Brett Hales is an elite road and trail runner, who has won dozens of races across the United States, including a blistering 1:04:31 at the 2014 Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas half-marathon.
He most recently ran for Team USA at the World Mountain Running Championships in Premana, Italy, where the team took home a record five medals. He also recently completed the 2017 Cirque Series in Utah. Brett shared a few tips with us about running in the cold, podcasts, and his training routine.
Finishers Club: You’ve run – and won – dozens of races across the US. Is there a particular race that you have especially fond memories of (in terms of your performance, terrain, crowd support, etc)?
Brett Hales: One of my most favorite races was when I hit the Olympic Trials qualifying standard. You can qualify for the marathon by running the half and you needed to run under 1:05. I first attempted it by running the RnR San Jose in Oct. 2014, but ran a 1:05:03 missing it by a mere 4 seconds. I was devastated but I came back a month later and ran the RnR Las Vegas and was more focused and motivated than ever.
The crowd support was awesome and I ran a 1:04:31 and the emotion that I felt as I looked at the clock and knew I was going to make it was incredible.
The atmosphere in Vegas was awesome because they shut down the LV Strip and about 50,000 runners took to the streets. It starts at 4:30 PM which is unusual for races but it started at dusk and finished under all the bright lights of Vegas. The crowd support was awesome and I ran a 1:04:31 and the emotion that I felt as I looked at the clock and knew I was going to make it was incredible. I finished and someone at the finish line gave me an American flag that I draped around my shoulders and when I saw my family I gave them the biggest hug. I was riding a runners high because it was exciting to take all the years of training and miserably cold runs and mental struggle to know that I just accomplished something amazing. I was on cloud 9 for the next 48 hours.
FC: You’ve mentioned on Instagram that you’re a proud father to two girls. How do you manage the rigors of training with the obligations of parenthood? Any advice you’d offer parent/runners? And any particular jogging stroller recommendations?
BH: I have about a 80 min (total) commute each day so I usually leave my house around 6:30 AM and don’t get home until 5 PM. When I’m home I want to be home because I only have a couple hours with my kids before they go to bed so I will run/train at work during my lunch hour. It’s nice because it’s good to step away from my desk and just reset from the stresses and clear my head.
Exercise, in any capacity, does wonders for the body and truly relieves so many pent up emotions.
The advice I’d give is that exercise, in any capacity, does wonders for the body and truly relieves so many pent up emotions. I can separate work from home life and be a more patient person when I’m able to run the stress out.
FC: What does a week of training look like for you, in terms of goal mileage?
BH: In college, at my peak mileage training, I was putting in about 90-100 miles/week. My mileage has come down since then but since I built such a strong base of miles during that time I’m just coasting off of that. I run about 65-70 miles/week now. 10 miles/day M-F and 15-20 on Saturday. When I’m not racing, I’ll do 2 workouts a week that typically have me around half marathon pace.
In college, at my peak mileage training I was putting in about 90-100 miles/week. My mileage has come down since then but since I built such a strong base of miles during that time I’m just coasting off of that. I run about 65-70 miles/week now. 10 miles/day M-F and 15-20 on Saturday.
Workouts will vary in time/distance depending on how I feel and how motivated I am. My fear is burning out so I listen to my body and if I don’t feel like working out that day I’ll push it off a day. I eventually do the workout because I know I need it but I feel that but doing it when I want and not because I have to I’m able to stay at a high level and prevent injury.
FC: Do you listen to anything on training runs? If so, anything in particular?
Finishers Club: Any resources — books, movies, blogs, podcasts, etc. — you use to keep up on running news? Anything in particular you’d recommend?
Brett Hales: Flotrack and friends is where I get my information. It’s fun to talk running with others because you get inspired through others stories and each person no matter what level is fighting the mental and physical battle to get moving and finish and then come back again tomorrow and do it again.
Finishers Club: Any advice for someone looking to move from road to trail running?
Brett Hales: You’ll need to pay more attention to where your foot lands. On open roads you just zone out and go, but trails are constantly changing. Trails make the time go by much quicker and it’s so nice to get lost in thought and enjoy the beauty around you.
On open roads you just zone out and go, but trails are constantly changing.
You can reach some pretty amazing places in only a couple miles. I’ve done some intense trail races where the race was only 7 miles long but in that time I climbed to the top of an iconic peak (Such as Mt. Baldy or Hidden Peak or Ben Lomond) and back and got some gorgeous views of the valley.
Finishers Club: What’s one piece of gear you couldn’t live without?
Brett Hales: Gloves and Zensah Arm sleeves. I’m a wuss when it comes to cold weather and I’m talking about when it’s in the 50’s I need gloves or my fingers freeze.
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