From the Gazelles...
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A 71 Minute Personal Best
I have been running with Gilbert's Gazelles since 2010 which is also the same amount of time I've been trying to get in to the New York City Marathon. The acceptance letter came December 2013 for the 2014 race.
My personal best marathon is 6 hours, and the last month of training I decided to set my goal at 4:30 and see what would happen. That would be a 90 minute PR if I did it.
Fast forward 26 miles and months of training....
I rounded the corner and could see the grandstands and people cheering you on the final .2 miles! As I crossed the finish line I threw my hands up in the air and knew I had done what I had set out to do 22 months ago. Although I didn't get my 90 minute PR, I did PR by 71 minutes, 4:51!!
There is no better running team in Austin. Trust me.
I've been running for years, there are hard days, and there are easy days. But running with Gilbert is a whole new world to me. I've run with marathon teams for 3 years now, and this is my first year with Gilbert. He is the BEST coach I could ask for. He himself is at every workout I go to. So I get 1-on 1 time with him. How is this possible when there are 200 plus of us? I don't know! I also don't know how he knows everyone's name.....but he does.
Gilbert runs with JOY and he doesn't allow his runners to get down, frustrated, or angry. Running is fun, and he shows you how to improve, stay strong, and not get hurt.
He offers office hours for personal goal setting, there are also core, yoga, boot camp, and extra meet-ups that the Gazelles put on. So the schedule is up to you. I love that I can have access to PT anytime I feel off or something isn't right. There is no better running team in Austin. Trust me.
Be Inspired by Gilbert
How can you not be inspired by Gilbert? Just read his book "This Voice in My Heart".
Anyways, about the Gazelles. They are fabulous. It's $75/month. You attend a M/W or Th/Th morning or afternoon class and a Saturday long run. There's not a rigid structure. You're kind of on your own to show up, find running buddies that are your pace. But that's not a problem. For a marathon-centric group, I was able to find my half-er buddies to train with.
They offer a great training program for marathoning, extra yoga/core classes you can attend for free to booat your program.
The BEST running group in Austin.
The BEST running group in Austin. I have been running with Gilbert and his group for over 6 years. Gilbert helped me achieve and 25 minute marathon PR, and a 15 minute half marathon PR. He is a dynamic and enthusiastic coaches who puts his whole heart into coaching his athletes.
Running with him in the mornings is the absolutely best way to start your day!
I Chose Gilbert
Something I read in "Moonwalking with Einstein": if you want to be really good at something, you must practice failing. That is, you must intentionally practice something that is a little bit too hard for you. If you want to be a good runner, you need to be willing to be physically uncomfortable. If you practice being uncomfortable, and you pay attention, you will improve. It is easier to do that if you join a running club with a coach who knows what they're doing.
Austin is blessed with a lot of good running clubs and good running coaches. Twenty years ago, I ran with Trina Painter's club. I also briefly ran with Carmen Troncoso's group. I liked both of them. I chose Gilbert on a lark. He patronizes the coffee shop where I telecommute in the morning, and one day, for reasons I can't explain, I asked him whether I was too old to improve my running (I'm 50). He said I wasn't, and so I joined one of his groups. After a few weeks, GIlbert suggested some changes to my running form, and they actually worked. Three months in, I can run over twice as far as before without any of my old injuries.
The workouts are harder than I was used to. Twenty years ago, we'd show up at a track, jog maybe a mile, do maybe a three-mile track workout, and then jog a few cooldown laps. Now it's more like a 1.5- or 2-mile warmup, then a 3-5 mile workout, and then another 1- 1.5 mile cooldown. Of course he calibrates the workout to the individuals, so the workout is longer for some than others.
Running Can Be Fun
Gilbert's has a reputation for being the "fast" running group. Indeed there are FAST people, but there is a reason they are fast..it's the group training regime, it's the emphasis on running form (yes, there is actually a "wrong" way to run), and what's more it's Gilbert himself.
"Fast" is a relative term. I like to just say I am "faster" than I was before and am still working on it...HOWEVER, that doesn't mean my "fast" is the same as your "fast". Some people would laugh at my "fast".
At first I was honestly a bit intimidated by this group, somewhat hesitant to embrace my new surroundings, but soon realized the following:
1. Speed is relative
2. Running can be fun
3. There is a "wrong" way to run
4. There is a "better" way to run
5. Gilbert has a keen sense of knowledge about every runner in the group: what you are capable of, who you would be good run partnering with, and when it's best to take a day off
6. Gilbert's a hoot
7. The assistant coaches and rest of the group aren't too shabby either :)
This is a great group if you are looking for recreational running, first timer running, improving your 5K/10K distances, or training for a marathon and/or half marathon. So don't be intimidated, all levels can be found here! All groups get free core/strength training classes 3X a week to supplement the run practices. It's good stuff, my core was sore for 3 days after my 1st session.
So if you are like me and can't stand the sight of the dreadmill, but desires some improvement and/or more face time in your running shoes, check G's out!
A Call to Beginner Runners - You won't regret it!
I had been playing racquetball and wanted to work on my stamina. One of my fellow racquetball players who never seemed to be out of breath told me she was a runner. I joined the beginners group in September 2009. I was 35 and had not run more than a mile since high school. I was petrified. The first couple of weeks of workouts were difficult, just like any new workout routine would be. However, I slowly got my wind and could actually start carrying on a conversation while running.
My coach for the Beginner's group encouraged me to take it slow, which wasn’t hard to live up to. The other runners in the beginners group were great too. They encouraged me to stick with it and sympathized with my struggles. The workouts during the week really helped me build up my strength and speed as well as learn how to pace myself. The long runs on the weekends were all milestones for me, 3 miles, 4 miles, 5 miles, 6 miles. I really couldn’t believe how quickly I was running further and further than I ever thought possible.
It isn’t all a bed of roses, there were times when I felt stuck in the mud but there were always fellow Gazelles to help keep me going and help me figure out what I could do to improve.
I have learned so much from my fellows Gazelles about running. It isn’t just one foot in front of the other . I have learned about what to eat, how to hydrate, how to prevent injuries, how to deal with injuries when they occur, what to wear, how to push through the proverbial walls during long runs. There is no way I would have stuck to it without the Gazelles.
Around March 2010 I developed a common IT band problem. I was well supported by Gilbert and his team through the injury. I felt well cared for. They would check on me, educate me on how to take care of myself, they also referred me to the volunteer chiropractors that work with the Gazelles to help assess injuries. Although it was painful, I worked through it with the help of a great chiropractor and physical therapist.
In June 2010 I completed the San Diego marathon. Unbelievable. It was worth every mile of training. I will never forget the experience of finishing. But most of all I am so thankful I found such am amazing group of people to run with.
The community that Gilbert has developed is infectious. It starts at the top with Gilbert whose joy for running has spread to the other coaches and on to all of the Gazelles. I just can’t say enough about how supportive, encouraging and understanding all of the runners are. There are no strangers in the group from the elite runners to those of us that are happy to just finish with dignity. Everyone is working to achieve their own personal goals and that is all that matters.
I am still running and training with the marathon group and I continue to be inspired by those around me. Come join us and soon enough you will be espousing the joys of running with the Gazelles.
Training Group is Accomodating and Empowering
I wanted to drop you a note to let you know how much I am enjoying myself since I joined your training group in June. I have been a runner for a long time, since probably 1968 in the 7th grade. I had a decent career in high school and I ran track for LSU back in the 70’s and I have continued serious training since then. I moved here to Austin in April for a work project and found out about your group thru the grapevine shortly thereafter.
I trained with a group back in Baton Rouge for several years before my move to Austin, but your group here is on a much higher level that than back home. I must say how impressed I am with the services offered by you and your team. You are able to accommodate any runner, from the post collegiate athlete to the person just beginning a running lifestyle. Your enthusiasm alone is remarkable and it obviously spreads throughout the group. That must be how you can empower people to work on marathon training with long 20 mile runs in the heat of July!!
I wish you continued success in your endeavor and I look forward to more great training days during my stay here in Austin.
Online Training with Gilbert
I joined the Gazelles one year ago to help with my marathon training. I had run two marathons before joining the Gazelles and had improved my times but my training had become boring and predictable. I explained to Gilbert that I would not be able to come to Austin very often as I live about 70 miles away. I have limited time to train during the week (lunch hour) and I can do long runs mainly on Sundays. Gilbert was enthusiastic about helping and tailored the Gazelles workouts down to the time I had available. Through a combination of emails and reading the website daily, I was able to train under Gilbert and the results have been fantastic. I improved my half marathon PR by 16 minutes and my 10K PR by 8 minutes. My new times have been consistent over several races and the training is actually easy to maintain. If you are wanting to train with Gilbert and are wondering if he will be able to help, the answer is an emphatic "Yes". I am looking forward to another year with him and a new PR on my marathon time.
Absolutely loved my experience
Having recently completed my first marathon and exceeding each of my 3 goals for the race, I can say that when I chose Gilbert's Gazelles as my training group in preparation for the marathon, I chose right! The Gazelles exceeded my expectations in so many ways. Important to me as I began training was that I would get to the starting line of the marathon healthy and still enthusiastic about my favorite sport of running. Of course I had a time based goal as well and I exceeded that goal and it felt GREAT! Before joining Gazelles for an 18-week marathon training plan, I was running recreationally a couple of times a week - the 5-mile loop around Lady Bird Lake was my long run!
After finishing the training plan with the Gazelles, I love running even more than before! Because the coaches at GilbertÃ¢ï¿½ï¿½s Gazelles helped me improve my running form, now I run faster, longer, and with less creakiness than ever before - who knew that I could improve my basic running form after 15 years of recreational running.
Finally, I found a wonderful group of people with the Gazelles beyond the tremendous skill of the coaches, Gilbert has built a positive community of runners of all levels who support, encourage and make you smile across every pavement pounding mile!
Words about Gilbert
Gilbert is a wonderful example of someone who has taken a near death experience and turned it into a lifelong mission. He has been my friend and coach for about three years now. He has taught me a lot about not taking life for granted and how to use my unique talents to the best of my ability.
I am very proud of Gilbert and what he has created in the Austin community. I was one of three founding members of "the Gazelles" and when I look at the network of runners that has been created to date, I am amazed. It takes a lot of commitment and hard work to be a Gazelle - often times I've wondered why I continue to work so hard. Well, it's because of who Gilbert is, how inspiring he is to each of his "students" and the circle of friendship that is created within the running group. The magic is Gilbert though - his kick butt attitude, his animal analogies and encouraging spirit - that is what brings us all together!
I hope Gilbert one day achieves his Olympic dreams and that I will be at the sidelines supporting him in the same way he has supported me as an athlete and friend.
Love ya Gilbert and thanks for your friendship.
Enjoying the journey
Early in 2004, one of my friends told me I should try Gilbert's Gazelles training group. At the time, I hadn't met Gilbert, but I had seen him lots of times. He would be flying by on the trail in the afternoons or cruising toward the finish line at the races while the rest of us were still on the way out. I figured there was no way I'd be able to hang with _that_ group. After a couple months of hearing about it, though, I agreed to give it a try.
I didn't know what to expect. For the first several months, I ran way too fast trying to somehow prove I deserved to be there. Gilbert kept telling me to slow down and work on my form. I didn't know any better and thought I could fake it. Gilbert just wants everyone to stay healthy and be happy running. I wish I'd learned to listen to these things sooner than I did.
When I started out, I had a lot of things I could improve. I was about 30 pounds heavier than I am now. I wore the wrong clothes when I ran. I ate all the wrong foods. I wore the wrong kinds of shoes and socks. I avoided the gym. I ran through pain thinking it would go away. I ran all my runs as fast as I could cover the distance. It didn't make any sense to me how an easy recovery run could do more good than a rest day. Around that time, I had to take a walking break to make it around the seven-mile loop at Town Lake.
Once I started really taking Gilbert's advice, I've stayed healthy, my speed has improved by leaps and bounds, and I've been enjoying it more and more each day. I never had any idea how much I would enjoy this once I got the hang of it. I originally just wanted to get in shape. When I finally learned to listen to my body, use the right amount of effort on the workouts, recover properly, and do all my homework, I started getting better and seeing real results. Now I can't wait to wake up early in the morning to go to the workouts.
Gilbert is an inspiration. Knowing what he's experienced in life and seeing him show up every morning wearing a big grin on his face reminds me just how lucky I am to be able to go out there and have fun. Some running days are better than others, but Gilbert's taught me to enjoy them all.
Now when I see new people in the group and hear them asking if they can improve I know the answer is yes. I've lost a lot of weight. I've taken more than an hour off my marathon time. I've taken six minutes off my four-mile time trial time. I have so much more energy now throughout the day. I'm still getting stronger and faster, and I'm still learning new things. There is work involved, of course, but we're all here to support each other. We don't all run the same speed, but every person out there is working just as hard as the next. I hope I can inspire others to take some of those same steps I did.
In this group, I've met some wonderful people and had some great experiences. Gilbert has taught me to run in a way that is easy on my body, and he's given me the skills and confidence to go out and race to new personal bests. Most of all, though, I've learned to enjoy every minute of it and have a good time along the way.
Learning so much
I can not believe a year has already gone by since starting with Gilbert’s Gazelles. I started “running” as part of my martial arts training a year before joining Gilbert’s Gazelles. I really began to enjoy running but was always coming up with some sort of injury from running. I looked on the Run Tex web site at the different running coaches. I liked the web site that focused on core strengthening and preventing running injuries.
My first class was in the middle of December of 2005. When class began that morning it was dark and cold outside. I was thinking to myself if this was something I really wanted to do. It was not long into the class that I realized I had a lot to learn and what I was doing was all wrong. I thought running was toe to heel and I shuffled my feet along hardly raising my knees. I was challenged both physically and mentally in a way I had never experienced before. I was intimidated by the other people in class because they had been students of Gilbert’s in the past.
I had a lot going through my mind after the first few classes. I decided I had committed to this training group and I needed time before I saw improvement in myself. There were some classes on Meridian that the beginner group and Marathon/Half Marathon group trained together. I was amazed at the strength and speed of all the people around me. I decided to focus on myself and do the best I could each class. I was here for myself and not to compare myself to other people.
It was maybe the second week of class the Gilbert suggested weight training as part of becoming a better runner. I felt I did not have time for this and did not think it was that important. Before starting with Gilbert I had problems with Plantar Fascitis, IT Band problems and was always sore. I also had very tight hamstrings and did not even know this. As time went on I started to develop IT problems again. Gilbert stressed again how important the weight training would be in preventing injuries and also stressed I needed to stretch more and stretch properly.
I finally went to the gym along with a few other runners and Gilbert went through the different types of training I needed to do and how to do these. I had decided to weight train at least three times a week. I was sore when I went to the gym the first time. I warmed up by running on the treadmill for two miles. I remember how sore I was from class when I went in the gym that day and was really dreading doing any weight training. I was and still am amazed at how the weight training actually helps relieve soreness. I had one leg a lot weaker than the other leg and did not realize this until doing my weight training. I now feel a lot more balanced when I run.
After this I had decided to stay with Gilbert’s Gazelles for at least a year. I had so much to learn and so much to correct I knew this would take time. After a few months in the beginner group Gilbert had talked to me about moving into the Marathon/Half Marathon group. I had seen these people train. The Marathon/Half Marathon people scared me. I never dreamed of going further than 3 miles at a time and I still could not run all the way to the top of Wilke. I have nothing but respect and admiration for the Marathon/Half Marathon training group.
Finally, a few months ago I decided to move into the Marathon/Half Marathon group. Again I am being challenged like I had never been in my life. I have actually made it through each class. Everyone has been so helpful and encouraging. I learned that the look they had when I would watch them train is a look of determination and focus. I feel very lucky to be in a group with such special people.
I still shake my head at thinking I can actually go 7 miles, do strides after those 7 miles, and get to work before 7:30am. I really enjoy the long runs on Saturday morning. It feels so good to leave Run Tex with a group of people and be able to run 14 miles. I never dreamed of this. It is so neat when we are all coming back down Lake Austin Blvd back to Run Tex and seeing the other running groups just leaving for their runs.
I am really excited about being a second year student with Gilbert. I actually made it for one year and am stronger than I ever have been in my life. I have signed up to run my first half marathon and am actually looking forward to running in my first marathon. Gilbert’s Gazelles has given me what I wanted and more than I could have ever imagined. I actually look forward to running and enjoy it more than I ever thought I would. I have actually gotten used to waking up early to run. I know running helps me get through my difficult days of work. I have even lost more weight without trying since being in the Marathon/Half Marathon group. I feel Gilbert’s Gazelles has also helped me grow stronger mentally.
I am very grateful to Gilbert and all my fellow Gazelles for all their help and encouragement. I could never put into words how much Gilbert’s Gazelles has helped me with my running and other areas of my life.
Woke up before the alarm......
....for the first work out. I was so nervous driving to the 6:00am meeting at RunTex. A friend had talked me into joining the Gazelles "to get faster". I could not believe I had actually registered & got up at that ungodly early hour to go run! But I had paid my money & I was going to get my money's worth! I did. The first work out was the infamous "Circuit Training" at Austin High School Track. I was so proud that I had completed the work out! It was like running a PR! I loved it. It is the difference that sets the Gazelles apart from other training groups in Austin & I had trained with several. That was 4 years ago. I still train with the Gazelles. I have never met a more caring, positive & gracious person than Gilbert Tuhabonye. Gilbert says "once a Gazelle, always a Gazelle." Believe it!
Becoming a one hundred and eighty pound Gazelle.
When I first heard of Gilbert, it was through a co-worker who had a son that was getting some personal training from Gilbert. The kid wanted to get his speed up so that he could make the football team. This is Texas after all. I was well on my way to being an avid runner. I was always asking her about her son’s sessions, hoping that I could gleam some piece of magical running advice. Then I started talking with another co-worker who has been a race director for one of the local races for several years. He told me that Gilbert also has a training group and suggested I should give it a try. At first I thought that there was “no way”. I had run enough races to know that there are some pretty fast folks in this town, and I might be able to run for “Gilbert’s Goats”, but not for “Gilbert’s Gazelles”. One of my favorite quotes that I have heard while running in the group is that “running with the Gazelles is like altitude training”. Since I had never had any formal run training I figured I would give it a try. After I met Gilbert, I realized that I had seen him in a race before. There was an out and back and this guy “who was flying” was giving everyone five as they ran by. I remember this big-ole smile that was on his face and I gave him five as well. I did not even know him at that point.
Well, after being in the group for over a year it is safe to say that I am now hooked on the class. Running has turned into my source of inner cleansing. Gilbert’s class turns that inner cleansing into a power wash, and there are definitely times when I need that! I should mention that I am the father of triplets, because to not mention it would not serve to describe who I am (and now you know that I am not kidding when I say that I sometimes need a power-wash).
There are so many things I have learned from Gilbert. I also have a lot of respect for the man. He could be training exclusively elite runners. However he does not do that, his class (and now classes) are open to everyone. I have seen Gilbert give just as much time and attention to the slowest person in the group as he does the fastest.
When I first started the group, I have to admit I was all concerned about how he could make me faster. Now I enjoy the group for many aspects, including making myself faster, (because it is fun to run fast). I enjoy the fact that I work harder in Gilbert’s group than I would on my own. I enjoy the fact that I get to watch the city wake up in the morning. I enjoy the camaraderie of my fellow Gazelles, the whole crazy eclectic bunch. I enjoy running with folks in little packs of energy. I love the feeling of a dozen or so feet pounding the ground. I must admit I love Wilke, and Mt. Bonnell, (very big local hills that people train on) I realize this makes me somewhat strange but it is true. I like finding out that I can go farther and faster than I ever thought I could. I enjoy learning from this man who is fun to listen to, and sometimes says the strangest things. He has a way of making a hard workout seem easy / almost entertaining. I like looking into his eyes and realizing that this world is bigger than the 5-mile loop.
Results: Training with the Gazelles will definitely produce results. I have achieved a one-hour savings on my Motorola marathon time. (2003 - 4:47 | 2004 - 3:54) The kid that I mentioned in the beginning of this testimonial just recently achieved “Sophomore Athletic Scholar of the year” in his high school. He has started winning events in his track meets. Below is a quote from mom. “He (Gilbert) gave him the attitude that he could do it. Before that, he was always finishing in the middle. Never close to first.”
On Gilbert's Team
“Oh, you don’t want to join that group, they train way too fast for you. I heard they were doing Wilke hill repeats a week after Motorola last year.”
I first heard about Gilbert and the gazelles a week after I came to Austin. This guy was supposed to only work with elite athletes and the top runners in town. If you weren’t in top shape, there was no way you could keep up. There was no way I could jump into that group.
A year later, I chuckle when I think of the reputation that Gilbert has in town. On one hand, he is revered as an inspiration and a role model and on the other he is feared as a running coach. Let me set the record straight on that second point. After a year being coached by Gilbert, I have never heard him tell me to go faster on the track; I have never heard him tell me to pound out a hard workout the day after a race; I have never heard him tell anyone to run through an injury.
Have I done these things? Of course I have, I’m a runner. But my coach always disapproves. In fact, the common element of craziness in the gazelles are the gazelles themselves. We love to run, and we tend to have short term memory loss when Gilbert tells us to run our 400’s slower or to take a day off after a long run. We usually pay for this with sore muscles or a strained hamstring. Luckily we have a stretching session on Saturday mornings. If that doesn’t work, we have a number of sports medicine folks and a smattering of sports massage therapists in the group, to ease the aches and pains.
Here is what I know about my friend Gilbert and our crazy Gazelles. We meet three or four times a week and sweat together. We all run to improve our strength and our form, and we all finish the workouts. I have been on the track, the trail, and the roads with all levels of runners who work with Gilbert. He seems to have a running program for every type of runner, and there are usually two or three different workouts per class session for runners training for different distances. As far as the man goes, that’s a no-brainer. There isn’t anyone I’d rather have on my team than Gilbert.