“It Takes Failures to Learn”: Elite Runner Meg Lewis-Schneider’s Journey Through Four Bone Injuries

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“It Takes Failures to Learn”: Elite Runner Meg Lewis-Schneider’s Journey Through Four Bone Injuries

Click here to read in English/Hier geht es zur deutschen Version

 

“There’s no other sport that I’ve been involved in where I just love it so much. I love being in nature, I love feeling empowered and inspired,” said Meg Lewis-Schneider. For the 26-year-old freelance journalist from Canada, the sport is running.

 

“When I was a kid, I couldn’t decide on one sport because I loved them all.” It was only after she finished her degree in Radio and Television that she picked up running—just for fun. But when she started entering races, it quickly became more than just a hobby. “I was so committed to my training and I started to see improvements in every race I did. I was completely hooked.”

 

While she ran one personal record after another, Meg experienced massive success in running right from the start, running some fast elite standard times. In 2018, Meg finished third at the Victoria Half Marathon on Vancouver Island, Canada, in one hour and fifteen minutes—just three years after her half marathon debut.

 

But she didn’t know that this success would be short-lived. “So often, when we get good at something, we start to think: OK, what else can I do to make myself better?” Meg said. She started mixing up her workout routine with strength training and yoga, and decided to change up her diet. It seemed to be the key to keep improving.

 

Then she got sidelined by a navicular stress fracture. “I had no idea what caused it and I just thought it’s a result of hard training and pushing my limits. I didn’t take it too seriously. I thought I would just let it heal and then I’d get back to running and do the same thing that I was doing.”

 

But the bone injuries kept coming. First the navicular stress fracture, then the fifth metatarsal and sacral, topped with a stress reaction in the femoral neck. After her third stress fracture at the beginning of this year, she began looking for reasons and started seeing a dietitian and a sports doctor.

 

That’s when she realized that the stress fractures were just the top of the iceberg. Down below, there was a row of connected issues: relative energy deficiency, low bone mineral density and amenorrhea, which is the medical term for the loss of the menstrual cycle. All of these combined to form the female athlete triad. The disorder often goes by unrecognized because the symptoms are subtle and can be mistaken as a side effect of hard training.

 

When Meg changed up her diet and went vegan, she also found that her nutrition intake was not matching her output, which got her into a relative energy deficiency in sport, also called RED-S. “I was riding a fine line because the more running or the more cardio you do, the more you lose your appetite,” Meg said.

 

While her personal bests for the 10K and half marathon kept dropping, her weight did too. Her teammates noticed that she lost weight and looked too skinny, but she didn’t take their opinions seriously. “I thought I looked this way because I’m training more and I’m faster.”

 

But the damage doesn’t show until later on, when the low bone density leads to stress fractures and even osteoporosis. “I dug my own hole when I could have been avoiding all those signs and warnings,” Meg said.

 

One of these warnings can be amenorrhea, which is one of the key symptoms of the female athlete triad. Amenorrhea can have many causes ranging from stress to overtraining to undereating, which ultimately result in low estrogen levels and a missing period. But for Meg, this warning sign remained undetected.

“I was in RED-S and I didn’t know because I was also on birth control. And when you’re on birth control, it masks the problem because you’re still getting [your] period. But I didn’t know that it was actually fake,” Meg said.

 

Birth control pills are a common treatment for amenorrhea because they bring back the period. But compared to the natural hormonal system of the body, birth control pills are not as efficient in maintaining the bone mineral density. The hormone estrogen is a crucial regulator for the bone metabolism in both women and men. And when low estrogen levels remain undetected because they are hidden behind an “artificial” menstrual cycle due to birth control pills, it can have devastating impacts on the bone mineral density.

 

“You don’t notice the consequences because it takes a while for the damage to kick in,” Meg said. The third symptom of the female athlete triad, a low bone mineral density, develops over several years. And once it is detected, it is already too late to turn around and make the necessary changes in diet and training. “It’s not going to take four months. It’s not going to take a year or two to reverse the damage.”

 

Meg learned that the hard way, when she transitioned back into training after her sacral stress fracture. “By July I got my period back and I was off birth control. I thought I’m healthy and I’m going to get back to running the way I used to run.”

 

She started running that same month, only to find herself knocked down by another bone injury a month later. After building up her bone density for six months, the diagnosis was both shocking and unexpected at first. But even though stress fractures are devastating to anyone who loves running, Meg also sees this row of injuries as a chance.

 

Being injured during a global pandemic pushed her into finding other passions and hobbies. “Through my other injuries, I would try to go to the pool and biking, but I’m being kinder to myself these days. I don’t need to cross-train like the machine to feel good,” she said. 

Instead, she discovered that baking helps to keep her positive, as well as spending more time with friends. Meg loves an upbeat music playlist that helps the mood and she also tried gratitude journaling. “Even when we’re struggling, there’s still so much to be thankful for,” she said. Along with walks in nature, it’s inspiring books and podcasts that get her through both the pandemic and the injury.

 

“Sometimes it takes all these setbacks or failures to really learn. I know this is all part of the process,” Meg said. “The biggest lesson for me is that I have to take things much slower and be way more patient and compassionate for myself.”

 

To run healthy, it takes more than a regular training schedule. It also takes good nutrition, enough rest and the ability to listen to the body. On her blog, she writes: “I have gained way more from my setbacks than I have from any victory. I may have made too many mistakes and suffered far too many injuries, but I am not discouraged.”

 

One of Meg’s biggest goals for the future is to get up from sitting on the sidelines and get out running on the roads again. “I have so much fire inside me and once my bone health is restored and I’m fully healthy, I want to get back to running and prove that I can be much better than the former version of myself.”

Meg Lewis-Schneider über RED-S und Female Athlete Triad

„Es gibt keinen anderen Sport, den ich so sehr liebe. Ich mag es, in der Natur zu sein und mich inspiriert zu fühlen,“ sagt Meg Lewis-Schneider. Für die 26-jährige freiberufliche Journalistin aus Kanada ist dieser Sport Laufen.

 

„Als Kind konnte ich mich nicht für eine Sportart entscheiden, weil ich sie alle mochte.“ Erst nachdem Meg ihr Studium im Bereich Rundfunkjournalismus abschloss, fing sie mit dem Laufen an – nur zum Spaß. Aber als sie begann, auch an Wettkämpfen teilzunehmen, wurde das Laufen schnell mehr als nur ein Hobby.

 

„Ich habe so hart trainiert und konnte mich bei jedem Wettkampf verbessern. Ich war völlig begeistert.“ Meg war von Anfang an extrem erfolgreich, lief eine Bestzeit nach der anderen, darunter auch einige schnelle Elite-Normzeiten. Im Jahr 2018 lief sie beim Victoria-Halbmarathon auf der Vancouver Island in Kanada ihre Bestzeit von 1:15h – nur drei Jahre nach ihrem Halbmarathon-Debüt.

 

„So oft, wenn wir in etwas richtig gut werden, dann fangen wir an zu denken: OK, was kann ich noch tun, um mich zu verbessern?“, sagt Meg. Daher begann sie, ihre Trainingsroutine mit Krafttraining und Yoga aufzufrischen, und beschloss, ihre Ernährung umzustellen.

Doch dann bekam sie eine Stressfraktur im Kahnbein des Fußes, wodurch sie zu einer Trainingspause gezwungen wurde. „Ich hatte keine Ahnung, was die Ursache für die Fraktur war, und ich dachte einfach, das harte Training und ständige Ausreizen der körperlichen Grenzen wären der Auslöser. Deshalb habe ich den Ermüdungsbruch nicht allzu ernst genommen. Ich dachte, wenn ich es einfach heilen lasse und dann wieder mit dem Laufen beginne, kann ich genau so weiter machen, wie ich es tat.“

 

Aber die Kahnbein-Stressfraktur blieb nicht die einzige. Wenige Zeit später reihten sich auch Frakturen im fünften Mittelfußknochen, Kreuzbein und Schenkelhals dazu. Nach ihrer dritten Stressfraktur am Anfang dieses Jahres fing sie an, nach Gründen zu suchen.

 

Im Gespräch mit einem Ernährungsberater und einem Sportarzt wurde ihr klar, dass die Ermüdungsbrüche nur die Spitze des Eisbergs waren. Darunter gab es eine Reihe miteinander weiterer Probleme: relatives Energiedefizit (RED-S), geringe Knochendichte und Amenorrhoe, das Ausbleiben des Menstruationszyklus. All diese Faktoren zusammen bilden das Female Athlete Triad – zu Deutsch, die Triade der sporttreibenden Frau. Die Kombination der einzelnen Symptome bleibt oft unerkannt, weil sie subtil sind und auch als Nebenwirkung von hartem Training auftreten können.

 

Als Meg ihre Ernährung umgestellte und beschloss, sich vegan zu ernähren, nahm sie nicht die gleiche Menge an Energie auf, die sie durch den Sport verbrauchte. Dadurch geriet sie in einen relativen Energiemangel im Sport, abgekürzt auch RED-S genannt. „Ich bewegte mich auf einem schmalen Grat. Denn je mehr man läuft oder je mehr Ausdauersport man macht, desto weniger Appetit hat man“, sagt Meg.

 

Während ihre Bestzeiten auf die zehn und 21 Kilometer immer schneller wurden, nahm sie auch weiter Gewicht ab. Ihre Teamkollegen wiesen sie darauf hin, dass sie abgenommen hatte und zu dünn aussah, aber sie nahm ihre Meinung nicht ernst. „Ich dachte, ich sehe so aus, weil ich mehr trainiere und schneller bin.“

 

Der Schaden, der entstehen kann, wenn das Energiedefizit im Sport bestehen bleibt, zeigt sich erst später. „Ich habe mir ein eigenes Loch gegraben, obwohl ich all diese Anzeichen und Warnungen hätte ernst nehmen können“, sagt Meg. 

 

Wenn der Körper über längere Zeit einer Unterversorgung mit Energie oder Übertraining ausgesetzt ist, werden nicht überlebenswichtige Prozesse heruntergefahren und die Knochengesundheit negativ beeinträchtigt. Das bedeutet zum Beispiel, dass das Immunsystem geschwächt und die Ruheherzfrequenz niedrig ist. Bei Frauen kann es zum Ausbleiben der Periode kommen. Bei Meg blieb dieses Warnzeichen allerdings aus.

Stattdessen entdeckte Meg, dass sie gerne backt und Zeit mit Freunden verbringt, weil es ihr hilft, positiv zu bleiben. Sie liebt gute Musik und „gratitude journaling“, bei dem man jeden Tag fünf Dinge aufschreibt, über die man dankbar ist. „Selbst in schwierigen Zeiten gibt es immer noch so viel, wofür wir dankbar sein können,“ sagt Meg. Neben Spaziergängen in der Natur sind es auch inspirierende Bücher und Podcasts, die sie sowohl durch die Pandemie, als auch durch die Verletzung bringen.

„Manchmal braucht es all diese Rückschläge oder Misserfolge, um wirklich zu lernen. All dies ist Teil des Lernprozesses,“ sagt Meg. „Die wichtigste Lektion für mich ist, dass ich vieles langsamer angehen muss und geduldiger und mitfühlender mit mir selbst sein muss.“

Denn um gesund zu laufen, braucht es mehr als einen regelmäßigen Trainingsplan. Es braucht auch eine gute Ernährung, genügend Ruhetage und die Fähigkeit, auf den Körper zu hören. Auf ihrem Blog schreibt Meg: „Ich habe aus meinen Rückschlägen viel mehr gewonnen als aus jedem Sieg. Ich habe vielleicht zu viele Fehler gemacht und viel zu viele Verletzungen durchgemacht, aber ich lasse mich nicht entmutigen.“

Eines von Megs größten Zielen für die Zukunft ist es, wieder verletzungsfrei laufen zu können. „Ich habe so viel Feuer in mir, und wenn meine Knochengesundheit wiederhergestellt ist und ich völlig gesund bin, möchte ich wieder laufen und beweisen, dass ich viel besser sein kann als die frühere Version von mir selbst.“

 

 

Stattdessen entdeckte Meg, dass sie gerne backt und Zeit mit Freunden verbringt, weil es ihr hilft, positiv zu bleiben. Sie liebt gute Musik und „gratitude journaling“, bei dem man jeden Tag fünf Dinge aufschreibt, über die man dankbar ist. „Selbst in schwierigen Zeiten gibt es immer noch so viel, wofür wir dankbar sein können“, sagt Meg. Neben Spaziergängen in der Natur sind es auch inspirierende Bücher und Podcasts, die sie sowohl durch die Pandemie, als auch durch die Verletzung bringen.

 

„Manchmal braucht es all diese Rückschläge oder Misserfolge, um wirklich zu lernen. All dies ist Teil des Lernprozesses“, sagt Meg. „Die wichtigste Lektion für mich ist, dass ich vieles langsamer angehen muss und geduldiger und mitfühlender mit mir selbst sein muss.“

 

Denn um gesund zu laufen, braucht es mehr als einen regelmäßigen Trainingsplan. Es braucht auch eine gute Ernährung, genügend Ruhetage und die Fähigkeit, auf den Körper zu hören. Auf ihrem Blog schreibt Meg: „Ich habe aus meinen Rückschlägen viel mehr gewonnen als aus jedem Sieg. Ich habe vielleicht zu viele Fehler gemacht und viel zu viele Verletzungen durchgemacht, aber ich lasse mich nicht entmutigen.“

 

Eines von Megs größten Zielen für die Zukunft ist es, wieder verletzungsfrei laufen zu können. „Ich habe so viel Feuer in mir, und wenn meine Knochengesundheit wiederhergestellt ist und ich völlig gesund bin, möchte ich wieder laufen und beweisen, dass ich viel besser sein kann als die frühere Version von mir selbst.“

 

 

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About The Author

I did my first triathlon on a pink kid’s bike with training wheels at six years old. That’s where my love for the sport was born, but it took another decade until I figured out that I wanted to combine my passions for sports and writing. 

 
Beyond Limits

Everything Endurance Sports. 

Disclaimer

All resources and information shared on this website are only for informational purposes and aren’t intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any condition or disease.

Copyright © 2022

100K at 16 Years Old: Lucy Bartholomew’s Journey into Ultra-Running

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100K at 16 Years Old: Lucy Bartholomew's Journey Into Ultra-Running

While most 16-year-olds were doing what most teenagers do—partying, drinking, trying new things—Australian Lucy Bartholomew ran her first 100k. What started with running alongside her dad and supporting him at races, had turned into a passion of her own. And while the passion stayed, the hobby soon turned into a profession.

 

Now, at 24, Bartholomew is still considered a “young gun” in the sport of ultra-running, although she has already run more ultramarathons than her age.

 

For Bartholomew, the journey into the world of ultra-running began when her dad, a marathoner, decided to run even longer distances of 50K and more. Between work, school and training, there was little time left to share a good conversation. By sharing their runs, there was suddenly a way to spend more time with each other. “We would just run until we had nothing else to say to each other, we got hungry and then we would turn around.”

 

When her dad lined up for his first 100K race, 14-year-old Lucy Bartholomew was watching him run from the sidelines. At least, that’s what she was supposed to do. Instead, she would do what she “had learned to do, which was just running”, following the course and catching up to her dad. She wouldn’t cross the finish line as a race participant this day, but it was the day she discovered her passion for ultra-running.

 

“I saw the front of the pack looking amazing on the trail. I saw the middle of the pack working towards a goal and achieving something incredible. And then I saw the back of the pack of people that were running with a cake in one hand and a coke in the other hand,” Bartholomew said. “I was like this is incredible. I can jog and I can eat a lot.”

 

She was going to be 16 soon, so she emailed all the ultramarathon events she could find, asking to let her race. However, signing up for an ultramarathon at 16 years old, Bartholomew had to run against strong headwind. After doing a lot of persuasion, only one event would let her race under certain conditions: she must run alongside her dad, write a nutrition plan and get medical checks. But still, she was experiencing a lot of backlash when people started saying ultra-running would leave her injured or mentally cracked up or stunt in growth. Some would say her dad was a bad parent for letting her run an ultramarathon.

 

“I’m super stubborn and when I want to do something, I’ll do it,” Bartholomew said. So she raced her first official 100K race and finished in twelve and a half hours, smiling her way through it because there were people who wanted to see her pull out of the race. But she proved them wrong. And a year later, when she was allowed to run on her own, she finished in nine hours—three and a half hours faster.

Lucy Bartholomew

“They invented a whole new category for me, the under-20s,” said Bartholomew. Although she was officially allowed to race as she got older, she still had to prove her commitment to the sport of ultra-running in a rebellious way. So she signed up for a 250K stage race through the Simpson Desert in Australia. When she broke the news to her dad at the finish line of another ultramarathon, a row of fights and discussions followed. And they ended in complete silence the day Bartholomew showed her dad her tickets to Queensland.

 

“I think he saw 250 kilometers as a lot. He was just being a dad,” Bartholomew said. But even without the support of her dad, she followed through with her plan. She started working at an Australian bakery franchise, where she would pull the bread out of the oven in the morning, put them in the shelves, then go to school and come back in the evening to sell the remaining bread. She saved up all her money and traveled to Queensland, where she would run through the Simpson desert for four days. “I ended up coming in second overall in the race and I finished it and I went back home. I washed my clothes and I went to school the next day.”

 

But it wasn’t until Bartholomew was featured on the Runner’s World Magazine front cover that the icy atmosphere at home vanished. “He didn’t even know how I had done because he wasn’t interested. But when he saw how happy I was that I was surrounded by such amazing people who were looking up to me, he realized that I will go to the races and I’ll make it work. And he can either support me or I’ll just do it without his support.”

 

The last year of high school flew by quickly and Bartholomew decided to take a gap year to travel and run around the world. Eventually, her dad would join her to run the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB) and the Matterhorn Ultramarathon in Europe. At the end of her gap year, she knew that running was something she wanted to continue professionally. “The things I learned is more than I learned in school, just from traveling and meeting people.”

 

Sponsors started noticing Bartholomew and while her hobby slowly turned into her job, her gap year turned into two gap years, then three, four. Instead of going to university, Bartholomew competed in numerous ultramarathons overseas, including the UTMB in France and the Western States 100Miler in the United States. But for her, ultra-running was exactly what she wanted to do. “Finding running helped me find myself,” she said. “In this trail-running world, you’re celebrate for being a little kooky and a little different.”

Lucy Bartholomew

And even now, as an established professional ultra-runner, running is not only a job to Lucy Bartholomew. It is also a way to learn about life and herself. The greatest lesson running has taught her, is to focus on the things you can control and let go of the things you can’t control. “In life and in running, we tend to want to control everything,” she said. “But when you go into an ultra, you know a lot of things can happen. You know your stomach hurts, your ankle hurts. It’s more about what you can control but then also releasing the things you can’t.”

 

The recent COVID-19 outbreak put her mindset to the test, when Australia went into complete lockdown not only once, but twice. As the time one could spend outside was limited to one hour a day, there was suddenly a lot of time for things outside of running. She discovered that “Lucy, the runner” was not the only Lucy inside her. “I am Lucy who loves cooking, Lucy who loves reading, and I feel like it’s been a really cool thing to just expand on who I am.”

 

Although COVID-19 made planning impossible, Bartholomew looks at 2021 as a replication of what this year was supposed to be. “2021 is just a rerun of 2020. I feel like I’ve just been gifted 365 more days of training”, she said. She plans to run both the Western States 100Miler and the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc—the two most prestigious races in the ultramarathon world. But she will also make a quick side-trip to the world of long-distance triathlon with an Ironman at the end of next year. During the lockdown, it has been a challenge to get in running or cycling workouts, but it has been nearly impossible to go for a swim. “I haven’t been swimming, but the pool is open today, so I booked in for tomorrow. I’m so excited I might wear my goggles to bed.”

 

Looking further ahead, Bartholomew wants to organize running camps. Next to working on a vegan cookbook, she has offered camps in Australia and South Africa so far. “I love bringing people together that share the passion of running or the passion of plant-based foods. I want to show people that it’s OK to just chill out for a weekend and to have a conversation where you look someone in the eye and fully listen to them. I think the art of conversation is getting lost these days.”

 

For the time after the pandemic, Bartholomew has some more running camps in America and Europe in mind to share her passion for running, food and good conversations.

Lucy Bartholomew
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About The Author

I did my first triathlon on a pink kid’s bike with training wheels at six years old. That’s where my love for the sport was born, but it took another decade until I figured out that I wanted to combine my passions for sports and writing. 

 
Beyond Limits

Everything Endurance Sports. 

Disclaimer

All resources and information shared on this website are only for informational purposes and aren’t intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any condition or disease.

Copyright © 2022

Are you running too fast?

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Are you running too fast?

Running too fast on easy runs - the most common mistake runners make

I’ve done it too many times.

 

I laced up my running shoes, and headed out the door with my coaches’ words in mind: “Heart rate should stay in zone 2.” But with the beep of my watch and a few steps into the run, they vanished into oblivion.

 

This was going to be a good run. Each time I checked my pace, I was surprised I was running well below 7:30min/miles because it felt so effortless. But each time I checked my heart rate, I would watch it climbing from zone 2 into zone 3 into zone 4 as I kept going, reminding me my coaches’ words.

 

Did it make me slow down? Not really. 

Because it was much more fun to run fast. Because running slow just doesn’t feel like running. Because slowing down doesn’t get me into the flow state that I love about running.

Regret doesn’t settle in until a day later when I would take out my flats for a tempo session. As I lined up for the 1,000m repeats, my legs were heavy before even starting to run and the last 200m of each repeat felt like lactate was killing my quads. No matter how hard I ran, I wasn’t able to meet the times I was supposed to.

 

Long story short, it took me a while to understand that running too fast for easy runs doesn’t make me faster in the long run. And scrolling through Strava is proof enough that I am not the only runner who struggles to slow down. Keep reading to find out why this is a bigger problem than you think!

The most common mistake is running too hard on recovery days

Matt Fitzgerald, author of 80/20 Running, says that most runners make the mistake of running too fast for their easy runs. While 80% of your weekly training should be done at low intensity, he suggests that only 20% are supposed to be at moderate or high intensity. So, if you’re running five times a week, your heart rate should stay in zone 2 in four of these runs. The fifth run could be a tempo run or hard workout.1

This is why running too fast for easy runs will make you race slower

It’s a common misconception that only running fast will make you faster in races. In fact, it is the other way around.

High quality tempo workouts will give you the speed you need to race fast. But easy long runs will give you the fitness to keep up that pace for a longer time.

Now running too fast on recovery days will do two things. First, it will cost you too much energy which you could otherwise have used for a speed workout on the track. This means that your workout will lose quality as it will be much harder to meet the times you wanted to run. Secondly, running too fast for easy runs, with your heart rate above 80% of your maximum heart rate, might get you into the anaerobic zone rather than the aerobic zone. In this case, your body is producing more lactate than the body can break down and your legs will feel sore and heavy after or at the end of your run.2

 

Experts recommend a polarized approach to training, which means that you will either train in the aerobic zone (low intensity) or in the anaerobic (high intensity).1 Moderate intensity runs should be only a small part of your training, as it puts you right in the mid zone which trains neither your aerobic fitness nor anaerobic.

Low-intensity training is the foundation for speed work

Some people say that easy miles are “empty” miles that put you at higher risk for injury. This is only true to some extent.

If you are someone who likes to stick to running and avoids cross-training by all means, you need those easy runs to build up your basic fitness. Triathletes or someone who enjoys other endurance sports might consider recovery runs as useless as they can do their low-intensity training in the pool or on the bike. Any low-intensity activity will help build an aerobic base — your “fitness”.

To make sure that you are staying in the aerobic state, wear a heart rate monitor and aim for 60–75% of your maximum heart rate.3

The best runners of the world run easy on recovery days

When British missionaries built schools in rural Kenya, they did not know they were turning Kenya into the fastest nation of the world. Most students had to run to class every single day, which was essentially a low-intensity running program. Up until today, many elite runners from Kenya are known for running more than 80% of their training volume at an easy pace.1

 

It’s a similar story for most elite running teams in the US. Elite marathoners of the Mammoth Track Club even run 85–90% of their weekly mileage at an easy pace, says head coach Andrew Kastor.4

We get stronger on recovery days

Mozart once said that the breaks in between tones make the music. Just like that, we need recovery and rest days to bring harmony and balance into our training. So even if you’re feeling like you could run the race of your life when your training schedule says “4 miles easy”, you should stick to it. Remember, running your easy runs easy will shave off those 5 seconds you need for a new PR. 

References

1 Fitzgerald, Matt. 80/20 Running: Run Stronger and Race Faster by Training Slower. Penguin Books, 2015.

2 Jeff, Coach. “Want to Run Your Best? Understand Aerobic vs. Anaerobic.” Runners Connect, 1 June 2020, runnersconnect.net/aerobic-vs-anaerobic-training/.

3 Russell, Sarah. “Are You Sabotaging Your Long Run Running the Wrong Pace?” Runners Connect, 9 May 2016, runnersconnect.net/wrong-long-run-pace/.

4 “How Running Slower Makes You Faster.” On, www.on-running.com/en-de/articles/how-running-slower-makes-you-faster-marathon-training-tips.

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About The Author

I did my first triathlon on a pink kid’s bike with training wheels at six years old. That’s where my love for the sport was born, but it took another decade until I figured out that I wanted to combine my passions for sports and writing. 

 
Beyond Limits

Everything Endurance Sports. 

Disclaimer

All resources and information shared on this website are only for informational purposes and aren’t intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any condition or disease.

Copyright © 2022

Book Review: Finding My Feet by Hanny Allston

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Book Review: Finding My Feet by Hanny Allston

Finding My Feet by Hanny Allston

Short Description

At 19, Hanny Allston faces a ‘perfect strom’. Her father is terrifyingly ill. Beside his hospital bed, she teters painfully on crutches after surgery that could end her sporting career. Her future in medicine is in peril because the university cannot defer her studies. (Source: Book Description)

 

Author
Hanny Allston is a World Orienteering Champion and record holder and road and trail running races. 

 

Release Date
May 7, 2020

At the age of seven, Hanny Allston puts three goals on the front page of every journal she owns: being an Olympian, living at the AIS (Australian Institute of Sports), and becoming a doctor. In the nine years following, she pursues her Olympic dreams in the pool, striving to become one of the best swimmers of Australia. When her family starts getting into orienteering, Hanny is hesitant at first, but then slowly starts falling in love with the sport of running, while at the same time falling out of love with swimming.

 

When her father commits suicide and her family breaks apart, Hanny is also facing an injury that could mean the end of her career. As the university is unable to defer her medical studies, the goals that 7-year-old Hanny put into her journals slip further out of reach. In the middle of this ‘perfect storm’, anorexia joins her, offering a false sense of security. But eventually, she finds an answer to the question “What next?” and stumbles along the path of finding her feet. While in the following years she gets back to her old strength and she runs faster than ever, anorexia remains by her side, destroying relationships and threatening her (physical) health.

Athletic success is not a way to judge your strength and character. Athletic success is never going to be the superglue, or the thing you are proud of when you are telling anecdotes in the retirement village. Life is not about winning medal, breaking records, or receiving accolades. Nor will athletic success heal you or change you for the better. 

– Hanny Allston

This book is not only the story of Australia’s most successful orienteer, but also reflects on the struggles, hardships, and failures that are part of everyone’s lives. Life is a series of challenges, but as you overcome one after another, you will grow. Therefore, “Finding My Feet” is also a book about life itself.

 

Towards the end of the book, she comes to this conclusion: “Life is giddy and messy, and well, surreal. In fact, when you think you have it all sorted, you travel around a corner and, ahead, there lies another question, challenge or opportunity. So, I am sorry this story was giddy, messy, and honest. But it happened. Life happened.”

 

So, if you like learning from others, this book is for you. Hanny Allston shares her life lessons, her failures, and her successes with an inspiring honesty. Maybe it will shift your perspective on injuries as much as it did mine 🙂 

 

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About The Author

I did my debut triathlon on a pink kid’s bike with training wheels at 6 years old. That’s where my love for the sport was born, but it would take another decade until I figured out that I wanted to combine my passions for sports and writing. 

 

Disclaimer

All resources and information shared on this website are only for informational purposes and aren’t intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any condition or disease.

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Book Review: Cross Country by Ricky Gates

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Book Review: Cross Country by Rickey Gates

Cross Country by Ricky Gates

Short Description

In 2017, professional runner Rickey Gates ran 3,700 miles across the continental United States with just a small backpack and an anthropologist’s curiosity to discover the divided America in which we live.

(Source: Book Description)

Author
Rickey Gates is a professional runner who competed on all seven continents.

 

Pages 
256

 

Release Date
April 14, 2020

A few pages into this book, I was completely hooked. Rickey Gates starts off with his motivation to run across the US (from the East to the West), then goes on to describing his route in more detail. From the beginning of his journey on, Gates starts including conversations with locals into the story.

 

The book is designed to show how people and their culture change as Gates moves further west. However, the snippets of conversation are too short and it’s hard to make out a common thread in these little stories. Gates plainly talks about his encounters with locals and leaves the reader alone to judge. Although I welcome the distance to the author’s own thoughts in these situations, I wish there were a few more pages to this book that show Gates’ own experiences and challenges he faced while running. The book is supposed to show the “ordinary and extraordinary people and place he saw along the way,” but the little stories he tells are too shallow to really let the reader in.

“I had learned over decades of running and racing that to cross a place on foot is to observe and participate in a vast and complex web of infrastructure.”

– Rickey Gates

The book defeats its purpose of showing “the divided America” (as stated in the book description) because most of the author’s interactions with people rather express a sense of hospitality and willingness to help than referring to political opinions.

 

Overall, the story remains rather superficial. I think a book like this should live from the experiences and challenges the author goes through in order to find a deeper meaning in the journey. It should also live from vulnerable moments in which the author lets the reader in to his thoughts and feelings. Otherwise, the story remains just plain and lacks the depth and insight the reader is looking for.

Readers who are looking for a quick and easy-to-read travel story will definitely like this book. Those looking for raw and authentic experiences of someone running 3,700 miles across the US, the book probably won’t live up to their expectations. 

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About The Author

I did my debut triathlon on a pink kid’s bike with training wheels at 6 years old. That’s where my love for the sport was born, but it would take another decade until I figured out that I wanted to combine my passions for sports and writing. 

 

Disclaimer

All resources and information shared on this website are only for informational purposes and aren’t intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any condition or disease.

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Book Review: Meb for Mortals by Meb Keflezighi

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Book Review: Meb for Mortals by Meb Keflezighi

Meb for Mortals Meb Keflezighi

Short Description

Meb for Mortals describes in unprecedented detail how four-time Olympian Keflezighi prepares to take on the best runners in the world.

(Source: Book Description)

Author
Meb Keflezighi is a retired US-marathoner who won Olympic medals and major marathons. 

 

Pages 
208

 

Release Date
April 7, 2015

Winning the Boston marathon two weeks from his thirty-ninth birthday, Meb Keflezighi surprised a lot of people with this victory. In this book, a memoir and a guidebook at the same time, Meb reveals his training secrets to becoming one of the best US-marathoners. As a four-time Olympian, Meb’s running career spans over more than two decades.

 

Meb for Mortals is full of advice for runners of all levels. No matter if you’re a beginner or competing at a professional level – everyone can take away valuable tips for their training, nutrition, and mental strength.

 

“Racing is like graduation day. It’s the opportunity to put all your hard work toward giving 100 percent, physically and mentally. Like a lot of runners, I like to train, but I love to race.”

– Meb Keflezighi

Here are a few things that he mentioned:

 

  • Meb does form drills almost every day, either after the warm-up and before a hard tempo session, or after an easy run on his recovery days. He suggests building at least ten minutes dedicated to form drills into your schedule.
  • Cutting your run short by a mile or two for doing form drills has a greater effect on your running performance than high mileage. Improving your running form leads to less tension, which ultimately makes you less injury-prone.
  • Use window fronts to look at your running form. Meb calls them “window checks”. (I smiled at this one because I thought I was the only one doing this…)
  • Alternatively, you can do “shadow checks” when it’s sunny.
  • Not a surprise, but important: Don’t neglect stretching and strengthening!
  • “You should always feel like you could have done another interval or longer tempo run,” Meb says. Tempo sessions are supposed to make you stronger, not to burn you out.
  • Success comes down to setting goals the right way. You’ve probably heard this before but goals should always be realistic (but challenging) and specific. Meb recommends sharing your goal with friends or family members. Knowing your goal means knowing your motivation means moving forward.
  • Here’s a quote that I liked and think is extremely important: “Being a healthy runner is much more important than being lean.” Watch how you fuel your body but always eat enough!

 

If you need some more inspiration to change up your training and improve your performance, definitely check out Meb for Mortals.

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About The Author

I did my debut triathlon on a pink kid’s bike with training wheels at 6 years old. That’s where my love for the sport was born, but it would take another decade until I figured out that I wanted to combine my passions for sports and writing. 

 

Disclaimer

All resources and information shared on this website are only for informational purposes and aren’t intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any condition or disease.

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