In this blog I am going to focus on the more subjective side of training camp. If you have read my blogs in the past you will know that the mental side of running has always been a struggle for me. So, the other thing I wanted to focus on while away was getting my mind right.
One of the women on the trip made a great observation: ‘you are a sum of the people you surround yourself with’ (Kate Gustafson). I feel over joyed to have been able to spend a week with a group of like minded, strong and intelligent women. It was fantastic to be surrounded by women who all want to build each other up in all aspects of life. It was also great to be on vacation where the focus was on running versus running being the stressor (*when am I going to fit my run in!!???!!). I am so grateful to the women who didn’t mind waiting around as I added on a few extra km each day to help reach my goals. So huge thanks and shout out to: Kate Gustafson, Andrea Smith, Sarah Elliott, Laurelly Dale, Jenny Harris, Kendal Paul and Kim Doerksen. I cannot wait for the next training camp.
The big mindset switch we are trying to make this cycle is to explore and be curious about my potential. Instead of being fearful of not running a certain time. Doesn’t that sound so much more enjoyable and stress free??
At this point I have surpassed what I ever dreamed imaginable in the marathon so anything faster now is icing on the cake.
…But I mean we all like icing so that being said I do believe I can break 2:40. And I am excited to give it my all and try.
The interesting part about taking some time to focus on training is that you can fall in to the trap of over thinking everything. I believe I was able to stay quite level headed and just got the work done. My down fall and area I tend to over analyze definitely surrounds body image and food intake. I hate to even write this because I hate that it is something that after all these years is still something that I think about. Megan told me I had to eat more than I ever had if I was going to attempt 170km/wk and I did. But that did not go without thoughts of ‘I am too big’, ‘I should be skinnier’. Terrible thoughts that I continually try to work past. I often get told I look ‘strong’, which I love… I work hard to be a strong runner. And truly believe you have to be strong to succeed at the marathon. But there is still a little voice in my head that says ‘that just means you are on the bigger end of a distance runner’— how terrible is that??!?? Anyways this is something that I think most of us as distance runners deal with, whether we admit it or not. The best thing we can learn to do is trust our bodies. I know that if I give my body the appropriate amount of fuel and train within my tolerance it will find its best shape to perform. After all, when in my life am I ever going to be able to eat this much again??!? I took full advantage.
One of the days we did a day trip to Sedona (*where I was hoping to get sucked in to a vortex and come out with a whole new mindset). Although I did not get sucked in to a vortex it was eye opening as we did a run among the red rock. It sometimes takes these beautiful and massive landscapes to realize how small we are. And how irrelevant our fears and worries are. At the end of the day if I give everything I have in a work out and on race day then I have no choice but to be satisfied (*excited) by it.
In working with recreational runners at the clinic and working through my own thoughts it has been eye opening to me how much pressure we put on ourselves… why?? What does that pressure accomplish aside from taking the joy out of running and likely not positively contributing to our performance? Instead we should allow ourselves to listen to our bodies in order to get the most out of them. (*I am guilty of this as well)
Now all of these life lessons are things I have been trying to open myself up to since working with my current coach Megan Brown. It has been hugely eye opening and has definitely played a role on my continued improvement in running. I now run times in intervals that used to be PBs. I did not suddenly get blessed with more running talent. I worked my butt off and I calmed my mind down. It’s been an amazing journey and I look forward to continue to evolve more as a runner and person.
I had another interesting email exchange with one of my training partners Alistair Munro as he sees the pressure I put on myself to perform at practice. He discussed the idea of not training like a 2:30 marathoner if the goal is to break 2:40. I don’t have to kill myself every workout especially because doing so will likely lead to burnout and/or injury. In training with the times and goals to break 2:40 I will likely hit and surpass the goal versus potentially coming in to the race burnt out or injured from over reaching in training. This concept took me a moment to process but it is so true and eye opening. I have often said I am great at workouts— the problem is you don’t hit your goals in workouts. This is something I will continue to work on.
It is always amazing to me that I have been a competitive runner for upwards of two decades and there is still SO MUCH I am learning about training and mindset. I love it. It means there is constantly a way to grow and improve.
So as I mentioned in my first training camp blog I plan to continue to EXPLORE and be CURIOUS of my potential as I head in to the last few weeks of training for the Rotterdam marathon.
PS. I am tiiiiiired…I am currently in my last big week and looking longingly towards my taper.