BY CHRISTY KNOX
The annual New York City Marathon takes place Sunday Nov. 6 this year. With more than 50,000 runners registered, this makes the marathon the largest in the world. Alicia Knox, a 25-year-old Oakville native will be running the upcoming race.
How long have you been running?
Competitively for 10 years. When I was 16 years old I joined a track and field club, after retiring from competitive gymnastics. My love for running started in elementary school when I joined the cross-country team in Grade 4. I continued to run on the school teams all the way through high-school, and was recruited by several universities in Canada and the U.S.
What kind of running do you specialize in?
I attended the University of Western Ontario, where I ran the 1500m and 3000m on the track and 5km for cross-country. Now I am focusing on half and full marathon distances which are 21.1km for the half and 42.2km for the full marathon.
Do you have a coach for marathon running?
I get a training plan from my former university coach, but I do all of my training by myself. I have former teammates that I occasionally meet up with to run, and my dad will often bike alongside me for my longer runs.
What is your marathon training like?
After a few months of base training (mileage buildup) I begin a 16-week intensive training plan, which includes six days of running each week. Three days are easy 10km runs, two days are speed workout days which are a bit heavier in mileage, and then one day is a long run day which is anywhere between 75 minutes to three hours of running depending on where I am in my training. I also do core following every run, and 3 days of weight training.
What do you do outside of running?
I am an elementary school teacher. When I’m not working, planning lessons, or running I am usually reading a book, baking and spending time with my family and friends.
How do you fit in all of your training with your schedule as a teacher?
I do all of my training after I get home from school, sometimes if I have a lot of work to do, and I don’t get to my training until late evening. If I’m feeling tired I will cross train instead. I’ll jump on the spin bike or elliptical. It’s all about a healthy balance, based on how I’m feeling and what I have going on each week. I take it day by day and make changes if necessary. I run for fun, it is something I enjoy and look forward to.
Do you have a pre-race routine?
I wake up, have breakfast, which is usually a peanut butter and jam sandwich and a banana, put on my race gear, which I set out the night before. Once I get to the race I do a light shake out run and some stretching while listening to some pump up music, and then head to the start line. I like to take it all in and enjoy the atmosphere. Race day is a celebration of all of the work you’ve put in. It’s time to enjoy the experience!
What do you think about while you’re running?
Its funny that you ask that, sometimes I’ll think about absolutely nothing! Running is sort of a mental break from everything you have going on. Other times I’ll think about things I have coming up, or things I need to do. I do a lot of my best thinking when I’m running. On race day, during the marathon sometimes you hit some rough patches so I try to think positive and have a few mantras that I say to motivate me.
What is your goal time for the NYC marathon?
I completed my last marathon in 3 hours and 17 minutes. So my goal would be to better that time. But my goal as always is to have fun, and finish knowing that I tried my best and gave it my all. I am happy to be able to do what I do, and I enjoy doing it.
How many marathons have you run?
I’ve only run one marathon prior to this one, before that I completed several half marathons in preparation for the marathon distance. I have a few other marathons on my bucket list. I have run a Boston Marathon qualifying time, and hope to run that in 2018. The Chicago Marathon is another one on my list.