Rumble athlete Justin Kent had a banner year in 2019. He surprised Canada’s running community when, seemingly out of nowhere, he won the 2019 Vancouver Sun Run - becoming the first local in almost thirty years to win the race. When the pandemic hit in 2020, halting competitions and postponing the Tokyo Olympics, all of his plans flew out the window.
Runners like Justin are used to training for races, since competitions structure training calendars and give them something to work towards. The same is true for the rest of us who like to run - we sign-up for 10k races, half-marathons, and marathons, to help keep us motivated and focused on our goals. So what now?
We asked Justin how he kept running and hitting his goals last year, despite the restrictions - and how we can all maintain our running momentum going into 2021.
Q: What havoc did the pandemic wreak on your training and competition schedule this past year?
A: Like most things in the world at the time, the pandemic shut down our entire racing schedule— no road races, no track meets, no Olympics. Thankfully, running became one of the few things we were still able to do even during the worst parts of the pandemic - so my training was left relatively unaffected.
Q: How did you adjust?
A: I think my biggest adjustment came mentally. My coach and I tried to make the best of the situation we were given— making lemonade out of lemons. With no races on the horizon we tried to see this year as a way to bridge the gap to the next level.
Q: You coach with Mile2Marathon - how did that work change?
A: Our group practices were immediately shut down - that was a big bummer. The connection to the running community is what makes coaching with M2M so special and one of the things I look forward to the most. Thankfully, from a coaching standpoint, we use a platform that allows us to do a large portion of our actual coaching online - but nothing quite replaces the in-person group workouts.
Q: With in-person races cancelled, how did you keep yourself motivated?
A: I just tried to keep a positive outlook on the situation. Instead of seeing it as time lost due to the pandemic, I saw it as time gained. More time to focus on getting better and giving myself a whole more year to make a run for the Olympics.
Q: How have you stayed connected to the running community?
A: Like many things, a lot of it has been maintained virtually on social media platforms. I think M2M has done a fantastic job providing coaches with resources to connect with their athletes beyond group workouts. We’ve set up weekly zoom calls, a series of virtual events, and we recently created a M2M Global Membership platform that connects our wider global community.
Q: Favourite album, song, or artist to run to right now?
A: I actually don’t like to run with music. I’ve tried it a couple times but just can’t get into it. I enjoy escaping the world, zoning out and letting my mind wander when I run.
However, we do often race with music blasting in the stadium and my all time favourite still has to be Sandstorm by Darude. Hard to beat that one.
Q: What are your plans and goals for 2021?
A: I’d like to maintain the momentum I’ve gained in 2020. Stay healthy, keep connecting with the running community and make a bid for an Olympic team.
Q: What would you say to runners who are struggling to stay motivated to train, when it could be a long time before the next Sun Run or public race?
- Try and keep a positive mindset. A simple yet difficult switch can make a big impact on your motivation. Approach your training as something that you get to do versus something you have to do.
- Take training day-by-day. With so much uncertainty ahead in 2021, try and focus on the little nuances of training along the way.
- If you don’t already, try and maintain a training log. It’s a good way to remind yourself of all the hard work you’ve accomplished and a good way to keep yourself and your goals accountable.
- Set smaller goals to keep you motivated along the way and actually write these down. They could be as simple as a monthly mileage goal, or a personal best around your favourite neighbourhood loop.
- Train for an alternative distance. A lot of the time, we get lost in the lure of the marathon, half marathon or 10k, and I think a lot of the shorter distances get overlooked. See what you can do in a mile, or a 5k or an 800m (like Rumble athlete Lindsey Butterworth). Remember, focusing on these shorter distances will always help your longer races down the road.
Q: Last, but most important question - what’s your favourite Rumble Supershake flavour?
A: Dutch Cocoa is my go-to!
Follow Justin on Instagram - @jkent_