Interview #7 Polina Carlson
In the last year Hawaii’s top female distance runner has been taking leaps and strides into the world of female elite running. It has been fantastic to see the career of Polina Carlson blossom and LRY was lucky enough to catch up with her as she prepares for her fall marathon.
LRY: Hi Polina! Last year, you were the first interview on The Long Run Lifestyle so it’s great to hear from you again! We talked about Xterra and the Honolulu marathon at the end of 2013, but I believe your 2014 goal is the California International Marathon, coming up on Dec 7th.
LRY: How do you find training in Hawaii, and have you had to make any changes to your normal preparations for this next marathon?
Polina: Training in Hawaii for distance events has many perks! I love the fact that it doesn’t get below 70 degrees, and that I don’t have to deal with running in the snow. This makes me feel extremely lucky because many elite distance runners have to take it easier during the winter months due to climate change and often have to become “best-buddies” with a treadmill. It’s great that the weather in Hawaii allows me to train outdoors all year round. It is always so pleasant outside that I even sometimes find it hard to take a break from running when my season is over.
I didn’t have to make any special changes to my usual marathon preparation to get ready for the California International Marathon. Since the race is not far away and has only a two-hour time difference, it’s not going to be a major change to what I’m already used to when I do my long runs, except for the cooler weather, of course!
LRY: How do you find the experience of travelling from Hawaii to race in different states, and countries?
Being able to travel…that’s one of my favorite joys of being a professional runner! I love visiting new places and meeting new people, although travelling from Hawaii is not always easy. Since we live in one of the most isolated places in the world, flights usually take hours and hours, and I experience anywhere from two to twelve hour time zone differences that I have to be prepared for. While flying, I try to keep my legs loose and relaxed. I also make sure that I get up and stretch while wearing compression socks.
LRY: What is your normal ‘go-to’ breakfast before a marathon?
Three hours before the race, I usually eat a bowl of quick oatmeal with banana. If I still feel hungry soon before the race, I may eat a small piece of white bread and honey for quick energy.
LRY: With Honolulu marathon just under two weeks away what advice would you give to someone running it for the first time?
Go out conservatively. Be mentally prepared for windy conditions, which occur this time of year. Stay focused on the way out knowing that you may be aided by the wind blowing in your back in the second part of the race. Try to run negative splits during the last miles.
LRY: What advice would you give to a marathon runner going through a tough patch on race day?
Try to relax your body and focus on your form. Concentrate on how much you have left rather than how tired you are.
LRY: What are your favourite memories from the Honolulu marathon?
Without a doubt, my favorite memory is always of the start! I love seeing thousands of other runners – including myself – bursting with anticipation and excitement at the starting line. I get goose bumps when I hear the fireworks after the gun goes off, and it feels terrific to race on familiar streets with familiar faces cheering for you!
LRY: As I understand you have recently started including yoga as part of your weekly routine! What made you decide to try yoga, and how have you managed to combine it with your marathon training?
Well…I’ve read many articles on the benefits of yoga for runners and was interested, but I was hesitant to try it for myself because I’m the most inflexible person! But after Grandma’s Marathon, I had a two-week break, and I was itching to do some type of cross training, which would not strain my body too much. It was then, that I decided to try taking a yoga class and found it to be both challenging and helpful. Once I got back to my running routine, I continued doing yoga to keep my muscles looser and to strengthen my core. Even though I currently don’t have much time for yoga classes due to the intensity of my training, I’m still doing yoga poses and stretches at home after my runs.
LRY: And finally – what is your favourite post-marathon thing to do (and this could be food/drink or maybe a form of active-recovery activity!!)?
Good question! I would say eating a HUGE acai bowl! 😉
LRY: Thanks Polina and good luck in California! Hawaii will be cheering for you!!
Catch up with Polina on Twitter, where she tweets from @polinaruns and via her website HERE. Polina is also an ambassador for BioAstin, read more HERE. You will also be able to track Polina live on Dec 7th via the California International Marathon’s athlete tracker, online at: CIM Athlete Tracker.
Good luck to all Hawaii runners travelling to California for the marathon – and also the Footlocker XC Race at Mount Sac! And best of luck to everyone running in the Xterra Trail Running World Champs, also taking place on Dec 7th here in Hawaii.