get up to these numbers.
How many days a week do you run?
I run every day unless I’m taking scheduled time off or if I want to be really cautious about some ache or pain that’s bothering me. But I’m fortunate that I’m almost always running 7 days per week.
What is your typical training week? Do you do speed workouts? Tempo runs? Long runs? What pace do you do these runs?
I do them all! Depending on the race that I’m training for I’ll incorporate tempo runs, faster intervals on the track, fartleks, progressions, hill sprints, strides, or intervals at specific race paces to prepare for a particular distance.
I always do a long run no matter what distance race I’m focusing on and it’s usually in the 17-22 mile range.
What is your typical training cycle for a marathon. Do you follow any specific program?
I follow my own program! As a coach, this is what I do for a living so it’s relatively easy for me to create my own training cycle. Typically a marathon cycle for me is 18-20 weeks and focuses on high overall volume, marathon-specific long runs, and tempo/progression workouts.
Do you follow a specific diet during a training cycle?
In a perfect world I’d eat better, but because of how much I run and my own genetics I’m fortunate not to put on weight easily. So in a word, no. 🙂
Rest is important. How to you juggle sleep, running, work, and kids while still training? [Note: I just have one kid… so far!]
I prioritize what’s important and focus on the basics: 8 hours of sleep, getting my workout done for the day, and at least 4 hours of “high-value” work per day.
As a running coach with an online business, I have flexibility to work early in the morning or at night so that leaves a larger window of time to get things done. Plus, not having cable or video games certainly helps!
When do you run?
I run in the morning. I’m a morning person and prefer to get that part of my day over with ASAP so I don’t have to worry about eating too close to my run. Priorities, of course!
What do you fuel with during a run? During a marathon?
I only eat something during long runs where I’m doing some faster running (usually during marathon training) and in that case I’ll eat a few gels. I’m not too particular so I’ll eat almost any brand.
As the marathon gets closer, I’ll focus more on eating the same number of gels that I will during the race to get my stomach used to digesting while running. Then during the race I’ll eat about 6 gels.
Jason Fitzgerald is a 2:39 marathoner, USA Track & Field certified coach, and head coach at Strength Running. His coaching has been featured in Runner’s World, Competitor, Lifehacker, and The Huffington post, among other major media outlets.