The Olympic Trials will see the return of seasoned marathoners, first-time qualifiers, and even first-time marathoners. Jen Bergman, with a B-standard Half Marathon qualifying time of 1:14:03, has earned the opportunity to run her first marathon and first Olympic Trials all in the same day.
She won the 2015 Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas 1/2 Marathon on November 15 on a windy day, proving her move up in distance from college 5k-10k racing has been a smooth one.
Jen had a phenomenal career at the University of Arizona, earning the following accomplishments while there:
2011 NCAA Outdoor All-American (10K)2011 MPSF Championships Runner-Up (5K)
2011 All-Pac-10 (5K, 10K)2012 All-Pac-12 Cross Country2012 NCAA Cross Country All-American2012 Pac-12 Cross Country All-Academic Honorable Mention2012 MPSF All-Academic2012 MPSF Championships Runner-Up (5K)2012 Pac-12 All-Academic Honorable Mention2012 Pac-12 Championships Runner-Up (10K)2012 All-Pac-12 (5K, 10K)2012 NCAA Outdoor Second-team All-American (10K)2013 NCAA Cross Country All-American2013 NCAA Indoor Second-team All-American (5K)2013 NCAA Outdoor All-American (10K)2013 Pac-12 Champion (10k)
She’s now moved onto the world of professional running, living in Portland, OR and running for Skechers. Jen will debut in the marathon at the Olympic trials on Feb. 13. With a best half marathon time of 1:14:03, she ran almost a minute under the B qualifying standard of 1:15:00.
This will be her first marathon, but she’s run 22 miles and feels prepared for 26.2!
We talked with her about recovery, marathon training, and love of helping others with their fitness goals. Take a look at her secrets to happy and healthy training:
Congrats on making your first Olympic Trials. How are you feeling?
I think everyone racing the trials can agree it feels like it came up so fast! But I’m ready. I had a foot injury that took me out for the summer, and once that was out of the way I started real marathon training for the first time. My body has handled it much better than I thought it would.
How has your training shifted since you ran at the University of Arizona, moving towards the longer races?
Right out of college I moved across the country and tried something completely new. I learned the hard way that the transition from college to professional running isn’t as smooth as some of the professionals make it look on Instagram. I wasn’t happy and I definitely wasn’t running well, so after a year and a half I decided to move back west. I had no plan or sponsor, and I wasn’t sure if I was going to continue running at all.
After just a few weeks I knew I was kidding myself, I wasn’t close to being done with running yet. I decided to move to Portland where I could work, train and enjoy life. My training partner for four years in college, Elvin Kibet, was also headed here and I had many other friends that were continuing their running careers in Portland so I knew it would be a good fit. Now I’m back with my college coach, Erin Dawson, and Jon Marcus who coaches my training group, High Performance West. I was 17 when I showed up for my first day of practice at the University of Arizona with Coach Erin, so she’s had to deal with me for a long time. I 100% trust her training plan.
Jon Marcus will help adjust my workouts so I always have a workout buddy (or 3) and he’s added serious strength work (I call it booty work!) to my training. It took a few months and some days where I was walking funny, but it’s amazing how the strength work has helped me run more efficiently, especially during those crazy long runs when form is the last thing on my mind.
What do you feel helps your recovery and injury prevention most?
I love swimming and aqua jogging!! Not only do I feel great after, but I’ve met some fascinating elderly women to aqua jog with in the pool! My double is always in the pool and I take one day a week of no running at all. My rule of thumb is if something is hurting and its only on one side of my body, I need to take it easy. If it hurts on both sides I need to stop whining and deal with the pains of marathon training!
Do you have any pre-race routines that are a “must” before every competition?
I’m not superstitious but I am a little stitious. My dad and I have a handshake we have to do before the race. Thanks to technology, if my dad isn’t at the race, we will do it over Skype J
What ambitions do you have for the marathon trials (your marathon debut!)?
Yes this is my marathon debut! I know a lot can happen in 26 miles, but if everything goes well, I know I am fit enough to finish in the top 20. I think a solid PR will come with that as well : )
Do you have a favorite pre-race song or motivational mantra?
I’m from the Bay Area, or as hip hop artists like to call it, Yay Area, so any bay hip hop gets me in the zone.
What will be your post-marathon treat? (it appears, from your twitter, you might like donuts?)
Haha! It’s funny because I only actually have donuts a few times a year! I do have a thing for shirts or any clothing with donuts on them. And I must have texted the word donut a few times because (as Jon showed everyone on twitter) my phone always autocorrects words to *donut*. So yeah, now I’m the donut girl.
I think my biggest treat will be enjoying some down time. I’m a personal trainer at a private studio in Portland so my clients should be very worried for my running break. I come in after running 20+ miles with lots of energy. I’m going to be bouncing off the walls in a few weeks!
What has been your favorite marathon-training workout? Why did you like it?
Last Sunday I did my last long run before my taper started which was my longest run ever. I ran 22 miles, and the last mile was at goal race pace. It was a big confidence booster being on my feet for that long and knowing I can push myself when I’m tired. It also reminded me how grateful I am to live here and have training partners to help get me through those runs. I had a couple friends start the run with me and I finished with another one of my teammates. Out of the 22 miles I didn’t’ have to run one of them alone. I’m a pretty lucky girl.