We are back at it with another edition of ‘In the Spotlight.’ This time, let’s chat with Kerry Wittwer!
Kerry contacted me just over 3-months from her race with goals to stay injury-free and run the 1/2 in under 2:00. With 3-months until race day, it was important not to try anything fancy but work on correcting various imbalances and begin introducing strength training to Kerry’s program. Luckily for us, Kerry responded very well and was able to supplement her running with strength training with no setbacks or overtraining.
What I have learned about Kerry is that she will always find a way to get things done. While juggling family-life, work, and travel, there are rarely check-ins where she reports missing days or falling off track. Like I always say, you can have the best program in the world but if you are not consistent over an extended period of time, it does NOT matter. Fortunately, I don’t have to worry about Kerry and can simply provide a small amount of guidance in order for her to be successful. And, I’m super pumped to see how she does with her 1st marathon!!
Without further ado, let’s shine the spotlight on…
Q: Where are you from?
A: “I’ve pretty much been living in Tennessee or Georgia for most of my life (since I was 8). Through high school, I was in Kingsport in East Tennessee, then College at UT in Knoxville, then 12 years in Atlanta, and then 5 years ago my husband, girls, and I moved up to Franklin.”
Q: What do you do for work?
A: “I am an architect, and work for a firm out of Atlanta called ai3,”
Q: When you aren’t working, what are some of your favorite hobbies?
A: “Aside from running, which is what I do with any available time I can squeeze from my life, my family loves sports. We are a big soccer family; my oldest daughter plays competitively and my younger daughter is starting to get into it, as well. When we’re not at one of their games, we’re normally at a Nashville SC or Atlanta United game….or just watching one on tv.”
Q: What are the top reasons you enjoy running and fitness?
A: “I’ve always enjoyed being active, but somehow after my second daughter’s birth, I decided THAT was the time to run a half marathon. She was 5 months old when I ran my first half, and I haven’t really stopped since. I have found a new sense of pride, peace, and pure enjoyment. I wish I had started so much earlier in life, but am determined to make the most of my time now. I want to run as long as I can, and I want to run as many races with my children as possible. My daughter has already run a few 5ks with me and I can’t wait until she is old enough to run a half with me.”
Q: If you could live anywhere in the world where would that be? Why?
A: “Are we talking for running purposes because there are definitely better climates for it than where we are right now in Tennessee! I love Colorado and Switzerland though, if I could literally pick anywhere.”
Q: When you first started working with Garrett, what were the goals you wanted to achieve?
A: “I had been running consistently for 4+ years and completed 6 half marathons when I began working with Garrett. I had gotten to a pretty consistent completion time and was hanging in the 2:10 to 2:16 range, but would find myself just wearing totally out around mile 10 and I really wanted to run a sub 2:00 half.”
Q: What motivated you to work with Garrett and/or start supplementing your running with strength training?
A: “I had experienced one stress fracture and some shin splint issues over the past few years and have been a bit cautious not wanting to find myself injured again, but I knew there were better ways to improve performance, speed, and efficiency AND not get injured.”
Q: Even though you only had 3-months before your race, did you feel like adding strength training made a big impact?
A: “It made a humongous impact. I was actually shocked at how quickly I noticed a change in my running.”
Q: What are the most noticeable improvements you’ve seen so far?
A: “My overall speed is the number one difference. I was shocked at the perceived effort and how it feels easier, yet I’m going faster. I also noticed a large change while running uphill.”
Q: How did your race go? And, are there any specific areas you think you need to improve moving forward?
A: “My race was “almost” perfect. (Perfect is pretty difficult to achieve) I hit my goal of a sub 2 hour half marathon and finished in 1:58:39. This was more than a 12 minute PR. Although I noticed improvements quickly, I think that I could be so much stronger than I am now and that is the most intriguing to me moving forward. If I was finally able to hit that goal with only 3 months of change, what’s in store for me if I keep working?”
Q: What is your favorite part about the individualized programming option?
A: “My favorite part is that it’s tailored to me. Garrett is looking at my current fitness, mileage, goals, weaknesses, past injuries, and available (limited) time, and then designing a plan specific to me that is going to make the most of where I’m at. I was always overwhelmed by the amount of exercises that were “good for runners” and I never really knew which to do, how many reps, what weights….Having Garrett design a plan for me each month takes all of that stress out of it.”
Q: What is that one thing (exercise, drill, etc.) you dislike the most but continue to work on because you know it will help?
A: “Oh man….there may be a few to put on this list. 😉 I really don’t like the deadlifts.”
Q: How do you feel Garrett’s services may differ from other professionals in his field?
A: “The specificity to running being the number one goal. It is strength training for runners.”
Q: The word on the street is you have your eyes set on even bigger goals now that you surpassed the 2:00! Could you tell us about that?
A: “Well, I just turned 40 in June, and my midlife crisis must have struck quickly, because I am now officially registered for my first full marathon!”
Thank you for reading this ‘In the Spotlight’ segment. And, a big shout out to Kerry Wittwer! Please feel free to comment below with any questions or feedback.