NOVA Featured Runner: Lindsey Swansen

By | October 16, 2017

From Coach Jerry:Lindsey’s improvement in her short time with NOVA has been truly impressive. She jumped out at me right away as a hard worker, and that hard work paid off in a big way with her huge marathon PR. It’s not yet clear to me what Lindsey’s ceiling is, but I’m sure she’s not anywhere near it yet, and I’m looking forward to seeing many more PRs from her.

1) What are your PRs (5k, 10K, any others?)

I only started running a few years ago. Before this year, I had never raced anything shorter than a marathon, so all of my PRs happened this year during my marathon training cycles:

I have only run one 5k (NOVA 5k in August) and I did it in 21:40.

I have only run one 10k (Capitol Hill Classic in April) in 45:57

Two 10 milers, PR at the Annapolis 10 Miler in August in 1:15

Two half marathons, PR at Philly Love Run Half in March in 1:44

Five marathons, recently Wineglass in 3:25! (The first half of that was 1:40, so I guess my half PR should be lower)

2) Goal race(s) for this year? Other races planned?

My big race for this year was Wineglass and I am very happy with the result! However, after Wineglass I felt like I could have pushed harder. I was planning on running the Richmond Marathon anyway, so now I have decided to race it and see how much faster I can go. I’d love to hit 3:20 this fall. My long term goal is to run a sub 3 hour marathon, but I know I still have many years of hard work to go. That is okay. I am just getting started! Now that I am under 3:30 this goal seems much more attainable.

3) What do you consider your best race performance to date?

The Wineglass marathon! Anything shorter than a marathon is new to me so I am still working on getting faster at the shorter distances.

4) How and when did you find NOVA, and what do you like best about the team?

After my two marathons last fall, I hit a new PR of 3:53. I wanted to try and focus on improving my PR, but I was pretty new to running and I did not know how to get faster. I did not know anyone who ran fast and I did not understand how to do speedwork. I felt pretty lost. My husband actually found NOVA and I decided to come to a track workout and see what it was all about. I seriously died the first day! I had never run on a track in my life before last December.

One of my favorite things about NOVA is talking to like minded people who actually care about racing and getting faster PRs. Outside of NOVA I don’t know anyone who is serious about running so it is really refreshing to talk to people who understand how I think. Everybody is so supportive too! I am part of the NOVA Strava group, and I love giving everyone kudos on their runs. It is also a great feeling to know that other people actually care about my running. Everyone in NOVA is so talented and it really pushes me to try and improve. Such a great group of athletes!

I love chatting with everyone and picking all of the veteran runners’ brains for tips. Most people in NOVA have been running for years and they have so much information to share. Erin has been such a wonderful resource and her coaching got me to my new marathon PR. Any question I have I know can be answered by someone in NOVA!

5) What’s the best piece of coaching advice you’ve ever received?

I am always seeking out advice on how I can improve and get faster. It is hard to choose just one piece of advice! The first piece of advice that changed my running was to run in barefoot running shoes. Since making the switch, I have not had an injury. Second piece of advice was to use the Chi running method for running. Those two things combined have changed my running for the better.

I am a big Rich Roll fan and I love listening to his podcast. He sometimes does a podcast with his coach, Chris Hauth. In a recent podcast, Chris gave some advice that really stuck with me. It was something along the lines of, “Improvement in endurance sports takes time. It will not happen overnight. True athleticism is doing a hard workout one day, then going out the next day and doing it again. It is all about the grind. That is where true improvement happens.” Since I am new to running, I am still coming to terms with the fact that improvement will take much longer than I expect. A year of hard work is just a small step. Patience is something I am working on.

6) What thoughts do you have on your performance at Wineglass Marathon?

I am super excited with my 22 minute PR! However,I feel like I could have pushed harder. I had a cold that day so I think my perception of effort was off. My heart rate was low throughout the marathon and when I crossed the finish line I knew I did not give it all I had. It was such a huge PR that I was being cautious so I did not blow up at the end. However, I miscalculated and did not go hard enough. It is okay though because I am excited to run the Richmond Marathon next month and see how much harder I can push. I am still testing my limits and figuring out exactly what I can do.

7) What non-running fitness related (or other) activities do you enjoy?

I am passionate about yoga and meditation, cooking/eating/baking a whole foods plant based diet, and doing home renovation projects. I also love going out on the boat, hiking in the mountains, and laying in the sun on the beach. I wish I could retire so I had time to do everything I want to do!