Training Like a Pro for CUCB 2014

We asked pro runner Tyler McCandless to share his experience running CUCB 2013 and some words of wisdom in the last few weeks before race day. Here’s his reply:

Last year I came to Washington, DC for my first Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run feeling ready and excited to compete.  I was one of the elite athletes in the race and had set a goal of finishing in the top 10.

How does a professional athlete prepare for a 10 mile race? In the 13 weeks leading up to the race I ran 1,250 miles, which is an average of 90 miles a week.  The training is accomplished via two weeks cycles that have five workouts (two workouts one week, three workouts the next week) with a medium long run on Wednesdays and a long run on Sunday.  All workout days also have an afternoon run of 30-40 minutes and Mondays I add in a second run where I do 15 minutes alternating 15 seconds fast and 15 seconds easy.  That’s a lot of quality and quantity in each week!  Here is a snapshot of my training in March leading up to CUCB 2013:

Tyler’s March training for CUCB 2013

On these runs I was constantly visualizing the race.  I watched videos that I found online so that I could have more realistic images of the course in my mind.  I searched past results to see who ran what times and finished in what place.  I established clear goals: top 10 overall, and top American.  When I came across the finish line in 8th place and 1st American, all of the training in 2013 and the month of March was well worth it!


Tyler on the awards stage, after a very successful 2013 CUCB!
Tyler on the awards stage, after a very successful 2013 CUCB!

What can you do in the last 3 weeks before race day? Now is the time to set clear goals, visualize your 2014 CUCB, enjoy the process, and build positive momentum carrying you to the race.  Remember the feeling of accomplishment upon achieving your goals when you’re out at dark-o-thirty in the morning running before work or school!

Best wishes making your 2014 Cherry Blossom goals come true!  This year Cherry Blossom serves as USA 10 Mile Championships.  A top 5 finish would be rewarding and that’s what I will be dreaming of when I’m running tomorrow morning!


Tyler McCandless is a runner and PhD student in meteorologist living and training in Boulder, CO. Tyler is sponsored by Newton Running Elite (team updates and results can be found at Follow him as he trains for his next big race, as well as the 2014 CUCB, on twitter at @TrackTy

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