Malindi Elmore is the product of intention and hard work
Malindi Elmore added another exciting achievement to her season at this year’s Manitoba Marathon taking the Female title for the Half Marathon Championship. The 39-year-old mother of two, has had a remarkable return to endurance sport with her more recent focus on long-distance running. She is the epitome of an ass-kicking female: not only is she caring for her two young boys, but she is also managing her own business, coaching and training herself.
Congratulations on your win on Sunday! Not only did you set a nice PB for yourself, but you also crushed the previous course record. What do you think were the keys to your success?
I believe in consistency and patience with both training and racing. Sunday’s race was a result of several months of regular training and commitment to event. During the race, I also locked into a good consistent pace and even though I felt really good early on, forced myself to stay patient because it inevitably gets tougher toward the end.
You have had quite the career so far: you started out as a middle-distance runner, then after retiring from that you started competing in the Ironman, finishing third in your first go in Arizona in 2016. Now you are moving into full and half marathons. Can you talk a little bit about that evolution in your career as an athlete?
I believe in re-invention, new challenges and keeping things fresh. I like to have new goals to keep things interesting for myself and to be excited by the “unknown” of trying new events. There is a learning curve that goes along with new pursuits and it is really fun to dig into the challenge and to be a bit vulnerable with trying new things when you are unsure of how it will go and how you will do. Ultimately, I love to compete and bring my best to race day regardless of the distance and event.
You seem to have a pretty firm sense of who you are as an athlete, and set realistic but still aggressive goals for where you want to see yourself. But you have also said that maybe you can see yourself competing in the 2020 Olympics. Can you talk a little bit about your process of setting big and middle-range goals for yourself?
I think you nailed the answer right there with the word “process”. I am goal driven, but firmly believe in the process of achieving goals by being consistent with training, being patient (not expecting over night results), and enjoying the ups and downs of training and racing. Committing to a big goal certainly requires many intermediate goals but the overlying theme is to get there one step at a time: one run, and one workout, one race at a time.
You are a running coach and also train with the Okanagan Athletics Club. What advice would you give a runner who is trying to get more intensive and move from a recreational to more competitive racer?
Again it is a process. Goals evolve as fitness evolves. Keeping a big picture plan in mind helps to drive motivation, and is achieved through consistent training, not expecting overnight results, and being ok with the ebb and flow of running. The process is not linear, but over time, results will come with consistent effort and commitment to the cause.
As a multi-sport athlete yourself, how key do you feel cross-training is as part of race training? What types of cross-training lend themselves most directly to race day results?
Cross training is important and is especially useful for people who are injury-prone or just getting started with running. Running has a huge impact on the body so it takes a long time to get the body accustomed to the load. Cross training helps to build the aerobic system while protecting the muscle-skeleton system.
You are the mother of two pretty young kids. I think that the struggle to balance that life with your athletic goals is a pretty common one, though for us at a different level of course! Can you talk a little about how you make that work?
We are very fluid with my training but as a family commit to making it happen on a daily basis. I have a great support network with my husband and parents who are committed to my goals and help with our kids. I also make sure that I am flexible with their care and “go with the flow” when days are tough to fit it all in so it doesn’t become a burden. I have many strategies to fit in workouts ranging from working around my husband’s schedule, using childminding at the YMCA, using our treadmill (which I kind of hate but is a necessary evil), and even running with a stroller. It is useful for me not to be locked into a singular solution when it comes to balancing the family.
How important is overall nutrition to you as part of your training? How do you manage to ensure you are fueling yourself properly while still keeping up with a busy family, work and training schedule?
I just believe in balanced “normal” healthy eating. I don’t restrict any food groups and allow myself to eat a good variety of carbs, proteins and fats – and some regular treats like chocolate, ice cream and beer. We cook at home every night – burritos, pasta, hamburgers, large “kitchen sink” salad, chili, stews, fish tacos, salmon with rice and salad, seem to be regular parts of the rotation. I try to have homemade muffins in the freezer for quick snacks / post run snacks but it is a struggle sometimes to keep enough food around with two active adults and growing boys. I definitely take advantage of my Executive Membership at Costco!
If you could travel back in time to the start of your running career, what would you tell yourself?
To run for the love of running and for the challenge of seeing how fast I can be. I would remove the pressure of specific performances and be to focus on enjoying the process and embracing the unknown.