A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege of getting trained at NTC by Canadian Olympian Sheila Reid. Sheila is a track and field athlete and a professional runner that participated in the 2012 London Olympics. She is currently training for next year’s Olympics in Rio and also this year’s Pan Am Games in Toronto. She was in town for the announcement of Nike Women‘s upcoming 15k race happening in Toronto on June 14th (In case you didn’t already know, those interested in participating in the race will be able to sign up on March 9th!). Training with Sheila was incredibly inspiring to say the least. Getting to spend time and talking with an athlete of that level was very enriching. I’m looking forward to following her next running achievements. Hope you’ll get inspired by this week’s 5 Questions with Sheila Reid:
1) What first got you interested in running? Do you remember your first race and how it went?
The first race I can remember was in grade 4- that was the first year we were allowed to participate in sports at school outside of gym class, so I joined the cross country team. I came in second and everyone from my school was really proud of me. I remember being really confused by that because I wanted to win. The team didn’t train at all, and the only requirement was signed consent from a parent to compete. So from the start, for me, it was all about racing; how far could I push my body on any given day? By the end of elementary school I was a champion.
2) You are currently training with the Oregon Track Club Elite, what does your training regimen look like? How has training in the US helped you as an athlete?
My training regimen consists of running, cross training, and weight training. I run every day (twice a day 4x/week), lift weights 2x per week, and some days I will supplement my training with cardio work in the pool or on an ElliptiGo machine. Specific race preparation happens during interval workouts; these are running sessions I do twice a week to work on pace-specific training. I decided to go to America for school to compete in the NCAA system because I felt that the high level of competition would force me to compete at that same level. I’ve remained there based on many of the connections I made while at university.
3) You took part in the 2012 London Olympics and placed 28th in the 5000 meters, how did that experience change you as an athlete?
Like after any competition, you go back to the drawing board with your team and assess where you can improve. After this particular instance, I felt more energized than ever to be more calculated with my training and listen to my body during each session. I decided quickly that London wouldn’t be my last race and was vocal that I was ready to give running my all for myself, my teammates and my coaches.
4) What advice would you give to people who are just getting into running?
If you’re just starting your running journey, my advice would be to create a routine and find a positive community that will push you. Even if you set a goal to run 15 minutes a day without stopping, you will be surprised by the improvement and momentum that can spring from something as small but routine as that. From there, build your goals by attainable bite sizes. The best way to find inspiration to keep moving is by surrounding yourself with positivity and community. By committing and finding a strong community like a Nike+ run club, you will push yourself faster and further, and the people around you will help you go beyond your limits.
5) You’ll be taking part in the Nike Women’s 15k Race happening in Toronto on June 14th as well as this year’s Pan Am Games in Toronto. What are your career plans for the next couple of years?
My training program is largely focused on going faster. I’m constantly focusing on developing my fast twitch muscles and pushing my cardio abilities to keep me at my peak speed for a longer duration of every race. In my training over the next couple of years, I’ll be aiming to improve my speed with the long term goal of competing in the Rio 2016 Olympics. I’m fortunate enough to have some amazing competitions and checkpoints along the way, including the Pan Am Games in 2015 in Toronto, and the 2015 Track & Field World Championships in Beijing in August.