Ten Questions with Elite Runner Jolene Giles, Hawai’i
Elite runner Jolene Giles recently took a few minutes out of her busy schedule as a professional athlete and proud mom for an interview with RunnerClick. Below, she talks about her life on the Hawaiian island of Maui and her top tips for runners.
RunnerClick: Hi Jolene. What do you find to be most rewarding as a runner?
Jolene Giles: I love how I feel when I run. I am in recovery and it helps clear my mind. If anything is weighing me down mentally it is put into perspective with a quick run… I can focus on my breathing, and it becomes a form of meditation for me. I think it helps me with the rest of my day for sure!
RC: Can you tell us about your biggest running related challenge, and how you overcame it or are overcoming it?
JG: My biggest challenge has been the Maui heat. Not the worst problem to have, really! To combat it, I changed the hours I run to a 5 am start before the sun rises. It’s a great way to start the day and I don’t get as dehydrated.
RC: What type of running is your specialty (track and field, marathon, etc); and when and where is your next race (if relevant)?
JG: I compete in local races (5k, 10k, half and full marathons) here on Maui, but my real joy is international marathons. I’ve been fortunate enough to run marathons in Japan, on the Great Wall of China, Paris, Israel, Tibet and the original marathon in Greece. My next destination marathon is in Thailand this November. It is a trail run and should be an interesting challenge. I’m excited!
RC: In terms of beautiful scenery, which race was your favorite?
JG: That’s a tough one. I love them all, but if I had to choose one place it would be Paris. Even though that was a tough run, nothing beats seeing the Eiffel Tower and the beautiful historic buildings. I happened to be there after the attack on Brussels, and the city was in a state of emergency. It was an adventure for sure. The city really came together though, and I felt safe the entire time.
RC: Can you share the top three little things you do to prevent injuries?
JG: Top three things for me are 1) Stretching before and after a run. 2) Cross training, which can be as simple as little leg exercises. 3) And most importantly – rest days. I’ve learned the hard way that rest days are just as important as the long runs days.
RC: Do you incorporate any type of cross-training into your fitness regime?
JG: My cross training happens to be my other passion – outrigger canoe racing! It is most definitely a cardio workout. We paddle long distances after the regatta season, which helps tremendously with my endurance and breaking down those walls. I paddle for a local team here called the Napili Canoe Club.
RC: When you are not in the mood to run, how do you stay motivated?
JG: I stay motivated by playing the tape forward. All I have to do is think about the rest of my day and how it’s going to be amazing if I just get up and go. It’s my self-care. I’m a mom and I have a busy schedule…so running is my “me” time! I know if I run I’m going to feel refreshed and be ready for the day.
RC: What’s your favorite food before and after a run?
JG: My favorite food is embarrassing to admit but… it’s French fries! I work at a restaurant and almost always have to work the night before a race. It’s quick and easy but I don’t recommend it lol. After a race I’m back to work and usually end up eating the same thing. But if I had the time….post race I’d be devouring Pad Thai, then ice cream.
RC: For those who are interested in learning more about becoming a runner or improving on their running, what source of information would you point them to first?
JG: If you’re interested in running I’d say grab your nearest friend that will go with you. Running buddies are the best and will keep you motivated. If you are looking for tips www.runnerclick.com is a wealth of knowledge. I’m using the information on their site now to find a better distance running shoe!
RC: If fans or fellow runners would like to contact you or keep up with your career, where can they connect with you?
JG: If you’d like to contact me or follow my upcoming races you can find me on Facebook as Jolene Giles in Lahaina, Hawai’i, or you can find me on Instagram as @jolenecor. I’d love to get in touch with like-minded women – I love running and am constantly on the lookout for “distance” running buddies!