Many of you that signed up for the blog are not only interested in ultra running, trail running, and road running but you are very interested in becoming faster. While most of us may never get as low of a personal record (PR) as we would hope there are definitely ways to get closer to your goal. I by no means am a fast runner but I gave in to the pressure and broke down and started attending the oval torture (track) every Tuesday morning to make myself run smoother, faster, and to work on my breathing. Every Monday night as I lay in bed I would love to tell myself that it won’t do me any good to get up early, go to the track and do my work out but the problem is that I just keep getting a little faster every time I go. I hate to admit that because it was so much easier when I was just an ultra shuffler. I have learned to give into the oval and reap the benefits that go along with it and I attribute my success at Lean Horse to it. While I was not overly fast there, I was able to maintain a consistent pace, control my breathing and run hard when it was needed.
With a few very big marathons coming up in the next couple weeks I thought it would be a great time to discuss tips from one of the best marathon runners in the US. I have the privilege to be part of team that is made up of some of the best sprinters, 5k, ½ marathon, and marathon runners around. They have learned to accept me as the ultra runner in the group and thankfully with lots of track practice I am becoming a faster runner and can almost keep some of them in sight on my way around the oval. I have met some great people including my training partners Dan Klausner and Johnny Omohundro who keep me on my toes and push me every week at the track. On the rare occasion that I try to get bullish with my split times like today I am lucky to have great teammates like Amy Haney (running Chicago in 2 weeks to get her Olympic trials bib in the marathon), Tere Zacher (who is running Twin Cities marathon this weekend for her Olympic trials bib) and Jad Levi (resident speedster) to keep me motivated and to make me push harder. I would never have thought till I joined a team just how important it is to the progress of a runner. The same is true in the ultra community where running in a group is always more beneficial than out on the trails by yourself. It is a huge motivator to see everyone around you giving it their all day in and day out to achieve their goal.
Running faster is not something that can only be accomplished by those who were given the ability at birth but with lots of hard work and determination gaining speed and endurance can easily be done. You may be looking to go from an 11 minute pace to 10 minute pace or from a 7 minute to a 6:30 pace and I am sure with the tips provided today you can make that happen. I asked my friend and teammate to write up some good pointers to help all of us get just a little better. Ariana used to be one of us just a few short years ago when she started with a 4:20 marathon and after a few years of training, working with a coach, and challenging herself daily she is now one of the top 30 female marathon runners in the United States. Not too shabby for a girl who just ran a little bit in high school and ran PF Chang’s a few years ago because it sounded like something fun to do with her boyfriend, now husband. Ariana just recently competed in the Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, MN and ran a 2:37 marathon good enough for “A” standards for the upcoming Olympic trials in Houston. I hope you enjoy her story and look for many more in the weeks and months to come. Some of the topics I have planned are running an ultra, what is a pacer and what do they do to help during a race, crew responsibilities, trail running for beginners, upcoming race reports from myself and others, stories of success and failures by other runners, why a DNF isn’t the end of the world, rest and recovery (I clearly know nothing about this so I will have someone else write it), new product reviews, and much more. Thank you again to those who have liked my FB page and subscribed to the blog. The more people I can get on board, the more information I can provide you. Good luck to those running marathons in the upcoming weeks and I hope to be able to announce a couple more fellow Bandido’s that will get there Olympic Trials bib‘s in the upcoming weeks.
September 28, 2011
By: Ariana Hilborn
Autumn is here! I love running in the cooler mornings, and most importantly fall racing season is upon us! Jay asked me to share my story and some of my tips that I have learned throughout my training, I hope you find this helpful!
Never running in high school or college, I began running 12 minutes miles out of college, trying to stay in shape. I was a more-than-social smoker. (gross, I know!! I was young and stupid!) and really only worked out to not gain weight. Not the healthiest lifestyle ever. I met my husband in 2007 and we decided to sign up for a marathon. We had never even SEEN a marathon, or any other running race for that matter! I don’t think we even knew how many miles a marathon was, Ha! Boy were we in for a surprise! We signed up with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team In Training and completed PF Changs 2008 Rock and Roll Arizona Marathon in 4:36. The feeling crossing the finish like was like no other and I couldn’t wait to sign up for my next race….when I could walk again!
Since that day, I have run 9 other marathons whittling away my time. I qualified for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials with the ‘B’ standard at the 2011 PF Chang’s Rock and Roll Arizona Marathon with a 2:45:35.
I ran under the ‘A’ standard of 2:39:00 at my 10th marathon- the 2011 Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth Minnesota on June 18th, with a 2:37:29. Because of this time, my expenses to the trials are paid. I am also ranked in the top 30 of US female marathoners. Yay! This whole process has truly been a dream. If you told me 5 years ago that this is where running would take me, I would have laughed and told you that you were crazy! I have taken the year off of teaching first grade to focus on my training and have been traveling all over the country to race. I have had the neatest experiences and have met the most awesome people through running!
Enough about me, here are some great lessons I have learned these last 4 years of running: 1. Find a support system. I am EXTREMELY lucky in that I have a husband who supports me and allows me to train, nap, travel, and skip cleaning the house. 🙂
I also would have never been successful if I did not have my teammates- the Bandidos and Arizona RoadRacers. I have met my best friends through these groups and we challenge each other, heckle each other when a team member is sand-bagging a workout, and comfort each other when we have bad races.
2. Do your speed work! Weekly track sessions are so not my favorite, but they work! If you can’t get to a track, run intervals on the canal, trail, wherever!
3. Figure out your nutrition months before a big race and practice it!! I have a very sensitive stomach and have finally found the perfect system that works for me the week before a marathon. It is one I have practiced multiple times before half marathons and long runs, so there are no surprises to my stomach come race day. Pictured is my lucky rice/banan/rice milk/maple syrup meal!
4. Take recovery days SLOW. My marathon pace at Grandma’smarathon was 6:01 per mile, and I hope to run way below that pace at the Trials. My recovery runs have been anywhere between 8 min/mile to 8:40 per mile. Since I started slowing my non-workout days down, I have been recovering better and my symptoms of over-training have flown the coop.
5. Work the mantra! Pick one and use it during the race. My new one is “insane courage” over, and over!
6. Visualization has completely changed my running. Every night, 10 minutes, visualize down to the smell in the air of your race. See yourself running relaxed and focused, taking it one mile at a time.
7. Do all of the small things to take care of yourself. Get enough iron, roll your legs on a foam roller, do strength building work- especially in those glutes that need to be firing while you run.
8. Believe in yourself, but also put in the work. Miracles most likely will not happen during a race that you have not prepared for. There are going to be rough days, weeks, and even months of training. Times when you cannot bear to go to track practice or wake up at 4am to run before work. Ride it out and the benefits will be great. I have never once regretted going for a run, but I have more than once regretted skipping a run.
9. Have fun! You will always run your best if you are having fun.
10. Don’t let your mind put limitations on yourself. There are plenty of people who will tell you “you can’t”. Don’t ever let yourself be one of them.
I hope this helps as you embark on the fall racing season! Please feel free to email me with any questions you may have- firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for having me Jay!