Canadian Running

BREAKING THROUGH

RUNNERS FROM ACROSS THE COUNTRY SHARE THEIR STORIES ABOUT HOW THEY ACHIEVED THEIR GOALS

- By Amy Stupavsky

Runners are a tribe of go-getters. We run in the heat, rain, and snow. We propel ourselves through gruelling training regimes and clock hundreds of hours in the name of progress. As a meritocrat­ic sport, running rewards hard work and commitment, giving back what a runner puts in. Pushing ourselves is part of the goal and moderation does not usually come naturally.

But on the eve of a new running season, it’s time to ruminate on past challenges and redefine our limits. Whether it’s beating a personal record, winning a medal, racing farther, or being more consistent, improvemen­t is all about evaluating your performanc­e and making the changes that lead to breakthrou­ghs. We’ve gathered advice and wisdom from elite and recreation­al runners who’ve learned from their pasts and keep reaching for the top. Here’s to starting the year off on the right foot.

THE RUNNER PAULA KEATING, 47, Miramichi, N.B.

THE ACCOMPLISH­MENTS

Broke New Brunswick women’s marathon record in her first marathon with a 2:58:02 in New York City, 2009; current N.B. marathon record-holder with 2:47:26 in Boston, 2011; female winner of the Detroit Free Press Marathon in 2010; won female masters division nyc marathon in 2011 at age 45; placed 14th overall female at the Boston Marathon in 2012; and RunNB hall of fame inductee in 2012 and RunNB female runner of the year, 2009–2012.

THE BREAK THROUGH

I’m an endurance person, not a speedster. My strength is definitely in the longer distances, and my favourite race by far is the marathon. I enjoy the training and sense of accomplish­ment. I’ve had no formal coaching to date, but I read voraciousl­y about running, physiology and nutrition. I try to apply what I’ve learned to improve myself. Probably the biggest change in my improvemen­t has been incorporat­ing more tempo work for speed and endurance.

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