I haven’t always been a runner. When I was younger I thought I looked silly running, and never had the confidence to do it. Then in grade 12, I asked myself why I couldn’t be a runner. What was honestly stopping me? Purely through mental determination (and incidental running training from hockey) I came 5th in cross country that year. I just did it to prove that I could. I think that’s the thing I love so much about running, it is such a mental game. Your mind tells you to stop long before your body, and your self talk makes all the difference.
I’ve run two marathons so far and the thing that drives me is the absolute satisfaction of finishing. There is honestly no better feeling than wrapping up 12 weeks of hard work by crossing the finish line. A lot of people ask how I can run for so long without giving up, and where my mind goes to. Long distance running is such a mental thing. I think that is what I love about it. If you tell yourself you’re tired and you hate it, chances are you’ll have a bad run or give up. But if you go into a run thinking how amazing it is going to be and how much you love it, you can push yourself a lot harder. The night before any run, whether it’s training or a race, I always write down something positive- “You’ll smash this”, “There is no reason you can’t do this”, “You are so lucky you get to do this”. I get myself excited for the run, I think about how good I will feel and how happy it will make me. It’s hard for the negative thoughts to sneak in when you’re so full of positives. During my actual runs, my thoughts are purely around how many km I have done, how many I have to go, if I’m maintaining my pace, and when to drink water and eat gels. It sounds boring, but as a serial over thinker it is actually quite refreshing. My runs give me absolute clarity.
My goals and thinking have changed so much over the last few years. I never used to set specific goals, because I found the pressure of trying to achieve them sucked the fun out of it. Now I set a few different types of goals. I set a specific goal that I keep to myself. I then set a second goal, which is my “I’ll just be happy to finish/ have a go”. I don’t work well under pressure, so knowing that I will be okay with walking to the finish line, or failing a lift fills me with a lot more confidence than knowing I’ll be disappointed. But really, my secret goals are what drive me.
One of the hardest things about training is the commitment. I do 12 week training blocks alternating between running and powerlifting. It doesn’t give me much time to mess around, so I do have to have to stick to the program and sleeping in just because I want to isn’t an option. It gets hard but I just remind myself that I am doing it for myself because I love it. My least favourite thing about training for both powerlifting and long distance running is that you can’t have it all. When I am at my peak for powerlifting I can deadlift 102kgs, but I’m down to one 10km run per week. When I’m at my running peak, I can run 70+kms per week, but can’t deadlift more than 60kgs. It really messes with your confidence. But that’s the nature of choosing two sports that are complete opposites.
Despite the challenges of doing two sports that do not really complement each other, I will keep going with my training. I just love feeling strong, whether it is strength from being able to run 44km, or strength from lifting heavy weights. Next up for me will be a half marathon, and then Pretty and Powerful at the end of the year. I will do another marathon next year (they are extremely addictive). No matter what it is, having something to work towards is so important to me and I don’t ever want to stop.
Meg will next run at the Sunshine Coast Marathon & compete at the November all female powerlifting competition, Pretty & Powerful in Brisbane. We love your dedication, Meg!