Mississauga Marathon Training: Week 8

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Good Morning and Happy Monday! So happy to get my training back on track after a scary week where I thought I really injured my calf and after two weeks of running 4 days, I hit 6 days this week again!

[ week 8 / 10 weeks until the Mississauga Marathon ]

Monday – Recovery Day and a well deserved one after running 33 kilometers yesterday!

Tuesday – W08D02 – Steady Run – 10 kilometers/46:19/4:38 pace. Zoom Zoom! Of course, after a recovery day, my legs felt ready to go! I picked up the pace a bit while maintaining a really good tempo heart rate zone! I’m really enjoying these quick runs when I think I’m working hard, but my heart rate is still in the moderate or tempo zone!

Strava Run

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Wednesday – W08D03 – Workout. After missing three workouts in a row, I was really excited about getting back in gear! I headed over to the Mt. Pleasant Cemetary (one of my favorite spots to run fast!) today. The first 1-2 sets felt pretty easy, but by the 5th and 6th time, I was gassed!

Workout: 6 x 1,000m | 3:00 rest

Strava Run

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Thursday – W08D04 – Recovery Run – 8.0 kilometers/43:19/5:25 pace. Nice and easy today. During my Spring marathon training plan last year, I too my recovery runs way too quick. I never ran as slow as I do now. It’s amazing what you think you know until you work with a coach!

I am also noticing how strong my legs feel and I came across a photo from our trip to Punta Cana that I accidentally snapped while I was setting up a photo for Instagram. It’s safe to say I’m Finding My Strong!

Strava Run

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Friday – W08D05 – Progression Run – 10 kilometers/45:49/4:34 pace. I’ve never done a progression run before, so it was interesting to see how I would do. I know I should have run by feel, but I really wanted to try to lock-in specific paces. My goal was to run 2km at 5:15, 2km at 4:45, 2km at 4:20, 1km at 4:10, and 1km at 4:00. Considering I kept peeking at my watch and was constantly trying to adjust my pace, I did really well! Next time I will try this based on feel alone to see the results.

Strava Run

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Saturday – W08D06 – Easy Run – 6.4 kilometers/33:05/5:09 pace. It has been really mild all week and today was really nice! It was really foggy in the morning and I was hoping to get out to snap some cool photos, but I was more interested in devouring a pile of banana and chocolate chip pancakes with my son! Kept the pace easy today and have felt great all week.

Strava Run

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Sunday –– W08D07 – Long Run – 19 kilometers/1:35:03/5:00 pace. Even though I missed a few runs last week, it is still a recovery week this week. Today’s long run was only supposed to be 19km which doesn’t feel like much when you’re in the heart of marathon training! I’m sure my legs appreciate it even if my head was wondering why I was not running more! After the run, Dom, Daniel and I had breakfast at Sunnyside Grill; one of our favorite spots to refuel after a nice long run!

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Strava Run

Total kilometers this week – 64.8

By this time next week, I will have finished my first race of 2017! I can’t wait to see how my training is paying off!

Hope you have a great week and thanks for reading!

Mississauga Marathon Training: Week 7

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Good Morning and Happy Monday! Week 7 got off to a rocky start with me fearing I injured my calf, but ended up finishing strong with my longest run since the NYC Marathon back in November! This update should be relatively easy to write considering I missed two runs! Let’s see what happened.

[ week 7 / 11 weeks until the Mississauga Marathon ]

Monday – Recovery Day! After yesterday’s snowy run and my left soleus feeling slightly sore, I was happy to have the day off to recover.

Tuesday – W07D02 – Steady Run – 13 kilometers/1:00:44/4:40 pace. Steady runs are supposed to be run in HR Zone 3, but I found myself creeping into Zone 4 a few times during my run. I don’t know if it was because I felt strong, but I should have taken it easier than I did. About 3/4 through my run, my left soleus started to flare up and started to give me trouble. I eased up a bit, but it was too late. I knew there was a problem and I had to get it fixed before it really impacted my training!

Today is also Valentine’s Day. My wife and son ate at a really good Mexican restaurant near our house and I had a few beers to dull the pain. LOL

Strava Run

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Wednesday – Today would have been a workout, but I am taking off to let my injury heal. In the afternoon, I visited my friends as Lawrence Park Health Clinic for some much-needed physical therapy. Dr. Allie started with electroacupuncture (essentially acupuncture, but the same points are hooked up to a transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation machine. I received four needles in my glutes and two in my upper and lower calf. We performed a few strength tests before and after the treatment to see if my muscles were firing properly and, of course, my glutes and left hip were noticeably weaker on my left side. After the treatment, the same muscles fired properly and appeared much stronger!

This tells me two things: I need to get my butt in gear (pun intended) and start doing more strength training and I also need to get treated once a month!

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Thursday – My muscles are still a little sore from yesterday’s treatment. I need to take one more day off to let my soleus heal. It really sticks not running, but not taking care of your injuries can have effects much worse than missing 1-2 days of running!

Friday – W07D05 – Test Run – 6.0 kilometers/30:13/5:02 pace. Time to test the soleus muscle! I completed a 6km run and didn’t feel a thing! Any pain I felt in my soleus earlier in the week appears to be gone! I couldn’t be happier! One more easy run tomorrow and hopefully I’ll be good to go for my Sunday long run!

Strava Run

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Saturday – W07D06 – Easy Run – 10.0 kilometers/50:36/5:03 pace. Back to back runs and my soleus still feels great! Realy happy I didn’t miss more time. Now I need to focus on training hard and staying healthy to ensure I can meet my lofty goals. Chilly Half Marathon is two weeks from tomorrow and it will be my first big test!

I also got to try the Saucony Freedom ISOs for the first time. The Freedom ISO is Saucony’s newest model running shoe and it is receiving so much well-deserved press. It’s one of the hottest shoes on the market and just 10 kilometers in these beauties was enough for me to realize why. The shoe mimics my favorite race shoe, the Saucony Kinvara, but adds a bit more cushioning. I plan on writing a review in the coming weeks, so I’ll spare everyone the specifics here.

Strava Run

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Sunday –– W07D07 – Long Run – 33.3 kilometers/2:48:18/5:02 pace. to say today’s long run is an important one for me is a huge understatement. Long runs are a critical element in marathon training and missing them once or twice isn’t bad, but when you miss your long runs that are over 32 kilometers, things can get interesting. It’s these long runs where you really work your slow twitch muscles and really build your confidence. You’re going to be on your feet for a long time during a marathon and you need to ensure your legs can handle the pounding they will take. If you miss the really long runs during training, you may also start to get anxious when you hit the same distance during a race.

Today’s run was the typical onslaught of hills through Bloor West. Last year, these hills ate me up; this year, I eat them for breakfast every Sunday. Even with all the hills, my legs felt awesome! No issues the entire time! I couldn’t be happier to close the week out completing such an important run considering how the week started for me!

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Strava Run

Total kilometers this week – 62.3

I missed two days of running and still surpassed 60 kilometers for the week! Next week is a recovery week, then I prepare for the Chilly Half! I do need to make a few adjustments to the non-running element of my training plan (strength training, recovery, etc.) to ensure I stay healthy, but I’m confident I’ll be in good shape for my first race!

Hope you have a great week and thanks for reading!

Mississauga Marathon Training: Week 6

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Good Morning and Happy Monday! This week was a recovery week for me meaning I would be running 5 days instead of 6 and reducing my running to ~60 kilometers for the week. About halfway through the week, I pulled a muscle in my back forcing me to skip my Friday workout. Feeling a bit better now, but not 100% yet. Hopefully, this upcoming week will not be impacted!

[ week 6 / 12 weeks until the Mississauga Marathon ]

Monday – Recovery Day! My legs were pretty tired from yesterday’s 30km long run, so I was happy to have a day to recover!

Tuesday – W06D02 – Steady Run – 8 kilometers/38:49/4:51 pace. I have an event to attend later in the evening, so to avoid missing a run, I got up a bit earlier and did my steady run before heading into work. It’s certainly nicer to run before people are cars crowd the streets of Toronto, but I still prefer the extra sleep! They were calling for freezing rain later in the afternoon and they were not kidding! It started raining in the early afternon and by the evening, the sidewalks of Toronto were treacherous!

Strava Run

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Wednesday – W06D03 – Workout. I was a little concerned about the condition of the track considering how much it rained the night before. Christina joined me for this workout and we headed over to our usual spot. Sure enough, half the track was frozen! We had to run half of our workout on the track and the rest on the artificial turf. Not ideal, but we got it done!

Workout: 3 x 400m, 400m jog | 3 x 800m, 800m jog | 4 x 200m, 200m jog

Strava Run

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Thursday – W06D04 – Recovery Run – 8 kilometers/46:17/5:47 pace. Another busy day at work means for the second time this week I’ll be running before dawn! I didn’t sleep very well because my back ws really bothering me. Not sure if I pulled a muscle or not, but it was not comfortable moving around. I didn’t feel so bad during my run, but it is definitely noticable.

Strava Run

Friday – For the first time in this training cycle, I missed a run. My back is worse than it was yesterday and now I’m getting a little nervous. Taking it easy today and hopefully, it will be better by Sunday. Because it’s a recovery week, I’m not running tomorrow.

Saturday – Rest Day! My back is still sore but is gradually getting better. Thank goodness!

Sunday –– W06D07 – Long Run – 14.7 kilometers/1:12:23/4:54 pace + 6 kilometers/34:25/5:42. I didn’t mean for today’s long run to be split into two, but my watch must not have liked that I had it paused for so long between the start of my run and the second phase when I met up with Blacktoe Running and RunToBeer for an Achille’s St. Patricks Day 5K Tune-up Run.

My back felt pretty good during the run; still noticeable, but not enough to keep me from cranking out 20km today! The first part of my run was a solo run from my house to the Blacktoe Running store on King and Bathurst. This was the meeting point for the Achilles 18th Annual St. Patricks Day 5K Run/Walk. The race is in support of the Achilles Canada foundation. I mentioned Achilles Canada and the great work they do a few times on my blog and Instagram. The Achilles St. Patrick’s Day 5K Run/Walk sponsored by Steam Whistle Brewing and Goodlife, benefits Achilles Canada—a non-profit organization that provides people with various disabilities an opportunity to receive the physical, psychological, and communal benefits of running. The club offers training and support by able-bodied members to its Achilles athletes of all ability levels. Two of my favorite things, RunToBeer and Saucony Canada were also on hand to support the event!

Yesterday’s event was meant to bring awareness to the race and encourage people to register. It’s an awesome race and I’m encouraging everyone who runs in Toronto to register! Visit the race site to register and enter code SHOPRUN17 for a discount on the entry fee! Hope to see you there!

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Strava Run

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Total kilometers this week – 49.9

Hope you have a great week and thanks for reading!

Mississauga Marathon Training: Week 5

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Good Morning and Happy Monday! I’m back in Toronto and happy to report my marathon training survived being away in Punta Cana! We had a lot of fun and now I understand why my son was raving about the resort when he was there 2 years ago! There’s so much to do, see, eat and drink and it’s perfect for kids and families. I was pretty good at the all-inclusive buffet and only had a couple of beers a day!

[ week 5 / 13 weeks until the Mississauga Marathon ]

Monday – Recovery Day! After yesterday’s long run fun, I am happy to have a day off to soak in the sun, eat, and drink! The only thing better than a recovery day is a recovery day on vacation!

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Tuesday – W05D02 – Steady Run – 10 kilometers/46:41/4:40 pace. A nice quick run through the resort and beyond! I was supposed to do 12 kilometers today, but we are heading to the Royalton hotel for the day and I wanted to ensure I get back in time to go!

Strava Run

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Wednesday – W05D03 – Workout. This is the first time hills are being introduced in my training plan and with no hills anywhere in sight, I modified my workout by running up the ramp that takes cars to the lobby of the Royalton hotel. The distance is barely 100 meters, so I ran it twice for every 1 hill repeat. Still not ideal, but you really have to be flexible when you’re on vacation!

Workout: 4 x short hills, 4 x 200m | 1:00 rest, 3 x short hills

I realized later I missed part of the workout. After the 3 x short hills, I was supposed to do 4 x 100m, 400m jog. I blame this on trying to open my training plan on my my iPhone! It’s just one workout, so I really can’t dwell on it too much.

Strava Run

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Thursday – W05D04 – Recovery Run – 10 kilometers/57:29/5:45 pace. Took it really easy today so I could recover from yesterday’s workout and prepare for tomorrow’s really tough workout. I ran mostly outside of the resort today and did a bit more exploring. It’s interesting watching the looks on the faces of the people who commute into the resort area. At first they are surprised to see someone obviously not from their country running through their streets, but then they smile and wave when you pass by!

Strava Run

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Friday –W05D05 – Workout. Today’s workout was a beauty, but really tough! Once you get over running the first 10 minutes at 80-90% of your maximum heart rate, the rest starts to get somewhat easier. Somewhat. Today’s workout was my last run in Punta Cana! So pleased with how everything went while I was on vacation!

Workout: 10:00, 3:00 rest, 5:00, 2:00 rest, 3:00, 1:30 rest, 2:00, 1:00 rest, 1:00

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Saturday – W05D06 – Easy Run – 10 kilometres/52:02/5:12 pace. And just like that, we’re back to Winter running in Toronto! I heard it snowed quite a bit while we were away, but there was very little snow on the ground when we returned home. It was definitely cold on today’s run, but thankfully I didn’t have to contend with snow! It’s so good to be back so I can focus on nailing my runs!

My plan called for 8 kilometers today, but I ran 10 to make up for the 2 I missed on Tuesday.

Strava Run

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Sunday –– W05D07 – Long Run – 30 kilometers/2:34:11/5:08 pace. Today’s long run was the longest run I’ve done since I ran the NYC Marathon. I felt great the entire run and aside from being a little sore and tired, I am very encouraged about today’s long run! I met up with my buddy Dom and we ran through Bloor West. These runs offer plenty of hills which means plenty of opportunity to build leg strength. About halfway through the run it started to snow and then snowed progressively harder towards the end. 

Strava Run

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Total kilometers this week – 76.8

Next will is a recovery week with significantly fewer kilometers and only 5 days of running instead of 6. I like how this plan mixes things up to avoid burning out. 5 weeks down, 13 to go!

Hope you have a great week and thanks for reading!

Mississauga Marathon Training: Week 4

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Good Morning and Happy Monday from Punta Cana! The week started in cold, wet Toronto and ended in the warm sun of the Dominican Republic! Running while on vacation can be tricky, especially when you’re not familiar with the area, but I think I did rather well!

[ week 4 / 14 weeks until the Mississauga Marathon ]

Monday – Recovery Day! After a 6 day run week, I was glad to have a day off to rest my legs and restore my glycogen storage! 

Tuesday – W04D02 – Steady Run – 12 kilometers/55:42/4:39 pace. I seem to have come down with my second cold in two months, definitely out of character for me. I don’t think it has anything to do with running becasue I work in an office with 1200 people and there is always a handful of people who are sick. I think everyone is just passing it along in our meetings! My cold didnt seem to affect me! Even with a workout shceudled for tomorrow, I took today’s steady run fairly hard. There were a few half marathon paces and even a 10K pace thrown in. 

I ended my run at the Lululemon store to pick-up my LuLulemon Strava challenge gear. Strava and Lululemon partnered to offer runners an opportunity to earn badges if they ran 40 or 80 kilometres in two weeks. I ran 131 kilometers (only 113 counted towards the challenge as some of those kilometers were on a treadmill which didn’t count towards the total). On Monday evening, everyone who completed 40 or 80 kilometres also received an email instructing them to pick up lululemon gear for free! I earned a shirt and shorts which retail for over $170CAD after tax! Thank you so much Strava and Lululemon!

After my run I did the BBR #1 strength training circuit.

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Wednesday – W04D03 – Workout. Still not feeling 100% and it was raining outside, but at least it was mild outside! Chrstina joined me for this workout and it was another tough one! When you first review the workouts on paper, they don’t seem that difficult, but the short rest between some of the repeats really takes its toll on you! 

Workout: 5 x (2:00, 1:00 jog, 1:00, 30s jog, 30s, 30s jog)

The first time around, it feels OK. The second time around you’re starting to feel it in your legs. By the fourth time around, you’re wishing the last jog was 1:30 and by the fifth time around, everything pretty much hurts. It’s workouts like these that make me excited about my upcoming races!

Strava Run




Thursday – W04D04 – Recovery Run – 10 kilometers/53:24/5:20 pace. Today is registration day for the Brooklyn Half Marathon. I was guaranteed entry through the work I did with NYRR during the NYC Marathon. I was hopeful a few friends would be joining me and when I heard the race sold out in 27 minutes, I had no expectation I would know anyone running (last year the race sold out in 58 minutes!). I found out shortly after my friend Andrew Chak and his brother Gary made it in and another Toronto runner, Josie Nguyen, made it in as well! Really looking forward to hanging with them in Brooklyn in May!

Today’s run was nice and easy. I remember Coach Colin mentioning if we felt great on Thursday’s run, we didn’t work hard enough on Wednesday! Thankfully my legs felt pretty heavy!

I added in more core work later in the evening.

Strava Run

Friday –W04D05 – Easy Run – 6 kilometers/31:11/5:12 pace. Today is a busy day for the family. We have to run a few errands before heading to the airport for a 1:00pm flight to Punta Cana. Today was supposed to be a workout day, but I didn’t have time to workout, so I switched my run with tomororw’s easy run. This means I will have a workout on Saturday followed by a long run on Sunday. Both runs will be taking place in Punta Cana, so that should be interesting!

Strava Run

Saturday – W04D06 – Workout (4x1600m, 2:00 jog). The road of the resort grounds is just under 2 kilometers.  I did a 2 kilometre warm-up, then prepared for my 4 sets of 1600m. These runs are tough enough to perform on a track, but in a resort, trying not to get hit by trollies, golf carts, and peacocks who were all over the road was quite a unique challenge! Thankfully I was able to get it in. My splits were closer to 10K pace, not interval pace, but I still consider that a successful workout considering the circumstances!

Strava Run



Sunday –– W04D07 – Long Run – 25 kilometers/2:20:39/5:38 pace. Before coming to Punta Cana, I googled “Running in Punta Cana” and two things stood out from the results. There are no sidewalks and running on the beach is not easy. I also noticed mapmyrun and other running sites had a few running routes on the beach that passed the resort where we would be staying. I left my room and headed towards the beach. If you’ve never run on the beach before, you have two options: you can run on the wet sand near the shoreline or on the soft sand. The soft sand can destroy your ankles because your footing is not stable. The wet sand is more compact, but you have to worry about the slope as it can put a lot of pressure on your knees as you run. There’s another challenge when it comes to running on the beach and that’s the water. I was moving between the wet and soft sand for a few kilometers before I found myself too close to the water and then, before I knew it, found myself ankle deep in water! For the rest of my run, it felt as if I was running in concrete shoes from the weight of the water!

Aside from the challenges I would face running in wet shoes, I was a little drained from yesterday’s workout. I contemplated cutting the run short, but I kept reminding myself why I’m training and I pushed on. I just started reading, “How Bad Do You Want It” by Matt Fitzgerald and it’s starting to make me think about the mental aspect of running. This was another reason why I kept pushing on.

I’m planning on writing a blog post about running while on vacation, so I’ll spare the details of my experience running the streets of Punta Cana. In the end, I ran 25 kilometers instead of my planned 26 kilometers because the breakfast buffet closed at 10:30am and I was concerned I wouldn’t be able to eat a hearty breakfast. 

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I ended Sunday with over 35,360 steps and not a single flight of stirs climbed. With hills being introduced in the next week of training, I may need to postpone hill work until I return to Toronto. Training plans needs to be flexible because we all know our lives are very unpredictable!

Total kilometers this week – 75

Hope you have a great week and thanks for reading!

Mississauga Marathon Training: Week 3

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Good Morning and Happy Monday! These training weeks are just flying by and I’m not sure if I should be happy about that or not as it means my goal race is getting closer and closer! This past week was also the first time I ever ran 6 days! When I first started running, I typically ran 3 days a week, sometimes 4. Last year, I bumped it up to 5 and quite honestly wasn’t sure 6 was doable because of my work/life schedule.

Before I get into the week, I wanted to quickly bring up the strangest dream I had last night. I dreamed I was running the Mississauga Marathon and doing really well! I had a ton of energy and came flying in to the finish! I was ready to celebrate smashing my goals when someone came up to me and said I finished way too fast! After a few moments, we quickly realized I only ran a half marathon! I was absolutely devastated and started to quickly go through the races I would need to run to before September and I started to get even more anxious. Thankfully I woke up and realized it was a dream! Now I just need to make sure I run the full distance in May. LOL!

[ week 3 / 15 weeks until the Mississauga Marathon ]

Monday – Recovery Day! Nothing to report here other than I rested! Rest is really important after a week of training to replenish your glycogen stores!

Tuesday – W03D02 – Steady Run – 10 kilometers/54:20/5:26 pace. I woke up to walk my dogs and could barely make it 100 meters past my home because it rained overnight and the sidewalks were a sheet of ice. When I was crossing the street to get to my car, I wiped out and landed on my thigh. Finally, I tried to make a right turn on the road leading to my office and my car just went straight! Thankfully it was early enough and there weren’t many cars on the road!

When I got home, the sidewalks were still slick in some spots, so in an abundance of caution I took my run indoors!

After the run, I stretched and did some core exercises and strength training later in the evening.

Strava Run

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Wednesday – W03D03 – Workout – 10 x 400 | 1:00 rest. There are workouts you know are going to be tough and you have to decide if you’re going to embrace them or stress about about the entire time. I’ll be honest, I used to stress out over workouts. How much should I warm-up, how hard should I go? Can I eat tacos before a workout or will that upset my stomach? All questions I’ve asked myself in the past!

The new me is embracing these workouts and while I may still stress out about when I can get them done given my busy schedule, I look forward to the hard work knowing they will benefit me in the long run!

Christina, Dom, Anna, and Daniel met me at my house and we ran over to the North Toronto Collegiate Institute track for our workout. The track is just shy of 400m, so the workout would mean 10 laps around. Each time we completed a set, the 1 minute rest seemed to get get shorter and shorter! By the end, it felt as if we were resting for seconds rather than an entire minute! What really helped us get through it was the change of direction. After 5 sets, we turned and ran the other way!

This workout was pretty tough, but we all smashed it!

Later in the evening I added core work!

Strava Run

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Thursday – W03D04 – Recovery Run – 10 kilometers/54:56/5:29 pace. Slow and steady was the plan for today’s recovery run and I think I nailed it! Part of what helped me slow down was the fact I ran on the Beltline and the center of the trail was icy, but the edges were clear of ice. They weren’t clear of mud though as it’s been fairly mild in Toronto this week. When I wasn’t sliding on patches of ice, I was sliding on mud!

I added in more core work later in the evening.

Strava Run

Friday –W03D05 – Workout – 2 x (5:00, 2:00 jog, 3:00, 1:30 jog, 2:00, 3:00 jog) + 4 x (100m, 100m jog). I performed this workout on my own and boy was it a good one! Running at 90% for 5:00 equated to about 3 times around the track or 1.3 kilometers. It’s fine the first time, but doing it again after a set of 5:00, 3:00, and 2:00 running with jogging between sets is really tough! The workout then ends with a few quick 100m runs at 90% followed by 100m jogs). All of my splits were in the low to mid 3:00/km which seems fast, but could potentially be caused by GPS issues with tall building surrounding the track. I need to attempt a few of these workouts in the cemetery where the GPS accuracy is much better so I can really determine how fast I’m going. Nonetheless, I was moving pretty fast!

Later in the evening, I added some core work.

Strava Run

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Saturday – W03D06 – Easy Run – 6 kilometers/32:20/4:58 pace. The first two weeks of the training plan we didn’t run on Saturdays. Going forward, there will be a few weeks where we do add in an additional day of running to get get our mileage up each week. Running today means I would be running 6 days in one week. It would be the first time I ran 6 days in week since I started running almost 4 years ago!

The run was really easy and only 6 kilometres!

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Strava Run

Sunday –– W03D07 – Long Run – 24 kilometers/2:04:01/5:10 pace. Daniel and I met Dom at his house so we could get in a few kilometers before meeting up with friends at the High Park Running Room. The marathon clinic at the Running Room was doing 13 kilometers and our plan was calling for 23. Dom’s place was about 5 kilometers away from the Running Room which worked out perfectly! We ran through Bloor West again (LOT’S OF HILLS!) and my legs felt great the entire time!

Later in the evening, I added core work to close out a busy week of running!

Strava Run

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I ended the with just over 72 kilometres! By end of the next week, I’ll be running in Punta Cana!

Total kilometers this week – 72.6

Hope you have a great week and thanks for reading!

Mississauga Marathon Training: Week 2

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Good Morning and Happy Monday! Hard to believe I already completed two weeks of training! I had another really great week which included two difficult workouts and a great long run with friends.

[ week 2 / 16 weeks until the Mississauga Marathon ]

Monday – Recovery Day! Last week it may have been ironic that I started my training plan on a recovery day, but this Monday I was happy to have it! I took it easy today, no running, strength training, or core work.

Today was also my first day back at work after being off for two weeks. I had the luxury of running whenever I wanted the past two weeks, but now I need to fit my runs in when I have time!

Tuesday – W02D02 – Steady Run – 10 kilometers/53:11/5:19 pace. There will be days when you would rather not run and if you have to run, there is no way it will be outdoors because the weather is terrible outside. Today was one of those days; however, I am not a fan of treadmills at all, so I braved the elements and ran.

It snowed most of the day and it started to rain a few hours before my run. I was concerned about the conditions on the Beltline with all the rain, but there was still enough snow that I would not have any issues with traction. The hardest part of the run was the cold rain and hail blowing sideways for most of the run. No matter how awful it was outdoors, that’s where I would much rather be.

After the run, I stretched and did some core exercises later in the evening.

Strava Run

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Wednesday – W02D03 – Workout – 4 x (200m, 200m jog, 200m, 200m jog, 400m, 400m jog), 4 x (100m, 100m jog). We’re only in week two and the workouts are already getting harder! I headed over the Mount Pleasant Cemetery for this one. It was fairly mild out, but for some reason, I was the only person outside wearing shorts! One runner bundled up pretty good on my warm-up run towards the cemetery called me “brave,” while another inside the cemetery said, “I can’t believe you’re wearing shorts!” I’m much more comfortable running in shorts, so if I have an opportunity to wear them, I’m going to take advantage!

Back to the workout. Running 200 meters at 80-90 percent is fine, especially when you add 200 meters of jogging to recover, but do it again, then do a 400-meter set and you’re going to start feeling it. Now do that entire set four times and you may start shedding a few tears! All kidding aside, I really am embracing these workouts Coach Colin cooked up and I can not wait to put them to the test!

Later in the evening I added some strength training and core work!

Strava Run

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Thursday – W02D04 – Recovery Run – 8 kilometers/49:52/6:14 pace. I got home a bit late from work and had didn’t have time to go out for a run and pick up my son from aftercare. With my wife still away, I had to hop on the treadmill after dinner. Thankfully it was only 8 kilometers so I wouldn’t be torturing myself too much! I really struggle understanding how treadmills work. I felt as if I was running at a moderate pace and effort, but I was barely breaking 6:00/km the entire time!

My wife is returning from her yoga retreat tonight, so hopefully the treadmills runs will be few and far between the rest of the way!

I added in more core work later in the evening.

Strava Run

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Friday –W02D05 – Workout – 6 x (3:00, 2:00 recover). I was really looking forward to this workout because it meant I would be doing it with the High Park Rogue Runners and my buddies Daniel and Dom! Getting to High Park on time was going to be tricky because I had to get my son from aftercare, eat, change, then drive to Bloor West. We ate dinner at 6:50, I woofed in down by 6:05, then bolted out the door to meet the crew. I barely made it; in fact, they were running from the High Park Running Room towards High Park and I passed them in my car while trying to find a spot. I quickly parked and bolted over to the meeting point; not exactly how I wanted to start an important workout! If I can’t get away earlier, I may need to do these workouts on my own.

The workout was the toughest I have done in the plan so far. We completed a 2-kilometer warm-up (essentially a loop around High Park), then turned on the jets. running 80-90% for 3 minutes equates to about 800 meters for me. After 3 minutes, we recovered a bit by walking and then started to jog to build some speed. The entire recovery between sets was 2 minutes. After doing a few sets, those 2 minute recovery periods seem to fly by!

After uploading my workout to Strava, I had some interesting results:

  • 1st 3:00 – 3:44/km
  • 2nd 3:00 – 3:57/km
  • 3rd 3:00 – 3:45/km
  • 4th 3:00 – 3:57/km
  • 5th 3:00 – 3:46/km
  • 6th 3:00 – 3:49/km

The only way I could explain it was the even number sets took place in the part of the park that ran a bit uphill while there was more downhill running on the odd number sets. It’s interesting what you notice when you really start to pay attention to your runs!

Later in the evening, I added some core work.

Strava Run

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Saturday – Recovery Day! After yesterday’s tough workout, I was happy to be off my feet. My son and I went to see Rogue One and I didn’t even order popcorn or candy! This is something I do every time I go to the movies, but I am really trying to be be good with my diet.

Sunday –– W02D07 – Long Run – 20 kilometers/1:46:58/5:21 pace. Today’s long run was a lot of fun! I met up with Christina, Dom, Danielle, and Anna at the High Park Running Room where the Sunday morning clinics take place. The clinics are for runners training for different distances, but it’s also where the High Park Rogue Runners meet for their long runs. We ran through Bloor West which happens to be one of the most beautiful parts of the city to run through, but also the hilliest!

After the run, we met-up for brunch with the rest of Rogue Runners who we didn’t get a chance to run with. It’s always great (and easier!) to chat with fellow runners when you’re not actually running!

While it was a lot of fun running with friends, the highlight of my day was watching my son ski for the first time in two years!

Later in the evening, I added core work to close out a busy, but fun day!

Strava Run

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Total kilometers this week – 58.9

Hope you have a great week and thanks for reading!

Mississauga Marathon Training: Week 1

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Good Morning and Happy Monday! My sixth marathon training cycle officially kicked off last week and I’m really excited! I can honestly say I have never been more determined in any of my previous cycles! In a previous blog post, I mentioned I am working with Coach Colin from the Rogue Runners and he whipped up a doozy of a plan! Here is a breakdown of what I’ll be doing:

  • Monday – Recovery Day
  • Tuesday – Steady Run
  • Wednesday – Workout
  • Thursday – Recovery Run
  • Friday – Workout
  • Saturday – Fluctuates between a Recovery Day and an Easy Run
  • Sunday – Long Run (three and two weeks prior to my marathon, workouts are added to the run)

When I first started training for marathons, I ran 3-4 times a week. Last year, I bumped it up to 5 days a week and now I’ll be running 5-6 times a week! I’ll also be exceeding my previous weekly running totals midway through the plan.

[ week 1 / 17 weeks until the Mississauga Marathon ]

Monday – Recovery Day! Somewhat ironic my first day was a recovery day! I jokingly said to my friends I was going to smash my first day of training and I did! Sunday was New Years Day and I was hurting from partying the night before, so I was happy to have Sunday and Monday off so I could start fresh!

Tuesday – W01D02 – Steady Run – 9.2 kilometers/53:08/5:46 pace. I went on a few runs with Christina the week prior and we discussed her possibly testing the plan I would be following for Mississauga. With us both off work another week, she agreed to join me on some of my runs. Tuesday would be a steady run, so no pressure! Unfortunately, it was raining all morning and the Beltline was a skating rink. We decided to run through the streets of my hood and took it nice and easy.

After the run, I did a strength training circuit and some core exercises later in the evening. Not a bad start!

Strava Run

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Wednesday – W01D03 – Workout – 3x(2min, 1min jog), 4x(1min, 1 min jog), 4x(30sec, 30 sec jog). As soon as I read this workout, I knew this training plan was going to be special. I never trained like this in the past and intervals for me tended to be 800m repeats every few weeks. Christina and I headed to the North Toronto Collegiate Institute track (just 800 meters from my home!). I used to run on this track when I first started to incorporate speed work in my training, but it was only open to the public after school let out and the various team sports were done practicing. With school out this week and not many people off work, the track was essentially empty with the exception of one or two others who were working out.

The idea of the workouts is to maintain your heart rate in zone 4 (Threshold or VO2 Max). Recovery, rest, or “jogs” should be performed in zone 2. I analyze my runs on Strava, so the first thing I noticed on my Friday workout is my Garmin may say I’m running in zone 4, but Strava recognizes it as zone 5. I’ll play with this when I have more time, but as long as the hard parts of the run feel like 80-90%, you’re in the right zone.

I really loved this workout and felt great the entire time. I know it’s early in the cycle, but I’m really feeling great!

After the run, I did a core circuit with specific exercises to strengthen my diaphragm.

It was also no surprise at all that Christina was great on the track! I can’t wait to see how fast she becomes with all the hard work we have coming up!

Strava Run

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Thursday – W01D04 – Recovery Run – 6 kilometers/33:24/5:34 pace. Recovery runs for me will always be run in zone 2; especially considering these runs fall between two workouts! The last thing I want to do is jeopardize my plan because I didn’t feel like running slower. I’d rather cut a run short than rush through it! Today’s recovery run was an easy 6 kilometers near my home.

I added in more core work later in the evening.

Strava Run

Friday –W01D05 – Workout – 5km (Run 1:30 in Zone 4, fully recover, repeat). This workout was a lot of fun, but also really hard! Christina joined me for this workout and instead of running a 5km route around my hood, we went back to the track. Thank goodness for running watches, because there is no way I would be able to keep track of the number of times we ran for 1:30, stopped, then repeated it. We ended up going around the track 10 times! Again, super proud of Christina for the way she handled this workout!

Later in the evening, I added a core circuit.

Strava Run

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Saturday – Recovery Day! As I mentioned earlier, there will be Saturdays where I have to run 6 or 8 easy kilometers, but today was not that day. I spent the day hanging out with my son and doing absolutely nothing! My wife has been away since Thursday, so we pretty much vegged out all day. It was a lot of fun

Sunday –– W01D07 – Long Run – 16 kilometers/1:28:56/5:33 pace. With my wife away and no one to watch my son, I had to take my run indoors today. It was brutally cold outside, but I’d still rather be out there than on the treadmill. Anyway, I got it done!

Strava Run

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Total kilometers this week – 46.6

Hope you have a great week and thanks for reading!

My Road to Boston 2018

After missing the cutoff for Boston 2017, I was determined to work even harder to give myself the best opportunity to make the cutoff for Boston 2018. One advantage I have over my previous attempt to qualify is I enter the 45-49 age group for the 2018 race and now need to better a 3:25:00 marathon finishing time (an additional ten minutes from the previous age group). Considering my personal best in the marathon distance in 2016 was 3:13:42, I could follow the same training plan and hope for the same outcome; however, this doesn’t coincide with the goals I established for 2017.

This year, I want to be a fitter and faster runner than I was in 2016. I exceeded my expectations last year, but did I reach my full potential? We’ll soon find out! The Mississauga Marathon is my Spring goal race where I not only intend on smashing my BQ, I intend on smashing my PB time. Here’s what I’ll be doing differently to make it happen.

The Plan

With the exception of my first attempt at the marathon distance where I followed a Higdon Training Plan, I always developed my own plans. The plans were developed to hit specific paces and were flexible enough to adapt to my unpredictable work and life schedule. I’ve got a lot to learn about running and I’m far from a running coach; however, I knew what worked for me and I was able to shave 15 minutes and 20 minutes off my marathon times following this strategy. The plans were a hodge-podge of various plans and far from perfect, so this time I wanted to try something different. I wanted to see if I could work with a running coach who could help me develop a training plan to meet or exceed my goal.

My buddy Daniel introduced me to Coach Colin Murray-Lawson from High Park Rogue Runners. Coach Colin is a beauty of a runner with a wicked running resume. I met Coach Colin at the High Park Running Room in November and shared my previous race experience as well as my goal for my Spring marathon. Coach Colin developed a plan that we feel targets my biggest problem area; speed endurance. There’s no question I can be on my feet for 3 1/2 hours or more, I just need to improve my ability to continue running at a fast pace for the entire duration of a race.

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Strength Training

I included strength training in both my Goodlife Fitness Toronto Marathon and Erie Marathon training plans although I wasn’t very disciplined and missed a number of workouts. This time around, I will hold myself accountable for ensuring I do all of my workouts. Like last time, I’ll follow the Building Better Runners strength training circuits provided by The Runner’s Academy.

Diet

I have always been good about my diet throughout the duration of my marathon training plans, but always felt I could do better. I don’t want to worry about everything I put in my body this time, but I will try to be more conscious about making smarter choices.

Believe Logbook

Finally, I will be using the Believe Logbook to track my progress. All of my run data will be stored in Strava and Garmin Connect, but once it’s posted to a website, it’s almost “out of sight out of mind”. By documenting my progress and making notes on how I felt during my runs, I will be able to hold myself accountable for ensuring I put in the work to give myself the best chance to smash my goals. I will also document how I felt during the run so I can look back and review my progress.

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Final Thoughts

I’ll be posting my training progress on my blog each week. I invite you to follow along and hopefully this will inspire you to find ways to track your own progress as you work towards your goals in 2017!

2016: A Year In Review

2,016 was a huge year for me and even as I am writing this blog post, it’s hard to believe everything I accomplished. In 2016, I ran the most kilometers ever, smashed my PBs in multiple distances, ran a race in my hometown, qualified for Boston, finished the NYC Marathon, and met so many new people. To put things in perspective, I made a list of the top ten accomplishments for the year in chronological order.

Half Marathon PB – March

When I started planning my 2016 races, the Chilly Half Marathon was first on the list. There was no strategy behind signing up for this race; instead, I signed up for this race because a few people were talking about it on social media and didn’t have any half marathons planned yet.

Had I started this blog sooner, the race report for the Chilly Half would have been fun to write. This was the cleanest race I ever ran! I felt great the entire time and didn’t slow down once (something I tend to do often at the end of races). I finished in a time of 1:30:44, enough for a 5 minute PB and a huge confidence booster heading into the Spring race season.

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30K PB – April

The Around the Bay Race is one of my favorites and this year I ran it for the second time. I was already coming off a runner’s high from the Chilly Half and my plan for this race was to run at my Spring Marathon goal pace. A few weeks prior to this race, I consulted with Coach Brittany from The Runner’s Academy about possibly trying to BQ in the Spring instead of the Fall; this decision came after my success at the Chilly Half Marathon. Once it was confirmed, I set a target pace of 4:30/km and tried to stick to it. This pacing strategy would not only be a test to see if I could hold this pace for 30km, it would also mean I would earn a silver medal at Around the Bay !

Medal Men Women
Gold Under 2 hrs Under 2:15
Silver 2 hrs to 2:15 2:15 to 2:30
Bronze over 2:15 over 2:30

I held my target pace the entire race and even though I slowed down a bit on the rolling hills (I even walked twice!), I crossed the finish line in under 2:15 to earn a silver medal! My confidence was really soaring with just weeks to go before my Spring Marathon!

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Marathon PB – May

The Goodlife Fitness Toronto Marathon was my third marathon. I finished my first marathon in a time of 3:48:39 and second marathon in a time of 3:33:41. My target time for this race was 3:09:53 which was the time based off a 4:30/km pace. This would be a HUGE PB for me in the marathon distance; however, I was not the same runner I was a year prior. I went out really fast and was well above my pace for most of the race; however, I ran out of steam around the 30km mark and had to battle headwinds and driving rain for the remainder of the way. I ended with a time of 3:13:42 for a 20 minute PB and Boston Qualifying time!

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BQ – May

The Goodlife Fitness Marathon was my first attempt at qualifying for the 2017 Boston Marathon. At the time, I was in the 40-44 age bracket and needed to better 3:15:00 to qualify. When I first started The Runner’s Academy clinic, my goal was to qualify for the 2018 Boston Marathon in the Fall. I will be in the 45-49 age category and would need a 3:25 to qualify.

When I qualified for Boston at the GoodLife Fitness Toronto Marathon, I was completely surprised but also realistic about punching my ticket to the big race in 2017. My 3:13:42 finishing time meant I would need to sweat it out as a 1-minute 18-second buffer would likely not make the cut. I ended up missing the cut by 51 seconds, but the fact I was able to run a marathon as fast as I did was something I am very proud of!

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Hometown Run – May

One of the highlights of my year was participating in the Airbnb Brooklyn Half. I wasn’t going for PB, but still wanted to do well as this was the first race I was running outside of Ontario and it was taking place in my hometown. Everything about the race was the best I have ever experienced. The energy at the pre-party (it actually felt more like a party than an expo) was electric and the race itself was as awesome as I imagined. Spectators lined the streets the entire course and shouted everyone’s name when they passed. If there is one race I would love to do each year, it’s this one!

Bonus – Shortly after I finished the race, I was right back at the finishing line so my son can participate in his first 1-mile race on the Coney Island Boardwalk. The only time he ever “ran” was when he participated in a 1KM run last year and I think the actual distance was about 400 meters! Pinning the bib on my son’s shirt and watching him head towards his corral was one of the proudest moments of my life! I watched him and his cousin head out when the race started and figured it would take awhile for him to finish. To my surprise, he came speeding back to the finish line 8 minutes later! He ended up running a 5:04/km pace and when he saw me, his first words were, “Daddy, I’m so happy, I can cry!” Yeah, this was by far the highlight of 2016 for me.

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10K PB – June

The last time I ran a 10K was the Yonge Street 10K back in April, 2015. The same race was not only moved to June, the course was also moved to the Toronto waterfront. I ran the 2015 Yonge Street 10K in a time of 43:28, so I was due to PB at the Toronto Waterfront 10K. I decided I would stick with the 40-minute pace group and held my own until the very end! I finished with a time of 41:04! I loved the course and the crowds and will likely run this every year.

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NYC Marathon – November

The 2016 TCS NYC Marathon was by far the highlight of my year. This race truly is the best in the world and while I am registered for Chicago in 2017 and hope to run Boston in 2018, everything I heard about how NYC is the best in the world was true! Running through neighborhoods I know very well from growing up in Brooklyn made this race very surreal for me. It’s been almost two months since I ran this race and I still think about

Bonus – The entire race experience was made extra special thanks to the generosity of TCS and NYRR. My family and I were treated like a VIPs the entire weekend and felt really lucky the entire time. Interacting with other runners and taking over the NYC Marathon Instagram account was a real treat! I also got to hang out with a bunch of awesome friends I met on Instagram and can’t wait to see them again in Chicago!

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Run All The Kilometers!

I’ve posted these numbers a bunch of times on my IG page and in a previous blog post where I discuss hitting the 2,016 kilometers in 2016. To really appreciate how big a year 2016 was, here are the stats again:

  • 2013 (Started June 23rd) – 455.1km
  • 2014 (IT Band Injury) – 528.9km
  • 2015 (Shoulder Injury) – 1,828km
  • 2016 (Injury free!) – almost 3,000 kilometers!

Yup, I ran more kilometers this year than all previous years combined. That’s not saying much considered how I started running mid-year in 2013 and injured parts of 2014 and 2015; however, it’s still a huge number! I have one more long run on the last day of the year and will get very close to 3,000 kilometers!

Great brands

2016 was the first time I got to work with brands. I’m still new to the idea of it, but I really enjoyed supporting brands I use every time I run. Thank you to Nuun Hydration, CEP Compression Socks, SPIbelt, and Saucony Canada for your support throughout the year!

Bonus – New Connections

I could have stopped with the top ten reasons 2016 was an epic year for me, but I had to add one more. I have met and been inspired by so many people this year through my blog, the Toronto running community, and Instagram. I really enjoy the social aspect of running because you hear so many stories from people who are just starting to run and others who have been running for years.

Thank you all for following my journey, providing feedback, cheering me on during my races, and your overall support. I am truly humbled by everything I’ve done and even more so from your support.

2017 starts in just over a day and I don’t intend on letting up on the gas. I have big plans for 2017 and can’t wait to experience them with you!