How I became a runner
May 13, 2018
I’ve been running for about 8 years. Occasionally I reflect on the progress I’ve made in that time, and I thought it would be interesting to write some of it down in detail.
I wasn’t a particularly active teen, but one summer near the end of high school I started biking around the Bear Creek Reservoir in Grande Prairie for fun. After a few weeks the loop was starting to feel comfortable on my mountain bike, and I thought I’d try running it. My running experience at that point was limited to the occasional school track meet, where I raced without really training.
It was a 10k loop, and my first attempt took about 80 minutes. I ran the whole loop without walking. I vaguely remember a lot of muscle soreness for days afterward, with my hip adductors in particular bothering me for a week afterward. The next time I went out to repeat the loop, it felt a lot easier. The rapid improvement was addicting, and I ran very casually throughout the summer.
Living in Northern Alberta, it’s difficult to train through the winter. I did continue to run in the summers throughout university though. Somewhere around this time a friend convinced me to race a sprint triathlon. This was possibly my first racing experience, and I thoroughly enjoyed it despite my atrocious swimming ability.
Faster and further
By the end of university I was running more regularly, up to 3 times/week in the summer with the occasional run or strength workout in the winter. In the summers I dabbled in longer runs up to 20k, while short and fast 6-7k runs remained a staple. In retrospect I was definitely getting enough quality in, but my volume was quite low. I doubt I ever topped 40k/week as I was running about 3 times/week.
After moving to Vancouver in 2016 I decided to train for the BMO Vancouver Marathon. This was my first time running consistent weeks over 40k, and I ended up succumbing to injury fairly early on. I transferred my registration to the half marathon and set a PR of just over 1:30. Later that summer I broke 19 minutes in the 5k. These past few months I’ve been averaging closer to 50k/week over 5-6 runs. I’m still working on reducing some of the quality tempo-style runs that I enjoy in order to ramp up the volume even more. I’m building on a great base at the moment, having set a 1:26 half a year ago.
I find myself planning my life around running more and more, always trying to fit in longer runs on the weekend and being more methodically about where I place tempo runs, fartleks, track, and hill workouts. I’ve been uploading my runs to Strava for a couple years, which gives me a bit more visibility into my training since I never kept any training logs prior to that. I find the statistics very satisfying and motivating, and enjoy seeing the progress of others.
I’ve signed up for the 50k Knee Knackering North Shore Trail Run as my second-ever trail race and first ultramarathon. Within the next two years I’d also like to make my road marathon debut. If I get tired of the grind I have some shorter race barriers to break as well. I’d like to run a 17:30 5k and a sub-36 10k. The long term plan is to stay healthy and injury-free so that I can enjoy running for many more years. Who knows, there might be 90+ age group records on the horizon.