This is part 6 of a 9-part series where I cover various topics in preparation for the 2016 TCS New York City Marathon on my blog. Today I’ll discuss where I train and run. In the previous post, I discussed preventing injury and taking care of my body. You may have noticed I skipped part 5: Cross-training/alternative exercise for training. To be honest, I don’t do a lot of cross-training, but I will be incorporating it in future marathons as my goals change.
When I moved to Canada 9 years ago, I wasn’t a runner. Eight months after I started planting roots in Toronto, my wife and I moved to Vaughan, “The City Above Toronto.” I still wasn’t a runner. Five years, two dogs, one cat, and one child after moving North, we decided to move back to Toronto. We purchased a home in one of Toronto’s most popular neighborhoods, Yonge and Eglinton. I still wasn’t a runner, but that changed a short time later.
My first order of business every morning is to take my two golden retrievers for their morning walk and no matter how early in the morning that occurs, there is always someone running past our home (these are typically runners and not people being chased by police or non-runners). Toronto, specifically my hood, offers an abundance of opportunities for runners whether you’re a road warrior, like myself, or prefer trails. There are also many running crews in Toronto who explore the many off and on-road running routes in Toronto in the event you are geographically challenged like myself and tend to get lost easily.
I do have a few favorite places to run in Toronto and one place where I like to do my interval training. I’ve listen them in order of “most favorite” to “still pretty cool.”
The Beltline Trail
The Beltline Trail is broken up into three sections. According to Wikipedia, “It consists of three sections, the York Beltline Trail west of Allen Road, the Kay Gardner Beltline Park from the Allen to Mount Pleasant Road, and the Ravine Beltline Trail south of Mount Pleasant Cemetery through the Moore Park Ravine.”
If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll notice most of my running photos are taken on this trail (specifically the Kay Gardner Section). I know I mention above I’m a road warrior, but this is one running route I absolutely love for several reasons:
- It’s less than 2 kilometers from my home
- It offers a 2 kilometer, 24 meter “hill”
- There are two water fountains on the Kay Gardner section
Most of my 10-12 kilometer easy runs are done on this trail. I typically start from my home, run to the entrance of the Beltline Trail and stop at the wall at Allen Road then head back. The start of my run is typically uphill and finishes downhill back towards my home.
An example of a typical run through the Beltline Trail can be found here on Strava.
Living in Midtown Toronto does present one challenge for runners: cars and traffic lights. For this reason, I don’t often perform my long runs in the city. My second favorite place to run is down by Lake Ontario. For a couple of years, I only performed my long run on Sundays and I would park near Humber Bay Park. Earlier this yer I moved my long runs to Saturday my starting point moved to High Park in Toronto. The deciding factor for the decision of where to park was always wherever parking was free and I didnt have toworry about feeding a meter! Regardless of the starting point, a typical long run would end up on Lakeshore Boulevard, head West towards Mimico, then back East on Queens Quay towards Cherry Beach, and back West to High Park.
An example of a typical long run can be found here on Strava.
The Bloor West area of Toronto is absolutely stunning and consists of gorgeous homes, winding and hilly roads, and of course the Humber River Trail. I’ve run through this area a few times and the hills are no joke! When my friends and I were training for the Erie Marathon, we would pretend to cry when we had to run the hills and complain that Erie was a flat course! Well, they pretended to cry; I may have actually cried!
Truth be told, had I gotten into Boston for 2017, most of my training would take place in this area of Boston as it really builds leg strength! I will likely be training here anyway for my Spring goal race.
Located about 30 kilometers North of Toronto, Kleinburg is a very popular for cyclists and runners alike thanks to the rolling hills, wide open roads, and lovely scenery. I don’t get up to Kleinburg often, but when I do it’s always a treat! My favorite route to run in Kleinburg is something my friends coined, “The Horse Route!” Horses love licking the salt off runners (I don’t know if that’s true) and they really love selfies (see below)! I highly recommend runners visit Kleinburg for an incredible running experience!
An example of a typical run through Kleinburg can be found here on Strava.
Next week I’ll discuss why I am running the TCS NYC Marathon!
Thank for reading!