Coach Ben Jacobs – Q & A

Run4PRs is so excited to have a new coach on board! Coach Ben Jacobs has over 6 years of coaching experience, and he is a USATF certified coach. He has several years of coaching at the high school level for xc and track, and he is on his 4th year coaching at the University of St. Thomas. In addition to coaching, Ben is a competitive runner. His PRs are 14:50 5k, 30:59 10k, 1:08 half, and 2:40 full marathon. You might recognize Ben from local races or managing the Run N Fun St. Paul store. If you ever need advice on shoes, Ben is your resource! 

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Q & A with Coach Ben

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

I continue to have the drive to improve.  I think that in life you can always be a better version of you.  I also just love being out in the running community and being around all the different backgrounds all with a common goal.

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

If I am in a competitive cycle I tell myself that my competition is out running right now and I should be too.  If I am running casually it is just part of my routine and I know I will feel better after I run.

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

I typically run everyday and usually twice a day.  I typically run between 300 and 400 miles a month. In 2016 I will have run close to 3700 miles. 

What does your weight training consist of and which exercise do you feel helps your running the most?

I have always loved strength training and believe that it is incredibly important for long distance running.  I do a lot of high intensity body weight activity.

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

There are tons of them.  One time on a run in college my teammates and I found a toilet by the side of the road.  We carried it back to school. It was rivalry week and we were playing basketball against a near by college.  We decided it would be funny to take paint the toilet our school color and take it to their campus.  To make a long story short the other college campus security didn’t find it as funny as we did.  Luckily the college president did.

Do you feel it’s still beneficial runners who aren’t competitive to have a running coach? If so, why?

I think that anyone can benefit from a coach.  Everyone can be competitive.  If you  have the drive to BQ you are competitive.  If you want to be better tomorrow than you are today then you are competitive with yourself.  It is important to have a coach so that you are training in the right areas.  You don’t want to overdo it. 

What’s your favorite types of fuel for running and why?

I am a big fan of Generation UCAN.  It is a slow burning fuel. Most of the products out there have too much sugar.  If you are training or trying to lose weight it doesn’t make sense to take in that much sugar.  Also sugar can make you crash.

What’s your favorite cheat food & drink?

I usually have a huge burger with all the fixings after a big race.

Do you like ice baths? Why or why not?

Yes I do.  I think that they are very beneficial in the recovery process. I am also a big fan of compression products for recovery.

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

It won’t happen overnight.  It takes a lot of consistency.  You really have to work at it.  It may take months or even years to hit the breakthrough that you hope to achieve.  It took me 3 years to PR in the 5k and I was training hard.  I always believed in my training and knew that I could do it.  Too many people give up when it gets hard.

What is your favorite running accomplishment so far?

I have been fortunate to have received a lot from the sport. I have qualified for the national championships and US championships several times.  It is always a thrill to compete in the same race as the best runners in the country.  I have also been able to travel to many races around the country.  I am also very proud of the conference title I won in the 5k in college.  Finishing a marathon a year after a specialist told me I may not be able to run long distance races again.  The list continues.  Running has done a lot for me.

What is your favorite coaching accomplishment so far?

I have also been fortunate to coach many great runners.  Coaching St Thomas to the national championship meet two years ago and coaching them to 6 conference track titles.  Coaching my first athlete to a BQ.  Coaching an athlete that had never run and was in the process of losing 100 pounds to finish his first marathon in 4 hours.  I have coached countless runners at St Thomas and they all have unique stories.  Seeing them grow as runners and then move on into the work force has been very rewarding.

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