On February 29, more than 200 men will toe the line in Atlanta, GA in hopes of earning a spot to compete in Tokoyo this summer. The olympic hopefuls are from a variety of different backgrounds, cities, and lifestyles. Many of which have full time jobs and are raising families in addition to their training schedules. 26.2 miles at approximately a 5:15 mile pace takes a very special runner in both body and mind.
We recently caught up with Olympic Trial qualifier, Playmakers FIT Specialist, and member of Playmakers Elite, Juris Silenieks to ask him 26 questions about things that make Juris…Juris!
Starting with the basics! Go-to running shoe?
New Balance Beacon – This shoe is super light for workouts, but also feels good and reliable for longer efforts!
We heard you have a World Record?
I broke the World Record half marathon time in Wolf and Shepherd dress shoes, running a 1:17 (5:43 per mile). I would try to explain this in words, but this video does a better job!
What is your favorite late night snack?
Ice Cream – specifically Ben and Jerry’s #TonightDough
Early riser or evening runner?
Morning, I like to have my run all out of the way so I can focus on other things for the rest of the day.
Favorite place you have ever run?
Flagstaff, Arizona. Many elite runners actually live or train here full time. It’s a beautiful location with epic running.
Typical pre-race meal?
First and foremost COFFEE. With a side of bagel (peanut or cream cheese), and a banana.
Best place to run in Lansing?
Not technically Lansing, but I love running in a nearby town, Bath. Dirt roads, rolling hills, and less distractions!
Where else have you been running other than Bath?
I went out to Charlottesville, Virginia to train with my previous coach and some teammates. Switching up the routes and scenery is helpful during a training cycle. Warmer weather helps too!
Do you train with a team?
I joined Playmakers Elite in 2018. It is unique to have a team of post-collegiate, elite runners all living in one place. Last year I competed in the Shamrock Shuffle and USATF Club Cross Country Nationals with the team.
What’s one thing you can’t leave the house without?
SNACKS. I am trying to get better about this so I can better refuel post run.
What’s one thing you’ve always wanted to learn?
Learning how to speak Latvian. Many of my relatives are from Latvia!
Any guilty pleasures?
Ice Cream. So much so, that I have a list of all the flavors I’ve tried on my phone.
Post run naps?
Nope. If I ever take a nap it’s on the short side 20-30 min max.
What show would you like to make a cameo in?
Seinfeld! Hands down. Also, Curb Your Enthusiasm if we are talking shows still on TV…
26.2 miles is a long way to run! What do you think about?
I just keep reminding myself to stay as relaxed as possible! The last 10K is also one of the most important (and hardest) portions of the race, so I usually mentally prepare for that as well.
Favorite pump up song?
I actually don’t have a specific one that comes to mind. If I listen to music before a race it’s usually a new band I’m really into at the moment.
How do you start your day?
Coffee (a runner’s essential) and a run with my dog, Tully.
What was your first race?
The North Park Dog Race when I was 4 years old. I ran the last 100 meters to cross the finish line with my aunt’s dog! I also did a Jingle Bell 5K in 2nd grade and this was probably my first introduction to racing.
If you didn’t run, what would you do?
I can’t imagine not running. There has never been a plan B. When I’m done running I plan to focus on my coaching career.
Best advice you give to the athletes you coach?
Just be yourself! Running gives an athlete a lot of time to figure out who they are and who they want to become. It’s awesome to see the runner’s personality come out with their teammates.
Favorite running quote?
“We ran twice a day, sometimes three. Twenty miles a day, sometimes more. There were a couple of 170-mile weeks…All we did was run – run, eat, and sleep.” Frank Shorter.
What was your favorite memory from running collegiately at Syracuse?
We won the NCAA Cross Country Championship in 2015. This was hands down one of the greatest moments.
Best spot to visit in Syracuse?
A diner called Mother’s Cupboard! It has something delicious for absolutely everyone and you can NEVER go wrong with brunch!
When you’re not working, what’s one thing you love to do?
Although I spend a lot of time on my feet running or at work, I actually really enjoy hiking with my dog!
What advice would you give your 20-year old self?
Enjoy the process! Just focus on being the best you that YOU can be, and less on how you compare to your teammates or other runners.
What are you most looking forward to in Atlanta?
Enjoying the moment with my family and friends who will be there to support me!
Whether he is helping customers find the perfect shoe, coaching, or training, Juris has a contagious enthusiasm for the sport of running! The Playmakers family wishes Juris the best of luck as he continues to train for the Olympic Trials later this month. Join us at Playmakers and cheer on Juris February 29 for a Marathon Trials viewing party hosted by Brooks!