Natasha Wodak’s 5K and 10K training tips

Natasha Wodak

Natasha WodakVancouver’s Natasha Wodak bounced back from a year of injuries and broke the Canadian 10K record, that stood for 12 years, earlier this year in California. In the process, the 33-year- old qualified for her first Olympics. She trains with some of the best runners in the country as a part of the B.C. Endurance Project.

Natasha Wodak

Canadian record holder over 10,000m

Hometown: Vancouver

PB: 16:00 5K, 31:41.59 10,000m (outdoors)

What’s your favourite workout to prepare for a 5 or a 10K?
Five miles, with three minutes rest at just a bit faster than 10K pace. If I can nail this I know I’m ready for a good one. I did four mile repeats in 4:58, 4:57, 4:54 and 4:53 two weeks before I set the record. It was a great confidence builder.

What do you eat the night before and morning of a 5 or 10K race?
The night before I keep it simple and never try anything new. Usually, I go with whole wheat pasta with tomato sauce and chicken and a side salad. The morning of the race I usually keep it light and stick with an energy bar, a banana and a coffee and then sip on a light energy drink.

Natasha Wodak cheers on her Canadian teammates from the stands.
Natasha Wodak cheers on her Canadian teammates from the stands.

Besides running, what do you do that you think is essential for all runners training for a 5 or 10K?
I strength train two times a week and have for years – no skipping! It’s made a huge difference in my running. I also pool run once a week the morning after a big workout on the track to help my body recover. I do drills three times a week before workouts as well.

What’s the best 5 and 10K training advice you’ve received?

My coach Rich Lee always tells me that in training I should relax. You don’t need to hammer every workout. Recovery and rest is a key part of my training.

How much do you sleep, both in training and the night before a big race?
I try to get 8–10 hours a night. But the night before a race doesn’t really matter. I got two hours the night before I ran my PB at this year’s NYC Half. As long as you’ve had enough rest throughout the week, the night before doesn’t matter that much. Excitement and nerves will carry you through.natasha wodakWhat do you do to stay relaxed leading up to a race?
I didn’t race until 9 p.m. when I ran the 10,000m Canadian record, so I had all day to be nervous. So Lanni Marchant (who was also racing) and I went to the movies. For a few hours we just relaxed and took a break from worrying about the race. It was great. And we both qualified for the Olympics that night!

What’s your running mantra?

Live in the present. Enjoy each race as if it were your last.