In-Depth Post #6: Meeting with Ms. Brookbank

Updates and Changes

Though I have still not found a mentor, Ms. Mulder has put me in contact with Laurie Brookbank who has run half marathons before and has met up with me to give me some advice. I think that I really benefited from the advice of someone who has actually run half marathons before. Though I have read a book about training, it is not the same as getting advice from someone in person. I really appreciated her advice and expertise, it was very helpful. I will elaborate later.

Progress Report

Being back at school, it has been difficult to find time to train. I have only trained three times in the past two weeks (and I should be training at least three days a week), which is not good especially so close to the half marathon which is on June 11th. I am very upset that I have not had time to run, however, I understand that this is a crazy time of year. I still think that with the training I have done so far that I could run a half marathon, but I know that because I lost a lot of training time these past two weeks that my time will not be as good as it could be. I think that I have to commit to training in the mornings, if this means saying that I cannot meet in the mornings because I have to run, then I think that is what it may come to. I am very disappointed with myself for not training as much as I should, however, I think that with everything going on right now, it is unrealistic to expect so much from myself. I have still continued to train a little bit these past two weeks however.

I have also met with Ms. Brookbank last week to talk about in-depth, and I will elaborate on our conversation below under the “A Beautiful Mind” heading.

Difficulties / Goals

It has continued to be difficult to train without a mentor, without someone to keep me accountable for training. I hope that I can find a mentor when I train with Kinetic. This time of year gets very busy and stressful; and, part of the reason that I picked this in-depth project was because I knew that jogging could help me to de-stress. I think that by finding time to jog, it will help me be more relaxed about school work while still making some progress. I really hope to crack-down and train hard in these next few weeks. I think that training is one of my favourite things to do, but I don’t prioritize this as a need, so a lot of times I don’t get to it.  However, I think that I will begin to prioritize more effectively to make sure that I get to train and do other things I love as well.

A Beautiful Mind

For this week, we have read about concepts and alternatives. I found that reading this part of De Bono’s book before the meeting I had was very helpful to asking Ms. Brookbank clarifications about her answers, and asking for further elaboration to answers. Using the idea of pulling out concepts to clarify answers to my questions also helped me to take notes during our conversation.

Some examples of concepts we spoke about during our meeting include: listening to our body and its needs, preparing for anything that could happen on the day of the half-marathon, goal-setting in a variety of contexts, positive visualization, nutrition, importance of professional help, importance of community support in running, and importance of various types of cross-training.

Ms. Brookbank also talked to me about some lesser known knowledge about running and some creative alternatives for my situation. Through this conversation, Ms. Brookbank offered many alternatives to the same question, which was very helpful. What she said came from life-experience and I really appreciated her honesty about running. However, some of things I have read in books, had placed emphasis on different aspects of training. John Stanton, who wrote the two books I read about training, had slightly different views on nutrition and had different alternatives for cross-training. I look at John Stanton as an honorary mentor of mine after reading his books. To illustrate what alternatives Ms. Brookbank offered me and what alternatives other resources have given me, I have made a list below with some of the questions I asked Ms. Brookbank. Her answers are written below the question, and I have included other alternatives from other resources as well, then I will write about it below and explore the two alternatives in a contrasting way.

  1. What is the best way to eat before a short jog (under 10km)? A long jog (over 10km)?

For runs under about an hour and a half, it is best to eat 45 or 50 minutes before the run and to eat something light that will give energy and will make sure that I will not get hungry while running. Some examples include: a banana, toast with peanut butter, applesauce, and other food that is easily digested. For longer runs or a race, Ms. Brookbank recommended: oatmeal, cheese, nuts, crackers, sandwich with a salad, pancakes, or even just a good meal the night before. Ms. Brookbank stressed the importance of eating what you know works best for you and what you know is sure to give you enough energy but will not make you sick. She suggested avoiding seafood, as from her experience, it has not always been the best option.

A fair amount of resources I looked at including John Stanton’s book Running Start to Finish put more emphasis on eating things that will give energy, like carbs, rather than eating food that is light and sure to not make you sick.

2. The week of the half marathon, what are some important things I should keep in mind or do?

Get 8-10 hours of sleep at night leading up to the half marathon to give your body time to regenerate and re-cooperate. Drink a lot of water, especially in the two days before the half marathon. Don’t try any new foods. Rest for two full days before the race, or only do a very light jog (like a 15-minute or 20-minute jog). Prepare mentally for the race by using positive visualization and by setting three types of goals for yourself: a best case scenario goal, a worst case scenario goal, and a realistic goal. Pack your race bag the week before (include things like a change of clothes- for different weather, a change of shoes, a change of socks, a light jacket, gloves, a snack, a body glide, etc.).

In Running Start to Finish, the training program suggests that you run 3km the day before the half marathon, which differs a little bit from Ms. Brookbank’s advice.

3. What type of cross-training options do you recommend and what are the benefits of each?

Ms. Brookbank stressed doing other types of cardio, core-strengthening exercises (like planks, push-ups, sit-ups, chin-ups), quad as well as glut-strengthening exercises (like squats, for example), low-impact activities to build up resistance (like swimming, and cycling), and activities to improve agility (like yoga and Pilates). Ms. Brookbank suggested any activity that builds up strength in muscles used for running, cardio, resistance, and agility. She stressed the importance of doing activities you love in a way that also benefits you as a runner.

The other resources I have read place similar emphasis on agility, cardio, and resistance as Ms. Brookbank did. However, I imagine that another mentor could suggest not doing cross-training and focusing solely on running instead.

These are just three examples of questions that I asked Ms. Brookbank, the alternatives she gave, and other alternatives that could also be possibilities for me. Ms. Brookbank placed a lot of emphasis on finding what strategies work best for me and experimenting with them until I find the right balance of cross-training, jogging, nutrition, rest, and other such things. However, other resources I read gave very specific and narrow advice. Ms. Brookbank gave me a variety of alternatives, and I really appreciated her efforts to educate me about this topic. We were both very willing to look for alternatives and I believe that we were creative in doing so. This blog post along with the note-taking I did helped to evaluate the alternatives that I now have as options. I will definitely focus a lot on the nutrition alternatives and experiment with that in coming weeks as it has been something that I have struggled with in the past. Knowing information from other resources and other perspectives, helped me to better appreciate the knowledge and perceptions of Ms. Brookbank. I am so grateful that Ms. Brookbank talked to me about my in-depth and her knowledge has been in-valuable to me. I am very excited to put these alternatives into action.

Summary

Though I have been very busy lately, I am making it a goal for myself to make time to train, to keep myself accountable, to try new alternatives for nutrition, cross training, as well as stretching, and to use this running in-depth project to my advantage when dealing with stress. Though I am disappointed that I have not spent as much time doing my in-depth as I would like; I am still proud of the work I have done so far and am now trying to use that disappointing feeling to motivate me to train. I am very happy with how the meeting with Ms. Brookbank went and I will definitely use the information she provided me with in my training process. I am looking forward to the next few weeks of training and starting to train with Kinetic.

I hope that everyone’s in-depth projects are going well, good luck to everyone as they reach the half-way point in their in-depth projects!

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