60 Seconds with Alli Felsenthal

Why did you start running?

I started running for mere stress relief. I was working in a corporate job, extremely dissatisfied with my life in a stressful work environment. Running was my saving grace. I was 25 when I started.

A past injury meant you had to pull out of running the 2017 Boston Marathon, but you rehabbed yourself back to health, can you tell us more about that?

In the past, I’ve struggled with a quad strain and piriformis syndrome in my right leg that pulled me out of running the 2017 Boston Marathon. I worked with various DPTs, including Prehab Run USA. They helped me relearn my running form and fix my running mechanics and running gait. It changed the way I appreciate running, making me humbled to run every single time I set foot outside my door. It taught me patience and truly how important it is to follow a holistic approach to training that’s customized and tailored to my own needs, no one else’s.

Your personalised coaching programme is excellent, but what ONE thing would you advise that everyone could do to help them run that little bit farther and faster injury-free?

One thing I would advise everyone could do to help them run that little bit farther and faster injury-free would be to keep in mind that less is more. Try run/walking for 30 minutes 3x/week. Try cross-training (swimming, biking, rowing, anything without jumping) twice a week to build endurance. Follow a structured, personalized schedule that is systematic. Doing this will allow you to bake in the recovery time you need during your training to avoid going into overtraining mode.

What are the major differences between coaching an experienced runner and a beginner?

All distance runners, particularly marathon runners at all paces, still need to go through similar training staples. Some of these staples include more volume weekly running and more long runs as a marathon approaches, or if the athlete’s goal is to run farther and faster. Experienced runners and beginner runners both need guidance, just on a customized level to their fitness needs. There isn’t much difference other than the number of running workouts at specific paces and the number of workouts each week while coaching an experienced runner and a beginner runner. Beginner runners tend to have more questions and are eager to learn. I love that!

It’s well known that Boston is a great city for running, why do you think that is?

Boston is a great city for running. However, there are many other great cities, including the five other world majors, that are just as great, in my opinion. And I have yet to do the rest. Boston is unique because of the history of the Boston marathon, the community of spectators that is unique to the Boston course, from students, to residents, to other guests of runners racing in the marathon. Besides the fact that it is the world’s oldest marathon, it’s special to me because it’s where my Mom’s side of the family grew up. Hence, every town the course goes through brings back some childhood memories. Also, getting that BQ is a big deal in the running world and a significant accomplishment. It makes running the Boston marathon a great race in a great city that every runner and spectator cherishes annually to this day.