I took three months off my regular run training this winter due to injury. My first run workout of the year was Mar 7, 2017. I have been able to pull off a surprisingly good season based on my assumptions going in to the season. I assumed I would have to basically train through this season and maybe do a couple of races for fun and look towards the fall. But once I started workouts everything started to click and I was able to nail the times. Now when I say I was not run training I mean I was not out on the roads running, however I was spinning (usually at the runner’s academy staring at myself in the mirror), pool running (at a community pool) and on the alter G (again staring at myself in the mirror). Along with the cardio I also made the time to do strength work that sometimes does not get as much time during a full on marathon build.
I have run three races so far in 2017 all of which I have been happy with the result. Below is a little blurb about each.
Bum Run 5k: 17:15 and 1st place female/3rd overall
Goal: remember how to race
Aww the 5k a great dust buster and way to remember how to hurt while racing. This race did just that. I luckily had someone to run/race with for most of the race until he passed me near the finish but it helped me to remember to get to that point of pain and keep pushing.
Sporting Life 10k: 33:57 and 1st place female
Goal: win race and come close to time I ran last year
Sporting life is one of my favourite races. The first 7k are so fun and you can really let yourself go and fly down Yonge St. You just have to be able to back it up with some guts in the last 3k when it really starts to hurt. I was really happy to have come only 11s off my time from last year considering I had a full marathon build and it was a day where everything just clicked for me, last year.
I do not know how many times I was asked ‘if I was going to win the race’ this year before the race happened, but it was a lot. Of course it did put a bit of pressure on me before the race but I was able to forget all of that by the time I toed the line. I knew that this was a different day, a different race and I was at a different stage and all I could do was give it my all.
Ottawa Half Marathon: 1:18:42 *PB & 2nd place female
Goal: have a positive mental game, PB & win the race
Well I accomplished most of my goal. I did not let one single negative thought cross my mind, which is usually what I struggle with in the half marathon. I did get a personal best but not nearly as much of one as I wanted (*but it rarely is). Unfortunately I had to let the lead female go as she went out at a blistering pace off the gun and never came back to me. But I was able to run my own smart and tactical race.
As I was preparing for the half marathon my coach Megan Brown asked us to do a goal setting exercise that I found helpful and should probably spend more time doing. Because she made us ask ourselves why we were racing and what we wanted to get out of it. I also had to write down what would make it successful to me. In doing so I realized that in my whole running career that has now been a solid decade and a half three months of not traditional run training did not really seem like that long of a time. And really the three months seemed to be the mental and physical break I needed to be able to continue to improve. Sometimes the body and brain need a break in order to be able to spring forward.
I used to run with a lot of fear. Afraid I would not hit the times of the workout, afraid my pace would fall off the goal pace, afraid I would get beat etc etc… Since being off I have had a few revelations/breakthroughs. On one of my long runs I was doing on my own I realized it did not matter if I was hitting paces or not because running was for me and it was not hurting any one else if I could not hit the pace. And provided I was giving everything I had that day it was not hurting me either. I was going to gain a lot more of pushing as hard as I can on any given day rather than being hung up on a time.
I also used to get hung up on not being as fast as I think I can. But we have been working on taking it as it comes. Knowing that I have the potential to race faster but the only thing I can do now is do my best on any given day. No sense in being concerned with how fast other people are.
Wanting to be better is what continues to help us push ourselves but we cannot become obsessed with the idea or we will never be satisfied. If you ran a race faster than you have ever run it… that has to be celebrated!!! Just because it is not exactly where you want to be does not mean it is your end point, it just means it is a step on the way to where you want to be so embrace and celebrate it. After all we run because we love it and it brings us joy.
So what have I learned from this? Well cross training works, if you commit to it and stay determined towards your goals. Changing your outlook on running makes a huge difference on performance and enjoyment of the journey. Not putting big expectations on yourself on the start line allows you to really run a race versus do what you planned out on paper.
I have been so inspired by everyone in the running community. And it truly makes me feel so fortunate to race at the level I can. So just know that each and every one of you are inspiring me!! So keep up the amazing work!!