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Life Lesson From My First Marathon

My passion for running has been over 10 years in the making, and I owe a great deal of my running passion to my Dad. He may not know this or take credit for this, but he is a big reason I ran my first marathon. I was once at a family gathering at my aunt’s house and happened to be looking at their family pictures. One of the pictures was a photo of my uncle running a marathon. I talked a little bit to my uncle about his running, and it started to spark my interest.  I later was speaking to my dad and jokingly mentioned that we should run a marathon, like my uncle. You have to understand at the time I did not do much running for fun, if I did run it usually involved a ball. I never had run a 5k, let alone a marathon.

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Mental Toughness Running Tips

 

Last Saturday morning I laced up my shoes again for another 5K.  It was the Draper Days 5K and as I toed the line, and saw the many talented runners around me, I was struck with the realization that I was going to have to work hard to place well in this one.  This would be no “walk in the park”.  The race turned out to be one of those rare occasions where I felt like I was mentally tough and pushed through the pain to get to a new level.

Here are a few mental toughness strategies which may help you get to that next level in a workout or a race:

  1.  Relax – Your form can make an incredible difference in your time.  Focus on staying relaxed and you will be able to finish stronger and run faster because you will be running with less effort.  Relax your arms and shoulders, run upright (but not rigid) and stay light on your feet.  Think “smooth” and “fluid” in your movements.
  2. Maintain focus – There are lots of strategies to help you focus during a workout or a race; try these out at your next opportunity:  come up with a mantra to chant in your head, take a mental inventory of your body – focus on the moment and the work your body is doing,  spend some time visualizing your race and the course you’ll be running.
  3. Have confidence – Trust in your training.  You’ve done the work to lead up to that race or key workout, now trust your body.   Think about some good workouts you’ve done and use a little self-talk, “I ran this pace in my workout on Tuesday, I can do this today”.

Running really is a sport where being mentally tough makes a HUGE difference in your performance.

What do you do to be mentally tough in your workouts and/or races?

by Janae Richardson – Runner | USATF Certified Coach

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by on Jul.26, 2012, under Motivation, Racing, Training, Utah Running

Ed Eyestone Interview

 
Click the play button below to listen to the full interview or you can download the MP3 file by clicking the “Download” button.

 

UtahRunning.com:  Well, hello, everyone. We’re excited to have a great interview today with Ed Eyestone. Ed is an incredible runner and coach with strong ties to the Utah Running community. Ed’s a coach at BYU and an all-around running expert. We’re excited to have him tell you a little bit about himself, share some of his experiences, and maybe give us some tips on how you can improve your own time. Thanks for joining us, Ed.

Ed Eyestone:  Thanks. Good to be here.

UtahRunning.com:  Well, maybe if we could just start out with having you tell us a little about your running background. How you got started and some highlights of your career.

Ed:  Well, I got started way back in junior high school. I actually played little league baseball. I played a lot of baseball and was hoping to play on the junior high and high school baseball teams. Like happens to a lot of people who end up being good runners, I ended up getting cut from the junior high baseball team. So, as a result of not being able to continue playing the sport that I loved, in the spring of the year, I realized for the first time that there was actually another sport going on, and that was track and field. So, I went and spoke with the junior high track coach the next day, Noel Zabriski , my Spanish teacher. I asked him about tryouts for the track team. He said, you know what, if I came out every day and I did the things that he told me to do, and just tried my hardest, then I could be on the track team and there would be no cuts on the track team. I liked that and knew I wasn’t going to necessarily be the fastest guy in the world, but I knew I could try as hard as anybody.

So, that was my initiation, back as a 7th‑grader at T.H. Bell Junior High. From then, I just continued with the sport. The great thing about running is that the more you put into it, the more you get out of it. I found that over the course of my 7th, 8th, and 9th‑grade years, that as I dedicated myself and tried to do the workouts, the harder I worked, the better I became and the more improvement that I saw. I really liked that about the sport. That’s just how I got started and progressed from there to junior high school and on.

UtahRunning.com:  So, you competed there at BYU and after your college career, you became a professional runner. How was that transition from those college events to some of the highlights during your post‑collegiate career?

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Jordan Ridge Elementary 2nd grader completes 2012 St. George Half

Ellie Kate Simmons, a 7 year-old second grader from Jordan Ridge Elementary School in South Jordan, Utah finished her first ever running race, the 30th annual 13.1 mile St. George Half Marathon, this past weekend. Ellie finished in a time of 2:37 and was the youngest runner on the course.

Ellie was inspired to start running after finding out that her mom, Anne Johnson Simmons ran the 26.2-mile St. George Marathon 30 years ago when she was just 8 years old. Ellie and her mom began training soon after her baby brother was born last July. They started out just walking to school each day which eventually turned to running to school and then each week they would add 1 more mile to their training program until they could run 13- miles. Ellie said the best part about the race was the Gatorade at the aid stations and meeting a new friend, 38 year-old Debbie Labaron from Clearfield, UT who caught up to Ellie to find out how old she was and ended up running and visiting with her and her mom for many miles. Ellie was also running for a special cause and wore her pink running outfit to honor her 71 year-old grandmother, Linda Simmons, who was supposed to be running with her but underwent colon cancer surgery a few weeks ago and was not able to participate this year.
What’s next for Ellie? Her mom, aunt and uncle are race directors for southern Utah’s new Top of Zion Relay in June and northern Nevada’s Ruby Mountain Relay in August, both part of the Run Back Country running series, so she will keep up her training so she can run those relays with her cousins and maybe even join her parents and grandmother on the St. George Marathon course in October. Running is part of Ellie’s family tradition and she wants other kids to know that you are never too young to start living a healthy and active lifestyle.

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What to eat before a race?

One of my favorite episodes of the TV show “The Office” is when Michael Scott decides to put on a 5k.  A charity 5k to raise money to find a cure for rabies, which already has a cure.  Just before the race begins Michael “carbo-loads” on a huge serving of fettuccini alfredo.  As you can imagine, he feels the weight of the alfredo like a rock in his stomach as soon as he starts running.  I’m sure all of us at one time or another can relate to that feeling and as a result we do everything we possibly can to avoid it!  We stress about what to eat, how much to eat, and when to eat it.  Unfortunately there’s not one specific solution that works for everyone every time.  The key is finding what works for you.  The foods that work for you before hard workouts or long runs will be what works for you before a race, so keep the same routine.  That doesn’t mean you have to eat the same thing before every race, you can have options and still feel confident that you’ll be fine for the race.

Pasta is probably one of the most popular choices for people before a race, and it is a good choice, but there are plenty of other foods that you can be safe eating before a race as well.  Plus, some pasta dishes leave you feeling heavy and that’s the last feeling you want to have going into a race.  If I have pasta I choose some kind of pesto with vegetables instead of alfredo or meat sauce.  Some other options could be grilled chicken, salmon, halibut, rice (I prefer brown rice but do what works for you, especially if you’re not used to eating brown rice), steamed vegetables (easy on the butter if you use any at all), baked potato with cottage cheese and salsa, fajitas (easy on the sour cream, cheese, etc.), etc.

Some things to keep in mind when deciding what to eat before a race:

-Avoid fatty foods.

-Avoid food that takes a long time to digest.

-Eat foods that you’ve eaten before harder runs or workouts.

-Don’t try new foods, now is not the time to experiment.

-Drink plenty of water, ALWAYS a good idea whether you’re a runner or not!

-Eat healthy foods.  Again, always a good idea whether you’re a runner or not.

The best thing you can do for yourself as a runner and as a person in general is to create healthy habits so that when the hard part of the race comes your body has the fuel it needs to perform and do what you want it to do.

As for when to eat . . . this is kind of a personal preference, and it takes some trial and error.  So try different things before workouts to find what works for you.  Personally, I like to eat my last “meal” about 2.5 to 3 hours before my race.  I’ll continue to hydrate leading up to the race and possibly have a small snack (mostly comprised of carbohydrates) an hour or so before the race.  If I’m racing in the morning (which is when most road races are) I usually wake up a few hours early to get some food in my body and depending on what time the race is I may even go back to sleep for a while before I get up to start getting ready for the race.  When I race in the morning I’m definitely more picky about what I eat for breakfast because my stomach tends to be more sensitive in the morning.  Some ideas are oatmeal, toast, a little bit of fruit, yogurt, etc.  Sometimes if it’s a shorter race I’ll just have some kind of a powerbar and a banana or something similar.  Again, the key is to find what works for you.  Some people can eat an hour before they race, some people have to eat four hours before.  Try a few ways and then once you’ve found what works, make it a routine so your body knows what to do and what to expect on race day.

The nice thing about having a set routine is that it’s one less thing you have to worry about on race day.  You’re naturally going to be nervous and if you have a set routine you can have confidence in the fact that your body will be ready to perform.  You just have to go out and do it!  Which brings out another point, don’t stress if things don’t go perfectly leading up to a race.  They rarely do!  Have confidence in the things you can control, your training, the foods you eat, the amount of sleep you get, etc.  And know that you’re ready, you’ve prepared yourself and now you get to go show off all the hard work you put in!  Enjoy the race and as Coach Pilkington always says . . . “Look forward to the hard part of the race.”  That’s what we train for, to prepare ourselves for the hard part of the race so that when it comes, as it inevitably will, you’re ready and you can still run fast when it hurts.

by Lindsey Anderson – Olympian | Professional Athlete

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Fueling for workouts and races over 3 hours long.

There are alot of runners and triathletes out there who are learning how to take in some fuel during events and workouts over an hour and that is great news! The not so good news is that as some of those athletes start going longer than 2-3 hours problems start occurring that didn’t happen before.  So what is going on here? Isn’t 1-2 gel packs an hour enough? Do I absolutely have to have an electrolyte supplement? More water? What?  Well, the deal is that for events shorter than 3 hours, you can almost fake it on not doing enough. You may feel kind of lousy by the end, by you will survive even though you are running very low on energy, fluid and electrolytes. That is because you should have enough stores of all of those things to make through by doing only minimal amounts of eating and drinking. But…especially after the 3 hour mark…EVERYTHING CHANGES! You just can’t keep up with how much you are losing unless you make a SERIOUS effort to eat and drink more.

While it is true that you are hopefully getting about 50%-60% of your fuel from fat during longer,slower events, you are still blowing through quite a bit of carbohydrate. Most any runner or triathlete will still be using a MINIMUM of 125 grams of carbohydrate an hour. Then, in the case of  a Half-Ironman triathlon, the fastest athletes can burn over 200 grams.per.hour! And since we only have about 400-500 grams of carb stored in our muscle tissue and liver, it is easy to see how quickly you will start running out even if you are eating some fuel.  Yeah, do that math for a second.  ”Let’s see…I take 2 gels an hour or one pack of Clif blocks so that is about 50 grams of carbs I eat in a hour. Okay, well if I am blowing through at least 125 grams, but probably more like 150-175, then I am running an hourly deficit of about 100-125 grams. So by the 3 hour mark, I will have used 300-375 grams of carb and running very very low in fuel and by the 4 hour mark, I will be done!”  Yep, all those feelings of being light-headed, sick to the stomach, heavy legged, cranky, crampy, slowing down and feeling like you have been hit by a bus  somewhere between the 2 and 3 hour mark does not always have to be the case. Does this ring true to anyone? Is it worth trying more? (Notice here the picture of Mirinda Carfree holding 2 gel flasks full of 100 grams carb each while on her way to running a 2:56 marathon at the end of Ironman Hawaii 2009)

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