To qualify for the Olympic Trials is an incredible feat in and of itself. More incredible than that is the fact that once you qualify you must somehow find that extra-gear to train harder and push yourself even farther than before. Simply incredible. We were able to ask Andrea some questions about how she has prepared for the 2016 Marathon Trials:
Preparing For The Olympic Trials - Andrea Duke
How are you preparing for it?
Workouts have been pretty intense, pushing the limits in at least 2 workouts a week. I took the summer to train for shorter races, working on speed and getting the leg turnover to sharpen up, knowing I wanted to improve my speed for the Trials. That helped build my confidence for workouts and race day, knowing I was improving. The big challenge for me was the mental training, as I run with my emotions on the front of my brain, so it was important for me to stay positive and have perspective in the build-up to Los Angeles.
What's your favorite workout?
My favorite workout is 1000m with 200m recovery. I despise them when I'm doing them, but LOVE the feeling when I'm done. It's an amazing indicator for my endurance and recovery abilities. This workout is also a good challenge for me mentally, as I have to be mindful of the pace and effort to keep the endurance.
How has it altered your day-to-day routine?
Training for the Trials has altered life some, as I have more to juggle with kids and life, but it's been worth it. I decided to take a year off from teaching to train, as the time needed to do what was necessary plus taking care of my children was at a much higher level. I also decided to add in strength training to get stronger and additional recovery efforts (massage and cryotherapy) to ensure I could give my all everyday. Sleeping my in Zensah compression shorts and compression socks also helps!
Have you changed your diet?
Nothing dramatic has changed, as my diet has been very focused for a while. But I have added in more proteins to build muscle, as after the Trials I plan to transition into OCR. Overall, my diet is heavy on quinoa, chicken, avocados, eggs and vegetables.
What has been the hardest part?
My mind for sure. Thanks to my kids, family and boyfriend, I have an incredible support system of people who love and support me for me, not for my abilities. I place a great deal of pressure on myself to always perform at the hugest level, to get down on myself when something goes wrong in training or at races. But they have really helped me stay confident and positive about what really matters, which is not always the pace or time or outcome of a race.
What keeps pushing you? My family. I see the hardships they have overcome in the recent years and know that nothing I'm going through is anything compared to their experiences. I am blessed to have the ability to run and the reminder of their support gets me out the door. I don't want to let them down, or even myself, by not caring enough or giving my all.
What's your biggest fear?
Honestly, nothing. I believe that whatever happens in life happens for a reason. If I am unable to run for whatever reason, I will eventually understand the lesson in that. Not running a certain time or failing at a race can't rule my attitude in life, as it's just a run. It's not my profession, it's not the end-alll-be-all, but it is important, so I do put my heart out there. But in terms of running and my fears, I just do what I can and learn from every experience.
We're two weeks out, are you ready?
I am so ready for it to happen and be done!!! I am beyond excited and feel so ready, but the buildup has been insane! I feel like a caged animal ready to be released! Whatever happens that day, being there on the start line represents so much in my life - overcoming obstacles, overcoming doubt, overcoming expectations that "someone like me" can't make it. My history isn't full of high school or college accolades, I have very little racing experience - but I do have a huge heart and a huge belief that dreaming big can produce incredible outcomes. SO BRING IT!