People: Jacquelyn Stevenson
Jacquelyn Stevenson, 28
Corporate Auditor Senior
Mountain Top, PA
Endurance Events completed: Steamtown Marathon, Nike Women’s Marathon, Chicago Marathon, New York City Marathon, Ojai 2 Ocean Marathon, Philadelphia Triathlon, SheRox Philadelphia, Steelman Triathlon, Tough Mudder
What event(s) are you currently training for and what does that include?
My current training focal point is Pocono 70.3 – An inaugural half ironman through the Pocono Mountains which consists of a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, and 13.1 mile run. This will be my first half ironman! I am participating in this event with Team in Training which benefits the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. In addition to training on my own during the week and with the TEAM on the weekends, I have several other races planned to help me prepare. In August I will be doing the Steelman Triathlon at Nockamixon State Park in PA. This is an Olympic distance triathlon. In September I will race in our nation’s capital at the Nations Triathlon, another Olympic distance triathlon.
What are your athletic goals for the year?
My athletic goal for the year is to finish Pocono 70.3 feeling strong and in the best shape of my life! I want to become stronger and faster at all three aspects of the triathlon. In addition, I want to work more strength training into my routine and focus on increasing my core strength. For me though it’s not just about helping myself, other athletic goals include becoming a better coach for Team in Training participants. I am currently a run coach for the Scranton/Wilkes Barre team and work throughout the season to help participants reach their goals of a half or full marathon. By learning more about running and sharing that knowledge with participants, we both can better achieve our goals!
What does your weekly workout out look like?
A weekly work out for me usually consists of 6 days of training and one day of rest. I generally aim for one day a week that I do a longer run of at least eight miles. The rest of the days generally contain a mix of swimming, biking, and running while trying to do two of those each day . Workouts vary and focus on trying to build speed through interval work or focus on endurance through building your base.
What do you think is the hardest part about training and doing an endurance event?
The hardest part of training for an endurance event is staying focused on the goal. It is easy to get sidetracked and miss a few workouts. You need to push yourself to stay on track and stick to your training plan. Another thing that I struggle with sometimes in training for a triathlon is focusing on areas where I need improvement. For example, I’ve completed 5 marathons in my life and more half marathons then I can count. I love to run. I’m good at it. This makes it fun for me and easy to focus on. However, when it comes to swimming, I’m still just learning and continuing to focus on my technique. I’ve gotten better but if I really just dedicated more time to it I could be even better than that! Yet, because I don’t enjoy it I often find myself making excuses not to swim. You need to leave your comfort zone and work hard to improve your weaknesses. This not only goes for training, but life as well.
What benefits/rewards do you get from competing?
Crossing the finish line on event day is one of the biggest rushes you will ever experience! The sense of pride and accomplishment overtakes your body and you cannot wait to sign up for another event. Looking great and feeling healthy is another huge benefit from all of the hard work you put in. Perhaps one of my favorite rewards though is being able to indulge in guilty pleasures without the guilt… Ice Cream!
What advice would you give someone looking to compete?
Do it! You will never look back after you cross the finish line and say you wish you hadn’t. Find a group to train with and meet new people. Having a support system makes training fun and will help with your questions as well. Don’t be intimidated by the distances. Start with something small and work your way up. If you want to start running, sign up for a 5K. Train and finish strong while then selecting a 10K or maybe a half marathon. You will be amazed how fast you are able to build those miles! You will be doing a marathon in no time! Keep challenging yourself a little bit each day and push a little harder. You will surprise yourself at just how much you can achieve!