Name: Kayli Hrdlicka
Hometown: Pella, IA
Sport: Running (5k-1/2 Marathon)
Years in current sport: 14 years
What got you started: There isn’t a single moment where I fell in love with running, it seems like it’s always been there. Growing up I was always active and playing sports…running seemed to be a part of all of them. Plus as a kid the mile in PE was the true test of someone’s athleticism so I got pretty competitive. I started running cross-country and track in middle school and as the years went on the other sports slowly got weeded out. Running has survived the test of time.
What parts of your training are key to your success? I am a sports dietitian by day so I believe that nutrition is a huge factor for my success. It is hard to sustain high levels of training without the proper nutrition to support it. I have to practice what I preach, and sometimes use myself as a guinea pig. Another thing that I really believe in is rest days. Everyone is different on how long they can go between days off but I have found a rhythm that works for me. In college I would worry sometimes that days off made me weak or I’d lose all the training I’d gained but now I cherish my rest days and plan them into the calendar.
What is the biggest challenge you face in your sport, and what do you do to overcome it? There are a lot of challenges to running but probably one of the toughest for a lot of people is the mental aspect. There is a lot of time during runs and races to have self-doubt and let those negative thoughts creep in. It’s hard to come back after you tell yourself it’s not going well. I try to keep things light especially on race days. Treating it like any other day helps me not to get too nervous or over think things. I like getting songs (or random parts of songs) stuck in my head. If I’m singing in my mind then I don’t have room for the negative thoughts. I also talk to myself during runs, sometimes in my head and sometimes accidentally out loud when I’m really tired. I keep my message pretty simple and light hearted.
What is your favorite Zensah product and why? It is hard to pick just one, but probably my favorite is the Ankle/Calf Sleeves. I have some issues with my plantar fascia and have always had tight calves. These sleeves have seriously been miracle workers at times getting my plantar fascia to loosen up.
How long have you been using Zensah? I got my first pair of compression leg sleeves in while I was in college about 6 years ago.
If you could be great at any other sport besides your current one, what would it be? If I could play another sport it would probably be basketball. I played in high school – I could beat everyone up and down the floor but lacked the technical skills. I am in awe of how fluid and agile they are and how easy they make it all look!
What’s your favorite thing to eat after a tough workout? After tough workouts and races I always crave a nice burger (turkey or beef). I’ll load it up with veggies and pickles, pair it with some homemade baked sweet potato fries, and maybe some roasted Brussels sprouts (they’re my favorite veggie!).
Who/what inspires you? I’m inspired by all my friends and family that have supported me over the years. The people that have always believed in me and try their best to understand all the crazy things I do for my sport. Two of those people who really stand out are my fiancé and my coach. My fiancé is a fellow runner and works incredibly hard, his dedication and passion for running is kind of contagious! My coach was a former runner and we still run together when we get the chance. He has told me some incredible stories about his career and all the amazing memories he has. Lastly my faith really inspires me. I know that God has given me the ability to run for a reason and I’m thankful every day for the opportunity. I hope that I can inspire other people to chase after their dreams, whether in running or in something else. That they might know that hard work will get you a long long way.
How does Zensah help you perform without limits? Zensah has been an enormous help in helping me perform without limits. First off it allows me to decrease the limitation of fatigue/soreness. All the sleeves and socks help me with recovery, which is key when training volume gets high. Any little thing you can do to feel better is a big help. Second, and probably more significantly, I injured a couple tendons in my foot a little over a year ago that kept me out of running for a few months. When I finally got back into training I had a LOT of inflammation, soreness, and stability issues. I don’t think I would have been able to overcome some of those issues without the sleeves and socks that I had.