Runner Questionnaire - Steve Sweeney

When and why did you start running?

I started running as a sophomore in HS with indoor track, as my friend was starting that then too.                                                             

What’s your favorite race to date, and why? Destination races can be a lot of fun.

I’ve had several that I’ve enjoyed in many different states. One memorable one is the Volcanic 50km that ran around the top of Mt Hood. There were still parts of the mountain that we ran through that were like moonscapes from when the volcano blew out, while on the other side of the mountain there were trees and wildflowers blooming.

What has been your biggest running adventure to date?

Adventures in my mind are multi day events. This is going back a bit, but we had a group of us from this area that ran the Northville-Lake Placid Trail over 4-5 days for over 130 miles. We camped at sites along the road in campgrounds, and shuttled cars back and forth. What an accomplishment. A few years later some of the same group ran the Benny to Benny run from Albany to Boston over 4 days I believe, with support cars to shuttle as needed. Those were some good memories.

What is your approach to training? Do you follow a particular training plan, or do you work with a coach and if so, who?

I normally coach myself. I’ve struggled this past year, so I am using Coach McMillan this year, his online coaching, not the personal touch type. I developed a training plan for my next race which is in April.

What is your weekly mileage in peak racing/marathon training season? What is your approach to the off season?

My mileage has historically been low, 20-30 miles, 40 miles if training for normal races, and higher when going for an ultra. I’m hitting 50-60 miles now training for a 100 miler in April. The month after will be low mileage to recover.

                                            Steve and Ginny

During our cold winter days, do you brave poor weather conditions or stick indoors on the treadmill? If you do run outside, what safety measures do you take?

This winter I’ve been hitting the outdoors. By running most days I’ve learned to dress. On super cold days I’ll take a day off.

What was your worst injury and how did you get over it?

If you exercise you will get injured. My worst was in my early 30s and I blew out my knee. It took me 3 years to fully recover. No sooner I’d start feeling good in that I could run one mile okay, I’d move it up a mile more or 2 and re-injure the knee. Glad that’s behind me. A more recent injury a handful of years ago was my achilles. I followed all the recommendations for rehab, with no success until I found a write up about 4 months in on what to do. Stand on a step, raise your heel quickly, and lower it down below the level plane slowly. Repeat. Build up to 3 sets of 40+. It was long and slow recovery, but it worked. At that time because I couldn’t run at all for lots of months, I switched over to lower heel drop shoes, I now mostly use 4mm drops, but I vary it with several different shoes in my repertoire. (Yes, I have more shoes than my wife :))

Your favorite shoe for training and racing.

I use light shoes for racing and mix up light and heavier shoes for training. I’ve long used New Balance, but I’m having a hard time finding what I want as shoe styles change so am currently trying out some others.

Do you work with a dietitian to enhance your performance? If so, who?

I’ve long tried to eat healthy and figure every 10 years or so I can look back and say I’m eating healthier now. We do use our local dietitian, Theresa DeLorenzo, and her group Nutrition for Optimal Performance. We enjoy staying in touch with this group. She is always suggesting healthy meals and provides bonus yoga classes. We particularly like her Yin Yoga which is a stretching type of yoga, great for runners!

What challenges / races / adventures are you planning for the coming year?

I’ll be running the Umstead 100 mile this April. I don’t have anything planned for after that. Perhaps an ultra in the fall. I do want to do the Hard as Hell Half Marathon as I’ve run both of the first 2. Hope to be able to keep up the streak.

What is the greatest piece of advice you've ever received in the sport?

Listen to your body ... and …. The majority of your running needs to be easy, save the hard work for the workouts.

                                    Bri, Steve's son Jim, Steve and Ginny

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