Hello. Join Utahrunning.com, it’s FREE | Sign in | Sign in

Your Run Starts Here!

Interview with Aaron Fletcher: STG Marathon Record Breaker



RUN UTAH: Tell us a little bit about your running background.  How did you get started into the sport of running?

AARON: I ran my first race as a seventh grader when my middle school track team needed someone to run the mile. I had previously played all kinds of sports and knew I was pretty fast and had some decent endurance, so I volunteered. At the time my family was living in Washington State, but we moved to Anchorage, Alaska before I entered High School. I ran cross country and track and Nordic skied on my high school’s teams and loved it, especially the cross country skiing! I really grew up on the mountains and trails of Anchorage.

RUN UTAH: What are some of your high school highlights/accomplishments?  How did you make the decision to run for BYU?

AARON: In High School I was an eight time Alaska state runner up in events ranging from the 4×800 relay to cross country. I happened to be in the same grade as Trevor Dunbar, who now runs professionally for Nike and he was always able to beat me when it mattered. Because he was so good, I really focused on Nordic skiing my senior year and ended up finishing in the top 20 in two distances at the US Junior XC Skiing Nationals. I was a member of four state championship ski teams and one state championship cross country running team.

I was not recruited to run at any colleges, and decided to come down to BYU for school because of religious, academic, and family reasons. I started running about 70 miles a week the summer after my senior year after never previously breaking 30 in a week and tried out for the BYU cross country team when I arrived in Provo that fall.

RUN UTAH: Tell us about your experience running for BYU and being coached by Olympian Ed Eyestone?  What years did you compete and could you share some of your college highlights?

AARON: I loved running for BYU. It was a big transition for me as it is for most guys as they come from being the big dog on their high school teams to barely surviving workouts in college. Coach Eyestone was great- he gave me a chance to develop and grow and I learned  so much from his training philosphies and ideas. I came into BYU knowing next to nothing about serious running training, and now I can write my own workouts and training plans. I really iwe that knowledge to Ed and his experience at all levels of running.

I ran for BYU from August 2009 to December 2010, and then from December 2012 to June 2016. In that time I was a member of three conference championship teams, earned first team all conference and all Mountain Region honors twice, was an NCAA Finalist and 2nd Team All-American in the steeplechase in 2016, won the Weather Coast Conference cross country championship as an individual in 2015, and was a member of the 2013 BYU Cross Country team that finished on the podium at NCAAs. I also finished as the 6th fastest steeplechase runner in BYU history, an event that BYU had a long history of excellence in.

RUN UTAH: You were primarily a steeplechaser in college, but you have jumped into some longer road races.  Tell us about that transition.  How did you know what direction you wanted to pursue with running after college?

AARON: I missed the 2016 Olympic Trials in the steeplechase by less than half a second, which was a major disappointment for me after putting in a lot of work towards that goal. I wanted to do something different for a while, so in 2016 I ran three Spartan Obstacle Course races, finishing 17th at their world championships and winning their team championships. After doing that for a year, I felt ready to get back into just running again.

I have always known that I would transition to longer races after college. I ran the steeplechase because I loved the event, but my favorite workouts were always tempo-style long runs (15-18 miles starting at 6:00 pace and finishing around 5:20 pace per mile). I was also used to running 100 miles a week already, so it was really an easy transition to make.

RUN UTAH: You have had a phenomenal 2017 racing season.  Winning and setting the course record in four Utah races (Timp Trail Marathon, Elephant Rock Trail Run, Top of Utah Half Marathon, and St George Marathon).  Setting the course record at the Top of Utah Half in August with a time of 1:04:46, 24 seconds faster than the previous course record, was huge.  Can you speak to your training leading up to this half marathon, your expectations heading into the race, and your thoughts and feelings after your performance?      

AARON: The half marathon was a big surprise to me, as I didn’t feel I was in that great of shape leading up to it. I was hoping to run in the 1:06 range which would indicate I was on track to be in contention at St. George, my primary race for the year. Because it wasn’t my main focus for the fall, I trained through TOU half. The Tuesday before TOU I did a ten mile tempo run at about 5:05 per mile average, so I was feeling pretty fit but I was certainly surprised by how easy it felt the first few miles of the race. Finishing under 1:05 was a very encouraging result!

RUN UTAH: We are all so impressed by your recent performance at the St George Marathon –2:14:44, beating the rest of the field by almost 3 minutes and shattering the previous record by over a minute (previously held by Bryant Jensen with a 2:15:56 in 2013).  What led you to your decision to compete in the St. George Marathon? What were your thoughts going into this race?  Tell us how the race played out and how it feels to have the fastest marathon time on that course.

AARON: The St. George Marathon is a great event. I chose it as my debut road marathon because it is the most  competitive marathon in Utah most years and it is close to home so I didn’t have to take much time off work (I live in Salt Lake Right now). The beautiful course, prizes and great organization didn’t hurt either!

I came in to the race pretty confident that I could win and challenge the course record based off of the Top of Utah Half and my training. I tend to get very analytical with race planning, and my Excel spreadsheets told me to expect a time in the 2:15 range.

Being new to marathoning I wanted to get out and run in a field I would be close to the front in, but still have some competition to push me. I ended up leading from mile 5 to the finish, so that didn’t work out exactly how I wanted but I’m obviously thrilled with how the race played out. I went out conservatively in about 1:08:40 at the half, and then really pushed the next ten miles really hard as I had planned before the race. On the steep downhill section right after halfway I was splitting close to 4:40 per mile. I really started hurting at mile 23, and had to really hang on mentally to get to the finish. I was so glad to be done! It felt very validating to get that record after so much hard work in training.

As a side note, I’m pretty sure that was also the fastest marathon time ever run in Utah on any course.

RUN UTAH: What do you feel like have been some key components in your running success?  What workouts or aspects of your training do you feel best prepared you for the marathon distance?  

AARON: Long tempo runs like the one I mentioned above and using staple Eyestone workouts like fatigued mile repeats and marathon pace runs. I’ve been able to make some more personal adjustments to my training since I left BYU, and those have helped a lot as well. For example, I now really only do one speed workout a week oustside of my long run instead of the typical two. I feel like it helps me get the maximum benefit out of those workouts. I also do as much mileage as I can in six runs a week and do as few doubles as I can. That means lots of 12-18 mile runs in the middle of the week.

RUN UTAH: What now?  What goals and aspirations do you have from here?  Are you looking to qualify for the Olympic Trials in the marathon?

AARON: I will be shooting for the Olympic Trials marathon in 2018, probably at the Grandma’s Marathon in Minnesota in June. I am also planning on running more trail races and possibly building up to the North Face Endurance Challenge 50 miler next November. My next race is the Red Hot 55k in Moab in February. I am really motivated by high competition levels and setting records, so I’m going to seek out some more national level competition this year.

RUN UTAH: Is there any additional advice you would give to other aspiring runners?

AARON: The number one thing I tell people who want to improve their running is to run more! Intervals, weight training, tempo runs, etc are all good but can only do so much if you haven’t put in the mileage. It is also crucial to be consistent. Doing one really big week of running and then not running much over the next two weeks really doesn’t do you much good. High mileage is the secret to running improvement.

 

Google Buzz

Race Week: How to Best Prepare for Race Day

by Lisa VanDyke

 

My last big race of the season is just about here, and although I have dealt with the “taper jitters” pretty well up until now, the week before always proves to be tricky from a mental standpoint. There is an aspect of controlling one’s destiny when it comes to race training that is both stressful and empowering. The adage, “You get out of it what you put into it,” comes to mind. When the proverbial hay is in the barn, a runner is left to realize that their part is almost done, and some aspects of race day are left up to the whims of the universe. (Queue the incessant checking of race day weather and phobias of race day illness.) So what is a runner to do with themselves the week before a race?

  • Visualize yourself running the race. See yourself crossing the finish line and meeting your goals! (If you haven’t done so already, give yourself an A, B, and C goal)
  • Study the course. Get familiar with aid station locations, etc.
  • Prepare your clothing, accessories, shoes, bib, etc. for race day.
  • Eat what has worked for you throughout training, paying special attention to getting enough carbohydrates two days prior to your race. Be careful not to over-stuff yourself the day before the race. See more about what to eat before your race here.
  • Hydrate all week!
  • Get a full night’s sleep during the week leading up to the race.
  • Stick to your routine – nothing new before race day.

Lisa VanDyke – UTR Club Captain | Runner | Boston Qualifier
My name is Lisa VanDyke. I am a mother of three who spends any moment I can sneak away indulging my passion for running. I discovered running only about 8 years ago, at first for stress relief, then to get fit, and much later on to push my own boundaries. My first race was the Strider’s half marathon in 2013. I stuck with the half distance for some time, racing as well as pacing for a local pacing company, but by late 2014 I needed something different to challenge myself with, and I registered for the Ogden Marathon 2015. Training for this race was my first experience with a structured training plan including speed, tempo, and long runs. I loved the training equally as much as I loved running the race. Ogden got my a qualifying time for the Boston Marathon 2016, which became my second marathon. This great sport continues to feed my need for growth, camaraderie, and adventure.

Google Buzz
by on Oct.05, 2017, under Racing, Training, Utah Running

IAAF World Track and Field Championships Preview

by Preston Johnson

Every two years the IAAF sponsors the World Track and Field Championships bringing together the world’s best track athletes to compete at one meet. This years meet is hosted in London and tomorrow (Friday the 4th) is the first day of competition.

For those wanting to watch, NBC will cover the entire meet, the schedule can be found here. Below we quickly preview each of the distance events, look for updates and results through our Facebook page as the meet progresses over the 10 days of competition.

Mens 800m: With several big absences from the field missing, including the top 3 from last years Rio Olympics several new runners will have a chance to medal. Emmanuel Korir, a runner from Kenya who competes collegiately for UTEP, and Nijel Amos from Botswana have the best chances at a gold medal, but watch for young American Donavan Brazier to contend for a medal as well.

Womens 800m: This event has been dominated by three runners in the last few years, Caster Semenya from South Africa, Francine Niyonsaba from Burundi, and Margaret Wambui from Kenya. Going into the season it seemed unwise yet again to vote against them, but after USA’s Ajee Wilsons incredible run in Monaco earlier this year, nearly upsetting Semenya and Niyonsaba, running 1:55 and setting a new american record, she is definitely a threat to bring a medal back to the US.

Mens 1500m: Although Matthew Centrowitz is the reigning Olympic champion, this event seems to look like it is going to be dominated by the Kenyans with Manangoi, Cheruiyot, and Kwemoi running the fastest times in the world this year. Also running for Kenya is Asbel Kiprop, the reigning world champ, although he has struggled so far this year don’t count him out.

Womens 1500m: This event promises to be exciting as all the big guns are all here and in great shape. It’s a toss up for who to pick for a top 3. The field includes Olympic champ Faith Kipyegon, world champ/world record holder Genzebe Dibaba, world leader Sifan Hassan, Olympic 800m champ Caster Semenya, and the USA’s Olympic bronze medalist Jenny Simpson.

Mens 3k Steeplechase: The story in the mens steeple is all about American Evan Jager. With the fastest time in the world so far and coming off of a big win over the worlds best, he has got to be the favorite. If Jager wins the race he will be the first American since 1952 to win a global steeplechase gold medal.

Womens 3k Steeplechase: American Emma Coburn has got a lot to worry about in this championship, considering she will likely have to break her own American record to have a chance at medaling, but she is in fantastic shape and I wouldn’t be surprised if that record goes down.

Mens 5k: Mo Farah is the man to beat in this event, he has won every global championship event over this distance and the 10k in the last 5 years. He has announced his retirement from the track after this meet and is expected to go out with a bang with two more gold medals to add to his collection. American Paul Chelimo is our best hope at a medal in an event that is largely dominated by the east Africans as he dominated the US trials and was a surprise silver medalist at last years Olympic games.

womens 5k: Unfortunately on paper, the Americans look outmatched in this event. Expect Kenya’s Obiri, and the duo from Ethiopia, Dibaba and Ayana, to be near the front when the bell lap begins.

Mens 10k: Just as in the 5k Mo Farah is the man to beat. With the 10k being his best event on the track he will likely bring home gold in this event. If anyone is to beat Farah expect Geoffrey Kamworor to be that man, he is very strong over longer distances but has been focusing on his speed this year to try and out kick Farah.

Womens 10k: Almaz Ayana (world record holder) and Tirunesh Dibaba (5k world record holder) clash in what can be anticipated to be a fast race as Ayana won last years Olympic championships in just over 29 minutes. Molly Huddle of the US looks to finish in the top three as well, as she has the 4th fastest time in the world this year.

Google Buzz
by on Aug.04, 2017, under Racing, UtahRunning.com News

Post-Run Nutrition: Tri-berry Smoothie

Running in the heat can significantly decrease appetite.  During the summer months when we are all ramping up our training, this can lead to a sub-optimal energy intake if we are not careful.  Getting some food in our system within 45 minutes after a run is essential and a smoothie can provide a simple, cool option to replenish the nutrients we need after a hot run.

TRI-BERRY SMOOTHIE RECIPE

1.5 cups Frozen or fresh berries (Costco frozen berry mix works well)

1 cup Spinach

1-1.5 cups milk

3 Tbsp. of frozen orange juice concentrate  

1 banana

Optional: Add protein powder and/or flax seed

Google Buzz
by on Jul.25, 2017, under Nutrition, Recovery

Starting a Running Program

Two Tests To Determine if Your Body is Ready to Run

My doctor told me that I should get in shape– that I should improve my fitness level. But how do I do it?  How far should I run? How hard should I run?  Are these questions that you’ve asked yourself? Have you spent less time pounding the pavement during these winter months than you’d like? To find the answers, let’s take a close look at your individual fitness level and goals.

Read More….

Google Buzz
by on Jul.18, 2017, under Utah Running

Run Utah Magazine -Summer 2017 Ultra Marathon Edition



Successfully Transition From Road Marathon To Trail Ultra 

 

by Joel Hatch

For many road runners finishing a marathon is the ultimate accomplishment. It can take months or years of dedicated training, sacrifice, and dietary discipline to reach the holy grail of 26.2. This is a big deal! You should be proud of yourself for finishing this daunting physical and mental event, right? Of course you should, but it’s likely you are already looking for another marathon so you can improve your time or you have a wall full of marathon medals. If this is you, that runner who is forever curious and looking for the next challenge I have a modest proposal for you, run a 50k trail race. Yes I know it’s only 5 more miles than a marathon, but the added distance combined with variable terrain will present you with a new and rewarding challenge. To get you well on your way, here are my top 4 tips to successfully transition from road marathon to trail ultra..  READ MORE 



The Life of a Professional Ultra Marathoner: Interview With Hayden Hawks

Hayden Hawks was an elite collegiate athlete that graduated from Southern Utah University. While in School he specialized in the 5k and 10k, running 13:51 and 28:53 for those events. He still lives in Southern Utah and trains as a professional ultra marathoner. Hayden Hawks was an elite collegiate athlete that graduated from Southern Utah University. While in School he specialized in the 5k and 10k, running 13:51 and 28:53 for those events. He still lives in Southern Utah and trains as a professional ultra marathoner… READ MORE



You Voted, We Count Down the Top 10 Must Run Trails of the Summer

Summer is the perfect time of year to get out the door and run. Trail running is a favorite in Utah due to Utahs incredible scenery and well maintained back country trails. With the vast number of trails throughout the state many runners find themselves constantly exploring new places to run trying to find the perfect trail. If you fit this description look no further, with the help of all of our followers we have compiled a list of the top 10 voted trails in Utah. If you’re looking for that perfect trail this list is a great place to start… READ MORE



Feeling Overly Fatigued When Running? Low Iron or Vitamin D May Be the Culprit 

by Jason Blackham

Do you have excessive fatigue with your running? If you do, you should consider seeing a physician to have blood work done.  The most common causes of fatigue in athletes is poor nutrition, sleep problems, underlying medical problems, iron deficiency, and Vitamin D deficiency.  When seeing patients experiencing fatigue, I usually check a panel of labs to look for underlying causes as well. In this article, I will address iron deficiency and Vitamin D deficiency…  READ MORE



This edition of Run Utah Magazine is sponsored by North Face Endurance Challenge

Google Buzz

Get Instant Online Access to the Latest Issue of Run Utah Magazine!!!
Plus Receive Weekly
Email Updates
of all
the Upcoming Running
Races in Utah.
Enter your Name and Email
below to receive your
FREE subscription:

We respect your privacy.
We will never share, sell or rent your details.

Privacy Verified