Tag Archives: long run

Week 18 of Training for the Boston Marathon

Race day is now only a week away. This will be my last training update before I run the Boston Marathon next Monday. By this time next week I will be recovering from another marathon.

Being two weeks away from race day last week was my first week of tapering for the marathon. Feeling run down and really tired I ended up running less mileage than I have at that point in other training cycles. To make up for it I tried to focus on quality over quantity.

I ended up doing 4 runs for a total of 46.4 km. Of those 4 runs Tuesday’s run was done at my tempo pace, Thursday’s run included strides and last night’s 16 km run was done at my usual goal marathon pace.

Overall I am pleased with how my training has gone. It has not been a text book training cycle but I can look to a few of my long runs for positive signs.

In early march I set out for a 30-32 km on a Sunday night after the kids had gone to bed. Unfortunately my Garmin would not pick up a GPS signal so I ended up leaving with a plan to run based on overall time and a rough idea of my mileage in my head based on my knowledge of running routes around the city. What I ended up with was a 32 km run with 30 km done at close to my goal marathon pace followed by an easy 2 km to finish.

A couple weeks later I planned to complete another 32 km run after my kids were in bed. Unfortunately my Garmin would not turn on at all on this occasion. In a rush I plotted out a 10 km out and back route from my house that I would do 3 times before adding additional mileage in my neighbourhood to the last lap. It might not have been the most exciting run but I got it done.

Finally, last night my plan was to do a 16 km run. Since I had done  less mileage than planned up until that point, I decided to do my run at my goal marathon pace. I also decided to plan my route to include as many hills as possible to simulate the rolling nature of the Boston course as best I could.

What does this all mean for next Monday? The best answer is that I am not sure and I am ok with that. It may come as a surprise to some who know me but I decided long ago not to set a goal time for Boston. I am just planning to run based on how I feel next Monday.

That said, I am still competitive and I have no intention of going there to run a 4.5 hour marathon. I have done some research and have come up with a plan, or more like a series of key messages for myself since I work in communications.

I did not set a time goal for two reasons. The first is that I worked hard to qualify for Boston so I did not want to go through this training cycle stressing myself out about whether I thought I was ready to run a specific time.

The second reason is that I have 3 kids, including a soon to be 10 month old. That has meant adjusting my training at times either because my wife needed a break or I felt like rest was more important than adding more mileage to my training cycles. Don’t get me wrong I am not complaining here. I would not trade my family situation. At the end of the day I am fortunate to still be in shape to run another marathon.

So that is it for my training. I will get in a few more easy runs this week before I head south of the border at the end of the week but those will just be maintenance runs. The only run left that matters now is the one I will do next Monday.

Week 17 of Training for the Boston Marathon

Race day is now 15 days away. This week was the start of my taper for the marathon. At this point I am more worried about getting sick or injured than I am about the rest of my training.

The biggest news this week was that my passport for the marathon arrived in the mail..

In terms of training I finished with 74 km for the week. That involved my usual routine of easy runs mixed in with a tempo run on Tuesday and speed work on Thursday.

Tuesday’s tempo run was a 10 km run with 7 km done at my tempo pace. Thursday’s speed work involved a run along the same route with a series of strides mixed in.

This morning I did my last run over 20 km before the marathon. I ended up doing a 22 km run. Next Sunday I will probably aim for 15-16 km for my longest run.

The best part about this week is it finally seems like winter is coming to an end. This morning was a perfect spring morning for a long run. If the weather in Boston on race day is anything like that it will be a good day to run a marathon.

How was your week?

Week 16 of Training for the Boston Marathon

It is still hard to believe that in three weeks from tomorrow I will get to run the Boston Marathon. First it took me several trying to get my qualifying time then since I ran my qualifying time in the fall of 2015 it seems like a long time since I ran my qualifying time.

Since it is down to three weeks before race day this was meant to be my last busy week of training before tapering. Overall I think I managed a decent week of training with a final tally of just under 82 km for the week.

Monday I planned to run home from work. However, a lack of sleep over the weekend caught up with me. By the time 3:00 rolled around I knew it would be better if I headed straight home from work and planned to get to bed early that night.

Tuesday I opted for a tempo run home after work. My run ended up being a 10.5 km run with 7 km done at my tempo pace. Generally I try to do at least 6-8 km of these runs at my tempo pace so I was pleased with the result.

Following an easy run home from work Wednesday night Thursday ended up being a two run day. I got my speed work in during my lunch hour with a 6.3 km run that included several strides. My second effort of the day was an easy 8 km on the treadmill while I watched hockey.

Friday and Saturday ended up being two more easy paced efforts. Saturday’s run was also done on the treadmill while I watched hockey. This winter I have probably done more of my runs on a treadmill than in previous years.

I am still not big fan of treadmill but since I have access to one it is convenient to be close by if my wife needs help with the kids or if I have to wait and run later at night. Being able to do it while a hockey game is on is a bonus that helps keep me distracted from the monotony of running on a treadmill, particularly if the Oilers are playing.

I ended the week with my long run this morning. I was fortunate to be able to head out early because we had freezing rain in the forecast for the afternoon. My goal was to do around 25 km and I ended up with just over 24 km.

Now I get to dial back on the mileage for my final three weeks of training. This training cycle has different than my other marathon training cycles. It has been the first time that I have trained with a time goal in mind and without the use of a formal training plan.

Instead my training has been based more on what I had time for more than it has in the past. With three kids now, including a nine month old, it has been tougher at times to fit in the mileage I have in the past. At the same time, I consider myself very fortunate that I have been able fit in a training cycle that has me in shape to run another marathon.

How was your week?

Week 15 of Training for the Boston Marathon

Last week I mentioned I mentioned that my goal was to make this week my heaviest week of training so far in this training cycle. I wanted to get in a bigger week of training before I start to taper.

Fortunately I was able to manage just that with a 97.4 km week. I have to admit, and maybe this is not surprising to those who know me, but I was tempted to head back out for a short run tonight to make it an even 100 km for the week. I eventually talked myself out of it because it would not have added anything to my training.

The week week started off in a different manner than any other week of training I have done before. Since I did not have time for my long run last week I did a 32 km run Monday night. If you read Friday night’s post about my recent long runs you will also know I completed the run by doing 3 laps of a a 10 kmout and back route from my house.

Tuesday night I had a tough run home because it was snowing and it was windy out..

Wednesday night I opted for a treadmill run while watching hockey on tv because the conditions outside were similar to the previous night.

Saturday I ran my first run of the year, the St Patrick’s Day 10 km. Doing this race has become a bit of a tradition for me in part due to the fact that it starts and finishes down the street from my house and my family comes to meet to go for coffee and hot chocolate afterward.

I will write more about the race tomorrow but for now I will say it went well…

That brings me to today. I headed out looking to get in around 25 km and came home with just under 23 km on my Garmin. It was cold when I started my run but had warmed up to the point that I had removed my hat and gloves by the time I was finishing my run. Hopefully that is a sign spring is about to start.

How did your week go?

Doing Long Runs at Night


Over the course of my training for the Boston Marathon I have been doing more of my long runs at night than I have in the past. This time around it has just worked out that doing my long runs at night is what worked best. It has meant heading out the door for runs longer than 20 km between 8:00-9:00.

My preference is still to do my longer runs in the morning in order to get them over with. Doing a long run at night means having to work harder to stay motivated and to stay disciplined with your nutrition throughout the day. Fortunately the more often I do a long run at night the easier that gets although it is still a challenge. 

 For the reasons mentioned above I find the biggest challenge with doing long runs at night is just getting out the door. Once I get going I tend to find it easy to settle in to my routine. In a way it feels like more of an accomplishment to get these runs done late at night. One thing that helps is knowing that I have a good meal to come to and enjoy when I finish since I eat my usual pre marathon meal consisting of oatmeal and a banana before my long runs instead of eating a regular dinner.

I have had some interesting experiences with these long runs. For example, last Sunday my Garmin would not turn on so in order to get in my planned 32 km run I mapped out a 10 km out and back route from my house. I did the route three times then added a bit extra to the last lap to bring me up to 32 km. Since the route involved running back and forth along a major street I am sure a few people saw me pass several times, likely questioning what I was doing in the process.

So far I have completed a couple of 30-32 km runs and a couple of 25 km runs at night. While, as mentioned above, it is still not my preferred time for doing a long run but I am getting more comfortable with my ability to do them at this time. 

When do you like completing your long runs?

Week 14 of Training for the Boston Marathon

Week 14 did not go quite as planned but that ended up being by design in the end. Coming off two consecutive 90 km weeks my initial plan was to do the same in terms of mileage and workouts this week. In the end I opted for a recovery week so I could aim for my biggest week of training in week 15.

The weather had an impact on my overall mileage this week. The first half of the week was impacted by freezing rain, a very easy run home from work on Monday and a treadmill run Tuesday night. The second half of the week was impacted by cold and windy weather..

With my nephew visiting from out of town this weekend and the cold temperatures yesterday morning and this morning I opted to push my long run to tomorrow since I have the day off work. This decision meant much less mileage than planned for this week, 52 km, but an opportunity to have my biggest week in terms of mileage next week since I will be adding 20 km to my usual Monday routine.

Looking at the weather now it looks like I may have lost the gamble on waiting an extra day for better weather for my long run. However, getting in my biggest week of training with only 5 weeks to go until race day should provide a needed mental boost. 

How was your week?

Week 12 of Training for the Boston Marathon

Coming off a recovery week last week my plan for this week was to increase my mileage and aim for my biggest week of training so far in this training cycle. I was fortunate to manage that. My long run from this morning gave me just under 92 km for the week. This week I was able to pull it off due to a couple of two run days. 

I started off the week with a 12.8 km (8 mile) run on a treadmill. Again this is not my favourite form of running and I am fortunate that I do not have to do it often. I opted for the treadmill on Monday night because I found the sidewalks to be slippery due to patches of black ice when I did my long run the night before. This time I listened to a podcast to help keep me distracted as I ran. 

Tuesday was the first of my two runs days of the week. My first run of the day was an easy run through the neighbourhood around my office during my lunch hour. My second run of the day was my usual run home from work in the evening. This run featured some mileage at my tempo pace. 

Thursday was my second two run day of the week. The first run was once again an easy run during my lunch hour following the same route I covered Tuesday afternoon. My second run of the day was my weekly visit to the indoor track for intervals. Once again this week I opted for 800m repeats. I had time for 8 x 800m again this week. This time my splits were 3:08, 3:02, 3:03, 3:02, 3:05, 3:03, 3:05, 2:55. It was the second week in a row that I managed to finish with my fastest time coming in under 3:00.

This morning was time for my long run. I planned for my first 30+ km run. Compared to the weather we received earlier in the week it was actually cold when I left the house to start my run. I managed 30.5 km with the final 7 km being the fastest portion of my run. 

My plan for week 13 is to follow a similar plan to the one from this week in terms of workouts to complete and overall mileage. 

How was your week?

Week 10 of Training for the Boston Marathon

This week was another decent week of training. Despite not feeling well late in the week, likely due to not enough sleep and the fact that two of my kids have been sick lately, I managed to put in 76 km this week. Along the way I ended up doing three treadmill runs which is not my favourite way to run but it allowed me to get in my mileage.

My first treadmill run was my tempo run on Tuesday. Since it was cold and windy out I opted to stay inside for my run. It might have been the first time I completed a tempo run on a treadmill. In terms of a workout I opted for an easy 15 minutes followed by 25 minutes at a hard pace and ending with an easy 15 minutes.

I once again made it out on to the Rideau Canal for a couple of my runs. I mentioned it here before but the hard packed snow at the edge of the plowed skate way makes for a decent running track. Running what is the world’s largest skateway and a UNESCO world heritage site is something that is unique to Ottawa and I take advantage of it when I can during the winter.


Thursday night was time once again for my intervals at the dome. Once again my workout involved 800m repeats at the dome. I ended up doing an 800 m warm up followed by 8 x 800m in 3:07, 3:04, 3:03, 3:03, 3:01, 3:01, 3:01, 2:59. Once again I finished my workout feeling pleased that my times were pretty consistent. I was also really pleased that I managed to complete my last one in under 3:00.

Yesterday I was fortunate that it was my planned day off because it was when I started to feel rough. Normally I would have planned my long run for this morning but since I did not feel much better I skipped my run thinking I would not complete a long run this week. 

Fortunately I was feeling well enough to attempt a run tonight. Since it snowed all day here I opted for the treadmill once again. I managed to do 22.4 km in 1:52. That may be my longest treadmill run to date. Fortunately I had a couple podcasts to listen to as I ran.

How did your week go?

Week 9 of Training for the Boston Marathon

After a few tough weeks of training I feel like I am now getting to where I want to be with my training. This week I able to build on the positives from last week and add more solid runs and mileage this week. After my long run this morning I finished with just over 80 km done for the week. 

While getting in my mileage this week I made it out on to the Rideau Canal a couple of times during my runs. For those who are not aware, the canal serves as the world’s largest skating rink when it freezes during the winter. The hard packed snow at the edges of the canal after it has been ploughed actually make for decent running terrain…


This week followed my usual pattern of an easy run on Monday, tempo run on Tuesday, easy run on Wednesday , speedwork  on Thursday, an easy run on Friday and a long run on Sunday. I even added an extra run at lunch on Thursday, it ended up being on a treadmill which is something I do not often do but I did not feel like getting bundled up to run outside when the time came.

Thursday I had a great speed session at the dome that I was very pleased with despite the fact that I realized when I got home and downloaded my stats from my Garmin that I had miscounted and done one less interval than I thought I had. Regardless, I still managed 7 x 800m with my splits coming in between 3:03 and 3:09…


Last week you may recall that I had to wait until later in the evening to do my long run. Today I was fortunate to be able to get it done in the morning, my preferred time for a long run. I also had a couple friends to run with for a portion of my run. I ended up doing 26 km with the first 16 km done with company and the final 9 km on my own…

As mentioned at the start of the post, I am much more pleased with where my training is at after the last two weeks than I was before that. I feel like I am ready to take on the extra mileage I will have to add later this month and next month.

How did your week go?

Week 8 of Training for the Boston Marathon

This week I managed to hit the mileage goal I set for myself. Coming off a couple disappointing weeks I was determined to get at least 70 km in this week. I managed 75 km this week.

Tuesday is usually my night for tempo runs. Once again I tried to get one in this week. Unfortunately, despite the fact it has not been a very cold winter here, the constant freezing and thawing cycles we have experienced have left the sidewalks covered either in slush and large puddles or ice. Both make it tougher to maintain a steady pace. I ran as hard as I could but the slippery footing made for a tougher run than it normally would have been.

On the other hand, my interval workout Thursday was a solid workout. This week I opted for an 800 warm up followed by 6 x 800m and an 800m cool down. I was pleased that I was able to keep my intervals consistent with them ranging from 3:01 – 3:06. Next week I am hoping to have time to add a couple intervals to my workout.

Last week I mentioned that I was planning to do extra runs during my lunch hour at work. I managed to accomplish that on Wednesday with and easy 6 km at lunch followed by an easy 9 km run home from work. I plan to continue this routine a couple times per week. It will go a long way toward helping me reach my mileage targets.

Tonight I ended the week with my long run. Later at night is not my preferred time to do a long run but it was the best time to fit it in today…

Now that I managed a 75 km week my goal for next week is to get at least 80 km.

How was your week?