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Universal Advice from an Elite

Rizzo’s universal advice can be used by every runner

Patrick Rizzo is one of the most decorated and versatile distance runners in the United States. In December 2017, he ran 2:17:27 at the U.S. Marathon Championship in Sacramento, California. This made him a four-time Olympic Trials qualifier in the marathon; a remarkable and almost unprecedented achievement which solidifies his running legacy. To honor this accomplishment, Colorado Running Magazine named Rizzo its runner of the month. Rizzo is competing in the Austin Marathon’s Elite Athlete Program on race day. He’s sharing some tips that have led to his success. His universal advice can be applied to all runners!

An Athlete’s Perspective – Issue 15

by: Patrick Rizzo

Race day for the Austin Marathon (Feb. 17th) is rapidly approaching. We’re in the final month of training now. This is where the fatigue sometimes gets the best of us. The mileage starts to think it’s winning. Nerves start to sneak into our thoughts. Taper madness is trying to set in. All of those things are normal though. It means you’ve been working toward a goal and you care enough to push yourself in order to achieve it.

Congratulations on getting this far! This is the metaphorical peak of the hill and now it’s time to come downhill. With that said, mistakes can still be made. Having covered the marathon distance 20 times myself, I’d like to share some universal advice. This universal advice is applicable to runners of all speeds and experience levels. Implement this universal advice to run your best and have a positive experience at the 2019 Austin Marathon.

One

Decide what you’re eating the night before the race and practice eating that same food before quality days. When a friend asks what you thought of the course, it’s better not to answer in terms of how frequent the port-o-potties were spaced on the course. Especially if it’s within your control to practice.

Two

Sticking with the specifics, have you tried nuun hydration? nuun performance will be the on-course hydration. Same with Gatorade gels and blocks. There will be two stations on the marathon course handing out nutrition. If it doesn’t suit your preference, plan ahead! Experiment with what DOES work and how you can carry that on race day. Gels pinned to the inside of shorts is a great way to carry your calories.

Three

What kind of shape are your shoes in? Will they make it to race day or are you 50/50? Now is the time to plan ahead. Nothing is worse than befriending the medical staff because your forefoot grafted to the insoles of your new shoes (yes, that happened to me at the London Marathon in 2013).

Four

Know your pace and stick to it. You shouldn’t be training more than five seconds faster than race pace and that’s even limited. If your regular runs are faster than goal marathon/half pace, either your goal is too slow or your training is too fast. Also, on race day, it’s easy for emotions to start out high (and take your pacing plan right with it). Prepare ahead of time to start at a pace that you plan to still find achievable in the last 5K.

Five

HAVE FUN! Really. If training has become “work” then you’re doing it wrong! I train 100 miles a week, with a wife, a kid, and a full-time job. It’s still something I “get to do” and not “have to do.” Dads and moms, you can’t be afraid to get that running stroller out for the easy days and chat with the little one while you’re out there. My son and I have solved the world’s problems while we run together. It also gives me time to bond with him and gives my wife a break to do her workout. Fun comes from having balance and perspective.

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.

PROfile: Samantha Calderon, 2019 Austin Half Marathon Elite Athlete Program

Samantha Calderon will compete against a stacked Austin Half Marathon field

Samantha Calderon has been accepted to the Austin Half Marathon’s Elite Athlete Program. She will compete against other top runners for a prize purse that totals $26,000 on Feb. 17, 2019. Earlier this year, Calderon qualified for the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials. She currently trains in Colorado and has a bright future ahead of her! Run with her on race day, cheer her on, or watch the FloTrack live stream on race day from anywhere in the world.

About Samantha Calderon

Marathon PR (2:44:44).Samantha Calderon: Austin Half Marathon Elite Athlete Program My name is Samantha Calderon. I am from Minnesota, where I ran track and cross country at St. Cloud State. I now live in Boulder, Colorado, with my husband Julian, and my dog Chardonnay. I run for Run Boulder AC with Coach Kathy Butler. In January of 2018, I qualified for my first Olympic Trials! I’m excited to keep grinding and see where this sport takes me! I was 3x NCAA All-American. I love cooking, baking, reading, and of course running! Qualified for the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials at the 2018 Houston Marathon (2:44:44)

Training tip: Do the work. Sometimes training gets hard and you don’t want to do it. Show up every day and get through the workout, whether it’s great or not. You’ll add money to the training bank and it will show dividends.

Race day tip: Don’t do anything different. Eat the same thing that worked in training. Wear the same outfit you wore in your toughest workouts. Most importantly: smile and remember why you love to run!

Follow Samantha on Twitter and Instagram.

Meet the Olympic Trials Qualifying ‘B’ Standard Pacing Group

Trio of runners will pace female marathoners to ‘B’ standard qualifying time

High Five Events introduces a pacing team that will lead female elites to an Olympic Trials Qualifying ‘B’ Standard time at the 2019 Austin Marathon presented by Under Armour®.

The trio of Austin runners will reach the finish line in 2:44:59 (“B” Standard time is 2:45:00). The team consists of Bryan Morton (2x “B” Standard pacer), Will Nation (2016, ‘20 Olympic Trials Marathon Qualifier), and Rory Tunningley (2016 Olympic Trials Marathon Qualifier).

Female elites are invited to apply to the Austin Marathon’s Elite Athlete Program. The goal of this pacing group is to guide as many females as possible to an Olympic Marathon Trials qualifying time. The Elite Athlete Program focuses on creating a field of elite male and female runners with a competitive nature and discovering emerging talent, while helping the existing talent pool reach Olympic standards. Allison Macsas qualified for the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials at the 2018 Austin Marathon.

“The addition of this pacing trio underscores the goal of the Austin Marathon’s Elite Athlete Program, to help elites reach Olympic standards,” said Jack Murray, co-owner of High Five Events. “Our 2017 – ‘18 female marathon champion Allison Macsas proved you can qualify on the streets of Austin when she qualified for the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials on Feb. 18, 2018 (2:43:11).

Rory Tunningley

Rory Tunningley is a member of the "B" standard pacing group at the Austin Marathon.

Rory Tunningley is a member of the “B” standard pacing group at the Austin Marathon.

Tunningley is a 2013 graduate of The University of Texas, serving as cross-country Team Captain his senior year. A three-time All-South Central Region performer, Tunningley helped the UT men win back-to-back regional titles. Tunningley ran an Olympic Marathon Trials qualifying time of 1:04:51 at the 2015 Rock ‘n Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon. He finished a solid 89th at the 2016 Olympic Marathon Trials in 2:35:53, his first marathon ever. During his time with the Longhorns, Tunningley recorded personal bests of 29:30.36 in the outdoor 10,000m and 14:15.87 in the indoor 5,000m. His 50th place finish at the 2012 NCAA Cross Country Championships (second among UT runners) helped propel the team to a 9th place finish overall.

“When I qualified for the Olympic Trials in 2016 I had the help of a friend who paced me half way through a half marathon in which I ran a qualifying standard,” said Tunningley. “I look forward to helping others achieve their goal of qualifying for the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials.”

Will Nation

Will Nation is a member of the "B" standard pacing group at the Austin Marathon.

Will Nation is a member of the “B” standard pacing group at the Austin Marathon.

Nation is a lifelong Texan who moved to Austin in 2010 to attend The University of Texas. He earned a B.S. in Computer Science and competed on the track and cross country teams. Upon graduating in 2014, Nation began his post-collegiate career with a first-place finish at Austin’s own 3M Half Marathon. Since then, he has qualified for the Olympic Marathon Trials twice (2016 and 2020). His most recent qualifying time coming from the 2017 USATF Marathon Championships (2:16:59). Will currently trains in Austin under the guidance of his longtime coach, Steve Magness. When he’s not running, he works as a web developer for FantasyPros.

“Austin has such an amazing fitness community and it only makes sense to have a marathon that reflects that,” said Nation. “ It’s my hope that I can assist many talented individuals in achieving their goal of hitting an OTQ and demonstrate that the Austin Marathon is a race where you can do just that.”

Bryan Morton

Bryan Morton is a member of the "B" standard pacing group at the Austin Marathon.

Bryan Morton is a member of the “B” standard pacing group at the Austin Marathon.

Morton moved down to Austin in 2010 for his gig with Facebook. He’s been marathon training with Team Rogue ever since. Morton is a marathon veteran with 20+ races on his resume. He set his PB of 2:25 this past February in Tokyo. This is his fifth time pacing at the Austin Marathon and second time pacing the women’s Olympic ‘B’ Standard.

Austin’s endurance community has given me so much over the years, and I wouldn’t be the runner I am today without the support of many in it,” said Morton. “Races like the Austin Marathon afford the opportunity to give back and pay it forward to others with similar goals. It’s my hope that we can shepherd a large pack of women to a 2020 Olympic Trials qualifying time and pave the way for many others to follow in their footsteps.

Applications are still being accepted and elite marathoners can apply on the Austin Marathon’s website. Accepted athletes that meet the program’s standards will be given one comp entry to the Austin Marathon or half marathon. They’re also eligible for travel reimbursement and standards bonuses. Runners not accepted to the program but still invited will receive one comp entry. They’re also eligible to win prize money.