Hello blog readers. Here is an interview by Fiteverywhere Poznań about me as runner. In the text below you find answers to questions such as: Why do I run? What are my goals with running? How do I plan my yearly running events calendar? How do I plan my training for these events?
Why do you run Maria?
A dear friend asked me some time ago why I run so much? Do you run for life, or from life? My reply was hesitant but I agreed somehow to both. When life is complex and things changes, moving from town to town, and from country to country, the running is what I keep. It is with me and gives me stability, meaning, and structure.
What are your goals with running?
My long-term and overreaching goal is to run 5K just below 20 minutes.
Why the distance 5K, and why below 20 minutes?
- Being fast on 5K challenge me to work on my running technique and my running strength. Engaging in endurance sports my entire life, I am not naturally fast by nature. I am a typical slow-twitch (ST) runner (you can read more about the different types of runners, ST and FT, in a future article to be published on my blog).
- The 5K event allows me to mix up the running with resistance training using kettle bells and barbells. Maintaining my speed and strength is something I strongly believe is important for my future health. I want to age well and maintain as much energy as possible.
- Aiming for a 5K time just below 20 minutes is enough of a goal for me to develop as a runner. I am the mother of two small children, and the wife to a 12-hour working husband. I do not either have the time, or the energy, to train the hours needed to prepare for a marathon. The running is important in my life, but it is not all. I have many other interests and focus areas in life, where my children are my number one. So, training for distances from 5K up to half-marathons, and wanting to reach intermediate times on these events, is simply what fits into my life-schedule.
How far are you from reaching your goal?
Since the autumn of 2013 I have had the goal of running 5K under 20 minutes. This goal have forced and still force me to develop as a runner. I have learned the “Toolbox of Running Workouts” which I learned about by reading articles, books and buying running programs for the different specific events. However, it takes time and effort to acquire knowledge and experience. First of all it takes some effort to just to try out all the different workouts, and then the body needs time to adapt to these. Therefore, it is only this year that I have a feeling for what workouts suits me, my background and my running type, being an ST-runner. During 2014, I was doing too much intensive running workouts, and since I also did not have the base that I have now from two years of training 7 days a week-52 weeks a year, I went into over-training. I was ill more or less every month and finally everything ended up in a severe injury (cervical disc herniation in my neck) resulting in that I could not move or sleep for 3 weeks. I was laying down looking up the ceiling. I had to start over and find a more sustainable way of training. I learned that you cannot force your body. If you push it too far and too fast, it only leads to slowed progress and often to regression rather than progression.
How do you plan your running events calendar this year? Why do you pick these events? How many events do you plan to run this year?
This year I am putting focus on events where I will challenge and make use of my endurance. I naturally have more endurance than speed, probably due to me being an endurance athlete since early age.
Moving to Hamburg, I engaged in a running club for the first time in my life. (I have been in clubs and teams before but in the sports of cross-country skiing, orienteering, football, and ice-hockey). With my new running club ”Hamburger Laufladen” we have a winter-cup with one run every month during November to April arranged together with other running clubs in Hamburg. The events act as much as a competition as a social event. You can chose from distances ranging from 3 to 10 kilometers, and since the start of each distance is quite good separated, some runners training for the marathon takes part in all three distances. For me, one distance is enough. But these are really nice events with people of all ages. During 2014, I was completely hooked up on running and it was my-everything. But over the years, I started to view my running as something I want to maintain for the rest of my life. Therefore I want to train and compete in a sustainable way, so that I will be able to engage in the Hamburger running events still as an old crinkly lady.
This spring my focus will be the 5K to 10K events. These events require speed, endurance, and mental strength. In the end of July, I want run the Swiss Alpine Half-marathon, and then in the end of August, a half-marathon here in Hamburg. Then in the end of September I have my annual event in Sweden, the 15-km cross-country run Lidingöloppet. So, I will focus on shorter events with more speed in the spring and and then go for longer distances as the season progress. To conclude, I believe that a 5 – 10K event once per month is feasible and it does not stress the body too much. However, sometimes it is worth taking time off from competitions and focus on recovery and base training.
How do you plan your training to fit your running events?
As mentioned before I now have the experience of what I call the “Toolbox of Running Workouts”. This toolbox contains different workouts that target our different running muscles (slow, intermediate, and fast) as well as workouts that train and develop our different energy systems (fat, glycogen and creatine phosphate).
Since I already have very good endurance (good oxygen transfer) I will not do too much long runs and distance work but I will instead focus on my running strength, with great emphasis on my running technique. I need to learn how to get out the power that I have in my muscles by learning the right body posture for a more efficient running stride. I hope to build speed with strides and 200-meter intervals during March and April. When I have developed speed and strength, I have to develop my endurance around this speed. When this is achieved I am well prepared to run faster on longer distances, up to the half-marathon J.