Profession: Marathon Runner
What does your standard training week involve? I usually run about 120-140 miles per week during marathon training, while rotating over a 2 week span: a steady, semi-long rolling hill run; long run with a heart-rate based progression run; an easy long run with pickups; short intervals (90 second pickups or minutes), and long intervals (1-3 mile repeats). The rest of my running is easy, aerobic training at 8:00-9:00 min. mile pace. I do drills and strides twice a week and weights (both upper and lower) twice a week. I'll taper down to around 95 leading up to a marathon, and then do a reverse taper after a marathon. I generally take days off and down weeks when my body feels it needs it. Last year I got in just under 6,000 miles for the year.
Where is your favorite place to train? The rolling dirt roads in Ft. Garland, CO at 8,000 ft.. Unfortunately, I only get to train there when I do high altitude stints-- I savor my time when I get to go here! Mentally and physically, I feel it's the workout that prepares me the best for the marathon. Otherwise, my favorite 'local' training place in Okla. City where I permanently live is the rolling hills through the historical neighborhoods in Mesta Park/Heritage Hills.
What is your favorite race? My most favorite race happens to not be a marathon-- it's the Mount Washington Road Race. It’s incredibly intense, and you have to train properly for it to run well (which unfortunately I didn’t do last year, so it was like throwing myself into a fire!). It’s always planes/trains/automobiles even getting to the race. The hospitality is always great. The weather is diverse, from the bottom to the top, and the scenery is spectacular. It’s the best feeling when you finish this race cause you’re on top of a mountain (cue the Rocky moment!).
What is your favorite 2XU garment? When do you use it and why? I like it all! I really like the Elite Compression Race Socks (for post-run recovery because they're super comfy!); the Elite Compression Tights (for post-run recovery); Fleece Jacket (for casual wear); and, the Orix Jacket as a nice cooler weather jacket because it fits well. Having clothes/garments that feel good makes running that much more enjoyable-- thank you 2XU!
What is your favorite training accessory? (heart rate monitor, power meter, pool buoy, etc...) Definitely my Oakley sunglasses (Flak Jackets with XLJ lenses and Half Jacket 2.0s), gloves and deep-fitting white hats to reflect the sun.
What has been the toughest experience in your career and what did you learn from it? Way too many hurdles I've overcome! I'm like the Black Knight from Monty Python or a cat with 21 lives! I had 7 stress fractures between high school and college, got a medical hardship, and basically never ran in college. I wouldn't be where I am today (a 2:37 marathoner) if it wasn't for fatefully meeting my husband/coach, Conor, a professional marathoner, 11 years ago (at a jazz concert of all places!). I also had bilateral hernia surgery and a labral tear in 2010. I overcome my surgery to win 5 of 9 marathons, ran 2:37 at the 2012 Olympic Marathon Trials, and made my first US Team last year. I've overcome so much adversity now that I'm not phased by it. I'm an extremely positive and optimistic person, so I see it as part of life and a sign that I need to "step back" for a while.
What is the most common training mistake you see? Most people run too hard on their recovery days! What separates elite runners from everyone else is how much we put into our recovery, both with training and outside of training. We're trying to do everything possible to stay healthy, training consistently, and super compensating from the hard workouts. If I have to run >9 min. mile pace to recover, I'll do what I have to do to recover and get to feeling good for the next run.
What motivates you to train and race harder? I think when I'm putting in good mileage, I feel the need to keep it up and not let my guard down (unless I feel tired). I know I thrive when I put in several weeks of 120-130 mpw. I know when I'm being consistent with everything, that's when the magic starts to happen! I don't think it's a matter of training harder, but rather smarter and consistently.
Describe your diet/ meal plan leading up to a big race? I actually just wrote about this on my website: http://camilleherron.com/2012/04/02/fueling-and-hydration-for-the-marathon-condensed-version/
How do you balance your training and racing life with life outside the sport? I have my routine of training twice a day (2-3 hours) on most days, so I fit everything else around my training. I'm pretty tired from running, so I spend most of my time relaxing, sleeping, eating/drinking, and working on my website/sending messages. Just this year I started volunteering with my husband as an assistant coach at Okla. City University. I've been helping him with recruiting and have become a fan of going to Okla. High School XC/track meets! We're also active in the community with the local running club and doing education stuff.
What type of nutritional supplement do you find most helpful? Liquid ferrous sulfate elixir in OJ and Super B Complex (for the B12) are probably the two most important things every serious runner should consider taking. I'm a firm believer in eating a well balanced diet, but it doesn't hurt to take a daily multivitamin.
What is the best thing about being a professional athlete? The places you go and people/animals you meet! You really have to embrace for the full journey, no matter how ridiculous it can be (planes, trains, and automobiles!). I laugh when I find myself in ridiculous situations, sometimes during races!
What is the worst thing about being a professional athlete? I don't think there's anything bad about it, except for the fine red line of possibly getting injured and the physical/emotional toll it can take. Most of my injuries the past 8 years have been "freak accidents" like slipping off curbs or backwards on ice. Again, I'm like the Black Knight from Monty Python, so I brush it off and keep on fighting! I think you get better over time at troubleshooting injuries though, esp. any chronic stuff.
In five years I will be..... Made at least 1 more US Team, be a contender for the 2016 Olympic Team, run under 2:30 in the marathon, and have won lots and lots of marathons!