Category Archives: Training

Saturday Stories

It’s time once again for another edition of Saturday Stories, a collection of some of my favourite stories and blog posts from the past week.

Here are this week’s stories…

5 essential strength exercises for runners.

A post about finding the perfect running shoe.

If you are also running the Boston Marathon in a few weeks here is a great read to get you more excited about race day.

Ottawa St. Patrick’s Day 10 km

Saturday morning I ran my first race of the year. It is a race that I have run since 2011. It has become a bit of a tradition for my family due to the fact that the start and finish line is just down the street from my house. As a result, my family always comes to meet me at the finish and we go out for hot chocolate and coffee afterward.

The course involves an out and back along the Rideau Canal.  It is a mainly flat course with a couple of small inclines. It is a course I am very familiar with since it is close to my house and I run along parts of it regularly.

Due to the time of year it occurs the weather is often a factor for this race. I am pretty sure I ran it in shorts one year but it often seems to happen around the time of what turns out to be our last bit of winter here as was the case this year with the temperature around -8C (17.6F) at the start.

My goal this year was just to give my excuse to run at a hard pace. I wasn’t looking for a 10 km PB but I was hoping to finish in around 40-41 minutes which would be similar to my times from the past few years.

Despite the fact that the GPS on my Garmin did not kick in before the start of the race and I do not have my splits to look at I think I ran a pretty consistent race. As with some of my previous 10 km results I think I lost time between 5-7 km but otherwise ran at a consistent pace with a strong finish. I do not run many 10 km races and still have not mastered my pacing for them.

I finished in 41:03, my second fastest time in this race since I started running it in 2011. The time was good enough for 23rd overall and 5th in my age category.

Week 15 of Training for the Boston Marathon

Last week I mentioned I mentioned that my goal was to make this week my heaviest week of training so far in this training cycle. I wanted to get in a bigger week of training before I start to taper.

Fortunately I was able to manage just that with a 97.4 km week. I have to admit, and maybe this is not surprising to those who know me, but I was tempted to head back out for a short run tonight to make it an even 100 km for the week. I eventually talked myself out of it because it would not have added anything to my training.

The week week started off in a different manner than any other week of training I have done before. Since I did not have time for my long run last week I did a 32 km run Monday night. If you read Friday night’s post about my recent long runs you will also know I completed the run by doing 3 laps of a a 10 kmout and back route from my house.

Tuesday night I had a tough run home because it was snowing and it was windy out..

Wednesday night I opted for a treadmill run while watching hockey on tv because the conditions outside were similar to the previous night.

Saturday I ran my first run of the year, the St Patrick’s Day 10 km. Doing this race has become a bit of a tradition for me in part due to the fact that it starts and finishes down the street from my house and my family comes to meet to go for coffee and hot chocolate afterward.

I will write more about the race tomorrow but for now I will say it went well…

That brings me to today. I headed out looking to get in around 25 km and came home with just under 23 km on my Garmin. It was cold when I started my run but had warmed up to the point that I had removed my hat and gloves by the time I was finishing my run. Hopefully that is a sign spring is about to start.

How did your week go?

Saturday Stories

It’s time once again for another edition of Saturday Stories, a collection of some of my favourite stories and blog posts from the past week.

Here are this week’s stories…
A post about focusing on the big picture.

A post about Ed Whitlock who unfortunately passed away this week. It is worth a read if you are not familiar with Ed and his accomplishments.

10 spring training tips.

 

Doing Long Runs at Night


Over the course of my training for the Boston Marathon I have been doing more of my long runs at night than I have in the past. This time around it has just worked out that doing my long runs at night is what worked best. It has meant heading out the door for runs longer than 20 km between 8:00-9:00.

My preference is still to do my longer runs in the morning in order to get them over with. Doing a long run at night means having to work harder to stay motivated and to stay disciplined with your nutrition throughout the day. Fortunately the more often I do a long run at night the easier that gets although it is still a challenge. 

 For the reasons mentioned above I find the biggest challenge with doing long runs at night is just getting out the door. Once I get going I tend to find it easy to settle in to my routine. In a way it feels like more of an accomplishment to get these runs done late at night. One thing that helps is knowing that I have a good meal to come to and enjoy when I finish since I eat my usual pre marathon meal consisting of oatmeal and a banana before my long runs instead of eating a regular dinner.

I have had some interesting experiences with these long runs. For example, last Sunday my Garmin would not turn on so in order to get in my planned 32 km run I mapped out a 10 km out and back route from my house. I did the route three times then added a bit extra to the last lap to bring me up to 32 km. Since the route involved running back and forth along a major street I am sure a few people saw me pass several times, likely questioning what I was doing in the process.

So far I have completed a couple of 30-32 km runs and a couple of 25 km runs at night. While, as mentioned above, it is still not my preferred time for doing a long run but I am getting more comfortable with my ability to do them at this time. 

When do you like completing your long runs?

Week 14 of Training for the Boston Marathon

Week 14 did not go quite as planned but that ended up being by design in the end. Coming off two consecutive 90 km weeks my initial plan was to do the same in terms of mileage and workouts this week. In the end I opted for a recovery week so I could aim for my biggest week of training in week 15.

The weather had an impact on my overall mileage this week. The first half of the week was impacted by freezing rain, a very easy run home from work on Monday and a treadmill run Tuesday night. The second half of the week was impacted by cold and windy weather..

With my nephew visiting from out of town this weekend and the cold temperatures yesterday morning and this morning I opted to push my long run to tomorrow since I have the day off work. This decision meant much less mileage than planned for this week, 52 km, but an opportunity to have my biggest week in terms of mileage next week since I will be adding 20 km to my usual Monday routine.

Looking at the weather now it looks like I may have lost the gamble on waiting an extra day for better weather for my long run. However, getting in my biggest week of training with only 5 weeks to go until race day should provide a needed mental boost. 

How was your week?

Week 13 of Training for the Boston Marathon

Week 13 of training ended up being very similar to week 12 and that is a good thing. My plan was to aim for a similar week in terms of mileage and workouts and that is what I was able to accomplish.

I did make a couple of small changes to my training this week. This first was to do a second tempo run on Thursday instead of my weekly outing to the track for intervals. A run home from work ended up being more convenient than going to the track after the kids were in bed this time.

The other change I made was dropping my usual Friday easy run a running on Saturday instead, my usual rest day. The reason for this was so I could take my oldest girls to see Red Bull Crashed Ice downtown Friday night, a very cool event to see live by the way…

Saturday ended up be a pretty cold day so I stayed inside and took my run to the treadmill. I managed to get in 14 km in 70 minutes which is a long time for me on the treadmill. Fortunately hockey was on while I was running so I was able to enjoy an Oilers win while I ran…

Sunday was the highlight of the week for me. I was planning for a 32 km (20 mile) run to follow up on the previous Sunday’s 30 km effort. Unfortunately the GPS signal on my Garmin would not come through so I decided to run based on my overall time and perceived effort.

Through the first 4-5 km it felt like I was running at my goal marathon pace so I decided to stay out for about 2:30. I know that I slowed down a bit over the last 20-25 minutes of my run but otherwise my pace felt pretty consistent.

The first thing I did when I got back home was map out my route on my iPad. I was impressed when my last point gave me just over 32 km in 2:30. This run end up being one of the highlights of this training that I can think back to when I am in Boston for race day.

How was your week?

Week 12 of Training for the Boston Marathon

Coming off a recovery week last week my plan for this week was to increase my mileage and aim for my biggest week of training so far in this training cycle. I was fortunate to manage that. My long run from this morning gave me just under 92 km for the week. This week I was able to pull it off due to a couple of two run days. 

I started off the week with a 12.8 km (8 mile) run on a treadmill. Again this is not my favourite form of running and I am fortunate that I do not have to do it often. I opted for the treadmill on Monday night because I found the sidewalks to be slippery due to patches of black ice when I did my long run the night before. This time I listened to a podcast to help keep me distracted as I ran. 

Tuesday was the first of my two runs days of the week. My first run of the day was an easy run through the neighbourhood around my office during my lunch hour. My second run of the day was my usual run home from work in the evening. This run featured some mileage at my tempo pace. 

Thursday was my second two run day of the week. The first run was once again an easy run during my lunch hour following the same route I covered Tuesday afternoon. My second run of the day was my weekly visit to the indoor track for intervals. Once again this week I opted for 800m repeats. I had time for 8 x 800m again this week. This time my splits were 3:08, 3:02, 3:03, 3:02, 3:05, 3:03, 3:05, 2:55. It was the second week in a row that I managed to finish with my fastest time coming in under 3:00.

This morning was time for my long run. I planned for my first 30+ km run. Compared to the weather we received earlier in the week it was actually cold when I left the house to start my run. I managed 30.5 km with the final 7 km being the fastest portion of my run. 

My plan for week 13 is to follow a similar plan to the one from this week in terms of workouts to complete and overall mileage. 

How was your week?

Week 11 of Training for the Boston Marathon

I am late writing this post because I had the intention of writing it after my long run Sunday night but I ended up finishing that later than expected. Overall week 11 ended up being a bit of a recovery week with a total of 60 km. It is not what I originally set out to achieve last week but it is not the end of the world and in the end might actually end up being a good thing for me. 

The weather did not exactly cooperate with my planned schedule this week. It has not been an especially cold winter here but we seem to have experienced more frequent thawing and freezing cycles. That was certainly the story of this week. Early in the week we received more snow, making it hard to run at a consistent pace…


Following the snowfall early in the week it got warmer in time for the weekend caused the snow to melt during the day and puddles in the roads and sidewalks to freeze at night. The state of the sidewalks ended up having an impact on my long run last night.

I left the house with the intention of doing 30-32 km (18-20 miles). My run was going fine until I started to approach 20 km. At that point I found myself slipping more, especially when going around corners, because it was hard to see the thin sheets of ice on the sidewalks left by the snow that melted earlier in the day. In addition to that my hamstrings were starting to feel tight.

I hate cutting a workout short as much as any other runner but this was a case where I truly felt that there was nothing to be gained by staying out and forcing myself to hit my mileage target. By the time it reached 20 km I was not far from home and decided to head home earlier than expected. I finished with a 25 km run. While it was short of my initial target it was still a good run and I think I made the right decision to end it when I did.

With 8 weeks to go until Boston my goal is to aim for 4-5 weeks of heavy mileage before but start to taper. The fact that I have to get in some 30-32 km runs over that period should help me increase my mileage over the next few weeks.

How did your week go?

Week 10 of Training for the Boston Marathon

This week was another decent week of training. Despite not feeling well late in the week, likely due to not enough sleep and the fact that two of my kids have been sick lately, I managed to put in 76 km this week. Along the way I ended up doing three treadmill runs which is not my favourite way to run but it allowed me to get in my mileage.

My first treadmill run was my tempo run on Tuesday. Since it was cold and windy out I opted to stay inside for my run. It might have been the first time I completed a tempo run on a treadmill. In terms of a workout I opted for an easy 15 minutes followed by 25 minutes at a hard pace and ending with an easy 15 minutes.

I once again made it out on to the Rideau Canal for a couple of my runs. I mentioned it here before but the hard packed snow at the edge of the plowed skate way makes for a decent running track. Running what is the world’s largest skateway and a UNESCO world heritage site is something that is unique to Ottawa and I take advantage of it when I can during the winter.


Thursday night was time once again for my intervals at the dome. Once again my workout involved 800m repeats at the dome. I ended up doing an 800 m warm up followed by 8 x 800m in 3:07, 3:04, 3:03, 3:03, 3:01, 3:01, 3:01, 2:59. Once again I finished my workout feeling pleased that my times were pretty consistent. I was also really pleased that I managed to complete my last one in under 3:00.

Yesterday I was fortunate that it was my planned day off because it was when I started to feel rough. Normally I would have planned my long run for this morning but since I did not feel much better I skipped my run thinking I would not complete a long run this week. 

Fortunately I was feeling well enough to attempt a run tonight. Since it snowed all day here I opted for the treadmill once again. I managed to do 22.4 km in 1:52. That may be my longest treadmill run to date. Fortunately I had a couple podcasts to listen to as I ran.

How did your week go?