Tyler Pennel

Tyler Pennel

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

Right now, my biggest motivation to continue running is to make an Olympic Team. The Olympics is the pinnacle of our sport, so that is my primary motivation for the next seven months. Another motivation is to get the most from my running as I can. I want to run as fast as I am capable and place as high as I can in races.


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

My best motivation on days where I do not feel like running is thinking about my goals, like the Olympics. Having a clearly defined goal, whether it is making the Olympic Team or setting a personal best at my next race. Another good motivation is my teammates. Many of us have similar goals and aspirations and every day we are working together towards them. We run together nearly every day and suffer through the same workouts. Having someone else who knows what you are feeling helps me get out the door on days that I particularly do not want to. Fortunately, I rarely have days where I do not feel like running. I truly enjoy running and the process of training in general.


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

Typically I run between 95 and 105 miles a week, but while in marathon training I will get over 115. In a standard week I will run 10 to 11 times, so 3 to 4 doubles per week. Along with running, I will do core strengthening sessions 3 to 4 times per week. These consist of exercises to strengthen all the core muscles, especially the glutes, where much of the power for running is derived.


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

I can’t think of a really a weird or funny thing, but one of my most memorable runs was while in high school. I was running on a trail that follows Clear Creek, and out of the woods a fox appears. It then proceeds to run next to me for a few minutes, and then juts back into the woods. It was so surreal, almost like he was a friend who I happened to meet on the trail and ran with me for a bit. But then he was gone.


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

I really like to keep my fuel very simple. Before my morning run, which is usually the main run for the day, I will have a small bowl of oatmeal with brown sugar and almonds, or other nuts. It is only a few hundred calories of food, but it is mostly simple carbs so is easily broken down by the body and turned into quick energy for the run. While running I really like PowerBar Gels. I find that most of their products are much easier to get out of the tube. Other gels tend to be very thick and without water are hard to get to the stomach. Usually I will only take a gel with me for a long run, but during marathon training, I will practice ingesting them during workouts. This is to practice for races so I will not have stomach problems. Other than that I just try to eat and drink a healthy well rounded diet. I always try to get a balanced serving of the three macronutrients, carbs, fats and proteins.


What's your favorite cheat food & drink?

I love doughnuts and a couple of times a week I will go to a local coffee/doughnut shop in down. I will get a doughnut and coffee and hang out for a bit. For a drink I guess it would be beer. This spring I started brewing my own and since then I have had a constant supply in my fridge. So that means I have been drinking a bit more than I used to, but it is still not more than a 6-pack a week.


Do you like ice baths? Why or why not?

I personally do not take many ice baths. I come from the school of thought that the best way for the body to get better is for it to adapt at its own rate. By taking ice baths you do speed up the recovery process, but then the body can become reliant on having that additional recovery. But with that said, there is not much aerobic benefit from workouts that are ten days from the goal race. So within that ten day period I do tend to take more ice baths to let the legs recover as much as possible.


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

I think that the most important tip for any runner is to not train too hard. If you stress your body too much, it is going to break. I learned this the hard way. I have had many injuries over the course of my career, and only when I finally figured out this simple fact have I had consistent training. Having years of consistent training has lead to big breakthrough performances.


What is your favorite running accomplishment so far?

My favorite running accomplishment so far is winning the 2011 Division 2 Cross Country National Championship while at Western State College. For five years I had watched and ran on teams that had placed second, so it was gratifying to finally win. Besides winning the team title, I finished second behind my teammate. I have so many proud and happy memories from that race.


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