Anne Coffman only started running three years ago, yet she’s already run more marathons than some who have been running for years.
Read on to learn how she got started in the sport, her involvement in the MKE running community and how she trained for last year’s MS Runs the US relay race – 220 miles over nine days!
Years running: 3 years
Favorite workout: Short but intense speed work sessions – it breaks up the long distance running.
Favorite distance to race: Half marathon – it is long enough to be challenging but short enough that training does not take up much time.
Favorite song to get pumped up pre-race: Hmm … nothing specific pre-race, but when I am nearing the end of a treadmill run, I always switch to Crazy Bitch for the last half mile. It never fails to make me pick up my pace.
Favorite post-race treat: Grilled cheese sandwich!!!
Must-have gear: In winter, my Brooks Utopia running jacket – it is the best I’ve found. In summer, anything by Lululemon.
How did you get started with running?
I got started when I was going to a PT conference in New Orleans and some of my PT colleagues posted online that they were doing the Rock N Roll Half Marathon the weekend of our conference. I figured if they could do it, I could too. That was my first half in February 2011. After I did another two half marathons, my son told me “Mom, that is pretty good but you could never do a full marathon”. Little did he know how his mom takes on a challenge! I did my first marathon in October 2012 and have done 12 since then.
What does a typical training week look like for you?
I usually run T/W/Th moderate distances or speed/hills. Saturday is long runs. I also lift weights 3x/week and cross train with boot camp style classes 1-2x/week.
You’re very involved in the running community. Can you tell us a bit about the organizations/groups you’ve worked with?
I first joined Badgerland Striders when I became interested in running and I spent my first summer doing their fun runs and Saturday build up runs. But when winter came, I was looking for a group that runs more regularly and discovered Milwaukee Running Group (OMG). The group has organized runs almost every day of the week, all year long, and it has been a much better fit for me than the Striders. I still am a Strider member – I moderate their Facebook page and love doing their races. But OMG has been more of a running community and social network for me, and we have a fantastic group of people who have connected through running. On a more national level, I met a group of friends who are Marathon Maniacs – literally crazy runners who run races many times per month. They convinced me to join and do my three qualifying races in the fall of 2012. Maniacs (and the half marathon version called Half Fanatics) are a great social network, especially for those who like to travel to races. And like OMG, I have met some wonderful friends through the Maniacs.
Can you tell us a bit about your experience with MS Runs the US as well as how you trained to run your relay leg?
I applied to run MS Runs the US because Ashley Kumlien is a good friend and I am inspired by her passion and commitment to finding a cure for MS. She needed runners for the inaugural year and even though I had not even done my first marathon yet, she assured me I could do the distance. My week of running was late July, so I had already spent winter of 2013 training for a marathon in May. After that, I switched gears to building miles, lots of long runs. I ran 5x/week with my longest runs on Fri/Sat/Sun to get used to consecutive running days and built up to 70 miles/week. I did back-to-back marathons and a 35 mile run. Being a PT, I knew that training well would be crucial to making it through the MS Run week without getting injured. And after all that training, I did my first (and only) 50 mile race in September. I loved being part of MS Run the US but I don’t ever want to train to that level again!
Can you tell us a little more about Milwaukee Running Group?
OMG is an open group, organized through Meetup, and anyone can show up to run with us. It is only $5 to join (to cover the Meetup costs) and we have group runs most weeknights as well as Sat/Sun mornings. The group has a lot of social events also –Packer parties, brunch after group runs and a Christmas party. In terms of running, we do a lot of races together, and it is always fun to see fellow OMG runners on the course and afterwards. For me, signing up via Meetup keeps me accountable to showing up for the run – it keeps me from skipping out!
Can you tell us a bit about your involvement with the Badgerland Striders?
I joined the Striders first, as they were the only group I knew of in Milwaukee. Striders are a more organized/structured group that puts on races and holds monthly meetings. I think they offer a great service to the local running community by putting on low-cost, top-quality races.
What are your favorite Milwaukee races and what do you like about them?
I like the Brewer Mini Marathon, the Rock and Sole Half Marathon and Lakefront Marathon. All those races have so many local friends, and it is fun to see everyone on the course. I like the Discovery Run because of the post party celebration – can’t beat that one!
What are your running goals for the upcoming year?
I am doing Boston for the first time in April so the winter will be spent training for that race. I am also doing Big Sur the weekend after Boston. After that, my schedule is open. I hope to do a little more traveling with my kids and fewer races this summer. But I am sure I will end up doing many local races just for fun.
Thanks for chatting with us, Anne! If you’re a runner in MKE, we’d love to chat with you. Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to be featured or know someone who should be featured in an upcoming Let’s Get to Know . . . post.
Keep Running MKE – you’re doing great!