Hi Everyone!


First up, huge congrats to Cindy who raced the 50K Gatineau Loppet on the weekend and came 2nd in her age group! Way to go. Imperfect training and imperfect conditions but awesome race execution!


And Awesome job to many on this list who tackled their first Big Long Runs of this build, despite snowy windy conditions (again!) Everyone here is inspiring me – I love it!


Lately I’ve been thinking about our ability to listen to ourselves. To our bodies, our intuitions, our inner voices. I was just watching an interview with Molly Seidel where she is asked “what is the most important thing for runners” and her answer is “honesty with their body”. And in order to be honest, you have to really be able to listen to the signals. This is actually not as easy and straightforward as it might seem. As runners training to run further and faster, we’re continually over-riding what our brains and bodies are telling us. As members of a busy life with never-ending noise and signals, we are constantly tuning out our more quiet needs. So how do we know when to listen and what to listen for?


I heard somewhere that when we ignore certain needs for too long, we just become accustomed to a new state and think that is normal. The example given was socializing. This is an innate human need, but over covid we’ve tramped it down for so long that we might find we have to force ourselves back into it at first. We no longer naturally have the drive that once sustained us. The same goes for sleep with most of our population. We ignore natural impulses to sleep when it’s not convenient, and have normalized functioning on way less than optimal sleep and don’t even realize how over-tired we are. (For the record, this is one area that I feel that I shine and I know I’m lucky to be able to, but I will nap as soon as I get the signal that my body needs sleep). Another signal that busy people can tune out is hunger. Again, if you ignore it for long enough, you can lose touch with it. You’re now blind to your body’s sleep and hunger needs – two of the most important areas to listen to for performance.


But here’s the thing. As Seidel says – it’s about being HONEST with what you’re hearing. Sometimes your body will say it’s too tired today but you know you can get up and go. Sometimes your brain/body tells you to slow down but you know you can push through. But sometimes your body hurts in a different way or is tired for too long, and that is where you need to be in tune and really listen and be honest. No coach can tell you perfectly when to push and when to back off. The most seasoned athletes know this intuitively because they have learned through trial and error, how to listen. It is one of the most important skills you can develop.


Never forget: you’re not fighting your body. Your body is your best friend. She is there telling you (and sometimes only in a whisper) what she needs. Listen up and pay attention. You do not want to lose touch with that communication. As an athlete, that is the most important thing.


Onto tomorrow’s workout!


Lakeshore again – 6:05 for drills, 6:15 GO time


3 x 1000 (@10K pace) w 1:30; 3 min; 6 x 400 (@5K pace or slightly faster) w 1:15; 3 min; 2 x 200 (Fast) w 1:00


If doing it fartlek style: 3 x 4 min w 1:30, 3 min easy, 6 x 1:30 w 1:30, 3 min easy, 2 x 40 seconds fast


I will bring a cone. We’ll have to do some joggling around for the 1000’s – I have a plan.


That is all – see you in the am!






Investments and Withdrawals

Hi Everyone!


Hope you’re all staying warm and got some extra fueling help from chocolate yesterday. Ok, and maybe for the rest of this week. As I mentioned to someone recently, “if the fire’s hot enough, anything will burn” – (Once A Runner – John L Parker). So cheesy but so good.


Don’t you just love the feeling of being fit, running fast, being in total synch and in control of your body, feeling completely connected to your surroundings, knowing you can handle it and feeling like you can go forever? I know we’ve all experienced this. It’s probably what we’re always chasing. That one run every so often that just makes us feel powerful, in control, unstoppable and connected. These runs happen and are there for all of us, but I consider them a “withdrawal” from our account. They aren’t free. The average person (non-runner) doesn’t have these available to them. We take them out and we spend them with joy and if we could just keep spending like that life would be grand.


But of course, we can’t withdraw forever without ever making any investments. I think that’s economics 101. If we want those blissful, injury-free, free-flowing, fast miles, we need to put in some hard, cold, slower, heavy legged, ego-checking miles. These investments come in the form of doing strength work, cross-training, running in the winter, doing hill repeats, running faster than is comfortable for longer than is comfortable. This all has to be done during the “investment” phase so that when we’re ready to withdraw, there is a large balance. Generally we plan the “withdrawal” phase as our “competition” phase. This is likely the last 6 weeks or so before a key race. This is where we withdraw by running. We run and run and run and it’s getting warmer out and we’re getting faster and we have the energy and strength and resilience built up over the work in the winter.  That elusive “perfect run” that we’re all chasing, where you feel you can go all day, you’re at one with your body and your surroundings and everything is in synch and flowing – will happen, I promise. Will it happen on race day? That’s the tough formula we’re always trying to nail. But regardless, you will get some of these runs if you’ve invested. And just one or two of those will be enough to convince you to re-invest during early morning, dark, cold, grindy months on end. So don’t worry – you’re not crazy; you’re just addicted! (ha)


But just remember which phase you’re in. And remember there will be a payoff. Getting fit and being in tune with your body doesn’t have to culminate in a race in order to justify the work. Regardless of where this leads time-wise, there will be a time to withdraw and you will enjoy the experience. Be open to it and let it happen when it happens, just like you’re all open to putting in the work now. You will deserve it!!!


 For tomorrow: Back to Lakeshore! 6:05 for drills, 6:15 GO time!


It should be a bit warmer, so let’s take advantage with some 400’s. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, they are a necessary part of being a well-rounded runner/racer. (also I’ll post some 5K race options coming up – would be good to just bust some rust and get some hard efforts in – investments!!)


  1. 2-3 sets of (4 x 400 w 1 min rec) – 3 mins bw sets – let’s aim for 5K pace
  2. If you have a spring goal race, finish with 1 x mile at goal race pace (let’s make it ATB or HM pace – even if you’re racing a marathon)
  3. If doing this fartlek style, 2-3 x (4 x 1 min Hard, 1 min Easy) 3 min Easy bw sets – option of 7 mins tempo after


That’s all – see you in the am!





The obstacle is the way

Hi Everyone!!!


Hope you’re all noticing and enjoying the longer days. I didn’t need my headlamp after about the first 10 minutes of my run this morning! Small celebrations.


Congrats to the LES crew who ran the Donna Half Marathon on Sunday! It was an amazing celebration of resilience, strength and community, and a great starting point for Spring training. Here we go!!!!


This week I’ve been thinking about challenges and doing hard things. It is interesting how we seek these out at times. We know there is growth and learning through effort and struggle, and many of us seek out these experiences. I am sure that is what brought most of us to endurance sport in the first place. I’ve been reading a bit about some Stoic musings, in Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations. One of his great insights is “The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.” This quote is expanded upon by Ryan Holiday in the aptly named book (which I haven’t read): “The Obstacle is the Way”. The idea is basically that our best innovations, breakthroughs, discoveries, insights, occur because there is a threat or challenge – an obstacle. Therefore we should seek out and embrace the hard things and the challenges if we truly want to grow. And when we’re truly inhabiting a growth mindset, we can take a lot of joy and pleasure in seeking out these obstacles.


But what I notice in myself (and I think this is fairly universal) is that I can easily lose sight of that purpose when I’m measuring myself – particularly in running. If I am after an experience that challenges me mentally and physically, I shouldn’t just want a certain result and hope it comes easily. Sometimes I approach races with an excitement about a hard challenge ahead of me. Those often end up being my best races. But sometimes I slip back and get too attached to the end result and it pulls me out of embracing the process. I am looking for the result, not the experience. I want it to feel easy and I want a fast time. Ha. And sometimes a hard, challenging experience can result in a time that we don’t feel “should” be reflective of that experience. But the time is not what matters – in reality, when we zoom way out and pretend that other peoples’ eyes aren’t on us, that is not what we’re seeking. We are looking for an experience in which we can overcome our own fears and accept the obstacles without judgement. If that’s the case we should be able to embrace snowstorms and hurricane winds during racing conditions. I’m working on this! I just think it is interesting and a good reminder. So try to seek out hard things for their enjoyment and for the sake of challenging yourself and overcoming them. A little afraid of 5K’s? Seek them out as an experience! Intimidated by working out with others? There’s an opportunity to face a challenge! Not confident doing long runs alone? See what you can learn! If you are challenged and you persevere, you have succeeded. I truly think that even at the Olympic level, it is the athletes who can maintain this mindset who make it to the top. (and I know they work on this with teams of sports psychologists, so don’t judge yourself if you lapse and forget to embrace the challenge – that is yet another obstacle to point yourself towards… I know I am!)


On to tomorrow’s workout: Hills! + Tempo! (I will aim to be there around 6:10, but start when you get there).


  1. 3-4 x Pottery Rd followed by 5 min tempo (let’s find a little loop maybe on neighbourhood roads with ok footing) – Repeat (you don’t have to do the exact same # of hills second time – depends on how much of a challenge you’re seeking ;))
  2. If you raced Donna, you can jog up and say ‘hi’ but lay off the workout for now. If feeling ok by Friday you can try a tempo – talk to me for options.


That is all for now – see y’all on the roads!






Hi Everyone!


Happy February! Check it out – the days are getting noticeably longer. Wohoo!!!


I’ve been thinking recently about routines and how valuable they are in keeping us consistent (# 1 ingredient for success). Once you have your routine down, you don’t have to use willpower or debating with yourself what you will do when – you just do the things you’ve always done. I love my routines. They keep me feeling grounded and in control.


But lately I’ve been thinking about how great it feels to break free of our routines every now and then. I sometimes panic or get stressed that if I miss my usual window, I’ve messed something up or done it incorrectly. It’s at those times that I realize my routine is controlling me, not vice versa, and I remember to question it and even want to rebel against it. Sure there is stability and comfort in doing what is familiar, but it’s funny how the slightest tweak can open your eyes to a new experience.


When I go skiing on the weekends with my kids, I like to be out the door early so they can be the first on the hill and I can get my xcountry ski in in the morning. But recently it has been so cold, we’ve decided to have more relaxed mornings and head up later in the day. For the first time I’ve xcountry skied with an afternoon light;  the sun shines differently through the trees and casts different shadows. The whole experience feels novel and fresh. Instead of having the exact same, comfortable experience as always, I’ve created a new sensation and perspective.


Last week I think we all had to deal with switching things up if we didn’t want to abandon our workouts completely. Some of us chose a different time or day to do intervals, some did them on a bike, some did them in a new location or in a different format. I like that we had to do this. It proves to ourselves that we aren’t completely dependent on our systems, and that we have resilience and flexibility and agency. And it’s amazing how a small change can make an entire experience feel fresh and new! And new experiences are how we learn and grow. So keep your routines – they’re great and they work. But don’t forget to push against them every now and then, and never ever be afraid of trying something new.


Onto workout for Tomorrow:


I’m moving hills to next week because some of us have a taper workout and this way we can all do it together. We’re at that time of year where we get the melt/freeze combo, so just a warning: it could be slippery. We’ll see what we get when we get there – hopefully they’ll salt as they usually do.


  1. 1-3 sets of (1mile, 2 min recovery, 800) – 2 mins between sets. Miles at tempo pace, 800’s at 10K (or quicker at the end). 1 set if you’re tapering, 2 sets if you’re just getting back into things, 3 sets if you’re building
  2. If doing this fartlek style, 3 x (6 min tempo, 2 min easy, 3 min hard) 2 min jog bw sets


This is a good one for practicing HM pace with surges, and recovering back to HM pace. Re-settle in. You will go through these surges and settle phases in all longer races. Teaching your body to get back into its rhythm is good practice. Also a great strength wrkt bc a fair bit of volume. I’ll be doing the taper version, but will cheer y’all on!!!



I’ll be there at 6:05 for warm-up, 6:15 is GO TIME!


See ya in the am 