Commonwealth Games marathon runner Virginia Moloney shares her Road to the Games

FIRST STRIDES: Garvoc export Virginia Moloney is sharing her Commonwealth Games journey with The Standard readers.
FIRST STRIDES: Garvoc export Virginia Moloney is sharing her Commonwealth Games journey with The Standard readers.

Garvoc runner VIRGINIA MOLONEY is preparing for her first Commonwealth Games. She will share her journey with The Standard readers.

Running is sometimes referred to as a lonely sport. One foot in front of the other, kilometre after kilometre. Sometimes that solitude is quite nice, a way to wind down and some runners use it as a form of meditation. But, running does not always have to be solo. So this week, I thought I would introduce you to the team that makes running fun!

Two-three times a week, I meet with a group for workouts and a long run. This is how I started ‘training’ four years ago. I turned up on a cold, dark winter’s night to Princes Park in Carlton and Liam Delany, my now coach, introduced me to his group, Vigor Health and Fitness. This group has become my running family. Every Tuesday night we meet at Princes Park, every Thursday and Sunday at Collingwood Athletics Track.  Our group is made up of all ages, personalities and abilities. We warm up together, chatting and catching up on what each other are up to. One of the best parts of group training is the social aspect. We have made life long friends and met people from all walks of life, just because we have something in common...Vigor.

We often go away on training camps, compete together and spend weekends away for races/support crew. Once we have warmed up, it’s down to business. Liam sets the session and then tailors it to suit all abilities. You choose which session you feel you are up to, always taking into account your training week, what you’ve got coming up and how you are feeling. I always know which one I’ll be doing... the hard one. The one with the most reps and generally the longest distance, but I love it. It becomes enjoyable because the more often you show up to training, the better you get to know your training buddies, the better you become at pushing one another.

I recently read Matt Fitzgerald’s, ‘How Bad Do you Want It?’, that explained the effect of group training. Research has found that our perceived exertion is greater when we are running alone, slugging it out solo. It has been proven that when we train with even just one other person, that perceived effort lowers and we produce a greater performance in a more relaxed state. That sounds pretty good to me! On the nights you are feeling good, you step up. It’s one of the most satisfying feelings to push one another to the best that you have. It’s a mix of adrenaline, speed, the taste of lactic and pride. At the end it’s high fives, smiles and time for the cool down.

So to anyone getting out and going for a run this week, call up a friend or two and go with them. I can guarantee you’ll enjoy it!