Whether you’re looking for love on the run or hitting the road in search of your happy place, here’s how JP Bédard suggest navigating your running journey.
I find running helps me wade through a lot of stuff, but sometimes I still get stuck in a negative space. You’re such an inspiration – and obviously we are all works in progress – what, if anything, helps you push through the tough mental roadblocks?
There is no doubt in my mind that running is an elixir – no matter what I bring to my run, be it joy, anger, sorrow, or fear, I always arrive at a better place on the other side of that run. Running ‘rightsizes’ me, realigns me, and replenishes me. It’s as though our cadence unearths and unpacks all the ‘baggage’ we’ve carted around with us throughout our life. What we are left with either energizes us, enrages us, or it terrifies us, but either way, it forces us into the moment.
When it comes to pushing through mental roadblocks, I believe it is somewhat of a gift in disguise. For me, the most substantive growth at either a personal or an athletic level always arrives after a period of challenge that I’ve had to work through or push through. Often, when I feel ‘stuck’, it is a direct result of my feeling inadequate because I am comparing myself to what others have achieved. I recently heard some great advice around this matter, so I’ll share it with you because you might find it helpful. The person said, we need to be careful comparing our ‘present’ circumstances with someone else’s ‘highlights reel’. For whatever it’s worth, I’ll take a ‘bad day’ running over not running… any day!
Should a runner date a runner or not? That is the question.
It seems like such an easy question on the surface, but once I start digging into it, I quickly realize that no matter which way I go on this one, I’m headed for trouble.
Let’s look at the pros first. Being in love with someone who is as passionate about running as you are certainly makes it easier to ‘allocate’ the family budget towards all those expensive destination races you want to knock off your bucket list. It would also be awesome to be in a relationship with someone who totally gets that going to bed at 9:30pm on Saturday night is completely ‘normal’. And we better not forget about the ‘romantic’ benefits – dating someone who thinks compression socks are sexy… well, that’s just an added bonus!
That being said, there is no denying the downsides to dating another runner. Two people living together and tapering at the same time… that’s bound to get ‘ugly’ real fast. What about all the logistical nightmares involved in this type of relationship? Who is going to be waiting for you at the finish line to help you navigate your weary body back to the car? If you’re both running, who’s going to crew your 24-hour adventure race or ultra? And race expos… what if you both want to buy the same race jacket or shirt? Twinsies: definitely not cool! And worst of all… what if you break up? Can you really expect to subject all that post-break-up awkwardness on everyone else in your running group?
If you have to run two marathons, Boston Marathon and two weeks later Toronto Goodlife Marathon, which one do you choose to run as LSD run (Long Slow Distance) and which one as a race for your PB?
Funny you should ask, I just might have a little experience with this one. I’m sure there are lots of people reading this who are thinking: “Are you insane? One marathon a season is more than enough.” But once you get over the ‘nuttiness’ of this prospect, you begin to see the potential benefits of doing two or more marathons in close succession.
Before I go any further, I should stress that no one attempt this until (s)he has been running for quite some time, and is more in tune with the upper limits of endurance his or her body can withstand. For a few years now, I have been running at least five marathons in the spring, and the same again in the fall racing season. Despite what conventional wisdom might lead you to believe, my best times are never in that first marathon of each season. I tend to peak in my second or third race.
You mentioned that your first of two races takes place in Boston, which considering its terrain and race-day logistics, is a challenging course to hit a PB on. If I were you, I would target the Toronto Goodlife Marathon, and treat Boston as a tune-up race. Start off the first few miles at Boston about 10% slower than your marathon pace, and then ramp it up to your ‘goal pace’ until you hit the halfway point of the race. And now, here’s where you’ll need to make a game-day decision – If you’re still feeling great, and the weather is ideal, you might consider making Boston the PB attempt. You never know what the weather will be like in Toronto, not to mention your stomach and all of the other factors that go into a successful race.
If you decide to shut it down, and stick with Toronto as the goal race, then I suggest you run the second half of Boston at 60-90 seconds slower than your goal marathon pace. Whenever I do this, I always like to ramp up the tempo again during the last kilometer so that I finish strong and leave the day feeling that I have lots left in the tank for my PB in the following race.