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Christopher Kelsall: Megan, your email address has ‘2012’ in it, which can only mean one thing: Olympic aspirations. What event are you looking to focus on for London qualification?
Megan Brown: If you had of asked me this question in 2008, it would have definitely been the 5000m. However, I have missed the last three track seasons due to various health reasons, so that has left me with a lot of catch up to do in regards to my development on the track.
The Olympics are definitely not out of reach for me at this point, but my coach, Hugh, and I felt that the best plan for my first year as a post-collegiate athlete, was to focus on consistent training and racing at a variety of distances, both on the road and the track. I definitely feel that one of my strengths is my range, so we are trying to explore that a little bit more.
We chose the Canadian Half Marathon Champs as the first goal race so that I could experiment with the longer distances. After that, I will race a fast 10km in Ottawa before changing focus to the track for the summer. Hopefully by the time August rolls around we will have a better idea of where to head for 2012.
CK: I understand that you had some health issues, to do with Lymes Disease and that you now have your health “under control”. Are you completely clear of symptoms now?
MB: It definitely took me a long time to figure out how to manage the lingering effects of Lymes. A lot of it was nutritional as a result of changes that occurred in my gastrointestinal tract. It hasnt been an easy process, but I think I now have a good handle on what I need to do to stay healthy and hopefully with time, my health will only get better.
CK: It appears that you have done very well especially in cross-country and middle-distance track. Are you close to being in low-4s shape for 1500m?
MB: Running a fast 1500m is definitely not one of my immediate goals. I may run a couple this summer as part of speed development, but the real goal would be to run some competitive 5000m races and possibly a 10,000m on the track, but competitive ones are hard to find.
CK: Your move to the 5000m looks like a good decision, as your 1500m 4:12 and 3000m 9:11 personal bests are just shy in performance level to your Feb 11, 2011 5000m 15:42 performance in Boston.
To run internationally, it appears you will need to run 15:25 for the B standard and 15:16 for the A standard. Has your training regimen changed significantly since moving up?
MB: My training has always been strength focused. Even when I was training for the 1500m, I was doing longer, steady-state runs and workouts with the marathoners – especially in the fall season. However, over the past 5 months, my training has been completely geared towards the 10km and half marathon distance. My overall mileage is higher, my steady long runs are consistently at 28-30kmand I am doing much longer workouts (up to 16km of work). But once the half is done, I will change my focus to the track and work on 5km-10km type training. I am hoping I will be able to reap the benefits of all the longer distance training! It may take some time to get my 1500m legs back though:)
CK: You are now focusing more on recovery than before. Saying this, you must also train enough to reach your athletic goals. Was there a struggle to accept that you may have to take days off or have easy when you are accustomed to harder efforts?
MB: One of the most significant changes that I have made in my training over the past year has been my attention to recovery. If you ask any of my coaches or training partners, they would tell you that I work pretty hard in training. However, what got me into trouble in the past was that I didn’t match my training intensity with adequate recovery. Part of this had to do with the ‘time’ factor, but I also didnt take recovery as seriously as I should have.
Recovery is now an integral part of my training schedule and I follow all of my hard training sessions with an entire recovery protocol. I also take my ‘easy’ days much easier than I have in the past and focus entirely on absorbing the hard training from the day before.
There is definitely still more I can do in the recovery department, especially in the passive recovery/ ‘vegging on the couch’ department but its one step at a time.
CK: What does an off-season week look like in comparison to a later, more specific week?
MB: Unfortunately I haven’t been able to string together an entire year of training and racing since 2007 so my off seasons haven’t really existed. But ideally, my year would be separated into four distinct seasons – a fall road season which builds to a competitive half marathon; a transition season over December and January; then either a spring road season which transitions into summer track or a pure focus to the roads. My training schedule stays consistent throughout the year with the variation coming from the overall mileage and workouts.
I am the type of person who really likes to have a semi-immediate goal race that I am always training towards as it gives a good focus to the training. That is why the split between track, roads and cross is really appealing to me. I like the variation in training and racing and the fact that there can always be a bigger race on the hroizon. As long as you always take a big rejuvenation period and small rest periods throughout, I think it is possible to be fit and race for a big chunk of the year! Now, I just need to keep my consistency going so I can enjoy this type of periodization.
CK: You have some good competition between yourself, Dayna and Lanni. Do you have a tactical race plan to deal with them?
MB: Because it is my first time really racing the half distance, I will probably be a little bit more conservative than I normally am when I race. That being said, the goal will be to set an honest pace and race Dayna head to head for the win.
Post Half Marathon Championships:
CK: Congratulations, you won in 1:14.08. Is the time satisfactory for your first half marathon? Can you take us through the race?
MB: I am definitely pleased with my race performance. 1:14 is much slower than I was capable of running, but unfortunately we had the worst weather conditions for race day. It was rainy, cold and extremely windy. Once I accepted that it wasnt going to be a day for racing fast, I just focused on running for the win. The race started fairly quickly and by the first km, Dayna and I had distanced ourselves from the rest of the field. She and I were on our own for the first 5km, running fairly controlled pace (17:10) as I think we were both timid with the conditions. Around 5km, a group of guys caught us and we were working together as a pack. I tried to keep the pace as honest as possible by pushing the less windy stretches and relaxing into the wind. My shoelace came untied at 9km, so I had to pull off to tie it up. Thankfully I was feeling pretty good, so I made my way back to Dayna by the 10km mark. Once we hit the 12km mark, we turned into this incredibly windy section and I started to put some distanced on Dayna. I could see at 14km, that I had a good 20sec lead and so I focused on remaining composed and running strong to the finish. Overall, I feel like it was a good effort and I look forward to running much faster, more aggressive half this fall!