What I Did During My Rest Week

During my rest week, I made sure to give my body some rest but also to enjoy other opportunities. Last week, I went for some bike rides, swam in a different lake and did some reading to get ready for school.

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I got a road bike. I took advantage of the lighter training schedule last week and decided to explore and go for a long bike ride. In the spring, one of my friends biked along Lake Superior to Silver Harbour and then went for a swim. Throughout the summer, a few of my other friends have driven to various swimming spots along Lake Superior. After hearing about the various beaches and wanting to be a bit adventurous, I decided to try and bike to Silver Harbour. Late Friday morning, I left on my bike, ready for an adventure. Partway there, though, my legs started to get tired (they are not accustomed to pulling up with clip-in pedals). Because I was tired and I had a bit of a time constriction, I decided that if there was no lake access within the next 10 minutes, I would turn around. A few minutes later, I found Wild Goose Bay and took a break there. On the beach, it was so foggy that you could not see 30m off the shore. After a little break, I biked back home (it was quicker on the way back).

Two days later, Paige asked me if I wanted to go for a swim at Oliver Lake. I enthusiastically told her, “yes, I wanted to go”! Upon arriving at the lake, we put our goggles on and picked a point about 800m away to swim to. On the way out, we did a mix of front crawl and breaststroke, while we got comfortable looking in the murky lake with our goggles. We swam about 200m further than our goal and then turned around. On the way back, we were faster, because we only swam front crawl. I enjoyed the swim and was exhausted afterwards because I haven’t gone swimming in a while.

Other than these two adventures, the rest of my week was pretty chill. Since school is starting in a few weeks, I decided to take advantage of my extra time and start reading some books for school. I also made a habit chart to help keep me accountable to my goals.

The Need for a Rest Week

Every once and a while, we take a week off or with minimal running. This gives both our mind and our body time to rest and recover from a hard season. Although I have not really had a season, I have been training a lot for the last several months and have become worn out.

Being drained of energy, my legs have been feeling the high mileage. During one of my workouts, my legs were tired before the workout even started. We had already done about 3km at tempo, and we started some 1kms. About halfway through the first 1km, the hard hit me, and I began to panic. For the next two 1kms, I pushed myself, but my legs were tired, and I couldn’t keep calm. After the third 1km, my coach told me to not worry about time and work on just moving as fast as I can while staying calm.

After that workout, I had a slightly lighter week with lower mileage. But even after this week of a bit more rest, I was still lacking energy. I did a workout that consisted of two loops that were roughly 3km after some tempo. Although I was pushing myself and focusing on running fast, my times were slower than one of the 3km tempos that I had done in the past.

Because we have done a lot of training in the last few months and I have been feeling tired, my coach has given me a rest week and told me to only run 3-4 easy runs. Although I want to get after it, I know that this week of recovery will be beneficial, and it will allow me to enjoy other things that I normally don’t have the time or energy for.


I have a love-hate relationship with cross-training. I enjoy it because it gives a change of environment and gives me space to not become too obsessed with running. Not only can it be mentally beneficial, but cross-training is also useful to prevent injuries or to stay fit when injured. On the other hand, I sometimes dread cross-training because it takes time away from running.

When I cross-train, I usually choose to go deep-water running. Deep-water running is my favourite because it is similar to running, and you get wet. Recently, since the pools have been closed, I have not been able to go deep-water running. Instead, I have been forced to cross-train on my bike. Normally, I am not the biggest fan of biking because I am so slow at it (thanks to my bike), and I don’t like having to deal with traffic. A few weeks ago, though, I got a road bike! This past week I have been able to do a bit of cross-training with the bike and have enjoyed it.

Last Tuesday was my first time taking my road bike out for a spin. Before I went out for a ride, I had to learn how to clip in and out of the bicycle pedals. I practised a few times stationary and then biked down the road. Thankfully, I only fell once before I started to get the hang of it. When I felt comfortable enough with unclipping, I started my ride. Other than clipping in and clipping out, it was also different leaning forward to grasp the handlebars, getting to know the gears and having a lighter and faster bike. I really enjoyed this learning experience and I look forward to becoming better at cycling (though running is still my first love).

Lessons from Let Your Mind Run

Those who know me, know that other than running, I also love to spend my time reading. One of my favourite books is “Let your Mind Run” by Deena Kastor. Not only is it engaging and about a topic that I enjoy, but it is also very instructional and motivating. This book is an autobiography of Deena Kastor’s running journey. Throughout her running career, she faced many challenges but was able to overcome them and end up better. Although I have gotten a lot out of this book, three lessons really stood out to me; running well is about hard work and not talent, keeping a positive attitude helps in many ways and you should always be prepared.

When Deena Kastor started running, she thought that she did well because she was talented. After she did not achieve one of her goals, though, she started to think she was not talented and, therefore, she would never be a good runner. She was ready to completely give up the sport when a friend gave her Joe Vigil’s number and told her to call him. Talking to Joe Vigil, she realized that it isn’t talent that makes you fast but hard work.

Through applying this fact of hard work, I can train better and enjoy running more. One aspect of hard work that I have come to realize is consistent, focused training. Being focused on training, you can put better quality work in. Although one training session will not make you the fastest person on earth, continually giving your best in training, racing, and life will bring about improvement.

Another important lesson that she learned that really stuck out to me was the effect of a positive attitude and a good mindset. When she started training professionally, her coach kept reminding her to bring a good attitude to practice. After talking with him and reading some books, she began to realize the value of that advice and applied it. This positive mindset allowed her to work on her weaknesses, enjoy life more and train better.

Having a good mindset doesn’t mean that you will not have any negative thoughts, but it is not letting those thoughts affect your life. When faced with an unhelpful thought, Deena Kastor looked to the things she did enjoy or found something else that was more helpful to focus on. An example of this in my life is when it gets challenging in a workout, I try to focus on moving my legs fast or competing with my training partners. Even when it gets hard, I can be grateful because the hard is making me a faster and tougher person.

One of the things Deena Kastor realized was, “I didn’t have to limit myself to being an interpreter in the moment. I could be the creator of that moment, even before it arrived”. In other words, she could prepare for whatever challenges that she might face in a workout or a race so that if and when they did happen, she would already know what to do. One way she did this was by making sure her actions prepared her to be able to reach her goals. She did this by training hard, prioritizing recovery, and eating well. If she wanted to be the best runner, she had to match her actions to that goal. Another way that she prepared for the challenges that she faced was through mental preparation. She planned how she would react to different situations that might arise in a race and practiced them in workouts and through visualization.

I enjoy reading about another person’s life because I can learn from them without having to go through everything they have gone through. From Deena Kastor’s life, I have learned to enjoy life more instead of focusing on the hard parts I choose to enjoy the challenge and that it is making me better. “Let Your Mind Run” has also taught me that the more that I prepare for my goals, the more likely I will achieve them. Finally, Although I might not be good at something now, I can put in the work and become better at it. How might you apply these lessons?

Staying Connected

Every summer after school ends, many of my teammates go home. Because of Covid-19, we have been apart for longer than previous summers and those who are in Thunder Bay are not able to physically see each other as much. Not being together as a team can make it harder to train. In the past, we haven’t been the best at staying in touch because life got in the way. This year we have been able to make a better effort to stay connected via texting and zoom.

Over the past few months, we have had three “running girls” get-togethers through Zoom. Since we live in different time zones and have different schedules, it can be difficult at times to rearrange a time that works for everyone. During these hangouts, we talk about the status of Covid-19 in our area, how training has been and what we have been up to. From living in the Yukon to living in downtown Toronto, our lives have been vastly different. Although it is not the same as physically hanging out or training together, it has been enjoyable to be able to talk with everyone. Seeing them makes me all the more excited to be able to train together in the Fall (I hope it is the same for them).

As the restrictions have eased, it has been nice to be able to physically see some of my teammates. Paige and I have gone for several runs together (mostly through the winding trails of Centennial and Shuniah Mines). Maxie and I explored various swimming spots where we have relaxed, chatted and swam (to the nearest islands). Finally, I have enjoyed being able to do some workouts with a few of my teammates.

Although I miss my teammates, I am thankful that I can stay connected with them. I am looking forward to seeing all of them when school starts up again!

A Week of Training

The better I do at running, the more I enjoy it, and the more I put into it. The more I put into it, the better I do. And the cycle continues. This past week I have been doing a lot of training (about 115km over the week) and enjoying it.

Although workouts do not differ to much, the challenge of competing with the guys and the small things keep it interesting. Last Monday, Paige joined the guys and me for the workout. With Paige there, the guys weren’t bugging me about pushing the warmup (they like to take the warmup slower than Paige and I do). On Wednesday, we ran a steady long-run with hill surges. The previous week I was dropped after 20min, but this week I was able to hang on for the whole run! Finally, even though our legs were tired on Friday from all the mileage and hard work, we ran our tempo about 20sec faster than the week before.

On my recovery days, I have enjoyed runs by myself and with Paige. Being tired from the workouts, Paige has helped pull me through easy runs. When I am running by myself, I have enjoyed running barefoot and doing strides at a local soccer field.

When running well and enjoying life, it is easy to forget to stay on top of recovery. As I have mentioned in previous posts, in the past, I have gotten injured or sick when I am training a lot and not getting enough sleep. Although I have gotten a decent amount of sleep for most nights this week, there have been a few where I have not gotten as much sleep as I would have liked. Thankfully, I have enough free time to take a nap during the day. 

From workouts to recovery, running consumes a lot of my life. Spending all this time spent focused on running, motivates me to recover better and train hard. I am enjoying this time and look forward to when I can test myself in a race.

Skills for a STUDENT athlete

University by itself can be difficult. Being a student-athlete adds an extra challenge. Although it is hard, there are several things that I am learning to do to make it more manageable. I need to incorporate appropriate time management skills, correctly prioritize my time and energy, give myself some time to rest, and do what needs to be done no matter how I feel.

Time management

 As soon as I know what assignments I have for the semester, I write them all down on a piece of paper so that I know when they are due. I then try to get started on the first assignment right away so that I have less to do when things start to get busy around midterm season.


 Along with time management is prioritizing. As a student-athlete, I don’t always have time to put 100% into everything I do. Because of this, I need to prioritize what is most important. For example, sometimes I have multiple assignments or tests on one day. When preparing for this, I try to spend more time on the assignment that I feel least confident in or that is worth more.


Spending a lot of time committed to school and sport, it is easy to become burnt out. To prevent this, a break or rest is important. Spending time with my team, reading a book, or sleeping are my favourite activities when I need to relax.


Do not let tiredness or other desires get in the way of what you need to do. Whether it is that second run of the day or working on a difficult assignment, there are a lot of times when I don’t feel like doing something, but I need to do it anyway. Even though it can be miserable at the moment, later on, you will be grateful that you did the hard work.

Running in the Heat

This past week has had some really hot days. These hot days can make running more uncomfortable and can potentially be dangerous if you are not careful. To combat the summer heat there are several things that I do. Here are a few of them.


When you are hot, your body uses water to bring blood closer to your skin to radiate out heat and to sweat. Staying hydrated can help your body to work optimally. Before workouts, I normally make sure that I drink some water. I try to also stay hydrated throughout the day.


Since the afternoon is generally the hottest part of the day, it is not the best time to run if you want to stay cool. Instead of running in the afternoon, I sometimes run in the morning (the coolest time of day). Although it is not as cool as the morning, I have heard of some people who run in the late evening or night to avoid the heat of the day.


In my opinion, one of the best ways to deal with heat is to adapt to the temperature. When it is starting to get warm in the spring or when it is not too hot in the summer, I try to wear long sleeve shirts on easier runs to get used to being a little warmer. Another way to adapt to the heat is just to spend time in it outside of running.

Change your Workout

Even when you do all the things mentioned above, sometimes it is still too hot. In these scenarios, you can change what you are doing for a run so you don’t overheat too much.

Although most of you reading this blog probably already know these techniques, I thought this post would be a good reminder of how you can improve your running even when it is hot. Hope you all enjoy the summer and continue to embrace the heat!

Trying Something New

With no racing season coming up soon, it is the perfect time to try something new. This past Sunday, I ran the longest run of my life. Along with a few other runners, I ran a hill challenge. For this challenge, we had to run a ~4 ½ mile hill within a specific time limit. The first time we ran it, we had 60min. Each time we ran the hill, we had two fewer minutes to complete it than the one before (kind of like a beep test). The speed, the type of discomfort, alternating between up and downhill and the role of nutrition made this run a unique experience.

Since we knew that we would be running for a long time and we had a decent amount of time to finish the first hill, we started slow and walked up the steeper points. As someone who has never raced longer than a 10mile, it was a bit weird to be walking during a run. Later on, though, walking up the steeper points was welcome as my legs became sore and I got tired.

Having raced various distances, I know that there are different types of pain. This ultramarathon distance was a different experience in terms of tiredness and muscle soreness. Starting out running slow, I ran for most of the run without feeling any soreness. When my muscles did start to feel sore, it came on suddenly. Going up the first half of the 7th hill, my legs and energy level were great. Running up the 8th hill was a challenge; I was tired, and my glute and hamstrings were sore.

The variation of uphill and downhill made this run interesting. Going uphill was tiring, but the downhill was a great recovery (for me that is) and made me forget the challenge of the uphill.

Finally, the role of nutrition was different from previous races and runs. Since I was running for hours, I needed to refuel with calories throughout the run. Normally before a competition, I do not eat anything within a few hours of the race because the intensity and food give me an upset stomach. Because the intensity of this run was less, I was easily able to stomach the food.

This run was a fun experience! I enjoyed seeing how far I could go (who I could run further than), listening to other people talk and the unknown of a different kind of running challenge. In total I ran, 8 hills, roughly 60km and for 7hours.

Facing the Challenges of Training

Running is challenging but so is life. If we choose, these challenges can add much value to our life. They build perseverance, prevent boredom, and give you interesting stories to tell. Although workouts are almost always tough, there are many things that can make them even more challenging. Here are a few examples of how the added difficulties in training has made great memories!


One of the workouts that I enjoyed the most during my first year at university was one we did during a blizzard. During this workout, there were points where the wind took our breath away. Doing some shorter fast intervals, we were slipping and falling on the slushy and icy ground. Thankfully for the last set, we put on spikes and were able to run a bit faster. The workout ended with a cool down in which several of the other girls soaked their feet in an ice-cold puddle. Although it was a challenge, it was a great bonding time with my teammates (we spent days after this talking about it).


Last spring, my team and I went to South Dakota to do some training at altitude. While there, we had fun exploring the area and running. A few days after we arrived there, we did a long run. Up until this point, I hadn’t noticed any difficulties with living and training at altitude. During this run, I pushed the pace with the guys on the first half (not realizing that we were running downhill on the way out). Ten minutes after we turned around, I was struggling to keep up with them and breathing hard. 

Later on that week, we did a track workout. Because it snowed that night, there was snow on the track when we got there. With the combination of the sun and Kip shovelling, the track was clear enough to run on by the time we finished our warmup. We did a 2mile and then a bunch of 400m. By the time I had finished seven 400m, my legs were done, I had to sit down. Never before had I felt that urge before I finished a workout. Even though it was tough, I let Kip help me back up and finished one last rep. I wasn’t the only one on my team that had a great workout, though. From legs cramping up to shouts of pain, pretty much everyone else hit their limit for the workout that day.

Cold pools

Before doing the pool workout, I was informed that the pool was freezing cold. Not quite understanding freezing cold meant (thinking it would be cold but that I could endure it), we went to the swimming pool to start the pool workout. As soon as I jumped into the pool, I understood what freezing cold meant (think of bone-numbing, breath-stealing, and brain freezing giving cold). Despite the cold, we started swimming. A few strokes into the swim, I made a beeline to the side of the pool (just in case my body decided it could not support me in the water because it was too cold) and I changed to swimming with my head up (because I could not breathe if I put my head in the water and it gave me a brain freeze). Not wanting to wimp out and hoping someone else would decide to end the workout, I continued to freeze (I mean swim). Finally, after seven minutes, we decided that it was probably best if we went for a run and save the pool workout for another day when the water was warmer.

Yes, training in these conditions can be uncomfortable and challenging but they also build perseverance and adds variety to training. When faced with challenges, you can either choose to give in, be miserable or joyfully accept the challenge. Even though I do not always choose it, I find that joyfully accepting the challenge brings the most satisfaction.

A Year in Review

Since I have been reading a lot about running lately, I have been thinking a bit more about my running and how I want to be a better runner. Although training went well and I started of with a few great races, this year has mostly been a series of challenges that have prevented me from racing well. In my reading about running, I have learned about other runners who have faced similar challenges of not quite reaching their goals, but they continued to strive towards them. They learn from the challenges and move on. In following their example, I will try and learn from this past year and move on.

Although I was going through a rough time mentally, cross-country season started off well. I was 4th in my first race and 3rd in my second race. For both races, I went in wanting to give everything I had and not caring how well I placed. After a bunch of training and a busy midterm season, I did not race well at my third race. A few weeks later at OUAs, I was slightly unsure how I would do because I raced poorly at the previous race. Because I let that race define me, I ended up not putting everything I had into the race. After a day or two of disappointment, I recommitted myself to putting everything in to training and improving. In my workouts after this, I started to run faster, and I got personal best times for different loops. But then both sickness and injury came which took away my last chance to race during cross-country.

With cross-country behind me, I switched my focus to track. Although I had a rough cross-country season, I was ready and eager to crush my goals for track season. I trained hard over Christmas and then ran 36sec faster at my first meet of the season (LU vs the World) than the year before. The next week I went to McGill to race the 3000m and the 1500m. Although my times were slightly faster than LU vs the World, they were not where I wanted them to be. For both races, I got passed in the last third of the race. From this race, I learned that I need to push myself in the middle of the race and constantly make sure that I am challenging myself. Back in Thunder Bay, I had about a month to train before my next race. During this time, I trained hard. The times on my intervals showed me that I could definitely reach my goal of 9:46 for the 3000m this year.

Physically fit, I was ready to race in Boston. When I arrived in Boston though, I got a horrible headache and a sore throat. At first, I thought that with some rest, I would be fine and ready to go. But when I started my warmup for the race, I was feverish, exhausted, and my throat was sore to breathe. I was torn, this race was a great opportunity to compete and achieve my goals. But I knew that even if I raced, I would not be able to compete or do well. I was forced to make the hard choice to not race.

The week after Boston was supposed to be my last week of training before OUAs. Instead, I spent most of that week sleeping. When I was out of bed, my body was so weak that my legs felt a bit shaky walking and I was freezing cold. When it was time to leave for OUAs, I was starting to feel better and was able to run. Knowing that I did have some great training before I got sick but still feeling less than 100%, I ran the 3000m. I ran my slowest 3000m of my university career. Disappointed, but knowing that there was nothing that I could do, I accepted that I didn’t reach my goals. I spent the rest of the meet cheering on my teammates and spending time with my family.

Again, I moved on from the disappointment to focus on my next season, outdoors. But as most of you probably know those plans were thrown out the window when the Pandemic shut down everything. Through this past year, I have been reminded that I am not invincible. I can train hard, but I need to make time to rest and strengthening weak areas. I am was also reminded that one race or season does not define me. Despite the poor performances, I still can run well. Even when I don’t end up getting to see the fruit of my training, I can still enjoy all the training that I have done.

No Cross-Country this Fall

Although we will unfortunately not be having a cross country season this fall, I was not surprised when I heard the news. With all the limitations with getting together with people and school being mostly online next semester, it makes sense that there will be no season. As with anything, you should not dwell on the negatives but focus on the positives. Here are a few opportunities that this break will give me.

As Kip has said, this break from competing will allow us to train hard and work on our weaknesses. Since we will have no meets for a while, I do not have to be well-rested for race day. This means that I can train harder. Similarly, the combination of not having to focus on competing and having more time on my hands will allow me to work a bit more on my weaknesses (strengthening my glute and embracing challenges).

Not only will this cancellation of the fall cross country season allow me to become physically stronger and faster, but it will also give me the time to reset mentally. Although I love competing, it can also wear me down. Through this break, I will be able to refocus on the process and less on the performance. In the past, I have switched back and forth between enjoying the challenge of running to being overly focused on whether or not I am achieving my goals. Over the years, I have found that when I focus more on enjoying the life of a runner, I end up running faster. Since there are no immediate performance goals for running, I will have the time to establish a habit of enjoying running without distraction.

I look forward to this unique season of training that we have, and I am ready to use it to become better. What will you do with these unique times?

A Day in My Life

During the Summer as a varsity athlete, most of my time is sent either working or training.  In the summer, my training mainly consists of high mileage. Although I am still training and working, this summer has been a bit different than previous summers. Because of the pandemic, I have faced a few different challenges, but I have also been given new opportunities. Here is just a snapshot of what my workday typically looks like.

I normally start my day by putting on a pot of oatmeal, studying the Bible, and cleaning my dishes that has piled up from the day before. After this, I get ready for an easy morning run or bike ride. If I run, I try to stay on softer surfaces to give my legs less of a pounding. Sometimes, I will run to a soccer field nearby to do a barefoot run (I love not wearing shoes!). Other days, I bike in the morning to give my legs a break from the repetitive motion of running and to help prevent injury. I finish off my morning run with glute exercises, stretching, or rolling.

For the next few hours, I work from my couch. While working, I have fun writing these blog posts, creating instructional exercise videos, and coaching kids via the internet. As a part of my coaching, I have made obstacle courses and gotten crushed by a 14-year-old in a plank competition. As a result of the pandemic, I have been forced to learn how to do different things. I have learned how to make videos (which at first, I hated but now I am starting to enjoy). I have also become more comfortable connecting with people online. Although I enjoy being able to work from home, there are times when I miss human company.

Once I am done work, I go for my main run of the day. Depending on the day, I either go for an easy run (normally around 60min), a medium-long run (which is about 75min) or do a workout. On my easy runs, I enjoy exploring the beautiful and winding trails around Thunder Bay. For my workouts, I do intervals and tempo runs. Since I have already had a full day, I am normally a bit tired at the beginning of my afternoon practice. Recently, I have been re-learning that mindset affects what I do with this tiredness. If I choose to enjoy the run or think of the workout as an opportunity, then my tiredness affects me less. On the other hand, if I focus on how tired I am then I get less out of the run.

When I get home from practice, I cook and eat dinner. For the next hour or two, I may read, do yoga, message friends or family, bug Maxie, or watch a movie. At about 9pm, I head to bed to get a much-needed 8-9hours of sleep.

Meet the Team!

Over the past three years, I have been blessed with many different teammates. They have challenged me, entertained me, and inspired me. Although I am unable to see most of them right now, I look forward to when I get to see them again. I also look forward to meeting and getting to know my new teammates. Here is just a small picture of who my current teammates are.

Haylee (aka. Beeman)

Although she was the slowest member on our team during our first year, she did not let that become an excuse or define her. Since then, Beeman has improved tremendously. When she is not in Thunder Bay for school, she spends her time training horses, trekking through the wilderness, hunting sheep, and getting chased by bears. If you haven’t heard from her in a while, it is probably because she is out in the middle of nowhere (in Alberta or the Yukon).


Right from the first time I met her, Paige and I have been good friends. If I need someone to sing and dance to Disney songs with, Paige is the person I go to. The past few years she has had some ups and downs with running, but she has stuck with it when many people would have given up. Being an environmentalist and an active person, she spends her free time taking care of her vegetable garden, researching dirt, and planning outdoor camping adventures.


 Being the baby of the team, she adds a lot of youthful entertainment and energy. When we run together, I enjoy teasing her and exchanging puns with her. She describes herself as a nerd who enjoys physics, cartoons, and sports.

Taij (aka. Tpain)

I can always count on having a thought-provoking conversation when I see Tpain. Not only is he on the cross-country running team, but he also is on the Nordic ski team. Outside of running and skiing, he is interested in research, hiking, and listening to music.


If you are looking for a quiet running partner, then Colin is the teammate to go to. He just finished his second year at University but has been running with the team longer than I have. When he isn’t running, Colin enjoys playing the drums, reading, biking, and playing video games.

Challenging Myself During COVID-19

With no one really to train with, it has been difficult to challenge myself in workouts. Normally, I have other teammates who I compete with or because I am at an official practice, I am more focused and motivated to push myself. Even though it has been different, I have found ways to challenge myself in workouts.

As I mentioned in my last post, I am blessed to be living with Maxie. Although we cannot run together for all my workouts (because of her wacky work schedule), we have been able to do some of them together. When we can do a workout together, we have found ways to push each other to run faster. For some of our workouts, I have given Maxie a head start so that I can aim to catch up with her and she can aim to not let me pass her. Because Maxie is closer to my speed in the short distances, we were able to run together for part of one of our workouts. For this workout, we had to run up a short steep hill. During this part of the workout, I ran fast, scared that she would beat me (thankfully I was able to keep her behind me).

When I am running by myself, I don’t have a visual goal to chase or run away from. Because of this, I use various techniques to help me to push myself faster. Before some of my workouts, I set a goal that I want to achieve (running close to a PB for the route for example). With this goal in mind, I push my self to reach that goal. At the beginning of the workout, I start out fast and have little difficulty doing so. But as the workout progresses it becomes harder to push myself. When I am tempted to become overwhelmed with how hard it is, I work to switch my focus to other things. Most of the time I switch my focus to moving my legs fast, but I also set mini goals of running fast to a certain point ahead of me so as not to worry about the total distance that I have left. Although I use these techniques, I still struggle with staying calm and pushing myself, but through using these techniques I can get closer to my limit for that day.

              Recently, I was reminded of the importance of being intentional with running and how little things like sleep habits can affect running. Although I have been pushing myself in workouts, I have not been getting faster. When everything shut down due to COVID, I had no real schedule. Because of this, I started to stay up later to hang out with my housemates. The problem was my body would not allow me to sleep in, so I ended up getting less sleep than I needed. Even though I pushed myself in workouts, not being well-rested affected my energy and how fast I could run. Since I enjoyed spending time with my roommates, I did not realize how much it was affecting my running. Being away from my team and the excitement around training also prevented me from realizing this. If I want to get better at running, I need to make sure that I have properly prepared myself to do so.

Even during a pandemic, you can challenge yourself and improve. By rearranging my workout, I have been able to use Maxie to challenge myself. I have also set goals and reminded myself to run fast. By being aware of getting proper recovery, I can put more energy into my workouts and run faster.

Nobody but Maxie

Because of Covid-19, I am left with only one training partner, my housemate Maxie (aka. Heather). Although I miss training with the rest of the group, Maxie and I have had some fun and crazy times training together. We have explored trails, both new and old. During our training, we entertained each other by making random comments and singing (do you want to build a snowman?). To get a better picture of what training with Maxie is like, I will share a few of our adventures with you.

Having run the Belrose loop (about an 11km loop) several times in the last few weeks, Maxie and I decided to switch it up a bit in the middle of the run. Instead of running all the way to John Street Road, we turned down another road parallel to John Street Road thinking that we would only be switching up our run a bit. The road ended at a trail access. Hoping that the trail would lead us back to John Street Road, we headed down the trail. Running down the trail, we saw the road ahead of us and we were convinced that we could get back on route. But little did we know that the dip in the path ahead of us hid a river. Since the river was probably cold (being the middle of April in Thunder Bay) and deep enough not to easily cross it, we could not get to the road. Thinking over where to go next, Maxie suggested that we try another trail that we saw a few minutes back. So, we ran back to that trail in hopes of finding a way back to our route. Every time we came up to the river there was no easy way to cross it. The trail finally ended (after what seemed like a long time but was probably only 10min) at another road that we could use to get back on route. I ended up running longer than I had planned to that day, but I had fun exploring these new (and slippery!) trails with Maxie.

A few days ago, Maxie and I enjoyed a fun long run. After the first hill and with over 90 minutes left of the run, we were already out of breath. But we pushed on knowing that it would get better (and did it ever!). For some reason, I decided that it would be a fun idea to run on the trail that I dislocated my finger on a few months ago. You will be happy to hear that all my fingers are still attached and in their proper place. We had fun running over the beautiful, muddy, and confusing trails of Shuniah Mines. Some of the trails we went on we hadn’t gone on in a while and it seemed like we were just going in circles. While running on these fun trails, Maxie started randomly singing and saying random obvious things (Beware! Maxie is starting to act like me!). Eventually, we left these trails and headed for some more flat and less slippery trails. With the crazy and fun trails behind us, we calmed down a bit and had some nice conversations.

Even after our runs and workouts, Maxie and I have had some memorable experiences. There were a few times during our post-run strength I have provided some entertainment for Maxie. One time, we were doing strength X and I decided to put my crazy energy into it. I moved my arms fast (apparently my facial expression was funny because Maxie laughed) and I started making random comments on the exercises. Recently, we have also started doing some yoga through YouTube. Being runners, we have had some trouble performing some of the poses (Maxie is better than me because she has been doing it longer). Despite my previous declarations that I do not like yoga, I have actually enjoyed doing it.

I am so thankful to have Maxie to train with during this time. Having another person to run with has made being away from the team more bearable. 

What I Enjoy about Training on a Varsity Team

Being on a varsity sports team, I spend a lot of time training. Although it can be draining, there are many aspects of being on a team that bring me joy. Running and training hard is a reward in itself, but I also benefit from teammates and seeing myself improve. Here is just a snapshot of what I enjoy about running on a varsity team.

1. The Feeling of Accomplishment

After a hard workout, I am exhausted, my legs are sore and sometimes I get a tiny cold. Although this may not excite some people, these outcomes give me a sense of accomplishment. They tell me that I worked hard during the workout, that I will become a better runner as a result of that workout, and that I am moving closer to my goals.

2. The Challenge to Improve

One thing I love about running is that I don’t know how fast I can become. This uncertainty motivates me to push my current limits and improve. Although it sometimes takes months to shave a few seconds off of my time, I know that if I keep putting in the work improvement will come.

3. Competition

Why wait for race day to compete when you can compete with your teammates? During longer workouts, I will work to drop the Bucks (two high school boys that I train with). In the shorter and faster workouts, I will try my best to stay with them as long as possible. Through this friendly competition, I have been able to run faster in workouts.

4. Inspiration

Teammates are not just competitors; they are also a support team. During workouts, my teammates and I will encourage each other by giving each other a thumbs up or gasping “good job.” Seeing them challenge themselves, encourages me to push myself in workouts.

5. Time with Friends

When you spend hours each day suffering together, how can you not become close to your teammates? Other than working out together, we enjoy potlucks and easy runs. On our easy runs, we have meaningful conversations, explore trails, splash each other in puddles, and tease each other. During our potlucks, we have enjoyed Beeman’s famous buns, delicious salads, and yummy dessert pizzas!