The Art of Showing Up

Hey Everyone!!!


First up, if you’re looking for some jolts of inspiration, motivation and just pure entertainment, I hope you’re following the US Olympic track qualifiers happening now, and this weekend we have the Canadian trials coming up! So fun.


What I’ve been thinking about this week is the art of showing up. I think this matters most when we are starting out with big far away goals. Yes, we’ll have to do a lot of work – eventually, but it’s important first to set the stage. Start by committing to showing up. Count each time out as a success. Don’t measure what you did, but the fact that you did it.


Some of us are taking up open water swimming. It hasn’t been easy with cold water and early mornings. I know it will get easier, but my goals so far have been about just getting in the water. A few times some of us have arrived early in the morning, put on our wetsuits, gotten waist deep, and then called it. I still count those sessions as a success. Goal achieved. We showed up. We can and will build from that. But that’s the first step. We’re creating routines that we know we can do.


Same goes for runs. With many of us starting training schedules, we are currently creating the patterns. We will layer on the work, but what we’re doing now is creating less mental resistance for when it eventually becomes harder. Show up for your workouts, tempos and long runs. Be there. Don’t worry about what happens once you get there for now. Just be consistent. What was once hard (creating the space for a weekend long run, or getting your body up early for intervals) will become easier, and then we can focus on adding a bit to each session. But if you’re training for something that is a few months or more away, I promise you that there is not one individual session which will matter more than the overall benefits of showing up for all (or most) of them. So let’s start with a routine you know you can do again and again. If you’re feeling exhausted and beat up after a week or two, you’re starting out too hard! Go back to just showing up. It will get you there, I promise.


That said, I think next week will be a good time to start meeting again for Wednesday workouts! I’ll wait until then because that’s when it will be officially ok to get together outside for up to 25 people. I can’t wait to see many of you!!!


For this week, let’s continue to work in whatever groups are working for you and we’ll get into a good group routine soon.


Workouts for this week:


  1. Marathoners: 6 x 800 w 1:30 rest, 3 min, 2 x 400 w 1 min. The pacing of these is important. First 2 @ marathon pace – (basically a good extended warm-up); Second 2 @ ½ mara pace (~ 10 sec faster), Third 2 @ 10K pace (another 10 sec faster); 400’s @ 5K pace
  2. If training for 5K: 4 x 800 w 1:30 (2 @ ½ mara pace, 2 @ 10K pace), 3 min rec, then 4 x 400 w 1 min @ 5K pace
  3. Tempo (if not otherwise written on your plan): 5 x 6 min w 1:30


Have fun everyone and can’t wait to see you sooooon!!!!!








What are you measuring?

Hey Crew!


What I’ve been thinking about this week is about being deliberate about knowing what we’re measuring and why. I think we all get in a trap of thinking certain measurements mean more than they do. Mileage, for example. We count it, track it, try to boost it. But that might not be what is helping you get to your goals. We get so caught up in getting to a certain volume, but weekly mileage is a false target. Running volume should be an indication of where you are in your training (ie. This is what it takes to support the amount of work you need to get done) vs. an erroneous target you’re trying to hit regardless of how you get there.


I coach a group of athletes who are divided into Middle Distance (400m-1500m racers) and Long Distance (5K and up). At certain times of the year, their workouts are somewhat similar, but as we get closer to race season they diverge quite dramatically. The other day the MD group had a TOTAL of 1200m in intervals. One of them remarked on how they were running ¼ of the volume of the LD crew. I reminded them, that’s not what they are measuring. I read that on average, Usain Bolt struck the ground when sprinting with 1,080 pounds of force. He needed to be building and measuring force and power so he could run fast. I bet he didn’t even count his milage. Middle distance runners (or long sprinters as they’re also known) – fall closer to that side of things when they’re in their competitive phase. The number of kilometers covered means nothing.


My point is, know what your goal is so you know what to measure and what doesn’t matter. If you’re injured, I think you should be measuring hours of sleep. That’s the only thing that directly helps you to recover. If you’re supplementing your running with other activities, start measuring time instead of km’s. KM’s don’t tell you the whole story. If you have a hard time keeping your easy days easy, you can do what the Bowerman track club does: count every KM as a standard measurement of time. For instance, every 5 minutes = 1 KM. Whether you’re going fast or slow. That way, you won’t be tempted to speed up on your easy days – you only get to count a kilometer for every 5 mins – even if you’re running 4:40’s (this also makes sense because your body knows how long it is spending doing something, not how much ground it is covering – so it does make sense to train that way).


So that is all – just a reminder to re-evaluate what you are measuring to make sure it is aligned with your goals.


One more thing: I am honoured to be doing a small contract working with War Child. I’ve become very moved by this organization and the big, hard work they do protecting children who have experienced war. They are holding a fitness fundraiser coming up in September (12-23 – around International Day of Peace). I will be entering an LES team, so I will hit y’all up to join that, but also wanted to put it out there that if anyone thinks their company or workplace would be interested in entering a team, please message me and I will send you more information. Thank-you!


Workouts for this week:


  1. Hills! If you’re building for Fall marathons, let’s just build the volume back up on full hills. Workin’ on that strength. If you’re looking at a track 5K this summer, do an equal number of half hills to full (added on at the end). You will need to be able to call on power when fatigued.
  2. Tempo: 3 x 6 min w 3 min easy (some of you are doing progression run vs. tempo, so no tempo for you this week)


That is all – enjoy!





Zooming back in

Hi Everyone!


As we do every year, we’re going through that uncomfortable feeling of adapting to the heat again. Feel free to reference one of my past posts on heat training but just remember these facts: it feels hard for a reason (it is harder until you adapt) and you will adapt and become more fit from it. So that’s what it is – an added element of difficulty that we didn’t ask for, but will make use of.


What I’ve been thinking about this week is about zooming in again and finding the motivation to sweat the small stuff. What I mean by this is that I feel like I’m moving out of “survival mode” where I just had to keep moving forward to keep my head above water, and the details were un-important. Was I safe, healthy, managing food and schedules for everyone at home, getting out for most of my runs, getting some work done? If those boxes were ticked, I didn’t really care about the details. I couldn’t. None of us could. It was too overwhelming. We have been living our lives in broad strokes.


But maybe now that things are opening up, programs are re-starting, races are being scheduled in, we should take some time and focus on some of the details. We can shift from “who cares – just get it done” to “actually, let’s take some time and do this well”. The way I apply this to running is to start thinking about basics: biomechanics, form, speed, turnover, efficiency, strength. These are all details which, unless you address them specifically, will not improve by just “getting your run in”. I would recommend layering back in your drills, strength routines, strides, physio exercises, etc… Make sure you’re healthy and in working order before launching forward. Take care of all of the little details. Let’s go granular again before we zoom back out. Our bodies and our running have helped us all tremendously through this time – let’s all make sure we’re all tuned up and ready to go before launching out again in full force.  


It was nice for a while, not to sweat the details. Even in the rest of life. We have given ourselves and others a lot of slack (and rightly so) in how we’ve shown up. Looking like an extra from The Walking Dead, dragging your body parts as you run along? Totally get it – we did what we had to do. But now that we have goals, let’s start shifting out of “survival just get it done” mode to “take our time and do it well” mode. It’ll be worth it in the long run.


Workouts for this week:


  1. 2 x (4×400 w 100m jog) – 400 jog bw sets – @no faster than 5K pace; 4min rec, 3-4 x 400 @ faster w 2 min rec
  2. 2-3K w-up, good drills and strides, 2-3K c-don
  3. Tempo: 3 x 5 min w 2 min easy – finish w hill bounding or strides


That is all – Enjoy!!!





Turning Down the Noise

Hi Everyone! 


Can’t say this often, but I feel like we’re looking at some perfect running weather ahead. Enjoy! 

I feel like a big part of my role as a coach is to keep people doing what they love so that it brings them happiness and self-fulfillment. Two things about that: 1 – that just seems like such a rewarding goal to help someone achieve in and of itself, and 2 – if all you really care about are times, feeling happy and self-fulfilled will cause you to be consistent and to keep showing up, so that’s the most important element to achieving your time goals. 


What I’ve been thinking about in all of this, is to remember that your own sense of pride and self-judgement is all you really need.  Of course it feels great to get kudos from others and to post your workouts on social media. I’m not anti-these things if you need a boost. Just try not to get too reliant on external validation for your own sense of achievement.  


I find it interesting watching my kids and my friends’ kids as they challenge themselves. They run consistently, they run far, they bike technical terrain, they work as hard as they can up a hill. And I can tell that the last thing on their minds is external feedback. They don’t think anyone is judging them, nor do they expect accolades. They have a very strong internal sense of whether they achieved what they set out to or not. And maybe I’m just not on their platforms, but I’ve never seen any of these kids beg for external praise from people they barely know. They don’t need that to make themselves feel good – they know whether they’re proud of themselves. 


So that is my word of caution to keep in check as we enter race seasons where our results can be judged by others. And as we load up our workouts for all to see. (and I’m not talking about sharing with our intimate training groups who are there with us and to support us). But maybe try keeping some efforts that you’re super proud of to yourself, so that you can bask in them and realize that that actually makes you happier and more self-fulfilled than thumbs-up from strangers. Then you can start learning the hard lessons, like being happy with your effort and what you had on the day, regardless of what your watch says. But it starts with turning down the external noise. This is just my thought to keep you all feeling good, happy, and running “successfully”! 


Ok, really quick Boston and Fall racing sched update: I’ll have new tabs up this week. If you need one more easy week so you can start with full batteries, please take it. We are not in a rush. You are not couch-to-marathoners so too long a build can be too much.  


Workouts for this week: 

  1. 2K at HM pace, 3 mins, 4 x 800 at 10K pace w 1:30, 3 mins, 2K at HM pace 
  2. As fartlek: 8 mins Hard, 3 mins easy, 4 x 3 min Hard, 1:30 easy, 3 min easy, 8 mins Hard 
  3. Tempo: 2 x 12 w 3 min rest, 2 x 4 min w 1:30 (a bit faster) 







Hi All!


I’m feeling exciting times coming up. Things are opening, people are getting vaccinated, REAL LIVE events are popping up on our calendars. What I’ve been thinking about all of this is that some of us feel like water that has been held back by a dam and it’s about to burst. We are ready to charge forward and explode into action.


I know many of us have gotten excited with the prospect of real races and are about to launch ourselves into training programs. But despite the pent-up energy, I would advise a slow and cautious approach here. Don’t look at where you want to be and try to get there immediately. Take one step from where you are now. That’s why I don’t like writing programs with too much detail too far out. A) We don’t know how you’ll respond to everything and B) You don’t need to be concerned about 3 months from today now. What you need to do today is to build on yesterday. You can’t leap-frog any of it.


The same cautious approach applies with how we re-enter our “busy lives”. Just as in any training program, we should maybe start based on where we are instead of where we intend to be in a few months, or have been before. There will be an adjustment for many. Just because programming and lessons and races and events and parties and reconnecting in person (for work and pleasure) will become available, it does not mean we need to rush to do it all at once. It would be wise to have patience with ourselves and others who will need to readjust to the pace slowly. Just because something is available and you’ve been waiting for it, does not mean you have to jump into it immediately. Go gently with yourselves. If you want to enjoy your training program and your pace of life, then it’s a good idea to keep yourself a little hungry for what’s coming next.


The primary role of coaches for very motivated high-performing athletes is not to crack the whip – it’s to hold them back when they need to (which is actually most of the time!)  There is a lot of hard training coming up and we all have big, busy lives waiting for us – let’s be smart about how we take it all on.


That’s my 2-cents. Onto workouts for this week!


  1. Hills! Yup, perfect time for these. Some good ol’ strength. When doing the longer ones, aim for volume, when adding the shorter ones, aim for power and quality. Or mix ‘em up.
  2. Tempo option: 15 min – 10 min -5 min (OR if you’re just getting back to these, 12-8-5)


Enjoy all!!!!






Investments vs. Payouts

Hey Everyone!


Don’t you just love those runs where you feel smooth, in control, strong and relaxed but fast? When your body is in-synch with what you’re trying to do, and responds when you expect and ask it to?


I will tell you something. Those runs aren’t free. They don’t come without some investment. Those runs are the payout. Yes, it’s what we’re all striving for, but we can’t expect them every time. Those are the runs we try to set up for race day, although sometimes we luck into them during a regular training run.


But what’s gone into them is that we’ve asked ourselves to run faster than that, up more hills, for longer periods, under worse conditions, while fatigued … These are our investments. When we lift weights during a strength phase and all our runs feel hard, we are putting money in the bank. When we do long runs on a hot day while fatigued, we are laying foundation. When we do speedwork that feels clunky and hard, we are setting ourselves up for a magical, free-flowing run down the road.


Of course we always want to feel how we remember feeling when it all clicks, but we can’t just continually withdraw. If we never stop to invest, those runs will become more and more rare until they all just flatline to the middle.


I’m reminding you all this as I remind myself as well. If you’ve just finished a “season” and are getting ready to rebuild for the next, then don’t expect to be feeling smooth and fast now. You shouldn’t be. You should be investing. They payout will come later. Trust the process.



That is my 2-cents for now! Onto workouts for this week:


  1. 6×600 with 1:30 rest at 5K pace, 4 min rest, 4 x 400 w 2 Faster (if looking to pick up some speed for summer track)
  2. If building strength vs. speed, 8-10 x 600 w 1:30 – just keep them nice n steady.
  3. Tempo: 3-4 x 8 min w 2 min easy


Enjoy All!!!!