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

Your Run Starts Here!

Runner Spotlight: Donna Corcoran & Meg Nilson

Meet Donna Corcoran, 63, training for her first half marathon! She is a transplant from the east coast, and says she fell in love with the climate and the views in Utah. She takes full advantage of the natural beauty Northern Utah has to offer by skiing, golfing, cycling, or running on a daily basis.

She ran a 5k a couple of years ago, and since then has decided to go further. The 2018 Ogden Half Marathon is her goal race, and she is looking forward to some gentle downhill through the scenic Ogden Canyon. She is preparing by following a plan, and paying attention to all the details. She also has a 10K scheduled in the middle of her training cycle to gauge her preparedness.Her support system includes some great friends, as well as her husband who has run several marathons himself. She is also quite versed in finding social support online, and loves to hear the personal experiences of others who have completed 13.1 races. One of her strategies for getting her training runs done is running to her appointments. There is no turning back when you have somewhere to be!

“It’s not all about running distances but also cross training and resting as well warmups and cool downs to avoid injuries. I also do a lot of yoga.“ -Donna Corcoran

Runner Spotlight: Meg Nilson

Meg Nilsson, 36, is also racing a new distance – a 50 miler! She is making her step up to the ultra distance at the Bryce Canyon Ultra Events in June. After running a handful of road marathons, Meg found she was drawn to trails. She was not really planning on racing again, but in February 2017 her mom passed away, and Meg fell into a depression. She decided she needed a new goal to work toward, and convinced her brother to sign up for the race with her.

She is preparing by running 5-6 days a week, running back-to-back long runs, hills, weekly speed workouts, and some weight conditioning. So far on her journey, although the BTB long runs are “killer”, she has found that time outside to be healing. She stated, “there are not a lot of problems that can’t be thought through in 4.5 hours on a trail by yourself, and I can still do hard things.”

She is still building her certitude in completing the new distance, and said, “I’m not totally confident I can finish yet and I think that is a good thing. That was sort of the point for me picking a longer distance. I need to be nervous so I keep training hard.”

Megan’s journey to running, and even walking, has not been easy. At the age of just two, she was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. After having her first child, she was in constant pain and required the aid of a cane to walk. After five years of of searching, she was finally able to find a doctor who could help her control the disorder. She remembers crying tears of joy the first time she was able to jog down her block. She also remembers Mile 24 of her first marathon; a moment of severe pain but also intense gratuity that the pain was for a reason. Running has given her strength and control over her body.

“Trying for something much harder than you think you are capable of can be validating all by itself.” -Megan Nilsson


Google Buzz
by on Apr.24, 2018, under Utah Running

Tips for Stepping Up to a New Race Distance

by Lisa VanDyke

*Article originally featured in Run Utah Magazine Spring Edition 2018.  Click HERE to download Full PDF version of the Magazine.

I sat down with the Wasatch Running Center crew in Centerville, and got some expert opinions on how to prepare for a new, longer race distance:

When stepping up to a longer race distance, the basics of running stay the same. Following a plan and building up incrementally, recovering well between hard training efforts, and training your mind to see the finish line are all of utmost importance. The longer the distance, the more variables that come into play. Small issues that may cause minor annoyance on a 5k or 10k, can wreak havoc on a longer distance race.

“Become a student of your sport. Talk to other runners, attend educational events, and read books about running.” –Glen Gerner, owner of WRC Centerville

  1. Chafing – test out your race day clothing during a long run. Some fabrics are better than others, and the seams may appear non abrasive to the naked eye, but turn out causing a lot of chafing. There are products you can rub on your skin and clothing to minimize this issue.
  2. Blisters – good socks, and well fitted shoes make all the difference. Wool blend socks that are thin tend to reduce friction and wick moisture away from the skin. You may need to go up a size in your running shoes for a longer distance, as feet often swell when on your feet for many hours.
  1. Hydration/Nutrition – the longer the race, the more important pre-race nutrition and hydration become. You want your glycogen stores to be filled, and your muscles to be hydrated. As well, fine tuning your race day nutrition will keep you going strong for longer, and minimize fatigue. Tip, employee at Wasatch Running Center in Centerville and skilled triathlete, states, “In general, for longer endurance events an athlete should aim for about ⅓ their body weight in carb grams per hour (example: a 120 lb. runner would look to take in 40 grams of carbs, or 160 calories from carbohydrates per hour). Test out what your body needs during training runs, as this number varies based on the individual’s lean body mass, metabolic efficiency, intensity, race distance, and environmental conditions .
  1. Strength training – just as any gaps in your nutrition will be more obvious at a longer distance, so will the strength of your core and stabilizing muscles. Train them a couple days a week and your running form come race day will be stronger and more efficient.
  1. Proper pacing – many times individuals stepping up to a new distance will expect to hit the paces they do in shorter events. With practice, this might be the case, however a good training plan will have a runner performing a few miles faster than their desired race pace, some at race pace, and lots below race pace each week. Trying to race at a pace one has not practiced can set you up for disappointment. As well, attempting to run every training run at race pace can set you up for injury.

LISA VANDYKE, UtahRunning.com’s Executive Director, is a mother of three who spends any moment she can to sneak away indulging in her passion for running. She discovered running about 9 years ago, at first for stress relief, then to get fit, and much later on to push her own boundaries. Her first race was the Strider’s half marathon in 2013. She stuck with the half distance for some time, racing as well as pacing for a local pacing company, but by late 2014 she needed something different to challenge herself with, and she registered for the Ogden Marathon 2015. Training for this race was her first experience with a structured training plan including speed, tempo, and long runs. She loved marathon training as much as she loved running the race. Ogden got her a qualifying time for the Boston Marathon 2016, which became her second marathon. She has since added a couple more marathons to her journey, and will be Boston bound again in 2019. In addition to being the UTR Executive Director, Lisa also shares her passion for running as the Utah Running Club Layton Hub Captain and is amazing at leading and inspiring others. She loves how this great sport continues to feed her need for growth, camaraderie, and adventure.

Google Buzz

#1 Exercise Routine that Every Runner Should Know: Prevent Injuries, Eliminate Pain, Run Forever!

by Janae Richardson

*Article originally featured in Run Utah Magazine Spring Edition 2018.  Click HERE to download Full PDF version of the Magazine.

In 1996, Paul Pilkington found himself in Mexico.  By this point in Paul’s running career, he had made quite a name for himself.  Originally from a small town in Idaho, Paul had run track at Southern Idaho and then eventually at Weber State in Ogden, UT, where he earned All-American honors in the steeplechase.  After college he began teaching and coaching and supplemented his teacher salary by winning prize money in road races. He stepped onto the world-class scene when he won both the Houston Marathon in 1990 and the Los Angeles marathon in 1994.  He ultimately ended up being a four-time Olympic Trials qualifier and in 1995 was a member of the United States Track and Field Team representing the United States at the World Championships in Gothenburg Sweden. At this point in his career, Paul had gone to Mexico to train with Mark Plaatjes, who was the World Champion in the marathon in 1993.  Both of them were training hard as they prepared for the next marathon Olympic Trials. As they met up on this one particular day for another intense training session, Paul couldn’t help but complain to his training partner about the pain in his hamstring that had been lingering for several days now. Mark, who was also a physical therapist, said he had a hip alignment exercise that many were using in their PT clinics that would maybe help.  So, he had Paul lay down on this back while he pulled and tugged on his leg in a few unique ways before having Paul stand back up. Paul felt some immediate relief in his hamstring and within a few days everything felt back to normal.

Image: Paul Pilkington, WSU Head Coach

Today as a UtahRunning.com Expert and Weber State’s Head Coach, Paul Pilkington makes this simple exercise apart of his team’s everyday routine. “I have each runner on the team check their hip alignment before we start practice and make adjustments if we need to. Then, we do core strengthening exercises to help prevent the hip misalignment from happening in the future,” Paul says.  “The longer a runner’s hips are out of alignment before they are fixed the easier it is for them to slip out of place again, so we check it often.”

I was fortunate enough to be coached by Paul Pilkington during my time competing at Weber State University and therefore was exposed to this magical hip alignment exercise.  I’ve also picked up some modifications and additions to the hip alignment exercise from UtahRunning Expert and Positional Release Therapist Dr. Tim Speicher (Positional Release Therapy Institute in South Ogden, DPT Jeremy Stoker (Mountain Land Physical Therapy), and PT Missy Allred (UtahRunning.com Elite Racing Team member and Ogden High Head Distance Coach).  I’ve shared it with many of my running friends and athletes I’ve coached.  Thus, the hip alignment trick continues to be passed on from runner to runner.  It isn’t a fix all, but it is a very smart place to start when you have pain in the body.

So what causes this hip misalignment and the pain associated with it?  

 Image Source: https://www.vivehealth.com/blogs/resources/si-joint-pain

Usually the root of the problem stems from weakness in the core stabilizing muscles.  As runners we have strong muscles when it comes to the muscles that play a dominant role in propelling us forward, but the stabilizing muscles used more prominently with side to side movements get neglected.  When hip misalignment occurs, it usually manifests itself as a feeling of heaviness or a dull ache in the low back and glutes. It can also cause tightness and pain in the hamstrings, glute area, and the groin. The cause is usually the result of a rotation or an upslip in the sacroiliac joint. The sacroiliac joint or SI joint is where the sacrum and iliac bones meet.  The sacrum is the triangular-shaped bone at the bottom of the spine between the left and right iliac bones, which form the pelvis. The SI joints’ function is to absorb shock, support the weight of the upper body, and reduce pressure on the spine.

Source: https://survivingchronicillness.weebly.com/injuries

How Do I Perform the Hip Alignment Exercise?

Here is how it works. The push and pull on the muscles during this exercise uses the muscles to naturally pull the bones and joints of this area back into their correct position.  In fact, don’t be alarmed if you feel or hear some popping in your joints. This is a good thing. It means they are moving to the position they should be in.

Steps of the Exercise: [or check out VIDEO above]

  1. Have athlete lay on their back.
  2. Athlete then bends knees and places feet flat on ground shoulder width apart, then bridges up by lifting hips to the sky. Then athlete drops hips back down; legs flat to ground.
  3. Then grab both of athlete’s legs by the ankles and pull their legs toward you, sliding them slightly on the ground.  Apologize for giving them a slight wedgy and then continue on. ;-)
  4. Put your thumbs over the inside or medial ankle bone and see if your thumbs line up.  If they do not, then the athlete’s hips are out of alignment and you should proceed with the hip alignment exercise.  (I usually do the exercise anyway if they are having the symptoms, because sometimes the rotation of the SI joint is such that it doesn’t always manifest itself as a leg length discrepancy).
  5. Raise knees so feet are off the ground and there is a 90 degree angle at the knees and hips.  Then push on one leg and pull on the other while the athlete resists. Hold for 10 seconds, release and rest for a few seconds, and repeat a total of three times.
  6. Then have athlete put feet on ground, shoulder width apart. Push against outside of knees and have athlete push out.  Hold for ten seconds and release. Then push athlete’s knees from the inside out while athlete squeezes legs together.  Hold for 10 seconds and release. Repeat a total of three times.
  7. Lastly have athlete straighten legs and squeeze ankles against your legs for 10 seconds, release, and repeat a total of three times.
  8. Then pull on legs again and check ankle bones to see if they are lined up.



Google Buzz

4 Things to Know Ahead of the Boston Marathon 2018

Monday, April 16th, runners will take to the streets, running through 8 different cities and towns, on their way to Copley Square: the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Here’s what you need to know:

The Women’s Field – Following a win at the New York Marathon last year, Shalane Flanagan put off her retirement to prepare for the 2018 Boston Marathon. She has generously shared her journey back to health (following a stress fracture in her back) with the public, as well as her desire to take care of some unfinished business in her hometown race. The United States Women’s field is particularly strong this year, with Jordan Hasay, Desi Linden, and Molly Huddle joining Flanagan. Because the London Marathon is soon after, some of the international competition will not be present at the Boston Marathon. Kipligat will still be there to defend her title, however.

The Men’s Field – Galen Rupp and Geoffrey Kirui, 2nd and 1st finishers from last year’s Boston Marathon, will square off again. Both athletes have had a successful past year, and are showing signs of being faster, healthier, smarter racers. Rupp won the Chicago Marathon this past fall, and ran his fastest ever 13.1 at the Rome Half Marathon in 59:47 (only 4 seconds off of the American record). Kirui added a another marathon to his trophy case last year when he gapped second place by 80 seconds at the World Championships Marathon. As well, the rest of the men’s field is quite deep, offering up plenty of challengers. Depending on conditions, it could be anyone’s race.

Weather – As it goes with many spring races, weather can be a definite factor in athlete performance. This year, accuweather is reporting wind, rain, and temperatures ranging from the mid 40’s into the low 50’s. Winds will be heading out of the east to southeast, 15-30 MPH, which will likely be a headwind for a majority of the course as it winds west to east/northeast. Runners prepared for these conditions will have an edge over their fair weather counterparts.

How to Watch – Live coverage will begin at 6:30 am Mountain time on NBC Sports. LocalCBS Boston will also provide a live stream online beginning at 5:00 am Mountain time.

Want to read more about the race? Check out more coverage from Flotrack here. Are you running Boston? Share your experience and photos with us HERE on Facebook!

Google Buzz
by on Apr.14, 2018, under Utah Running

College Highlights Fall/Winter 2017

Nothing makes us Utahns more proud than to see many of our Utah collegiate cross country programs competitive in the Mountain Region AND busting into the NCAA national rankings.  We’re excited to share some of the top individual and team results from the NCAA National XC Championships in this RUN UTAH article.

NCAA Cross Country Championships
Louisville, KY
November 18, 2017


On the Women’s side, out of the 31 teams that competed in the NCAA Championship, the BYU women’s team was the top Utah team to cover the 6K course.  They finished in 11th place with Utah State not far behind in 14th place.  Heading into the championship race the BYU women were ranked 14th and the Utah State women were ranked 19th.


Photo Source: @racin__grayson

From soccer player, to walk on runner, to all-american, Grayson Murphy’s running story is one of inspiration.  Burnt out with college soccer, Grayson switched schools and walked on Santa Clara’s track team.  Even with knowing very little about the sport, over time she developed a true talent for it.  All of her hard work, patience, and persistence paid off as she walked away from the NCAA meet 8th place overall, earning all-american honors, and representing the University of Utah team so honorably.  She covered the 6K course in 19:36, which is an average pace of 5:15 per mile.

Going into the NCAA Championships, the BYU men were ranked 2nd and the SUU team was ranked 19th.  Northern Arizona’s strong men’s team dominated the competition with a first place finish and a total team score of 74 points.  BYU got edged out for second place by Portland who finished with 127 points to BYU’s  165 team points.  SUU finished ahead of their season rankings with an 11th place finish and Utah State snagged a 27th place finish.


Dillon Maggard, a senior for Utah State, ran a phenomenal race to finish 6th place at the NCAA XC Championships.  He covered the 10K course in 29:16, which is an average pace of 4:42 per mile.

Google Buzz

Challenges to Eating During the Holidays

The Holidays are a fun time of year to enjoy family, friends and yes food.  However; for many people (athletes included) this time of year marks the beginning of a two-month long Holiday eating season (Halloween-New Year’s) that can end up in a few unwanted pounds.

In addition to the abundance of food that is available, runners may also be cutting back on mileage during the winter season.  Many runners I have worked with can hide poor eating habits with higher calorie needs.  When the holiday eating season begins, it is very difficult to manage eating.  

Besides being organized and planning meals, there are a few other ways you can prepare yourselves for the holidays.  Here is what I think are some of the challenges we face during the holidays:

1. Exposure to Challenging Foods

If you can, keep these foods out of sight.  The more times you have to see the food, the more likely you are to eat it.  You can also keep foods in the freezer or some place that isn’t easily accessible.  Even at the office, see if you can manage to avoid the “food room” or have co-workers bring goodies in unclear containers.  Seeing the food is most of the battle.  

Pre-package foods- putting some foods into smaller containers or snack baggies can help avoid the decision about “how much”.  Examples might be chex mix (1/2-1 cup servings), nuts (1/4 cup), cookies- 2/bag, etc.  

2. Stress

Many people cope with anxiety and stress by overeating.  Notice when you are stressed, this is not the time to clean the kitchen.  Avoid places where food is prevalent until you are in a more relaxed state.

Boredom can also be a form of stress to many people.  It is hard for many athletes to relax.  Do try to make time for “doing nothing”.  With practice, it becomes easier.  Catch up on some training books you have been wanting to read!

3. Expectation of overeating

It doesn’t feel good to overeat.  Don’t let people push food on you, set your boundaries.  

Make sure if you are attending multiple eating activities to pace yourself, you do have control over what you eat, quantity may be your best friend.  Go for smaller portions and notice how good it can feel to avoid overeating.  

4. Getting too hungry

Because of the hustle and bustle of the holidays, some athletes find they skip meals or snacks and then are too hungry to make good food decisions.  To help stabilize blood sugar, eat foods that contain fat, fiber or protein.  Healthy fat is found in peanut butter, nuts, avocados, salad dressings, oils (this food group is also high in calories so a little goes along way).  Protein is found in meat, dairy, eggs, nuts, and beans.  Fiber is found in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and beans.

Start breakfast with a good dose of protein found in dairy, eggs or nuts.  Fiber is also found in oatmeal, whole wheat bread and high fiber cereals (those with 5 or more grams of fiber/serving).  

Lunch and dinner can also include a vegetable plus a whole grain and fruit.  

Here are a few of my favorite holiday recipes that I enjoy making this time of year.  


Healthy Chex Party Mix


¼ cup of canola oil (or olive)

5 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce

1 teaspoon seasoned salt

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

2 2/3 cup Corn Chex

2 2/3 cup Rice Chex

2 2/3 cup Wheat Chex

2 cups nuts (peanuts, mixed nuts, walnuts)

1 cup pretzels

  1. Set oven at 250 degrees.
  2. Place cereals, nuts and pretzels in roasting pan.
  3. Combine oil and seasonings, pour over cereal mixture in roasting pan, and stir to coat evenly.
  4. Bake 1 hour; stirring every 15 minutes. Spread on absorbent paper to cool.
  5. Store in large plastic zip-lock bag.

Makes 12 cups


White Chicken Chili


4 cups chicken broth

2 (19-ounce) can cannelloni beans (or white kidney beans), drained and divided

1 (16-ounce) can white navy beans, drained and divided

4 cups chopped cooked chicken breast

1 cup chopped onion

1 (16-ounce) package frozen white corn

1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chilies, undrained

1 tsp. Ground cumin

¾ tsp. Dried oregano

¼ tsp. Ground red pepper

  1. Place 1 cup broth, 1 cup cannelloni beans, and ½ cup navy beans, in container of a food processor, cover and process until smooth.
  2. Place bean mixture, remaining broth, remaining cannelloni beans, remaining navy beans, chicken and remaining ingredients in a Dutch oven or soup pot.  Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes.
  3. Ladle chili into individuals bowls.

Makes 8 (1 ¼ cup servings)

Nutrition Facts per serving: 311 calories, 4 grams fat, 1.0 grams saturated fat, 33grams protein, 32 grams carbohydrate, 5 grams fiber, 365 mg sodium.

Recipe from Low-Fat Ways to Cook One-Dish Meals by Susan McIntosh, M.S., RD.


Chunky Cinnamon Applesauce*


Serves 8

8 medium Granny Smith apples or other tart cooking apples, cut into fourths (peeled or unpeeled)

2/3-cup sugar

¾ cup apple juice

1 Tablespoons margarine, melted

1-teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • Mix all ingredients in 3.5-6 quart slow cooker.
  1. Cover and cook on high heat setting 1-½ hours to 2 hours or until apples begin to break up.  Stir well to break up larger pieces of apples.
  2. Serve warm or chilled.  To chill, cool about 2 hours, then spoon sauce into container; cover and refrigerated until chilled.

* Recipe courtesy of Betty Crocker’s Slow Cooker Cookbook.

Julie Hansen – M.S., R.D.N, C.S.S.D., C.D.

Julie Hansen is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and an Exercise Physiologist.  She is also a Certified Intuitive eating Counselor and a Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics.   Julie has been working in this field for over 30 years and she loves it.

Her experience providing nutrition counseling and exercise prescription enables her to help a variety of clients, from competitive to recreational athletes;  from individuals wanting to lose or gain weight and from those of you with eating disorders.  I use the Intuitive Eating principles in all of my counseling.


  • Running- 5K to Marathon distances including Boston.  Master’s Track-middle distance
  • Triathlons- Sprint distance
  • Course records- Triathlon-Huntsman Senior Games


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