Posts

How to Stay Motivated after the Austin Marathon/Half Marathon

Keep the good times rolling, stay motivated with these tips

You trained a great deal in preparation for the Austin Marathon or Austin Half Marathon. Most of you trained at least 3-4 months, some of you as many as 12 months! Either way, you’ve established a rhythm and created a solid foundation with which you can build off of in preparation for the 2020 Ascension Seton Austin Marathon! Read below to see how to stay motivated now that you’ve crossed the Congress Ave. finish line.

Reward yourself

Early mornings. Late nights. Months of training. Hundreds of miles. One finish line. You achieved your goals and accomplished dreams! Reward yourself and commemorate your moment when you purchase official, limited-edition Austin Marathon gear from the online Fleet Feet Austin store. Show off in your Run Austin Under Armour gear during your next workout or on your next long run. Be proud of your accomplishments! Hurry, because supplies are limited. Pro tip: when you don’t feel like working out or going for a long run, bust our your Run Austin gear for an energy boost!

Join a running club

If you don’t already run with a club or a group, this section is for you! If you do run with a club or group, check out some other options around town. It never hurts to meet more runners, try new workouts, and log more miles! Various groups and clubs around Austin have differing schedules, so they can accommodate most any runner in any part of Austin.

  • RAW Running meets twice a week on Tuesday evening (7:00 at Deep Eddy Cabaret) and Friday morning (6:30 at Fleet Feet Austin).
  • East Side Beer Runners meet on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at Hops and Grain and explore Austin’s trails on Sunday morning. RAW and ESBR don’t charge for membership.
  • Austin Runners Club has runs just about every day of the week in every part of Austin. ARC dues are $30/year, but if you join ARC while registering for the Austin Marathon or 3M Half Marathon it only costs $25!
  • Pro tip: if you’re not in Austin, use this helpful tool from the Road Runners Club of America to find a running club near you.

Branch out

Chances are high that all or a high percentage of your Austin Marathon or Austin Half Marathon training miles were completed on the road. Now’s the time to branch out and explore other locations and endurance sports! There are numerous benefits to running on trails or completing your first triathlon.

  • Trail running will purposefully slow you down. You can really dial in your pace, allowing your body to continue getting stronger. With the ups and downs, twists and turns, you work your muscles differently. This helps with the strengthening, especially with your ankles and feet. Wherever you run on trails, you get to see some of the prettiest locations in your city! Pro tip: pay attention! You can’t just zone out like you sometimes can on the road, you have to pay attention to everything, from roots to rocks. The last thing you want is to end up on the ground!
  • Register for your first triathlon, like Rookie Triathlon. The benefits of cross-training are endless! With a 300m swim, 11.2-mile bike, and 2-mile run, this event is perfect for first-timers. You’ve got the running part down, now focus on the swim and bike portions. Once you adjust your training you’ll really feel your body get stronger. Austin has several pools where you can start your swim training and numerous bike paths where you can lock in your bike training.

Register for short-distance races

Speedwork makes the dream work! Now is the time most runners switch from long-distance training to shorter distances, especially with the impending Texas heat. This allows them to remain in shape while strengthening their muscles differently. Speedwork will help you get faster if you utilize your training properly. Just because you focus on shorter distances doesn’t mean you can ignore recovery, stretching, foam rolling, etc. You still have to take care of your body! 

  • Cap10K – Cap10K is entering its 42nd year and is the largest 10K in Texas. With more than 24,000 registrants expected on April 7th, Cap10K is annually one of the largest 10Ks in the US. Cap10K starts on Congress Ave. Bridge and finishes near Auditorium Shores. The finish line festival is complete with a selfie drone, beer garden, and live music.

Workout with Camp Gladiator

This crew got you loose on Feb. 17th, so you know they know their stuff. They also had 12 cheer stations on course, so you know they can bring the energy! CG is an outdoor fitness program for all fitness levels. They have workouts all over Austin, find one near you. These workouts will make you a better runner because you can trim down, work on your core, and increase your overall strength. Learn how you can take advantage of their best pricing of the season!

Raise money for your favorite charity

Another great way to stay motivated is to fundraise on behalf of your favorite Austin Gives Miles nonprofit leading up to Feb. 16, 2020. Add more meaning to your training miles and make a significant impact on Central Texas. Raise money from family and friends for each mile you run or each run you complete. Either way, you’re using your legs for good! It’s tough to choose from all the amazing Austin Gives Miles charities, but if you ran with us on Feb. 17th, think back to the aid station that gave you the most energy. The one that pumped you up when you needed it the most. Write down that nonprofits name and fundraise on their behalf when you train for the Austin Marathon, half marathon, or 5K.

Start a team for 2020

It’s never too early to begin planning for 2020 3M Half Marathon (Jan. 19th) and Ascension Seton Austin Marathon (Feb. 16th). There are many reasons to create a team. Starting a team is a great way to hold others accountable during training. Plus, running is better with friends! Why pick either event when your team can register to run both events. Grab brunch after long runs, make shirts for race day, or support an Austin Gives Miles charity. Let the recruiting begin!

Shawn Livingston, Recovering Addict, Transforms Life Through Running

Shawn Livingston emphasizes how the power of running helped him get his life back

On Tuesday, October 30th, Shawn Livingston, a 10-year military veteran, up-and-coming endurance trail runner, and recovering addict who discovered his love for running through Back on My Feet Austin (BoMF), met with William Dyson (Austin Marathon Communications Manager) to conduct the latest installment of the Staying Vertical interview series.

They discuss life’s highs and lows, running’s impact, and what the future holds. Shawn just completed the Pinhoti 100 Miler in Sylacauga, AL, and has his sights set on the 2019 Ascension Seton Austin Marathon presented by Under Armour. BoMF, an Austin Gives Miles official charity, combats homelessness through the power of running, community support, and essential employment and housing resources. Read his interview below. If you see him on the trail or running with Austin Runners Club’s Ship of Fools chat him up!

William Dyson – When did you move to Austin? How long ago did you begin running with BoMF? What prompted you to join the group?

Shawn Livingston – I moved to Austin in 2016 for treatment. I’ve been running with BoMF for nearly 18 months now (began in June – 2017). I distinctly remember seeing a few guys return from running the 2017 Cap10K. I knew I wanted to get healthy, but I needed something to push me a little bit further. Seeing those guys return provided that spark for me.Shawn Livingston

WD – What was your life prior to BoMF?

SL – Growing up I was the oldest sibling. I did well early on in life, was a good role model for my siblings, and did well in sports. During my 10 years in the military, I got injured and became addicted to opiates. I was lost for a long time, eventually getting into legal trouble for drug possession. Everything came crashing down when I went to prison. It was there I realized I needed to stop being selfish. You get back what you put into this world, I truly believe that. I started thinking if God had a plan for me to peak early in life and then crash just so my siblings would know what not to do, then it’d be worth it. It was difficult to get past that thought process.

WD – What was your initial reaction to BoMF?

SL – BoMF was exactly what I needed at the exact right time. As a vet you miss getting up early, the camaraderie, going on long runs, the structured routine. Finding something similar was just what I needed. There were runners at the morning runs like me and I knew this would be the perfect stepping stone.

WD – What has running done for you as a human?

SL – After getting out of the military, I had problems with depression and anxiety. I couldn’t sleep and had nightmares regularly. Eventually, running became a part of my life and did to me what medicine could not. Through running I was able to break my dependence on the medication. Since I was a kid I’ve never been good at being still. Now, running has become my meditation. I’m able to break down, process, and work out life’s instances. You have some time to think when you go on a 20-mile run.

WD – What has running done to you as a person?

SL – About two years ago I weighed 260 lbs., smoked cigarettes, and was tremendously out of shape. I started running and eventually got my weight down to 195 lbs. The before-and-after pictures show two completely different people and showcase the difference between unhealthy and healthy. My attitude towards everything shifted, I have a more positive outlook on life, and possess a confidence booster I didn’t realize I had. Even with all that, it was hard to find a sense of accomplishment in life when I first started running. It wasn’t until I ran my first race and received a huge medal. They put it around my neck and I felt this undeniable sense of accomplishment. It made me want more. As someone who’s new to running, I wanted that next feeling. Before running I was addicted to feeling good. Running provides that good feeling now.

WD – Why do you continue to be involved with and support BoMF?

SL – There’s a saying “keep what you have by giving it away.” Running with BoMF has been so beneficial for me on many levels. When I needed someone, they were there. They supported me and helped me turn my life around. I’m dedicated to bringing that feeling and sensation to other people. If they’re in a similar situation, I want to show them what’s possible.

WD – Tell me how you went from morning runs with BoMF to ultra distances.

SL – I first started on trails because I was down to run anything. At first, running longer distances didn’t make sense to me. I was inspired and also blown away when those guys ran the Cap10K. Penny (BoMF volunteer, mentor, and fellow trail runner) saw something in me that I didn’t. She encouraged me to give longer distances on the trail a try. My second race was 2017 Capt’n Karl’s Muleshoe Bend 30K and continued with longer distances from there. Eventually, I gained more and more confidence. So much so that I’m running the Pinhoti 100 miler (my first) this Friday in Alabama (update: he finished in 27:43:35)

WD – You’ve becoShawn Livingstonme a decorated ultrarunner. What are your recent accomplishments?

SL – I’ve placed in the top 10 at several races and have thoroughly enjoyed pushing my body’s limits while testing longer distances.

Nov. 3rd – Pinhoti 100 Miler (27:43:35)

Sept. 28th – 4th place overall – J&J Race & Trail Running Reunion 50K (5:48:17)

Sept. 7th – 1st place overall – Paleface Marathon (4:39:15)

Aug. 4th – 8th place overall – Capt’n Karl’s Colorado Bend 30K (3:45:52)

June 2nd – 5th place overall – Texas Trail Running Festival Half Marathon (2:04:46)

May 5th – 5th place overall – Pandora’s Box of Rox Half Marathon (1:57:54)

WD – What keeps you running?

SL – Like I said earlier, it’s my medicine. Running is what I’ve gotten the most out of in life. Nothing makes me feel as good as running. You hear people talk about the direct connection between running and mental/physical health, but it doesn’t really click until you experience that feeling firsthand. It’s tough to find something like the “runner’s high” this rewarding.

WD – Tell me one or two running goals on your radar right now.

SL – Finish this weekend’s 100-miler (check) and qualify for the Boston Marathon at the 2019 Austin Marathon.

WD – Tell me one or two non-running goals on your radar right now.

SL – Get certified to become a personal trainer, continue progressing in my life, and reach as many people as possible.

WD – How are you training for the Austin Marathon? What’s your approach?

SL – Running trails has helped my road running. It’s strengthened muscles that don’t normally get work when road running. I run hills all the time. I plan to run the 2019 Bandera 100K in January. Barring an unforeseen injury, I’ll keep training because I want to qualify for Boston.

WD – BoMF is an Austin Gives Miles charity. Why should someone run/fundraise/spread awareness on their behalf?

SL – Runners know how beneficial running can be, they get it. What better way than to help others better themselves than by running?! It’s a very unique outlet to help those that need it most, simply by completing an action most of us take for granted on a daily basis.

Shawn LivingstonWD – How do you want to be remembered?

SL – I want to be remembered as somebody that was able to help others through their trials and tribulations. I want to use my experiences to show them right from wrong, but to also show them you can still accomplish anything you set your mind to, no matter where you are in life.

WD – You can travel back in time and give one piece of advice to your younger self. What is that advice?

SL – No advice, I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m not ashamed of anything in my past because it made me who I am now. I wouldn’t be the Shawn Livingston I am today without my past. We wouldn’t be at this table today and I wouldn’t have a message to share if it weren’t for my past.

WD – You have 30 seconds to pitch BoMF to someone who could benefit from the organization. What do you tell them?

SL – If you want to find an avenue to change your life and be around positive people who want to help, this program can provide that for you.

WD – What does family mean to you?

SL – Family means everything to me. My mindset changed completely when they cut me off. That’s when it sunk in. To have them back makes you realize at the end of the day family is all you have.

WD – Favorite non-running activity?

SL – Basketball.

Favorite place for long runs?

SL – Town Lake. To have so many people in the same place doing the same thing, from all walks of life, in shape, out of shape, all with similar goals, it’s energizing.

WD – Morning or evening workouts?

SL – Morning.

WD – You can choose one – dogs or cats?

SL – Dogs.

WD – What’s your favorite color?

SL – Carolina blue.

WD – Shawn, thank you for taking the time to visit with me and share your story. Meeting you and hearing your story firsthand is powerful. I appreciate you spending your time with me. Best of luck at Pinhoti, your first 100-miler! I just might sign up for my first trail race and hit you up for some advice. Keep pushing and taking it day-by-day. Good things are headed your way. We’ll see you at the Austin Marathon!

SL – You’re welcome. Thank’s for having me. I’m fortunate to have been given a second chance through running and I feel like I need to tell my story. Everyone knows someone with a problem. The hard part is reaching through to them and helping. I see running as an avenue to reach others. It can transform someone’s life if they have the right mindset. I know it transformed me! Thanks for the luck, hit me up when you register for that trail race. Looking forward to more trails and the Austin Marathon!

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!