Sabrina Seher estimates she’s run almost 100 marathons over the last two years.
The 36-year-old Gig Harbor resident’s running résumé is so packed with achievements that one of the biggest happened almost by accident.
In June she earned the highest status (titanium) in one of the nation’s largest running clubs, Marathon Maniacs. She did this by running 52 marathons in a year.
“I wasn’t planning on it,” Seher said. “I was just running and running and around Tacoma City (May 4) I was like, ‘Huh, I think I can do this.’ ”
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She finished June 21 when she ran her fourth marathon in as many days.
Seher qualified for the Boston Marathon in April and says she ran about 50-70 miles per week. A little less than she averaged last year.
Sound crazy? “There’s always crazier,” Seher said. “Don’t compare yourself to others. Just do what’s good for you. … I’m just out there to be inspirational and have fun.”
Seher coaches recreational runners and has helped many reach their goals. She is race director of the Tunnel Light and Light at the End of the Tunnel marathons. Seher also owns the pace teams for Marathon Maniacs and Half Fanatics. With the New Year here and many weekend warriors setting running goals, we thought we’d ask the coach for a few tips:
Q: So you must have had an injury or three over the years?
A: No. Just a sprained ankle on the trail. I have a big spreadsheet of exercises that I hand out to people. … I do six exercises. Things like burpees, jumping lunges, plank, plank walks. I alternate them. Twenty of each exercise for 2-3 rounds. I try to tell people you don’t need a gym. You can throw down wherever you are. Traveling or at the end of the run. Just bang it out really quick. It’s enough to enhance and strengthen what you need to for running.
Q: How important is strength training for runners?
A: I was a science major. I was really nerdy. It’s fun for me to analyze the entire person and their form. I can tell them, ‘Your hip flexor is tight and it’s pulling on this.’ Or, ‘Your glutes are weak and this why your feet turn out. You need to work on this.’ It’s not something you can fix in a few days. It’s something you focus on in your runs and your strength training. I see people rehab themselves and improve running form and speed. You need to be muscularly strong to hold running form for distance and for speed as well.
Q: How important is core strength?
A: When your core is not strong enough it will all kind of domino down. Really, truly you run from your core. People who sit a lot, then your hip flexors are off.
Q: A lot of people believe injury is inevitable if they run. Do you agree?
A: Anything physical you are at risk of injury. So to lower your risk you do the work. You do the strength training. And if you’re doing something crazy like 52 marathons per year, you’re not racing them. You’re running them at your long running pace. … If I was pushing the pace and doing high crazy mileage, my body would break down much faster.
Q: How important is it to ease into running?
A: We all have different backgrounds, but somebody who goes full throttle too fast is at a higher risk of injury. Go slow. … It took me years to get here.
Q: How hard is that for people, especially when they have early success?
A: That’s a big thing. People have such a positive first marathon or half marathon and they turn right around and (do another one). I didn’t even do that. Only in the last few years I’ve been able to handle more. People are missing that background in the base and the foundation. It’s the consistency.
Q: What’s the first thing you talk about with runners?
A: It is the mind that will fail first. When they show up (for the first training session) I ask them to raise their hands if they think they can run what they signed up for. Maybe a quarter raise their hands. I say, ‘Wrong answer.’ If you don’t think you can do the workout you are already going to fail. You need to show up here, whatever workout you have in front of you, you need to know you are capable.”
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