Getting back on track

I just went out for a 9 km run this morning. The weather was perfect as it is a cool, about 7-8 C, and sunny day here in Ottawa. Since I have the day off work I was also able to head out later in the afternoon which is a nice change from my usual schedule of running at the crack of dawn or in the evening after work.

I plan on running starting to run regularly again this week. Not sure how much mileage I will do. I do not currently have any races plans so my mileage this week will likely depend on how busy I am and how much time I have for running. It will be nice just to run for the sake of running and not worrying about my distance or pace as there will be plenty of time for that later.

What makes an elite runner

Ever wonder what it would be like to be an elite runner? This article describes what sets elite runners apart from everyday runners.

The article isn’t really surprising although a couple of points caught my eye. The first being how quickly they go through shoes. At 2.5-3 months I thought I was going through quickly while training for a marathon but elite runners go through a pair of shoes every 2-4 weeks.

The other point was that elite runners tend to be injured once a month. I guess it really shouldn’t be surprising when they are pushing themselves as hard as they are in training.

Looking Ahead

Four days after PEC and my legs feel fine. I think some of the quick recovery tips I followed helped as I have recovered quicker than I did after my previous two marathons. I am planning to head out for a run after work tomorrow. It will just be an easy run since I am just coming off a marathon.

In two weeks there will be a half-marathon in the Ottawa area, the 9 Run Run. I found out today that they still require a couple of pace bunnies. I have submitted my name and am currently waiting to find out if I was accepted. I figure doing this run would be a good way to get me back on a regular running schedule.

Beyond this I am not quite sure what my running schedule will look like over the next few months. I do plan on continuing to run through the winter again this year. My winter running will be likely geared towards getting ready for a marathon in 2011. Next year a Boston qualifying time will be 3:15. Coming off a time of 3:22 at PEC I am more confident than ever that my goal of qualifying for Boston is realistic. A lot of work remains for me to make up the extra 7 minutes needed for a Boston qualifying time but I do think this is an achievable goal for 2011 and I would like to take at least one shot at qualifying for Boston in 2011.

Marathon Recovery

Since I just ran a marathon yesterday I found this article to be quite relevant, a 6 step plan to a speedy marathon recovery.

I managed to follow step one with a 10 minute walk back to our hotel from the finish line. We also took a wander through downtown Picton after we had lunch. I probably would have benefitted from a couple more 10-15 minute walks but given that we had a 3 hour drive home it was not possible.

Right after finishing the race I made sure to grab chocolate milk that was available at the finish line. I also had a couple servings of e mend that I had mixed the night before and a PowerBar protein bar.

The first thing I did when I got back to our hotel was take a cold bath. I know it does not sound like a pleasant idea but I have started using this technique after long training runs and marathons and it does seem to help.

One thing I did not take advantage of last night when I got home was using my foam roller before my quads started to ache. Not sure if would have helped with my recovery but I will give it a try next time.

I did make sure to stay hydrated after the race yesterday by carrying a water bottle around with me all day.

I am not planning to do much in the way of physical activity this week but I will keep up with the series of yoga stretches I have been doing for running for about a year now.

All in all I think I am feeling pretty good today. My legs are a little stiff and sore when I get up to walk around or when I go down stairs but I am certainly not as sore as I was after my previous two marathons.

Prince Edward County Marathon

When I initially decided to run a fall marathon I considered doing one of the two Toronto marathons. I am glad I took a look at PEC and decided to do it. I quite enjoyed the small town marathon experience and the course was relatively flat. It is also a scenic course, running along the shores of Lake Ontario and through Sandbanks Provincial Park.

The PEC marathon starts in Wellington and ends in Picton. We found a hotel within walking distance to the finish line in Picton. As per my usual marathon routine I was up at 3:00 to have breakfast then was back in bed around 3:30. I was up for good at 6:00 and was out the door around 6:30 to walk to the finish line to catch a bus to the start. I wasn’t planning on bringing an extra layer of clothes to keep warm in at the start but I am glad I ended up taking advantage of the service they had to return our belongings to the finish line. It was cool this morning and given that I was on one of the first buses and at the start line around 7:00 I would have been frozen by the time the race started at 8:00.

As mentioned it was pretty cool at the start but once we got going we quickly warmed up and it was a perfect morning for a run. I felt strong in the first half of the race and hit the half at least a minute ahead of my time in the first half of this year’s Ottawa marathon. We started running into a headwind around 26 km into the race. I managed to keep up with my pace for a while but at around 34 km I could feel that the wind was making me work harder and was tiring me out. I started doing 10 and 1’s from this point on. The course is relatively flat with a couple of hills toward the end. The hills presented another challenge but I think it had more to do with the fact that I was already fighting the wind. By 39 km I was exhausted but as we got into Picton I started to feel a final burst of energy and at 40 km I started to pick up my pace again because I knew the finish was close.

In the end I crossed the line in 3:22:52, good enough for 32/220 and 31/133 men. Also in May, I experienced cramping in my calf muscles over the last 10km. In an effort to avoid that today I increased my mileage in training over the summer and I did not experience any cramping today. I think it was another good step towards my eventual goal of a BQ.

I would recommend this race to anyone considering it. The small town vibe is fun and a nice change from running in the city. Plus, if you have a spouse who is not running the option to visit several wineries around Picton is a good selling point!

Final Preparations for PEC

It is now only three days away from the Prince Edward County marathon. It is still kind of hard to believe that race day is almost here as it does not feel like it was that long ago that I decided to train for a fall marathon. I made that decision pretty soon after the National Capital marathon in May. At the time I was pleased with my result of 3:32 but decided I would like to run another this year marathon in order to take a shot at beating my time.

In case you are wondering what made me choose this race I will explain. I initially contemplated registering for one of the two marathons in Toronto. However, in researching fall marathons close to home I discovered this one was also taking place around the same time. One of the first things that appealed to me about this race is the fact that the course is relatively flat. The race also takes place in a rural setting along the shores of Lake Ontario which will be a departure from racing in an urban setting as I am mainly used to. Prince Edward County is also home to a number of wineries which made it easier to sell the idea to my wife.

With three days until the race I feel confident in my training. I have managed to stick pretty close to my training schedule and have only missed two scheduled days of running. One because of the weather and tonight because my left calf muscle is still a little sore after my Tuesday night run. I figured that it was best to take an extra day of rest, the importance of rest days is still fresh in my mind since it was the subject of my last post, in order to make sure I am at my best Sunday morning. I will try and get in a short easy run tomorrow evening after I pack my stuff for the weekend. Saturday I head to Picton for the race!

Rest and Recovery

I found an interesting article that goes over the importance of rest and recovery days.

My rest and recovery days are usually pretty low-key, usually just involving going through my stretching routine. I keep meaning to get in the habit of taking the dog for extended walks on those days. It would probably do both of us good. How do you keep active on your rest and recovery days?

Confining Toronto marathons to Parks?

Just one day after the Toronto Waterfront marathon Rob Ford, a candidate for mayor of Toronto, suggested he would contemplate banning marathons from city streets while confining them to areas like High Park or Downsview. If you want to read more about, yumke over at A whole lot of soles has more on the story.

I am not sure how serious Ford is but the idea does not make a lot of sense to me. It seems like a case of a politician throwing a random promise out there in an effort to earn a few more votes. Clearly he has not considered the economic benefits of having some of the world’s top distance runners racing in his city or the many runners who travelled to Toronto from out of town to participate in one of the weekend’s races.

Somehow I can’t see this plan ever coming to fruition. What do you think of the idea? I wouldn’t mind running one of the Toronto marathons in the future but I would not travel to Toronto just to run 42 km around Downsview.

Preparation for my next Marathon

I am exactly one week away from my next marathon. In a week from today I will run the Prince Edward County marathon in Picton, Ont. I only have three runs left in my training schedule. It is almost hard to believe it is almost race day.

My main goal for this marathon is to improve on my time from my last marathon, this year’s Ottawa marathon (3:32). You may remember from one of my earlier posts that the one problem I ran into during the Ottawa marathon was cramping in my calf muscles. In order to address this I added more mileage to my training for PEC, including two weeks of more than 100 km and 415 km in August alone.

As I head into my final week of preparation I feel confident in the training I have done over the summer. I will be running an easy run on Tuesday, a tempo run on Wednesday and another easy run on Friday before I head to the start line next Sunday.