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Training Roundup: Pictures Of A Waterfront Run

I am fortunate to live in a city that has beautiful scenery right on my doorstep, and this morning I decided to take advantage of it during my long run. I ran 22K, and while the run itself was kind of ugly, the views I got to feast my eyes on were most definitely not. This week’s training roundup is given over completely to the photographs I took during my run.

Wildflowers on the river bank

Wildflowers on the river bank

The bridge from Rouge Valley to the Waterfront Trail

The bridge from Rouge Valley to the Waterfront Trail

 

Juxtaposition of man and nature

Juxtaposition of man and nature

Waving at my friends in the United States

Waving at my friends in the United States

 

Canada Geese out for a Sunday swim

Canada Geese out for a Sunday swim

A bit early for the lifeguards

A bit early for the lifeguards

 

Shadows on a bridge

Shadows on a bridge

Lush greenery beside the lake

Lush greenery beside the lake

 

Enjoying the shade over the bridge

Enjoying the shade over the bridge

A view along the trail

A view along the trail

 

Motivational graffiti

Motivational graffiti

Looking up at the bluffs

Looking up at the bluffs

 

Standing out from the crowd

Standing out from the crowd

More colourful flowers

More colourful flowers

 

Playgrounds are for the birds

Playgrounds are for the birds

This is an original post by Kirsten Doyle. Credit for all photographs to the author.

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Race Report: Toronto Runway Run

When I found out that a race was happening on an airport runway, there was no way I was going to miss it. It would be flat, it would be fun, and it would be super-cool. Hopefully, it would also be fast: I haven’t had a personal best for a while, and this seemed like a good opportunity to try for one. I asked my friend Phaedra, who won the women’s race last year, what I should expect from the run.

“There will be wind,” she said ominously.

Well, all right. So I had a good chance of running in the one weather condition that I actually hate, but never mind. A bad run on a runway would still be way cooler than most other runs. It was certainly cold and windy when I arrived at the airport, but there was plenty of shelter for everyone in the hangar that was used for the occasion. Some brave souls wandered outside and stood shivering as they drank their coffee. I was content to stay on the inside and look out.

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I did go out briefly, to take pictures of the firetrucks. I knew that if my eight-year-old son found out that there had been firetrucks that I hadn’t taken pictures of, I wouldn’t be allowed into the house ever again.

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Back inside the hangar, I wandered around looking at the tables and displays set up by the sponsors. I was impressed by how this event catered for families. There were games and activities for kids, and the event itself included a 2K and a 5K, both of which welcomed children and babies in strollers. Then there were the people dressed up as planes, who proved to be very popular among kids and adults.

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After the pre-race talks, runners were led out to the runway. An Air Canada plane was parked near the start/finish line. Someone near me wondered out loud if we were going to race the plane.

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By the time the race started, it had warmed up to a pleasant temperature and the wind had lessened. I was able to establish a good pace from the start, and I maintained it throughout. As expected, the course was absolutely level, which made it really easy on the legs. The surface was as perfect as a surface can possibly be – kudos go to whoever keeps the runways in such pristine condition.

As I ran, there were planes taking off and landing on a runway parallel to the race. I imagined the passengers looking out of the windows and seeing hundreds of runners right beside them. I wondered what they must have been thinking.

I probably started a little too fast, because I did start to tire near the end. Still, I managed a time of 29:25, missing my 5K personal best by just six seconds. I felt a little queasy the way I often do after going all-out for a 5K, but the feeling soon passed, and I was able to enjoy the awesome finish line atmosphere.

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This race is definitely one that I will want to repeat. If my younger son keeps up his interest in running, he will probably join me next year. He would love an opportunity to get one of the cool finisher’s medals.

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This is an original post by Kirsten Doyle. Photo credit for all images to the author.

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Training Roundup: Focusing On Speed

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This week was a great week for training, one in which speed featured quite heavily. That might seem like a strange thing to say, considering that my week started on Sunday with a 20K run that was kind of slow and that made me feel a bit ill. I had run the 20K on virtually no sleep, in a state of terrible stress. The run itself wasn’t too bad, but it completely wiped me out. Still, I felt good for having done it.

On Monday I had a badly needed rest day. My legs felt OK, but I was exhausted to the core. In the afternoon I walked the mile or so to James’ school to pick him up, and it felt as if I was walking to the moon.

On Tuesday, I was scheduled for a tempo run. When our respite worker arrived and took charge of the kids, I laced up my shoes and hit the road. I ran 6K in about 36 minutes – well ahead of my goal pace. I was sweating profusely by the time I was done, and my bad ankle was aching a bit, but I felt good.

On Wednesday, I went to the gym for a go on the stationary bike followed by a weights workout. I realized that after just a few weeks of strength training, I was ready to graduate to heavier weights for some of the exercises. As I walked home from the gym, I felt that pleasant all-over ache that comes from a good workout.

On Thursday I didn’t do anything too intense – just a light run around the neighbourhood. On Friday I chose to rest instead of working out, because I had a race on Saturday morning.

On Saturday I went to the airport for the 5K Runway Run. A race report will be posted in a few days, but for now I will say that it was loads of fun.

The week was a success. The coming week will be focused more on distance than speed, and my Tuesday tempo runs will give way to the dreaded hill training sessions. Although my “A” race – the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront half-marathon – does not include significant hills – the hill training does help immensely with speed and strength.

This is an original post by Kirsten Doyle. Photo credit to the author.

 

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Training Roundup: Focusing On The Why

Why I Run

Why I Run

This has been an odd week for a variety of reasons. I attended a magazine and writer’s conference for most of the week, and that left me with very little time to do other things. But still, I was able to get some good training in.

On Sunday last week, I went out for an 18K run. I didn’t know how it would go, because I wasn’t able to do my long run the previous week. I feared that I might be a little rusty. It went well, though. I completed the distance in just over two hours – a very satisfactory pace. What made it even better was that it took me just four hours or so to recover. That afternoon, I was in the backyard with the lawnmower and just a tiny bit of stiffness.

I rested on Monday, even though I didn’t feel as if I needed to. Things caught up with me on Tuesday, though. I woke up with my bad ankle feeling – well, bad. I was supposed to do a tempo run, but I decided that an extra day of rest might be a good idea.

It turned out to be a good call: on Wednesday I felt fine. So fine, in fact, that I did my 6K tempo run as well as a full weights workout. Afterwards, I felt that pleasant all-over ache that you get after a good workout.

I didn’t have time for a proper workout again during the week, but I did manage to squeeze in a ten-minute run and a few weights on Friday afternoon. So although I didn’t get in all of my workouts, I count this week as a success.

The training was almost secondary to the other aspect of my running, though: the fundraising. I am, after all, doing this for my son George and other kids with autism. This week, I got to reflect on this as my fundraising page got hit with its first donation. I am aiming to raise $1000 this year – a lofty goal in these hard times. That money, if I can raise it, will go a long way to helping children and youth with autism. It can get them art and music supplies, sports equipment, summer camps and job training, iPads and all kinds of other things that can help in their cognitive and sensory development. This is all stuff that can really change the lives of some of these kids.

Sometimes, when I am on my long runs, I feel as if I don’t have it in me to take another step. I am exhausted and sore, and I just want to stop.

But then I think about George, who is going to live with autism 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for the rest of his life. He is brave and determined in the face of his challenges, and he is chock-full of love and sweetness.

If he can live with autism every single day while he brings such richness to my life, surely I can find the same strength and determination to run for a couple of hours at a time.

To sponsor me in this year’s Run for Autism, please click here. All proceeds go to the Geneva Centre for Autism.

This is an original post by Kirsten Doyle. Photo credit to the author.

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Training Roundup: Adaptation

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The trouble with drawing up a training schedule is that I feel obligated to follow it. This is, under normal circumstances, not a bad thing. The schedule holds me accountable and keeps me on track. If I stick with the program, I can be reasonably confident that I will meet whatever goal I have set out to accomplish.

The trouble starts when something happens that forces me to deviate from the schedule. Changes in plans make me feel vaguely anxious, and if I don’t get to do a run that I’ve been mentally gearing myself up for, it’s a little disruptive to my psyche. But we all know that life is that thing that happens while we’re making other plans, and sometimes we just have to roll with whatever life throws at us.

Not that life has thrown me anything major in the last week. In fact, I knew going into the week that my training schedule would have be adjusted. I volunteered at the Toronto Women’s Half-Marathon on Sunday, and I didn’t want to go for a long run on top of that. I was on my feet for the whole morning, and in any case, I wanted to hang out with my family instead.

Plan B was to go for a long run on Monday afternoon instead. I really needed two hours to complete the distance, and due to a series of unforeseen issues that had to be taken care of right away, by the time I set out I only had an hour available to me. That turned out to be plenty: it was very hot on Monday afternoon, and because my body has not yet acclimatised to the warmer weather, there is no way I would have been able to pull off 18K. I did about 9K, and that just about killed me. Before I had done the first kilometre, I knew I was in trouble. During the run, there were a couple of unscheduled walking breaks, plus one lean-against-a-tree-and-cry break.

On Tuesday I had a rest day. I had planned to rest, but I wouldn’t have had a choice anyway. Monday’s run had the effect of completely draining me of energy. I was exhausted beyond belief, to the extent that I worried about whether Wednesday’s run would happen.

On Wednesday morning, I saw the kids off to school and then, with trepidation, I put on my running shoes. I was supposed to do a 5K tempo run, and I really didn’t know if I had it in me. I needn’t have worried: I had a fabulous run. I did 5K in just under 30 minutes, and I felt great.

Thursday was another rest day, but not an intentional one. I had some errands to run, and I met a friend for lunch, and time just ran away from me. I didn’t mind. I hadn’t seen my friend for a year, and it was great to catch up. As much as I love running, sometimes other things are more important.

Today – Friday – was an odd day. I was scheduled for an easy 5K run followed by a weights workout, but I spent most of the day helping to set up for a local ribfest that’s happening this weekend. I was on my feet, walking a great deal, carrying heavy things. By the time I got to the gym late this afternoon, I was quite tired. I got onto the treadmill and set the speed to a brisk pace – definitely too fast to qualify as an “easy” run. By the time I had run 4K, I was done. I felt that if I tried to continue, I would end up on one of those YouTube videos featuring people falling off treadmills. I didn’t feel too bad about docking a kilometre from my run, because I covered several kilometres walking around at the ribfest this morning.

After I stepped off the treadmill, I headed to the weights area, and actually got in a full strength training session. When I was finished, my muscles were quivering. I feel that I have earned tomorrow’s rest day, and on Sunday I will be ready to tackle 18K.

My mileage this week was lower than I would have liked, and I only got in one strength training session instead of two, but I feel that the week was moderately successful. On days when it would have been easier to make excuses and not do anything, I found ways to get in some miles. I feel good about that.

This is an original post by Kirsten Doyle. Photo credit: rick. This picture has a creative commons attribution license.

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Training Roundup: On The Road Again

 

Lake Ontario in all of its springtime glory

One of my training run views

Last week my Achilles tendon was bothering me, and in an astonishing and rare display of responsibility, I decided to rest. By the time Sunday rolled around, I was feeling fine and I was armed with a brand spanking new training schedule that I had drawn up during my time of sitting out.

The schedule began with a 16K run, and I wasn’t really sure how that would go. My previous long run had been a half-marathon that had left me feeling utterly wiped out. The 16K run went well, though. It was a gorgeous day for running, and I enjoyed every second of it.

Monday was a rest day. There are people who embark on running streaks, which involves a commitment to run at least a mile every day. I am not one of those people. I need my day of rest after my long runs.

On Tuesday I did my first speed training run in this cycle. It wasn’t a long run but it was pretty quick: 5K in just under half an hour. I was stressed to the eyeballs on Tuesday, and a fast run was just what I needed. At the end of it, I felt a lot better, even though my arms were inexplicably sore.

Wednesday was something of a milestone day for me. For the first time in about a year I did a good solid strength training session. I started off with a ride on the stationary bike, which is not my favourite cardio activity, but I’m acting on the assumption that cycling is an acquired taste. After the bike ride, I went to the weights area and worked muscles that I’d forgotten I even have. I even did some dreaded planks.

Now, on Thursday of the first week of my training schedule, I am already having to make some adjustments. The reason is a good one,  though, so I don’t feel too bad. This coming Sunday, my morning will be taken up with race volunteer duties at the Toronto Women’s Half-Marathon. I am excited about the opportunity to give back to the running community.

It wouldn’t be fair to my family, though, to spend the morning volunteering at a race and then to spend the afternoon running myself. Presumably my children like me and would like to spend time with me. So today I’m going to rest. Tomorrow I will do the 5K easy run that I would have done today, and on Saturday I will do another weight training session. On Sunday I will cheer on the half-marathon participants, and on Monday I will do 18K. I will adjust next week’s schedule accordingly, and then I will be back on track.

I’m feeling good about my training. I know  that there will be rough weeks when I wonder how on earth I can go on, but for now, I feel strong and confident. If I stick with the program, I will be a better and stronger runner by the time I do my 30K in August. And I if I continue on track after that, the personal best I am aiming for in the Scotia half-marathon will be in the bag.

This is an original post by Kirsten Doyle. Photo credit to the author.

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Training Roundup: Conquering Achilles

 

George with my Scotia 2013 finisher's medal

George with my Scotia 2013 finisher’s medal. He’s the reason I run.

With the Goodlife Toronto Half-Marathon eleven days in the past, my period of sitting on the couch doing sweet eff-all post-race recovery is over. I had a harder time than usual with my recovery, because I wasn’t in top form on the day, and all of the downhill running killed my quads. For four days, I couldn’t walk down stairs without whining like a little girl.

I finally laced up my running shoes again on Tuesday. In a rare departure from the norm, I was actually in the mood for the treadmill at the gym. Tuesday was a rough day – it was the first anniversary of the death of Fran, one of my best friends – and I went through the day in a state of emotional upheaval. I needed the noise and busy-ness of the gym.

I hammered out a fast 5K or so on the treadmill, and it felt surprisingly good, physically and mentally. The exercise helped clear my head, and doing a fast workout with high leg turnover loosened up my muscles. I was back in the groove – or so I thought.

I woke up yesterday morning with pain in my left Achilles tendon. It eased up throughout the morning, but when I tried to walk from my house to the bus stop down the road, I discovered that all I was capable of was a hobble. As I went about my business for the afternoon, things loosened up and I felt OK, but from time to time I’d feel that Achilles tendon nagging at me.

I came home and iced it, and resolved to rest for at least two days. The last thing I want, as I head into the next phase of my training, is a torn Achilles tendon. The next phase of my training is going to be very intensive as I work on both speed and mileage, and I need to be in the best form possible. I don’t have time to be messing around with injuries, so I’d rather just rest up properly now instead of letting things get worse.

While I’m resting, I will be planning out the training schedule that will get me from here to my Big Race of the season: the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront half-marathon on October 19th. My calendar this year includes a distance that I have not attempted before – 30K – but my ultimate goal is to get a personal best time at the Scotiabank half-marathon. That is my autism run, my opportunity to do my small part in making the world a better place for my son and other kids with autism. All of the other races throughout the summer are training runs to prepare me for the big event. It is on October 19th that I really want to shine.

So here I sit, with ice wrapped around my ankle and a calendar in front of me, figuring out a schedule that will help me go further and faster.  I will also be searching for ways to fuel my body better, and that quest will include a mission to find a healthy cheesecake recipe. Because – you know – cheesecake.

What are your health and fitness goals for the summer? If you’re a runner, what is your “A” race this season? And do you have any healthy cheesecake recipes?

This is an original post by Kirsten Doyle. Photo credit to the author.

 

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Goodlife Toronto Half-Marathon: The Day The Wagon Lost Its Wheels

Goodlife half 2014

Less than a mile to go…

I had such high hopes when I signed up for the Goodlife Toronto half-marathon. I spoke to a number of people who had run it beforehand, and for the most part, reviews were good.

It’ll be easy, they said. It’s all downhill, they said.

All righty, then. It sounded like just the race to kick off my season after a brutal winter of spotty training, mostly done on the treadmill. Maybe I would even be able to pull off a personal best.

For about a week leading up to the race, I was fighting a cold and dealing with seasonal allergies. I was popping Cold FX pills twice a day and drinking orange juice as if it was about to go extinct. I willed my body to hold off on getting sick, and it seemed to work.

And then, on the morning of the race, I woke up feeling as if a steamroller had driven through my head. I felt so congested that for a few moments, I debated with myself whether I should run the race. I talked myself into going. All symptoms were above the neck, so it was, according to the experts, safe for me to run. Besides, I had trained for this race, and come hell or high water, I was going to run it.

For the sake of my sanity, I tend to divide half-marathons into thirds. That way, instead of running 21K, I’m running three blocks of 7K each. 7 is an easier number to work with than 21, especially when your feet feel as if they’re going to fall off.

The first 7K went really well. I was tracking above my target pace, but that’s mostly because the biggest downhill sections were early in the race, and that lulled me into a pace that was, in retrospect, far too aggressive. That was even taking into account a nasty uphill section in the fourth or fifth kilometre.

Things started to get a little rough during the second 7K, but I wasn’t too concerned. I figured that I had just gone out too fast, and that all I needed to do was adjust my pace and I’d be OK. But instead of getting better, I started feeling worse. In spite of the wind, my body was starting to feel uncomfortably warm.

During the final 7K, the wheels completely fell off. I realized that I probably should have been hydrating more than usual because of my cold, and that my body was screaming for more fluids. I dehydrated to the point where I stopped sweating because my body just had no fluid to make sweat with. I got through about 3K by counting my steps. I was setting myself little challenges and giving myself rewards.

If you run for 40 steps, you can walk for 20.

If you run until the end of this song, you can walk for 100m.

Those few kilometres were excruciating. I stopped caring about what my finish time would be. All I wanted to do was push forward so I could get to the finish line. I wanted to be allowed to stop running.

With 3K to go, I stopped completely. I drank several ounces of water, followed by some Gatorade and then some more water. Usually I hydrate in sips. This time, I gave myself a downpour. I reset the shuffle on my music player, dug deeper than I’ve ever had to dig before, and I started running in the direction of the finish line.

My running wasn’t fast. My running wasn’t pretty, or efficient. My form was so bad that it could have been used in a textbook picture of “how not to run”.

But I ran. I focused on the music playing in my ears, and I ran. I smiled grimaced at the well-meaning spectators who were telling me how great I looked (I looked like crap, but it was nice of them to say so), and I ran. I thought about the finish line, the weight of a finisher’s medal around my neck, and the feeling of accomplishment that I would feel, and I ran.

After about four geological eras, I crossed the finish line. My usual finish line kick didn’t happen, and I barely had the strength for my finish line fist pump. But I had done it and I had the finisher’s medal around my neck to prove it. And my time – 2:23:01 – was not bad considering the circumstances. I’d actually been expecting a lot worse.

For the last five days, I’ve been nursing my aching legs and my bruised ego. I’ve suffered from self-doubt: if I had this much of a hard time during what was supposed to be an easy half-marathon, how will I manage 30K in August? But now I feel that I’m ready to move on. We can’t always have the race we want, and sometimes we have to have bad races in order to get stronger.

I am ready to lace up the running shoes again, to hit the road and get training again. And that 30K race in August? I’m planning to eat it for breakfast.

This is an original post by Kirsten Doyle. Photo credit: www.marathonfoto.com.

 

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Embracing The Pain

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Yesterday I ran a half-marathon. A race report will follow later this week, but for now I will say that it was an excruciating race. I wasn’t on top form going in, and I had some serious issues with dehydration in the latter stages. But still, I dug deep and found what I needed to finish.

Getting home seemed to take forever. I had to take public transit from the finish line back to the start, where my car was parked, and then I had a thirty minute drive home. By the time I hobbled through my front door, serious muscle pain had set in. After my shower, I put on compression socks (compression socks are my saviour), poured some much-needed coffee and settled myself on the couch for a good long layabout session.

My husband walked into the room and looked at me with some amusement. Nothing new there, and to be fair I probably do look a little funny in the throes of post-race agony.

“Do you think I’ve earned the right to complain?” I asked him, looking at him beseechingly.

“No,” he said immediately, “And I’ll tell you why.”

I settled back, prepared for a long discourse. My husband’s explanations will not be remembered for their brevity.

He explained that basically, I had brought this pain on myself. I had voluntarily participated in this race, knowing full well that I would be hurting afterwards. He reminded that I had even made reference to the pain the previous day, before the race had even happened. Pain was a foregone conclusion, and I knew that when I signed up.

OK. It sounds a little unsympathetic, but I have to admit that he is right. I never sign up for these races expecting to feel like I’ve been lying in the sun doing nothing.

“That’s true,” I said to my husband, a little grudgingly.

“Number Two,” he said, holding up two fingers.

Oh boy. There was a Number Two?

Number Two, the pain was a result of a great accomplishment. I had trained hard, I had dug deep, and I had achieved something that I should be proud of. The pain was my body’s way of telling me how I could be better and stronger. Therefore I should bask in the glow of what the pain represents, and I should embrace it. Even though it might hurt, it was building me up.

Well, that made me feel good. It certainly helped put things into perspective. It’s not like I was in pain after, say, falling on the ice or being in a car accident. I was in pain after finishing a half-marathon. And even though I didn’t have a great race, that is something to be proud of.

There was a Number Three. If I participate in a half-marathon and then complain about it afterwards, what message am I giving to my boys? We want them to be able to stretch themselves beyond their comfort zones, and we want them to think of that as a positive experience. Acknowledging pain is fine, but the focus should always be on the accomplishment and the experience.

Well. Just goes to show that if you ask your husband a flippant question, you might get an in-depth response that is filled with insights. I’ll still complain at least a little bit, but this whole conversation has made me look at post-race pain in a whole new way.

Thank you, husband.

This is an original post by Kirsten Doyle. Photo credit to the author.

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5 Surprising Things I Have Learned Since I Started Running

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1. Rest days are important. I used to think that in order to get better and faster, and in order to prove that I was a “real” runner, I had to run every day. If a training schedule called for a rest day, what it really meant was that I was running for maybe a mile instead of five or six miles. What I’ve discovered, though, is that the right balance of rest days and active days is crucial to my success as a runner. Not only do the rest days help prevent injury, they actually make me stronger, both physically and mentally. Enforced rests due to illness, injury or circumstance usually have a surprisingly good effect.

2. Kids are better runners than adults. Over the years, I have read many books written by runners, coaches and various kinds of doctors, all advising on the best ways to run. It’s not a simple case of putting one foot in front of another, they say. You have to think about what part of your foot is striking the ground, how long your stride is, what your posture looks like, what your arms are doing. I heed all of this advice, and I still have periodic struggles with my form. Then I look at my eight-year-old, who runs for his school’s track and cross-country teams. When he runs, he looks truly magical. He has perfect form and graceful fluidity that I can only envy. Adults are always trying to improve on nature, sometimes to their detriment. Kids, on the other hand, move the way human beings are designed to move.

3. Heel striking is not a bad thing. Most serious runners have heard all about how landing on your heels is a Bad Thing. It creates more impact, and therefore more injuries, and it is a grossly inefficient way of running. I bought into this so much that I went out and bought a pair of Newtons running shoes in order to “teach” myself the art of midsole striking. Six months of excruciating calf pain later, I gave it up as a bad idea. I realized that we are all different, that not everyone is meant to be a midsole striker. A few months later, I read this article which suggests that for some of us, heel striking is actually a more efficient way of running.

4. There is no hard and fast rule regarding fueling. When I started training for my first half-marathon, I spent a lot of time researching all kinds of things, including nutrition and long-run fueling. The gist of what I read was as follows. For runs of thirty minutes or less, you can get by without taking water with you. Between thirty and ninety minutes, you should bring water, but you don’t really need anything else. If you’re out for longer than ninety minutes, you’ll need an energy drink of some kind, and for anything beyond two hours, a gel might be needed. I tried to follow this formula for a while, and it didn’t work at all. For a start, I need water on every single run. I have high hydration needs, and I need at least a sip of water for every ten minutes of activity. Secondly, I need an energy drink for runs lasting longer than an hour, and that is all I need in addition to water. I never take gels. Ever. Not only do they have no noticeable effect on my performance, they have the consistency of snot and make me feel ill.

5. There is a huge mental component to running. I’ve always known this, of course. The surprise is the extent to which it is true. It has been suggested that running is 10% physical and 90% mental. I’m not sure that I agree with that – the physical foundation has to be in place, and it has to be maintained. But for someone running a distance that they have actually trained for (in other words, that they are physically ready for), mental strength does play an enormous role. I have this pattern when I run half-marathons, of moving along just fine until I hit the 18K mark. As soon as I see that 18K marker, it’s as if a switch goes off in my brain – a switch that says, “Hey, you’ve just run 18K. You should be absolutely knackered.” And my body willingly obliges by suddenly feeling exhausted. The pace that I’ve maintained so nicely goes to hell, my legs turn to Jello and my breathing goes all weird and creepy. I struggle along in a terrible state for 2K, and then, as I enter the final kilometre, it all turns around again. A burst of energy hits me out of nowhere, and I sail through the last kilometre. In general, I am a mediocre, middle-of-the-pack runner, but I have a phenomenal finish line kick, and I am sure that it comes from my mind.

This is an original post by Kirsten Doyle. Photo credit to the author.