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Eliud Kipchoge: The Worlds Greatest Marathoner Interview

By: Preston Johnson

Article originally featured in Run Utah Magazine Summer/Fall Edition 2018.  Click HERE to download Full PDF version of the Magazine.

Utah Running: First off, I wanted to thank you for taking the time to do this interview. We are beyond excited to hear from you. This interview is going to be a part of UtahRunning.com’s Summer Edition Run Utah Magazine. The theme of this magazine is “The Complete Runner: Training Your Body and Mind for Total Running Fitness”. After writing the outline for the magazine and deciding I wanted to write a mind over body article you were the first runner that came to mind. I believe lots of people have this perspective of you being the epitome of being mentally strong in competition and training.

The first instance that comes to mind of your mental strength is the Nike Sub 2-hour attempt. Attempting something that for years had been this elusive goal for the entire marathoning community yet had been seen as an almost impossible task. You went in with so much confidence and really changed the worlds perspective on if a sub-2 hour marathon was even possible. Can you talk to us a little bit about your approach to this event? Did you approach this event any different than you do a typical world marathon major? If so can you elaborate on some of those differences?

 

Eliud Kipchoge: Thank you once again, remember to every human being it was impossible, I approached differently in that, it took all my time for seven good months, I changed my thoughts and tell my conscience that, I am going through, be it in any circumstance.

For a normal marathon, it’s just running to win, but for breaking 2, it was about running against the unthinkable, that’s a big difference.

Utah Running: During the Nike Sub 2-hour attempt, we all watched in amazement as you came within seconds of making a sub 2 hour marathon a reality.  Could you describe the experience from your perspective? What were some of your thoughts throughout the experience and after you finished and the results had settled in?

Read More….

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Runner Spotlight – Katie Carver



Age:  38

Current residence:  Davis County

Occupation:  Law Enforcement

Running background:  Sprints/hurdles, Juab High School, Weber State University

PRs:  1 hr 53 m half marathon-4 hr 26 m-full marathon

You’ve gone from a talented collegiate sprinter to a long distance road racer.  Tell us how you made that transition and what motivated you to do so?

One mile at a time, literally. My husband ran the Ogden half one year and the next year I thought, “I can do it too.”  I had just had a baby and wanted a way to lose the baby weight, so it was literally one mile at a time.  That race was so difficult for me, but I did it.

You’ve now run several half marathons and recently finished your first marathon.  What were some of the highlights of your journey?

I think the highlight is figuring out that I am a lot stronger than I ever gave myself credit. I’m not the fastest runner and never will be, but I know I am strong enough to do hard things that I never believed I could do.

Training regimen/schedule leading up to your race (weekly mileage, types of workouts, when you fit it in):

Working full, my husband works full time and is going to school and I have four kids, so training time was sporadic at best, whenever I could find a spare minute. This usually meant I was up at 6 am running.  Honestly I didn’t really have a set training regimen, mostly I made sure I had: one speed workout, one really long run and two moderate runs.

Favorite place to run:

I always start the first leg of Ragnar, in Logan and I love that leg.

Favorite pre-race meal and postrace drink:

I don’t really love anything before a race, it all kind of makes me sick, but I usually stick to some kind of protein shake.  I love chocolate milk after a race, but my very favorite is an ice cold Pepsi.

Favorite race distance:

Because I ran a lot slower, I will say the marathon over the half marathon. If I’m not racing and just running 6 miles is a perfect amount.

Why run (motivation,inspiration):

The Medals!!!  This is partially true, the other part is proving to myself that I can do hard things.

Favorite quote or best advice you’ve been given as a runner:

The best advice comes from my husband, “Just slow down.” When I first started running long distance I had a hard time not trying to always beat my times. When I would run with my husband he would tell me to just slow down and keep going.  His advice helped me realize that not every training had to be fast, sometimes it’s ok to “Just slow down” and enjoy the run.

Advice you would give to other aspiring runners:

If I can do it, a sprinter that barely ran  400 meters, anyone can do it. Take training one day at a time and have fun. Find what motivates you and go for it

Goals:

This year my goal is to beat my half and marathon times….I haven’t set a time goal, but I will. I also have a goal to run races out of this state.

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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.

 

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How to Tackle the Marathon

The marathon can be a fickle beast, but with some experience, wise training, and prudent in-race decision making, it can be tamed. I consider myself a seasoned runner but, when I stepped on the road for my first marathon I was in for a rude awakening. I had underestimated the toll 26.2 miles puts on your body, especially at race pace, and I had not respected the distance as I should have. I’ve since run a few more marathons, and although I’m still seeking faster times, I have improved my performance substantially. I’d like to share a few tips that I’ve found useful for improving my marathon performance.

There’s No Substitute for Mileage

Over the last few years I steadily increased my weekly mileage as I continued to be disappointed in my marathon performances. With each increase in mileage I, for the most part, saw an improvement in my marathon PR. There’s certainly a strong correlation between the number of miles we run in training and our marathon race performance. Increasing volume at first was a scary and tough decision for me. I endured three stress fractures in college, due to increasing volume and training load too quickly. I was under the impression my body couldn’t handle more miles. But I made the decision to increase mileage and I did so very slowly over time.

To increase your mileage I recommend an average of five miles per week for each training block. For example, if you are trained 12-16 weeks for a marathon and averaged 50 miles a week during that block, consider attempting 55 miles per week on your next 12-16 week block. This is a safe way to increase without jeopardizing an injury, but as always listen to your body and back off if you fear you’re overdoing it.

Slowing Down to Speed Up

Around the same time I decided to increase my mileage I also decreased the pace of my easy and recovery day runs. By slowing down on my easy days I was able to improve my half marathon PR by 2 minutes and my marathon PR by 8 minutes. Going slower allows me to run more miles and to be better recovered for my hard workout days. When we run a hard workout we cause micro-tears in our muscles and these, if given time, will adapt and heal stronger than before. This is how we get faster and stronger. But, if we push the pace the day after a hard workout, we may not be allowing the muscles to fully heal and adapt before we tear them down again in the next workout.

Another benefit of slower running on easy days is that your body becomes more accustomed to using fat as an energy source. At faster paces we mainly use glycogen as our energy source. But, in the marathon we often need fat in addition to glycogen as an energy source, especially late in the race when glycogen levels have been nearly depleted.

What’s a good easy day pace? That depends on how hard you ran the day before. But it’s not uncommon for my recovery pace to be 2:30 slower per mile than the pace I ran my hard workout at. Then if I have an additional easy day before my next workout I may go 1:45-2:00 slower per mile. But mostly I don’t even look at my watch during recovery runs, I just run whatever pace feels easy and at which I feel my body will recover.

Read More….

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How far out from my goal race should my longest run be?

 

long-run

Image Source: running.competitor.com

As a running coach, I often get asked the following questions,

“How far out from my goal race should my longest run be and how many miles should I complete for that long run?”  

According to an article that appeared in Competitor magazine by 2:22 marathoner/coach Jeff Gaudette, it takes approximately 4-6 weeks to reap the benefits of a long run.  So ideally, your longest run should be at least 4 weeks out from your goal race.  Which, if you want to have a 3-4 week taper leading into your race, you want to be tapering off your long runs about this time anyway.  What adaptations or benefits are our bodies receiving from logging those long run miles? Long runs are designed to build the body’s aerobic system.  Physiologically this means increasing the number and size of the mitochondria in your muscle fibers and increasing the number of capillaries, which both contribute to the body’s ability to more efficiently transfer and utilize oxygen and fuel within the body.

My former college coach Paul Pilkington coached me through my 3rd marathon and I remember him telling me that my longest run before the marathon should not be based on miles, but rather should put me out running for the same amount of time that I planned on finishing my marathon in.  Since I was shooting for a 2:46 marathon, my longest runs ended up being in the 2:45 to 3 hour range.  I never covered a full 26.2 miles in that amount of time, but at least my body was used to working for a similar number of running minutes as my planned race.   

Good luck logging those miles!

 

by Janae Richardson – Runner | USATF Certified Coach | Masters in Exercise Science

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Guest Post: Marathon News Update February 2014

By Elizabeth Eckhart

With all the excitement surrounding the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, which begins this Friday on Feb. 7, runners like me are in dire need of some marathon news to break up the winter chill. While the Winter Olympics excludes any running competition, we will still be able to watch Olympic track stars Lolo Jones and Lauryn Williams compete in the Bobsled race in Sochi.

For marathon Olympic hopefuls, however, there is news regarding the 2016 trials! In a recent announcement, Los Angeles was named as the location for the 2016 Summer Olympic Marathon Trials. The Olympic Marathon Trials are scheduled to take place Feb. 13, 2016 at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum, just one day prior to the L.A. Marathon. It looks like the entire city is going to make a weekend celebration of the great sport of running and will use the Olympics to help kick-off the highly anticipated L.A. Marathon. It’s many LA officials’ hope that the trials will lend credibility to the city as an excellent race location, and result in boosting their annual marathon to the likes of Boston or Chicago’s.

The Olympic trials will be used to select three men and three women to compete for the U.S. team in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The early February date was set to ensure that athletes who compete in the trails will have enough time to recover in the event that, if failing to make the Olympic Marathon team, runners might race for a place on the 10k Olympic team a few months later.

“By securing the Olympic Trials, Los Angeles is now set to deliver this city’s biggest running weekend since that iconic victory,” said Tracy Russell, CEO of L.A. MARATHON LLC. She and fellow marathon leaders are intent on “providing our L.A. Marathon participants and fans with a rare opportunity to be part of an Olympic Trials celebration.” Read More….

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