Training for Race Day: A Runner’s Comeback

After years of training others, a veteran runner gets back into her own racing groove

Christine Blanchette has a stellar finish at the BMO 8K

About a month ago, I decided to enter the BMO 8K run.

My last race was a year and half ago, so I was rusty not only in racing, but in my training as well.  

I used to race almost every weekend. But then I started teaching running clinics and helping others achieve their running goals, and I lost sight of my own.

I wanted to get back into it, and this was the run to do it! This race was about doing something for myself. As soon as I pushed the payment confirmation button, I was committed to running.

Training for an 8K Race

I knew I had to start with a local run that would ease me back into it. This race was perfect because I had run it before and knew it was low key.

With only a month to train, I would have to just aim to do my best. I went in with no expectations other than to complete the race.

I began to train with 55-minute runs on the North Road trails in North Burnaby. Running solo and trying to push myself up the hills wasn’t easy; I wasn’t used to the pain and being tired. I almost preferred to walk the trails, looking at the many beautiful trees along the way.

But after a few workouts, I began to enjoy the challenge, and besides, my goal was just to complete the 8K, not to win it! I remained committed to my training and recorded my progress in a log book.  

Race Day

A month later, I stood at the starting line waiting for the gun to go off.  It was cold and wet and I was shivering, not only because of the weather, but also from anxiety. I was still unsure about my training, given I hadn’t raced in such a long time. And the very idea of pushing myself to keep up with others in this race was a lot of pressure. I kept saying to myself that my goal was simply to complete it.

This kind of thinking kept me calm. As soon as the gun went off, I got into my rhythm. It felt surreal running among others again; hearing the pounding of feet and seeing the colourful shirts up ahead made me feel like I was back at home. I had been away from the racing scene for far too long.

I felt strong throughout the run and surprised myself by placing first in my age group (40-49). I was first out of 52 women and the 7th female overall out of 509. When I saw the finish line, I felt happiness and relief all at once. The fatigue disappeared as soon as I crossed the line.

Now I’m looking forward to my next running adventure — the Sun Run and then some relay races with my local running club

Christine Blanchette started running in 1999. That same year she ran her first marathon. She qualified for the Boston Marathon, but didn’t run it until 2005. She ranked second in Canada in 2000 in the 50K. She teaches running at UBC and South Arm centre in Richmond and blogs about it at