As part of my blog I (MM) believe it’s important to share common and similar experiences. I’d like to introduce you to Stephanie (SP) who talks about the positive impact running has in her life.
MM: Why do you run and why do you continue to do it?
SP: I find running the most fun form of cardiovascular exercise because it is a great way to challenge yourself and be able to be outdoors with a constant change of scenery. Over the years I have seen how I am able to improve my race times and fitness and I have loved to continue getting better at something so that’s a big reason why I continue this sport.
MM: You have a great social media presence, especially on Instagram. If you could accomplish anything via social media what would it be?
SP: The best thing I can accomplish on social media is to inspire other people to get fit and healthy, and take care of their bodies.
MM: What was your worst and best races and what did you learn from them?
SP: My worst race was a few years ago when I ran a last minute half marathon in Key Biscayne, where I did not train properly and thought I could just “wing it” without getting any long runs in for weeks before. It was also pouring that day! I learned I need to make sure I have the proper amount of time to train for a race, and to not avoid training in the rain sometimes!
My absolute best race was my most recent marathon in Miami, where I broke my PR by 31 minutes! It really helped me see the potential I have to get even faster. I worked very hard for about 10 months changing so many things up in my training plan and diet to get better, and I definitely learned that the only thing that works is work.
MM: What does a normal training week look like for you?
SP: I train 6 days a week with two double days. Each week includes a long run, tempo-paced run, a speed session that is completely different every week (1-2 mile repeats, Yasso 800s, hill repeats, etc), and about 5 easy-paced sessions. I strength train about 3 days a week and focus on core exercises and full-body circuits.
MM: In addition to your running what else do you do to help improve your performance?
SP: Outside my training program, I believe my diet and sleep have played a huge role in improving my performance. I have stayed pretty strict with eating a high calorie/protein/carb diet of whole, unprocessed foods. I cut down my alcohol intake to about 1-2 glasses of wine, 1-2 days per week. I have one day a week that I eat out and have a ‘cheat meal’. I have been focusing on getting more sleep, at least 7 hours a night, which I never did before.
MM: What races are on your bucket list?
SP: Boston! Which I am finally going for next year! I also want to get to the Big Sur, Honolulu, and Chicago marathons soon. And sometime in the near future I would love to race outside of the US and go for the Berlin, London, and Paris marathons.
MM: 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?
SP: When I start to feel tired and heavy legs, I always will keep reminding myself that it’s nothing I haven’t done before, and if I have ran 20 miles already, for example, I can run 6.2 more! I picture myself winning races sometimes and that keeps me excited to be running when I feel I am slowing down!
MM: What one lesson which you’ve learnt in running, which you can apply to your life?
SP: Just as I said before, The only thing that works is work! Running and my training has taught me that our bodies can do so much more than we think. Since running has overall made me a healthy person, I realise more now how important it is to take care of the only bodies we are given.