As part of our ongoing series in collaboration with Jaybird we would like to introduce a talented marathoner and blogger, Jennifer Kyle. Jennifer truly encapsulates what it means to be driven. She lives in California, loves her dog Benny, and used to show horses. She is coached by professional runner Sarah Crouch, and is one of the leaders of the Arete Racing team in the San Francisco Area.
Jennifer didn’t wake up one morning and decide that she was going to be a runner. Her relationship with the sport developed slowly over many years. When she thinks back to her memories of childhood, she hated running. It made her feel uncomfortable and self-conscious. But the older she got, the more running became a necessary tool to maintain the body image she desired. Unfortunately this view of running wasn’t particularly healthy. More time passed, she got stronger and more confident, and her connection to running took a much needed turn. When logging miles became more than a chore, running gave her a reason to appreciate and love her body.
One of the things that makes Jennifer stand out is her dedication to her training. She trains on road, trail, track, and treadmill, each for a specific use. Roads are where she does the bulk of work. As a marathoner and road racer, she feels at home pounding the pavement. She also uses roads to explore new cities when she travels. Trails are a special treat for when she has a little extra time to get in the car and enjoy some soft recovery miles. The track is reserved for speed workouts, and the treadmill is used when the weather is too brutal to get out there. She’s done up to 22 miles on the treadmill, really taking the “no excuses” mantra to the next level.
Jennifer applies this hard-working mentality to every workout she faces. Her personal favorite is the progression run. This workout start with an easy warm up, then the pace gets consistently faster with each passing mile.
“I love this workout because you can really make it whatever you need it to be. It’s a huge confidence builder for me as well.”
But Jennifer knows that becoming a better runner requires more than just miles. When a stress fracture barred her from all impact fitness activities, Jennifer discovered swimming and learned to love it. Now, she incorporates a weekly swim into her training routine, along with three strength sessions in the gym, which she credits with helping her stay injury-free.
When training for marathons, plans are important—not just for training but for motivation as well. Jennifer stays motivated with music, and her Jaybird RUN Buds help her push her performance to the next level. She never heads out the door for a run without them. Most mornings she’s up and out early, and having a little extra motivation in her ears makes all the difference. She prefers intense music for fast days and speedworks, and slower music for easy/recovery days.
“I am an early morning runner, so I can’t honestly say that I wake up every single day motivated and ready to rumble. There are some mornings that I am dragging. My routine is really what helps me get through those mornings. I know the way I feel after my run is worth it every single time.”
Through training, Jennifer has learned a lot about running—and even more about herself. Every year she racks up more miles, more experience, and more confidence in who she is. We asked her to share a piece of advice that she wishes she could give to her younger self.
Self confidence is at the core of what has made Jennifer successful, not only in training, but also in life. Believing in yourself is the first step toward any goal you set. Whether you are looking to run you first 5K or 50th marathon, you’ve got to trust in your ability to show up and make progress.
Now for our Speed Round:
- Favorite food: Peanut butter and banana sandwiches
- Dream running buddies: Winston Churchill, Deadpool, and Bennie (the dog)
- Spirit dog: Border Collie
- Favorite TV shows growing up: Gossip Girl
- Biggest inspirations: Emma Coburn, Shalane Flanagan, and Sarah Crouch
Thanks to Jennifer for sharing her story with us. You can connect with her on Instagram, or on her blog. Thanks to Jaybird for helping these come to life. Check out our partnership by joining the Rock and RUN challenge, for your chance to win a pair of RUN Buds.
Photos by Tracy Mammolito