Everyday EMS Athlete Profile: Matt Welander

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Good Shoes and a Decent Hat; Tips for Runners from an EMS Athlete

I am continuing my search for EMS professionals who have a passion for an athletic activity that gives them that performance edge. The people who demonstrate their success is directly related to their efforts. People who take care of themselves so they can continue to take care of others. This month I profile an EMS athlete who is passionate about running.

Matthew Welander, Critical Care Paramedic, Firefighter

Matthew Welander is a full time CCEMTP/Firefighter with Ocean Shores Fire Department in Thurston County, Washington and he is a very motivated runner. Matt was a football player in high school. His coach suggested he take up running to improve his foot speed. Not only did running improve his foot speed, but it inspired Matt to keep on running! “I just felt good” Matt recalls. “I could go for a 20 minute run and feel great for a couple of days. Running also helped me keep my weight down”.

Matt Welander

Marathon Runner

Matt completed the Tacoma Marathon in 2010 in less than 4 hours. “I was approached by my family early in the year to run the Tacoma Marathon with them”. Matt laughed and indicated he did run the marathon with his cousin; however it sounds like some of the others will need to run the race to beat him in 2011. Matt has completed several other small racing events and plans to run in the St. Patrick’s Day Dash in 2011 as well as the Tacoma Marathon. Matt’s big goal for 2011 is to run another marathon  and a future goal is to run a marathon in under 3 hours. Matt also expressed an interest in running off-road races and is looking for friends in his area that are also interested in off road running.

Overcoming Obstacles

I asked Matt if there were any specific barriers that he’s had to overcome while staying fit to run marathons. He said “Weight problems and bad knees. Running took care of the weight problem and taking care of the weight problem took care of the bulk of the knee problems.”

EMS professionals often work difficult and tedious schedules. I asked Matt how he was able to stay in his fitness routine while on his 24 hour shifts. Matt said “Well, there is a gym at the station. I run on my days off and I work on my core when I’m at work.” It sounds like that alternating schedule works really well for that type of shift work.

I asked Matt if running helped him perform better at work. Matt said that running helps him deal with the stress of EMS and that his stamina is always improving.

Tips for Beginning Runners

I asked Matt to give me three tips for new runners. Matt recommended the following;

  1. Stay hydrated. A key to successful running is to hydrate your body so it can keep going.
  2. Set a time goal and not a distance goal. You have to train your mind before you can train your body. For example, run for 30 minutes instead of 2 miles. You’ll be less likely to give up when your mind is trained.
  3. Good shoes! Invest in a good pair of shoes specifically for running. This will help prevent setbacks from potential injuries.

I also asked Matt what he recommended for runners who wanted to stay fit in the winter months. He said “Buy a decent hat and keep running!”

Matt doesn’t seem to have a problem staying motivated.  Wind, rain, snow, ice or hail you can find Matt munching the miles in his best running shoes.  I commend Matt for being an Everyday EMS athlete.

Catie Holstein, CCEMTP, is a Clinical Manager and paramedic in Washington State.  She is a cyclist and runner and is training for her first half marathon and a completion of a variety of long distance cycling events.  You can connect with her through email at sweetlaurel2000@yahoo.com.