Tag Archives: army run

What Next?


After coming off the high of running a marathon the first thing many runners tend to do is look to what their is or should be. I’ve certainly done that often, signing up for a fall marathon less than one week after running my spring marathon on more than one occasion.

This year is different for me. I’m not looking toward what my next goal is. I have a more important issue to look forward to right now, the arrival of a new baby within the next month. I will get back to running before that happens but it will just be running to stay active and running home from work in the evenings because I can. 

I will also get around to getting the Chariot out and take my 3 year for some runs. I haven’t taken her out yet this year, partly due to the cooler weather we had been experiencing here before the recent heat wave that affected Race Weekend. I need to make a point of getting out for more adventures with her before she gets too heavy to run with like her older sister. 

Beyond that I am not sure what I will get up to in terms of running over the summer. If I do end up doing any races they will likely end up being last minute decisions. I guess if you can I have a goal for the next little while it really is just to keep active and stay in shape so I continue my annual gig as a pace bunny in the Army Run half-marathon. 

2015 in Review

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With one day left in 2015 I decided to take a look back at my year. It was a productive year for me, producing some results I am very pleased with.  You can read longer recaps of al of my races on here so I will try and keep the summaries short.

Before I get in to my review here is a quick summary of my 2015 in numbers:

  • Mileage: 3454 km (2146 miles)
  • Busiest Week: 118 km (73 miles)
  • Busiest Month: October – 424 km (263 miles)
  • Number of pairs of shoes used: 6 (of these 2 pairs were New Balance Fresh Foam Zante which is my current favourite shoe)
  • Number of races: 8 (2 marathons, 1 trail 30 km, 2 half marathons and 3 10 km)

My goal for the year, once again, was to run a Boston qualifying time. Once again I took two shots at it. Once here in Ottawa in the spring and once in the fall in Philadelphia.

My lead up to the Ottawa Marathon followed a similar pattern to previous years where I ran a couple of 10 km races and a half marathon in the months leading up to the marathon.

Coming off a two month layoff to end 2014 due to a ruptured appendix I was not sure what to expect with my training for the Ottawa Marathon. I surprised myself in April by shaving 1.5 minutes off my pb in the half-marathon with a 1:26 finish. The result gave me a needed boost a few weeks before my first marathon of the year.

2015-04-12 | 2015 Run for ReachGoing into the Ottawa Marathon in May I once again needed a sub 3:10 finish to meet the standard for the 2016 Boston Marathon. Unfortunately I ran out of gas in the later stages of the marathon and fell just short of that target.

However, it was still a solid result and my friend Greg did manage to get one of my favourite running pictures of me reaching the finish line with my family cheering in the background…

11334120_10155621672245311_4632173115371333696_oWith the Ottawa Marathon out of the way my focus turned to Philadelphia Marathon in the fall. Highlights during the lead up to Philadelphia were my busiest month and week in terms of mileage ever and of course my annual gig as a pace bunny during the Army Run half-marathon. This year I was a 1:35 pacer…

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With that our of the way I was ready to tackle the Philadelphia Marathon in November. Since my time would count toward the 2017 Boston Marathon it meant that I now needed a sub 3:15 in order to qualify.

My plan was to aim for 3:10 again in order to give myself enough of a buffer to ensure I would be accepted. In the end a stop just before the half cost me valuable time but another 3:12 finish was good enough to meet the Boston standard with a buffer of 2:31.

imageOverall I’m pleased with my 2015. Time will tell if my marathon time will be good enough to be accepted for entry into Boston but I do have a shot at improving my time here in the spring and regardless of what happens I will be applying for entry into Boston for the first time when registration opens in September.

Week 9 of Training for the Philadelphia Marathon

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I’m late posting this update because it was a pretty busy weekend for me due to a music festival I had passes to and a race on Sunday morning. That race was the focus of my training last week. After a 100 km week two weeks ago I cut my mileage back to 56 km leading up to Sunday’s race.

Since I was scheduled to run a race week 9 of training involved a series of short easy runs. Leading up to Sunday my longest runs were a couple of 9 km efforts. I also added a couple of 6 km efforts to the total. I also ended up taking two rest days which is not usual for me.

Sunday’s race was the Canada Army Run. This was the 8th for the Army Run and I have participated in 6 so far, missing once because I had a wedding to attend and once because of a sprained ankle. This is an important one for me to take part in because my father was a member of the army for 41 years. It also benefits a great cause by raising money for injured soldiers and their families.

Out of the 6 times I have run the Army Run I have only done it once on my own as an actual race. The last 5 times have been as a pace bunny. Participating in the Army Run as a pace bunny has now become an annual event for me.

This year I was one of the 1:35 pacers for the half-marathon. This worked out well for me because a 1:35 half is the marathon pace I am training for. After quite a bit of rain here Saturday night we had great weather to run in Sunday morning. Since there were 2 other 1:35 pacers we decided once would start fast and fade, I would run an even pace and the third would start slow and pick up the pace.

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I knew I was right on pace through 15 km and started to focus on encouraging others to keep up with or pass me. I crossed the finish line in 1:35:21 and was quite pleased with the result. In addition to running a solid training run I was able to help others reach their goal in the process.

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The Army Run was my last planned race before the Philadelphia Marathon. Now it is back to regular training. I will be aiming to get my weekly mileage back up in the 90-100 km range. October will be another big month before I start to taper in November.

How was your week?

Week 8 of Training for the Philadelphia Marathon

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Following last week’s 90 km effort my goal for this week was to hit 100 km this week. I was aiming for another solid week before taking a recovery week next week. My longer run this morning pushed me up to just over 100 km for the week. I am pleased to have hit that milestone. It is probably the earliest I have hit the century mark during a training cycle for a marathon.

This week’s training a similar pattern to last week with the exception of the fact that I added two multiple run days this week. After taking a rest day on Monday I kicked off the week with an 11 km run that involved 9 km at my tempo pace.

My second key workout this week was my speed workout on Thursday. I had already completed an easy 7 km at lunch before my speed workout later in the day. This week’s workout involved 8 x 400 m hard, 1:30 easy. With my warm up and cool down added in I ended up with a 12 km run.

Last week you will recall that I completed my long run on one of the hottest days of the year. Today was the opposite with cool and rainy weather…

As mentioned already my plan for next week is to take a bit of a recovery week. Part of the reason for that is that I will be pacing a half-maratho next Sunday. here is where you will find me a week from today…

One week until @canadaarmyrun I will be a 1:35 pacer in the half #Run613 #ottawa #armyrun

A post shared by Patrick Girard (@pat42.2) on

How was your week?

Planning the Second Half of the Year

Now that the Ottawa Marathon is out of the way and I have fully recovered I am on to planning out the rest of the year. I have started the process of putting together a schedule that will hopefully have me ready to run a fast time at the Philadelphia Marathon in November. 

So far I have two races already scheduled. As mentioned I have Philly pencilled in as my goal race for the second half of the year. On top of that I will also be reprising my roleas a pace bunny in the Army Run half-marathon in September. That one will likely be at or near my goal marathon pace.

On top of that I am trying to see if I can fit in one race per month between now and November. Although my plans for Canada Day will change because the usual downtown race I generally do has been pushed back to August I still plan to do a 10 km race. Fortunately there is another option available in another area of the city. 

Since the usual Canada Day Race I do has been pushed back to August that gives me another option to put on my calendar. It would also give me two opportunities to run a sub 40 minute 10 km this summer. I managed that once during a training run last year but have not yet managed it in a race. 

If I stick with those plans that just leaves me with an October race to find. I have not really looked at what is available around here at that time because it is still a long way off. At least I should be able to find another 10 km or a half-marathon to fit into my schedule.

It looks like the second half of my year is starting to come together. It is looking like i will not have any difficulty filling my schedule with races to get me ready for another marathon. I am hoping to build on a good first half of the year and possibly take down a couple of PBs along the way. 

What plans do you have for the rest of the year?

Week 15 of Training for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon

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Race day is another week closer and another week of training is nearly behind me. STWM is exactly one month away now. It is hard to believe that race day is so close now but at the same time I am starting to get excited at the thought of another marathon.

In terms of training this week, it’s been a rather light week so far after a hard 30 km last Sunday with the first and last 6 km coming at marathon pace. So far I’ve managed to fit in 3 runs for a total of 26 km.

While 2 of my runs were easy runs home from work I fit in a good tempo workout Tuesday. This week’s workout involved 2 km @ 4:20/km, 2km @ 4:00/km and 2 km @ 3:40/km. With a warm up and and cool down the run was good for 9 km.

I have 2 more runs scheduled this weekend. Tomorrow will be a short and relatively easy effort. Sunday I will be doing the Army Run half-marathon. As I have done the past few years I will be a pace bunny in the half-marathon.

This year my pace will be 1:45 which works out to 5:00/km which will give me an easy paced long run. I am not sure if running a half-marathon at this point in my training is beneficial or not but this is an event that has been growing every year that I do not want to miss out on. I also find it fun focusing on helping someone hit their goal pace for once instead of being obsessed with my own goals.

As for the rest of my training, I have one more long run scheduled for next weekend before I start to taper for STWM which for me is always an uneasy oeriod of training. I know the taper is important but I get restless when I have to cut back on my mileage.

How did your week go?

What Next?

Now that the Army Run is over my focus is back solely on my training for the Philadelphia Marathon. I currently have seven weeks of training to go before I get to put my new training routine to the test.

I mentioned before that I was contemplating running another race in October. However, after more thought and discussion with my coach I have put that thought aside meaning yesterday will be my last race until I go to Philadelphia. While I was originally leaning toward signing up for another race, I think will prove to be the right decision.

With the heaviest part of my training and my longest runs to come I am hoping that the focus on my longer runs instead of races at shorter distances will prove to be more beneficial to my training and to my efforts at my overall goal of a BQ. If I was to run another race it would mean likely cutting the distance of one of my weekend runs at the tome when I need to fit in my longest runs.

I don’t think the other races I have done this year were detrimental to my marathon training, in fact I think they were beneficial up until this point. However, I think getting this close to what has become my goal race for the year this year will help me get in the key workouts and mileage I need to help me reach my goal.

What are your upcoming plans?

Race Report: Army Run

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As previously mentioned, I participated in the Army Run as a pace bunny this morning. It was my fourth time participating in the race and third time running it as a pace bunny.

The plan for this year was for me to pace the 1:35 group in the half-marathon. The significance of this being that a 1:35 half is my goal marathon pace. You may recall that I had the same plan last year as I trained for the Toronto Waterfront Marathon until I sprained my ankle a week before.

After it rained for most of yesterday this morning we actually ended up with decent weather for running. In previous years I have done this race it ended up being warm for the time of year. This morning it was cool. The only downside was the wind when we were running into it. There were a few occasions when I thought it was going to snap the stick holding the 1:35 sign I was carrying.

In terms of the race, as soon as I took my place in the corral I met runners who planned to follow me or hoped to stay in front of me. For most of the race I had a decent sized group of runners around me. Many of the runners who started out with me seemed to stick close to me for most of the race.

My plan going in was to aim for even splits and maintain a 4:30 pace as much as possible. Yesterday when picking up my race kit I forgot to grab one of the free pace bands they always have at race expos so before leaving the house is morning I quickly wrote my goal 5, 10, 15 and 19 km splits on my hand with a permanent marker so I would be able to judge whether I was on pace.

Thanks to the splits on my hand I knew I was close to being on pace throughout the race. In the end I crossed the finish line in 1:35:48. Of course I hoped to be a little closer to 1:35 but still a good result and judging by the reaction from other runners in finish chute I am pleased with how the race went.

Pacing presents a different challenge that makes it worthwhile. Having other runners following you does add a degree of pressure but at the same time it is fun and rewarding to see other runners meet their goals. In particular today I had a couple runners close to me over the last 2 km and I could see they were pushing hard to keep up with me. They managed to stick with me over that distance and get a 1:35 finish. If the opportunity is there again next year I will definitely look to pace this race again.

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Week 8 of Training for the Philadelphia Marathon

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With this being week eight of training I have officially reached the halfway point of my training for the Philadelphia Marathon. It was another strong week of training, particularly with the speed work and hill training I did this week.

Thanks in large part to the new exercises my coach has me doing and the new running workouts that have been added to my schedule I am feeling really positive and confident at this point in my training. Of course there is still a long way to go and much can change but for now I am having a strong training cycle and feeling positive about where I am headed.

The highlights this week, as has been the case witht he previous seven weeks so far, have been the speed and hill workouts where I get a chance to push the pace and get a good test of where I am at right now.

In terms of speed work this week’s workout was different in that it was a new workout for me. The workout had me progressively pick up the pace every 2 km with the final 2 km being the quickest and toughest ones because they were run at 100%.

My hill workout yesterday once again involved a tempo run following my hill repeats. So far I have been doing fewer hill repeats than in previous training cycle but the difference here is finishing the workout with that tempo run. That aspect makes it a tougher workout than I had previously been doing when doing hill repeats.

This weke of training will end off with a race on Sunday. As previously mentioned, I will be pacing the Army Run half-marathon Sunday. It will be another good test of where I am at currently since I will be running at my goal marathon pace.