Get Faye-Sten­ning Fit

Canadian Running - - FEATURES - By Ar­den Young

Faye Sten­ning has been known as a pint-sized speed­ster in the Cal­gary run­ning com­mu­nity for years, but only re­cently did she be­come a house­hold name as a world-class ob­sta­cle course rac­ing ( ocr) ath­lete. In 2016, Faye snagged a spot on the Ree­bok Spar­tan Pro Team, was ranked sec­ond in the U.S. Spar­tan cham­pi­onship se­ries, and fin­ished third at the world cham­pi­onship race in Ta­hoe, Calif. in Oc­to­ber, with a nail-biter sprint to the fin­ish against fel­low Cana­dian su­per­star, Lindsay Web­ster.

We know you’ve been com­pet­i­tive in the run­ning scene for years now, as a mem­ber of the Univer­sity of Cal­gary track team, but what in­spired you to make the switch over to OCR?

It started at a Red Deer Spar­tan race in 2013, when I had just started dat­ing my boyfriend, Josh. We signed up for the race think­ing it would be a fun chal­lenge to do to­gether. I won that first race by a mile, so like a lot of run­ners, just thought it was a joke and not some­thing to ac­tu­ally ever take se­ri­ously. But we con­tin­ued to race, as it was a fun way to travel around to dif­fer­ent places. Trav­el­ling and rac­ing down in the States, I re­al­ized that there is money and com­pe­ti­tion in this af­ter all, and I could no longer just run away with the wins. My com­pet­i­tive in­stincts kicked in, and I started to train and take things se­ri­ously.

Crush­ing Spar­tan races all over North Amer­ica means you are on the road a lot. How do you bal­ance other work and life re­spon­si­bil­i­ties?

I don’t. Bal­ance is im­pos­si­ble. At a cer­tain level, you will need to pri­or­i­tize and pick and choose. I aim for great time man­age­ment skills and ef­fi­ciency, but per­fec­tion­ism in the day-to-day goes out the win­dow. I do al­ways make time for friends and fam­ily, and sleep. Sleep is a re­ally im­por­tant part of my train­ing and al­ways takes pri­or­ity. But re­ally, my key ad­vice: have a part­ner who is good at house­work, have a lot of clothes to limit laun­dry and eat out a lot so you don’t have to cook.

You are known on the Spar­tan cir­cuit for your speed, so you’ve clearly got the run­ning part down. When it comes to the ob­sta­cles, what are your strengths and weak­nesses?

Run­ning is def­i­nitely my strength. With train­ing, I’ve be­come pro­fi­cient at heavy car­ries and grip strength. For the most part, I rarely fail ob­sta­cles, but am al­ways work­ing to do them faster. I would say that the spear throw, go­ing over walls, bal­ance and go­ing down steep tech­ni­cal moun­tain trails are my weak­est ar­eas.

Any tips for a first-timer when it comes to at­tack­ing the ob­sta­cles?

It’s help­ful to prac­tice a lot of grip strength. This can in­clude farmer car­ries (car­ry­ing heavy dumb­bells at your side), dead hangs, pinch grip plate holds, pullups and chin-ups. Train­ing for heavy car­ries will also help with mul­ti­ple ob­sta­cles. Carry heavy, awk­ward things, such as sand­bags and buck­ets, and load dif­fer­ent ar­eas of your body – back, shoul­ders, front. As you get bet­ter, start adding in­cline, car­ry­ing the weight up steep hills. On the run­ning side, try to make most of your runs on trails and in­cor­po­rate as many hills as you can.

A lot of peo­ple are look­ing up at you as a role model and in­spi­ra­tion. Who do you look to for mo­ti­va­tion or ad­vice?

Jes­sica O’Con­nell – we have been good friends since high school. She has had so much hard­ship, bad luck, and in­jury in sport, yet went to the Rio Olympics. She just has this re­lent­less drive, al­ways hope­ful, al­ways tough­ing it out. She shows me things don’t need to be per­fect – train­ing, diet, life – but you can still have a per­fect race.

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