Hi Everyone!!


Ok, I’m gonna say it now … snow is behind us. At least if you’re living in Toronto. Last Monday HAD to be our last snowfall. So pack away that winter running gear! Now obviously if it snows again, you know who to blame.


A large contingent in our crew have races coming up – marathons or half marathons. I’ve been thinking a lot about races lately. Why we do them, what they signify. Usually they represent a goal we’ve been working towards. I say usually because sometimes we just jump in for fun and for the experience. It’s good to know what you want out of a race experience before going in. It’s also good to remind yourself that this is for you and you only. As much as we all love and support each other, nobody actually cares at all what number is attached to your race experience but you. We will all love and respect and admire each other in the same ways no matter what the clock says. The people who matter the most care the least about the time as it pertains to you.


Now, if you have worked hard and love reaching goals, of course you want your time or place to reflect that. And by all means, do everything in your power to make that happen. It feels good. This is an opportunity to bring all of the puzzle pieces of training together into one big final effort. It’s a fun challenge with a big question mark and only you know how to answer it. Yes, many things can happen to make things go your way or to throw curve balls, and all you can do is to show up and say “I’m ready to give my best today with whatever it brings”. That is fun. This is supposed to be fun. Trying your hardest is fun.


But don’t forget that this is by no means all about one race. All of the training you’ve done and are still doing is all rewarding and enjoyable (most of the time?) and has sustained you through some hard months of weather and pandemic and life. That, in itself is to be celebrated. So many of you have really impressed me with what you’ve achieved over the last few months. The determination and strength and resilience and focus-without-losing-focus-on-what-really-matters. All of that should and can be celebrated without a race at the end. For better or worse though, our brains are wired to seek and achieve, so we hang the race there as the “goal”, even though we secretly all know that the process is the goal.


So let’s line up knowing we’ve already “won” and allow ourselves to enter a challenge with curiosity and open mindedness and a willingness to work hard. There is zero to prove, but much to be celebrated. And just remember: It’s SUPPOSED to feel hard!


On that note, I’m trying to chat with everyone I’m coaching before the races this weekend. If I haven’t yet I will be reaching out with a time (or feel free to reach out to me!)


On to tomorrow’s workout:


People racing, sleep in and/or do this on your own time or in groups:

2 x 3 min @ race pace (half or marathon, depending on your race) w 2 min easy, then 3 x 2 min a little quicker w 1 min easy.


Thursday, Friday, Sat should be rest/easy jog/rest or reverse if you like a little shake-out the day before. Nothing over 5-6K. No weights. Don’t go on ridiculously long walks. Eat normally, and make Friday your biggest eating day.


Everyone else, let’s do Riverdale hills! 4-6 x hill – fast up, easy down, 2 min rest, then 8 min tempo (I like up to Danforth and back down for more hills). Repeat the whole sequence again. This is good for Lake Placid people (I hear there are a few rollers) and for ppl training for shorter distance stuff – the shorter power hills are great.


I will plan to be there around 6/6:05.


Thanks all – see you in the am!!!







Keepin it fun :)

Hi Everyone!!!


Huge congrats to everyone who ran Boston yesterday!!!! Madalyn, Andrew, Patrick, Carol. And huge hugs to those who qualified and trained for it and cheered on their teammates from home. In witnessing the stories of people I know and of elite athletes, it looks like there was the usual mix of victories, heartache, celebration, disappointment, tears of joy, tears of pain … ah, marathons. And Boston seems to bring out the highest highs and lowest lows. This is what we sign up for!


On that note, just a reminder to check in with yourself and make sure that while you’re learning, growing and building character, you’re also enjoying it. I love running, working out, moving my body. I love racing with others who are all out there trying their hardest. That is fun for me. I love challenging myself and doing hard physical things. And mostly I love doing all of this with people I love and whose company I enjoy. But. Every now and then I can get caught up chasing it, and then I can get a bit burned out. If something used to make me feel good, I do it more, and again, and again. And it takes me a while to realize it might not currently be fun or making me feel good. This might be when my energy or time availabilities don’t fit with what I’m trying to do. Or maybe I’ve been doing the same thing too repetitively and there’s no more novelty – I’m bored. Or maybe I’ve been hitting my head against a wall pushing in a certain direction where I’m not getting much positive feedback. I like to think I’m pretty good at noticing when this is happening, and I’m pretty good at changing course to keep it fun. I’ll race 1500m on the track, a x-country ski race, an Ironman, a 100K gravel bike ride … I do tend to come back to running, but only if it’s fun. This is the only reason I can think of why I’m still doing it after 30 plus years!!


I just want to give you all that little self-check reminder. We can get very serious when we’re chasing goals. That’s fine. It is extremely rewarding to set and achieve big goals that you thought were outside of yourself. But just keep a little eye on your motivation and whether you’re still excited and finding it fun. If you have one big goal that you just want to put to bed and then be done with the whole thing, fine. But I suspect most of us are here because we want to keep doing this for many years. So relax your shoulders, unclench your jaw, take a deep breath, and maybe even laugh a bit. This is fun.


Onto tomorrow’s workout!

Let’s go back to Lakeshore and Leslie to support our Toronto and Mississauga teammates who should be done with hills until after the race. If you’re not doing either of these, throw in 5-6 x short (15-20 sec) hill sprints at the end of a run – probably Friday.

Leslie and Lakeshore: 6:05 warm-up, 6:15 Go time!


  1. 1 mile tempo. 3 min rec. 4-6 x 600m (5K-8K pace) w 1:30. 3 min rec. 1 mile race pace (mara or half).
  2. If doing this fartlek style: 7 min tempo, 4-6 x 2 min Hard, 1:30 Easy, 7 min tempo


That is all – see you in the am!






Hi Everyone!


Hope you’re all taking good care of yourselves. Whether you’re sick or not, good rest and food are so so important.


I have to say, this is the most pivot-involved season of coaching I’ve ever experienced. Most of this has to do with people training and racing during a pandemic. We do plan for some things to go not according to plan. And to be honest, that is fine. I think a big part of what we’re learning through this is “going with the flow”.


Here’s what I keep thinking about: the skill of only concerning yourself with what you can control. There are some things that will just be out of your control, and you can’t waste mental energy on those. This is something many athletes who experience race anxiety work on before big events. There is a looming feeling of generalized stress because they’ve put a lot of work into it and are unsure of how things will play out. But once you realize there are certain things you can control (your internal dialogue, what you eat, your warm-up routine, your race/pacing strategy) and some things you can’t (the weather, your competition, mechanical or equipment mishaps), you can work on being confident in what you can do, and let go of what you can’t. Once you let go of worrying about the things you can’t control it takes a big load off.


Many of our group here have experienced hiccups of varying degrees through this training cycle. And what’s done is done. Whether you got sick or injured or experienced some other set-back, the best course of action is acceptance. Don’t stress about what is outside of your control. That is wasted energy. Just do what you can do now. And going forward, do what you can to avoid illness and injury, but once you’ve decided what you’re doing, put the rest out of your head. You can’t control everything. You can only control what you can control and many things can and will happen that are outside of that. Deal with them when you get there, but don’t stress about them beforehand. As long as you’re comfortable with your plan, just stick with that. You’re good! And now, you have a little extra energy that you’ve just freed up.


On to our workout for tomorrow!

I’m thinking we could use a social fartlek type workout. I like these because you can lean in or back depending on where you are in your current phase and energy cycle. It’s also a great way to work on internal pacing based on how you feel vs. what your watch is telling you. These were my bread and butter workouts through much of my university days and beyond. They can get you really fit, and they keep you in the game whether you’re having a “good one” or not. (my fave way is to use the good ol Timex watch vs. gps. Sorry Strava lovers! Guess what – it will be ok if you don’t know your paces I promise). If you have a mental compulsion to track and measure everything, see if you can force yourself to break that this once. You can guess your overall mileage like we did in the “olden days” and I guarantee you won’t be more than 1KM off up or down. NO biggie!!


Meet at Leslie and Lakeshore – 6:05 for drills, 6:15 Go Time.

10 min easy jog, then 3-5 sets of 3-2-1 min Hard w 1 min Easy; 3 min easy jog bw sets

(5 is a lot – not sure if we’ll get there – we used to do 3 but we were middle distance runners and ran everything at 1500m/3000m race pace – we’ll find a rhythm and see what we can do)


Boston racers! Do three sets and just find your wheels and your rhythm. Keep it smooth and controlled. Don’t worry about pace – this won’t make you faster for race day and it’s not a “test of where you are”. Just find that good smooth/fast feeling.


That is all – see you in the am!





Celebrating our strengths

Hi Everyone!


Hope you’re all staying healthy and taking care of yourselves. I know many of us have gotten sick or have family members who’ve gotten sick. I heard the analogy that if you haven’t gotten it by now it feels like you’ve been hiding at the back in a Grade 6 Dodgeball game, and all the front ranks have been thinned out. Made me laugh because I think we can all relate to that feeling! (unless you’re under 30 in which case you should really try an adrenaline pumping round of Dodgeball with people bigger and stronger than you – and sometimes a little unhinged – whipping balls at you as hard as they can – it’s… an experience).


Anyway, what I’ve been thinking about this week is how we all have our unique, individual strengths. And how we should really pause to reflect on them and feel proud about them. We DO NOT all have the same strengths. That is for sure. And there are many different ways to get to similar results.


I’m thinking of the story I heard from a coach about two 800m runners who consistently ran the same times in their best races, down to the second (think I’ve mentioned this one before). One came from a strength/aerobic background, and the other from speed/speed endurance. One ran 15 mile (~22K) long runs and lots of volume. The other barely ever ran more than 5K and did lots of power and fast-twitch work. They couldn’t train together, but they raced side by side. Now the 800m is a unique event in its pure blend of these two systems, and either strength can do well, but the point is, you’ll only do well if you acknowledge your strengths and play to them.


As we enter our key race season, let’s think about what we’re good at. Some of us are great at being quietly confident and patient and trusting ourselves in a race. Some are great at being extremely consistent in workouts and continuing to show up. Some shine with the ability to be tough when it counts and keep pushing when it’s hard. Some have the ability to bring others with them on their journey and surround themselves with joy and mutual support. Some are good at staying relentlessly positive. Some are great closers and always find a fast finish. Some are uniquely attuned to listening and responding to their body’s cues – whether it’s to slow down, rest, push or speed up. Some are amazing at just keeping on keeping on. And even technically we have different strengths. Some thrive more in long runs, some on hills, some in short speed, some in tempos. Whatever your unique combination of mental and physical attributes are – these are a strength. And every now and then, your specific combination will be perfectly matched with the external circumstances. And you will shine the brightest. Other times they might not line up perfectly, but that doesn’t mean your unique strengths don’t matter. You won’t be your best self by trying to be someone you’re not. Instead, celebrate and lean into the strengths you have. You are all incredibly strong in your own ways. So please think about that and be proud! I love seeing them and am continually inspired by y’all.


Onto tomorrow’s Lakeshore workout! (6:05 warm-up/drills, 6:15 Go time)


  1. 4-5 x 1 mile @ 10K pace w 1:45 rest. Nothing fancy, just straight-up. You can ease into the first one.
  2. If doing this fartlek style, 4-5 x 7 mins @ 10K pace w 1:45 easy
  3. If doing the Spring Run Off: 2 x 1 mile @ 10K w 1:45, 3 mins, 4 x 400 @ 5K w 1:15, 3 mins, 4 x 200 as long strides w 1 min


That is all – see you in the am!