Meet Jane Grace
November 2, 2016
Jane Grace (from Jersey, in the Channel Islands) is 44 years old, a mother of four, a court lawyer – and an ElliptiGO user. She has just completed the Abbott World Marathon Majors series, a feat which began in 2013 and ended in 2016. The Majors is made up of running the London, Boston, Berlin, Tokyo, New York and Chicago Marathons. She completed these races in times ranging between 3.07 and 3.17 – with the Berlin Marathon being her favourite!
Jane has completed 12 marathons so far, winning various trophies, categories and other prizes along the way. She represented Jersey in the 2015 Island Games (a multi-sports event for small island nations) in the half marathon.
After her fourth child in 2009 Jane decided that she wanted to do the London Marathon. Having failed to obtain a ballot entry for a number of years, she decided to run the Jersey Marathon to see whether a good for age entry could be gained. A qualification time of 3:45 was needed to gain entry to the London Marathon). She completed the Jersey Marathon in 2010 (in 3:33) and finally ran the London Marathon in 2012.
Having achieved this goal, Jane set herself a further goal of breaking 3:30 in her next marathon. This required a harder training schedule – and more training volume. But increased running volume often brings with it the risk of injury, particularly as you hit 40. At about the same time, Jane’s husband Billy Grace got his first ElliptiGO in 2013 (following hip surgery). So Jane also introduced the ElliptiGO into her training, using Billy’s ElliptiGO exclusively on a static indoor trainer. She returned to the London Marathon the following year and ran it in 3:17. After this, her next goal was to race the Abbott World Marathon Majors.
The secret of her marathon success has been the ability to train consistently and without injury, which the ElliptiGO (with its non-impact running action) has helped her to achieve. She has used the ElliptiGO at various stages of her Marathon Majors:
(1) as her second session of the day and
(2) as part of ‘brick’ sessions (to extend a long run).
We look at both in this article…
Jane’s use of the ElliptiGO for second sessions (in the same day) was done at moderate intensity and for 30-40 minutes. She would listen to music and read her Kindle on the indoor trainer, while still being on hand for the children, if needed. She says she found this relaxing: “Even when you are a busy person you can ‘manufacture’ time by using the ElliptiGO creatively, during times when you would otherwise not be productive.” Jane also commutes to work by running, so a lot of her training is done by doing things that people are already doing anyway – such as commuting to work, childcare and relaxing in front of the TV, for instance. It takes some personal organisation, but it can be done…
Extended Runs (‘Brick Sessions’):
As part of her pre-marathon build up Jane would gradually increase the mileage of her weekly long runs, from 13 to 23 miles across a number of weeks. These runs had moderate intensity ElliptiGO sessions (on the indoor trainer) added on for up to an hour. She explains: “You can quickly get your training duration up to your expected marathon race duration that way. This means you have the repeated experience of being on your feet (and fueling, or training fasted) for the length of time that you expect your marathon race to last. This way she avoids turning up for the marathon never having trained for the length of time she will run for on race day.
“Ideally” she adds, “you can exceed your race time during training (because the conversion between time on the ElliptiGO and running is not quite one-to-one). So, a 3 hour marathon runner might do a long run of 2.5 hours and then 40 mins on the ElliptiGO. That’s using a 75% ElliptiGO/run ratio (to convert 40 minutes of ElliptiGO time into 30 minutes of running time) and that way hit the 3 hour run target. Using this training method she might get up to 10 race-time (or longer) sessions in a marathon buildup.”
She also tells us: “You can re-create every element of the marathon endurance experience this way, without relying exclusively on the pounding of the extra miles.”
Jane’s useful training tips:
Small details – such as testing your clothing over this duration, maintaining your concentration, learning how your body responds to fueling over this duration, etc can then be worked on as well. Other sessions have been incorporated into Jane’s marathon training, such as fasted training. This refers to sessions where a long run is done in the morning – just after waking and before any calories are ingested – using only water for hydration. The run is then ‘topped off’ with an indoor ElliptiGO session. At home she knows she is not going to end up stranded somewhere having run out of energy, or losing the will to carry on. She says: “In a fasted session using the ElliptiGO on an indoor trainer, the training can be carried on until the desired state of ‘depletion’ is reached – or until a specific time limit is reached. Any risks from fatigue or lack of fuel in such a hard session can be mitigated by completing the end of the session on the ElliptiGO at home.”
Indoor training tips Jane passes on are:
- Generally you need a cold room or a strong fan to manage the sweating.
- Without wind resistance you are likely to be in a high gear on the ElliptiGO at all times, but an 8 speed is still fine for these purposes. Although they now own an Arc, an 8C and an 11R, Jane has generally only used the 8C on the indoor trainer.
- Intensity of training indoors on the ElliptiGO is most easily measured using a heart rate monitor.
Weight Management & Other Training Aspects:
In addition to the ElliptiGO contributing to increased cardiovascular fitness (by increasing training volume without impacting on recovery – or in fact by aiding recovery), Jane also feels that the ElliptiGO and the extra volume helped in managing her body weight. She sees body weight as being a critical issue in marathon running performance. She has also found that the ElliptiGO has its uses in both the taper and the post-race ‘reverse taper’ periods.
Jane thinks the ElliptiGO is a training tool which gives you more options in your marathon preparation. High volume and double-day training have both played a significant part in her training – and on her day off each week from running she would still make sure she spent time on the ElliptiGO. Her other cross-training has included a variety of other non-running exercises: Pilates, yoga, weights and other cross-training modalities. She follows a standard marathon running plan from Runner’s World and has added extra volume from the cross-training.
Jane has tackled marathons at a maximum rate of two marathons per year in a focused way, with periodized training (cyclic training volumes in relation to training peaks). She believes that the ElliptiGO is a valuable addition to the tools needed to achieve your potential as a runner and is also useful for extending your running years by avoiding injury. You can do an increased volume of specific running training whilst running less miles, which she believes has helped maintain her training continuity by reducing injury risk.
Jane enthusiastically recommends the Marathon Majors:
Obviously it’s not a cheap endeavour – and she accepts it is a privilege to be able to take on the challenge, but she says it has been well worth it.
She feels that an underrated aspect of the Marathon Majors is that they all make great holiday destinations for families. Five of them can be fitted into the British school holidays, or weekends, depending on precisely when they fall in specific years (as long as you can get a dispensation for an extra day off from school for the children)! Chicago is the ‘odd one out’ for this, always falling in term time.
Jane tells us her children have benefited by taking part in the fun runs which are held on the day before most of the Marathon Majors: “How many five year olds get the chance to run through the closed streets of Tokyo and New York – in the same year?” The family have taken part in various ancillary and cultural events connected with the Marathon Majors, all of which have helped in getting support from the children’s schools.
Jane thinks it is important to do these things in front of her children as part of being a positive role model as they grow up. It also means that it will be quite a long time before the children are able to beat Mum, which gets their respect! An added bonus has been getting to meet the ElliptiGO Team at four of the Marathon Majors Expo events, enjoying a vital part of what it means to be a member of the Global ElliptiGO family.
On completing the World Marathon Majors in Chicago last month Jane was very surprised to receive a special medal for completing the Majors Challenge! She says it really stood out in a sea of 45,000 Chicago Marathon medals! She feels that competing in the Marathon Majors makes you feel like part of an event, often mixing with the elite runners. She is the first Jersey six star finisher listed on the Abbott World Marathon Majors website (and might possibly be the fastest British woman of those listed).
She freely accepts that the ElliptiGO can be used in other ways, but this is just her personal story, reflecting how she has personally used it and the journey it has taken her on. Having used the ElliptiGO in her marathon preparation Jane knows that she has gone to the start line as well prepared as she can be, which gives the best feeling of confidence on race-day that any marathon runner can have…