By: Karen Karnis
It’s the New Year – with a crisp new training log and a clean slate, it’s a popular time to make plans. But let’s face it – we often make New Year’s Resolutions we can’t keep, setting ourselves up for disappointment. While it’s not always our fault, there are some things we can do to help make those plans stick.
Mizuno athlete Jennifer Eberman, a running coach with the University of Toronto Triathlon Club and high-performing runner and triathlete, understands that at this time of year, runners are feeling ambitious. “January is a great time to take stock of your last year and think about what you’d like to accomplish going forward,” she says.
So how to go about it? Eberman offers this advice:
“I think that setting realistic goals is important. Then break it down into smaller tasks that will help you get to where you want to be. I also think it’s important to build in breaks or down weeks into any training plans that you develop. It not only gives your body a break, but it gives you some extra time every 4th or 5th week to devote to other activities that may be neglected on occasion. Afterwards, you’ll come back a stronger runner and better rounded individual!”
Eberman is no stranger to goal setting. She started running competitively in grade 7, and took up triathlon about 7 years ago. She has since completed 3 Ironman triathlons (a 3.8km swim, 180km bike ride, and 42.2km run), and over 20 marathons with a personal best of 2:54:08.
With an athletic resume like that, you know she’s spending a lot of time training. In a typical winter training week, she does 5 runs (including 1-2 interval workouts and a long run), 2 indoor rides, and one or two swim or water-running workouts. In addition to all of that and coaching at the University, Eberman works full time as a Chartered Accountant in a senior management position – so we also asked her advice on how to fit a training plan into a busy week.
“I try to get my workouts done in the morning whenever I can, as I feel like I’ve accomplished something before I even get to the office,” she says. “It also energizes me throughout the day.”
Running with a group helps too. “I run with Stevenson Performance Running (aka Nic’s Angels) a couple of times a week. I absolutely love running with such a tremendous group of women. Nobody can push me as much – or convince me to go for a 30k run before work, starting at 5:15 am – like these girls can!”
Strangely enough, Eberman finds that all of her commitments actually help her to stay focussed. “Often, having many tasks on my plate forces me to be as efficient as possible with both work and training!” When it comes to the coaching, she says, “helping others to train, cheering them on and seeing them accomplish their goals is often as fulfilling as doing it myself.”
Q&A with Jennifer Eberman
Mizuno Run Club: How was your 2011?
Jennifer Eberman: it was a fun year for me!
My 2009/2010 years were extremely goal oriented in terms of specific races and times. I was aiming for PB’s in the marathon and also competing at the Ironman Triathlon World Championships in Kona, Hawaii, so I had to be very regimented. For 2011, my plan was to back off a bit, focus more on shorter distance running and duathlons, and have some fun running trips with my teammates and friends. Although I didn’t PB, I had so much fun traveling to race in places including NYC, Montreal, Vancouver, Muskoka, Ottawa, Myrtle Beach and Philadelphia. I ran quite a few half marathons and enjoyed being able to actually be a tourist on these trips as well, as opposed to simply want to stay off my feet and rest/prepare for my race.
MRC: Looking ahead, what are your goals for 2012?
JE: For 2012, my goal is slightly different. I plan on running just as much, but I’d love to focus solely on the local racing scene. We have quite a few events in Toronto, so I will choose a few. Although I haven’t committed to anything yet, the Toronto Women’s Running Series and the Canada Running Series are always well organized and a ton of fun. Potentially an event at the Toronto marathon weekend as well!
MRC: What are your favourite Mizuno pieces?
JE: I love Mizuno products. My go-to running shoe is definitely the Elixir. Having said that, I alternate between the support and neutral line and the Precisions are both feeling and looking pretty sweet these days! And in the winter, I would freeze to death without my Mizuno Breath Thermo gear.
MRC: What’s your favourite post-run snack?
JE: Almond butter and banana on a whole wheat bagel! But to tide me over, I love the Clif Builder chocolate mint protein bar.
MRC: What’s your favourite reward for a race-well-run?
JE: My favourite post-race treat would have to be wine!