Tag Archives: half-marathon

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…

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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 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

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.

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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.

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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?

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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

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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?

Week 15 of Training for the Ottawa Marathon

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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?