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Pat’s Run Training Tips

Perry Edinger is no stranger to endurance running or sports safety. As a Physician Assistant and the Director of Sports Medicine at Arizona State University from 1989 to 2003, Perry served as Pat’s trainer during college football season. He also helped Pat train for his first marathon. In April 2005, Perry helped establish Pat’s Run and became its first race director. Through the years, he has leveraged his medical and ultra-marathon experience to help Pat’s Run participants of all ages train for the 4.2 mile race. No matter your level of experience, check out some of his best tips to prepare for a safe, fun 12th Annual Pat’s Run on Saturday, April 23rd! Download his Pat’s Run training schedule to get started.

Perry’s Training Tips

Starting Out

Here it is, just over 3 months away.  This is the hardest time to train for the race.  You may not be in the best shape, you may have a couple of extra pounds from the holidays and it is VERY easy to say “gosh, April 23rd is a long way away, I’ll just do it tomorrow”. All of these reasons make it more important to get out there now!!  You will never get today back.  How do you make yourself better?  You make yourself better by making the first step.  Today is the best day to make the first step. How do you start getting into better shape?  Get out and exercise. How do you lose those few extra pounds?  Get out and exercise. How close is April 23rd?  MUCH closer than you think. Every day, strive to be better.  This is for everything in your life.Be a better person, a better significant other, a better parent, a better coworker and think about yourself and what can you do to improve your life so that tomorrow you can be a better person again. Every day, strive to make improvements.  Tomorrow never really comes. Today is the day to make a start on your life.  Do 1 mile more than you did yesterday, Today.  This will make you think about yourself and how you can make a change in your life and how you can make a change in the lives of everyone around you.

Running Gear

Oh, the great thing about running is, you need so little, but what you get, is so important. If you go to the local sporting goods store and get any old pair of shoes, you may end up “on the shelf” and injured. I always recommend having a professional fit you for a proper pair of running shoes from a running specialty store prior to your program getting on a roll. Shoes can be somewhat expensive, but a well constructed pair that fits correctly will make it well through your training program for Pat’s Run. Believe me, those shoes will feel so good on you. Pronation, supination, forefoot strike, minimalist, leave all those and other terms to the shoe expert and just begin your training. Shorts, shirts and socks are important, but good athletic gear that is sold now, will do the trick. Once you get your groove on, you can get fancy, but establish a routine for your fitness and outside of shoes wear what you like. During the winter, remember, you can always take layers off, you cannot put them on if you are cold. Also, the days are short. If you are running when it is dark out, wear a reflective vest and a flashing light on your back somewhere. Safety is important, we want to see you at Pat’s Run.

Consistency & Moderation

Consistency and moderation: It is early in the process of training for Pat’s Run, but you should be rolling right along.  The key to running the race April 23rd, is to make it to the starting line healthy.  It is always better to arrive properly trained than over-train and end up injured and unable to step up to the starting line. This warrants consistency and moderation.  Lets talk about these: Consistency – Whatever your program outlines, whether it is 3 days a week or up to 7 days a week, you must stay with it every week. You must develop habits.  We all know it takes 21 days to make or break a habit, so now that you are 3 weeks into your program, if you have stayed true to  your program you are developing consistency that your body can adapt to, and grow with.  There a many physiological responses that are needed in developing a good physical fitness response.  The first is the response to exercise. Get into that routine, gain your consistency. Moderation – You need to remember that gradual increase is always best.  ALWAYS remember that if you wake up, get excited about doing allot, then overdo it and become fatigued or hurt you will need time away from your activity.  Thus you will be taking one step forward and two steps back.  Small steps forward will always get you where you want to be.  If you are training now, all you need are small steps.  Don’t overdo it.  Practice moderation so you can be consistent on a daily basis. April 23rd, 2015, that is plenty of time to practice consistency and moderation and achieve great things!!! If you are following these tips and have completed all previous 9 of the Pat’s Runs, please email us and tell us your stories, we would love to hear about your experiences and share them with others if you do not mind.


You have made a commitment. You are progressing through the days of training. Now is the time to continue to work and always understand that finishing is the key.  I always look at my running as a reflection of my life and one does carry over to the other. Once you begin a commitment, you need to finish it, always!  Once you quit something, it is much easier to quit the second time and then easier each subsequent time. It will always get better, you have to push through the difficult times and then things will always get better. This will occur in your training, if you don’t push through some difficult times, you will never make the progress.  In the race, you will have difficult times, one step at a time, and pretty soon you will be through the difficult patch. Try and make it through the tough spot.  Finish what you have started and it will carry over into everything in your life. And always, HAVE FUN!!!

Running Surfaces

So, you want to stay healthy and have less stress on your feet, ankles and knees.  Running surfaces can have a big influence on that.  Since you already have good shoes, now you need to understand your surfaces.

Grass: At its best, the grassland of parks, golf courses and football pitches provides the purest, most natural surface for running.

  • Pros: While grass is soft and easy on the legs in terms of impact, it actually makes your muscles work hard. This builds strength.
  • Cons: Most grassland is uneven and can be dangerous for runners with unstable ankles. It can also be slippery when wet.
  • Conclusion: If you can find a flat, even stretch of it, grass is the best training surface for most runners, especially as you get older.

Trails: For a run that mixes constantly-changing surroundings with near-ideal running surfaces, head for your local trails.

  • Pros: Usually easy on the legs and located in scenic areas that make you keen to return.
  • Cons: Unless you’re lucky enough to find wood chips, rocks and roots can be an issue
  • Conclusion: trails can be a bit of a mixed bag in terms of quality, though the odds are usually in your favor.

Synthetic Track: While most people think of them purely as fast surfaces for fast runners, they’re more versatile than that.

  • Pros: Synthetic tracks provide a reasonably forgiving surface and, being exactly 400 meters around, make measuring distances and timing sessions easy.
  • Cons: With two long curves on every lap, ankles, knees and hips are put under more stress than usual. Longer runs also become very tedious.
  • Conclusion: Tracks are ideal for speedwork, but you have to be dedicated to use them for anything else.

Treadmill: When the weather’s bad, a treadmill is the best indoor running option for most runners. The hardness of the running surface varies between machines – some are far softer than others.

  • Pros: The smooth surface is generally easy on the legs, and hitting a desired pace is simply a matter of adjusting the machine
  • Cons: Effectively running on the spot isn’t very exciting.
  • Conclusion: Not everyone’s cup of tea, but for runners who find it hard to keep up a steady pace.

Asphalt: Asphalt is the mixture of gravel, tar and crushed rock. It isn’t the softest surface around, but it’s difficult to avoid and it’s better than concrete.

  • Pros: Asphalt is rather solid, it’s a predictable, even surface that puts less strain on the Achilles tendon than softer or uneven terrains.
  • Cons: It is a pretty unforgiving surface that does put a strain on the body.
  • Conclusion: Though it’s a hard surface to run on, asphalt is also one that’s hard to stay away from.

Sand: Sand offers a run with a real difference. If it’s dry and deep, you can give your calf muscles the work-out of their life without risking any impact damage to your joints. If you’re on the beach, you get the sea breeze and the surroundings as a bonus.

  • Pros: Sand gives an opportunity to run barefoot in an pleasant environment.
  • Cons: Despite being great for building leg strength, the softness of the sand means a higher risk of Achilles tendon injury.
  • Conclusion: Flat, firm sand can be a near-perfect running surface. It’s probably best to limit runs on sand to shorter distances.

Concrete: Concrete is primarily made up of cement, 10 times as hard as asphalt. It delivers the most shock of any surface to a runner’s legs.

  • Pros: Concrete surfaces tend to be easily accessible and very flat.
  • Cons: The hard surface, can lead to injury.
  • Conclusion: City dwellers probably have little choice but to do a large proportion of their running on concrete. If you get the slightest opportunity, though, look for softer surfaces.


There are all sorts of gadgets out there to run with. All claim to be essential to improving performance. We have already discussed the necessary equipment needed for running and how this is one of the reasons that running is “simple.” But you say, what about the GPS unit, the calorie counting wristband, the device in your shoe to tell you if your shoe needs replaced, the perfect running headphones, the perfect running MP3 player, the app on your phone to guide you through your workout, and on and on. Yes, some of you will say you cannot run without music, you need to know where you are at all times, etc. Please remember that these gadgets do not replace the fact that you need to listen to your body when you workout, you may need to slow down from a designed workout or it is a day you can do a little more. You need time during your run to listen to your body. I also feel that running is the time of day that I get to get away from my phone and all distractions. If you tell me that you ran 2.3 miles, needed a .2 mile rest before your proceeded because your heart rate was at 162, I would tell you to step back, enjoy your run. Maybe you don’t need all those gadgets, but enjoy the ones that make your life FUN!!! All this leads into next week’s tip, shortcuts.


So in this age, most people are looking for shortcuts to everything.  Maybe it is gadgets, as we discussed last week.  You definitely hear about many, many professional athletes utilizing performance enhancing drugs for shortcuts.  People do it at work all the time. Maybe you try it driving, to save some time.  However you look at it, shortcuts are always an option.

In the fine sport of running, there really is no shortcut.  You need to put the time in to get the results.  If you try and take a shortcut to your training, you will either suffer on race day or end up injured. By golly, neither one of these are a good option.

Habits you work on and create in your running can carry over into your entire life.  There are no shortcuts.  There may be ways to make things easier, but it always seems to revolve around slow steady hard work that in the end allows and increase in hard work and greater gains. Don’t look for the shortcut.  Wake up, put in your effort and months from now, you will have allot to be proud of.


What inspires you?? When you wake up in the morning, what inspires you?  People? Actions? Words? Beauty?  There are allot of things that have the possibility for inspiration. On a personal note, I have mine: My wife, my son, my dad, Pat, Alex, Killian, Geoff, Scott, John, Pre.  Treating people “right”, being true to yourself, watching 28,000 people honor a friend, helping others, a truly competitive competition, a run. Effort, honesty, truth, belief.  A mountain standing in front of me – waiting for me to run up it.  Those are a few of mine.  I don’t tell those they inspire me, I want them to be themselves and keep things true. I am always looking for inspiration, why?  Why not?  Inspiration provides me with a reason to step it up a bit every day.  To work harder to be better.  To live a more full life.

If you are looking to complete Pat’s run, you are not the kind of person that is okay with settling for just the ordinary.  You are a person that is excited to step forward in life and complete great things.  Wake up in the morning, find what inspires you.  Take a minute to smile when you find it.  Then use that inspiration to move forward every day toward your goals.  Inspiration is great.  It is unique to you.  You can choose to share it, you can keep it private, but always, always, find your inspiration and use it as your greatest asset. It will lead you to next week’s tip: “Every day!”

Don’t Waste Today

Every day you wake up, you should want to be better than the day before. Ask yourself, how can I help myself be a better person? How can I influence others in a positive way? Who really wants to be ordinary or average? But is that what we think of when we wake up and start our day? Are we just proceeding with our day, grinding out our work? Just living with the person we love, just operating on cruise control? Is that the way you want to live your life? Is it time to question that?

Today is the day to wake up and strive to be a better person (not just better runner). Can you help someone? Can you provide love to someone that may not realize they need it? How can you help the people around you? Remember that tomorrow never comes. Today is the day to be a better person. To make an influence in someone’s life. To show the world that you are better than yesterday. Do not waste today, it will be over soon. Today, make a difference!!

You are Better than You Think You Are!

No matter what it entails, you are better than you think you are. It may involve running, something at work, something at home, or something with your family. Our limitations are only as high as we set them. My challenge to you is: what are your limitations? You must always challenge yourself to see how good you are. It is such a great accomplishment when you challenge yourself, finish and realize you did more than you thought you could.

For many, Pat’s Run is an example of this. 4.2 miles is a long way and although you think you may not be able to finish it, when you start it and then finish it, you realize that you are better than you think you are. During your run tomorrow, challenge yourself. See how good you are. You are only limited by your own beliefs. Once you realize that you don’t have those limitations, you can explore life to the fullest. Wake up tomorrow and repeat “You’re better than you think you are!”

Problem Solving on the Run

Problem solving on the run:

There is no doubt on your runs thus far, you have encountered a number of difficulties. You will, from time to time encounter difficulties during runs, thus comes the issue of problem solving while out on your course. There are a number of items that you can do to fix minor issues. Sometimes when feeling bad during your run, a simple stop at the gas station or grocery store to get some water and regroup will do it. Foot pain may be alleviated by stopping, taking your shoe off, adjust your sock and retying it. Maybe an energy gel or a salt tablet will change your course of issues. The more you run, the more you need different tools in your “toolbox” to problem solve and fix things to push onward.

No doubt, if you are overheating or have a fall, you should stop and run again when you are cleared for running. I have run quite a few miles and races. I have faced my fair share of issues on runs. The key to finishing a run and feeling proud is sometimes problem solving and accomplishing my goal. Be a good problem solver, think about the issue you are encountering, try different things and the next time it arrives? You will know exactly what to do.

For the next 3 weeks, I will provide 1 specific tip for Pat’s Run: This week is arrival! Find a way to arrive early. Come in from the south of the course. There are only a couple of bridges and ways to come from the north, these roads get backed up early and the roads get closed as the race approaches. I suggest parking in the structures off of University or bringing in the light rail. Get to the race early. Go to the expo and support the sponsors and watch the crowds. It can be very motivating to see how the crowds grow and enthusiasm grows.

Stay tuned for next week’s tip!