Tracy gets ready for the next 10K (and gets some company to make it more fun)

Image description: Upper body selfie of Tracy in ball cap, sunglasses, earbuds, and a t-shirt that says "EMPOWERED" on it, smiling, grass and sunlight in the background. [She is running in Springbank Park, along the river]
Image description: Upper body selfie of Tracy in ball cap, sunglasses, earbuds, and a t-shirt that says “EMPOWERED” on it, smiling, grass and sunlight in the background. [She is running in Springbank Park, along the river]
I’m prepping for the next instalment of my 10K season. My goal this summer is to get faster at the 10K distance. This is partly because I want to get faster at the 10K distance and partly because training for that distance is more manageable than training for further. That said, I do plan to do the Scotiabank Waterfront Half Marathon in Toronto October, in honour of Anita’s return from the UK (she’s been gone a YEAR!). It was the first half marathon we did together, my first ever, and we’re doing it again.

The MEC race series, which is what I’m doing my 10Ks in mostly, is an affordable race series that runs from spring to fall in cities across the country. The next race in the London series is actually this coming Saturday. But besides throwing myself into the 10K this summer, I’m also throwing myself into photography. To that end, I’ve signed up for a photography course that starts on Saturday morning, in conflict with the MEC series race.

So instead, I’m doing the Guelph Lake 10K on June 10th (a Sunday). One thing I discovered during our Fittest by 50 Challenge (which is where the blog began back in 2012) is that I love gathering groups together for events. It’s much more fun. For the Guelph event, I’ve recruited Ellen and Violetta to do the 10K, and Julie is considering the 5K. All of us need something to focus our training, and a race three weeks out is just the thing.

I’m feeling totally back on track with my training. Once again, I’m eager to get out the door to go running. It feels great to have that enthusiasm back again. I’ve got Linda from Master the Moments supplying me with fresh training plans every two weeks. But she offers so much more than that. She’s probably the most upbeat person I know — always throwing a positive spin while at the same time pushing me ever so gently beyond my comfort zone (with training paces that challenge me, for example). These days, she’s even meeting me some weeks for an early morning run, pretty much guaranteeing that I will indeed get out of bed to hit the pavement at 6:30 a.m.

She also asks me to check-in after each run. I like accountability. It gives me that extra little nudge. That may seem odd, considering I am opposed to tracking. But again, checking in with an actual person really works for me. I like feeling connected to others through my training. I enjoy working with coaches and trainers (though I recognize this to be a luxury and a privilege).

The hardest thing we are working on this summer is continuous running with no walk breaks. Instead of walking, I can sometimes run super slowly if I need to catch my breath or lower my heart rate. But she has encouraged me not to take it all the way down to a walk. I’ve never really done it that way before in a consistent way. I learned to run with the Running Room, using their 10-1 interval system.

But I know continuous works for some people really well. Both Ellen and Violetta have told me that they simply cannot effectively get going again if they walk. For that reason, they do not take walk breaks. But then there are those who live for walk breaks. Julie probably wouldn’t run without them. When I said I was trying to phase them out, Anita seemed puzzled and asked me why I would want to do that.

I had to think about it for awhile, knowing that some of the research shows that taking out the walk breaks just slows down the running–over some distances, some people who take walk breaks do better than they would if they didn’t.

For my 10K training, I’m doing 3-4 sessions a week, mixing up long easy runs, with shorter runs that intersperse strides (basically short intervals or pick-ups) to work on speed. I’m sure it’s about to get a bit more intense, as Linda’s approach was to ease me back into things after a winter of interrupted routine (illness and travel). Taking it easy has paid off because I actually want to get out there now, and I’m ready for the more challenging workouts. I’m sure the next round will involve tempo runs at a push-the-pace pace.

I’m also seeing my personal trainer twice a week, yoga once a week, and walking to and from work as much as possible (despite NOT doing the step counting challenge this year). On the days that I’m in a hurry and it’s not raining I will ride my bike (yes, Sam, you hear that right. I pumped up the tires today!).

My goal for Guelph is to do a continuous 10K, which I have done once before (last fall), and can likely do again if I don’t let my head talk me out of it.

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