As part of my blog I (MM) believe it’s important to learn from inspiring runners. I am really inspired by Victoria’s (VP) journey as a multiple Boston Qualifier (BQ) Runner and as a coach.
MB: You’ve coached many athletes what common traits do they have which make them successful, that non professional athletes can implement?
VP: Consistency, dedication, and a strong work ethic. The most successful runners I coach are not necessarily the most naturally talented runners. Natural talent can only get you so far without the work ethic and a solid routine to back it. Success wont happen overnight, but if you can be patient and trust the process, your hard work will always pay off.
MB: Sometimes people want to run the marathon to find something outside of themselves to boost their confidence, through your coaching how do you show your clients how to focus and enhance the strengths they already have?
VP: There are SO many ways to find your inner stregnth and confidence through running. The 5k-10k distances are often under-rated. You can take years to focus on these shorter distances and become a very confident runner through this process.
My coaching focusing on teaching runners their potential. By slowing down on their easy days and reserving ‘fast running’ only for workout/racing days completely transforms people.
It takes an incredible amount of faith in your abilities to run slow on your easy days. As a result of slowing down on easy days, they are able to hit new high paces in workouts. Once an athlete can successfully ‘trust’ their training, they will have at sense of confidence that cannot be broken.
MB: Why do you run?
VP: I was overweight as a teenager and never involved in sports. I always wanted to be fit and healthy, but I never found my niche. When I got older, I wanted to lose weight, so I started doing cardio activities to burn calories. I quickly found a weird obsession with running. I didn’t know understand it at the time. I had this desire to get better and go further and faster every time.
The desire to self improve and to become a better runner is how it started. I now run because it’s part of my life. I am not as competitive or obsessed with improving anymore, but running is just part of my identity.
Just like people wake up and drink coffee in the morning, I will always wake up and have a desire to run in the morning. It’s a freeing sense, like it’s what humans are supposed to be doing with their time instead of starring at a screen all day.
MB: What does a normal training week look like for you?
VP: I usually run 7 days a week. I like to run in the mornings for 60-80 min then sometimes I will run in the afternoon again for a short 20-35 min run after work.
Last year (2016) I ran 3,488 miles.
In 2015 I ran 3,350 miles. I run so much because it really de-stresses me. It’s not so much about the performance. I am someone who runs a lot of easy miles at 2-3 min per mile slower than my half marathon pace.
MB: In addition to your running do you do anything else to help improve your performance?
VP: I do some basic lifting/plyo/circuit training.
MB: For nutrition during a marathon what are your preferred foods and drinks?
During a marathon I have had some nutrition problems in the past. What works for me does not work for everyone. I generally just stick with the powerade and water.
MB: What has been the favourite moment of your running career so far?
VP: Seriously so many.. Running my first Boston Marathon probably. It was just an amazing experience.
MB: What races are on your bucket list?
VP: St. George Marathon. I want to run a marathon or half marathon in every state sometime in my life. I am at 9 states for marathons right now. But I’m not in a huge rush at the moment.
MB: During the marathon what do you think about to keep focused, and what mental techniques do you use to keep yourself motivated in the tough moments?
VP: When it start to get tough, I think of all the moments during training and during my life that were difficult. Everyone has been through hard times. Thinking of the hard things you have been through will help you re-discover your mental stregnth during the race.
Think of the hardest things you have faced in your life. If you can get through that, you can continue running at a moderate pace for another 90 min, I always tell myself that.
This usually works best when these life events are closest to the racing events happening. I had my biggest break out performances during race I had something to carry in my mind. My mom had cancer, and I discovered I inherited the BRCA1 gene from her, which means that I have an 85% chance of causing breast/ovarian cancer in my lifetime, so I will need to have 2 major surgeries in the next decade to take preventative measures. When I discovered this, I had an anger inside that I was able to release while running. It was a good way to work out some of the emotional things I was feeling. It’s a very healthy way to relieve stress.
MB: What one lesson which you’ve learnt in running, do you apply to your life?
VP: If you want to become successful at anything, you need to learn how to suck it up and push through ANYTHING that comes your way. Life will not slow down for anyone. No one can do it for you. You need to find a way to get past any obstacle put in your way. You cannot sit at a road block waiting for someone else to save you.