The Real Reason Why I Hate Long Distance Running

One of our co-founders, Allan Sheffield shares his experience with training for a marathon and personalised fitness.

28 Mar, 2018




When my training buddies started preparing for a marathon, I wanted to join them. But my body hit its limits even before I could cross the start line.

A calf tear during training stopped me from running and it took months to heal. I even got injured when I did the 15k Run for the Kids.

Dealing with injuries is hard. There’s the time it takes to heal and then more time before you can run long distances again. All these setbacks played on my mind. I wondered whether I should give up.

two marathon runners neck and neck running through a city street
I looked inside for answers

I wanted to understand why my body couldn’t keep up. I don’t claim to be a professional athlete, but I’ve had a pretty active life. I played footy till I was 25 and cricket for around 20 years. I was a pretty well-rounded player. I knew how to train my body and I was as fit as anybody.

As a co-founder of myDNA, it was natural for me to turn to genetics to find answers. When we developed the new myDNA Fitness Report, I had the perfect opportunity to discover how my genes were affecting my fitness levels.

My Fitness Report revealed that I was genetically more prone to injuries than others. I had a high risk of injury to my soft tissues and tendons.

I also learnt that my body was also genetically designed to be balanced in terms of power and endurance. That explained why I was performing well as an all-rounder in footy and cricket; sports that needed both power and endurance.

I had assumed that it was my lack of proper training that was to blame for my injuries, but it appeared my body simply was not designed for activities that required extreme endurance.

My DNA results renewed my confidence

The results were an eye-opener. Understanding my body’s strengths and weaknesses filled me with a renewed sense of purpose. My body may not be suited for marathons that require only endurance, but a mix of strength and endurance would be ideal for a triathlon.

Before I took the myDNA Fitness test, I had focused on increasing my endurance and wondered why I couldn’t keep up with my friends.

Once I had the results, I decided to do strength training as well, and started attending gym regularly. I shared my report with a personal trainer, who created a fitness regimen to boost my muscle strength and reduce weight.

I also took more care in doing my warm ups and gave my body more time to recover. The report made me realise that a balanced approach was suitable for my body, and would yield better results in the long run.

Working out what’s right for me

My Fitness Report gave me direction, when I was completely at a loss. Ever since I changed my approach, I have stayed positive and injury-free, which is a huge relief. I can feel the progress in my body and that’s really motivating me to keep training.

Looking at my DNA results, it seems that triathlons, which I have competed in before, are probably the best test of my endurance. Now that I’ve changed my training to suit my DNA, I feel more confident that I can participate again and achieve much better results. Watch this space.

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