With 37 years of miles logged, 57 marathons to his name and an RRCA Running Coach Certification, Steve Pavlik knows running.
Read on to learn more about his training (there is no typical week!), most memorable race moment and favorite local races!
Years Running: 37 years
Favorite Workout: Mile repeats @ Sanders Park (Racine) – it’s a 1.2 mile loop
Favorite Race Distance: Half Marathon
Pre-Race Routine: A good night of sleep, shower in morning, simple breakfast, drive to race, a few strides, 10-min warmup run, stretching and a quiet alone moment for prayer and reflection.
Favorite Post Race Meal: Pepsi & a cheeseburger (or wings)
Must-Have Gear: Timex Ironman 100 lap Chronograph watch (but just recently got a Garmin)
How did you start running and what’s kept you going over the years?
I started running in high school. I tried but wasn’t really good at other sports. Running was a great way to stay active, and I loved competing and challenging myself. Over the years it’s become more about challenging myself instead of being competitive. Running is something many can do for a lifetime.
Do you have a quote or philosophy that inspires your running?
The one that keeps popping up is “HARD WORK PAYS OFF”. I’ve seen a hundreds of quotes on social media, but this is simple and true. It applies to running and life in general.
If you could run with anyone, who would it be and why?
There are so many options but first choice is my father, Emil Pavlik. He was always interested in my race results and enjoyed coming to races whenever possible. He never ran and wasn’t athletic and passed away in 2011 at 92 years old. I love seeing people running races with their parent(s).
What was your most memorable race moment and what made it stand out?
In so many years, I’ve had many great memories. My first marathon (Lakefront Marathon in 1981) is something that stands out from the rest. I had no idea of marathon training, but enjoyed racing 5M, 10K and 10-mile races. I saw the Lakefront Marathon flyer at Merritt’s Running Center in Racine and told my parents I’m going to run this race. They came along and dropped off a nervous 19 year old in Grafton. I was so unprepared, but quickly hooked up with a group and tagged along. I would see my parents at points along the course cheering. I lost the group about 17 miles in but managed to struggle through and finish the race in 3:36. I said something like – “I’m glad I didn’t qualify for Boston. I never want to run another marathon – EVER!” Well, that didn’t last long – I’ve now completed 57 marathons.
What does your typical training week look like?
There is no typical week for me. I have three key workouts I try to get in – a Long Run, Intervals and a Tempo Run. I usually run after work and some days are more exhausting than others, so I shift on the fly. I also enjoy cycling and triathlons – so sometimes my running will lag, but I might try catch up on cycling miles.
What are your running goals for upcoming year?
This year I am traveling to Canada for Ironman 70.3 Mont-Tremblant in late June. That is my “A” race, but I have also given much thought to the I-35 Challenge October 14-15 (Kansas City Marathon & Des Moines Marathon).
Can you tell us about the Pavement Gods running club? And how has running with the group benefited you and how might it benefit others?
It is a running club organized in October 2012. We started the group to race and workout together as a team. We did some races and sparked some interest in the local community. We have a long running weekly group run and interval workout night (May-Sept). It is like “open mic night” and you can never be sure who will show up, but something good always comes of it. It has been a huge benefit to me (and I hope others as well). Group running is good motivation. It holds you accountable and if there are faster runners, you may improve your running. We have no dues. We have a Facebook page where we try to keep others up-to-date with area events and club member results and we also host some type of social event during the year.
You’re an RRCA certified running coach -why did you decide to get the certification? What do you enjoy about coaching and has it helped your own running?
I decided to get certification when I suffered a torn Achilles tendon and had surgery to repair it. I wasn’t sure if I would run again (or if I even wanted to) but I loved the sport and had gained a lot of knowledge over the years. Eventually, I will retire from my career at the US Postal Service and I would be interested in coaching at the high school level. I haven’t set up a business plan, so my coaching is mainly working with the Pavement Gods running club and some individual consulting. It has helped my own running, because I need to stay active in the sport, keep up with latest topics and continue to grow in the sport.
Where are your favorite places to run in Milwaukee?
I love the Oak Leaf Trail going north from Grant Park. I also enjoy the Pettit Center in winter – it is great place to run interval workouts, and I’ve learned to pace myself and “tolerate” longer runs inside on the weekends.
What are your favorite Milwaukee races and what do you like about them?
Race for the Bacon 5K is my favorite – it’s a nice event in a park setting. The post-race atmosphere with bacon “treats” is fun and the band and wide open park on a warm summer evening is perfect. The other Milwaukee favorite is Lakefront Marathon. I’ve run it about nine times over the years. It’s always nice to see friends running/working/watching the race. The course is roughly the same as it was in 1981, the crowd size is very manageable as opposed to some Mega Events and there is no travel involved. Over the years my family has enjoyed seeing me at different spots on the course – unlike many of the other races I’ve run.
Thanks so much for chatting with us, Steve!
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!