Being the Boss of the Run (Thriving vs. Surviving)

Remember I used to talk about that fake club, the Slow Sucky Runners Club? My mindset has changed SO much over the last five years when it comes to my attitude about myself as a runner, as well as what terms like “fast” and “slow” mean. I haven’t managed to fully escape and eradicate the club (sounding more like a cult?) but I am in no way a follower or a member anymore!

Starting out, and still at times, beliefs like “I’m not one of those naturals” or “it’s easy for others, but a struggle for me” can come up. It’s not uncommon. Comparing ourselves to others is hard not to do, especially in the world of social media where we mostly see the highlights of the lives of others, but live in the day-to-day highs and lows of our own. In reality, someone is always going to be faster, more consistent, stronger, look like a model in race photos, whatever. The sooner we can accept that, the better off we’ll all be. We all know that comparing is totally self-sabotaging, but not doing it is easier said than done!

As I’ve become stronger and gained experience (and it’s not linear, it goes up and down just like everything else in life) one thing has become very clear to me about running: a person can go out meekly for a run, believing it’s going to be hard and a struggle to the end because “I’m not a good runner“, OR, he/she/I can go out and fuckin own it.

I used to approach a run like I just needed to make it through; just get out and survive those kilometers. Before I even began, I’d give myself permission to walk any time (nothing wrong with walking, but decide at the time, not before!) because running was “really hard for me” (newsflash, running is hard for everyone) and I’d be anticipating feeling as fast and energetic as a pile of bricks. It was a pre-determined battle. Because I, Jamie, was not born a runner.

Me and my stubby legs and sometimes insomniac energy-levels, I wasn’t someone with runner’s genes! Subconsciously, I’d feel sorry for myself and go out to scrape by, with an attitude and energy in tune with not being good enough. Always a pile of excuses protecting me from trying harder and seeing what might happen if I got uncomfortable and investigated what the edge might feel like. These excuses also held me back from making any progress for a long time.

It’s not totally clear how and when this shifted; I’m sure it’s been many things along the way, and gradual. Maybe it’s because I’ve seen progress, since I figured out how to commit and try once I quit drinking. Maybe it’s simply been long enough for inevitable improvements to show up. Maybe it’s all the books I read about mental toughness, visualization, and all the non-physical parts of running. I’m certain it’s largely in part from the workouts and paces my coach gives me that initially have me wondering if he’s made a typo, but afterwards leave me exhausted, proud and in a bit of disbelief. Practice, practice, practice! It’s SO CLICHE but seriously, if we don’t even try how will we ever know if we can do hard things and be better than we’ve decided we are?? I’m so happy to now recognize the distinct difference between merely surviving vs. THRIVING. It’s been a process, but in a nutshell it’s an individual experience about confidence, curiosity and pushing myself.

Everything always seems to boil down to confidence! What we believe about ourselves. What we know about ourselves. What we tell ourselves about ourselves. I am hoping to keep this mental-momentum going and to keep building on it, and never go back to that old way of thinking about myself as a runner. No cults for me, LOL.

The two most significant things that are helping me with this are:

Mantras, because they remind me that the choice is mine to either be the boss of my run, or to let it boss me around.  (And to consciously choose option A).

and

The Divide-and-Conquer strategy, which is also a tool for staying present and focused, and creating a sense of accomplishment over and over again along the way, NOT just upon getting home/crossing the finish/completing the prescribed distance at a certain average pace.

My rules for picking a mantra are you have to love it, believe it, and it has to make you feel something inside. Repeat a single word or phrase that has some serious meaning to you. One that has been really working for me lately is “I control this process“. Why? Because I know it’s true. I know that I have the choice to dig a bit deeper, find a better rhythm, slow down if I’m not going to have any gas left later, regroup, anything I can do to feel in charge of what MY body is doing and keep my mind attached to that. This leads to another good one, “I am in charge“.  Same idea, and also true. We control our own bodies, for the most part. If it’s really fuckin hard at a given moment, relax, check your form, SMILE, or maybe a resting bitch face would work better for you, throw in a surge if that might help. The runner is in charge. Repeat something powerful that helps you to check in and consciously tweak the situation. Mantras encourage presence, and staying present helps make the run YOURS. This doesn’t have to relate in any way to pace, PRs, winning a race or feeling as good as you did five days ago. It’s about being present in the current run.

Next: the Divide and Conquer strategy. Over the last year and a bit that I’ve been working with Andrew, it’s become very apparent to me that I LOVE and thrive on the runs that have instructions. Why? Because I’m paying attention to what I’m doing and breaking it down into smaller pieces. A track workout with x repeats of x distance, shooting for this pace or time. Or a medium-distance run made up of a warm-up, intervals and recoveries, and a cool down. It’s easy to head out for a long training run and think, “well shit, here I go to run _____ kilometers, I won’t be home for hours” and then the brain proceeds to wander. It came to me that I can make my own tasks or goals within any run, and own each of them, one by one. A goal for a certain kilometer split. This many minutes at an increased effort, followed by this many minutes at a recovery pace. Whatever. Chop it up and conquer one thing at a time. Boss, boss, boss.

Shitty runs do happen, it’s inevitable, but I find they happen far less now that I have more confidence in my ability to be in charge! A book that has contributed greatly to my changed mental approach is The Resilient Runner by William Peters. It’s nothing fancy and it’s straight to the point. I highly recommend. Happy running! Oh, and just because, here 🙂

Have a good day! Share if you like it xo

@jammiekomadina

 

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Current Fall Running Favourites!

It’s FALL!!! A runner’s favourite seaon! For many, fall marathon or other distance training is well under way. The weekly kilometers are getting up there. As the window of daylight continues to shrink, the temperatures slowly drop and the runs get longer and/or more frequent, I start to find it more obvious the gear I reach for on the daily. These are my current go-tos that I have been turning to regularly. I love to try new gear, fuel and apparel all the time, but I have been noticing that I have been coming back to these six items again and again in the last few weeks!

Altra Escalante

These shoes. They are so unbelievably comfortable!!! And so light! They make me feel like I am running with the freedom of bare feet, but with cushion to keep me feeling energized and springy, and obviously protect the soles of my feet. Also, the square-shaped toe box allows my toes to take their normal (extremely unique, lol) positions vs. being squished together, which can lead to blisters! It didn’t take me more than a few runs to transition to the zero-dop of Altra runners, but I have always been a forefoot striker so that may explain it a bit…give yourself time to transition, as they suggest, especially if you are a heel striker. I just ordered a second pair in blue. Yessssssss. Here’s a bit of info on heel-to-toe drop if it’s something you aren’t familiar with.

Nathan Fireball Hydration Vest with double flasks

I hadn’t used a hydration vest on long runs in the past, but lately I find if I’m going for any more than twenty kilometers, which I am every Saturday because it’s FALL MARATHON SEASON, it’s way smarter for me to have two water bottles, plus a place to put my long sleeve when it’s time to come off (and it always comes off…such an over-heater) and a few extra pockets for lots of fuel and some toilet paper. I don’t live somewhere with water fountains or places to stop in for water on the long run, so this is an excellent piece of gear! I was skeptical of chafe when I wore this vest over just a tank for the first time, but it never happened! The longest run I’ve been on with the Nathan is 30km. It took a tiny bit of getting used to because it’s obviously bulkier than being vestless (duh), but it’s super comfy, obviously adjustable, and I think it might even result in me running along a little more smoothly to minimize vertical oscillation (and sloshing of the water in the bottles when they’re no longer full). There is room for a reservoir in the back pack part, but I have yet to use that option. Another wonderful thing about this vest is it has some reflective detailing. When the long run has to be squeezed in before a weekend shift at work, I am thankful for any extra visibility.

nathan

don’t have the water bottle in there in this pic, was using that pocket for my phone!

Oiselle Firecracker Reflective Long Sleeve

I just got this, but I’m already in love! It keeps my neck/collar-bone area warm and my arms and hands (with the thumb holes to keep the sleeves over the hands), but the cropped style doesn’t leave my torso sweating and steamy, wanting to rip a layer off less than a kilometre in. The material is thicker than a shirt, but not like a hoodie or half-zip, AND it’s beautiful. I’ve been layering it on top of a super thin tank and it’s great for early morning or evening runs. The paintbrush pattern is reflective, which was my number one purchasing point. Living in Northern BC means that even now in early Fall, it’s pitch black at the beginning (or all, depending on the distance) of an early morning run, and it’s dusk by the time I hit the road in the evening. I’m obsessed with reflective! I need to mention, the fully reflective Speed Tights I bought last season from Lululemon are AMAZING and beat out any other reflective item I’ve ever owned, hands down, but since I learned how much I love shorts (took like thirty years) I haven’t been wearing them yet this season. It’s not cold enough yet! #dontyouhatepants … oh, speaking of reflective paintbrush print and hating pants, I just ordered the mini-stride shorts from Oiselle in the same colour as this top. Ensemble?

Nakd Bars

I first bought these for a snack at work, but then brought one with me on a run because they are simple and taste good. The ingredients are just dates & nuts! I like taking two with me on a long run and taking small bites whenever I feel like it. I’ve been trying to find other fueling options that work for me because most gels are so sugary that my teeth hurt after, and sometimes they send my guts into a panic. I get so hungry on long runs! Soooooo hungry! So, these have been awesome for giving myself something to actually EAT vs. a gooey substance that doesn’t resemble food at all. I do still use Cliff Shots (razz) and Endurance Tap, but I think incorporating some chewable food is really working for me.

FlipBelt Classic (now that I have one that fits properly)

Initially, I decided that I wasn’t a fan of the FlipBelt because it would slide up from my hips to my waist when wearing any sort of semi-slippery material pants or shorts. I gave my first one away. Then, the spring marathons came and I didn’t have anywhere to put my gels, phone, and whatever else I needed to have on me on race day. So, I invested in a size smaller and now I am all about the FlipBelt! It stays put 99% of the time, and it’s like adding that pocket big enough for a Samsung in a Lifeproof case that all pants and shorts should have, but only like 1% actually do. There is an elastic leash inside the belt with a clip to attach a key or fob and not worry about it falling out, since there are no zippers on the FlipBelt classic. I can store my phone (in it’s bulky case), my headphones for if/when I decide I want them, and whatever else I’m bringing with me that I haven’t put in my vest, if I’m wearing that too.

There are even flat water bottles you can purchase that slide into the belt! I have the larger one and I can slide it in right at the small of the back. Not my top favourite way to carry water, but an option I have used often. The main thing is my phone stays flat against the lower abdomen, doesn’t bounce around and is easily accessible for safety, music, runfies or whatever!

ProCompression PC Racer socks

Not only do I love the squeeze and supportive feeling provided from compression socks, I LOVE THE COLOURS. I am a bit of a shop-a-holic…but I don’t really give a shit if I accumulate tons of stuff that revolves around my biggest passion. It’s fun! For a long time I was strictly about either above-the-calf socks, or regular socks. One or the other. I decided to try the shorter ones to mix it up and I really love them!

racer

woo these ones are on the way!

They aren’t as warm, which is good for sunny Fall afternoon runs, and I feel like they give even more support in the calf/achilles area than the tall ones, which is a place I need it. Variety: the spice of life!

 

One thing that isn’t on this list (yet?) but I am stoked to review is the Lightning Layer from Oiselle, which is also en route. It’s like a non-ugly safety vest for running. I’ll let you know how that is when it shows up! I hope your Autumn running has been as enjoyable as mine has been so far! If you’ve already raced, I hope it was AMAZING and congratulations! And if you’re still training for an upcoming event, I’M EXCITED FOR YOU!!!!

The Taper is Real! Omgg

Hi. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

HEY! I have an idea, let’s train hard AF for like, months, and then a few weeks before the BIG race, back off on the training and try not to freak out about the imagined tragedy of losing all fitness and mental preparation by the time race day arrives. LOL.

Welcome to the marathon taper! Any marathon training plan has one. I myself am one week out from running my fourth marathon. The taper is the final weeks before race day where the runner runs less and rests more to be ready to perform at the event. Seems legit. But ask any runner who has done it and they’ll tell you some shit!

I like resting. I love sleeping, now that I’m getting better at it. And when I push my feet into the ground and take a deep breath, I know I’m prepared. BUT, the mind can play many tricks during the final stretch and it’s maddening but hilarious at the same time. This is sometimes known as the Taper Tantrums. This is my fourth episode of the Taper Tantrums, as in, it happens every time. I know I’m not alone here, hopefully you can relate if you’ve run a marathon before. If you plan to run a marathon in the future, don’t say I didn’t warn you hahaha. Here are some of the best tricks the marathon taper has up its sleeve, and which I am currently falling for! I’m a bit dramatic at times, makes me laugh at myself, and it helps me feel better to talk about it comically. Everything is going to be okay!!!!

 

“I’m out of shape and my body is made of lead.”

Not true, even if it feels that way. Training peaked two weeks ago and there haven’t been many really hard or fast runs lately, which leads to doubting pace capability and tenacity, for me. On another note, I just tired myself out for months, so no shit I’m tired! Thank God my coach reminded me of that! Mentally, my brain is aware that it’s time to slow down a bit, but that sometimes doesn’t make sense as the race approaches. Must keep working just as hard! Wrong. Thankfully, in reality, fitness is NOT lost in the taper weeks. It has been studied and proven, and I (mildly) doubt that that research is a consipiracy theory.

 

“I don’t remember how to run.”

Running along, thinking, “wtf, how do my feet normally land on the ground? Where do my arms usually swing? I feel like I’ve never done this before. Damn, I’m uncoordinated.” HAHAHA I don’t know where this comes from, but I’m guessing it’s just one of the many elements of the fear of not being ready. I definitely know how to run, I’ve put in over 1100km this year alone. Running is a method of terrestrial locomotion allowing humans and other animals to move rapidly on foot. Sounds manageable.

Screenshot_20170521-125123-01

 

“I’ve gained weight.”

Probably. Running less, sweating less, eating more, especially carbs, storing water… It might be a pound or two. In my case this is true, but who cares, and it’s not abnormal. If it bothers you, just don’t try on your pants or shorts with the tightest waist band at this time.

 

“Who am I?”

Hahahhaa.

 

“Wow, I have pains in every area of my body!”

I remember hearing about these phantom pains while I was training for my first marathon and approaching the taper. Makes sense though. Work your ass off for months, then fear something will go wrong before or during the race. For me, suddenly my almost 20-year-old ankle injury is saying hello a lot more often, and my left knee, which I’ve never injured or had issues with “feels off”. Hahah just STFU, body.

 

“Maybe I should eat more.”

Carb loading for a marathon generally starts about three DAYS out, not three WEEKS! It is not necessary to eat every carbohydrate in sight as the race approaches. For me, I just need to remember to eat if I’m actually hungry, and to eat a balance of carbs, fats and protein, NOT adopt an all-carb diet (even though that sounds magnificent.)

 

“I better check the Weather Network hourly for the 14 days before the race.”

Hourly, times 24 hours/day x 14 days = 336 weather checks, and that’s only because the app only shows two weeks into the future. At end of the day, the weather is one of the things on race day that we CAN’T control. Maybe it makes me feel more in control knowing what to expect if the race was suddenly SWITCHED TO TOMORROW, but what will be will be. Let it go, Jamie, and person reading this who is approaching marathon day.

 

“I’m not ready.”

Hello there, Self-Doubt, you asshole, it’s been a while.

conversation with Coach Andrew, who is not an asshole.

Backing off the training naturally can result in decreased confidence in the ability to perform well, or to even simply survive 42.2km. Add in pressure from the self possibly to hit a specific goal, nervousness and everything else I’ve been telling you about, and it can be hard to believe in yourself/myself! Trust. Your. Training. I’m ready. You’re ready. Oprah was ready in 1994.

 

The marathon taper affects people in different ways. I’m trying not to let it get to me, and I suggest you do your best not to let it get to you either, because race day is coming and it’s f*ckin go time. If you are dating, married to, best friends with or work with a tapering marathoner, please try to be encouraging and patient. I apologize on behalf of all of us!

@jammiekomadina

Training Recap: May 1st-7th

MONDAY May 1st

3k up, 2 x 15min intervals working from 8:20-7:55/mi pace (3 min rest), 3k down

that was hard!

Vinyasa Flow with Tobie

Today I started a 30-day yoga challenge at the studio I used to teach at, Zihkara Yoga! My reasoning for signing up for this during the final 3 weeks of marathon training is that it will help me battle the taper-crazies, and feel strong and stretched and ready to race! I’m trying to go to as many Yin classes as I can, but even a sweaty flow class feels good on the body.. taking it easy!

 

TUESDAY May 2nd

9km easy with Sam & Rheannon

Invigorating Midday Flow with Tobie

 

WEDNESDAY May 3rd

Earlybird Spin with Karen at K2 Cycle Fusion um holy CRAP I forgot how challenging spin is!!!

Morning Flow with Tobie

Warm Yin with Deirdre

(2x yoga…can’t make a class on Saturday!)

 

THURSDAY May 4th

3k up, 8 x 800m working at 3min50sec reps, 2 min rests, 3k down. YES!!!!!!!!!!!!! This went really well ahahah

Warm Hatha Flow with Shannon

 

FRIDAY May 5th

Morning Flow with Mandy

9km (very) easy in my living room on the treadmill!

 

SATURDAY May 6th

32km comfy pace with Sam & Crystal! BEST LONG TRAINING RUN IN A WHILE!

Oiselle shorts passed the chafe-test, they’re safe for race day. Fueling went well, Huma Gel all the way…well and Sport Beans and Honey Stinger chews and Clif Shot Razz…also pretty excited to try out the Endurance Tap I ordered earlier this week. No blisters or other issues with my rhino feet. Oh, and best of all, NO PIT STOPS.

No yoga, doubled up on Wednesday to make up for today!

 

SUNDAY May 7th

Flow to Bed with Mandy

Oh look, Sam & Crystal again hahaha

 

THREE WEEKS TIL THE CALGARY MARATHON!!!!!!!! feeling good! Sub-4 I’m coming for you!!

calg

Picking out Positives – Thou shalt not freakout about a non-spectacular run!

This morning’s long run was interesting. It had some qualities that could easily have lead me to decide that it wasn’t very good, or even BAD, and then proceed to freak out. Gut problems started around 6km. Accumulated fatigue resulted in a pace that was a little discouraging. Then side stitches on both sides. Lastly, the option my coach gave me for an up-tempo finish wasn’t looking good, and then didn’t happen.

Despite the latter, I didn’t have to force myself to look for positives today, they were apparent. I did, however, need to make a conscious choice to focus on them and to form a list of all the great things that came of this training run. Being with my best run buddies was a game-changer as always, but in the end, making that choice is what allowed me to NOT let a tired, crazy-stomach run with many walk breaks get into my head and trick me into thinking negative (and total bullshit) things about training like:

“I’m not ready”

“I suck at this”

“I’ll never reach my goals”

“Worst run ever.”

etc.

Here is the list. Maybe it will give you some ideas the next time things aren’t going as planned on a long run, which I have come to find happens as often as not.

  1. I have a sore, ripped-open blister on the inside of my big toe and it’s been bothering me even when not running, BUT I tried a blister cushion bandaid and it stayed put and was legit! I didn’t have pain or notice it during the run, or at least not enough to let it piss me off.
  2. No chafe! I confirmed that my favourite Oiselle shorts, which I’d like to wear at the Calgary Marathon, can withstand 26k. I’ll put them to the test again next weekend for +30km.
  3. I had no specific muscle or joint discomfort. Often I’ll get painfully tight calves and/or achilles during the first kilometres as my body continues to warm up and find the groove. My left ankle also tends to get really achey from old soccer and volleyball injuries. Today, everything felt good, aside from general tiredness.
  4. . Love the new Salt Stick chewable tablets I picked up at REI in Seattle last weekend. Once my stomach wasn’t going buck wild anymore I tried a couple. Small, not chalky, good flavour and great reviews so I really wanted to test them out on a long run, and I really wanted to like them! Success.
  5. Renewed appreciation for outhouses! Not just for avoidance of pant-pooing, but because a time will come when a stop during a race is required, and in that case, efficiency is needed! A pit stop can be made in a minute and I have realized it doesn’t necessarily have to effect overall time by much!
  6. I spent hours on my feet, working on endurance and simply getting it done. Yes, I was instructed to run the last 6km up-tempo IF feeling good, but I just worked on completing the prescribed distance. General goals of a long run (increase aerobic base, improve running economy, build confidence in distance and duration) were achieved.
  7. My Pro Compression socks were good to go, and I may want to wear these on race day so this is good news. I love my CEP and Tiux socks too, but I find the PC ones less hot. My feet are gross, chewed up and sensitive and seem to hurt from so many different sock materials and thicknesses…strange since my feet are comparable to the skin of a rhino. LOL. Anyways, no issues with blisters, callouses or painful friction. And, tall socks can’t slip down the heel. Another win.
  8. We beat the rain. Aside from a little at the very end which was refreshing, the weather was super cooperative precipitation and temperature-wise. So satisfying to have a long run completed by 9am and to have taken advantage of the nicest part of the day.

 

It’s almost May. The Calgary Marathon is less than a month away. My brain is already trying to freak out. No! The next four weeks of the training schedule have been and will continue to be examined suspiciously. I have added Calgary to my Weather Network app and have been checking it approximately every eight hours ahahahaha, it doesn’t even show May 28th yet!!! It is so easy to let doubt creep in, instead of having confidence and trusting in the training that has been put in and ignoring the uncontrollable factors. This goes for anyone approaching their goal spring race. Shout-out to all the people running BMO Vancouver next weekend, you know who you are! Lets pick positive things to focus on. I will if you will haha.

Today’s training run is very meaningful to me because I actively decided it was good and not bad. It’s like that basic saying, “man I really regret that [run]…SAID NO ONE EVER!”

For all people appraching a big race, lets think about the good stuff!

Things I wish I knew when I first started running

I “became a runner” when I was 28 years old. What I mean by “became a runner” in my case, is I upgraded my grade 11 volleyball shoes to some half-decent runners, started getting out there on a (fairly) regular basis, and signed up for a race to hold myself accountable. I also joined a clinic so I could learn stuff and not do it alone, and we trained with run-walk intervals. Prior to this time, I went for jogs here and there, maybe a couple times a year, usually hungover and dying, with the exception of one summer when I ran a local trail quite consistently to help myself deal with a breakup because sweating helped me feel more sane. I will tell you now, the more consistent you can be, the easier it gets and the more you will get addicted. Duh. But so good! Getting started is the hard part of course, as it is with most things that require effort!

Getting into running is simple and complicated all at the same time. It’s simple because all you really need (until you get addicted, hehehe) is a pair of running shoes, some clothing that is made to sweat in, a sports bra if you have boobs and a hair elastic if you have long hair. If you really want to know how far you go or what kind of pace you’re moving at, there are like a billion free apps to install on your phone, you don’t need to go get a fancy GPS watch.

What is NOT simple about it though, is that it’s HARD (forever) and a process that takes patience and a strong will. In the end, however, these things are what make it awesome. You’ll see.

I’ve been running and training regulary now since the spring of 2013 and looking back on the journey so far, there are quite a few things I can recognize that would have been really helpful to know at the beginning! There are tons of specific tips out there for sure, advice about gear, form, training plans, etc, but here are some of the more general things I would tell my former runner-self if I had the chance.

 

Warming up in some way or another is not only necessary, it will make your run WAYYYY BETTER!

Think about your heart. When you walk out the door at a resting or close to resting heart rate and then start running right away it’s like “SURPRISE MOTHER F#CKER!!! GAHAHAH WAKE UP WAKE UP WAKE UP” and that’s brutal! And rude! Now think of your muscles. Cold. Rigid, maybe still sleeping depending what you’ve done so far that day. That’s mean, and unsafe. Do your body a favour (and your mind) and warm up because starting a run from ground zero SUCKS and makes it WAY harder and way more likely for things to hurt and injuries to occur.

Start with a dynamic warmup of some kind; at least a brisk walk until you start to feel warm and alive, or begin jogging at a pace that, for you, is ridiculously easy.  And not for sixty seconds, think more like ten minutes. Ya, ten whole minutes. Leg swings, lunges, skipping, grapevine, backward jogging, high knees, butt kicks, gentle jumping jacks, you have a lot of options! Dance party??? I am not even lying, sometimes I just go into our bedroom and put on my music and pretend I’m in a Jimmy Falon lip sync battle. Minimum three songs. Do what you need to do, it will make the rest of the run far more enjoyable!!

 

You will definitely think it’s impossible

Yeah, I know…dammit! But ask yourself this question honestly: “why would I expect it to be easy or natural?” Do you do other forms of endurance training? Unless you are an avid cyclist, swimmer, rower or wrestler, just to name a few endurance sports, then your body probably isn’t conditioned to have its heart-rate jacked up for an extended period of time! Keep that in mind and give yourself a break. Start your running journey with run-walk intervals or at a pace that feels easy enough to hold a conversation. I realize you may be alone, but if you don’t feel like you could comfortably talk to a friend who was with you, or on the phone, then slow down or take a short walk break until everything feels more manageable. Once you finish your run, or walk-run-walk-run, take a sec and jot down how it went – what you were doing, for how long and how it felt. I guarantee if you keep at it and look back through your workout log in a few weeks you will notice surprising progress!

 

The first 10-20 minutes are almost NEVER awesome

I know. You warmed up like I told you to, and now the first couple kilometers still suck. I HATE YOU JAMIE YOU LIED TO ME. No, I didn’t. I’m telling you now that even once you warm up your muscles, lungs and heart, you still need to find your groove, your rhythm, your breathing rate. It’s just the way it is! Some days it will come easy, but most days it takes time. And not just at the beginning, forever. Accept it!

 

Approach each and every run knowing it will be a test of your fortitude

There are those days where you head out onto the road or trail and it feels like a dream and you’re running, smiling, thinking “damn, I am a RUNNER! I run the world! I am basically Meb Keflezighi!“…yeah that’s the exception run, not the rule.

Running is hard. You are exerting effort. If running were effortless, everyone would do it and you, the person reading this, wouldn’t be reading these tips and I wouldn’t be writing them down years after starting my journey but still finding them super relevant. So I’m telling you now, head out thinking about how you are about to face challenge and get stronger and more awesome. Don’t head out hoping that this is going to be one of those runs that feels like child’s play, you will likely set yourself up for dissapointment.

 

NO ONE is driving by thinking, “lol. Look at that wannabe runner.”

If someone does notice you, they’re probably thinking one of these things:

“f*ck I’m lazy. I need to do that.”

“f*ck yeah!”

“f*ck I’m jealous”

“That sweaty, hard working, heavy breathing individual is so cool!!”

If you are taking a walk break, who cares??? People go for walks! People stretch. People go for speed walks with colour-coordinated outfits and 80’s sunglasses and sweatbands and headphones, there is nothing odd about a person wearing workout clothing and walking. Anyone driving by in a car is less cool than you are, in my opinion haha.

 

Running is the shit! You get to compete against yourself! Make hills your bitch. Sweat out a stressful experience from earlier in the day. Set goals and work towards them. Progress! Learn! Strengthen your bones, muscles, cardiac and respiratory systems so you can live longer and kick peoples’ asses at all sorts of fun shit in the future! You can do it any time. Outside, on a treadmill, on a trail, beach, wherever! If you have been thinking about getting into running or you’re just getting started, or if you’re back from a running hiatus, keep these things in mind and go be badass and prove to yourself that you can do it, one step at a time. I BELIEVE IN YOU!!!

@jammiekomadina

Don’t forget to contact me if you have any questions!

training recap April 3rd-9th & the Prince Rupert Half Marathon!

MONDAY April 3rd

8km easy – Grand Trunk Pathway in Terrace BC, gorgeous TANK TOP weather!

TUESDAY April 4th

Planned: speed workout – 3km easy, [4x2km intervals with 2 min rests,] 3km easy

This was a hard day for me and I’m sad to say I quit early. It just wasn’t happening, I got to the second interval and after a long internal argument I jumped onto the side rails and called it quits. I planned to try again later at the track, but then opted for an easy 8km with my Tenacious 10 partner Whitney.

At the end of the day, I really wished I could have given those intervals another go, but after the first attempt which was about 6km, + the 8km with Whit, I was tired so I slept. In the grand scheme of things, will this affect my performance at my #1 goal race of the season, the Calgary Marathon? Probably not. Coach said it’s all good. Hoping for a confidence booster from my next hard workout which comes on Friday. Moving on!

WEDNESDAY April 5th

Non-running day! One hour of easy yoga was my intention, but that didn’t happen. TJess and Michelle, the PR 1/2 + 8K race directors, myself and Emma were busy putting race packets together and getting organized for Sunday.

Oh OMG  and my TREADMILL was delivered today!!!! I wish I was equally as excited to assemble it…

race prep!

THURSDAY April 6th

6 miles easy at Lakelse Lake! One of my favourite places on Earth ❤ felt good, but slightly heavy. Look at this place!

FRIDAY April 7th

8 mile out-and-back: 4 out, controlled & easy, 4 back @ threshhold pace

The 4 miles back felt impossible. Took a couple breathers which discouraged me, but all in all an excellent workout.

SATURDAY April 8th

Planned: 14 miles (22.5km) nice and easy. Coach Andrew changed this to 10 miles on Friday night due to the struggle on Friday and the half-marathon on Sunday. It was definitely smart and worked in my favour. We are also going to Skype next week and talk about dialing back the weekly mileage just slightly, since the last increase has seemed to cause quite a bit of fatigue.

Ran with my girls Sam and Jess. Jess is co-director of the race this Sunday here where we live, and training for her first half on May 7th! She’s running the BMO Vancouver half and it’s a REALLY good one! I hope the weather for her is better than it was for me in 2014. This run felt great. Amaaaazing sleep on Friday night!!! Then we headed to the Civic Centre for race registration and packet pickup.

SUNDAY April 9th

Prince Rupert 1/2 Marathon! I planned to run to be part of the day and our running community. Running by feel was the plan since it hasn’t been a goal race, and I’ve had some pretty burnt-out feeling workouts lately. We met early, set up the awards area and then headed out the highway to set up the race course.

Coach didn’t delete the training run on Saturday to accomodate this race. Saturday & Sunday combined serve as a long run; a high mileage weekend in preparation for the Calgary Marathon!

BUT, it was one of those perfect days and everything felt amazing. I felt rested and excited but calm at the same time, and I ended up just shy of a SEVEN minute PR in the half marathon distance!!! BEYOND PUMPED!!!! Such a great check-in with training progress and a crazy confidence booster for my two upcoming goal races. Could not be happier!!

I have mixed feelings about racing on the highway here where we live, because it’s where every single long run happens every single weekend! Our races are also very small, which obviously feels different than a massive event. This time, however, I tried to see it as a good thing, knowing the course inside out, instead of thinking about it as a drag, knowing where all my least favourite or most challenging segments are. I also reminded myself that I race against myself, and that can be done in any setting.

As commonly happens, myself and many others went out from the starting line a little too quick, but I was super conscious of this and started to hold back soon after starting, to get my heart rate and lungs under control along the first incline. I like to use the McMillan Running Calculator to get a rough idea of the pace I should be okay to run on a day when everything is feeling good, and that was a 5:16/km so I stuck around 5:20 for the first third of the course since everything was feeling REALLY good!!! The “big hill” which is what you see in the middle of the course, is a doozie. Going down is great, and I was sitting at a 5:15 average pace after going down it, but after the halfway turn-around I refused to look at my watch going up that hill. I told myself to just run by feel and keep pushing and doing my best, and that I was allowed to look at the overall average pace once the course had levelled out again for a bit!

I worked my way back to a 5:19/km average by about 17km and then during the last 4ish kilometeres there are some decent declines, and I found some extra gas and kept at it really strong. I just about caught up to the two girls in first place, and in the last 800m or so I tossed my water bottle and literally bolted to chase them down. I can’t believe my 21km split was 4:11 ahaha what the!?

Stealing the win didn’t happen, but that was truly my best effort and I have NO REGRETS, which is a powerful mental tool I’ve learned from following Kelly Roberts. Our club was gracious enough to award TWO gold medals to Erin and Jessie, who finished holding hands and tied for the female winners, so I ended up with silver!!!!!! WOOOOOO!

myself and Jessie, one of the TWO gold medal winners!!

I have never run that pace for that long and I feel really good about this!!! Bring on the next races!!!!!!!!!!!!! Amazing Sunday to finish off a week that felt slightly shakey. I can’t wait for Seattle in less than 2 weeks!

 

Two weeks out from the Tenacious Ten!

oiselle

Seven weeks out from the Calgary Marathon!

calg