Stephanie Howe

After all that you accomplished, what drives you to continue running?

I love to run. Everyday I’m able to get out for a run is great. I don’t ever tire of it. I think running makes me a better person in that it allows me to clear my mind and become present. I have more perspective after I come back from a run. There are always good days and bad days, but I think the tough days makes me appreciate the good days. Plus, when I’m having a hard time getting out the door I think about how lucky I am to get to run. I never thought in a million years I’d run as a career. It’s pretty cool!


How do you motivate yourself on days when you don't feel like running?

There are days that it’s tough to get out the door. Usually I tell myself to just get started, after I run 15 to 20 minutes I usually feel much better and am able to keep going. If there is a day that I am really struggling, then I usually opt for a day off. I think that’s my body’s way of telling me that I need a break. I used to run with music every once in awhile when I needed a kick in the butt to get out the door, but I lost my iPod a few months ago so I don’t listen to music every anymore.


On average, how many times and miles do you run a month?

I run 6 days a week, usually 70 to 90 miles depending on my focus. Sometimes I run a lot more, sometimes a lot less. I believe that training should be variable and not the same week to week. I will run a big week, 90+ miles, followed by an easy week 50 to 60 miles. It’s important to allow for recovery and not chase miles each week. Many runners get too focused on miles and end up injured.


What's the weirdest or funniest thing that ever happened to you while running?

Well, when I run with my husband Zach it’s totally normal for us to get lost and be wandering around in the woods for hours. Or as Zach likes to say “We’re not lost, the trail is just lost.” Not so funny at the time. But, we always seem to make it back. We do go out prepared though. We always have a steri pen for water, lots of food, a space blanket and a lighter. You never know. We’ve used all of the above in the past.


What are your favorite types of fuel for running and why?

I use Clif Bar products. They are my favorite for two reasons. First, they taste good and have a diverse selection of types and flavors. I don’t care how “good” a product is, if I don’t like it I’m not going to eat it. That’s even more true in a race situation. I’ve found that Clif Bar products sit well with me and I love the options and flavors. Second, Clif Bar products have a good nutrition profile to use when running. As a sports nutritionist it’s important to me that a product have the proper ratio of simple sugars to best get absorbed across the gut and be used during activity. Clif Bar products are formulated as such, making them a good choice.


What's your favorite cheat food & drink?

I don’t think of food that way. Eating is a pleasurable experience and also provides me with the fuel I need to run. I eat healthy, but don’t deprive myself of anything. I think when food is thought of as “cheat food” it has a negative connotation and is not a healthy way to approach eating. What does that even mean? Cheating on what? Eating healthy? When I indulge in something that I enjoy I fully savor it, not think of it as a bad food. If you would like to know, my favorite foods they are sushi, peanut butter, roasted brussel sprouts, and ice cream. My favorite beverages are wine and coffee. I eat all of the above on a weekly, if not daily basis.


Do you like ice baths? Why or why not?

Nope. The research on the use of ice baths as a recovery tool is not very good. It inhibits the body's natural recovery process, which is not ideal. I do think contrast bathing is a better way to recover. However, I don’t do it often. If I’m really sore I’ll go out for a walk to get some active recovery. Getting the blood flowing is one of the best ways to help with delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).


What's the most important tip you like to give new runners?

Get a coach! Seriously. Also, don’t get into it too fast. I see so many new runners attempting their first 50k, then 50 mile, then 100 mile all in the same year. Patience! I think moving up in distance slowly is very smart. Run at least 2 to 3 50k’s before trying a 50 mile, and run at least 2 to 3 50 milers before trying a 100 miler. And spread all of that over 2 to 3 years. Less is more when it comes to racing long distances.


What is your favorite running accomplishment so far?

Winning Western States in 2014 as my first 100 miler. It was the greatest feeling ever to round the track under the lights and cross the finish line. It’s something I will never forget! My win and course record at Lake Sonoma this year was also pretty amazing. I wasn’t planning on going for it, but I got motivated and dug deep. It felt really good to push that hard!


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