Recap of the Jackson Hole Marathon + Heart Rate Training

Angie at the Jackson Hole Marathon
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In this episode Angie recaps the Jackson Hole Marathon in beautiful Jackson Hole, Wyoming plus she explains how to run a marathon according to your heart rate.

Jackson Hole Marathon Race Recap

Jackson is a town in Wyoming’s Jackson Hole Valley, home to 3 ski areas, hiking, fishing, and water sports. One iconic part of the Town Square features arches made of shed antlers from the nearby National Elk Refuge. To the North are the peaks of Grand Teton National Park as well as Yellowstone National Park. The elevation is around 6,200 feet and the area has about 10,000 residents.

Pre Race Happenings

I flew into Jackson Hole the day before the race and met my friend Adrianne who was going to run her first half marathon. We ate lunch at the Snake River Brewing CO and then went to packet pick-up at Spring Hill Suites which was very quick and easy.

The 7th edition of the Jackson Hole Marathon, Hole Half Marathon and Relay was held on Sept 2, 2017 at 7am. These races are put on by Dreamchaser Events and the race director is Jay Batchen with Lisa Smith-Batchen (ultra runner extraordinaire). The course is USATF certified and run on paved pathways and roads.

With Lisa Smith-Batchen

Race Morning

We stayed at the Mountain Modern Motel which was an easy walk to the town center and starting line. The half marathon started in a different location and you could catch a shuttle to the starting line from parking at the Teton Village.

It was a clear and cool morning in the low 40’s. I got to meet MTA podcast fan John Danby who is a local and fellow Marathon Maniac.

With MTA fan John Danby

The Course:

The entire course is run on paved roads and/or paved pathways, with the exception of a tenth of a mile near the finish Line, which is run over grass (and is slightly uphill).

There were some slight inclines along the way but no major hills. The best part was gorgeous views of the mountains the whole time. “Breathtakingly beautiful” is an apt description (especially since my lungs were not elevation ready).

This is not the marathon for you if you need a lot of spectators. But I saw eagles, cattle and horses and enjoyed talking to runners along the way. It was a well marked course with mile marker signs every mile and great support along the way.

  • The race starts in historic downtown Jackson Hole. After running by the National Elk Refuge within the first mile it passes through East Jackson and by the Snow King Ski Hill before joining the Community Pathway system.
  • Runners then head south of town and follow South Park Loop Road, that has majestic views of the Teton Valley, before joining the pathway again along Highway 22 heading west into the small town of Wilson, WY.
  • From Wilson, the Community Pathway takes runners toward the Grand Teton and the Finish Line at Teton Village, home of the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and the iconic Red Tram and Clock Tower.

Around mile 24. Photo credit: Jackson Hole Marathon

Aid Stations:

This is a cup free event to reduce waste and littering (so be prepared with your own bottle or hydration system). Aid stations were at 2 mile intervals and well stocked with water, gels, sports drinks, candy, and electrolytes. My favorite was the beer stop at mile 25.

I used my faithful Generation UCAN for fuel. I had a snack bar pre-race and 2 servings of UCAN mix during the race. I also used electrolytes and stayed well hydrated to balance out the warm day and elevation. Use the code MTAJHM for 15% off your next order of UCAN.


Finish Line:

My finish time was 5:19:42 for my 49th marathon and 38th state. Each runner got a box of food, water, and soda or beer from Snake River Brewing CO. There was a nice grassy area with tables to sit and relax in the sun post race.

There were 193 half marathoners and 208 who did the marathon. The 1st place man was Kyle Baldwin with a finish time of 2:54 and the 1st place woman was Emily Jurlina in 3:29:48. Accomplished ultramarathoner and local, Pam Reed, finished in 3:45.

Here’s what my 50 state marathon quest looks like now:

My recovery:

One of the great things about running according to heart rate and taking it easy was how fast I recovered. I wore compression pants post-race and by the second day didn’t even feel like I’d run a marathon. My friend and I went white water rafting on the Snake River the next morning (good cold therapy) before driving several hours up to Montana.

Also in this podcast episode you will hear me discuss how to run a marathon according to your heart rate.

How to run a marathon using heart rate training

One challenging thing for new marathoners and experienced ones alike is taking their ego out of the equation. Often first time marathoners set their minds on a challenging time goal and can deal with extreme disappointment if the race doesn’t go according to plan.

For more experience marathoners there is certainly a pressure that we put on ourselves to keep getting PR’s. But if you run a large number of marathons that simply won’t happen every time. It’s more important to go into the race with a realistic idea of what your body can do and what your goals are for the race. If you’re coming back after a long break, if you’ve been struggling with injury or if you had less than ideal training, running according to your heart rate can be a great solution.

What is heart rate training?

Heart rate training is simply using a heart rate monitor while running to tell you how hard your heart is working during the activity and then modifying your effort according to your goals. Keeping tabs on your heart rate can help keep you from making a very common mistake: running to hard too often which can increase your risk of injury and burnout.

What gear do you need?

If you want to run according to heart rate you’ll need a heart rate monitor. I used to use a chest strap but for the last couple of years have loved the Garmin Forerunner 225 with the wrist based HR monitor (no more chaffing chest straps). However, be aware that heart rate monitors can often give you a faulty reading due to a poor connection so it’s important to watch the trends over time and know what is normal for your body.

Finding your heart rate zones

With most GPS watches you’ll be asked to enter a user profile including gender, age, height, and weight and sometimes resting heart rate. From there it will calculate your maximum heart rate and zones according to the watch’s specific algorithms.

  • For example here are the Garmin Zones: Zone 5 (maximum) 90-100% of MHR (maximum heart rate), Zone 4 (Threshold) 80-90% MHR, Zone 3 (Aerobic) 70-80%, Zone 2 (Easy) 60-70%, and Zone 1 (Warm up) 50-60%. While these zones are not 100% accurate they are a good estimation of your zones. The most accurate method to obtain your personal metrics is to visit an exercise laboratory and have an exercise physiologist perform a maximum exercise test (usually done on a treadmill).

To calculate my Zone 2, I like to use the Maffetone Method which has the mantra “speed up by slowing down.” With this formula you take 180-age= max zone 2 (use 10 points below for your range). For example, here are my numbers: 180-38= 142 (132-142 bpm is my zone 2 range). For more info visit his website or check out The Big Book of Endurance Training and Racing.

When looking at heart rate training be aware that there are many factors that impact heart rate.

  • Dehydration can increase the heart rate by up to 7.5%, heat and humidity can also increase heart rate by 10 beats per minute,
  • Lack of sleep will elevate your heart rate 5-10 bpm,
  • Altitude can increase the heart rate by 10-20%.
  • Biological variations like stress and hormone levels can cause day to day changes from 2-4 beats per minute.
  • In addition, other factors like allergies, illness, pain, caffeine intake and certain medications will skew the numbers you see on the monitor.

See our podcast episode about Heart Rate Training.

Also Mentioned in This Episode

The Harrisburg Half Marathon -great local race in the Pennsylvania State Capitol City.

The MTA Virtual Half Marathon – challenge yourself by running 13.1 miles this November and get a one of a kind medal and hat in the process!

Generation UCAN -our preferred fueling source for long distance running. It keeps your blood sugar stable and allows your body to burn fat.

Sun Basket -makes it easy to create healthy organic meals at home in 30 minutes or less.

Virtue Labs -a new haircare brand with a vision: To give everyone the best hair scientifically possible. Use the code MTA to try Virtue at 10% off, plus free shipping.

2 Responses to Recap of the Jackson Hole Marathon + Heart Rate Training

  1. Deena September 14, 2017 at 9:20 am #

    Great episode guys.. So happy to hear that Angie is feeling better. We were worried, no marathons for so long … You are such a smart girl… I started the Maffetone method last fall. Love it, I’m a much happier runner because of it. take care. Also love the pics of Wyoming. We drove from Denver to Glacier Natl park in June via Wyoming. So beautiful, great to be reminded of that. If ever I get the opportunity I will be running the Jackson Hole marathon after hearing your report. Take Care!

    • Angie Spencer September 14, 2017 at 11:57 am #

      Thanks Deena! I’m very happy to be back doing what I love running marathons. It’s great that you’ve had such good success with the Maffetone Method too. You will definitely not regret running the Jackson Hole Marathon at some point. Happy running 🙂

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