Plans for spring 2018

After STWM, I took three weeks off and then got back into the swing of things with five weeks of easy running, building mileage, and incorporating a new warm-up routine (lunge matrix and leg swings). This was the longest break I’ve had from running while healthy since since I started running regularly in 2013! The last three marathons I’ve run have been run off compressed build-ups following injury, so I’m really looking forward to (and hoping for) a long, slow build-up to a spring goal race.

It’s been hard to think of much to write about during this period because more often than not, the training is simple, repetitive, and not particularly exciting. For me, it’s been a time where I can do a bunch of running without having to think very hard about it. Get out the door, log the miles, and then back to real life.

For the last three weeks, I’ve started doing some workouts and two-hour long runs. The weather has been cold and snowy and so the road conditions have been mushy and slippery. My focus through these workouts has been on effort without putting too much stock into what the paces end up being. I’ve run some 3′ intervals faster than 2’s and I’ve run 10′ intervals faster than 8’s. In the past, I might’ve tried to hit Daniels’ prescribed paces and there’s just no way some days when footing is poor. I think this approach will allow me to get in more quality than if I were to try (and fail) to hit specific paces. I know the paces I want to see will come around soon enough.

Winter running. Looks like a black metal album cover.

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I’m now on my fourth week at 10 hours of running (roughly 130-140 km/week, depending on road conditions and fatigue) and I’m feeling like the base miles have conditioned me well to handle the training ahead. *fingers crossed*

I did a little review of my training to see if/when I’d run four consecutive 10+ hour training weeks and I’ve only done it a handful of times.

Hopefully I’ll see a similar pay-off this spring!

Now, it’s time to start looking forward to a spring 2018 marathon! I have been searching all over North America for a flat race in March/April with cool temperatures and other people around the 2:20 mark but apparently that is a really tall order! The best options seem to be Toledo (flat and cool but the depth of the field is really hit-or-miss) and Ottawa (flat and people to race but warm). I feel like the last three marathons I’ve run have been warmer than I’d like so maybe it’s time to try something different. I do almost all my training alone — including long, marathon-paced workouts — so I don’t think I should be worried about racing solo either.

I was also playing with the idea of an IAAF label race in Europe (Rotterdam, Hannover, or Vienna) since they can check off all three boxes (course, field, and weather) but it just seems crazy to spend so much on flights and hotels to run a race. So, for the time being, I’m set on Toledo’s Glass City Marathon on April 22 as it is only a 2.5-hour drive from home. I have had this race on my radar for a couple years now but have succumbed to injury in the build-up the last two years. Here’s hoping the third time is the charm as it was for getting on STWM’s starting line last year.

This place is completely unrecognizable! #lakehuron #seemyrun

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My rough plan right now is for another 3 weeks of general workouts and long runs. After that, it’s twelve weeks of longer workouts with more volume but only twice per week (compared to three right now). I’m picturing this phase looking a lot like what Eric Bang, Leslie Sexton, and Blair Morgan did before their last marathons: one mid-week workout with a weekend long run alternating easy one week and long marathon-pace tempos the next.

I’m hopeful that with that base, I’ll be able to maintain a higher average weekly mileage. For the last three marathon cycles, I’ve averaged 110, 120, and 130 km per week. Maybe I’ll be able to average closer to 140 this time.

The road I’m on…

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Well, that’s all I’ve figured out so far. I don’t imagine I’ll have anything exciting to report for another two months while I just focus on getting more miles in the legs. I did sign up for the Chilly Half again this year so that’ll likely be my next race. I saw Rejean Chiasson on the start list and Reid Coolsaet mentioned it as a possible tune-up. Hopefully we’ll see a few more guys sign up after the World Half Marathon team is picked (everyone’s gunning for a qualifying time down in Houston next weekend so I imagine they’re waiting to see how that shakes out before committing to spring plans).

Hopefully over the next few months we’ll hear where everyone is racing this spring.

Thanks for following along!

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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

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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.

 

inferno

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)

waterfront10k

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)

grandmas-marathon-logo

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!

Canadian 10K and Half championships

This weekend has two races to watch – the Ottawa 10K and Calgary Half Marathon, both of which are national championship races and can be streamed online (links below). Start lists are out and here’s who I’m watching for:


Ottawa 10K — Start List | Stream | Results

  • Eric Gillis (1:03:49 half in March)
  • Thomas Toth (2:18:58 marathon in April)
  • Tristan Woodfine (1:05:27 half in March)
  • Kevin Coffey (14:07 5000m at the end of April)
  • Blair Morgan (2:22:14 marathon earlier in May)
  • Anthony Larouche (1:07:48 half in April)
  • Kevin Tree (30:29 downhill 10K in April)
  • Adam Hortian (30:36 downhill 10K earlier in May)
  • Maxime Leboeuf (31:40 10K in April, 31:06 10K earlier in May)
  • Paul Rochus (1:08:21 half in March)
  • Josh Bolton (1:09:03 half in April)
  • David Le Porho (DNF’d a half in April – 35:48 at halfway mark)
  • Matt Loiselle (25:36 8K in April)
  • Eric Bang (1:10:57 half in April)


Calgary Half Marathon — Start List | Stream | Results

  • Geoff Martinson (29:46 downhill 10K in April)
  • Sami Jibril (30:00 10000m earlier in May)
  • Kip Kangogo (1:06:08 half earlier in May)
  • Terence Attema (2:19:49 marathon last fall)
  • John Mason (1:07:40 half in April, 30:16 downhill 10K earlier in May)
  • Dylan Wykes (31:21 downhill 10K in April)

This is (I believe) the last weekend for folks to try for a Worlds qualifier and since all the big guns are running the 10K or HM champs (or injured), it seems the pool is set for our men’s marathon team: Eric Gillis, Reid Coolsaet (although he has indicated he won’t run London as he’s just now returning from injury), Rob Watson (although he seems to be missing the national championship race criteria), and Thomas Toth. Looks like we might just have a team of two.

30 degrees out and I'm stuck in this foot-warmer for the next 4-6 weeks 😒

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I was hoping to try the Ottawa Marathon again this year after I pulled out of plans to run Toledo eventually gave up hope as my injury worsened. The Ottawa 10K was my backup (backup) plan so you’ll see my name on the start list but I won’t be running. I’m still wearing the boot to let a probable calcaneal stress fracture heal. I’ve avoided impact for almost three weeks now, so another 3-5 in the boot and I’ll try some running again. In the meantime, I’ve been trying to get in as much cycling as I can.

For the most part, weather has been favourable. Although I’d rather be running, I’d rather be injured when I can bike outdoors as there’s not much worse than cycling on a trainer or using an elliptical. I’ve signed up for some weekly group rides which is helping to break up the monotony of my daily routes.

I’ve even stepped up my cycling ‘seriousness’ a step by purchasing some new parts for my freebie bike. I had the bottom bracket replaced as it had been squeaking and wobbling for a while and was starting to sieze up. I also found a 13-28–tooth freewheel cassette to give me a tiny bit more breathing room at top speeds compared to the 14-28 cassette I’ve been using to this point.

Just beat the sunset home after a 60 km ride! 🚲🌤👌😎

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Last weekend, I completed my longest ride to date with a 103 km loop through Petrolia, Corunna, and Camlachie. That was a fun challenge and by the end I was feeling like my reserves had been emptied.

My focus has shifted to the long-term as I didn’t want to put pressure on myself to get back to racing too soon. If all goes well, I’d like to make it to the starting line of STWM this fall (5 months away! 😩) and maybe a 10K and/or half marathon as a tune-up before then. More than anything, I just want to get out of this boot and back to running regularly.

Good luck to everyone racing this weekend! Wish I was out there, too!