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These 7 valuable tips will help you run your best and get the most out of training

Run your best when you follow these 7 tips! There are some things that are out of our control, like the weather. But when you execute the things you can control, you truly run your best. These tips are as easy as relaxing while you run and as technical as checking your cadence. Keep these tips in mind when you’re training during the summer months. Need a reminder? Click the infographic below to download for yourself. Take your training to the next level when you take care of yourself with this vital advice!

Relax

Downloadable infographic highlighting 7 tips you should follow to run your best.Sounds simple, but we can unknowingly put a strain on our body in an effort to produce mileage or a certain pace. Really focus on relaxing your body. Unclench your fists and loosen your shoulders and jaw. You can even begin your run or workout at a slightly slower than normal pace to really dial in your breathing. Slowly increasing your heart rate at the beginning will help with relaxation.

Check your cadence

The average runner’s cadence should be 160-170 steps per minute. You don’t have to count this in your head! Every runner is different, especially if you’re just starting out or have been running all your life. Under Armour makes knowing your cadence seamless. Their Bluetooth connected shoes, like Under Armour’s HOVR Velociti 2, send the information from your run directly to their MapMyRun app. The app even provides personalized coaching tips! Tracking your cadence, mileage, pace, and other running-related data will help you see improvement.

Focus on your stride

This coincides with the first tip to relax. Your stride improves when you relax. Don’t overstride or run on your tippy-toes. You want your stride to be smooth and comfortable. This better optimizes the energy your body uses and helps avoid injury.

Take time off

Listen to your body, whether you suspect an injury or just don’t feel good. The last thing you want is to have something minor become a major issue. If you have to take more than a day or two off, visit a specialist at the Ascension Seton Sports Performance and get checked out. If you think something is wrong get it diagnosed so you can build a plan to get back to running. 

Get more sleep

Feeling a little sluggish since you’ve increased your mileage? Add one extra minute of sleep per night for every mile you run that week. If you run 30 miles per week, add 30 minutes of sleep. Your body repairs itself when you sleep. Make sure you give your body enough time to recover when you begin asking more of it.

Hydrate

This might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s extremely vital. At a minimum, you should drink 60-80 ounces every day. The more active you are, the more you should increase that amount. Make sure you have a good balance of water and an electrolyte-infused fluid, like nuun hydration.

Cross-train

Don’t run every day, mix it up. Cross-training is important to prevent overuse injuries. Try swimming, cycling, yoga, lifting weights, or online workouts. You’ll work different muscles and build strength. When lifting weights, focus on a lighter weight with more reps. Here are 8 reasons to include cross-training with Camp Gladiator!

You will ask more of your body as you increase your mileage. It’s important that you take care of your body. Incorporate these tips so that you can run your best. Do you have a tip that helps you run your best? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter.

The 2020 June running playlist is the anthem you need to chase your 13.1-mile PR

We’ve got more tunes for you because Austin is The Live Music Capital of the World. We’re sharing our favorite tunes with you every month so you can train for and chase your half marathon PR. Often times one song (or several!) can power you through a tough time during an intense workout or a long run. Trust us, we speak from experience! Jam out to the entire June running playlist or take your favorites and make your own list. The 2020 June running playlist has the music you need, from Survivor’s classic anthem to Austin’s own Ghostland Observatory. We share every song on the massive #WeLiketheSoundofThat playlist and Twitter. Follow us so you know what’s next!

Playlist pro tips:

1) drag the 2020 June Running Playlist to your ‘Playlists’ section for quick access

2) click the download button so you can listen even if you’re offline

Utilize the June running playlist and these 5 self-care tips to maximize your training. Keep the volume at a level where you can pay attention to your surroundings. It’s important to know what’s going on around you! Is there something you like that we didn’t list? Let us know on Facebook and Twitter.

Running 13.1 miles is an impressive feat, it’s not just a half marathon

Every year thousands of participants chase their half marathon PR at 3M Half Marathon. Whether you earn a new PR or not, you’ve still completed a magnificent achievement. Crossing the finish line marks the completion of 13.1 miles, not just a half marathon. High Five Events’ Emily Stevens tells her story of completing 13.1 miles and achieving her goal.

Have to run marathons

When I started investing in my running hobby, by paying to be coached, I thought the only way to justify spending the money was if I ran marathons. For two years I ran marathons and was completely dedicated to a strict weekly running schedule. Fortunately, I had the luxury to plan my life around that schedule. I joined a running group and set mileage and speed goals with my coach every week. Marathons were my focus and I had no interest in “just halves.” I was committed 100% and my family fully supported me. 

In year two I had some upper thigh pain while running, but barreled through. I kept stretching, rolling, icing, heating, sports massage, and cryogenics. Injury didn’t fit into my plans of training for more marathons. Unbeknownst to me, my last marathon was to be on January 13, 2013. The race was super fun for the first 15 miles. The rest was so increasingly painful, it was like nothing I had ever experienced before or since, and I’ve birthed a child! I did finish, but I was barely walking.

Injury opens a new door

It turns out that the vast amount of miles I had run to prepare for what would be my final marathon caused a stress reaction in the neck of my left femur. Running was trying to chip away at my bone. The day after that marathon I was diagnosed and prescribed crutches to use for 10 weeks. I was told that if, after I healed, I continued running that amount of mileage I could end up needing plates in my thigh bone to hold it together. The news was devastating, but more so it was really scary!  Running marathons was my pride and joy. 

As my leg was healing, I was forced to get inside my head and re-evaluate things. I was anxious to get back to running, but I was not willing to destroy my leg. By the time I could run again I was so thankful to be able to run for five minutes, 10 minutes, 30 minutes. The first time I ran a full mile I actually teared up. I was slow and steady and if I ever felt the slightest twinge I quit. Instead of being upset, I commended myself for trying and listening to my body. Once I was able to run four or five miles I decided it was time to set a spectacular goal. I was going to run a half marathon. I was more excited to achieve that goal than any of the marathons I ran.

Running 13.1 miles, not just a half marathon

Six months later I ran a half marathon. It was the most rewarding race of my life. I ran 13.1 miles. I RAN A HALF MARATHON. 

There is never a reason to denigrate running 13.1 miles. It’s not just a half. It’s in a category that has nothing to do with a full marathon. A half is 21.1 kilometers and takes more than 30,000 steps. That’s three times the daily recommended amount for exercise. A half marathon is an excellent goal and a sweet achievement!

The 2020 May running playlist is the anthem you need to chase your 13.1-mile PR

We’ve got more tunes for you because Austin is The Live Music Capital of the World. We’re sharing our favorite tunes with you every month so you can train for and chase your half marathon PR. Often times one song (or several!) can power you through a tough time during an intense workout or a long run. Trust us, we speak from experience! Jam out to the entire May running playlist or take your favorites and make your own list. The 2020 May running playlist has the music you need, from the guitar-shredding Tash Sultana to Austin’s next big music act, Black Pumas. We share every song on the massive #WeLiketheSoundofThat playlist and Twitter. Follow us so you know what’s next!

Playlist pro tips:

1) drag the 2020 May Running Playlist to your ‘Playlists’ section for quick access

2) click the download button so you can listen even if you’re offline

Utilize the May running playlist and these 5 self-care tips to maximize your training. Keep the volume at a level where you can pay attention to your surroundings. It’s important to know what’s going on around you! Is there something you like that we didn’t list? Let us know on Facebook and Twitter.

Running tips that can keep you safe now that daylight saving time has ended

If your clocks didn’t do it automatically, then you just made every clock you own “fall back.” Whether you like it or not, daylight saving time has ended and the sun will set much, much earlier than normal. In general, this means colder temperatures and less sunlight. But like they say, the training must go on! If you’re training for 3M Half Marathon or the Ascension Seton Austin Marathon, these 5 running tips will keep you safe now that daylight saving time has ended. If you’re out driving, watch out for runners and cyclists!

Wear reflective clothing/lights

Reflective clothing is a must! In addition to reflective clothing, bright colors work too. Make sure you’re seen by everyone, from drivers to cyclists. Take your safety a step further and add lights. They’re lightweight and can ensure you’re seen from farther away. Depending on your preference, lights can be worn on your shoes, legs, arms, or your head.

Dress in layers

If it’s chilly outside, dressing in layers can help your body maintain its core temperature. This is critical in ensuring you don’t get sick. It also allows you to take off layers if you get too warm and put them back on when you cool down post-run. When dressing in layers, make sure the layer closest to your body has sweat-wicking material.

Adjust your schedule

Whether you like the time change or not, you should adjust your schedule now that daylight saving time has ended. If you can, run when the sun is out, coming up, or going down. This increases the chances that you’re seen by others. You also avoid running during the coldest parts of the day, especially early morning. You should always check the weather before you head out for a run.

Run defensively

Running defensively doesn’t mean you have to run slower. This could mean wearing reflective clothing/lights (like above), avoiding busy roads, or running in areas with high foot traffic. If you do run near busy roads, make sure you run against traffic. Expect the unexpected and briefly slowing down at intersections, parking garage entrances, and apartment/business driveways. As the amount of daylight diminishes, you need to protect yourself from others who aren’t paying attention or might want to cause harm to others.

Tell someone your workout

Before you take off, tell someone (loved one, co-worker, or roommate) your planned route, mileage, and when they can expect you back. Or ask them to run with you! If they don’t, knowing your route and mileage provides an idea of when they can expect you back and where to check should you not come back on time. Turn on the setting that allows someone to know your location, most smartphones have this.

Take your safety into your own hands with our tips. By being proactive, you increase the chances of completing a successful training run. With drivers paying less and less attention, runners need their safety even more seriously. We want you to make it to the 3M Half Marathon start line on January 19th fully healthy! Is there something you do that we didn’t list? Let us know on Facebook and Twitter.

Can’t join us in Austin? Run the 2020 virtual 3M Half Marathon

We’ve got great news for you if you’re bummed that you’ll miss the 26th annual 3M Half Marathon presented by Under Armour. You can run the 2020 virtual 3M Half Marathon! You can still join the fun even if you can’t run Austin’s streets because of work or previously scheduled events. See what the virtual option is all about!

Hyuntai Kim, of South Korea, completed the 2019 virtual 3M Half Marathon.

South Korea’s Hyuntai Kim completed the 2019 virtual 3M Half.

Receive the famous swag bag filled with 3M products

That’s right, we ship the world-famous swag bag filled with 3M products to all virtual participants. Add to your supply of Post-it Notes, Scotch Tape, and Command Hooks. We’ll even throw in a tube of nuun tablets to keep you hydrated!

Run from anywhere in the world

You can participate in the virtual edition from anywhere you choose. Join the action whether you’re from Austin and traveling race weekend or you’re from another state and can’t join us in Austin. Runners, like South Korea’s Hyuntai Kim, love this option because they’re still part of the action!

Achieve your goal

Have you had your eye on our commemorative spinner finisher medal? You can still achieve your goal of earning that sweet bling through the virtual option! Virtual times must be submitted by March 4, 2020. Then we’ll ship your bling directly to you. BONUS: part of your registration will support Austin Youth River Watch. 3Mgives selected them as our 2020 beneficiary!

Train for a marathon

If a marathon is on your to-do list, add this to your calendar. This is a great way to see where your training is and perfect your hydration and nutrition plans. 13.1 miles is in your training plan if you’re training for 26.2 miles. Run the virtual 3M Half, submit your time, and see where you stand in the results!

If you can’t join us in-person on Jan. 19th don’t stress! The virtual 3M Half Marathon is the next best thing. Participants will have the option to purchase a commemorative, Under Armour participant shirt during registration. Are you running the virtual 3M Half Marathon? Reach out on Facebook or Twitter and let us know where you plan to run.

Build strength and stamina at these four hill workout locations

“Hills are speedwork in disguise.” – Frank Shorter (gold medalist in the marathon at the 1972 Summer Olympics, silver medalist in the marathon at the 1976 Summer Olympics)

It’s no secret, Austin is located in the Texas Hill Country. The 3M Half Marathon course might have a -300 ft. drop in elevation from start to finish, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore hill workouts! Incorporating a weekly hill workout into any training plan will build stamina, strengthen your lower body, and increase your lung capacity. There are many Austin options for a great hill workout, but the four locations below are our favorite. If your favorite didn’t make our list, let us know on Facebook and Twitter.

  1. Wilke – Let’s kick this off with a well-known Austin classic in the Barton Hills neighborhood, Wilke. The entire road itself is about .3 miles, but you can push that to nearly half a mile (and >100 ft. elevation change) with this workout: begin at Barton Parkway and Wilke Dr. and run to the top of the Wilke, you’ll end at Rabb Road; turn around and head back down Wilke (make sure to control yourself!); take a left on Barton Parkway; make a U-turn at the footbridge and return to your starting point. Rest for 60 seconds, repeat as desired.
  2. Ladera Norte – To visit Ladera Norte head to northwest Austin, past Far West Blvd. Many different routes can be created from this hill, but this workout is a ~1.3-mile lollipop route that has >330 ft. elevation change. Park at Ladera Norte and Valburn Dr. Head south on Ladera Norte and control your stride. Take a right on Backtrail Dr., it’ll end at Ladera Norte. Take a left on Ladera Norte and begin your ascent. Tip: keep your head low, lean forward, and keep your feet moving. Rest for 2:30 minutes, repeat as desired.

    The Hill of Life ascent.

  3. Hill of Life – Get off the roads and conquer the Hill of Life on the Greenbelt! Pay attention on this route, especially as you descend the Hill of Life. What starts at the top with great views ends nearly half a mile downhill, with nearly 300 ft. of elevation change. There are no turns to know, unless you want to run on the trail for a 5-minute recovery. Repeat as desired. Get to the Hill of Life on foot (several Greenbelt access points) or by car (take Scottish Woods Trial off 360).
  4. Pease Park – This double-roller near Shoal Creek doesn’t have the elevation gain of the other three on this list, but it’s a great workout nonetheless. Start near the picnic tables at Pease Park and run west on Kingsbury St. The climbs aren’t gnarly, but there is a flat part before the second hill. Use this section to briefly recover before attacking the second hill. It’s slightly more than a quarter mile before you turn around, use the downhill to recover. Recover at Pease Park for 60 seconds, repeat as desired.

When you visit these hill workout locations it’s important to bring fluids with you, especially during the Texas summers. Pease Park has water fountains, but if you prefer your own hydration plan accordingly. As for all workouts on the road, be visible/reflective, run against traffic, be predictable and keep an eye out for cars. If you’re running as a group, don’t hog the road and run no more than side-by-side.

High Five Events introduces Dole Packaged Foods LLC as a sponsor for the 3M Half Marathon and the Austin Marathon. DOLE® will provide a variety of their Dole Fruit Bowls in Coconut Water for finishers of both events. The 3M Half Marathon will take place on Jan. 21st and the Austin Marathon® will take place on Feb. 18th.

“We are thrilled to be a sponsor of these prestigious events and know the participants will enjoy our healthy products when they cross the finish line”, said Stan Stuka, Senior Marketing Director, Dole Packaged Foods. “At DOLE we are committed to providing nutritious, convenient products that fit in to today’s healthy lifestyles.”

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.

Having Dole and their reputation as a world leader in the healthy eating space return as sponsor is a huge addition for the 3M Half Marathon and the Austin Marathon,” said Jack Murray, co-owner of High Five Events. “Their support of runners around the world will be on full display when more than 25,000 participants take to the streets of Austin.”

The 3M Half Marathon boasts one of the fastest 13.1-mile courses in the country and will celebrate its 24th year running in 2018. 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 near the Texas State Capitol, runners will appreciate a 306’ net elevation drop. Participants can register on the website.

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.

Returning from Injury: The Uphill Battle

By: Anita Perez

ON TOP OF THE WORLDAthlete's Perspective

The beginning of 2016 has definitely been the highlight of my running career. On February 13, I finished 33rd at my first Olympic Marathon Trials in Los Angeles and two months later I ran a 10-mile race in Austin and set a PR of 57:46 on nothing but maintenance. My coach and I sat down and agreed on some solid goals for the upcoming months. I was fit and feeling great! I was unstoppable!

UNTIL…

The little nagging aches and pains. Nothing major, some hamstring tightness here, plantar tightness there. Just the typical pains every runner faces at least once every training cycle. It may not have stopped me from running but boy did it frustrate me. Good races came and went and next thing you know it was time to start the build-up for the 2017 Austin Marathon. On October 9th, I had my first ever DNF at the Army 10 Miler. I should have known that was a sign of things to come. Nonetheless, I kept training and pushing towards the goal of a great marathon in Austin.

THE NIGHT THAT CHANGED EVERYTHING

On Tuesday, December 13, 2016, everything came crashing down. The workout called for 4x1000m with 400 rec. First 1K…3:25…right on pace. Second 1K…this is when it happened, this is when I felt “pop.” I knew in an instant something was really wrong. I fell to the ground, couldn’t put any pressure on my foot, and remember thinking…this is it. It’s over. I tried hard to keep my composure because my little ones were there and I didn’t want them to know how much pain I was in.

Athlete's Perspective

THE DIAGNOSIS

Two days later I was diagnosed with a stress reaction. My running had come to a dead stop. In my 20 years of running, this was the first time I had experienced a “real” injury. Everyone around me told me I would be fine. They reminded me that the cross training I was doing was only going to make me stronger. I had people telling me that I’d be back running in as little as 4-6 weeks. Well, that wasn’t the case. What was diagnosed as a “stress reaction” seemed to act like a “stress fracture.” Every step I took hurt which left me no choice but to wear a boot. Fast forward 8 weeks after the initial diagnosis, I decided to give running a shot and met my coach at the track. After a failed attempt to make it halfway around the track, I realized I was no closer to running than I was in December. My frustration level grew and my confidence level dropped. I found myself wondering if I was ever going to run again. Fortunately, I have a really great support system. I had people encouraging me along the way and found motivation in the community of runners that surrounded me. But the one memory that stands out the most was the conversation I had with my 11-year-old daughter Jadeyn. We had discussed the 2020 Olympic Trials, and I remember her saying, “Mom, I know you’re injured but we’ve got plenty of time to qualify for the Olympic Trials.” Just like that my drive and desire for running came back. I had a goal, WE had a goal, and that goal was to qualify for the 2020 Olympic Trials. Slowly but surely I started to regain my fitness. In the spring of this year, I started to really focus on building my mileage. My eyes were set on the Chicago Marathon. Although things were going well, I would still have random foot pain.  Each time the pain would show up my confidence would drop. I have to admit, I had doubts that I would make it to the starting line. Every time I’d have a bad workout, my coach would assure me that “things are going to be fine.” I must have heard him say that over 1,000 times. Not just after workouts, but throughout the day. I was really struggling with the thought of not being able to run a marathon pain-free. I had my moments of struggle, moments of doubt, but I kept getting out the door at 4:30 am to get in the work. My goal was to run just run under 2:50. The hardest part was convincing myself, despite a subpar training cycle, that I could still run a decent marathon. However, my coach kept saying things to me that kept the trials standard in the back of my mind every day.

THE LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL

I finally agreed to his madness and decided that I would execute the race plan he put out for me. When that day came, I trusted the process, stuck to the plan, and somehow managed to run a 2:44:04 and once again qualify for the Olympic Marathon Trials. WE DID IT JADEYN! After I finished the marathon I realized that I still can run fast, I still can put in the work to continue to improve in this sport, and I have a fantastic group of people around me to help me through the struggles we all go through.  My training partners, who are there every morning at 4:30to get in the work, my coach who puts up with the highs and the lows of an athlete struggling to move forward in this sport, and most importantly my kids who inspire me every day to be the best role model and mother I can be for them.

NEW GOALS. NEW PLAN. FAST COURSE.

With my confidence restored I can’t wait to toe the line at both the 3M Half Marathon and Austin Half Marathon to make up for the disappointment of missing both races last year. I especially look forward to 3M because you always know you have to be ready to race well as everyone else tends to bring their “A” game to this race. There is nothing better than lining up with some of the fastest ladies all looking to take advantage of the downhill course! A couple things to remember…1) Stick to the plan 2) Trust the process and most importantly 3) Have fun! See you at the starting line!

On Saturday, January 5th, William Dyson, of High Five Events, continued to bring in the New Year with Mark Pinales, an Austinite and up-and-coming elite endurance athlete who qualified for the 2016 Olympic Marathon Trials. They discussed his upcoming race, the 3M Half Marathon, and covered everything from his recent string of victories to his favorite running memory of all time.

Follow Mark and his growth as an elite endurance runner on Facebook and Instagram. Check out his awards and recognitions at the end!

William Dyson – To say you were busy in 2016 would be an understatement. How have you been this successful?

Mark Pinales – My main focus this training block has been and continues to be staying healthy. I’m focusing on post-race recovery and making sure I take care of my body the right way. It’s been the biggest key to my success. I try to focus on my hard days being hard and taking down time as needed to get my body back to where it feels ready to push just a bit more.

WD – You’re an Austin guy, born and raised. What did it mean to run here while at The University of Texas and what does it mean to run Austin races as an elite?

MP – Coming out of high school, UT wasn’t one of my picks at all. But then I arrived on campus, met the team, felt the environment, and fell in love. I especially loved having family close and being close to home. My family got to watch all of my home meets. Running as an elite here in Austin is perfect. I get to have some local races under my belt and become acquainted with Austin roads. 2016’s goal was to stay here, make my name bigger in Austin running community. In 2017, I want to branch out and test my ability at races across the country.

WD – You’re participating in the Austin Runners Club’s Distance Challenge. Why did you sign up for that instead of focusing on a select few key races?

MP – My mom and dad are runners. My mom has been really getting back into it running lately. She registered for the 80s 8K. I knew Iram from some previous engagements. He basically told me to do ADC, I checked into it and built ADC into my running schedule. The main goal for this series of races was to prepare for the Austin marathon on the home course and use them as solid training races.

WD – As a part of the Austin Distance Challenge you’ll run the 3M Half Marathon. But this is also the final long distance race that you’ll use as a tuneup for the Austin Marathon. Without giving away any top secrets, what’s your plan for downhill to downtown?

MP – There are no real big secrets. In the beginning I will probably follow the pack, make sure my gears are moving the way I want, hit my paces. If I’m feeling good I might pick it up to get the feel for the end of a big race. My ultimate goal is to come out healthy and ready to go for the Austin Marathon.

WD – Austin Marathon presented by NXP. February 19, 2017: Your marathon debut. After hearing that out loud, tell me what immediately goes through your head.

MP – I get this feeling of excitement, sprinkled with a little bit of nerves. The nerves have more to do with my nutrition plan, potential bathroom breaks, and how to properly pace myself for a 26-mile race. If I can go in healthy and prepared, I’ll be ready to go.

WD – Congratulations on being accepted into the Austin Marathon’s Elite Athlete Program! How’s your marathon-specific training so far and what are your race-day goals?

MP – My training has been going well. Lately, it has been down with holidays, travel, etc. The break has actually been beneficial as I’m notorious for over preparing. To win my first marathon during my debut, especially in Austin, would be phenomenal. I’m looking forward to a battle with the other talented runners in the Elite Field. In the end, I will run my own race, do my own dance. I want my own game plan that gets me close to the time I want.

WD – The RunLab Elite team won the 2016 Marathon Relay with a time of 2:23:36. Has it sunk in that Mark Pinales wants to run the Austin Marathon faster than that by himself?

MP – HA! Not really; I’m just excited about the opportunity, especially with this being my marathon debut. I’m still unsure of what to expect, but I feel supremely confident with the my training,

WD – How are you training mentally to race your first marathon?

MP – Essentially training by myself. Sometimes I’ll run with Leo (Manzano) and Gilbert’s Gazelles (casually). The great thing about training in Austin is there’s always someone to run with. I do my workouts on my own for the most part. They are long and intense. I like to push myself mentally so I can stay mentally tough during the race. I’m making it as difficult on myself NOW, so that I’m prepared for anything on race day. I hope to run with the pack, but I know that doesn’t happen all the time.

WD – After the Austin Marathon, what race is next on your spring calendar?

MP – I’ll take at least two weeks of easy running afterwards. I’m aiming for March 11, Gate River Run (15K USATF Championships), and April 29,OhioHealth Capital City Half Marathon (USATF Half Marathon Championships).

WD – Some people give advice to their future self in preparation for a race. Knowing what you know now, if you could go back in time, what advice would you give your high school running self?

MP – I’d tell myself to figure out the work-to-running balance in college (much sooner); give yourself more time; don’t expect the world so quickly; understand everything is a process; don’t regret anything. I’m grateful of where life has led me to where I am today.

WD – Up to this point, what has been your favorite running memory?

MP – Hands down, it has to be a run with now current girlfriend (Katie) in Seattle (all through the bayside, city, seas). We knew each other, went off on a long run, got to know one another, and truly bonded. Out of all the wins, that run sticks out the most.

WD – You’ve got a great, flexible job and sponsorships with Skechers Performance and RunLab Austin. What does that do for an athlete both mentally and physically?

MP – I’m appreciative of all the backing from Skechers and RunLab. Without them I wouldn’t have the support system I need or be as healthy as I am. I’m glad they’re in my corner. As for my job, the flexibility truly helps with devoting time to both my career and running goals.

WD – What’s the toughest obstacle you’ve had to overcome as a runner?

MP – The mental barrier. I just recently discovered the ability to push myself past my comfort zone. Running comes naturally for me. I enjoy my great workouts, but during a race, pushing past my comfort zone is tough. There have only been two times where I’ve felt completely out of my comfort zone: Stanford 10K as freshmen and the Rock ‘n’ Roll Philly Half in 2015 in which I qualified for the Olympic Marathon Trials. I’ve begun to embrace becoming comfortable with the uncomfortable.

WD – You’re fresh out of college and still relatively young. What are your future running and life goals?

MP – Running goals: I haven’t set any precise long-term goal as of yet. I feel like I have five to seven years of elite running left. Generally speaking, I want to get faster, win bigger races, place high at bigger races, and create a respectable legacy. Life goals: be successful career-wise, be at high enough position to live comfortably, run financial services firm, and eventually open up my own office.

WD – What motivates you to run?

MP – Katie (girlfriend) is a big motivator. My parents are big motivators as well. I want to make them proud and don’t want to fail them. Failing my parents scares me. I want to do right by them and create a legacy for the family both in running and in life. I’m one of the last males with the last name Pinales and my grandfather, another motivating factor, is pumped at what the Pinales name has been able to achieve in life so far.

WD – What has running given you?

MP – Running has given me an avenue to reinvent myself, build something more than what I originally was. Running has given me ability to improve, push past my limits, grow as a person. Running has provided me with internal and external discipline. The planning, the scheduling, being consistent, it all transfers and is applicable to my life. Running has helped me grow and mature more than I ever imagined.

WD – Favorite place to run in Austin?

MP – This is a good one. I’d have to say running through the hills of Austin. Stratford is a good example. I love going out there to run and look at all the beautiful homes.

WD – Favorite non-running activity?

MP – There are several! I really like to play guitar. Reading, especially self-development stuff. I really enjoy learning new things, so any time I can absorb something new I jump at the opportunity. Lastly, music… I enjoy R&B, both listening and playing. Avant and Musiq Soulchild are a couple of my favorites.

WD – How do you relax and unwind?

MP – I relax and unwind by doing absolutely nothing. Lounging around is one of my favorite things to do! Naps, when available, are perfect for relaxing. I have a rule: anything less than two hour naps aren’t considered real naps!

WD – Favorite in-race (training) hydration/nutrition.

MP – For hydration – water and Gatorade. I constantly making sure I have enough electrolytes. For nutrition – Clif Shots – vanilla. Christina with Clif Bar introduced me to them and I’ve been enjoying them ever since!

WD – Favorite Austin restaurant?

MP – Pint House Pizza (38th St.) and there’s no second-guessing.

WD – Describe the perfect post-race meal (in Austin).

MP – Anything that’s not relatively healthy. Give me all the pizzas, burgers, cookies, and brownies I can handle!

WD – Morning or evening runs?

MP – Morning for sure. While I don’t like waking up early, I do like getting my morning run out of the way. If my schedule allows, I’ll double up in the evening if possible.

WD – Solo or group runs?

MP – I prefer solo runs. They build up mental toughness. I enjoy listening to music while running alone. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy people and being around them, but when it comes to serious running, solo runs are me.

WD – Mark, thanks again for coming by our office. It’s been great getting to dig a little deeper into who Mark Pinales is and who Mark Pinales will become. You’re making quite a name for yourself and I’m appreciative of you giving us your time. You’ve got a bright future ahead and we’re excited to see what you can do! We’ll see you at the Downhill to Downtown start line this Sunday.

MP – William, thank you and High Five Events for having me over. I enjoyed our conversation. I’m really looking forward to giving my best at the 3M Half Marathon (1/22) and the Austin Marathon (2/19). I can’t wait to no longer say “marathon debut!” We’ll see you this Sunday. I look forward to running with the other elites. Should be a great race!

 

Staying Vertical is an interview session with various individuals within the endurance community hosted by William Dyson, High Five Events Communications Manager. Staying Vertical will showcase the perspective of runners, triathletes, sponsors, partners, event producers, and volunteers to understand what makes them tick. We will highlight their involvement and give the endurance community an inside look into the individuals that are just like you and me.

Awards and Recognitions –

2016 – Decker Challenge Champ (1:08:13 – course record)

2016 – San Antonio Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon Champ (1:05:25)

2016 – YMCA Dallas Turkey Trot Champ [8 Miler] (40:21)

2016 – Run for the Water Champ (51:56)

2016 – 80s 8K Champ (26:56)

2016 – Marathon Relay Champs (2:23:36 – RunLab Elite)

2016 – Olympic Trials Qualifier

Two-time All-Big 12, cross country (The University of Texas)