To help my quest of a sub-2hr half marathon, I joined the Stonehaven Running Club, a proper, serious running club with certified coaches. It’s the type of club where members wear singlets (or running vests) with the club name on it during races; where, when you enter races, you enter the club’s name to receive a small discount. It’s the type of club that will help me get even faster, hopefully earn more PB’s, and help me work towards my half marathon goal. There are runners of all abilities in this club, and, as I’m told a ‘disproportionate amount’ of ultra runners. The group does long runs on the weekend, and various hill, interval and trail workouts. By joining this club, I’ve just upped my running game big time.
Last Tuesday, as we were doing five sets of long hill reps – hard up and hard down with 1 minute rest between – I looked around at the men and women, of different abilities, speeds, race experiences, and thought to myself:
What makes a strong runner?
One that’s always at the head of the pack?
Someone that can run all the way up a big hill? Repeatedly?
An experienced runner?
A trail runner?
Someone that’s done a few marathons?
One that runs to a new PB every single race?
Someone that has run many race distances?
Someone that has run many races?
Someone that runs more days than rests in a week?
Someone with a sub-9 minute pace? Sub-8 minute pace? Sub-7 minute pace?
One that has placed in races?
Someone that doesn’t give up?
Someone that listens to their body and stops when things start to really hurt?
Someone that runs no matter what? Rain or shine? Injury or health?
A beginner runner that sticks to it?
A recreational runner that goes out every week, year in, year out?
An OCR (obstacle course race) participant?
A first time racer?
A fast sprinter?
Someone that swimbikeruns?
Someone that is physically strong?
Someone that is mentally strong?
Someone that simply runs?
The truth is, strong running looks like different things to different people. Ultra runners choose to run over 26.2 miles, but they usually walk up hills to conserve energy. Sprinters are the fastest runners there are, but I wonder about their long distance stamina. Beginner runners persevere and keep at it. I’m a middle distance runner, I can race over 10 miles and run up huge hills, but I’ve never run a marathon: am I a strong runner?
I think, no matter what the distance, the pace, the race, the fitness level, the running experience, the person, it all boils down to one thing: all runners overcome obstacles. And that’s what makes us strong.
ALL runners have obstacles in their way. For beginner runners, this could be running longer than you did last run (even if that’s another half mile or 5 more minutes), or entering your first race. For more experienced runners, it could be conquering a new distance, finally running up that big hill, breaking a long standing PB, finishing in the top half of a race, or even placing. And let’s face it, every time we’re meant to run, level of experience aside, there’s always that initial motivation obstacle.
And no matter what your goals, intentions or ambitions may be, I think it’s fair to say that you need to actively pursue them, push those boundaries, work towards it every single run (even just mentally) so you can make more space between I Can and I Can’t.
One way you can conquer your obstacles and get big results is by trying a Spartan Race – an obstacle course race that is both a major physical and mental challenge. I’ve done one obstacle course race, and despite being running fit, it still presented quite the test. Massive high fives to the people that choose to focus on these races.
Today, I’m teaming up the people at Reebok Spartan Race Canada to offer a pretty fantastic giveaway to any seasoned Spartan or someone looking to take on their first OCR.
I am giving away ONE free entry to any Spartan Race in Western Canada.
This giveaway is open to anyone that plans to enter any of the Spartan Races in Western Canada between now and the end of September, 2015. I’m flexible like that.
You can enter three ways:
- Comment on this post: Tell me about any obstacles you’ve conquered lately, and any big ambitions you’ve got for yourself.
- Follow me on Instagram.
- Like my page on Facebook.
This giveaway closes Monday, May 25th, 2015. I will randomly select one lucky winner, one that can be contacted via email.
Ahem: Aroo! 😉