An Athlete’s Perspective – Issue 9

An Athlete’s Perspective is a blog series of event and/or training experiences written firsthand by the athletes 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.

6 Tips for Running the Austin Half Marathon

By: Kyle Kranz

Living in western South Dakota does not give me many options for winter half or full marathons.

After missing my half marathon PR by 1 second and 20 seconds in the fall, I was super pumped when gifted an entry into the Austin Half Marathon for a third try!

Below are my six favorite pieces of advice I like to share with those who ask for general racing tips, tuned specifically for Austin. Keep them in mind as you train for and when you run the Austin Half/Full Marathon and I have little doubt you’ll get a bit closer to that PR! You’ll notice that none of these have anything to do with your fitness level. They are applicable to everyone and every event.

An Athlete's Perspective1) Take the Tangents

We’re starting with the easiest.

Did you know that courses are measured via the shortest possible route?

People not running this route is one of the most frustrating things I see at races and something so easy to fix. Run straight from corner to corner instead of staying on one side of the path.

That means when you take a turn wide, you’re running farther than the course actually is! Now imagine you take 10 wide turns over a half marathon. You signed up for 13.1 miles, not 13.5! There went your PR.

2) Slow Down Going Up

I’ve read a lot of research studies over the years, but one that compared racers in an actual race and their position before and after a hill was the one that has stuck with me the best because it’s so applicable to real life and easy to put into practice.

This one is simple as well, slow down when you go up an incline instead of trying to maintain the pace.

The researchers determined that while this may cause you to lose time compared to other runners right at that very moment, over the course of the race duration the individuals who slowed going up had more stamina once they reached the top and were able to accelerate and pass the runners who expired because they maintained their pace.

An Athlete's Perspective

3) Preview the Course and Event

Course previews range from the obvious physically checking out the course before race day to reading about the event online.

A fast way is to simply search Google for the name of your race + race report and read the experience other people have had during past years of the event. Race reports will often mention how the start is organized, what aid stations are like, crowd support, etc.

Of course, the race website is full of helpful information as well. Get familiar with what hydration and calorie options will be available and at what intervals on the course, and look at the elevation profile so you’re aware of any steep bridges or climbs at the end of the course.

The absolute best option is to actually train on the course. If you’re training in Austin, your long runs will likely be very near to 15-20 miles and doing them on the course is wise. The more familiar you are the better!

Another note from a friend of mine that did the full: Be aware that for the first few miles you’ll be running with a bunch of half marathoners. Know when and where the split is. Otherwise, you may suddenly and surprisingly find yourself running solo.

4) Be mindful of the weather

When I arrived in Austin it was actually warmer in South Dakota than in Texas on that February day! However, on race morning it was about 70 degrees and humid.

I re-evaluated my pacing and goals and decided to skip the warm up to keep my core temp down and take the first uphill 5k super easy before dropping the hammer for the remaining 10 miles. I ended up running the first 3-4 miles about 25-30 seconds slower per mile than I would end up averaging.

Due to the proper pacing, I was able to run comfortably for the entire race duration, never needing water or calories and not experiencing any cramping or stomach issues.

An Athlete's Perspective

5) Don’t Forget the 5P’s

Proper pacing prevents poor performance. Do not forget it!

No amount of good training, perfect calories, and adequate hydration will save you if you run the first third of the race distance too fast.

The final third of a race is full of people barely shuffling forward who “had a great first half.” Don’t be one of them! Let people go off ahead during the first third of the race distance, many of them will expire and you will pass them feeling well. Just don’t count passes out loud, it’s rude.

For just about any distance, I like to recommend my clients break it up into three parts. Run the first part easy, which will be much faster than your typical easy pace. Speed up a bit for the middle third but keep it controlled. And then for the final third, whether it’s during a 5k or a marathon, you can basically run at best effort. It’s harder to bonk when your body knows the finish line is near!

6) Treat YourselfAn Athlete's Perspective

No one needs a sport or luxury car, but when you have one it sure is nice.

No one needs the VIP Experience at the Austin Marathon, but it sure was nice!

From the indoor waiting area with couches, refreshments, little breakfast burritos, and indoor bathrooms to the post-race meal looking over the finish line area and massage, it made me pretty darn special to be a VIP for a day! Oh, and I LOVE the free cap I got at the expo for being a VIP.


I hope you found these tips helpful!

Regardless of your experience level or knowledge, putting even one of these into practice will help. You will put hundreds of hours into training for this half marathon, don’t sacrifice your goal by making any easily avoidable mistakes at the event!

– Kyle Kranz

Kyle Kranz finished the 2017 Austin Half Marathon in 1:27:46. He works with runners from around the globe helping them achieve their goals. Follow him on his social channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube) to gain more insight!

Olympian Leo Manzano Returns as Austin Marathon Race Ambassador

This is the second year in a row the two-time Olympian will be the Official Race Ambassador

High Five Events announces that Austinite and two-time Olympian Leo Manzano will return as the Official Race Ambassador for the 2018 Austin Marathon®. The partnership will continue to highlight Manzano’s community involvement in Austin, increase outreach to Central and South American runners, and showcase the Austin Marathon as one of the top races in the country.

“I’m thrilled to return as the Official Race Ambassador for the Austin Marathon, an event that means so much to this city,” said Manzano. “Thousands of people come from all over to challenge themselves on the streets of Austin and I can’t wait to cheer for them on race day.”

Image of Leo Manzano, Race Ambassador, with 2017 Austin Marathon champs Allison Macsas and Joe Thorne

Manzano (center) with 2017 Austin Marathon champs Allison Macsas (left) and Joe Thorne (right)

Manzano’s role with the Austin Marathon will also include event promotions, athlete recruitment, social media engagement, and attending in-person marathon-related events leading up to and including race weekend. Additional pre-race and race day activations are currently being planned. Manzano attended Marble Falls High School where he was a nine-time Texas 4A State champion in track and cross country. Manzano was accepted to The University of Texas and won five NCAA National Championships and was a nine-time All-American. The highly decorated track star is also 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.

“Leo had an enormous presence at the 2017 Austin Marathon and having him back as Official Race Ambassador was a simple decision,” said Jack Murray, co-owner of High Five Events. “His dedication to the Austin Marathon and the sport is unwavering and it shows when he’s running with Austinites downtown, chatting with runners at the expo, and greeting participants at the start line.”

The Austin Marathon will celebrate its 27th year running in the capital of Texas on February 18, 2018. Austin’s flagship running event annually attracts runners from all 50 states and 20+ countries around the world. Having start and finish locations just a few blocks apart, being within walking distance of many downtown hotels and restaurants, and finishing in front of the picturesque Texas State Capitol makes the Austin Marathon the perfect running weekend destination. Participants can register for the marathon, half marathon, or 5K.

Austin Marathon Announces Third Round of Accepted Elite Runners

High Five Events introduces the third round of accepted athletes for the 2018 Austin Marathon®. Runners not accepted into the Elite Athlete Program are still invited to run in the Elite Field. The Elite Athlete Program’s focus is to provide a clean and competitive environment, discover emerging talent, and help the existing talent pool reach Olympic standards. The Program’s Year Two prize purse totals $20K, with $15K for the marathon and $5K for the half marathon.

Image of Anita Perez crossing the Chicago Marathon finish line.

Anita Perez at 2017 Chicago Marathon (2:44:04).

The third round of 2018 marathoners include:

  • Brian Harvey – Elite Athlete Program (2016 Olympic Trials Marathon Qualifier)
  • Whitney Thornburg – Elite Athlete Program (2017 United Airlines NYC Half – 1:16:29)
  • Travis Morrison – Elite Athlete Program (7th place 2017 Pittsburgh Marathon – 2:19:45)
  • Caitlin Batten – Elite Athlete Program (female champion 2015 Kiawah Island Marathon – 2:49:00)
  • James Sjostrom – Elite Field (10th place 2017 Columbus Half Marathon – 1:12:32)
  • Kyle Taylor – Elite Field (2nd place 2016 Best Damn Race Safety Harbor – 1:15:24)
  • Sky Canaves – Elite Field (female champion 2016 Hill Country Halloween Half Marathon – 1:25:21)

The third round of 2018 half marathoners include:

  • Anita Perez – Elite Athlete Program (2016, 2020 Olympic Trials Marathon Qualifier)
  • Anthony Solis – Elite Athlete Program (2016 Olympic Trials Marathon Qualifier)
  • Jennifer Angles – Elite Field (half marathon debut; ran XC and track for University of Kansas – ‘17)

“I was accepted into the 2017 Elite Athlete Program and looked forward to running the marathon earlier this year when I had to withdraw at the last minute due to a foot injury,” said Batten, whose marathon PR (2:49:00) was set at the 2015 Kiawah Island Marathon. “I love the city of Austin and am really excited to get another chance to run this year.”

Read about the first and second round of accepted elite runners. Including today, the marathon has accepted a total of eight runners into the Elite Athlete Program and 10 have been invited to participate in the Elite Field. The half marathon has accepted four runners into the Elite Athlete Program and 10 have been invited to participate in the Elite Field. Applications are arriving daily and more than 100 have already been submitted. The fourth round of athletes will be announced next week. Applications are still being accepted and elite runners can apply on the Austin Marathon’s website. Athletes that meet the program’s standards and are accepted will be given one comp entry to the 2018 Austin Marathon or half marathon, reimbursement eligibility, and standards bonuses.