An Athlete’s Perspective – Issue 3

An Athlete’s Perspective is a blog series of event and/or training experiences written firsthand by the athlete themselves. An Athlete’s Perspective is a completely unscripted and raw look into the mind and daily life of an athlete as they prepare for their next race. Readers will discover training regimens, eating tips, gear recommendations, and an uncut perspective into the lives of people like you and me.

Putting Trail Running Into Your Marathon Plans

by: Rio Reina

Reina: 2017 Austin Marathon Elite Athlete

When I first started training for the marathon in 2010, I would have not considered adding a high percentage of mileage on the uneven dirt paths. One reason I stuck to roads for training was to hit my certain paces. Another reason was to avoid the challenging terrain and agility that came with it. But most importantly, at the time, I did not fully appreciate the experience of a traverse through a great trail. I had been used to high rhythm running, where I could turn my brain off and just push through an 18-mile road run. Roads fit the rhythm profile, while trail running was more cumbersome. After moving to the Bay Area in October 2016, trail running has been a big part of my training for the Austin Marathon.  

In the Bay Area running community, trails are king. And how can you blame them? There are single-track trails with epic views that overlook the Golden Gate Bridge within a 15-20 minute drive of San Francisco. Also, there’s a support of races that explore distances of 50K to 100 miles and running stores with trail training groups. After moving out here, I couldn’t help but put in my miles on the trails and start eyeing ultra trail races as well. I do have passion for the roads still and want to achieve a 26.2 personal best in the Austin Marathon, so I decided to do a hybrid road/trail marathon program. I’d like to share some tips with you.   

Here are some of the ways to add trail running into training

Do some long runs on trails, focus on lengthening the duration (total time) and practicing nutrition, forget about mileage

Trails tend to be more technical and challenging than roads, so your pace won’t be the same. This is not a bad thing! This will help more with fat burning and practicing your nutrition plan. If your road long runs are two hours in duration, go for a 2:30 – 3 hour run at an easier effort on the trail. Ensure you have some nutrition and proper hydration. Carry a hand-held or a hydration belt on these runs! I usually low-ball my fuel on these efforts since I’m trying to deplete energy stores, but keep hydration consistent. For 2:30 – 3 hour runs, I’ll take 1-2 gels and 16 -20 ounces of water per hour. 

Use elevation to your advantage

In trail running, elevation is a metric that is often discussed. Trail runners would ask, “How much vert was in the race?”  In fact, the trail runners thrive on a challenging course, while marathoners tend to want a flatter, faster course. With elevation comes the opportunity to work on different running techniques that will help your overall fitness. With long uphills, I tend to find much more stress on my oxygen intake. Long uphills, even at a moderate pace, start to stress the system aerobically like a tempo run.  With the downhill, I practice high turnover and efficient landing. I try to not stomp or brake on downhills, as running downhill is a skill itself, so I try not to disrupt the free energy! My advice is to say yes to hilly trail runs! 

Shredding bark #saytwowords

A photo posted by Christopher DeNucci (@thedenuch) on

Recover on trails

Steve Sisson, coach of Team Rogue, used to tell us, “Hit the Greenbelt!  The muscles get a different workout!” I try to take my recovery runs into trails mainly to give my body a change in surface. I feel like it helps combat overuse injuries by making you change your running mechanics and softening up the impact. Trail running tends to need more agility as well, so the stride is not as linear as road running. While road running takes a toll on quads and calves, trail running tends to use more mobility in the ankles and hips. I would advise recovery runs on trails after hitting a challenging workout on the road.  

Sign up for a trail race!!

I did my first ultra in December at the Woodside Ramble 50K, which was a blast! I enjoyed the race and thought it was a great effort for my first off-road event. The Inside Trail team put on a great event and the trail community is very welcoming. I placed 2nd in 3:42 after running in first for 24 miles; I hit the wall and was passed. I learned a lesson about how trail racing is about patience, fueling, and pacing. The overall benefit from doing this race was that it was a great fitness boost and helped teach my body to burn fat more efficiently. Also, it allowed me to run further than 26.2 miles, which was the first time in my career. To top it all off, the softer trails were much more forgiving than roads, so my legs were recovered within 2-3 days. My advice would be to sign up for a trail race, 30-35K are great and for those looking for a greater distance challenge, look into 50Ks.  They are a fun way to meet new people and break up the monotony of training!

Reina (blue top) on the roads.

Keep the pace and road work in the program

Although I do love a run through the woods, I would advise to still keep some faster runs in the program consistently. I do my tempo runs and half my long runs still on roads to keep my pace dialed down. Road running is still a unique stress on the body and needs to be practiced for a road race. Pick certain pace workouts, like a 12-mile marathon-paced run, to do on a road or bike path course. Also, do a few long runs on the roads as well.

Additional Advice from a National Champ

Lastly, I chatted with Jorge Maravillia, two-time USATF Trail Champion and 2:21 marathoner. Jorge’s advice was that he feels like there’s value that is transferable from trail to road racing. His points were that speed work from road racing tends to help with form while running trails. As for trails, the grit and patience tends to play nicely into marathon training, especially when you are out there for hours. He tends to say road racing is about chasing splits and pushing the pace, while running trails is about enjoying the experience and scenery as you push yourself.  They are different, but he enjoys the challenges in both!

Hydration Basics with nuun

With the Austin Marathon presented by NXP just a few weeks away, it’s a great time to review hydration basics so that you can stay hydrated and finish strong on February 19.

Though hydration is an important factor for your health year-round, regardless of activity, it becomes even more essential as race day nears. Slight dehydration of even just 2% of your body weight can negatively impact your energy, health, and performance.

It’s been shown in studies that this nutritional intervention of staying properly hydrating is the best way to enhance or improve performance.

Signs that you’re dehydrated:

  • Dizziness, confusion, lightheadedness
  • Dry lips, mouth, and skin
  • Physical and/or metal fatigue
  • Decreased pace and/or performance
  • Darkened urine
  • Increased body temperature, heart rate, and/or rate of perceived exertion (an exercise effort that usually feels easy suddenly feels much harder than usual)

Replace electrolytes

Electrolytes are tiny electronically charged particles that are lost via sweat during exercise. The four main electrolytes that play vital roles in hydration and exercise performance are:

  • sodium: maintains fluids balance
  • potassium: prevents muscle cramps
  • magnesium: relaxes muscles
  • calcium: required for normal muscle functions

Electrolytes are essential for basic health and body function, and even more so for performing your best during an athletic endeavor. Electrolyte drinks such as nuun are perfect for pre-, during, or post-exercise as they contain the electrolytes your body needs without the carbohydrates that it doesn’t.

How much should I hydrate?

Maintaining a good hydration status by drinking fluids throughot the day, everyday, is the best approach to staying ahead of dehydration. Waiting until you are thirsty to drink fluids is too late – you are already dehydrated and you’ll find yourself constantly playing the game of catch-up!

On average, you should try to consume half your body weight (in pounds) in liquid ounces plus what you sweat out in training (your sweat rate).  For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should aim to consume 75 ounces of water or electrolyte drink per day plus losses that occur during workouts.

To calculate your sweat rate, weigh yourself pre-workout and post workout without any clothes on and complete an hour of exercise without consuming fluids in between. Every pound lost during the workout is 16 ounces of fluid lost. While exercising, aim to replace up to half your sweat rate with electrolyte-rich fluids. This is a great exercise to complete leading up to a race so that you can be prepared to perform your best through proper hydration.

nuun hydration is a proud sponsor of the Austin Marathon. At nuun, we’re on a mission to inspire a healthier, happier, more active lifestyle so that everyone can achieve life’s next personal best. Hydration means more than water, so make your water count. nuun is packed with electrolytes, clean ingredients, and is low in calories & sugar. The light, refreshing taste will keep you reaching for your bottle.

Runners of Austin: Part VI

An update on our special series featuring four Austin runners and their journey as they reflect on the 3M Half Marathon and prepare for the Austin Marathon. Brought to you by CLIF Bar & Company, the Official Sports Nutrition of the 2017 Austin Marathon presented by NXP.

Name – Jillian

Club – Twenty-Six Two

Training has been going well so far! I have had a recent tendon strain, but with careful planning I have been able to keep up with my training schedule. Running the 3M Half Marathon provided a great perspective on how I need to plan for race day for the Austin Marathon. I used the Clif Strawberry Blok Chews around Mile 9 and they gave me that extra push to finish the race. I have been alternating between using the chews and the gels during my training runs and I feel both give me the energy I need to finish the workout. I like both, so my 20 mile run this weekend will determine which one I use for Austin. I felt I ran a great race and I plan on running the 3M Half again next year with a PR goal!

I have also been eating the Peanut Butter Clif Bars (the chocolate peanut butter are my favorite!) before my weekly runs and they have helped in boosting my pre-run snack with the energy I need to get through my workout. My weekday runs are always in the evening since I work very early in the morning and after a long day of work, they really help!

Austin Marathon Announces Austin Gives Miles Contest Winner

High Five Events, one of the largest privately owned event production companies in the United States, is thrilled to announce that Camp Kesem at the University of Texas at Austin is the winner of the Austin Gives Miles Charity Chaser contest. Chikage Windler, the Austin Gives Miles Charity Chaser will start the Austin Marathon® presented by NXP last and run on behalf of Camp Kesem, earning $1.25 for every marathoner she passes.

“As the winner of the 2017 Austin Gives Miles month-long contest, we are thrilled to have Chikage Windler run the Austin Marathon on our behalf,” said Samantha Finkenstaedt, Camp Kesem Austin Gives Miles Liaison. “We’d like to extend our deepest and most profound thanks to all those who supported us throughout the competition and those who have continued to support us over the past 6 years since our chapter was first founded.”

During the month-long contest, Austin Gives Miles, the Official Charity Program of the Austin Marathon, raised $70,000 ($23K more than 2016), earned 19,705 votes (double from 2016), and received 2417 Facebook and 2511 Instagram likes. To win, Camp Kesem at the University of Texas at Austin raised $6,285, earned 8,299 online votes, and received 509 Facebook and 103 Instagram likes.

“I’m proud of the work Camp Kesem put into winning this month-long contest,” said Carly Samuelson, Austin Gives Miles Charity Manager. “They, along with the other 26 charities, raised the bar and truly increased the awareness of what Austin Gives Miles is doing for Central Texas.”

Camp Kesem at University of Texas at Austin was founded in 2011. They support children affected by a parent’s cancer in the Austin community by providing a week-long summer camp experience and year-round peer support. Camp Kesem at University of Texas at Austin is operated by 75 student volunteers and serves 150 campers aged 6-16. They also offer a CIT (Counselor In Training) program in which campers aged 16-17 can apply for and prepare to become a counselor.

The Austin Marathon will celebrate its 26th year running in the capital of Texas. Austin’s flagship running event annually attracts runners from all 50 states and 20+ countries around the world. With start and finish locations just a few blocks apart, and within walking distance of many downtown hotels and restaurants, the Austin Marathon is the perfect running weekend destination. Participants can still register for the marathon, half marathon, or 5K.

Runners of Austin: Part V

An update on our special series featuring four Austin runners and their journey as they train for the upcoming 3M Half Marathon and the Austin Marathon. Brought to you by CLIF Bar & Company, the Official Sports Nutrition of the 2017 Austin Marathon presented by NXP.

Name – Abi

Club – Austin Runners Club

Abi – 2016 Houston Half Marathon

Training has been difficult (with graduate school, work, injury, and life), but that’s why I love to run. I love the challenges and even the set backs. They prove to me that I am a strong individual and can conquer anything with hard work and dedication.

In September, I pulled my hamstring and had to really cut back on my running. In October/November, I was running about 20-30 miles weekly. During those weeks, I tried to focus on having one tempo, one medium run, and a long run. In December, I ramped up my mileage to 40 miles and ended up getting Achilles Tendinitis. Since then, I have had to focus on cycling to help maintain my endurance and have started to incorporate weight lifting in the hopes that it will help to prevent any further injury.

I ran Run for the Water (1:19), Decker Challenge (1:43) and the Houston Half (1:49— gosh I lost my speed) and used those to gauge my capabilities. I’m hoping to run at least a 1:40 at 3M, but will adjust my goal and pace during the race as needed. This type of adjustment during my races has helped to keep me positive, helps to further drive my passion for racing, and and has been key to not allowing myself to give in to negative thinking.

Nut Butter Filled CLIF Bars.

CLIF has helped to fuel me during all forms of exercise. I love the CLIF Shot Energy Gel and use that 30 minutes prior to my activity. The Mocha is my favorite and I love the extra boost of energy that the caffeine gives me! I then follow up at 30 minutes with the CLIF Bloks and continue those based on the length of my run/activity. The Strawberry is my favorite! I’ve have also fallen in love with the scrumptious Nut Butter Filled bars and snack on them often. The CLIF bars are great when I need a snack at school. They help keep me full and provide me with a healthy organic snack option.

Austin Marathon, Rickshaw Boots Form Partnership

High Five Events is excited to announce the partnership between the 2017 Austin Marathon® presented by NXP and Rickshaw Boots. As the Official Boot and Dress Belt, Rickshaw Boots will produce Austin Marathon-specific belts for marathon and half marathon finishers; the perfect accompaniment for their belt buckle-inspired finisher medal.

“When designing the finisher medal, we wanted something our finishers would be proud of while having a fashionable way to showcase their achievement,” said Jack Murray, co-owner of High Five Events. “Rickshaw Boots’ high-quality belts will be the perfect match to every participants’ gorgeous finisher medal.”

Rickshaw Boots, an Austin original, brought together a combination that has long been a staple of the Austin culture, boots and flip-flops. In doing so, they’ve created a line of products that relate directly to the culture of Austin. Their belts will be available for purchase online before race weekend, at the expo, on race day, and on the website post-race. You can shop at their Original Vintage Airstream Trailer on 3rd and Congress.

“We are very grateful for the opportunity to be Austin Marathon’s Official Boot and Belt Sponsor,” said Alvie Faulkenbery, Founder of Rickshaw Boot & Flip-Flop Co. “We got really excited about designing a high-quality leather belt that would play a nice complement and give participants a way to show off their accomplishment year-round.”

The Austin Marathon will celebrate its 26th year running in the capital of Texas. Austin’s flagship running event annually attracts runners from all 50 states and 20+ countries around the world. With start and finish locations just a few blocks apart, and within walking distance of many downtown hotels and restaurants, the Austin Marathon is the perfect running weekend destination. Participants can register for the marathon, half marathon, or 5K.

Austin Marathon, Planet Sub Austin Will Work Together Race Weekend

High Five Events is thrilled to announce that Planet Sub Austin will be the Official Sub Sandwich of the 2017 Austin Marathon® presented by NXP. The multifaceted partnership with Planet Sub Austin, a runner friendly downtown sub shop, will have a significant impact on race weekend, positively affecting runners, volunteers, and event production.

“Even though this is Year One of our partnership, Planet Sub Austin has really stepped up and put their mark all over the Austin Marathon,” said Jack Murray, co-owner of High Five Events. “They’re playing an integral role in race weekend and cementing their status as a runner-friendly downtown restaurant.”

Planet Sub Austin has become known as a runner-friendly restaurant and this partnership further solidifies this label. On race weekend, Plant Sub Austin will provide use of their space for load-in and load-out, allow FloSports to set up a command center for their live-stream coverage, and feed thousands of volunteers. Planet Sub Austin, located at 906 Congress Ave., is well-known in Austin for their bread that’s made from scratch daily, fresh produce, and uncommon combinations of their delicious subs.,

The Austin Marathon will celebrate its 26th year running in the capital of Texas. Austin’s flagship running event annually attracts runners from all 50 states and 20+ countries around the world. With start and finish locations just a few blocks apart, and within walking distance of many downtown hotels and restaurants, the Austin Marathon is the perfect running weekend destination. Participants can still register for the marathon, half marathon, or 5K.

Austin Marathon, 3M Half Marathon Partner with First Texas Honda

High Five Events is thrilled to announce that First Texas Honda will be the Official Lead Vehicle of the 2017 Austin Marathon® presented by NXP and the 3M Half Marathon. As the Official Lead Vehicle, First Texas Honda will provide 2017 Honda Ridgelines for each event.

“First Texas Honda is well-known and respected throughout the Austin metro area for their knowledgeable staff and excellent customer service,” said Jack Murray, co-owner of High Five Events. “We’re glad their team is going to join us on race day and lead these two prestigious events.”

The First Texas Honda trucks will lead the entire race for both the Austin Marathon and the 3M Half Marathon. Their trucks will be the lead vehicles and media trucks for each event. First Texas Honda is well-known in Austin for their hassle-free environment and their excellent customer service.

“First Texas Honda and its family of employees are proud to partner with this year’s running of the Austin Marathon and 3M Half Marathon,” said General Manager Allen Clauss. “We are especially excited to showcase the 2017 North American Truck of the year – the Honda Ridgeline – to the participants and fans of these iconic Austin events.”

The Austin Marathon will celebrate its 26th year running in the capital of Texas on February 19th. Austin’s flagship running event annually attracts runners from all 50 states and 20+ countries around the world. With start and finish locations just a few blocks apart, and within walking distance of many downtown hotels and restaurants, the Austin Marathon is the perfect running weekend destination. Participants can register for the marathon, half marathon, or 5K.

The 3M Half Marathon boasts one of the fastest 13.1-mile courses in the country and will celebrate its 23rd year running on January 22nd. Runners will enjoy a point-to-point course with mostly downhill running that showcases some of Austin’s finest locations. Starting in north Austin and finishing in front of the Texas State Capitol, runners will appreciate a 306’ net elevation drop. Participants can register and book their hotel on the website.

Austin Marathon Partners with SpotHero to Provide Easy Parking

High Five Events is excited to introduce the partnership between the 2017 Austin Marathon® presented by NXP and SpotHero, the nation’s leading parking reservation service. The partnership will further the event’s push to become one of the most technologically advanced road running events in the country by streamlining race weekend parking and saving participants both time and money.

“Our partnership with SpotHero will allow participants to focus on running their best race and give spectators the chance to cheer on their loved ones without having to worry about where to park,” said Stacy Keese, co-owner of High Five Events. “SpotHero eliminates the hassle of parking and this addition strengthens our goal of becoming the most technologically advanced road running event in the country.”

Participants can download the SpotHeros app and secure their parking in advance for both race day and the Health & Fitness Expo. With SpotHero, drivers know in advance where they are headed and how much they will pay so they don’t need to circle the block looking for parking, hoping to find a spot in time.

“The Austin Marathon is a staple of the Austin community and we look forward to now being able to help participants and spectators find convenient and affordable parking in this vibrant city,” said Kristen Cho, VP of Marketing at SpotHero.

The Austin Marathon will celebrate its 26th year running in the capital of Texas. Austin’s flagship running event annually attracts runners from all 50 states and 20+ countries around the world. With start and finish locations just a few blocks apart, and within walking distance of many downtown hotels and restaurants, the Austin Marathon is the perfect running weekend destination. Participants can still register for the marathon, half marathon, or 5K.

2017 Austin Marathon to Feature the Manzano Mile

The Manzano Mile will encourage marathoners to finish with the heart of a lion.

High Five Events is excited to introduce the Manzano Mile on the course of the 2017 Austin Marathon® presented by NXP. The Manzano Mile, named for 2017 Austin Marathon Official Race Ambassador and 2012 Olympic silver medalist Leo Manzano, will be the final mile for the marathon. While running the Manzano Mile, participants can finish their race with their own signature kick, a tribute to Manzano’s signature kick that helped him earn his silver medal.

Manzano Mile“It is an honor to have the Austin Marathon name the final mile of the marathon as the Manzano Mile,” said Manzano. “I attribute my ability to finish to my family, friends, and all the wonderful people who have supported me along the way. I want every Austin Marathon participant to feel that same rush at their end of their race. I’m challenging friends, family, and every Austin resident to line the Manzano Mile and watch these runners finish with the heart of a lion!”

With complete race day branding, enhanced cheer zones, and increased crowd support, runners will be energized upon entering the Manzano Mile, completing their race with the heart of a lion. Timing mats will be placed with one mile to go and awards will be given for runners who complete the Manzano Mile the fastest. The highly decorated track star is a four-time USATF National Champion, seven-time Team USA member, two-time Olympian, and silver medalist in the 1500m at the 2012 Olympic Games, the first medal for USA in the 1500m since 1968.

“The Manzano Mile will elevate our event and give runners that extra push they need during the toughest mile of their race,” said Jack Murray, co-owner of High Five Events. “There will be an endless energy at the end of the course in which runners and spectators feed off of one another, helping athletes finish stronger than ever before.”

The Austin Marathon will celebrate its 26th year running in the capital of Texas. Austin’s flagship running event annually attracts runners from all 50 states and 20+ countries around the world. With start and finish locations just a few blocks apart, and within walking distance of many downtown hotels and restaurants, the Austin Marathon is the perfect running weekend destination. Participants can still register for the marathon, half marathon, or 5K.