Tag Archives: half-marathon

Training For the Ottawa Race Weekend Half-Marathon

My goal since running the Boston Marathon last month has been to get in consistent mileage so I could run a half-marathon this weekend. After taking nearly a full off following Boston I have managed to get back into a consistent running routine.

In the 4.5 weeks since Boston I have managed to get in my usual 5-6 runs per week. I started out with 40 km in my first full week and topped out at 68 km two weeks ago. Most weeks I was successful in including some sort of tempo workout on Tuesday and a speed workout on Thursday.

While I never expected to be in shape to run a personal best time I do have a previously mentioned time goal, under 1;30, in mind. I’ve managed to come in under 1:30 the last 4 or 5 times I have run a half on my own so it would be nice to keep that streak going.

Despite the fact that ideally I would have liked to get in a bit more mileage overall I still think my goal is realistic based on my long runs and my tempo workouts.

My plan for Sunday is to head out with the 1:30 pace bunny for the the first half. If I am feeling good at the halfway point my goal is to take off ahead on my own to ensure I come in under 1:30.

Good luck to anyone else who is running one of the races here this weekend!

Ottawa Race Weekend

Now that I have recovered from Boston it is time to get ready for my next race. In one month from today I am scheduled to run the Ottawa Race Weekend half-marathon.

Ottawa Race Weekend is, in my opinion, the best race weekend in Canada with races spread out over 2 days and a variety of distances to appeal to as many runners as possible. It offers the only IAAF Gold Label 10 km race in Canada to go along with a Gold Label marathon.

Runners can also expect great crowd support along the courses. In particular, the final stretch down Queen Elizabeth drive draws large crowds for all of the races.

In my case it has become an event for the whole family to enjoy. My oldest daughters will be running the 2 km with their grandparents on Saturday afternoon again this year and I will be running Sunday morning.

I have participated in it 11 times and will be participating again this year. This year will mark a bit of a change of pace for me as I will be running the half-marathon instead of the marathon as I have done for the past 8 years.

I initially planned to do the marathon but since I was not sure how my long it would take for my legs to recover after Boston I decided to downgrade the the half to be on the safe side. Currently I am slowly ramping my mileage up again to get ready for the half.

In terms of my goals for race weekend while I don’t think I can expect to be in pb (1:26:27) shape for a half 6 weeks after Boston I would still like to come in under 1:30. Barring any setbacks as I ramp up my training over the next few weeks I think that is a realistic goal.

If you are running the marathon this year and are not familiar with the course have a look at this overview and strategy guide I posted a few years ago. There have been a few minor changes to the course since I posted this guide but it could be of interest to you.

Alternatively, you can also follow the Ottawa Marathon social media accounts on Thursday May 4th as Jayme from The Pacing Life runs the course to give runners a full preview. You can watch for that starting at 8:00.

Army Run 2016

As mentioned in a previous post, yesterday I participated in the Army Run  as a pace bunny for the 7th time, 6th in the half-marathon. Once again this year my task was to run a 1:35 half-marathon, a task I completed on two previous occasions.

Since this race is in September the weather is often decent for running. However, it can still get hot at this time of year and yesterday was an example of that, with a high of 26C on the day (79F). It was cool when I first stepped out of the house around 8:00 but at the start line just over an hour later at the start line it was already noticeably hotter.

My plan for the morning was to run a steady 4:30/km pace the whole way. Despite the fact the start can get congested at the start with a slight uphill followed by a left turn after crossing the start line I managed to find some holes and did not have much difficulty getting up to my intended pace. Just before I passed the 1km mark I passed The Minister of National Defence, Harjit Sajjin, who was also running the half.

Just before the half Kevin and Marc, a couple other members of Team Nuun, pulled up behind me. They noticed I was wearing a Nuun wristband, introduced themselves and we had a good discussion for a couple of km before they took off ahead of me.

Unfortunately construction prevented the race from going through the grounds of Rideau Hall, the residence of Canada’s Governor General, this year. However, the Governor General and his wife were still out along the course as we passed by their residence and I made sure to get a high five from Governor General as I went by. 

With about 5-6 km to go I realized I was about 1-2 minutes behind where I wanted to be. I picked up the pace a bit but made sure to to drop too much under my goal pace of 4:30/km because there were still many runners around me. With about 1 km to go as we ran down the final stretch of the race I encouraged the runners around me to take off ahead of me to go for a 1:35 finish. A few did just that and met their goal if they were aiming for 1:35.


As for myself, I crossed the finish line in 1:36:39. My initial reaction was to be disappointed with my time. Last year I finished in 1:35:20 and I was hoping to be even closer to my target this year. With other runners counting on my pace I take pacing as seriously as I do my own running goals. 

However, as I was walking through the finish chute one of the runners who took off ahead of me along the last stretch made a point of thanking me for encouraging them to take off ahead. Knowing that I was close enough to my target for people to go ahead and meet their goal time made me feel better about my run. That is why I enjoy pacing this race every year. 

 

Pacing the Army Run

On Sunday I will be running the Army Run half-marathon. Instead of racing it I will be running as a pace bunny. It has become an annual gig for, I’ve been a pace bunny 6 out of the last 7 years. I missed out in 2012 when I sprained my ankle playing soccer one week before the race. 

Even if I was not pacing I would make a point of running in the race. It is the second biggest race of the year here in Ottawa and the biggest option here in the fall. The fact that the race supports the Canadian Army also means something to me since my father was an a medic in the army for 41 years.

Since I generally find myself racing with a goal in mind at Ottawa Race Weekend in May I have taken a different approach to the Army Run over the last 7 years. Being a pace bunny allows me to have some fun with this race although I still face the challenge of meeting a set time goal. 

Once again this year I will be one of the 1:35 pacers. Last year the reason for the time assignment was because I was in the process of training for a November marathon with 3:10 as my goal. This year I am not running a fall marathon but I wanted to stay at the 1:35 pace because it gave me a goal to keep training for after Race Weekend this year. 

Finally, the last reason I enjoy pacing this event is that my girls always get a kick out of seeing me wearing a hat with pink ears..

Still Running


I have not been posting on here much lately. It has not been because I did not want to or because I was not running much. In fact I have been fortunate to be able to pick up my mileage and get back into a good routine. I’ve just been finding it harder to find time to post here. My goal now is to get back to regular posts on here.

In terms of running, as mentioned, I have settled back into a regular routine of running home from work 4-5 times per week. On the weekends I have returned to doing a longer run on Sundays, some with my 3 year old in the stroller. Over the last month or so I have been averaging 50-70 km per week. 

The best part to my current running routine is that I am back to running a couple of higher intensity workouts per week. I have done this with tempo runs and speed work on the way home from work and hill repeats during my lunch break at work. 

In terms of what comes next my next goal race is the Army Run in September. Once again this year I will be serving as a pace bunny for this race.  Like last year I will be a 1:35 pace bunny in the half-marathon. Getting ready for this race has been an incentive for me to ramp up my training again. 

That is it for my plans for the rest of the year for now. However, this year I do get an added bonus. The day after Army Run I get to submit my registration for the 2017 Boston Marathon. By no means is my acceptance guaranteed since my time in Philadelphia in November was only 2:31 under my qualifying time but it is exciting for me nonetheless since this is the first time I am able to apply for entry.

Week 11 of Training for the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon

Today I ran my third race of the year. As a result, this week’s training was primarily focused on being ready for the race. The majority of this post will also focus on the race since that was the highlight of my week. Overall I had a 70 km week.

Other than this morning’s race my week consisted of easy paced runs. This week I upped the mileage of those runs with them ranging from 10-12 km.

This morning’s race was a race that I have done for 6 years in a row now. It is a half-marathon along the Rideau Canal. The best part for me is that it starts and finishes close to home so I can get a decent warm up by taking an easy run over there.

With it being a little over 1 month before Ottawa Race Weekend in the past I have gone in to this race with a time goal in mind. This year I tried not to obsess about it as much as I may have in the past. My only goal was to run a sub 1:30 time. Last year I ran 1:26 but was not convinced that beating that time was a realistic goal this year.

Unfortunately with temperature of -10C (14F) at the start this morning was the colder than the previous years I ran this race. By way of comparison last year I ran this race in shorts and short sleeves. Fortunately the fact that I live close to the start line meant that I did not have to leave too early.

The fact that this tends to be a small race means that you tend to see the same faces this year. I met a few friends before the start again this year. Once again this year I planned to head out with a friend I met through this blog. We did this for at least the last 2 years with good results. What was different this year is that instead of us being on our own once the crowd thins out after the start we had a group of 4 or 5 runners that stayed together for most of the race.

We crossed the half in about 42 minutes so based on that I was confident we would hit our target of a sub 1:30 finish. The pace started to feel tougher after about 16 km but I managed to hang on for the last 5 km. I finished in 1:28 which is my third fastest time in this race.

I’m pleased with the result. I met the goal I set for myself without taking much of a taper this week. With just over 1 month to go until the marathon this result was a good confidence boost. Now my sole focus will be on getting ready for the marathon and taking another shot at a 3:10 finish.

Week 10 of Training for the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon

I’m over the halfway point of my training for the Ottawa Marathon. For week 10 I managed 80 km for the week, down from the 90 I did last week. With the exception of a 6.5 km run Saturday night all my runs were at least 11 km.

After running in spring-like conditions to end week 9 week 10 saw the return of colder conditions. Although we did not get more snowI had to trade my shorts for pants and had to get my gloves and hat out again.

I kept the pace relatively easy last week since I am gearing up for another race this Sunday. That said I did make sure to do an interval session on Thursday. This time my workout consisted of a 3 km warmup followed by 6 x 400m/2:00 easy.

Yesterday since we were busy with other stuff I waited and did my long run in the evening after the kids went to bed. A long run in the evening is never my favourite option since I find it tougher to stay motivated when you wait. That said, when I do end up doing an evening long run it always feels like an accomplishment when I get home.

As mentioned week 11 will see me do another race. I will be running the Run for Reach half-marathon. Like the St Patrick’s day race it has been on my schedule since 2011. I’ve managed sub 1:30 finishes three of the times I have run it. I am not quite sure what to expect this year. My main goal is just to run a solid race at a much faster pace than I have been doing my long runs to date. That would give me a good boost a confidence just over a month before the marathon.

How was your week?

My Plans for 2016

In one of my previous posts I reviewed 2015. Now seems like a good time to write about my plans for 2016. While I don’t have the upcoming year fully planned out I do have a good idea of what I want to accomplish and how I would like to do it.

Once again my plans for 2016, or for the first half of 2016 at least, revolve around the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend in May. For the 8th consecutive year I will run the Scotiabank Marathon here in Ottawa. In addition, I also plan to continue to combine fundraising for the Ottawa Hospital with my participation in the marathon.

In terms of my goal for Race Weekend, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, my goal in training will be to put myself in a position to beat my times from 2015. This time I have more motivation. Coming off a BQ in November I’m now motivated to add to my buffer of 2:31 under my qualifying time.

In order to do so I will be following a similar plan to previous years. To get ready for Race Weekend my plan will to run 2-3 10 km races between now and May and one half-marathon in April. I’ll use the 10 km races as tempo runs in a race setting.

The half-marathon will be an opportunity to test my training. With it being about 3-4 weeks before the marathon it gives me a good opportunity to push the pace and recover in time before my goal race. The past two years I have managed pb’s of 1:27 two years ago and then 1:26 last year.

I’m not sure how much farther I can go in the half while focused on training for a marathon but if I can get within a couple of minutes of my times from the past two years I will be pleased with my preparation for the marathon.

I don’t really know what to expect yet in the second half of the year. Once again I will plan to be a pace bunny in the Army Run half-marathon in September. Beyond that I will probably wait and make plans after Race Weekend.

What are your plans for 2016?

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…

http://www.zoomphoto.ca/event/19744/

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 12 of Training for the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon

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Another week of training for next month’s marathon is complete. This week the goal was to be ready to keep up my mileage while not pushing the pace too hard in order to be ready for a half-marathon this morning.

In order to keep my legs ready for a hard run in this morning’s race I kept my other runs to an easy pace. From Monday-Thursday I ran 10-12 km before taking a day of rest Friday. Last night I went out for an easy 4 km run with a few strides mixed in to shake out my legs.

This morning I ran the Run for Reach half-marathon for the fifth consecutive year. Since the start line is close to my house I started the day off with an easy 2 km warm up jog over to the start. As I did at the St Patrick’s Day race last month I decided to leave my Garmin at home and run by feel.

Although a little cool at the start the weather was ideal for this time of year. I felt good once we started and had a friend beside me who let me know what our average pace was as we were going which helped me judge how hard I was pushing and I felt like I was able to slide in to a quick and consistent pace early on.

The course consists of running from downtown out to Dow’s Lake and back twice. I still felt strong as we turned around for the second lap although I was surprised to see that we completed the first 10 km in less than 42 minutes.

I started to feel the pace by the time we reached 15-16 km but by that point I was determined to keep pushing. Getting from km 17-19 was probably the toughest part of the race but once I got past that point I felt another rush of adrenaline to push on for the last two km.

Last year I set a pb at this race with a time of 1:27:58. I felt that I had a chance of beating that time with my final push over the last 2 km but I was surprised when the clock at the finish line came into view and I saw 1:25 and counting.

I managed to cross the line in 1:26:27 and set a new pb. In my previous post I mentioned not being sure what to expect from this race and that I would be pleased with another sub-1:30 finish. Needless to say I am very pleased with today’s time. It is a big morale booster as I get closer to next month’s marathon.

2015-04-12 | 2015 Run for Reach