How they Train: Alexandra Ellis

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Age 26

Did you compete in high school or collegiate cross country or track? Nope! I played volleyball and basketball in high school. Running was always a punishment so I tried to steer clear of it. Funny how things change!

How many years have you been running? About 5 years. A past roommate invited me to join her for a “Winter Trail Series” in Colorado Springs. I think the most I’d ever ran was 3 miles prior to this and the first run in the series was 7.5 miles with hills… I finished but it wasn’t pretty! It wasn’t until I started running with the Phat Girlz & at Running Wild’s 6@6 group a few years ago that I REALLY fell in love with running. I credit Running Wild’s resources (knowledge, running groups, community and services) for making me a stronger and more importantly a HAPPY runner.

Lifetime personal records: I’d like to preface these times by saying thanks to the good Lord for each achievement I’ve had. However, “personal records” seem an insignificant perk to what running has provided for me. Health, memories but mainly the best relationships I could ask for are most important. 5k- 19:05 +/-, 10k- 40:??, 15k- 58:40 +/-, 13.1- 1:26:03, 26.2- 3:18, 50k- 4:40

Running Achievements for which you are Most Proud: Having the ability to pace others when the opportunity arises. Whether that is blowing the whistle during speed intervals for Phat Girlz on Wednesday mornings or as a pacer for the Pensacola Marathon, those are THE BEST runs by far.

What events do you train for and what are your training goals? I have only trained for marathons (which will give you a good base for most everything else) and will race an event or two in the midst of those training cycles. Within EVERY marathon training season I tell myself that I will NOT train for anything the second I cross that finish line. Only to have my eyes set on something else in the not so far future…. What is with that?!

How many miles to you typically run when not injured and consistently running?  About 40 miles a week? That mileage varies GREATLY. When I’m not following a marathon training schedule (made by Running Wild’s training program team) I will hop into what others are doing. Easy long runs, tempo workouts… whatever. Some weeks end up in the 50’s some in the 20’s. During marathon training, I think the average is 55 miles

What does your typical week of running look like?
  • Monday: 5-7 easy at Ugly Dark:30 AM run with a soul/sole sister
  • Tuesday: Moderate to fast 6 at 6@6 and the occasional tempo workout
  • Wednesday: 5 at Phat Girlz Run. Sometimes we throw in speed intervals, sometimes we forget to because we are talking.
  • Thursday: Moderate to fast 6 at 6@6 and the occasional tempo workout
  • Friday: 6-8 easy or moderate
  • Saturday: 10 to 15 easy to fast (depends on who’s doing what) @ Running Wild’s long group run
  • Sunday: Off. There have been times that I’ve ran due to missing a scheduled long run on Saturday but I avoid it as much as possible.

How does your training vary over the course of a year?  My schedule varies only if I’m marathon training with a specific goal. In that case, I will follow my training plan very closely. Otherwise, I will jump into other’s runs (a-k-a “whatevering”). This is what some may call, F.O.M.O (fear of missing out) and I admit that I have it. BIG TIME. In the summer, I’ve found it’s a smart idea to accept that it sucks to run. Especially fast. So, I just try to keep a decent mileage base, run easy and as early as possible (It will still be hot).

Do you take recovery or down time? SUNDAY!!! Ohhhh how I look forward to this day of rest. Two weeks before marathon race day I start to tell myself how I’m going to take a long break from running immediately after I cross the finish line. Somehow, I always end up running a few short days after a marathon.

What injuries have hampered your training over the past year? I had a nasty achilles issue during training for the Pensacola Marathon. This was total user error (over training with no trigger pointing). I would mainly cross train (bike/swim) M-F in order to pace the Running Wild marathon training group on Saturday morning. I began Trigger Pointing twice a day and was able to run pain free within a month!

What type of running shoes do you prefer? Altra’s The One One and Newton Distance for road and the Altra Superior for trails. <3

Do you stretch? Not unless I’m in a yoga class. Trigger Point is hands-down the best tool ANYONE can have. It’s like foam rolling but waaayyyy better. Running Wild has a free instructional clinic every Thursday at 12:30p. Check it out. You will be happy you did.

What are your favorite running routes? The Bayou Loop or 6@6 course.

You run along Bayfront, downtown and East Hill. PLUS the hills make it challenging (in a good way!). Then you have trail running… aka blissful running. UWF Trails and Blackwater are heavenly. I don’t care what the course is, trails make my heart pitter patter.

What running resources do you like that would benefit someone else? My best running resources are other runners. I have become a better runner through advice and training with those that are stronger and faster than I am.  I’ve become a happier runner by witnessing excitement from beginner runners’ achievements like running a 1/2 mile without stopping for the very first time. Experiencing those moments always reminds me why I love to run.

What advice do you have for beginning or experienced runners to help them with their training? RUN. WITH. PEOPLE. You will always be stronger than someone and you will always have someone stronger than you. I believe that you need to run with BOTH. 1) If you want to improve your distance/speed, run with someone who is stronger than you. You will run harder than you would by yourself. It’s like a free workout! 2) Run with someone who you are stronger than to help them improve. Whether it’s to pace a workout for someone or to run/walk with a friend who wants to start a running routine. Spread the #RunLove.