Tag Archives: half-marathon

Week 12 of Training for the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon


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

Second Race of the Year: Run for Reach Half-Marathon

My next race is in a few days with the Run for Reach half-marathon coming up Sunday morning. This will be my fifth consecutive year doing this race. While not my goal race I find it is still an important part of my marathon training.

With it coming about a month and a half before Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend I find it to be well timed to judge where my fitness is at ahead of the marathon. It helps me judge what pace to aim for in the marathon based on my finish time.

It has been the only half-marathon I have raced in the time that I have been doing it Run for Reach is the site of my half-marathon pb. In the four years I have done it so far I have managed to bring my time down from 1:36 in 2011 to 1:27 last year.

This is me on my way to my first sub 1:30 half-marathon in 2012 when I finished in 1:29…

cropped-Run-for-Reach.jpgSince I have managed to finish this race in under 1:30 on two occasions my goal for Sunday is to do that for a third time. Ideally I would like to beat last year’s time but even if that does not happen I will be pleased with another sub 1:30 result.


2014 Year in Review

Before looking ahead to 2015 I am taking time to review 2014. Although the year did not end in the best of ways I did have another big year in terms of mileage and I did put in some solid race results with a new pb in the half-marathon along the way.

In terms of racing, I ran two 10 kms, two half-marathons and three marathons. Once again my approach was to use the shorter races as part of training for my goal marathons. My biggest highlights of the year were my new half-marathon pb of 1:27:52 in April and my victory in the Commonwealth Games Canada Day 10 km in July.

In terms of marathons, as previously mentioned, I ran three this year. The first being the Ottawa Marathon in May followed by Montreal in September and the Toronto Waterfront Marathon in October. As with last year my overall goal was to get my elusive sub-3:10 finish.


Coming off my pb in the half-marathon a few weeks earlier I felt well prepared going into the Ottawa Marathon. For the most part the race went exactly according to plan, you can read my full race report here.. Unfortunately calf cramps in the later stages knocked my off pace and once again left me a few minutes off my goal time.

My second biggest highlight of the year was my win in the Commonwealth Games Canada Day 10 km race. I did not run a pb in this race but it was already very hot and humid by the time we started the race so I was not expecting a pb. I also was not expecting to be at the front of the pack but the small field in this race helped in that regard.

A week before my second marathon of the year I was able to continue my streak of volunteering as a pace bunny for the Army Run half-marathon. This year I paced the 1:45 group, giving me a nice long training run a week before my next big race. I brought my group across the line in 1:45:29.

Marathon number two for me this year was the Rock’n’Roll Marathon in Montreal. I originally signed up for this race because I had relatives running other races that weekend and it was an opportunity to see them. Since the course is pretty hilly and it can still get hot and humid in Montreal in late September I was not expecting a pb but i decided to give it a go at race pace. Since I had another marathon three weeks later I could always ease off the pace and use it as a training run. With the temperature already at 18 C (64F) at the start I knew a fast time was unlikely so after pushing the pace for the first 27 km I eased off the pace and coasted in for the final 15 km. You can read my full race report here.


Three weeks later I travelled to Toronto for the Waterfront Marathon. Since I backed off the pace in Montreal the plan was to go all out in Toronto and end the race season with a bang. As was the case in Ottawa in May I felt well prepared and focused for this one. Once again I was right on target through the halfway point. Unfortunately this time I made a couple of strategic errors that cost me valuable time and left me with a 3:14:26 finish. You can read my full race report here.

How was your 2014?


Overall while I still fell just short of my marathon goal I still ran solid races in Ottawa and Toronto and with minor changes to my approach could have hit that goal. I also set a pb in the half and won a race despite the fact that neither were goal races. In a sense I am frustrated that I was so close to my marathon goal once again but at the same time I am pleased with what I was able to accomplish. Both will serve to motivate me in 2015!

As for the rest of the year, having just started running again last Thursday after missing nearly two months of running due to a recovery from a ruptured appendix I have decided to end the year with a little running streak. So far I am 3 for 3 with four more runs left to go in 2014.

Week 15 of Training for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon


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?

Week 15 of Training for the Ottawa Marathon


Week 15 is shaping up to be my biggest week in terms of mileage in this training cycle. It started with a half-marathon Sunday and will end with a 34 km run tomorrow.

The week got off to a great start with a new half-marathon pb set on Sunday. That run set the tone for the rest of the week as I felt my other runs this week were also quality runs.

Following my half-marathon I had four 12 km runs scheduled, two of those at marathon pace and two of those at a very easy pace. I felt that my marathon pace efforts were really strong this week. On both occasions I had to remind myself to keep the pace at marathon pace.

So far my mileage for the week sits at just under 72 km. With 34 km planned for tomorrow I will have my first 100 km week of the training cycle.

How did your week go?

Race Report: Run for Reach Half-Marathon

Today was my latest scheduled race. Like the St Patrick’s Day 10 km I did a few weeks ago this is also a race I have done for four consecutive years now as part of my training for the Ottawa Marathon.

Prior to today my half-marathon pb was set in this race two years ago. The pb I set two years ago was 1:29:31. The goal going into the race today was to improve on that time and set a new pb.

Unfortunately for me my day did not get started as planned as I slept in. For any Seinfeld fans out there my first thought when I woke up was of Jean-Paul Jean-Paul, although in my case the problem was not the volume of the alarm it was an AM/PM issue since I set my alarm for this afternoon instead of this morning.

For those of you not as familiar with the Seinfeld reference here is a sample…

As mentioned above, my alarm did not go off as planned and I slept in. I actually woke up about 30 minutes before I had to leave my house. That I had time for a banana and a handful of walnuts instead of my usual pre-race breakfast before I got dressed and headed out the door.

Up until yesterday the forecast for today was for showers all day. When I left the house it was cool and raining lightly. The 2.5 km easy jog to the start line gave me a bit of a warm up for the race.

Once the race started I quickly settled into a group of 3-4 runners that was going out at a pace of 4:10-4:20/km which is exactly what I was aiming for. For those who have not done this race before it is 2 laps of an out and back course along the Rideau Canal.

I felt good t the 10 km point where we turned around for the second lap. Over the course of the second lap I pulled to the front of the group I was running with although they stayed very close behind. I think this helped me over the course of the final lap because it forced me to maintain the steady pace.

As we headed into the final couple of km of the race I felt strong enough to increase the pace. In fact, the final km of the race ended up being my fastest of the race at 3:54/km. I crossed the line in 1:27:52 and set a new pb.

I am very pleased with the result for a few reasons – it is a new pb, I saved my fastest km for the final one and I did this on a full week of training. All in all today was a very positive day with just over a month to go until the Ottawa Marathon.

Week 14 of Training for the Ottawa Marathon

20140321-205754.jpgAnother week of training is nearly complete. This week was the second week out of the current four week block I am working on. It is going to end up being one of my biggest weeks of training in terms of mileage so far this week.

Following a 31.5 km run last Sunday I took a needed day of rest on Monday. Following that the two key workouts of the week were marathon pace runs on Tuesday and Thursday. This week I added 2 km to each of those runs to bring them up to 10 km.

These race pace runs are key because the goal is to get me running at my goal marathon pace. The one thing I had to keep reminding myself during these runs was that the goal was just to run at marathon pace. I occasionally found myself going faster than I wanted and pushing closer to my 10 km pace.

Other than that my other two workouts this week were easy pace 12 km runs. Once again 2 km was added to these runs to increase my overall mileage. Given the fact that I ran 31.5 km last Sunday and that my marathon pace efforts were longer this week I paid closer attention to my easy runs and tried to keep them at an even slow and easy pace.

I know have two runs left to go this weekend. First a very easy 8 km planned for tomorrow. Sunday will bring another challenge with me racing a half-marathon.

How was your week?

Next Race: Run for Reach Half-Marathon

My next scheduled race is coming up on Sunday morning. As with the St-Patrick’s Day 10 km race I did a few weeks ago this will also be my fourth consecutive year doing the Run for Reach Half-Marathon.

With a little over a month to go before the Ottawa Marathon I find this race is well timed to give me an indication of where I am at with my training for the marathon. It also tends to mark the end of my early season races before I focus my attention solely on the marathon.

While the course might not be the most exciting one, two laps of an out and back course along the Rideau Canal, the fact that the course is relatively flat means that it is conducive to a fast time.

Personally, my two quickest half-marathon times have come on this course, 1:29:34 two years ago and 1:30:48 last year. Once again my plan is to race and see how well I can do since my coach feels there is plenty of time for recovery afterward.

One factor I won’t be able to control Sunday is the weather. It is hard to predict what we will get at this time of year. Two years ago I ran in shorts and short sleeves. Last year it snowed and I had to wear gloves and a hat. Hopefully the weather this year will be more like it was two years ago.

First Races of the Year

I’ve discussed my approach to the Ottawa Marathon with my coach and this year I am taking a similar approach to the one I used the past couple of years in order to get ready for the marathon. That is, including a couple of shorter distance races before the marathon. This year the plan will involve running the St Patrick’s Day 10 km race and the Run for Reach half-marathon. Both of these races are ones that have been included in my preparation for the Ottawa Marathon for the past three years.

After discussing with my coach, my plan for both of these races will likely be to run them as hard as I can because there is plenty of time for recovery after each of them. I’ve never gone looking for a personal best on St Patrick’s day because it is generally the first race of the season I do and there is still snow on the ground at that time of year.

On the other hand, Run for Reach is one where I have had some success with my two fastest half-marathon times the last two years. Being a month later it generally offers better weather on race day, although it was cool last year and there were a few flakes of snow falling as we ran. Although it does not offer the most ecpxciting course, it is a flat one which offers a good opportunity to push the pace. This year I will be aiming to beat the 1:29 I ran two years ago.

Of course the best part of adding both of these races to my calendar is the fact that the start and finish lines are a short run from my house so I get a little warm up on the way there and I get home quickly following the finish.

What races do you have lined up for the first half of 2014?

Race Report: Army Run


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.