Jenn Walton Kicked Her Smoking Habit and Started Running Marathons

Today I’m going a few easy miles with my friend and coaching client Jenn Walton.

Jenn Walton

Jenn Walton

Marathon Seeds Were Planted Early

As a kid, Jenn’s family lived in a house that was on the route of the Manitoba Marathon. Jenn can remember sitting in the window and watching the race, and thinking to herself that it would be amazing to run a marathon one day.

Jenn wasn’t an athletic kid and as an adult the marathon goal was seemed as far fetched as the childhood dream of flying.

But when her brother lost a lot of weight and ran the marathon, she revisited the idea of whether or not running could be possible.

Her brother’s success inspired Jenn to start her own training, which began with kicking her smoking habit, and before long she ran her first marathon.

Relationship Between Playing Piano and Running a Marathon

Jenn has been a musician for most of her life, and there are definitely some parallels between being a high level/touring pianist and a marathon runner.

When I asked Jenn about any parallels, I was thinking that she would touch on the dedication/discipline required to put in the necessary training/practice in order to reach your goals.

And she did, but Jenn also shared something that I wasn’t expecting: the importance of being able to control your adrenaline.

The excitement at the start of a race is a recipe for going out too fast and blowing up because of it, but Jenn mentioned similar levels of excitement/adrenaline that she would experience at the beginning of the ballet performances that she was playing for.

As a pianist, the preperformance nerves/excitement can cause the tempo of the song to be increased, which can pose quite the problem for the dancers on the stage.

Jenn talked about learning how to control herself behind the piano in order to play the expected tempo of the piece, and how that helps her avoid going out too fast in a race.

Tips for Cold Weather Running

Once it gets past -30 (degrees), that's when I go inside! ~@PrairieJenn #runchat #running Click To Tweet

Living in Canada, Jenn is no stranger to running outside in the cold.

With winter approaching, I thought it was prudent to ask Jenn to share some tips for those that are new to running and are getting ready for the first winter of outdoor running.

By far, Jenn’s biggest recommendation is to invest in quality gear. 

Hypothermic Half Gear for Jenn Walton

Hypothermic Half Gear for Jenn Walton

Even though high quality thermal gear may give you a case of sticker shock, it’s worth every penny when you’re out on a run and you don’t have to worry about over heating or being cold.

Jenn recommends a good buff and a good pair of mittens or gloves to keep your face and hands warm while you’re out on a run.

One recommendation that Jenn made that I would have never thought of was getting a flip belt to hold your phone while you’re running outside.

If it’s really cold, putting your phone in a pocket may not be enough to keep it warm enough to prevent it from dying really quickly. But having a belt that can go under your layers and keep your phone close to your body keeps it warm enough that in an emergency you’d still be able to make a phone call.

And in certain conditions, being able to make that phone call could literally save your life.

If you haven’t done so already, make sure you connect with Jenn on Twitter!

As Always, I’d Love to Know What Stood Out to You From this Episode! Let Me Know Your Takeaway in the Comments Below!

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3 replies
  1. Paul Stroessner
    Paul Stroessner says:

    Great episode! I really like the tip about keeping your phone warm. It was around 50 degrees here when I went for a run, and my iPod died halfway through the run, and it was fully charged before I left. It screwed up the rest of my run. Now that my ankle is getting better, I plan on going for longer runs, and will take my phone with me for safety. Now I know how I should carry it.

    • @PrairieJenn
      @PrairieJenn says:

      Oh awesome – so glad to help!! The other thing that would work at that temperature is to put your phone inside a mitten before putting it in your pocket (I have an old one with a hole in it that I save for just this purpose!)


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