Wayne County Challenge

2013 October Featured Runner

Name: Eric Yandl             
Age: 18
Occupation: College

When and why did you start running?
I started to run about nine years ago. My dad had just started running and I decided to join him one day. We ran down the road in back, which was one mile. Ever since that day I have been hooked.

Why do you run now?
There are many reasons why I run. The main reason right now is to compete at the collegiate level.  I am running for IPFW, so this is the main focus of my training. The running right now is high intensity and long miles. Hopefully in the end it all pays off though, I want to run some good times and leave here a better runner. 
Running for fun is a big part of my training though.  Summer time is when I do just run for fun. Summer is mainly base miles for cross-country. Some of these miles are fast and some of them are slow. There is no stress to run any PR’s and its just good times all the way around.

What is your biggest running/fitness accomplishment so far?

During cross-country of my senior year, I ran a 16:44 for a 5k. Breaking 17 minutes was a huge goal for me and something that I always thought was impossible growing up. It was definitely a milestone in my running career and has only made me want to work to get faster.
During track of my senior year I won conference in the mile and 2 mile. I ran a 4:40 in the mile and 10:30 in the 2 mile. This was my main goal coming into track, because I lost conference in cross-country. I was able to run good two good races that day and leave Northeastern with two conference championships.

Neither of these accomplishments stack up to what happened during a track workout this summer. The morning group was doing 800-meter repeats and we were on the last one. Out of nowhere Steve Hayes appeared. He had been “hurt” and not doing the track workouts. However, something was different about him on this humid Thursday morning.  We saw him appear on the track, with the eye of the tiger and legs like an antelope, he was ready to race. He ran the first 400 meters like a jackalope, feeling bouncier than a bouncy ball. Then with 400 meters left he took off like greased lightning. Even though I was tired and drained from the rigorous workout, I still managed to hang on and beat him. There were no medals that day, only everlasting glory.

What is your next running/fitness goal?
I would like to run an 8k race in under 28 minutes. This is my current goal for the cross-country season. I will be working to improve my times through out the course of my cross-country career and also improve my 5k time.

My long-term goal consists of running a marathon. I want to run one as soon as I get out of college. I am hoping that my dad and all the local marathon guys are still able to run, as I would like to run my first one with them. Then of course I want to beat my dad’s marathon PR of 2:49:59.

Describe your typical running week. 
Right now I am in race training. I am averaging right around 70 miles a week. Normally we do mile repeats on Monday. We range from 4-8 repeats and run anywhere from a 5:20-5:50 pace. We then have two recovery days, which range from 8-12 miles each day. We follow up with tempo runs on Thursday. Usually 6-9 miles at a 6 minutes pace. We conclude with a recovery day on Friday and then usually a race on Saturday. The schedule always changes but this is a basic summarization of what my typical running week is right now.

What other activities do you use to supplement your running?
I have been very fortunate about staying injuring free and for this reason I have never had to stop running. If I do take a break for a few weeks, I mainly just do weight training and core workouts. I mainly do this to just try to strengthen my body in ways that running can’t. Even while I am running though, I still do core and other various workouts to help strengthen my body.

I definitely would like to start biking in the future. Trying to balance running and biking is definitely a hard thing to do, but I know a lot of guys do it locally. It’s something I have always had in the back of my mind and would like to eventually pursue.

What is your favorite running-related snack/product/gadget?
Running Hats. I think Jack Brenneke and I wore running hats 99% of the time we ran this year. You have to wear them backwards too, better aerodynamics.  

What are your pre-race rituals?
I try to get enough sleep, eat right, and stay hydrated through out the week. This is something I work to do every week, but knowing a race is coming up makes me work harder to do these. I used to wear the same socks to race in, but I forgot them at conference and still won. So I decided to get rid of the sock wearing superstition.

How do you get through a tough run?
I try to run with a group or my dad if I am going on a hard run. It makes it a lot easier to work with someone, than by yourself. If I am by myself I just think of the benefits of what I am doing and what I am going to do after the run. Staying positive is the main thing.
If you can run with music this is a good motivator. Keeps your mind off the run.

What is your favorite thing about running?
The people I get to run with. I started running with the “early risers” this year. That was actually a lot of fun getting up at 4 a.m. and going for a run. The best part was I got to go back home and go to bed, while everyone else went to work. Jack and I usually went to all of those runs together; he would drag me along on the faster runs.

Running with my dad is always something I will cherish. Not many people can say they train with their dad, especially at the high school and collegiate level. I was fortunate enough to get and still have that opportunity though. Hopefully I can give that same experience to my kids one day.

Who is your running hero and why?
My hero is Richmond, Indiana’s version of Bill Bowerman; this mans name is Todd Barker. He coaches the Seton Catholic cross country teams and all of us morning misfits. Not only does he show characteristics of a great coach, but also shows flashes of a great runner. He has run a marathon is 2 hours 59 minutes and 7 seconds.  Many people have tried to accomplish this feat, but few actually persevere. I think the only reason he ran this fast was because he did not cramp up at mile 20. Cramping up has been a common occurrence for Todd during his marathon races. If there was a record for it, I am sure he would be at the top. All joking aside, Todd is a passionate runner and a coach. He has helped many people become better runners, including myself.

There are a lot of other runners that I admire and look up to. My dad is obviously the first runner that comes to mind. He has been my hero since day one and he is the reason why I started running. He has supported me from the very beginning and without him there is no way I would where I am today. Along with him, I have always looked up to the local runners. Slow or fast, our local running community is full of very influential people.

What is your biggest running-related pet peeve?
Forgetting a running hat.

Are you a morning or evening runner?
Both. As long as I can take a nap after a morning run.

Are you a solo or group runner?
I am a group runner. Runs are always better if you can talk to someone and work off of them. I can do solo runs if I have some music though.

What is your favorite type of run?
I like running in the fall time. It’s always good temperature and good scenery. I like to do long runs though. I definitely don’t have as much leg speed as most guys my age, so I try to make up for it with endurance. 

Fill in the blank: 
I love running because: of the competition and the people you meet along the way.
When I run I think about: life
The hardest part of running is: staying mentally strong on hard runs
The best running advice I ever received was: keep your head up! – Terry Yandl