Missing the mark

I took a couple of good cracks at the mile over the past few months, attempting to better national and world age group records, including the outdoor track mile (5:00.59) and the 3,000m (9:47.2). Unfortunately, I didn’t have the wheels on the days it counted, and didn’t hit the times I was shooting for. Still, I’m proud of the work I put into this training phase and don’t see it as a waste of time — I learned a lot in the process and really enjoyed trying something new.

After my last race in July, I took some time to recover and in August returned to a regular workout schedule. The focus since then has been building back some aerobic capacity. The Goodlife Fitness Victoria Half Marathon in October is slated as a performance goal for this training block. I may decide to run some cross-country races, too, just to switch things up. High-interest training keeps me motivated and pushing to next goals.

Enter ‘The Pause’

Coach Trent reviewed the past year’s training program and identified a number of gaps that may have factored in to missing the mile mark. The good news is most of these can be bridged going forward into the next prep cycle.

Training an aging athlete presents Trent with some complex challenges — not everything is straightforward. One major hurdle for me has been the unpredictability of menopause, and all that comes with it — something I don’t think we talk about enough, especially in performance circles. Very little information is available on how to navigate this particular hormonal phase and its effects on performance. I’m learning to adapt as best I can, feeling things out as I go. For me, the most challenging aspect is making sure I get proper recovery and an adequate amount of quality sleep — enough to support the added stress of training. So far, this has been my biggest obstacle but I’m optimistic I’m emerging from the worst of these deficits. Fingers crossed.

Not a solo journey

I may spend a lot of hours solo on roads and trails, but this journey doesn’t happen alone. I’m so grateful to have a top-notch (and unwavering) support team in my corner. I owe them much gratitude and aim to make a habit of acknowledging the difference they make.

Topping the list is the unconditional love and support of my husband Joey. His pride is evident in everything he says and does – I never doubt his belief in me.

I continue to benefit from Trent’s world-class coaching. My overall consistency and the fact I still enjoy training (and learning about training) speak to his skill as a coach and mentor.

My training buddy Ming is a massive help at every workout. He makes the long runs shorter and always boosts my spirits.

Since 2011, Rob Pearce of Structural Dynamic Therapy has been my ‘secret weapon’ to faster recovery. His expertise is unlike any other, and he’s been a huge contributor to my success. The constancy of his friendship is something I’m forever grateful for.

For more than a decade, Saucony Canada has provided me with shoes and gear, taking this piece off my plate. Serving as an ambassador for a brand I believe in is satisfying, and their loyalty is much appreciated.

Stoked Oats provides me with a daily supply of breakfast oatmeal — my choice for fuel well before I was sponsored, simply because it offers the healthiest blend of oats and other nutrient-rich ingredients.

Strength and conditioning coach Lindsay Lynk does an excellent job of getting me stronger and more powerful (in body and mind). The continued support from PISE means she will program my upcoming training cycle. We’ll be sure to share our programming — including video releases — throughout the year ahead.

~submitted by Marilyn Arsenault, is a competitive runner, mentor and coach.