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Interview with marathoner Vanessa Ventura Palucci on how she trains for a marathon.

Earlier in November we wished Vanessa good luck as she lined up on the starting line for the Niagara Falls marathon. I’m excited to share her results (a PR ) and an interview on her training patterns.

She debuted in the marathon in 2006 with a time of 3:39 which was a Boston Qualifying time. Yep, first attempt at the marathon and she gets a BQ! She went on to run Boston in 2007 with a time of 3 hours and 33 minutes!!

IMG_7905She then clocked a 3:34 in Montreal in 2008 and a 3:30 in 2012 in Toronto. This past November she had a PR in Niagara with a remarkable time of 3 hours and 26 minutes!!

Here’s a little conversation with Vanessa on running!

How long have you been running?
I have been running for about 11 years. Started off running slowly
and then gradually increased my runs.

How many miles a week do you run? How many days a week do you run?
When I’m not training for a marathon by typical runs would be
between 13-15km 3-4times a week.

What is your typic training week?
Do you do speed workouts?
Tempo runs?
Long runs?
What pace do you do these runs?

So in between my runs I cross train. I always make sure to get a
cardio session in almost every day, I will use the elliptical or stair
master and then weight train, I also cycle but that is mostly in the
summer months. Cross training is extremely important. I’m developing
other muscles and changing the cardio routine gives me a good variety
and more endurance when it comes to running.
For running I always seem to keep a constant pace, I’ve been adding more
speed training in the last 2 years.
I pretty much run as I feel. Running is my escape, I love the time to
myself to think and reflect on life.

What is your typical training cycle for a marathon. Do you follow any
specific program?

Training for a marathon always begins 4 months prior, I follow a
program that consists of adding km on a weekly basis. It’s made to run
4 time a week with the longest run on the weekend. I normally run my
long run on Saturday mornings, long runs start at 21 and then increase
on a weekly basis. I run about 6 30km run and then my longest 3 weeks
prior to the marathon (36-38km), then decrease until the marathon.

I still run outside in the cold and it gets pretty cold here. My limit is -15° F and I usually come back with frostbite on my nose!!

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Do you follow a specific diet during a training cycle?
I never really change my diet when training for a marathon, I always
eat well. My diet always consists of plenty of fruits and vegetables
and protein rich foods. I’m not big on red meat, I mainly eat chicken,
fish, beans and plenty of nuts. The only thing I do before a marathon
is increase my carb intact and eliminate alcohol for one month prior.
Keeping a constant healthy diet keeps your system balanced and you never
feel run down.

Rest is important. How to you juggle sleep, running, work, and two
kids while still training? When do you run?

Rest is definitely important and I do try to get as much sleep as I
can. During the week I try to get to bed between 9:30 – 10pm. Having a
family and a full time job requires a lot pre planning and sticking to a
schedule is the key.
During the week I wake up at 5am to go running. I enjoy running in the
mornings and my body has gotten used to this routine. Weekends I will
run between 6 or 6:30am.
My husband is my biggest supporter, without him home I cannot run so
early in the morning! My husband does travel a lot so when he is not
home I will run on the treadmill but not my favourite way of training.

What do you fuel with during a run? During a marathon?
Fuelling consists of Power gels and an electrolyte drink. When I run
long runs I run with my water pack and take a power gel every 10km.
Short runs I might have a power gel before leaving and then drink an
electrolyte drink when I get home. For a marathon I will take a power
gel every 10km and will drink water and the electrolyte drinks that are
provided to us.

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