Interview with Ashley – Tips from the coach

As part of my blog I (MM) believe it’s important to share common and similar experiences. I’d like to introduce you to Ashley (AR) who talks about the positive impact running has had in her life.

MM: How did you get into running and why do you continue to do it?

AR: I originally got into running as the result of a bad breakup!  I was in my final semester of college and, as they say, he got “all the friends in the divorce.” So I really found myself in a bit of a lurch.  I started running as a way to work out my feelings and emotions!  Running was the perfect way to clear my head and get a good dose of endorphins at the same time!  I eventually moved down to Austin Texas and really got into the running scene, as I saw how easy it was to get out and be active!  Soon I was sucked in and have never looked back!

MM: You’ve run multiple marathons and a Ultra marathon. From these races what was your worst and best races and what did you learn from them?

AR: Surprisingly enough, my best race was my ultra!  I really focused on a training block leading up to the race that worked well for me!  I was focusing on my personal strengths, shorter distances, but harder runs, more strength training, and I think that that paid off in the race!  I really focused on my nutrition in that race as well, and I really think I nailed it!  It’s only taken me 6 years, but I’ve finally gotten down the nutrition + hydration for a long race!  

My worst race was easily the Austin Marathon in 2013!  I had ran it the year before and PR’d significantly as my second marathon!  I was incredibly disappointed that in 2012, I had run 4:00.11.  I wanted that 11 seconds!  I didn’t train very successfully leading up to the race and it was hot!  I ran it too hard, and, on a course like Austin, I didn’t run strategically.  The course ripped me apart by mile 16 and I dragged myself to the finish.  I look back at pictures from that race and there were salt lines from the tears on my face!  It’s just simply a lesson of respecting the marathon, you can never underestimate what lies before you! 

MM: Bar running what other training do you train to improve your running performance?

AR: I am a Crossfit Level 1 Trainer so I both participate in and coach Crossfit athletes.  It always allows you to be prepared for everything!  The fundamental movements, deadlift, squats, presses, are so core-focused, it makes for a great strengthening workout for runners! 

MM: You have a great social media presence, especially on Instagram. If you could accomplish anything via social media what would it be?

AR: I hope that, if nothing else, I can inspire ONE person to get out and run! Or, to get out and be better than they were the day before!

MM: Injuries are apart of running, but not always easy to deal with, what advice would you give to runners for coping with injuries?

AR: Your body HAS to rest.  It has taken me a long time to realize that, but your body needs the rest. There is more benefit in taking a rest day than slogging through a horrible 5 mile run, just because it was on the schedule.  You have to listen to your body, even if you don’t want to.  As someone who has went through the rounds of running injuries, including stress fractures, muscle strains, etc. Take the single day off when your body needs it so that you don’t have to take weeks off later!

MM: As a nutritionist, what are the basic principles for your food diet?

AR: Above all else, WHOLE FOODS!  I try to make sure that I put the least amount of processed food into my body as possible. Does that mean all foods are bad? NO!  Does that mean that you need to always make your own food? No!  But it means that if I pick up something in a box or a bag, and I can’t tell what the ingredients are, then it doesn’t need to go into my body.  And don’t starve yourself!  Don’t restrict yourself!  Keep your portions in control and your goals in mind.  If I want to have a cookie or a burger for dinner, then I find a way to fit it into the day! Having a bit more at one meal just means I even it out!  

MM: What are the worst nutritional myths you’ve heard for runners?

AR: A bowlful of pasta the night before will NOT carb-load you for the race in the morning!  If you are looking to carb-load throughout the week, it has to be done in little bits, throughout the day, for the whole week leading up to the race!  The night before is TOO late, and more than likely, will cause some gastric stress the next morning.  

MM: From your experiences running, what do you believe to be true?

AR: The effort that you put in is equal to the output.  If you want it, work for it!  


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