Tag Archives: 20 mile run

Last Long Run Before the Ottawa Marathon

Since my coach has me going with a two week taper this time today was my last long run due to the fact that race day is now in two weeks. It was also one last opportunity to test my race day routine.

As per my routine I was up at 3:30 to have a breakfast consisting of a bagel with peanut butter, a bowl of oatmeal and a banana. After getting that down as quickly as I could I went back to bed for a couple of hours.

The plan for this morning was to push my youngest daughter. It was a perfect morning as we headed out to start the run…

With the Ottawa Marathon being in May some years it ends up falling in the first warm weekend of the year. The temperature got up over 20 C here today so I did get in a long run in warm weather before race day.

Since race day is only two weeks away I stuck to a slow and easy pace today. You may recall that for my other runs of 30 km and over I finished with the last 4-6 km at my goal marathon pace. Today the goal was just to complete the mileage without getting injured.

Since I was planning to be out for more than two hours I was not sure how long my daughter would last. I am pleased to say she lasted the entire 32 km that took us 2:52 to complete. Not bad for a 1.5 year-old!

She did start to get restless and I did have to make more frequent stops over the last 10 km, including stopping to see a pair of ducks wandering around downtown, but overall she was a great running partner this morning.


If you have not already done so there is still plenty of time to get entries in for the giveaway of a copy of 4:09:43 Boston Through the Eyes of the Runners.

Testing My Race Day Routine


On the schedule this morning was a 32 km (20 mile) run. As it turns out the weather was perfect for a long run this morning. It felt like spring had finally arrived after a long winter. As you can see from the picture above there was not a cloud in the sky this morning. It was still a bit cool before I left the house but I was warm enough wearing a long sleeve shirt. Before the end of the run I was almost over-dressed.

Since this was scheduled to be one of my longer runs it was a good opportunity to test out my race day nutrition plan. I got up around 6:30 and had a breakfast consisting of a bagel with peanut butter, banana, bowl of oatmeal and a 500 ml bottle of Gatorade. I had my breakfast about three hours before I planned to run meaning I will have to get up around 3:30-4:00 on race day because the marathon starts at 7:00.

I also planned to test my new race flats on a longer run. Up until this morning I had used them for my last session at the track and one of my harder 8 km runs last week. This morning was an opportunity to break them in more and to see how they felt over a longer distance.

For nutrition during my run I had another 500 ml bottle of Gatorade, two GU Roctane gels and a pack of Honey Stingers chews. I also wore my 1.5 L hydrapak pack full of water. I planned to take water and Gatorade as needed and alternate between gels and the chews around every 40 minutes.

In terms of pacing my intention was to keep the first 27 km at an easy pace of over 5:00/km before picking it up to race pace for the final 5 km, 4:30/km. This was the same strategy that I used for my last long run.

My run went exactly as planned until the 26 km mark when my Garmin died because I had not charged it yesterday. That meant I would have to estimate my remaining mileage. Fortunately I was close to home by that point so I had a good idea where to go. I also picked up the pace at that point to a hard pace since I did not know how much mileage I would finish with.

In the end I ended up with a 31.5 km run with the last 5.5 km being at a hard pace. Everything else went according to plan as my nutrition plan seemed to work fine and I also felt comfortable wearing lighter shoes on a longer run.

Next Sunday I am racing a half-marathon before a 34 km run, my longest in this cycle, in two weeks where I will again test my race day routine.

One More 30 + km Run to Go

I’m getting to the end of the heaviest mileage in my training for the Philadelphia Marathon. Following a 32 km run this past Sunday I have one more long run to go in my training.

During my training for previous marathons I completed 3-4 runs of 30 km or more. This time around I am only scheduled to complete two of them. My first was the previously mentioned 32 km run I just completed and the second of course will be my final one this upcoming Sunday which is scheduled to be 36 km.

Although the weather was not great, cool with strong gusts of wind, my 32 km run this past Sunday went well. I ended up setting a mileage record for myself with the Chariot by pushing it for the entire 32 km. The first 20 km of that was with my youngest daughter and the final 12 km was with my 4 year old.

As mentioned, my upcoming long run is scheduled to be 36 km. I am planning to do that one Sunday morning. This run will be longer than any previous training run  have done. I think the longest previous one was 33 or 34 km. Hopefully the run will go as well as my last one. It will certainly go a long way toward having me ready for race day.

The fact that my last run of at least 30 km run is coming up is another sign that race day is getting closer. I am starting to get excited for the trip to Philadelphia!

Week 12 of Training for the Philadelphia Marathon

20131004-223147.jpgThere is officially less than one month to go until race day now. In terms of training, this week and next week will be my heaviest weeks of mileage before I start to taper. As a result, I still have my two longest runs left to go – 32 km this Sunday and 36 km next Sunday.

Overall I am still feeling good about my approach. I may have done less mileage overall this time around but the strength, mobility and stability exercises I have been doing throughout this training cycle will hopefully make up the difference.

My key workout this was the hill repeats I did this week. The workout on the schedule was four 1 km repeats (500 m up and 500 m down) at 100% effort. I think I’ve found myself a pretty good hill to use for my repeats the last couple of weeks. It is certainly a good enough challenge that I feel exhausted at the end of each repeat. Overall, four repeats at this 100% effort is one of those workouts that feels tough while you are doing it but leaves you feeling like you accomplished something when you finish.

This week’s speed workout was another new one for me. It involved 8 km total at 4:20/km with 15 second sprints every km. The sprints certainly helped make every km go by quicker.

I plan to wrap up this week with a couple of runs over the weekend. Tomorrow the plan is for an easy 8 km while Sunday the plan is for a 32 km (20 mile) long run. Sunday’s run will be the first of my runs over 30 km, runs that are generally a good gauge of how your training is going.

How did your week go?


Final Four Weeks

In Friday’s weekly training recap I mentioned that I was facing a bit of a dilemma in terms of how to approach the final four weeks of training for the Ottawa Marathon. After a couple of days of thought I have decided on an approach that will hopefully help me meet my goal on race day.

If you read Friday’s post you will recall that my dilemma was whether to opt for a recovery this week followed by a final week or heavy mileage or go for one final week of heavy mileage this week followed by a three taper.

Had you asked me on Friday I would have said I was leaning toward the first option but after more thought and consulting with a friend who runs a faster marathon than I do I am opting for the second option. After two straight weeks of 100 km mileage I am going to aim for a third straight 100 km week.

My previous marathon training plans suggested a two week taper. This time I am hoping that the extra week of tapering will leave my legs feeling stronger on race day. One thing is for sure, three straight 100 km weeks will certainly help my confidence on race day.

The decision to go with this approach had an impact on today’s long run. Since I am planning for a three week taper, I completed my final 32 km (20 mile) run this morning. As any of you who have run a marathon before will understand, this is a great training milestone to reach. It is another sign that race day is getting closer.

This morning’s run went well. I started off with my daughter in her Chariot for the first 8.5 km followed by the final 23 km on my own. I managed to keep a good pace for most of it. In fact, I caught myself going too fast several times. I was pushing closer to race pace than I wanted to on a long training run.

Do you opt for a two or three taper when you train for a marathon?

Week 12 of Training for the Ottawa Marathon


This week was another busy week in terms of mileage. Last week I managed to fit in 100 km. This week I am on pace to match last week’s total. With a final run tomorrow still to go I have completed 91 km so far this week.

The week got off to a good start with a 32 km (20 mile) run Sunday morning. That was my third run of at least 30 km in this training cycle. I plan to do one more 32 km training run before race day.

Once again this week I was not able to do speed intervals so tempo runs ended being my key workout. Since I ran at lunch and home from work three times this week I decided to do easy runs at lunch followed by tempo runs after work.

Now that there are four weeks remaining before race day I am having a bit of a debate. Should I do one last heavy mileage week next week and taper for three weeks or should I cut back my mileage next week followed by a final heavy mileage week and a two week taper? Right now I am still undecided. I will likely make my decision after tomorrow’s run since it will impact Sunday’s run.

How did your week go? 

Week 9 of Training for the Ottawa Marathon

Another week of training is nearly complete. The plan for week nine was to aim for 100 km. With one day left I am close to that mileage but with another 20 km needed tomorrow not sure I will get there. Still with a minimum of a 10 km run tomorrow I will hit at least 90 km for the week which is not a bad week of training.

The week got off to a good start with the second of my planned long runs of over 30 km. Not having time to go earlier in the day I ended up heading out for a 32 km (20 miles) run after the kids had gone to bed. This is certainly not my favourite time of day for a long run but under the circumstances it is what worked best and it felt good to complete.

I was not able to make it to the dome for intervals this week but think I made up for it with a couple of solid tempo runs including a 12.5 km effort Tuesday night. The second effort was an 8.8 km run last night.

My plan to aim for 100 km this week was to fit in 2-3 multiple run days. I was able to do so with two runs on Wednesday but busy days at work yesterday and today prevented me from repeating that.

While I might not hit my mileage goal for the week I can still say I had a good week of training and there is still plenty of time for me to hit that 100 km goal a couple of times before I start my taper. Week 10 kicks off Sunday with an anticipated 24-25 km run.

 How did your week go?

Plan for April

This month will be a big month of training for the Ottawa Marathon. For a few reasons this month will go a long way toward getting me ready for the Ottawa Marathon next month.

First of all, coming off a 90 km week I will be looking to continue to build on my mileage. The plan for this week is to try and hit 100 km. I got a good start at that with a 32 km run last night. To help me get to my goal for the week I also plan to run at lunch and on the way home from work three times this week.

Second, I have the last of my pre-marathon warm-up races planned. In two weeks I plan to run the Run for Reach half-marathon. The goal for this one will be to aim for a time of 1:30 like I did last year.

The third reason this month will be key is that I will be getting in one if not  two more of my planned 32 km runs. As mentioned already, I completed a 32 km run last night. With Around the Bay last week that means I already have two 30 + km runs under my belt. Generally I plan to do four ahead of a marathon. I will definitely do one more this month. Since Around the Bay was early in my training cycle I may do a second if time permits.

What are your plans for April?

32 KM Run and an Ankle Injury

Monday turned out to be a day of mixed emotions for me. The day started off on a positive note with me completing my final 32 (20 mile) run ahead of the Toronto Waterfront Marathon. Unfortunately it ended on a negative note with me picking up an ankle injury at soccer.

Anyone who has run a marathon before understands the importance of the 32 km in training. They also understand the feeling that comes with running your last one before a marathon, knowing you are almost there and do not have to run that distance again until race day.

With that you can understand how I felt when I finished my run this afternoon. I actually started the run early this morning but due to other commitments had to finish the second half of my run this afternoon. Due to that I took advantage and ran the second half at close to marathon pace for an extra morale booster which left me feeling positive about my preparations for the marathon.

Unfortunately that feeling is gone for now as a freak injury at soccer tonight left my ankle an ugly swollen mess. The good thing is that I can still walk on it and I don’t think my participation in the marathon is at risk. However with the Army Run only 13 days away it does put my pace bunny duties at risk.

For now I can only hope a couple of days of rest and icing will be enough and that I will be able to get back to running soon.

Week 11 of Training for the Toronto Waterfront Marathon

Week 11 of my training for the Toronto Waterfront Marathon. With one run left to go tomorrow my mileage for week 11 currently sits at 61.5 km. Since last week was my biggest week so far with just over 100 km the plan for this week was to cut back on my mileage a bit. Tomorrow’s run will  leave me with just over 70 km for the week.

The week got off to a good start with the third of my 32 km (20 mile) training runs. Since I am the 1:35 pace bunny for the Army Run half-marathon, 4:30/km is also my goal pace for the marathon, in a few weeks I decided to do the first 21.1 km at marathon pace. The result, the first 21 km in just over 1:35. Not only did I confirm I was ready to pace the Army Run I also managed to get in a good tempo run to get me ready for the marathon in Toronto.

While it was a good week of training I did miss out on two aspects of my training this week, hill repeats and intervals. Although I missed those workouts I think I made up for it with the marathon pace effort as part of my long run and another 10 km tempo run last night.

With just over one month left before the marathon I still have a couple of key workouts left, my final 32 km run which I will do either Sunday or Monday and the aforementioned pace bunny gig in a few weeks. If I can manage to get in a few more hill repeats and intervals along the way I should be in a position to run a good race in Toronto.

As mentioned above, week 12 will kick off with my final 32 km run. Since I have the day off Monday I have the luxury of deciding whether to do it Sunday or Monday depending on other activities.

How did your training go this week?