The Steidls, top distance runners and Seattle University coaches, share advice and stories from their careers.
Uli and Trisha Steidl, two of the top marathoners in the Northwest, talked about the Seattle Marathon on Nov. 25 and gave running tips in a live chat with Seattle Times readers Thursday. Here are the highlights.
Q: How much of running is mental and how would you advise young runners to blossom?
Trisha: I think running is mostly physical until race day, and then on race day it becomes more of a mental game. If you’re not in shape for the race, then it doesn’t matter how mentally tough you are… you can’t achieve the goal you’re trying to achieve. Once you’re in shape and it’s race day, it becomes, how hard can you push yourself?
Q: How do you recover from your long runs?
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Uli: I don’t run my long runs so hard that I need to have a big recovery. Usually one or two days of shorter, easier runs and I’m ready to go again. After long races, like marathons or ultras, it can be several weeks.
Q: Describe the biggest in-race hurdle you’ve overcame, and describe what you did to conquer that valley.
Uli: There are several races I can think of. At last year’s Boston Marathon, I actually threw up at mile 18, and at that point, you just have to mentally regroup and not let that throw you off track. I thought I lost a lot of fluids, but I told myself, just drink again and keep going, and after about a mile, I found my rhythm again, and it turned out well.
Q: What’s the best night-before-the-race meal?
Trisha: It’s very individual. Everybody’s body processes different foods in a different way. The most important thing is to make sure you eat enough the day before, even if you’re feeling nervous. Again, a good ratio of protein, carbs and fats — quality protein, carbs and fats — is important.
Q: Thoughts on the barefoot/minimalist movement?
Uli: I think it probably works for a very small section of the population. But most runners who jump onto that bandwagon will likely get hurt, and it will be overall a negative experience. I like light racing flats for racing, but I would never wear something like the Vibrams.
Q: Your view on what is behind the great leap forward in marathoning in 2011. Drugs, improved training, or other?
Trisha: Unfortunately, I think it’s drugs. I also think that the barriers people have put in front of them have been knocked down because they’ve seen other people do things they thought were not achievable. Unfortunately, I do think a lot of the top times are due to performance-enhancing drugs, and more information continues to come out about Kenyan doping.
Q: Let’s say Seattle is my first marathon. Any advice?
Uli: What makes Seattle a more difficult course than Boston is that it is more hilly, and all the hills are in the last third of the race. Go out conservatively.