We are thrilled that so many Longhorns have taken that first step and registered for the Longhorn Run!
Some of you might be wondering now, how do I start?
You are not alone! Arguably, the hardest part about training is getting started. Here are some tips from our student committee to help you get into your training routine.
1. Check Your Shoes
Before you even start running it’s important to make sure your running shoes are in good shape. A common reason runners experience painful shin splints are due to the fact that their running shoes have put in too many mile and aren’t offering enough support anymore. One way to know if it’s time for new shoes is the “Twist Test” – if you can easily twist your running shoe, this is an indication that the mid-sole is worn out and you need new shoes.
2. Tell Your Friends You’re Training
Training with friends is one good way to stay motivated but it’s also important to tell your friends and family about your training plans or goals. This will provide you with a much needed support system, and the accountability gained when telling your friends about your training will help you stay motivated. Bring that friend along for our training workouts and keep each other motivated!
3. Follow a Training Plan
Some of you might be experienced runners and know how you should train for a 5k or 10k race. However, if you’re like most of us, you might have NO idea where to even start. We have created a comprehensive training plan that you can easily download to your phones and follow. This training plan not only tells you how many miles to run, but includes target paces for different runs and strengthening cross training workouts.
You can find this year’s 5K and 10K training plans below:
5K Training Plan(s)
10K Training Plan(s)
4. Be Realistic
Setting goals is extremely important and an exciting part of training for a race. However, it is important to stay positive and understand that it will get hard at times. Don’t get down or be too hard on yourself! Your body is doing its best to adjust to your training routine and it can definitely take time.
5. Vary Your Workouts
If you follow our Longhorn Run training plan you will be varying your workouts to include important cross-training workouts. This is extremely important for recovery and injury prevention, but another important benefit of varying your workouts is not getting bored or tired of the same thing. Change up your running routes, running partners, and music playlists. Try a yoga class, do a strength training workout with a friend at Clark Field – anything you can do to keep working out interesting and new will make it easier to get out there every day!
6. Eat, Sleep, Stretch, Drink Water
We all know that these are important for our health but it’s easy to forget that increasing your daily activity will probably mean needing to get a few extra hours of sleep, stretching more regularly, and eating plenty of food and drinking plenty of water. Listen to your body and fuel it as best you can for the best results.
Happy 2017 Longhorns!
The New Year is often a time for looking ahead and setting goals for ourselves. If you're considering a fitness goal for this New Year's resolution, we are here to help you! This blog will offer tips and provide guidance for every level runner. With a focus on topics including nutrition, fitness, and reasons you should be a part of Longhorn Run 2017, this blog will be here to help you cross that finish line!
Winter break can be a difficult time to start or stay in shape. Realistically, this should be a time for us, as busy UT students, to relax and take some time off to prepare for the spring semester. Similarly, if you are planning to train for the Longhorn Run, you should take this time over the break to focus on getting some good rest, eating well, and maybe starting some light workouts.
To help you get motivated until we all get back to Austin, members of our Longhorn Run Committee have provided their favorite inspirational clip or quote. Enjoy and start setting those Longhorn Run goals!
1. Admiral McRaven's Commencement Address (2014)
- Bridget McLaughlin (Director)
2. "Make your workouts fun! Find a workout buddy or try a new type of exercise in order to keep you from getting bored with your workouts this year."
- Kari Whitmarsh (Assistant Director)
3. "There's no such thing as bad weather, just soft people." - Bill Bowerman
- Brad White (Volunteer Coordinator)
4. Good, better, best. Never let it rest until your good is better and your better is best." - Tim Duncan
- Phillip Yoon (Pre-Race Logistics Coordinator)
5. Shia Labeouf "Just Do It" Motivational Speech
- Kevin He (Campus Outreach Coordinator)
6. "Believe in yourself and you are halfway there." - Theodore Roosevelt
- Sarah Stripling (Post-Race Coordinator - Banana Alley)
7. "The real purpose of running isn't to win a race, it's to test the limits of the human heart." - Bill Bowerman
- Trevor Phillips (Public Relations Chair)
8. "Life begins at the end of your comfort zone" - Neale Donald
- Zeynep Dikmen (Longhorn Legislative Aide)
9. Miracle Speech
- Elyse Ensor (Digital Media Coordinator)
After crossing the finish line, join us for post-race and let’s celebrate our accomplishments together at Main Mall!
Here’s what to get excited about…
In our VIP AREA, we’ve got:
This year, we’ve introduced a COOLDOWN ZONE featuring St. David’s Health Care, The University of Texas Dell Medical School, Instructor-Led Yoga for Runners, Foam Rolling Demos by RecSports Personal Trainers to help you recover properly after crushing those Ks.
Additionally, post-race will feature DJ Mel, with two emcees: Nike Master Trainer and UT Alumna Flor Beckmann, and Nike Trainer and former UT Football Player Martin Egwuagu. One last thing for that killer photo opp: if you run with the Nike+ Running App during the race, earn access to the Nike+ Finisher’s Photo Experience at Main Mall.
Post-race promises to be a great experience. Be sure you’re registered and all prepped for race day here. See you Saturday!
By Unnu Shukla, Longhorn Run Media Coordinator
“You are what you eat.”
We’ve all heard this expression countless times; and there’s a reason why. There’s a lot of truth to it! I had the opportunity to sit and chat with Amy Culp, Sports Dietitian and Assistant Athletics Director at The University of Texas at Austin.
“Nutrition is important in training for a race because food that you eat becomes fuel that you burn. If you eat well, you feel well,” says Culp. Food, which can be broken down into carbs, proteins, and fats, provide nutrition for fuel and recovery. “When you’re training for a race like the Longhorn Run, you should be following a basic healthy diet. A good plate is ½ plate of colorful fruits and veggies, ¼ carbs, ¼ lean protein.” Carbs help you recover while protein helps build lean muscle mass that’ll power you through those tough Austin hills. “You want to make sure you’re consistently eating small meals throughout the day, every 3-4 hours or so.”
In regards to the biggest mistake people make, she told me about the two extremes: those who decide to do a drastic overhaul on their diet and cut back too much, and those that develop the “I can eat whatever I want” mentality, which also harms your training progress. (Guess which category I fall into… #bottomlesspit).
At the end of the day though, it’s all about what works for you. “Especially for runners,” Culp says, “it’s all very individualized. Play around with what you’re eating during your training and see if you notice a difference in the way you feel.” Use the Longhorn Run to not only work towards a goal and improve your running, but also improve your nutrition. The two go hand-in-hand, and when you eat well, you feel well.
Let’s crush this race by fueling our bodies properly as we cross that finish line as stronger, healthier athletes.
Amy Culp, RD is the Assistant Athletics Director and Sports Dietitian for The University of Texas at Austin Athletics Department.
One of the amazing things about The Longhorn Run experience is that it brings people together. Read on to learn more about how faculty member Heidi Toprac stays active and gets her students involved on race day!
In Nike’s mission statement, it states that anyone who has a body is an athlete, and is capable of reaching great heights, and travelling great lengths. “ I have heard about the Longhorn Run several times over the years,” Toprac says, “but never felt capable of doing it. This year, I just decided to go for it!”
In regards to motivation and goal-setting, “I find that I am much more likely to follow through on a commitment if I make that commitment public. Telling my class of 700 students that I wanted to run with them gave me the motivation to prepare.”
“Have you read the Wall Street Journal this past week?,” she asks me. “Scientists have long known that exercise reduces the risk of cancer and other diseases, but they have recently discovered the reasons why. I want everyone to be healthy and happy, which means I want everyone to exercise! Plus, it is often more fun to do things as a group than to do things alone.” A group mentality with her classes is not only a great motivator, but a great bonding experience as well.
Professor Toprac herself is an avid fitness junkie. “I run 3 times per week, plus I attend Shannon’s Tabata class at Gregory Gym once or twice a week. Now that the weather is nice, my husband (Paul Toprac of UT’s Game and Mobile Media Applications program) and I bike on the weekends. Plus, I often ride my bike to work during the summer months.”
“But I am WAY too slow to call myself a runner. I think “slogger” might be a more accurate description,” remembering that running is a journey, not a destination. The things you learn through training extend past race day, pushing you to just start, and from there, to get better each day.
Professor Toprac, a Senior Lecturer at McCombs, teaches the core Finance courses for undergraduate students—both those students in McCombs and those in the Business Foundations Program, and is also head up the undergraduate internship program for McCombs. Since joining UT 14 years ago, she has taught nearly 20,000 students! When not at work, she likes to spend her time biking, gardening, cooking and eating.
By: Unnu Shuka
If you’ve registered for the Longhorn Run, you know that training season is upon us (Haven’t signed up yet? No worries, check it out here). As important as training is, however, recovery is essential to any workout/training regimen. Check out what Chrystina Wyatt, the director of the Fit/Well Program at UT RecSports, has to say about the importance of recovery.
Why do we cool down after workouts, and what's the best way to do so?
The purpose of a cool-down after workouts is to allow your heart rate, breathing rate and oxygen consumption to gradually decrease to resting levels. A proper cool-down prevents blood pooling, DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness), and decreases your risk of injury. If you are doing cardiorespiratory training (i.e. Running, jogging, etc.), it is important to begin your cool-down with activities that can gradually decrease your heart (I.e. walking) before sitting or beginning to stretch. A good cool-down for cardio training includes post-cardio movements and static stretching (holding stretches for 15-60 seconds) for the large muscle groups. Muscle groups runners should try to stretch after every run include quads, hamstrings, hip flexors, glutes, calves, and the core muscles.
Why is recovery important (especially from a training perspective)?
Recovery time is an important part of training because it allows your musculoskeletal system time to repair and rebuild from the stress of vigorous activity. Overtraining can occur when you don’t allow the body sufficient time to recover. Symptoms of overtraining include (but are not limited to) fatigue, stress-related injuries, prolonged muscle or joint soreness, and decrease in performance.
You can prevent overtraining by cross-training and planning rest days in your training regimen. Cross-training, varying your training activities, can include taking a group exercise class or sprint workout instead of long distance running 5 days a week. You want to be specific and purposeful if you are training for a 5K or 10K (i.e. running workouts), but incorporating cross-training can help decrease your risk of injury or overtraining and can help improve your overall performance. On rest days, days in which you give your body time to recover, you can incorporate flexibility training or take a Yoga class. Flexibility training impacts joint mobility, muscles suppleness and flexibility, and reduces muscle tension. Stretching regularly overtime can improve your posture, enhance coordination and help limber your body, making movement easier.
What is foam rolling?
Foam rolling is another great technique to reduce your risk of injury and improve flexibility and performance. Foam rolling incorporates Self-Myofascial Release(SMR) techniques that can help release tight muscles, fascial adhesions, and improve blood flow. You can foam roll before and after workouts to improve your movement during the workout and to aid in recovery after.
What are your favorite ways to recover after a good run/workout?
After a run, I would begin walking briskly and gradually decreasing my pace so my heart can decrease safely. Then, I would perform foam rolling techniques for my quadriceps, hamstrings, IT Band, peroneals, Tibialis anterior, calves, and feet. Finally, I would end with static stretching for the muscles I worked during my run and some upper body stretching for a full body flexibility segment.
Favorite post-workout snack?
I like to refuel and rehydrate with water, bananas and carrots!
By Unnu Shukla
We had so much fun welcoming our 2016 Influencers to the Longhorn Run family last week!
Read what some of them have to to say about why they love running (and why you should too):
I run because I really do enjoy it and it’s great way to enjoy the outdoors while also being healthy. I also love to run with other people and have quality time and conversations with them. - Zachary Wieland (UT Flying Club, Texas Creative)
I run because I love challenging my body. I'm not a natural "runner" so I have to train hard to get faster. Whenever I'm training for a race, my exercise program changes up for a little while which is always refreshing and keeps me feeling like an all-around athlete. - Megan Burwell (Nike+ Training Club Trainer, Texas Lasso, ALDPES)
I LOVE RUNNING! Running brings me peace of body, spirit, and mind. It has the ability of letting me release any stress or taking my mind off of things. Not to mention, it's a great way to stay healthy and active.Going on a light to moderate run leaves me energized (the total opposite of tired). The best thing about running is it can be done at any time, anywhere, for as long as you want. This could be 50 minutes or 5 minutes. It doesn't matter as long as you keep moving forward! - Grettel Ruiz (Nike+ Training Club Trainer)
Longhorn Run Volunteer Coordinator Erik Solorzano and Assistant Director Julianne Perry flip through the Nike Spring 2016 Style Guide
I don't run anymore because I tore my meniscus. I go on walks now. I walk because it's an effective way to read, converse, and think while staying healthy. - Ed Hunt (Texas Blazers, Punjabbawockeez, Communications Council)
For that "on top of the world" feeling. I love pushing myself to the limit and becoming mentally and physically stronger through running! - Mandy Renfro (Texas Lonestar, TeXercise Instructor, Texas Pre-Pharm)
By: Unnu Shukla
It’s no secret that Austin is full of fitness junkies. On any given weekend morning, one can see runners and bicyclists cruising down roads, trails, and sidewalks, fitting in their Saturday workouts before heading to the abundance of farmer’s markets we have downtown. Austin, TX was ranked on the top 10 fittest cities in America, and is the 7th best city for runners, according to Forbes Magazine.
Here’s a look at some of the most enjoyable places to run in Austin, from the popular, well-trodden, to the hidden gems:
1. Lady bird lake hike and bike trail
Every Austinite’s go-to place, and it's suited for all types of runners. For beginners, the 3.2-mile loop from the South First Bridge down to the Mopac Bridge is the best. The trail also offers 7 and 10 miles loops for the more well-seasoned among us.
2. Shoal Creek Hike and Bike Trail
Although not as well maintained as Lady Bird Lake (aka be wary of rolling your ankle here), the Shoal Creek Hike and Bike Trail is a great three-mile track in Central Austin. I recommend picking up the trail from the Lady Bird Lake Hike & Bike between Cesar Chavez and Lamar Blvd for a great six-mile round trip.
3. Congress Avenue and Travis Heights
Running down Congress Avenue right before sunset is one of the most beautiful Austin cityscape experiences. There are lights that line the trees year round, and running down Congress Bridge provides more offshoot options: you can continue on into SoCo, or Travis Heights, where residential running meets hills: steady running, no interruptions. My personal favorite.
4. McKinney Falls State Park
The McKinney Falls State Park is a beautiful, historic scenic area in Southeast Austin.
During the right season, jogging past waterfalls makes your run *that* much more bearable. Both running trails, the Onion Creek Hike and Bike Trail, and the Homestead Trail provide several miles of hilly terrain. There is an entrance fee of $6, but it’s definitely worth going at least once!
5. Barton Creek Greenbelt
The unique thing about the green belt is that there are so many options of how to run it, and there’s always some new route to explore. Bonus points: it’s dog friendly, and there are so many other activities to do in the area - whether it is people watching, cooling off with a swim, or picnicking in the area.
With a plethora of options, it’s time to start running!
By: Unnu Shukla
Do you run to set the tone of the rest of your day, to take a break from studying, or to finish off your evening strong? Check out what some fellow Longhorns said about their favorite times of the day to run and why:
“I usually run in the morning because less people are out, so I get to soak in my surroundings better. Also, I feel energized for the rest of the day, and always get a good night's sleep in that night.” - Bridget McLaughlin
“Morning because of the sunshine! Not too late because I don't want it to be too hot” - Becca Spiegel
“Morning runs are my absolute favorite, it's so calm around you then, and plus not too many people are up and at it.” - Aparna Chandrasekhar
“Afternoon! The afternoon sun makes the wind chill a little more bearable, and there are people out and about, so it's more exciting.” - Angel Lo
“I go on night runs pretty frequently. In fact, it may be my favorite. Austin is an incredibly beautiful city, especially at night. The streets are peaceful and usually pretty empty, so I can run almost anywhere.” - Trevor Phillips
“Early evenings are my favorite because I like watching the sky change around me.” - Eila Motley
“I love running in the evening! As much as I try, I'm not always the morning person I envision myself to be. So when I get home from campus after a busy day, I find that taking a run to the Capitol or even the South Congress bridge is a great way to unwind and collect my thoughts from the day. I also have discovered that it is much easier to find a running buddy when they do not have to get up at 6 AM to run with you." - Alyssa Kahl
When it comes down to it, the fact that you’re getting a run in somewhere throughout your day is all that matters. Try out different routines, you might discover that you’re more of a morning person than you think. Find what works best for you and your body!
By Coach Anthony Ferraro
It was New Year’s Day at the Town Lake Trail. Robbie was wearing his brand new workout gear from top to bottom, and playing his favorite tunes on his earphones. He was ready to start the New Year tackling his resolutions. Ready to conquer that trail. The 4-mile loop. If everything went well, the 7-mile loop. How difficult could it be?! Robbie was fired up...He started running, fast…The music encouraged it, his running gear screamed for speed. He passed a few people and quickly disappeared into the trail.
A mile down the road, he had to stop. He was breathing heavily and could not continue his run. Everything seemed so perfect one mile earlier. The mindset and motivation, the music, the adrenaline. And now this…What went wrong?
When we set our New Year’s resolutions, we often want to conquer the world right away and we tend to forget that we need to take baby steps with them, as with every new activity we engage on. We need to remember that we also need to have fun, if we are to keep coming back and sticking with it for the long run (pun intended).
When we get on the trail, it is not about running faster than everybody else. If other runners pass us, so what? We are doing our own workout, not theirs. Let them pass us. We will keep training, getting better, day after day, week after week. Before we know it, we will be able to keep up with them, and eventually it will be us who pass them. We will be able to run 1 mile, and then 4, and a few weeks later 10 miles. A marathon and even more if we want to…
So how do you get to running long and fast and actually having fun while at it? Start slow so that you can finish fast. Pace yourself so you can go the whole distance. If you have to walk at first, so be it. Make sure you are enjoying your run. Absorb the beauty of the landscape around you. If you don’t carry music with you, listen to the music of your footsteps. Then the next day, go a little faster. The hard workout of today will be your warm-up in a few weeks. Stick with your workout routine, day after day, week after week. You will have fun and keep coming back for more. One more mile, one minute faster... Always forward. Never stopping. That is all it is. As yourself, are you ready to make your resolutions a life-long adventure? Get out here and get ready, because we start today…
Anthony is a Nike+ Run Club Coach, a Personal Trainer at UT RecSports, a Strength and Conditioning Coach, and a marathon runner. He lives in Austin, Texas and spends a lot of time around the 40 Acres. If you see him around, don't hesitate to say hi!