Still on the bike

Not much to report from me over the last two weeks. I’ve been cycling 5 or 6 days per week (averaging almost 10 hours per week) and my heel has been feeling normal for a couple weeks. I got out for two brief run/walk sessions just recently and after the second day’s run/walk I started to notice some irritation. Not sure if it’s just some soft tissue or the bone, so things are up in the air again.

As I’ve said before, I’ve been thankful to have such amazing weather this spring/summer to get some cross-training in. There’s no way I’d be getting as much time on the bike if I had to do it on an indoor trainer or an elliptical.

Up with the sun this morning to beat the thunderstorms

A post shared by Aaron Cooper (@cooperaa) on

There have been lots of good running races to follow with two national championship races at the end of May. Eric Gillis and Rachel Cliff took the national 10K titles in Ottawa while Kip Kangogo and Rachel Hannah took the half marathon titles in Calgary. There’s another national championship race this week and a couple other big races with Canadian contenders. Check out the details below.



Speed River Inferno featuring the 10,000m National Championship – Wednesday, June 14 — Start List | Live Stream

  • Kevin Blackney (2nd at 10K nationals)
  • Kevin Coffey (3rd at 10K nationals)
  • Evan Esselink
  • Anthony Larouche
  • John Mason
  • Blair Morgan
  • Andrew Nixon
  • Paul Rochus
  • Rachel Hannah (half marathon champ)


Waterfront 10K – Saturday, June 17 — Start List

  • Eric Gillis (national 10K champ)
  • Reid Coolsaet (returning from injury)
  • Tristan Woodfine (4th at 10K nationals)
  • Kevin Coffey (3rd at 10K nationals)
  • Matt Loiselle
  • Sami Jibril
  • Krista DuChene
  • Natasha Wodak (national 10K champ)
  • Leslie Sexton (returning from injury)


Grandma’s Marathon – Saturday, June 17

  • Terence Attema (2:19 last marathon)
  • Trevor Zimak (2:26 last year, 2:31 earlier this year)

Hopefully things get back on track for me sometime this summer. I’m holding out hope that I’ll be able to run the Toronto Waterfront Marathon (STWM) in October but we’ll see. I’m just going to keep grinding it out on the bike and hopefully that effort is rewarded when I get back on my feet. 

I’m very likely going to miss some of the local 10K road races I’ve run over the last few years – like the Boys’ Home 10K on Father’s Day just down the road from me. That’s one of my favourites as it’s local and a certified course. Plus, they put on a pancake and sausage breakfast for the community following the race and it raises funds for a good cause. I’ve won the race the last three years and it would’ve been fun to see that streak continue but what can you do? If you’re in the area, check out this race for sure! You will never find a flatter 10K.

Just about my bedtime so I’ll wrap this up. Thanks for following along!


Post-Hamilton Offseason

It’s been over two weeks since I bailed on the Hamilton marathon due to injury trouble. I saw a sports physician on October 29 who thought it was pretty likely I had a stress fracture in my left tibia close to my knee based on how I described the pain while trying to run or pressing on the bone. I had an X-ray on October 30 and the results came back clean which meant we were going to try an MRI. I first had to get a blood test to check that my kidneys were healthy and eventually I had an MRI scheduled for December 8. That was three-and-a-half weeks out and I had hoped to be back running by then since I was under the impression a stress fracture would typically take 4-6 weeks to heal.

From the time that I stopped running to the scheduled MRI date, it would have been eight weeks off in total. Given the expected healing time, even if there was a stress fracture it could be healed by the time I get the MRI done. After about five weeks off, my legs were feeling great and the specific spot that we thought might have been a stress fracture didn’t hurt to press on. I confirmed with the sports physician that I could start jogging again, building up slowly, to see how things felt and I could cancel the MRI if all was going well after a couple weeks. I’ve been running for five days now and so far (knock on wood) there have been no issues! I’m not sure what happened to my leg this past fall but it’s very likely that over-training was the root cause. I may keep the MRI regardless just to make sure that everything’s in good working order before I transition into longer runs and workouts.

With my time off, I’ve been looking forward to my next marathon cycle and trying to craft a training plan that will help me build toward my goals while keeping me injury-free. I’ve had some really helpful guidance and input from a fellow runner from the Sarnia area, Cal Schram, who coaches with Renegade Runners. I’ve incorporated lots of things into my spring plan, including a modest mileage progression (no more 100 mile weeks in my immediate future or even for the rest of the year), recovery weeks with no workouts (instead of 18 weeks straight of workouts), and lots of cross training (strength work, a core routine, and a mobility routine).

Over the next six weeks, I’m hoping to build my mileage back up to about 60 miles/week. From there, I’ll be doing mini-cycles that are 4-weeks-long with three weeks of workouts and one week of just easy, distance running. Each 4-week period will increase mileage slightly from 58 miles/week to 62, to 66, to 70, and back to 66 before tapering for my goal race in May, the Ottawa Marathon. Each period will have 6 workouts or races and this time around I’ll actually be subbing out workouts during weeks that I have a race.

I’m hopeful that this next cycle will go smoothly and I’ll be back in the groove pretty soon. Nothing exciting planned for the next few weeks… Just easy miles until my first planned workout on New Year’s Eve.

Here’s how the past week went after about four weeks off:

M: Rest
Tu: 30′ elliptical + 15′ core + 30′ strength
W: 30′ elliptical + 3 miles easy
Th: 5′ core + 20′ mobility + 3 miles easy
F: 30′ strength + 4 miles easy
Sa: 10′ core + 5 miles easy
Su: 20′ mobility + 6 miles easy

I’ve got five more weeks of base mileage building planned before the fun stuff starts in preparation for Ottawa!

Week 16/18 for Hamilton Marathon

Clearly, my body is ready for a break from running. That and my eagerness to get back to training seem to be at odds and once again I am dealing with injury.

After a good return last week, it seems I pushed it too quickly and after a tough but successful workout on Tuesday, I couldn’t run on Wednesday. The same pain through my leg – hip, knee, shin – where I can’t properly load the leg. Using the elliptical seems to be fine so it just must be the force exerted on the leg while running. This is related to the issue I’ve been dealing with for several weeks now. Needless to say, this was pretty disappointing with only two weeks until my goal race. I still wasn’t able to run pain-free on Sunday.

At this point, I figure I have only two options left: take it as easy as possible in an effort to heal and run Hamilton with modified goals, or 2) throw in the towel and start recovering for my next training cycle. I’ve already paid for Hamilton, so I’m going to see what I can do with the training I’ve already got under my belt. Probably no more long runs or workouts which is a little difficult to accept mentally (it will have been two months on race day before my last long run…). If I can arrive to the start line recovered, I hope I can still run a good race.

Battling an injury at the end of every training cycle is not the way I want to run. After tendon issues before Waterloo and now knee/hip troubles before Hamilton, I’m looking for ways to stay healthy for Ottawa next spring. A book I’ve found really interesting is ‘Anatomy for Runners’ by Jay Dicharry. He talks all about the movements of the body and compares running to a slingshot (storing elastic energy). The mantra repeated throughout the book is “Strong forces through unstable levers results in disaster.” I’ll be taking his advice to heart for my next cycle by trying to identify and improve my mechanical weaknesses.

Here’s my week of training:

M: 9.3 miles with 6 at marathon pace.
Tu: Rest. [XT] 30 minutes hip/core exercises.
W: [AM] 5 miles. [PM] 12 miles with 9 at marathon pace.
Th: 2 painful miles outside then 0.5 miles on treadmill.
F: [XT] 30 minutes elliptical.
Sa: [XT] 45 minutes elliptical. 60 minutes foam roller and lacrosse ball working primarily on my left hip, calf, and shin. 30 minutes hip/core exercises.
Su: 2 miles. [XT] 30 minutes hip/core exercises. 60 minutes stretching, foam rolling, and working out kinks with a lacrosse ball.