Interview with Meg Lewis-Schneider
- Vancouver, Canada
When and why did you start running?
Technically, I have been running my whole life, but I never focused solely on the sport of running. Instead, I played a wide range of sports as a kid, all of which involved running. I loved to move and play. My coaches and teammates would always say things like, “You’re really fast” or “You can run all day”. I suppose I had some sort of natural endurance and running ability, but I never recognized this until later in life!
It was only once I finished my undergraduate degree and moved out to the West Coast that I decided to give running a real shot. Prior to this, I had done a few random road races, and my results were above average, without any formal training. I was curious to reach my full potential, and thus, I connected with my current coach, Dylan Wykes (www.dylanwykes.com), and team, Mile2Marathon (www.mile2marathon.com) to get some guidance. So far, I’ve loved every part of my running journey and I don’t plan on stopping running.. ever! I’m totally hooked 😉
Describe your ideal race.
I would really like to improve my time for the half marathon distance, and use 5k and 10k races to get faster. Once, I perfect the half-marathon, my dream race is the Two Oceans Marathon, held in my hometown: Cape Town, South Africa. It is claimed to be ‘the world’s most beautiful marathon’ and I don’t doubt this at all, because South Africa truly is a stunning country, vibrant with culture, and awe-inspiring beaches and mountains! This race is definitely on my race bucket-list, especially since it would mean running in the country I was born, with family and old friends there to support me. It would hold so much meaning and be so special!
What’s your favorite road race to date, and why?
Most definitely the Goodlife Victoria Half Marathon that I raced a few weeks ago. Not only did I manage to achieve a PB, but I also finished 2nd female overall AND set a new course record for my age group!
Prior to this I had a breakthrough performance at the Seawheeze Half Marathon in August, so having another phenomenal race following this was unbelievable.
Congratulations on your recent 2nd place in the Goodlife Victoria Half Marathon, What did your training look like coming into the race?
Thank you! I am very grateful that all the hard work and discipline I put into my training, day in and day out, paid off! The struggle is so worth it, when you achieve the results you hope and wish for.
Leading up to this race, I didn’t do anything different with my training, other than dial back the mileage the week of the race, but still kept the intensity the same. However, I’m not going to lie, there were a few “taper tantrums” leading up to race day.. the mind plays funny tricks on the body going into a race, often making you think you’re not ready or you’ve suddenly got a fluke injury! Luckily I persevered and was able to get to the start line in one piece.
What do you love most about living in Vancouver?
There is so much that I love about Vancouver. I love how the outdoors are literally at my doorstep, and how I get to wake up every day with so many options of where to run. It takes me minutes to get on the Seawall or hit the trails at Pacific Spirit Park, and it’s only a quick car ride to get to the mountains in the North Shore! I also absolutely adore the beaches. There are so many of them: Jericho Beach, Spanish Banks, Kitsilano Beach, English Bay.. the list goes on.. making summertime in Vancouver the best! Above all, I love the running community that exists here. It’s massive! You can run with a different running group/club almost every day of the week and the runners I have met are all so supportive. They are definitely one of the many reasons I run so much, because having so many people to run with makes running even more enjoyable! I never have a problem finding a buddy to run with here!
What has been your biggest running / adventure challenge to date?
I have fallen quite a number of times while out running and racing. After a hard workout in the winter last year, I was running home, still on that typical ‘runner’s high’ feeling so good that I just crushed my workout, and suddenly in the darkness, I slipped and fell on both my knees. Despite the pain and the blood, I got up and kept going all the way home (you can see the gory photos on my Strava). This was just a reminder to me that sometimes life knocks you down, but it’s your choice whether you stay down or keep going. I always keep going, no matter what, because I know these challenges arise to make me stronger. Same thing happened in the Fall Classic Half-Marathon I did last November. I was feeling so good throughout that race – despite the heavy rainfall – but as luck would have it, as I was running down a steep hill at the 15-16km turn around, I wiped out and landed badly on my hip. I felt excruciating pain, but I got up, put my head down and kept telling myself ‘one foot in front of the other’, which ultimately got me to the finish line. It wasn’t my best result, but it was a challenge that I felt proud of myself for overcoming! I will never forget these moments, and turn to them when things get tough!
Tell us about your greatest running fail (we’ve all had – or will have – them at some point!)
Being sidelined by a damn blister! You know how they say, “Never run with new shoes a week before a race”? Well, I learned this the hard way! A week before a race, I decided to buy a brand new pair of shoes. After a few casual runs in them, I developed a massive blister filled with fluid (gross I know)! I thought the only way to get rid of it, was to pop it. So I did! Bad idea.. I didn’t sterilize the needle I popped it with and it ended up getting extremely infected. I couldn’t even put on my shoe, because my foot was so swollen! I was out for a couple weeks, recovering from this blister. I felt foolish and upset that something like this could prevent me from racing! Lesson learned though: don’t buy new shoes so close to a race and don’t mess with blisters!
Check out our advice on dealing with blisters in these articles:
- Treat Running Blisters: A How-To Guide
- Stop Getting Blisters From Running: A How-To Guide
- Blisters on the ball of my foot: caused by gait, not shoes
You know how they say, “Never run with new shoes a week before a race”? Well, I learned this the hard way!
What is your approach to training? Do you follow a particular training plan?
My approach to training is “train don’t strain”. Listen to your body and don’t get greedy and take more than it’s willing to give. I do this by balancing hard workouts with quality, recovery/easy runs. Another approach to my training is I try to never go full out in workouts. Most runners work really hard and usually think more is better, but showing up to a start line healthy and a bit undertrained means you’ll have more left in the tank to race well, rather than running on fumes and sore, tired legs! And yes, I do follow a training plan. I do two hard workouts per week, one of which is a tempo workout, and the other is a speed/track workout, complimented with easy runs and a long run. In total, I am running six days per week, with one rest day!
What advice would you give to a new runner?
Patience. I was so impatient when I started running. I thought everything would happen quicker for me and that I would be able to improve in a short amount of time. Running doesn’t work like this! You really need to commit to it, and understand that progress can take weeks, months and years; but the journey running takes you on, is so worth it. So to all new road and trail runners out there, don’t give up on running when things get difficult, or you get injured, or you have plateaued and are not improving, in time you will progress, but you must stick it out!
I do follow a training plan. I do two hard workouts per week, one of which is a tempo workout, and the other is a speed/track workout, complimented with easy runs and a long run.
What is your favourite bit of running kit?
I would have to say good socks! There is nothing worse than bad socks. Having socks fall down in your shoe is terribly uncomfortable, or when they are too thick and your feet get so hot! I also love a nice pair of running shorts or spandex with a thick waistband! Comfort is everything while running, and of course looking good every once and a while doesn’t hurt either ;).
What challenges / races / adventures are you planning for the coming year?
I don’t have a ton planned, rather, I am just going with flow and putting myself out there in as many local Vancouver races as I can, because that’s the only way I can get better! By next Spring however, I hope to be ready to rock my first full marathon, possibly somewhere outside of Vancouver. I haven’t decided on where yet, but this is definitely a new experience and challenge that I am looking forward to!
My approach to training is “train don’t strain”. Listen to your body and don’t get greedy and take more than it’s willing to give. I do this by balancing hard workouts with quality, recovery/easy runs.
What’s your favourite running/adventure book, and which songs keep you going when things get tough?
Running books, running blogs, running magazines; I just love reading about running! I guess you could say I’ve become somewhat of a *running nerd*?! My favourite running book that was recommended by many of my friends is A Life Without Limits by Chrissie Wellington. Although her novel may not be directly about running, a lot of it correlates to running. It tells the story of Chrissie’s rise to the top of triathlon, as a total newcomer to the sport. It doesn’t just reveal the heart behind her success, but also her diet, training and motivational techniques, which have all helped me with my own running! It ultimately proves that sport can make ordinary people do extraordinary things. This book definitely wasn’t written for triathletes alone. It motivated me, and will seriously motivate any reader to aspire beyond their limitations. As for songs that keep me going: Now or Nevery by Hasley, My Body by Young the Giant, Fight Song by Rachel Patten, Sweet Child O’ Mine by Guns N’ Roses and Shut Up and Dance by Walk the Moon are just a few that I turn to!
Finally, what do you get up to in life when you’re not running or adventuring?
So many things!! When I’m not running, I enjoy being outside, practicing yoga, sipping on lattes in cute little coffee shops, indulging in Rain or Shine ice cream, getting lost in the trails with friends on hiking excursions, soaking up the sun at Jericho Beach, going to Farmer’s Market’s and loading up on fresh produce to bake and cook delicious running fuel, listening to podcasts related to running and nutrition, studying and working towards my career goals and… always dreaming! I am a big dreamer and my head is always in the clouds ;)!
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Thank you, Meg, for taking the time to be interviewed. It’s great to hear about the benefits and joys that road running can bring you. We also love running on the roads as well as the trails. Variety is the spice of life 🙂 Good luck in your future races, I have a feeling we will be seeing your name pop up on those podiums even more! If you’re around on our next visit to Vancouver, it would be great to go for a run on one of your favourite routes. You may have to ease off on the pace a little though 🙂
Happy Road Running!