Preparing for the Race: Coach gives tips to help with training

Published on Saturday, 25 January 2014 21:27 - Written by Special to the Morning Telegraph

By Megan Riaz

“The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.”

— John Bingham, author, columnist and spokesperson for the slow-running movement

In this week’s column, we have the privilege of hearing some tips from Bob Hepler, an experienced triathlete and the head coach of track and field at The University of Texas at Tyler.

“A great way for a beginner runner to build up his/her distance is to use the run/walk method,” Bob shared. “Try jogging for two minutes and walking for one minute. Do that 10 times about every other day. If that goes well, do it for two days followed by one day of not running.”

In addition to the run/walk method, Bob’s advice is to incorporate dynamic stretching into your pre-run warm-up.

“Warming up is very important, even for experienced runners,” he added. “A good warm up is to start with dynamic stretching. Try swinging each leg forward and back 20 times in a very controlled fashion. Do the same thing by swinging each leg across your body. Start each run by slowly building up the first seven to 10 minutes before getting up to pace. All runners should also cool down for 7 to 10 minutes followed by 10 minutes of core and light stretching.”

If you are training for the 15K, keep in mind that you need to save your energy when running long distances, and it takes a lot of mental strength to keep on running. I truly believe runners have a mental will that exceeds many other competitive sports.

You should also focus on varying training paces, courses and distance. If you always run at a certain pace on the same route, your body will not be ready for the hills on the 15K course.

Incorporate track running and hills into your training plan. Vary your pace and your distances. On your long runs, you should run slow, but on the days you’re only running 3 miles, take the opportunity to see how fast you can go. Pushing yourself and acclimating your body to a variety of exercises will benefit you on race day.

With the FRESH 15 only about a month away, stretching is important to avoid those pesky injuries that often happen from pounding the pavement. And with our recent announcement of the $11,000 prize purse and post-race entertainment featuring Texas Country artist Curtis Grimes, you do not want to have to sit out this race.

We are also excited to present our finalized race course, featuring a beautiful route through Hollytree and south Tyler (see map).

For questions about running or the FRESH 15, email us at

Until next time, good luck and keep running.

Megan Riaz is public relations coordinator for Brookshire Grocery Co.