Settle in

Hey Everyone! 


First up, huge congrats to all our Tannenbaum runners (and their kids!) who braved the snowstorm and lined up on Sunday! And thanks to all the volunteers and our cheer squad. A “character building” morning. Y’all are awesome.  


This snow sure is beautiful right now, but the footing is pretty treacherous. Let’s just take it easy out there – remember, you have many stabilizer muscles which are being called into action for the first time in a while, and these continual micro-movements might make you feel a little sore and a little more fatigued than usual. That’s ok! You’re getting stronger. Just don’t push it too hard or fast and risk getting injured.  


I’ve been thinking about the phrase “settle in”. I often find myself calling that out to my runners in workouts and races. After the initial shock and discomfort of going out hard and establishing a pace, you have to find a way to keep your momentum going without the same effort. That is “settling in”. It’s not slowing down, it’s relaxing into the pace. Shoulders down, deep breath, relax, while running fast. Once you settle into your pace you can keep it going smoothly and hopefully you’ll have an effort or push to call on at the end when you need it. 


I think December is a good time to figure out how to settle in in general. Many of us are in a bridge season for training. This isn’t a time to be pushing uncomfortably hard (don’t worry – you’ll be ready when it is time), but you also don’t want to slow down too much or come to a stop. This is a great time to try to find your rhythm and settle in.  Set yourself up with a routine you can continue comfortably. You may very well still be accomplishing things at a high-performance rate – but mentally, you’re settled. That is the goal. Shoulders down, deep breath, relax. And keep moving forward smoothly and comfortably so that you have something left to push with when you need to really bring it. 


For tomorrow: We’re back to hills!!! 


  1. Pottery Rd. I will aim to be there around 6:10-6:15. Please arrive and start whenever it works for you! For this one, let’s work on running steady up for a full set of long hills. Aim for 7-9. Easy down. I will include steady up and down in the future, but I just think the footing might not be there to encourage it tomorrow. Usually they salt it. We may have to make a game day decision if it’s too slippery. (and I’m not doing the full ones – on my own rhythm now and will just do some power sprints at the top, but I’ll cheer you on!) 
  2. Glen Manor in the Beach (OR Balsam – I encourage you beachers to check that one out bc it’s a little punchier vs long slow grind – you can alternate on hill days) 


That is all – have a great one and see some of you in the am! 









Hi Everyone!!!


I’ve seen some snow and a bit of ice out there already, so just a reminder to be careful especially in the dark (and wear lights if you can). We don’t need any impact related running injuries!


First up, huge shout-out to Shauna Carpenter who completed the Cozumel Ironman on the weekend! Wow. Huge inspiration, and many of us can attest to the amount of work she put into it. Shauna: YOU ARE … AN IRONMAN!!!!!


What I’ve been thinking about is how each one of us is a role model to someone. Often we don’t know it when we are. But I think it’s important to keep in mind that someone is watching you. You have no idea who you’re blazing a trail for, but you are.


I ran in the Open category at Provincials x-country the other weekend. I was competing with (I won’t say against) the fastest women in the province – most of whom were 10-20 years younger than me. I ran in this category because I didn’t have a masters’ team, and to be honest because the timing worked out better. ANYWAY. I felt a bit out of place. It was fine. Not great. Kind of humbling. Then one of my 20-something yr old teammates came up to me and said “I hope I’m running as hard as you in my 40’s”. I did not think I was being particularly inspiring in that showing. But it’s interesting to remember that we’re all doing things that some other people in our position aren’t, or aren’t yet. And different people have other perspectives on what you’re doing than what your inner voice is telling you. It’s a good perspective shift to remember.


If you’re a new runner just getting going, your neighbour who has wanted to get into it but hasn’t yet had the courage is probably watching you and getting inspired. If you’re struggling with injury and having a hard time getting back to where you were – others are learning how to navigate this too – how can you lead the way with grace? If you’re a working parent who still carves out time for your athletic pursuits, your colleagues and friends might be thinking “maybe I could do that too”. If you’re getting older and maybe not running PB’s anymore, but getting out there with joy anyway, those just behind you are thinking “so that’s how it’s done”. If you accomplish a huge goal or are on an upward streak of fitness and PB’s, how can you open the door so others believe they can follow you?


Every single time you act, you have the chance to act with a character that will inspire others: this includes how you handle injuries, set-backs, victories, slumps, PBs … all of it. Chances are you’ll have no clue who you influence and how. But I promise you – you are influencing someone. So keep influencing them in a way that brings people up. That’s why I love this crew and running community – I find inspiration everywhere and I feel like we’re making the world a better place – one small act at a time.


Onto tomorrow’s workout!!!


  1. UP TO 9 x 800 w 1:15 rec. Here’s the twist: 2 medium, 1 hard. Repeat. I’m not going to give you paces. Just know that you can’t go out hard because you have a hard one coming up. We are working on effort and pacing here (and volume). I was trying to extend our workout and temper the paces last time, but I think everyone just ran their guts out – Not the point!
  2. If you’re running Tannenbaum, just do 5-6 total. So 2 medium, 1 hard, 2 medium, 1 hard. (I will do this too as I’m racing on Sat)


That is all – see you in the am!!!








Hi Everyone!


Time to start learning to run in layers and with hats and gloves again – winter running is on its way and many of us are going to be ramping up our running and training, so let’s get into it!


I’ve been thinking a lot about acceptance. Not as a form of passivity, but as place of honesty from which to build. Our lives are not static. We are not the same person in the same body with the same life circumstances and obligations as we were 2, 5, 10, 15 years ago. If we don’t stop and take a clear-eyed assessment of where we are, we are bound to measure and judge ourselves unfairly. This can lead to fear and poorer performances than we’re capable of. (this is another concept from Groundedness by Brad Stulberg).


Acceptance doesn’t mean giving up. It means setting goals and building plans and objectives based on where you are now. The age you are, the number of people you’re looking after, your propensity for injury, your mental and emotional state, the role you have at work … these are all factors which you have to accept. And once you accept that you don’t need to be more than what you are right now and that you are enough, you can strive without fear. Acceptance allows you to be fully engaged in the present, because you’re less anxious about the future or outcome.


For those who follow Lanni Marchant – one of Canada’s greatest marathoners of all time, I think we have been shown how this played out for her. Lanni is very open about some of the extreme physical and emotional challenges she’s been through over the past few years. After breaking the Canadian marathon record a few years ago, she has struggled heavily with her running. She and her coach finally decided to just take all expectations off based on where she once was. She had to manage her current emotional state. If she didn’t feel like running or wasn’t well enough, she wouldn’t. She cut her mileage by half (down to 70K a week, which for a world class marathoner is very low) and often dropped out of her workouts or roller-bladed instead. She was accepting what her mind and body were telling her. Then she went and ran the NYC Marathon in 2:32 – a world class time and the fastest Canadian.  She was grounded firmly in accepting who and where she was, and so was free to reach and strive with the freedom of enjoying the moment.


If it takes chatting it through with a coach or trusted friend to help you take an honest view of where you are, then do that. But please remember that you are enough, and you can only grow from where you are right now.


“The world asks of us

Only the strength we have and we give


Then it asks more, and we give it.” – The Weighing by Jane Hirshfield



Onto tomorrow’s workout! Back to Lakeshore & Leslie (6:15 first interval, 6:05 if you want to do drills)



We are going to start something slightly different: we’ve been hitting VO2 max workouts a lot lately. We’ll keep sprinkling them in, but I’d like to put the emphasis at this base season time on longer threshold workouts. Less intense, more volume (don’t worry – we’ll work our way up together).


To complement this, we are going to add the option of Monday morning Speed/Power with myself and Kerry. Once the Monarch Track opens, we can take advantage of that (stay tuned), but for now we will meet at the Riverdale Clubhouse at 6:15 am on Monday mornings for power drills, short hills and speed. Happy to chat about the science of this and why even marathoners need it if anyone wants to chat (I won’t bore you all here!)


For tomorrow:


2 mile tempo, 3 min rest, 2 x 1 mile tempo or slightly faster w 2 mins

Tempo = around your half marathon race pace. At least that’s what I’m looking for. (again, happy to nerd out about the definition of ‘tempo’ with anyone anytime) – we’re basically looking to extend your ability to run at threshold.


**If you are new to speedwork and different paces in running and find that 2 miles is the same pace that you do some of your regular runs, turn them into 1 mile or even 800m. We’re looking at stimulating a pace differential here. I’ll chat w you at the start.


That is all – finally!






The Exercise Pill

Hi Crew!


First up, congrats to our racers on the weekend! Fran, Annick and Meagan who ran the New York City Marathon!!! No one had a seamless build for this one everyone really maximized their potential and performed on the day. Wow. And back home we had Carol, Zoe and Jordan who raced the Hamilton Half Marathon. Way to go everyone!!!


For some reason recently I’ve been reminded of a Who’s The Boss episode I remember watching when I was a kid. Angela was starting her day and had just come back from a “jog” and Tony handed her her orange juice so she was ready to start the day. I don’t know why this scene is still in my mind – oh the brain space taken up by too much ‘80’s television! But anyway, I was thinking about how running and exercise were presented as something virtuous which high achievers did as something to be checked off on their to do list. Like taking your vitamins. Angela was the successful, organized, achieving woman, so of course “a jog” was on her list of things to do. We have been told that if we want to extend our lives, improve many health indicators and look better then we should exercise. And I think that some people do mechanically approach it this way. I also think that if many of the folks who exercise this way could take it in pill form, they would.


But that’s not what I see in our group or what we’re doing. We’re not “exercising”. What I see when I’m watching the icons of runners I’m tracking moving across a screen in the Boston or New York City Marathon apps, is so much more than a figure progressing towards the finish line. I see the months of uncertainty, tears, joy, laughter, pain, dread, determination, culminating and playing out in real time. There is so much vulnerability and humanity and self-discovery that are revealed through what we’re doing. It is so the opposite of Angela’s two-dimensional “jog before work”. The running IS the story! Every one of you is writing your own story through running and I find them fascinating and want to read them all. I actually feel lucky that I mostly get to from where I sit. What we’re doing means something and adds something to all of us. We don’t do it for health (many of us are doing it despite doctors’ orders to cut back), or beauty (hello hours of sun and wind exposure and extra daily gravitational forces), or to be better at work (ahem … naps under the desk anyone?) We do it because it is real. And if exercise ever does end up coming in a pill form, I’m pretty sure I know who won’t be taking it.


So I just wanted to let you all know that I appreciate all of you and watching the unfolding of your stories. And if there is someone in this group whose story you don’t know, ask them out for a run – I promise it’ll be more entertaining than an ‘80’s sitcom.


This week we’re back on tap with hills! I don’t care if you’re not training for a hilly race – the strength and power you build through hills will serve you. You’ll recruit muscle fibres that you’ll call on whether you’re running a hill later or not. They just make you into a more efficient runner.


Runners new to the group: some of us meet at Pottery Rd, and some at a hill in the beach (to coordinate if you want to attend that one, ask Tanis).


For Pottery, get there anytime between 6 and 6:30 (heck, earlier if you want to – you do you!) and run hard up, easy down. I’m liking mixing up the full and half hills. Let’s do this: 2 full, 1 half. Repeat 2-3 times. I was going to add a little tempo or pick-ups at the end, but let’s save that – just work on the hill part for now.


I’ll aim to be there around 6:05.


See ya in the am!








Hi Everyone!


Hope you’re all taking some time to pause during some of your runs these days to soak in the fall colours. We’ll be getting dazzled by them in the coming days – hope you enjoy them!


I read something about leaves which I never knew before (in the marginalian by Maria Popova). Apparently leaves are naturally full of yellow, orange, red and purple pigments all the time. But the green pigment of chlorophyll masks them throughout most of their lives. In the fall when sunlight becomes more scarce, the energy cost of using chlorophyll to make food becomes too great, so the chlorophyll starts to break down.  And in the breakdown, the natural vibrant hues of the leaf which were there the whole time are revealed to us.


And as Maria points out, who doesn’t love a metaphor? The breakdown which reveals to us what was there all along. There is always value in going through certain breakdowns – whether physical or mental. (I’m not saying they’re easy – just valuable). They are there to help us shed what we no longer need so we can see what we truly value. Yes, even injuries. If we never broke down at all, we might never discover some of our brightest colours which are constantly over-shadowed. We might forget to cultivate our non-running relationships as much, or we might never discover the other experiences we can have which ultimately complement our running (hiking, biking, skiing, … or even – the arts!)  If always on an upward running trajectory, it is very hard to step back and value and invest in other areas of life which sustain us and keep us fulfilled. But luckily, nothing in life or nature is ever a trajectory. Neither growth nor breakdown. It is a cycle. A constant cycle. So wherever you may find yourself on that wheel, try to accept it and remember that you’ll come around and your bright colours will be revealed again.


Onto tomorrow’s workout!

We’ll do one more Lakeshore workout before throwing a hills workout in next week. Lakeshore and Leslie – 6:05 if you want to warm-up with drills, first interval starts at 6:15 sharp.


  1. 600’s. Here’s the twist: our recovery will be a 200m jog instead of standing and resting. I’ll mark out 100m from each side so we can do an out-and-back. Let’s aim for 8-10 of these and keep them at 10K pace. It will be a continually flowing workout, so lower intensity per interval but it will creep up on us!
  2. New York Marathoners!!!! Taper workout: 1 mile at marathon pace, 2 x 600 a bit quicker. 90 seconds between all. Feel free to cruise by a bit later if you need sleep – your workout won’t take as long. If we see you we will wish you luck in person!


Thanks all – see you in the am!






Grabbing on with both hands

Hi Everyone!


Shout out to those of us who raced this past weekend! Gillian I with a huge half marathon PB in her virtual Scotiabank Half Marathon. And Jen, Erin and Cassidy and Moi who raced in the Toronto Women’s 5K. It really is fun to be back.


What I’ve been thinking about is how during covid, we all experienced that sense of getting off the treadmill for a bit. Less running around to scheduled things, fewer (ok no) activities, nothing on the calendar. Just full retreat. How strange that we all collectively went through that together, whether we needed it or not. Some of us probably did need it more than others. And now, we can decide what we want to opt back into with maybe a little more intention.


And what I’m seeing from many of you, and what I LOVE, is the really grasping with two hands of the things we do want to do. No more taking events and opportunities for granted. No more “maybe one day I will”. The intention I’m seeing is not “I have to” or “should” do this, but “I GET to do this”. I’ve seen people signing up for more big hairy audacious events, more things just outside their comfort zones, more jumping in with both feet ready or not, and I love it. I feel like we’re living life! And we’re letting go of the fears that used to hold us back. What would normally hold us back from putting ourselves on the line, taking on challenges and racing? Usually it’s fear that we won’t be ready, we won’t be great, we’re scared of judgement – from ourselves or others. But now we’re saying f*%K it – and we’re not letting that fear hold us back. We’re jumping into races when we’re not “race fit”. We’re taking on challenges we’re not completely certain we can accomplish. I feel like I can sense a collective shedding of some of our egos. We are all Eddie the Eagle. We’re going for it – win or lose! We’re gonna go and do our thing to the best of our ability, embrace every moment, and not give two shits what the results say. I think we’ve all realized that we only get one shot at this life, so we’d better dive in – Let’s Go!!!!


Back to Lakeshore again tomorrow!

(note on time: we will start the first interval at 6:15 – remember, if you want more of a warm-up, please arrive earlier – I will start mobility drills around 6:05. There are some who would like to move the time back to 6:00 am start bc people are starting to go back into offices. I am fine with this but want to keep the group together! So let’s take a vote tomorrow. If you want to vote, show up!)


  1. Broken miles as: 1 mile (10K pace), 1:45 rec, 2 x 800 (5K pace), 90 sec, 4 x 400 (faster), 1:15 – Then finish with either 4 x 200 Fast w full recovery. Whether we’re training for an upcoming 10K or doing base work for longer events, 200’s are key to work on turnover, muscle recruitment, running economy and form. So let’s keep touching base with this.
  2. If you’re running New York, instead of the 200’s, finish with 1 mile at race pace. You’ll have run 3 miles quite a bit faster and it will be a good way to just remind your system how to work at that pace comfortably when it’s fatigued. Almost taper time …


That’s all – see ya in the am!