• MK

7 Questions I Get Asked About Training As A Pro Runner

Updated: May 2

training as a pro runner

Training as a professional runner is the same as running at any other level, challenging, requiring a lot of discipline, and fun!

That last onefunmainly applies to easy workout days. Only partially kidding. 😉

In this post, I'm answering questions (from you guys!) that all in some way relate to training. I answer questions that I and other pro athletes get, and these are some of the most common.

I'd love to know your thoughts, so leave a comment at the end.

training as a pro runner

1) How Huge Of A Role Do You Think Strength Work And Weights Play? And How Much Time Do You Devote To It?

Weights are a huge part of running well.

When I have a great and consistent strength program, I feel so much better during workouts and during races.

Not only can I generate more power, but I feel more durable in longer workouts!

Working on my physical strength has been a huge focus for me—when I started in college I could barely lift anything.

And I think it has made a huge difference in my speed.

For most of the season, I lift twice a week, although sometimes in late summer or the beginning of Fall (when starting to build back up at the start of another track year) there have been three a week on my schedule.

Each lifting session is about an hour.

Strength work doesn't stop in the weight room though!

I have PT exercises that strengthen areas I need to work on that I often do at an entirely different time than my lifting sessions.

This includes things like:

  • band exercises

  • core circuits

  • bodyweight circuits

  • dumbbell circuits

  • med ball throw circuits

  • balance routines

All of these things work on strength in some way. It doesn't just have to be just squatting in the gym.

2) What Would You Tell A Freshman Starting Their College Track Career?

There are a lot of things I could tell a freshman track athlete. But here are two things that come to mind right now!

1. Be Patient

Something that I think would have been helpful to hear is "you're not the only one who thinks they should transfer immediately."

When I first got to Duke, I often felt like I wanted to leave. Not all of that was track-related or anything, but the feeling was definitely there and was both influenced by track and had an influence on track.

And what was hard about that was watching everyone else have so much fun and seem so content with where they were.

However, when I was an upperclassman, I watched younger athletes feel the same things I had felt when I was younger.

That's when I realized that EVERYONE (ok, there are probably some exceptions) struggles in the transition at some point in any number of ways.

When I told younger athletes that I, too, had questioned what I was doing at one point in my past, they were shocked because they've only been around to see me settled in and having the best time.

So I think this is important to share. Had I decided to pack everything up and move back home, I wouldn't have known how much I was going to wind up absolutely loving every second of being on that campus.

Be patient in finding your groove. It might take a bit and that is entirely okay.

Also, be patient with track performance. I was convinced as a freshman that each year I was going to cut A SECOND off of my 400 time.

Yes, a second.

Why did I think such a thing?

Because up to that point I had done just that! (roughly lol)

When I got too caught up in that, it kinda showed in my performance (even though there could have been other factors). I was obsessing over the fact that I wasn't dropping time like crazy, which isn't something I should expect to just happen simply because I'm training.

Flash forward three years later and I was heading to NCAAs in an event I didn't ever think I would ever be able to say I'd run. Be patient because wild things can happen.

Q&A With A Professional Runner | Madeline Kopp

2. Stay Focused, But Have Fun

My best years at Duke were when I allowed myself space to have fun outside of track.

Honestly, I stopped taking myself too seriously.

I was working incredibly hard at track and school, don't get me wrong, but I definitely had times where I was like RIGHT NOW is for (insert something fun).

And RIGHT NOW is for track.

If you don't let your mind chill a bit, you start overthinking, building up stress, and heading down a path towards burn-out.

Not only that, track is fun!

Running is a social sport and honestly, if I hadn't laughed my way through many a-tough training weeks with the awesome friends I had, I wouldn't have been as excited about putting in the work.

It was soo hard to pick just a few things to cover on this topic and these are just the first two that popped into my mind! If you ever need more advice on entering a college sport just ASK an older athlete you know. We've got a lot to say:)


3) How Many Hours Do You Train On A Typical Day?

I train for about 4 hours a day depending on which day of the week it is.

Run practice is usually 1.5-2.5 hours.

Lifts are about an hour.

Some days I have doubles, which never take less than 30 minutes roughly. This is where I would do some sort of cross-training, like biking or a circuit.

Many of my teammates over the years