We sat down with Great Lakes Health & Wellness Ambassador and Cleveland Marathon Winner Sarah Horbol and asked her some questions about running and training. Here is what she had to say:
1. When did you start running competitively?
I joined the track team at St. Bernadette's in Westlake when I was in 3rd grade. I ran track and cross country for the remainder of grade school, then only track in high school at Magnificat. I took a break in college and the years after, but continued running as my primary form of exercise. In 2014, I signed up for my first marathon.This is what got me back into racing.
2. When/what was your first full marathon?
My first full marathon was in May 2014, right here in Cleveland. I qualified for the Boston Marathon with a 3:09:55 finish time.
3. What advice would you give to someone who wants to start running but hasn't really run before?
First, reflect on your current level of fitness in relation to aerobic exercise (Is cardio already a part of your workout routine? Or are you more into lifting?). Run a timed mile to gauge where you stand. Choose a training plan that works for your current ability and schedule. Sign up for a 5K race so you have a goal that you are working towards. BE PATIENT WITH YOURSELF! Building stamina and mileage doesn't happen overnight, it is a gradual process. It is easy to become discouraged if you expect to see progress too early on.
4. Do you have a favorite post- marathon meal? What do you indulge in?
I find myself craving giant salads with some form of protein right after a marathon! I really increase the amount of carbs I consume for the few days leading up to the race, so my body is ready to balance things out with more vegetables. Later in the day, I'll usually have more veggies, pizza or pasta, plus wine and dessert. I love ice cream!
5. Any simple tips for runners?
Take care of yourself and make time for the little things! Get quality nights of sleep as often as possible - it's crucial for recovery. Drink lots of water. Maintain a healthy diet consisting of a wide variety of nutrient-dense foods - I like the 90/10 rule (eat clean 90% of the time, eat whatever you want 10% of the time!). Based on how much you are running, be sure you are consuming enough calories. Stretch. Foam roll. Go to yoga. Regularly see a chiropractor (and massage therapist if possible!). If you have a nagging issue, get it checked out right away. Best to nip it in the bud and rest, if necessary, as opposed to ignoring it and ending up with a more serious problem.
6. What is the hardest thing you have to overcome as a runner?
Generally speaking, I would say training during the winter months in Cleveland. It requires major flexibility and knowing that workouts won't always go as planned due to weather conditions. During races, it's when things get uncomfortable and downright difficult. It's when I have to dig deep to find the mental strength required to keep going. A couple swear words might escape from my mouth during the process (lol), but having phrases or a mantra to repeat to myself during these moments is really helpful. I often times will tell myself: "It's only 'X' minutes. You can be uncomfortable for 'X' minutes. That is NOTHING in the scheme of life. Keep moving, Sarah. You're getting closer with each step."
7. Do you listen to music when you run? Any favorite pump up tunes?
Sometimes! But not as often as I used to. I like the peace that comes with not listening to music, especially when I run in the morning and it's really quiet outside. I definitely listen to music as I'm getting ready to head out though! G-Eazy, Nicki Minaj, and Ariana Grande are pretty much guaranteed to be on my "Run" playlist.
There are always a few songs that I associate with specific races because I listened to them a thousand times during my training. Right now, I really like "Runnin'" by Mike Will Made it ft. A$AP Rocky, A$AP Rocky, & Nicki Minaj (name of song is totally a coincidence!). I'm definitely a hip-hop kind of girl but I'm not gonna lie - inspirational ballads are always on my running playlists. Think "This Is Me" by Keala Settle, "You Gotta Be" by Des'ree, and "I Was Here" by Beyonce.
8. If you could chose ONE word to describe how you feel while you run, what would it be?
9. Favorite gear to wear? Shorts? Shoes? Tank tops? Hats? Do you have any preferences?
For shoes - Brooks and Saucony are my favorite brands. I just raced in the Brooks Hyperion and I really like them. The Launch and PureFlow are good training shoes. The Saucony Kinvara has always been a favorite of mine, too! I ran my OTQ at the Twin Cities Marathon in the Saucony Fastwitch. Brooks and Lululemon are my favorites for running apparel. Feetures are my favorite socks!
10. Any pre-race routines that you swear by?
Prep everything you need the night before and stick with the familiar. Eat the same breakfast you always eat before a race. Before a marathon, I always have water, coffee with milk, two scrambled eggs, and a bowl of oatmeal with a whole sliced banana, honey, and cinnamon. Wear clothes and shoes that you know fit properly, are comfortable, and won't cause blisters. Set your alarm early enough that you have plenty of time to get ready and make it to the race without feeling rushed/stressed. Play music that pumps you up! Visualize the race and what you want the outcome to be. Think about your goal and what you're going to do to achieve it. Before the race starts, run a couple of warm up miles and stretch!
11. Do you take any supplements?
Yes. Every morning I take Cataplex Vitamin D and a multi-vitamin. Before bed, I take Iron and vitamin C.
12. How has chiropractic care/massage therapy helped with your training?
Regularly seeing a chiropractor keeps my body moving efficiently! If a runner's body is out of alignment, it can negatively affect their stride. Chiropractic adjustments correct imbalances, which as a result helps to prevent injuries and make me a better runner! A quick rock-blading session relieves tightness in targeted areas. I usually focus on my traps, lower back, and IT bands. Regular massage therapy also has extreme benefits. Running 60-70 miles a week leaves me with fatigued and tight muscles. Massages help loosen up and elongate my muscles.
Afterwards, my movement feels much more fluid. Massages also help reduce inflammation, and of course, provide much needed time to relax!
Follow Sarah's journey on her personal blog HERE.