Making Dreams Real: An Interview with Endurance Expert
Endurance is a key component to realizing dreams. In our yoga practice we daily persist to create the mental and physical freedom we seek. In life, we push to, through and beyond challenges all the time so that we can continue forward.
With 2018 still fresh, there’s no better time than now to cultivate the necessary endurance for the year ahead. So I interviewed my dear friend and owner of Cascade Endurance, Alison Naney, to elaborate on the grit and fortitude that have helped her accomplish her dreams.
Bree: Tell us about Cascade Endurance....
Alison: Cascade Endurance is a coaching business for running, skiing, and adventuring in the mountains. We help people reach their goals in a sustainable way so they can continue getting outside to see new places and do new things….
Bree: What is an “endurance athlete” and how did you become one?
Alison: The simplest definition of an endurance athlete is anyone who does an aerobic activity technically over a sprint. Most people I work with train for events and adventures that last anywhere from two hours, to several days long. To become an endurance athlete, the most important thing is consistency, and not pushing too hard. It takes time to develop the various systems in a way that is sustainable (ie without getting injured or overstressing your body) but having patience is hard!
I got into endurance sports in college; I always ran to get into shape for team sports growing up but then in high school realized I liked running on its own, even more so than the sports I played. College took me to Montana where I backpacked a lot and a friend of mine ran up the local mountain every day. As a longtime runner, she inspired me to train for a marathon and convinced me to do a trail race during my training. I fell in love with it and canceled the road race but ran more and more on the trails, gradually going longer and longer. Being able to combine backpacking with seeing more in a day really was the magic ticket for me, and I’ve been running long distances ever since.
Bree: How has practicing consistency and patience helped you accomplish your dreams not just as an athlete but also in life?
Alison: At the risk of sounding dramatic, being consistent and patient are vital to accomplishing athletic and personal goals and dreams. I would never have thought my life would be what it is now: helping people reach their athletic goals, running my own business, and living in my favorite mountains-I’m still blown away. But just like running or training for a long race, knowing what your goal is, and then breaking it into small steps is key. Do something daily, however small a task, that contributes to your big goal and you will eventually accomplish it.
Bree: Getting personal here… you just had a baby girl, you have a 3 year old (#tinycrusher) plus a hubby who’s also an endurance athlete… how do you find the time to make it all work?
Alison: I’m really lucky to have a husband who is also an athlete so he understands how important it is for me to get out. Training for races is such a part of our life and we feel really fortunate to have a schedule that allows us to be flexible. While it’s hard to fit both of our training schedules in, we both function much better after we’ve been outside running or skiing. Now that we have another baby, we’re still figuring the balancing act out, but we take any window of time available to get something in, even if it’s not what we originally planned, or how we trained before kids. Our daughter has grown up in race environments, so she loves cheering and is happy to hang out all day at a race, which is really fun.
Bree: A lot of us who don’t run long distances or competitively see you and other endurance athletes as superhuman! Like you were born to do this. Is this something anyone can do? If so, how do they start?
Alison: Yes, definitely! I’m a firm believer that anyone can do it. My best advice is to try as much as possible not to compare yourself to anyone else. Everyone starts somewhere, and to improve it’s important to start where you are, not where you wish you were. With social media, it’s easy to compare to others but you never know that person’s background-they may have been running since they were able to walk, and we often only see the more impressive things online, not the boring runs that feel like a slog that everyone endures.
Bree: We all have dreams! Hearing your story is inspiring. How can we stay connected to what you're up to at Cascade Endurance?
Alison: I host two women’s retreats, one for skiing and one for running, that are so fun. Both have a yoga component with the fabulous Bree Dillon and are filling fast! We’re also continuing to add new content through blog articles, videos, and other media, that you can find out through our monthly newsletter. You can find us at www.cascadeendurance.com, on Facebook, and Instagram.