Bucks County’s fastest marathoner shares some training tips

Steve Hallman leading the pack in the Bucks County Roadrunners Winter Series

The guy you see running around Tyler State Park leading the pack in the Bucks County Roadrunners Winter Series might look like he’s just having some fun.

But actually it’s all part of Steve Hallman’s plan to compete in the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.

Don’t be fooled by the way he’s gliding around Tyler’s rolling hills. In the back of his mind, every mile of training has a purpose.

The Langhorne native completed last November’s Philadelphia Marathon in a sparkling two hours, 25 minutes, just about six minutes off the U.S. Men’s Olympic Trials “B’’ standard qualifier.

If not for a wind storm that day reminiscent of Hurricane Sandy, he might have hit the finish line somewhere around 2:22.

No matter. He’s going to give it another try at this year’s Buffalo Marathon, a fast, flat course, rather than run a fourth straight Boston.

As you might guess, Hallman has a fairly strict training regimen, one which goes well beyond just running miles.

And he’s gracious enough to share some of his principles with us.

The topics – such as tempo runs, long runs, diet, stretching, rest, etc. – might sound familiar but he’s got his own take on practically all of those elements.

Like:

>The long run: “My biggest thing, at least with the marathon, is the long run with a tempo run in there. I would do one of those at least once a week. To improve, you really have to get the mileage up. When I start to up the long run and threw a tempo run in there, that’s when I started to see big improvement. I would go out and do 8 x 800 one week and then 2 x 5,000 at race pace the next. On alternate Sundays, I would do between 13 and 24 miles.’’

>Diet, supplements: “I go back and forth with that stuff (supplements). It’s just eating clean. It’s just me, but I get too crazy with stuff. I get too obsessed with it and it works against me. I use something called ‘Cocoa Elite.’ I like that stuff a lot. I keep track of my protein and my carbs (carbohydrates) for the workouts. Immediately after I work out, I try to eat protein and carbs, a four to one (carbs to protein) ratio.

>Stretching: “I try to stretch as much as I can. In fact, that’s what I’m doing now. Use a foam roller (for back and legs).’’

>Commitment: “The biggest thing for me, when people want to improve, is a lot of it is dedication. Whether it’s cold out or hot out, you just have to do it. That’s my best advice to people, be dedicated. It’s consistency. Everyone has different levels. I’ll never set a world record but it’s about setting goals. That’s what gets you out there. . .at least that’s what gets me out there.’’

>Finding the time to train: “Like now, it gets dark so early. Unfortunately, you can’t go to a park (after dark) in Bucks County. You have to squeeze it in (during daylight) – maybe break it up into two runs, one in the morning and one after work. I find that to be easier. Going for a quick three-mile run in the morning makes the run after work go a little faster.’’

>Group train (like the Winter Series): “What I love about the Winter Series, running can be very solo so like that’s the one time a week I get to see people. The people there are all dedicated. They all love running. It doesn’t matter how fast you are.’’

Hallman, a member of the plumbers’ union, recently moved to Philadelphia (which means a shorter drive to a lot of races). He has his eye on Tokyo.

“I’m skipping Boston because I’ve had bad weather there,’’ he said. “The ultimate goal is to keep chipping away at that 2:19 (Olympic standard).’’

The former Courier Times delivery boy, still only in his late 20s, has a come a long way in a short time. His training gives him a shot at the world’s biggest sports event in two years.

 

Race calendar

 

Sunday

Bucks County Roadrunners Winter Series Polar Bear 8-Miler, 9 a.m., Tyler State Park, Newtown. Contact www.bcrrclub.com

Wayne Fish
About Wayne Fish 272 Articles
Wayne Fish has been covering the Flyers since 1976, a stint which includes 18 Stanley Cup Finals, four Winter Olympics and numerous other international events.

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