Jenni has been running for most of her life. She ran competitively from the age of 10 until college, specializing in the 800m and 1 mile distances. When Jenni was in her mid-twenties, she quit exercising for about 2 years, gained 20 pounds and was in terrible shape. She later decided to start running again and was shocked at how much fitness she had lost and how hard it was to get back into shape. After about a year of consistent training, Jenni renewed her passion in running. She became fit and eventually worked up to competing in her age group at local races, specializing in the 5k and ultimately worked up to running the marathon. Jenni knows from personal experience how hard it can be to start from nothing and to work up to a race like the marathon.
Jenni has completed 16 marathons (including Boston twice) and 31 half marathons. Jenni joined the Run On team in 1998 and started coaching for Run On in 2006. This is Jenni’s forth season as a Team Challenge Head Coach, coaching over 101 walkers and runners from the North Texas Chapter. Jenni's greatest satisfaction comes from sharing the knowledge she has gained over the years to help her students achieve running goals they never thought possible. Jenni is a Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) certified coach. In addition to running and coaching, Jnni also volunteers for the Dallas/Ft Worth Labrador Retriever Rescue Club Inc.
With the Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon fast approaching, for runners eager to get into the thick of night time racing, here are 4 tips to help you prepare to take on the night:
Q: I’m not currently running or walking more than a mile or two at a time a few days per week. How will I be able to finish a half-marathon?
A: Your coach will design a program for you based on your current level of fitness, whatever it may be. You’ll gradually build your mileage over the course of the coming months until you can walk or run (or with a combination of walking and running) a ten-mile workout. From there, well over 99% of our participants complete their half-marathons.
Q: What kind of shoes do I need?
A: Everyone has different feet and biomechanics. The staff at your local running/walking specialty store will be able to fit you for these needs, as well as your mileage level, and the surfaces on which you train. To find a local specialty store, head to www.runnersworld.com/store-finder
Q: What’s a “GU”?!
A: “Gu” and other sports gels (PowerGels, Cliff Shots, Hammer Gels, etc.) are concentrated forms of carbohydrate about the consistency of honey. They are an alternative to sports drinks and are designed to provide athletes with energy for endurance activities. Each gel contains about 100- 110 of concentrated carbohydrate. Many half-marathons will provide gels in the later stages (around mile 10) to give runners and walkers an energy boost for the last few miles. Although they are generally pretty easy on the stomach, especially when taken with water, it’s always a good idea to try gels several times in training first before using them on race day.
Q: I had to miss three days of training. How do I make up the lost days?
A: You don’t! If you’ve missed anything less than a full week of training, just jump right back into the schedule. If you missed more than a week, talk to your coach about modifying your schedule to get you back on track.
Q: My fingers swell during my training walks. What’s going on?
A: Your heart beats harder and faster when you train, so blood is sent more forcefully to the extremities. Muscle action helps to return blood back to the heart, but many walkers don’t pump their arms very much when they walk (they should!), so blood pools in the fingers. Swollen fingers are more common with changes in temperature, during pregnancy, and when electrolytes are out of whack. Clenching and unclenching your hands, or shaking them over your head will help to pump the blood out of your swollen fingers.