With races back on the calendar this year, our goal is to amplify our athletes’ stories, their journeys to the start line and provide some context behind race results. This week we caught up with Owen Roberts to unpack his breakthrough 2:50:36 marathon in Calgary. Over the past year Owen has run personal bests from the mile (4:55) to his most recent result in the marathon. A staple of our Calgary group coached by Matthew, Owen takes us behind race day, a look into adjustments he made in this build, how he’s balancing training alongside work, and what’s next on his horizon.
First off, congratulations on the 2:50 marathon! What was your PB going in? How’d the race play out? Was that something you were shooting for or did you have a phenomenal day?
Thanks, hopefully not too many details but summary of the day:
I did one marathon previously which was 2:52:45 in Vancouver 2019. Going into the race I was hoping to go sub 2:50. Had a tight hip a few weeks leading up to Calgary so was a bit unsure what would happen. Race started well with pretty good race temperatures but quite gusty. The course is somewhat out and back so km 12-26 was basically against the wind. At about km 15 my hip started to tighten up which is also where the half marathon splits off with marathon so rather than a group to run with, it was solo and against the wind so thoughts were quite negative at this time. Somehow at around the 20km point my hip tightness just went away and had a couple other runners to run with which was good motivation. At the turnaround point (26km marker) I calculated (math nerd) I could still break 2:50. Felt good and on track until 36km where legs were pretty much done. Luckily I could grind through that and keep up a reasonable pace but slowed just a bit to give final time of 2:50:36
What changes did you make in this build compared to your last?
My last marathon was self-coached and was quite different approach. Did more volume previously but this time my workouts were done at faster paces so there was a cautious optimism I was faster but wasn’t sure I would be able to hold on.
How long have you been working with Matthew and how have you found managing training with your day-to-day life?
I started working with Matthew Feb 2021. l have a family with 3 young kids (9,6 &2) and aside from their activities, I’m involved with other non-running activities (avid Mountain biker) so running specific times is sometimes hard to come by. Matthew has provided a good balance of incorporating those other activities with good quality workouts and rest when needed.
You’ve been with M2M for just over a year now, what has it been like being a part of the Mile2Marathon community?
From a results perspective, like the name implies, since joining Mile2Marathon just over a year ago I have improved PRs from mile (4:55) to this recent marathon (2:50:36).
I find it so interesting to hear how people discover Mile2Marathon; I’m curious as to what sparked your initial interest in M2M, and if can you offer any words of advice to those sitting on the fence?
I started attending the M2M group sessions in fall 2020 as motivation to get out running on a regular basis as that was just not happening at the time. I really enjoyed it as there were other runners of similar speed to chase and the workouts were different from those I was creating on my own. Also having group encouragement makes tough workouts that much easier!
Lastly, what’s up next for you?
A bit undecided at the moment….I’ll do the M2M Chase the Pace 5,000m in July and then maybe a Half marathon in the fall.
Thank you Owen for taking the time to share your story, we hope you have a good rip at Chase the Pace this summer. Stay tuned for more athlete stories coming your way.