Bill Dwyer from TNT-Woodlands mentioned to me that Kelly Keane was the sweetest person on earth, and I think you'd have to agree when you see how much time she put into her responses to my silly little questions.
But aside from being sweet, she is extremely fast! Kelly is a two time qualifier to the Olympic Trials, and she WON the Houston Marathon in 2005 with a PR time of 2:32:27. She is a Woodlands native, and she is uniquely suited to answer training questions, as she is involved on the coaching side as well. Starting in January, she will be coaching alongside her current coach Greg McMillan, and you should visit both of their websites for some great training information.
I heard you recently had surgery. Are you fully recovered, or what is your recovery plan? How long do you expect it to take to return to peak form?
KK: I did have surgery 1 month ago. I was in a hard cast for 10 days, then put into a walking boot for 4 weeks. I have 1 more week to go in the walking boot. I had an injury to a peroneal tendon which just wasn't healing with rest. I basically had so much scar tissue built up, that it was restricting my range of motion. Dr Varner went in there and "cleaned it out"
I am recovering very well and am ahead of schedule. I expect to be in full form by the end of February and hope to be racing again in March.
So, no, I will not be racing Houston this year. I was really looking forward to it, but it is impossible at this point.
What is your diet like when you're training for a big marathon? Are there groups of foods you try to avoid, like fats, or refined sugars?
KK: I eat very well when I am training for a marathon. I consider my nutrition part of my training regime. But, I don't obsess over it. I eat healthy, but have an occasional beer or glass of wine, or even a bowl of ice cream!!
But generally, I do try to avoid refined sugars (empty calories) and foods very high in saturated fats.
I eat lots of fruits and vegetables, some red meat (especially if I am altitude training) lean proteins, fish, and of course lots of pasta. No secret nutrition recipes. I try to eat organic when possible, which is why my bar of choice is Clif Bar. I run twice a day, so my concern is always to make sure I get in enough calories, spread out throughout the day, so that I have constant energy through out the day. I generally eat 5 small meals a day, instead of three large ones. I always eat a healthy meal within 30 minutes of a hard long workout to replenish my stores and speed recovery.
Do you plan on returning to the Houston Marathon again one day?
KK: I hope to return to Houston again someday. The Olympic trials are coming up in 2008, so all my racing will be geared towards this. I received so much support from the Houston community and it has meant so much to me.
How does strength training fit into your training schedule?
KK: Strength training is a very important and integral part of my training regime. I strength train during the very beginning stages of my marathon preparation and later incorporate drill work/plyometrics into the plan.
For example, starting 20 weeks out from my marathon, I would Strength train at the gym (basic exercises like lunges, squats, ball exercises etc..) I do exercises specific to running. I do not use the leg curl or leg extension machine. Mostly free weights. I will do these exercises for 6-8 weeks, then progress towards plyos and drill work. (bounding, box jumps, single leg hops, etc...) I will do this drill work for 6 weeks. I usually stop all strength training 6-7 weeks out from my marathon. At this time the focus is only on running. I have to save my energy and strength for the roads.
(Plus, I am usually too tired from the higher mileage, that weights would just make me even more tired for my run workouts!)
In grammar school, they tell everybody to aim high and their dreams will come true and everything, but some dreams can be unrealistic, at least for the unwashed masses. What goals do you think are *reasonable* for a 4 - 6 hour marathoner to work towards?
KK: The last question is hard to answer w/o getting more information on the individual. That's why having a coach can be very helpful. They can help you realize what goals are realistic. The key is to always have fun, be smart with your program, work your butt off, and always believe in yourself.
A persons mind is way more powerful than any muscle in his body.
Thanks again to Kelly for her thoughful responses. You've always represented Houston very well, and I hope to see you representing our country in 2008.