Tag Archives: marathon training

My Week in Training

This week was a full week of training. I managed 55 km this week which isn’t much compared to when I hit the peak of a marathon training cycle but my mileage will likely stay around this level for the next few weeks. It will give me a good base to start from when my training for the Philadelphia Marathon kicks off.

With a 10 km race coming up on Wednesday I kept my runs this week at relatively easy paces. In terms of distance everything is was between 7-9 km with the exception of tonight’s 12.5 km effort. It was also my first week of being back to running 6 times in a week since last month’s marathon. 

As mentioned next up for me is a 10 km race on Wednesday. I’ve done a race on Canada Day several times now. It is always a great way to kick off the holiday. This year will be a little different since the downtown race I normally do is not being offered which is unfortunate given that downtown Ottawa just might be the best place in Canada to run a race on Canada Day. Instead I’ll be doing another race in the suburbs. 

I am never really sure what to expect in terms of a result when it comes to Canada Day races. Often it is hot, last year it was already 30C when we started the race at 8:00. The other factor is that coming just over a month after Ottawa Race Weekend I am usually just getting back to a regular routine. I’ve run it in 41 minutes the last two years, about a minute off my pb in the 10 km.

 Based on where I am at right now I think this year will be more of the same and that it will be more realistic to go for a pb and a shot at a sub 40 minute finish later in the summer. Regardless of what happens it will be good to get in a race effort Wednesday as a sign that I am back to a regular training routine.

How was your week?

My Week in Training

This week started off as a normal week with me fitting in three 9 km runs home from work with one of the runs coming at marathon pace. I made sure to fit in a run the first three days of the week because I knew I would not be able to run from Thursday-Saturday.

The reason I was not able to run for three days this week was I had an appointment for laser eye surgery Thursday morning. It is a decision that will have benefits in terms of running, mainly no more having to put in contacts before every run or rushing home to remove dry contacts. For this week it meant a lighter load in terms of mileage than I old normally opt for.

Today I was able to get back to my usual routine. First I started off by picking up a new pair of shoes since the two pair in my current every day rotation are due to be retired soon…

Then tonight I got back to running with something new for me, a beer mile. It is something that was a bit of a running joke with the group I regularly run with for the last couple of summers. Tonight we finally got around to doing one. With a time of 14:03, including one penalty lap, I won’t be setting any records any time soon but it was an interesting way to get back to running.

How did your week go?

Saturday Stories

It is time once again for another edition of Saturday Stories, a collection of some of my favourite stories and blog posts from the past week. 

Here are this week’s stories…

A list that will restore your faith in running.

Good advice for those thinking of running a marathon.

An inspiring story in time for father’s day.

Finally, some good nutrition tips.

Getting Back on Track

It has been nearly a month now since I ran the Ottawa Marathon. Following the marathon my usual approach to recovery had me back to running the following Friday. Since then I have been taking it easy, sticking to mainly easy paced runs and not being as disciplined about my diet as I am when I am in a training cycle. 

Tonight felt like a turning point. I planned my usual run home from work and because I felt good I decided to pick up the pace and run a little quicker than I have been. I ended up with a 9 km run around my marathon pace so it was not a particularly fast time. However, it was a change of pace from my routine has been lately. I feel like I am ready to get back into a training cycle. 

In terms of running it means I will start to add mileage again and get back to doing long runs on Sundays. I’ll also throw in a few races over the summer as I work my way back into marathon shape. In additionnto races it will also mean working in weekly speed and tempo sessions to go along with my easy paced runs. 

I will soon be getting back to strength training to build strength in my core and legs. I plan to follow a similar approach to the one I used for my last marathon since that seemed to work well. I also start regular rolling and stretching which I have been neglecting over the past few weeks. 

How soon do you like to return to full training after a big goal race?

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?

Recap of This Week’s Training

It has now been a week since the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon. As you can imagine there is not really much to say about this week in terms of training. My recovery from the marathon went well and I was able to get back to running on Friday. My quads did not appreciate going down stairs for the first couple of days after the marathon but getting back to running on the Friday after a marathon is about my average now.

In terms of training I only went for two runs this week, an easy 8 km effort Friday and a quicker although still at an easy pace 8 km run tonight. On both occasions my legs felt good and I probably could gave picked up the pace  but there was not really a need to do so since I am just easing back into my routine.

This week I spent more time focusing on my training plan for the rest of the year. I know I am running the Philadelphia Marathon in November so now I am trying to figure out a schedule of shorter races to fit in before then to help get me ready. I’ve approached my spring and fall marathons over the past few years by lining up 3-4 races at shorter distances in my marathon training and I plan to do the same for this next marathon training cycle.

I know I will be doing a 10 km race on Canada Day in July and I will also be doing the Army Run half-marathon in September. I would like to line up a couple of other shorter runs over the summer and early in the fall that I can fit into my marathon trainng plan. So far I have not decided on anything else but i do have a few options in mnd. 

In terms of running, for now I get to have a couple of weeks of unstructured running. By that I mean running without a plan and doing what I feel like and what I have time for. Following that a structured training plan for Philadelphia will kick in and i will get back to focused training. 

How did your week go?

Saturday Stories

 It is time once again for another edition of Saturday Stories, a collection of some of my favourite stories and blog posts from the past week. 

This week’s edition is dedicated to Ottaw Race Weekend recaps from my Team Awesome teammates.

Here are this week’s stories…

David Freake
James Koole
Jason Faber
Lisa Georges
Kristen Bobbitt
Pour les francophones voici quelques billets en français

Roch Courcy
Luc Levesque

Race Report: Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon 2015


Yesterday was marathon number 13 for me and my 7th consecutive one here at home. It was my latest effort and chasing a so far elusive Boston qualifying time.

Race Weekend here in Ottawa has become one of my favourite weekends of the year and this year’s experience did nothing to change that. It is a great event both in terms of organization and crowd support and something our city can really take pride in.


A surprise 1:30 pb in a half-marathon in April left no doubt in mind that I was ready to take a shot at a sub 3:10 marathon again.  Two weeks of just over 100 km in mileage before I started to taper certainly helped keep me confident as well.

The conditions to start the marathon yesterday were great with it being overcast and cool. Unfortunately with a forecasted high of 27 I knew I would likely have to deal with the heat at some point during the race.

If you have followed my training at all this year you will know that I tried running a few races at shorter distances without my Garmin. Since the results were positive I planned to do the same yesterday, although this time I did have it on my wrist as a back-up plan in case I lost track of the 3:10 pace bunny.

As planned I started with the 3:10 pace bunny who advised runners around him that he was aiming for a 3:08-3:09 finish to give a buffer to those  aiming for a Boston qualifying time. That fit right in with my plan and I planned to stick with the group.

For those not familiar with it here is what the course looks like…

The first 5 km sees you leave downtown and head down along the Rideau Canal after passing the War Memorial. The crowds are pretty big at the start but start to thin out as you head to the canal since it is still early. I was lucky to spot my family in the crowd a few hundred metres after we started. I crossed the mat at the 5 km mark in 22:16 which had me right on pace.

The next 5 km of the course takes runners away from the canal and back to a residential area. Once again this year we were greeted by a samba band and and a large crowd lining the street as soon as we turned on to Wellington at the 9 km mark. I find it hard not to get caught up in the moment and start running faster when I hit this part of the course. I crossed the 10 km mat in 43:57 which had me on pace for a 3:04 finish.

The next 5 km of the course was quieter as the crowds thinned out and  we headed toward the Ottawa River Parkway via a complex of government buildings. This portion of the course can be tough if you are struggling or the weather is bad. I was still feeling good at this point and was still with the 3:10 pace bunny. I crossed the 15 km mat in 1:06 which still had me slightly ahead of my goal time.

The next stretch, also along the parkway, went well. At this point we were once again greeted by large crowds in front of the War Museum as we headed across the Ottawa River into Quebec. This section of the course tends to be hillier and includes several turns. Fortunately for runners the organizers made slight changes this year to remove a hill and some of the turns. I was still going strong at this point and crossed the halfway point in 1:32:45 which still had me ahead of pace.

Following the halway point the course wound through downtown Gatineau and back the river where we crossed back into Ottawa. I hit the 25 km 1:49:27 mark just before crossing the river. It was just after this point last year that I started to suffer calf cramps that slowed me down the rest of the way. At this point yesterday I was still going strong with no signs of oncoming muscle cramps.

Once back in Ottawa we headed down Sussex Dr. past the residences of the Prime Minister and the Governor General. This stretch is an out and back stretch and as I was reaching the 27 mark I saw Canadian runner Rob Watson headed back downtown toward the finish. Shortly after the lead women went by me. Out and back stretches can be demoralizing but I was still feeling strong at this point. I hit the 30 km mat in 2:12:17. By this time I had lost a couple of minutes but I was still with the 3:10 group and was still ahead of schedule.

The 30-32 km stretch is another quiet one since it is once along along the river parkway. It can be another tough point of the race depending on how you feel or the weather. I was still going strong at this point despite the fact it was starting to get hot. After the 32 km mark the course heads back into another residential area where crowds are once again out to support the runners. Around the 35 km mark I fell back of the pace bunny but could still see him ahead of me. I crossed the mat in 2:35 which had me on pace for a 3:08 finish.

Unfortunately the next stretch is the one that broke me yesterday. I tried to keep pushing ahead but my quads started burning and were feeling heavier. I knew the water station at the 36 km mark would have a large and boisterous crowd and hoped that would help push me through. Since I was starting to stuggle I decided to walk through the water station as I grabbed a drink and water to dump over my head. If you’ve run a marathon before you’ll know it is very difficult to get going again when you stop this late. I struggled to get back into my rhythm from this point on.

Following that water station the next stretch involves heading back onto Sussex for the previously mentioned out and back portion. I stopped a couple more times along this stretch for water and sponges to cool off. Once I hit the 38 km mark I knew there would be big crowds lining the rest of the course and hoped to draw from that to make a final push to the finish line. I crossed the 40 km mat in 3:00:57 knowing I would still be close to a 3:10 finish but not quick enough to qualify for Boston.


I managed to push myself across the finish line in 3:12:17, once again close to my Boston qualifying time but not quite was I was aiming for. On a positive note it was a new personal best time, 8 seconds faster than my time here two years ago. That is certainly something to be happy about.

11009914_10155621673325311_2469373537877709963_oNext up will be the Philadelphia Marathon in November. One of the benefits of getting older is moving up in age categories. Starting in the fall I will gain an extra 5:00 to my Boston qualifying time. Hopefully I will be able to put that to use and get that elusive qualifying time. A repeat of yesterday’s run would confirm my presence in Boston in 2017.


Week 18 of Training for the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon



Since race day is Sunday I decided to move this post up a few days in order to give a final overview of my training for the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon. My training is now complete and I am ready to tackle marathon number 13, my 7th consecutive year here in Ottawa.

This week was not so much about training. It was more about staying healthy and staying disciplined with my diet. I think I was succesful on both fronts. At this point I am really starting to get anxious for Sunday morning.

In terms of running this week the only run really worth mentioning was Tuesday night’s tempo effort. It was my last run at a faster pace scheduled before the marathon. I ended up with a 13 km run that consisted of a 2.8 km warm up, 7 strides, 30:00 at 4:17/km and ending with a cool down.

I’ll go for a very easy 15-20 minute run Saturday morning to shake out my legs but for all intents and purposes my final training run was tonight’s easy effort. It was a perfect evening for a run…

Last training run before @ottawamarathon an easy 8.9 km run across the experimental farm #torw2015 #running

A photo posted by Patrick Girard (@pat42.2) on

Tomorrow I will head to the race expo to pick up my kit and take a look for deals although there isn’t really any gear I need. Other than that my plan for the weekend is to try and stay off my feet as much as possible in order to be prepared for Sunday morning.

How was your week?

Week 17 of Training for the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon


Since race day is one week away this will be the last of my weekly training updates for this training cycle. In a few ways this training cycle has gone better than i expected it would. I feel like I am ready to take on another marathon. I just have to try and get through the final week without driving myself crazy thinking about my preparation and race day itself. 

Following a last week of heavy mileage I started dropping my mileage this week. For the first time in a while I was doing easy runs of less than 10 km. In a way it felt strange to be doing so but at the same time it was also a nice reminder that race day was near. 

Despie the fact that I was tapering my Tuesday and Thursday runs were still solid efforts. Tuesday night’s run was a threshold effort consisting of a 3.2 km warm up,10:00@Maintenance pace, 10:00 @ 4:26/Km, 10:00 @ 4:46/Km, 10:00 @ 4:26/Km and a cool down.

Thursday night’s speed workout was even more intense with a 3.2 km warm up followed by 6 sets of 200m hard followed by  and easy 200m, 3.2K in @ 4.26/km, an easy 1:30, another 6 sets of 200m hard followed by 200m easy and a cool down.

This morning while out for a run with my 2 year old in the Chariot I ran past this in case i needed another reminder that race day was near…

Now I just have a few more runs to go before I get to tackle marathon number 13 next Sunday. Ideally it will be a little cooler out than the hot day we had today. I’ll worry about that more later in the week when we get closer to race day.
How did your week go?