meet the fastest to be the fastest

There are a lot of marathon training plans out there. Running 3x a week, running 8x a week, running up hills, running on one leg, running with the horses, etc. When deciding how to train for my upcoming first marathon I decided to go back to basics and do what I enjoyed the most over the past few years of my training.

  • During the week I’m running to/from work at least twice.
  • On the weekend I’m starting with back-to-back run days (3 miles Saturday + long run Sunday so I get used to going slow on tired legs) until I get into the 16s, 17s, and 18s of long runs.
  • Yoga at work on Fridays at lunch
  • Pilates or cycling or hula hooping or whatever I can find to do that week on Wednesdays
  • Meeting all the fast female runners I can and hoping their winning ways rub off on me

Points 1-4 are fine and whatever. But I am smashing #5 out of the park. In the past 4 weeks I have met none other than 3 of the fastest, nicest, professional runners that Great Britain the world has to offer.

First I met Mara Yamauchi, a super speedy marathon runner and second only in speed to Ms. Paula Radcliffe (who I met and ran with last year so totally adding her to my list).  I met her at a Runner’s Need event and she was so nice giving me a few tips about running my first marathon (enjoy it!) and that her favourite place to run is and always has been Japan.

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Then, the next week it was off to see Chrissie Wellington speak about her life and book (again at Runner’s Need! For a store I don’t like to buy my shoes in I seem to spend a lot of time there). I didn’t snag a picture with her but my husband did, and since he’s not running Dublin, I’m taking all the training from it. I asked Chrissie about coaching and if she sees herself coaching anyone in the future. She said she doesn’t quite feel ready to be an inspiring coach yet and based on the quality of coaches she had, she knows it’s not something you can just jump into after retiring from competition.

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Some marathon runners add track sessions to their training plans to keep the legs moving, I prefer to meet track stars. So when Maxinutrition invited me out to the GSK Performance Lab for a night of learning about their protein products and hanging out with Dame Kelly Holmes, I said yes in less than 9.58 seconds.

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We learned a lot about the brand and why they think they’re the ones who can best satisfy your post-exercises nutrition needs (I’ll write more about that in a sponsored post later) but I spent most of my night looking forward to sitting down with Kelly 1-to-1 and asking her some questions. My note taking needs some work so it’s all paraphrased below:

  • Dame Kelly Holmes said that to become a stronger runner you should mix up your training sessions, throw a few speedy sprints in your long runs when you feel like it. I really appreciate this approach as so many people plan their training based external factors (ie. track on tuesday b/c that is when the club does it) but you really should listen to your body and when it wants to run fast, go fast. Tuesday might not be your fast day.
  • I asked her about how to add recovery into a lifestyle that is already pretty busy. It’s not like we’re professional athletes and can spend the rest of the day on the couch after a tough session. Work, family, etc. all get in the way of true recovery. (She actually answered this question while running on the treadmill!) She said it’s all about finding convenient ways of recovering. That can be conveniently packaged protein shakes (*nods* towards the sponsors of the night) or rigging your desk so you can put your feet up while getting on with the daily work.

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  • One of my favourite blogs is Liz Goodchild‘s and she is always blogging on and on about goals. Setting big goals and then setting out to achieve them with hard work.  I asked Dame Kelly Holmes about her goal setting and how she deals with setbacks and failures. She started by pointing out that her goal from day one was one of the biggest. To win an Olympic Gold Medal. OK. Fine then. That’s big. Along the way she had many setbacks and failures but always worked on seeing the positive in each fail. She also said never to set goals around the New Year. There is too much pressure and they wont stick.
  • Where is Dame Kelly Holmes’ favourite place to run? South Africa. I agree.

So there you have it. My secret training plan to win finish the Dublin Marathon.

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