Lessons From the Pros: Marisa Howard

1. Who are you? (Name? Age/Grade? Where are you from? Club/Team/Coach?)
My name is Marisa Howard, I am 23 years old and just graduated from Boise State University. I am currently working part-time as a school nurse and training for the 2016 Olympic Trials. I am originally from Pasco, Washington but I currently train and live in Boise, Idaho. I run for Oiselle, an awesome company based out of Seattle, Washington. My coach is Corey Ihmels, he was my coach for the last two years of college as well.
2. What is your main event/distance?
My main event is the 3000m steeplechase. I also love the 5k and 1500m but just don’t race them as much as the steeple.
3. When did you start running?
I started running competitively my sophomore year of high school.

4. What is your favorite part about running?
My favorite part of running is being able to get away from everything for 1-2 hours every day. I feel like running is my “stress” outlet, it’s a time to reflect, to think, to explore, to dream. I love having that time built into every day. I also love being able to explore new cities and trails and see new places through running.

5. What is the highlight of your career (so far)?
Being the 2013 Steeplechase NCAA Runner-up. It was an incredible day.

6. What is your goal or dream that you want to achieve?
My ultimate goal is to make an Olympic team or a world team, or both ! I also want to become a well-rounded runner and not just good at the Steeplechase but strong in other events as well.

7. What are your strengths as a runner?
My strengths are my kick at the end of races; my husband says I have a nose for the finish line. I also feel that I do a good job of trusting my coaches and my training and really pulling on that training during races. One of my other strengths is staying composed during steeple races when craziness/falls are happening around me and being able to react quickly. I am generally one of the shorter steeplechaser’s in the field but I think I do a good job of holding my ground.
8. Who, to you, embodies a strong runner?
My teammate Kate Jette embodies a strong runner. Throughout her college career she had two major foot surgeries. At this point many people would have walked away from the sport, after the 2nd one she put her head down and got to work cross training, doing PT and different exercises to rehab her foot. She had many ups and downs during her comeback but kept fighting. She had set a goal of making it to the conference starting line in the 3000m steeplechase and she achieved that goal.
9. What is your favorite pre-workout snack? Ultimate
post-race meal?
Favorite pre-workout snack would have to be trail-mix or dried fruit. Ultimate post-race meal is pizza (BBQ chicken or margarita) and maybe some ice cream to top it all off.
10. What is your running motto?
I guess these are more quotes, but I always think about these three before races.

“But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary they will walk and not be faint” Isaiah 40:31

“To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.” Steve Prefontaine

My coach also says, “Good is the enemy of great” by Voltaire and I really like this because I feel like often times we settle for being “good” at something, when in reality we are robbing ourselves of being great.

11. A random fact about you.

Before I picked up running, I was a competitive gymnast.

12. Would you like to share your favorite strenght/core
exercise with us; Why did you choose that one and why do you think it is

We do this core routine called “Core H”, it is 10 different exercise and you have to do each one for 60 seconds. The different exercises include
planks, running v-sits, crunches, more v-sits…by the last exercise you are
counting down the seconds until 10 minutes is up. I chose this one because it is a grind and really targets the entire core area. I think it is beneficial because it works all parts of the core, but it also takes some strength and determination to grit through the last couple minutes of the routine.

13. Last words? (Do you want to give any tips for our readers
or give a shout out to someone?)

Each runner is different and each runner needs different things to be successful.

Thank you to Minttu for nominating me! It has been fun and exciting mentoring this new group of Bronco Ladies and I can’t wait to see what you ladies can accomplish!
BONUS Questions! Lessons from the Pros:

Have you personally struggled with body image as a runner?
What advice do you have to girls facing this struggle?
I have never struggled with body image as a runner. In this type of sport, it is tough to keep the blinders on and not look at what others are doing or how others look but it is VITAL for us to not make comparisons.
As I said for my piece of advice in a previous question, every runner is
different and needs different things, that could be in the form of a workout, in
the form of food or diet, sleep, etc. My advice is to not look sideways and focus on keeping yourself healthy and happy.

What is the biggest injury or setback you’ve overcome and how
has it made you stronger?
In the Winter of 2013 I had this mysterious knee injury that
would not subside, it was extremely painful and no one could figure out what
was wrong. I saw several different doctors, two physical therapists, got two cortisone shots and nothing worked. After six weeks off with no
improvement I decided to stop all treatment and just run through the pain. Slowly and gradually the pain went away and I was able to return to full strength. The hardest part about this injury was not having answers. I have also had multiple stress fractures, but at least with those I know the time-frame of how long I will be out for, with this injury I had no answers. This injury made me stronger by teaching me to really rely on my faith during difficult times and knowing there is a reason behind injuries and setbacks. After this injury I had my best track season to date and really put myself on the map of Elite Runners. I also think that getting through 2 hour cross training regimen’s either in the pool or on the bike can really prepare you for any mental battle.

What is the greatest lesson you’ve learned from running?
The greatest lesson I have learned is to be patient. I always get excited and want to do these big workouts, run lots of miles, etc., but it is all about being patient. Success doesn’t happen overnight, and if it does it may not last. Success that lasts is a long process and journey of lots of miles, solid workouts, sleep, eating right; all of those things added together will create that lasting success. It is the little things everyday that eventually add up to big things.

Contact Marisa:

Instagram: @marisvanderhow

Twitter: @msteeplehoward

Facebook: wwww.facebook.com/MarisaVanderMalle
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Author: Minttu

A 22-year-old Finnish student athlete at Boise State University. Exercise Science & Sports Nutrition.

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