We caught up with running coach and author Joe Muldowney to find out his motivation for running and to get answers to some of the most popular questions from the running community.
1) How long have you been running and what made you start?
I ran track and cross country in high school and college, but it was after I graduated from college in 1975 that I began to run seriously.
Having graduated from college and knowing that team sports were behind me, I enjoyed the freedom that running afforded me. I could train anytime, without having to worry about a partner or a team to train with.
I ran my first road race in the spring of 1976, and my first marathon later that year. With the exception of a few injuries, I haven’t stopped. I have kept a running logbook since 1976, and it tells me I have run over 122,000 miles in 41 years of competitive running.
Recently, I learned I rank 24th on a list of 38 runners who have run sub-3-hour marathons in five decades.
2) How do you motivate yourself to go out for a run?
Running has always been therapy for me. During my more competitive years, I wanted to train my best in order to race my best.
These days, as an older competitor, I realize that rest days are important, but if I miss an extended amount of time due to injury, I become anxious, and sometimes quite irritable.
In short, I love running so much that motivation has never really been an issue for me.
Related Article: How to Motivate Yourself to Run
3) Should I eat before a run? If yes, what do you recommend?
I adhere to the “2-hour” rule. If I plan to run at 9:00 a.m., I won’t eat anything after 7:00 a.m. I do recommend eating something prior to running as opposed to running on an empty stomach.
Keep it light, but I believe that some food in your body makes you stronger as you run.
4) Which part of my foot should I land on when running?
A distance runner should be running heel to toe, in a smooth, rolling motion. Sprinters should be on their toes; but not distance runners.
Remain relaxed, keeping your arms in the shape of the letter ‘L.’
5) Can I train for a race on a treadmill?
Place the grade on the treadmill on 1% to simulate outdoor conditions, listen to music or watch television to reduce the boredom, and you’re all set.
A few years ago, an American from Alaska qualified for the Olympic marathon team by logging most of her training miles on the treadmill.
6) What tips would you give for running downhill?
Relax, allow gravity to propel you, keep your arms loose, and use the downhill as an opportunity to gather strength for the uphills and the remainder of the run.
7) Should I avoid running the day before a race?
That is an individual decision.
I have always run a couple of easy miles the day before a race, but a good friend of mine has run his most successful races when he takes a day or even two days off before the race.
Don’t leave your race out on the roads. Make sure you go into a race fresh and strong. If taking the day off from training the day before the race works best for you, then, by all means, do so.
8) Have you ever hit the wall in a marathon? What is the best way to avoid it?
I have run 54 marathons, and I have been fortunate to never have, “Hit the wall.” I attribute that good fortune to a training method I have adhered to for years.
When training for a marathon, it is simply not enough to turn in the long runs. Rather, my training was based on ‘quality’ long runs. For example, a sub-3-hour marathon averages out to about 6:56 per mile. If I ran four 20-milers in preparation for the sub-3-hour race, I would start with a 7:30 pace for the first 20-miler, then get close to a 7:00 pace for my final one.
Simulating race pace during your long runs can help you to avoid hitting the wall.
Related Article: Half Marathon Training: A Guide for Beginners
9) How do I know when to replace my running shoes?
If your sole wears down to the white midsole area. If, when you look at your shoes, they lean inward or outward, or simply if you can feel too much of the road beneath your feet, it’s time for new shoes.
Running shoes are a runner’s most important investment. Never try to squeeze extra miles out of you shoes. Doing so is inviting an injury.
10) What is your favourite race distance?
The marathon has always been my favourite event. Running a marathon is like baking a cake. If you use the proper ingredients and mix them correctly, you will create a masterpiece.
I enjoy locking into a pace and grinding it out. The marathon can be a race of attrition, and if you’re properly prepared, you will outlast the competition.
About Joe Muldowney
Joe Muldowney is an accomplished runner who has been involved in competitive long distance running for 40 years. His vast experience has enabled him to coach several running teams and he now provides a one-on-one coaching service.
During his running career he has run 54 marathons, 51 of which have been under 3 hours. His best marathon time is 2:22:54, and, at age 57, he ran the 2010 Philadelphia Marathon in a time of 2:58:56. The Boston Marathon is a particular favourite – he has completed this an impressive 16 times. Marathons aside, he has run more than 1000 road races, and logged over 123,000 miles.
In March 2017, Joe was given the honour of being ranked 24th on the Association of Road Race Statisticians list of runners in history who have run sub-3:00 marathons over a 5-decade span.
Joe is also the author of the book “Running Shorts: A Collection of Stories and Advice for Anyone Who Has Ever Laced Up a Pair of Running Shoes” and his latest book is, “Personal Best.”
To find out more about Joe Muldwoney, you can visit his blog.Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in