The Gospel According to Lanni Marchant
Lanni Marchant, double Olympian, woman’s activist, Canada’s all-time fastest marathon and half marathon runner, is iRun’s new question answerer (she doesn’t like being called an “advice columnist”). You ask, she answers—whether it’s about training techniques, dealing with bullies, dating, speed work or lacing up against the best in the world, the floor is open and Lanni is ready. Honesty guaranteed.
Scott Goodburn What’s your favourite craft brewery in Ontario, Lanni? I live near London!
Lanni Marchant: Amsterdam Brewery, though I’m also a fan of Flying Monkeys. One near London is Forked Rivers. I just discovered it and like it a lot.
Amanda Belliveau What’s the biggest challenge you’ve had to face during your training, and how did you overcome it?
Lanni Marchant: Most recently I’ve had to figure my way around dealing with my Dad’s passing. We lost him just before New Year’s Eve and it was unexpected. I’ve been trying to figure out why I did not let the issues between us affect my training before, but I’m letting him have an effect on my training now. January 1st was my official start back to real mileage and there I was dealing with a mental and emotional curve ball. Obviously, this challenge is different than coming back from injury or dealing with running politics, but my approach has been similar. I focus on what I can control and have to be willing to modify some of my mini goals so that I do not lose ground on my big goals. I like writing things down–training notes, workout splits, or just feelings I had during a session.
My biggest challenge was and is self doubt/fear toward the end of training if I don’t always hit the mark during my workouts. I think I could have done more to be better, stronger, faster. This is why I now keep a training journal for my half marathon and current marathon training, so when those thoughts creep in, I can look back and see my efforts, my split times, my speed training. It’s a work in progress.
Jeff Shikaze How often during the season should I be weight training (is twice enough?), and should it mostly be body weight exercises?
Lanni Marchant: I weight train year round though it changes from when I am in my base phase versus my peak phase. When I’m not getting destroyed by hard interval or tempo workouts, I’ll be in the gym 3-4 times a week strength training (weights, plyometric exercises, drills and core work). As my season progresses, my strength program cuts back to 2 times a week.
Marc Roy Do you do most of your running outdoors in the winter and if yes, does the cold affect your pace?
Lanni Marchant: I run outdoors as much as possible year round. Winter running isn’t just about dealing with the cold, but also the extra layers we have to train in, poor footing and less daylight. I run by effort rather than by my watch for any harder efforts.
Yvon Duval Are you single?
Lanni Marchant: Isn’t the standard answer for an athlete to say we date our sport?
Leah Marsh 2016 I did my first half in Vegas, baby! Now with cracking down on my budget and living in northern BC (Fort St. John) and with only a few local 5k and 10k coming up, what’s a good way to find a goal you end up doing by yourself (like a half marathon)?
Lanni Marchant: Plan on one of the 5k/10k local races, but get in 10-15km of running beforehand and set a time goal. I’ve done this in training when my coach wants a half marathon effort but traveling to one is not a great option. It’s a great balance between working hard on your own and then having people to run hard with.
Jessica Clark Shody Have you ever had to combat bursitis?
Lanni Marchant: In my hips/glutes off and on since college. Rolling out with a lacrosse ball is helpful, as is making sure not to stay seated in one position too long when lawyering.
John Powell Have you got any marathons planned for 2017?
Lanni Marchant: Not this spring, but as we get closer to the summer we’ll evaluate if there’s a fall marathon that seems appealing.
Charlotte Flewelling What got you into running in the first place?
Lanni Marchant: I started running as a form of cross-training for figure skating and also as a form of punishment when I had been a “mis-fit” and my figure skating coaches would make me run laps of the parking lot. I soon discovered that I liked running more than skating and found it refreshing to not have to worry about how I looked competing—I just needed to focus on passing girls and trying to cross the finish line first. My first true running memory is running in the elementary school cross country meet at Spring Bank Park. I had borrowed a pair of running shoes from my girlfriend which were more than a few sizes too big for me and trudged my way around the course.
James Wild How to taper for distance races? Reduce mileage but keep race pace intensity? Or reduce mileage and intensity? What about speed work during taper?
Lanni Marchant: I do not do well with a long taper. The week of a big race we start backing off the mileage but keeping with some intensity. It’s important to keep some intensity in your program so you do not feel flat or stale, but the volume of the workouts does not need to be high.
Claire Boone I’m going to run my first half in 2017. I’ve been running 12-15k and while I know I can add distance, I struggle to get faster. I’m 5′ 0″ and have short legs. Tips?
Lanni Marchant: If you are already doing a speed program then try adding strides (8-10x 100m pickups) after you have finished your normal mileage runs.
Stephen Wood What’s your favourite training song that gets your ass moving? Mine is “Kickstart my Heart.”
Lanni Marchant: Dirty Radio’s “Ground Shake” is my race day alarm clock. I listen to it before hard workouts as well.
February 14th, 2017