When I first started running, it was only for half an hour at a time, done on the treadmill at the YMCA. It was as bad as it sounds (nothing against the YMCA), running is challenging especially when you are just starting and the treadmill is not much fun either. After a summer of the treadmill, I graduated to running outside year round. I wouldn’t go further than 10km at a time, and only ran a few days each week, maybe 3 max. I was super into group fitness classes at the time like spinning, Body Pump, and other Les Mills offerings at the Goodlife Fitness in Guelph, Ontario.
Anyway, for most of my running career, I only ran a few times a week. These runs were always pretty simplistic in nature and solely based on distance. I would often run home from work, which would be a 10km route and complete that 3 times a week. Once in a while, I would complete a Sunday long run of 16km, but that was as long as it got. I didn’t do speedwork. Every run was seeing how fast I could go for that 10km.
When I was moving from Toronto to British Columbia, I had a month off between finishing work and the cross-country drive. I started running everyday because I had extra time and extra energy from not working 45-50 hours at the restaurant every week. I remember feeling great and setting the goal for myself to run 100 miles that month and I did. This was a pretty significant mileage increase and I was also lifting relatively heavy weights at the time, multiple days each week (not doing that anymore!).
I arrived in Victoria at the beginning of June and had the goal of achieving a PB at The Seawheeze Half-Marathon, I was looking to beat my previous PB of 1:45, which I had done with minimal training. Seriously, 2 weeks before the event my dad reminded me we had signed up and I went for 1 long run and some shorter ones and that was that. Yes, I was running every week, but like I said, no speed work and minimal long runs.
Given I had commited to TRAINING for the Seawheeze, I had visions of a super fast time. This was the first race I completed where I was incredibly disappointed with the result. I finished at 1:50:29 and was pretty upset. I continued training and did the Goodlife Victoria Half-Marathon that October, finishing in 1:47. I was happier with this result, but still unsatisfied.
It was definitely time to make a change in pursuit of becoming a better runner and also to achieve the results I wanted. A few weeks later, I was job shopping and instead came across a course at The Pacific Institute of Sports Excellence called Run Training With Marilyn. It advertised real time feedback from an elite runner. When I researched her, I was not only impressed by how speedy she was, but by her dedication to proper form and injury free running. I decided to register for the program. We were first asked to complete a survey describing how often we ran, and on what kind of surface, weekly mileage, PB’s, goals, and even nutrition. It was a great way to access where we were starting and where we wanted to go. I wrote that it was my goal to run The Boston Marathon, that hasn’t changed.
The program included Marilyn creating our weekly run schedules, this was exciting and new for me. Previous to this, I either “winged it” or if I was training for a specific event, my dad would create a schedule for me. The first week was all short runs at a very slow pace, I remember thinking it was strange and even challenging to run THAT slow. I was asked to run at a 6:00/km pace or even slower. I was confused by this, it seemed way too easy. I still followed the schedule and did those slow freaking runs. What I know now is, this was an assessment which transitioned into increasing frequency of running, albeit still at a slow pace.
In January, it will have been 2 years since I participated in Run Training With Marilyn. I am still training with Marilyn, and haven’t looked back. Upon her advice, I focused on increasing fitness and mileage for many months before I began training for my first marathon, completed last month. I narrowly missed a Boston Qualifying time, technically it was only seconds, but to guarantee your spot you need MINUTES faster than the qualifying standard for you age. My goal is to take 3-5 minutes off my marathon time and BQ at the Eugene Marathon in May 2017.
Stay tuned later in the week when I reveal 7 important lessons I have learned that dramatically improved my running!