We're going behind the scenes with Fly Feeter Brenna, who JUST PR'd her 1/2 Marathon by 20 minutes!!!!!!!
“What I love the most though, is it that there is purpose behind all of the training, and the coaches are great explaining why I was doing what I was doing, which helped me excel faster than I ever have before.”
Describe yourself in one sentence. :)
An adventurous soul sometimes trapped in a Type A body; I’ve learned I’m equal parts dreamer and doer.
Give us your running/fitness background and what your goals are.
I was super involved in sports growing up, but never considered myself a “runner”. After college, I wanted to participate in my hometown’s half-marathon event – the Gary Bjorklund Half in Duluth in 2013. This was my first true experience with long distance training. After joining a modified cross-fit gym last summer with a friend, I realized how much I enjoyed high intensity interval training, mixed with yoga and some running. It was the same friend that also inspired me to sign up for the Mesa-Phoenix Half Marathon this year, which I was terrified about but also really excited to try again.
Why did you come to Fly Feet?
At the time, honestly, I was desperate. It was the end of January and the half marathon was approaching much too quickly – it was scheduled for the end of February. This race, which I was excited about six months prior, was starting to become burdensome, and I was very concerned about participating; I needed help getting motivated and training a hell of a lot harder than I was on my own. I had heard awesome things about Fly Feet, so I decided to give it a try. After two classes I signed up for a full time membership, realizing that the training techniques could not be a more perfect for me and my fitness goals.
You recently PR’d your half marathon, right?
YES :) Before I found Fly Feet my goal was to just get through the race. I had no goal time or training schedule – it was a very irresponsible training technique! Then I found FFR and was enjoying the Tread and Shred classes but kept seeing the specific race training classes on the schedule, so I asked about it. After an informative conversation with Kristin, and realizing we shared a similar mindset when it came to marathon training, I signed up. A few classes in, I decided I could run the half in under two hours. Passing the 2-hour pacer around mile 7 was an emotional feeling, I was still feeling so good, no pain, and I was going to achieve my goal. My time was 1:55:03! My previous half time was 2:15:47, and I was in severe pain the entire time.
How did Fly Feet prepare you differently than other training programs or what you were doing before?
Where do I begin?! Fly Feet not only helped me prepare physically, but mentally as well. There was one point towards the end of the race where I thought - “this does not hurt as bad as some of my FF classes”! It was also at this moment that I was able to use the running techniques I learned in the race training – lean forward from your ankles, keep your core strong, and pull from your butt and hamstrings – not your hips! Training for my first half only consisted of running, running, running – no cross training. Come race day, at mile 4 I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to complete the race because my knees hurt so excruciatingly bad. Over the years, I’ve realized the importance of cross-training and became a firm believer in mixing both weights and cardio. FFR has helped me do this, because I rarely do it on my own. I would never get up at 6:30 AM for an intense training class on both Saturday and Sunday on my own, but knowing I have an awesome, supportive team to train with made it not only bearable but enjoyable. FFR helped me train in a way that I gained strength, endurance and speed by breaking up our longer runs into sections and running at speeds I previously thought were impossible. What I love the most though, is it that there is purpose behind all of the training, and the coaches are great explaining why I was doing what I was doing, which helped me excel faster than I ever have before.
If your friend was unsure if Fly Feet is for them, what would you say?
Try it! It’s going to be hard but that’s the point, and you’ll feel like a badass after every class.
What’s next for you? :)
Long term - the girlfriends I ran the half with this year and I plan on participating in a half every year now, which is kind of insane to me, considering 1 year ago I was telling myself I would never run a half again. I would also like to tentatively put a full marathon on my bucket list…not 100% convinced about doing that yet but I’m considering it!