Older and Wiser

Hi Everyone!


Huge congrats to everyone who raced the Muskoka IM 70.3! Jason, Carol, Madalyn. Looked like a hot and hilly one – way to go all!!


Thank you all for the wonderful birthday wishes yesterday. I’ve been thinking a little bit about getting older. I have to say, I’m really enjoying it. Instead of ‘radical acceptance’ I’d say I’m in a ‘radical embracing’ phase. I know how to appreciate what I have and the community and friends I have around me. As I mentioned to someone, in training for this Ironman (which I’m training for sort of intuitively because I just know my athletic self very well), I’ve let my demons out of their cage just enough to drive me to certain points, but I know when and how to pull them back in and shut the door. They’re still there, but they work for me now.  We are all moving towards becoming wiser and learning about ourselves through trial and error and the hardships of life. But it takes living it to get there! So I’m very glad I’m still doing that.


I also believe many of us come into our true purpose later in life. Did you know that there is a parasitic worm they’ve discovered which has one of the shortest lifecycles ever? It is born with eggs inside of it, all female and one male. As soon as it is born, the eggs hatch, mate, the worm dies and the babies eat their way out with fertilized eggs inside. And the cycle of life continues. That creature’s existence has one purpose: to procreate and die. Evolution is so interesting. Living things have developed many traits, which we’ll call “purposes”, to assist in the success of their own kind. Did you know that there are only two mammals which have extended lifespans post-menopause? These are killer whales and humans. (interestingly, not other primates). Post-menopausal killer whales become the leaders of their pods, and decide when and where to hunt and travel to new areas. Their wisdom is required by the pod and they are more useful to the success of the species as leaders than as procreators. Like them, we have evolved to live many years beyond our ability to procreate (sorry guys, I’m talking about females here – I don’t have a strong theory yet on what you’re useful for beyond a certain point – maybe it’s to listen to and support the women 😉 ) Whether we’ve had kids or not, I think after a certain age we enter our Wise and Leadership years. If our usefulness to our species ended with our ability to procreate, then like the worm we would end there because life is expensive and it is only supported if there is a purpose. But here many of us are, and are intended to be. So what do we do? I think we need to look to and learn from many of the wise and strong women who came before us. Who fought for our rights and justices for others. We can’t lose our energy and hope at this stage. We may be a little less physically strong and peppy than we were in our 20’s, and we may take a little longer to recover from things physically, but man – we are wise and powerful. We know how to get the most out of ourselves, and we know how to work hard. And I think our society needs that wisdom and power right now. Onwards!!


Onto tomorrow’s workout: back to Lakeshore and I will bring singlets!! 6:05 drills, 6:15 go time.


  1. 4-5 x 1 mile with 2 min rest. Here’s the pacing:

People training for Fall marathons: 1st mile tempo (HM pace), 2nd mile 10K pace, 3rd mile 5K pace-ish, 4th mile 10K pace, 5th mile HM pace

People training/tapering for Ironman: alternate Half IM and IM pace. Keep it to 4 if legs are feeling tired but this shouldn’t feel too hard.

People just getting back into it or training to train: Keep them steady eddy, but choose ONE to go a little harder. And keep it to 4 total.


If doing these fartlek style or on your own: 4-5 x 7 min w 2 min easy. Alternate effort/pace as above.


Thanks all – see you in the am!





Training your brain

Hi Everyone!


I’m pretty sure there were no races last weekend. Remember – please let me know if you raced!

Our white singlets – men’s and women’s are in, so I just need to pick them up. I’m away this week so will have them for you for next week. Wohoo!


What I’ve been thinking about recently is the mental side of training and racing. I know we know it’s 90% mental, but wow – is it ever! I’m thinking specifically of longer sessions, as many in this group are ramping up for fall marathons and wrapping our heads around bigger workouts and future workouts. Of course there is a real and necessary physical component to training your body, but so much of what we’re training is our brain’s resistance. Remember: our brains are there to protect us – not make us champions. So they are wired to be overly cautious and sensitive to pressing the “you’re tired, you can’t do this” button. Your brain communicates to you via thoughts and emotions – feelings of overwhelm, lack of motivation, anxiety, even false fatigue. In fact I’ve come to believe – and many of the athletes who I coach know as a fact – that if you feel exhausted and dead-legged in a warm-up, you’re likely to have a great race. Happens to me every time. Your brain knows what’s coming and is doing its last-ditch effort to stop you. Don’t listen.


There are a few tricks that I’m learning which are helping me overcome some of this, so I’ll share them. The first is to really break your task into small chunks and only focus on one at a time. I had a 35K run recently where my brain was fighting me from the first kilometer. So I just allowed myself to focus on 5K at a time. Every new 5K segment was the start of a 5K run. Had I tried to count down to 35 from the first kilometer I would have crumbled. But I could do 5K.


The next thing that helps is radical acceptance. I heard that term recently and it resonated. Just accept the space you’re in, don’t fight it. When I’m in any sort of race or training effort, as soon as I think about the finish or what is to come, it becomes overwhelming because I’m thinking about where I want to get to instead of being present. If I’m at 18K of a 20K run, it starts to feel hard and I want to be done. But at the same pace and effort, that 18K mark of a 30K run is fine because I’ve accepted where I am and am not thinking about the finish – yet. You’ll get there when you get there. Don’t let you mind get ahead of your body – it’s projecting and doesn’t really know how you’ll feel. (this also holds true for runs off the bike if you’re a triathlete)


Finally, under the same principle of acceptance, another approach is to just accept the amount of time you’ll be out there, and stop making crossing off kilometers part of your task. I find this helps my brain tremendously. Instead of saying you’re going out for a certain kilometer effort, which is task oriented, tell yourself you’ll just be out there for an hour or two or three  – whatever it is. And then just settle in for the journey. Tell yourself, “I’m going to move forward in a way that is continually acceptable for this amount of time.”  And accept it. Radically. Your poor brain with the brake-control button will not stand a chance.


Onto tomorrow’s workout! We’re back to Lakeshore – 6:05 for drills (on your own) and 6:15 GO time! I won’t be there, and Tanis either. Hoping someone can get the crew started and possibly mark out 400m. If not, do your best approximation – a few meters here or there will not be noticed by your body.





600-400-200 w 1 min rest – 3 min bw sets


4-5 x (600-400-200)


Treat them as broken 1200’s. Aim for 5K pace for 600’s and 400’s – you can pick it up slightly for 200’s. If you manage 5 of them that would be 6K at 5K pace, so a big wrkt. That’s if you have a solid base and have a number of workouts under your belt. If just starting out or coming back from an illness or something else, aim for 3-4 sets.


If doing them fartlek style:


4-5 x (2:00, 1:30, 30) w 1 min easy jog bw reps and 3 bw sets.


That’s all – I’ll miss you – have fun!!!





Making stops along the way

Hi All!

First up, congrats to Steph who ran the Pride 5K yesterday in a PB time of 20:15!!! Way to show resilience and bounce back from a disappointing covid canceled marathon. To everyone always remember: no training is ever wasted.

And Chris and Cassidy Robinson who did the Welland triathlon – I believe Cassidy finished first in her age group and 5th woman overall!!

Also congrats to all of us who ran the Ekiden relays last Tuesday! LOVED seeing all of us and other runners out there celebrating the running communities in Toronto. Big thank-you to all who ran and all who came to cheer.

Speaking of celebrating, I hope everyone had a great weekend and celebrated Pride and/or anything else you had to celebrate. Goodness knows, we all need to celebrate when we can because there is enough news out there to get down about!  


That’s what I was thinking about this weekend as I took the weekend off of training during a peak phase in order to celebrate my daughter’s birthday with a group of her friends. I was thinking that although training is “serious” business and we need to be focused and disciplined, I don’t think that we need to approach it with the sense that we’re putting all the fun on hold until after. If you can’t blend fun and relaxation with serious, focused training, you’re setting yourself up for an all-or-nothing scenario. You risk becoming resentful of your training and looking forward to it being done or possibly getting burned out. Instead, we should be enjoying the process and living our lives in the moment. I know that certain patterns do shift when we’re training seriously – we may have fewer late nights out and might not spend quite as much “quality time” with family. But I think it’s important to keep these things in the picture, even when you’re in “beast mode”. We don’t have to be binary – fun person or training athlete. As much as possible we should blend those two into one authentic self.  I’ve had the odd ride or run where I haven’t been my best because I’d gone out with friends the night before. And I’ve cut some training short and definitely not maximized recovery because I’ve wanted to spend time with my kids doing activities they want to do. I’m not waiting until the end to do all my relaxing and celebrating in one big gigantic party. I’m pausing and celebrating in little stops along the way. So I’m not actually looking forward to when this is done. Hopefully my life won’t change too drastically one way or the other. Sure, the pendulum will shift a little more in another direction, but it won’t be like walking through a door and closing it shut behind me.


For those of you setting out on a training program now, see if you can approach it the same way. Celebrate as you go. Take pauses when you need or want them. Keep the non-training you beside you the whole time, and listen to that person’s needs as well. That way, once you’re done, you might just find that instead, you keep going.


Tomorrow, we’re back to hills! I have a new twist on them:


Pottery Rd. After every 2 hills, take 1-1.5 mins and do 3 mins tempo. Repeat that sequence 2-4 times (4 sounds insane – I just put that there but I think 3 will prob be most of our numbers)


Just teaching our bodies to keep going after the hills. As happens in most hilly races. And since some of us have a hilly one coming up, the rest of you get to join us in this 😉


I’ll aim to be there around 6:05/6:10.


See ya in the am!!






Getting Groovy

Hi Everyone!


We had one racer this past weekend – Andrew Higgs who nailed his sub-3 marathon in Duluth with a 2:58! Huge congrats. And Ingrid who raced the Toronto Waterfront 10K in very tough conditions and nailed a solid pace in that wind. Way to go! As always I hope I don’t miss anyone and please message me if you’ve raced anywhere. We all want to celebrate it!


Speaking of celebration, we are celebrating the Summer Solstice this eve with the Ekiden Relays! I believe we have three LES teams. Huge thank-you to Madalyn for picking up all the race kits. I believe the races start at 7 pm at the entrance to the spit, so I’ll plan to be down there around 6:30 pm. If you’re not on a team but want to come to cheer, please do! It’s the best way to kick off summer. Or at least it’s a tradition… 😉


What I’ve been thinking about lately is grooves. As in finding your groove. Many people are just getting into fall marathon training, and the biggest advice I can give is just start by creating the space and patterns that you will build on. You don’t need to be killing it now, but you need to create the space that you’ll be able to lean into later. Set up your routine so that getting out the door is never a negotiation. What you do once out there will change, but you just flow and show up where you need to be. For example, if you have a workout day, a tempo day and a long run day, make sure you start now with even little bits of those. You might not be in your best tempo shape, and your long runs aren’t super long yet, but get in the groove of showing up. You don’t have to worry about what you’re doing when you show up yet. Just get something done. And you’ll be amazed how much easier it is to do things when you don’t have to negotiate whether you’re doing it or not. There will likely be a time where the effort and enormity of the task will present a barrier. But you’ll go and do it because you’ve created that riverbed which makes it all flow more easily. So start with a trickle. This is where you need to be.


Some of us who are training for a summer Ironman are in a groove. It’s kind of cool. I never would have thought I could do as much as I’m doing, but that’s the thing – I’m not thinking about it. I’m following the patterns I set up months ago and just adding a bit more and leaning a bit more in each time. I’m not starting from scratch with each big effort. My goal used to be “just get in the water” or “join the bike ride and see what happens”. And now it really isn’t that hard! I get up, and do what I’ve been doing for a few months. I’m in a groove.


So start slow, get your body there and see what happens, and make the routine the goal for now. Don’t think about what’s to come. You’re just getting groovy!!!


I’ll see many of you tonight at the spit. For those doing the Ekiden, just a social on Weds am. For those not doing the Ekiden, we can start out together and you can do a fartlek (I think we can run into the beach and back).


Workout: 6 min tempo, 2 min easy, 2 x 3 min Fast with 1:30 easy, 2 min easy, 2 x 2 min Fast with 1:30 easy, 2 min easy, 5-6 x 1 min Fast w 1 min easy


Or if it’s easier to read this way: 6-3-3-2-2-1-1-1-1-1-1 w 1:30 bw reps, 2 mins bw sets (except 1 min bw all the 1’s)


See you tonight at 6:30/7 and tomorrow at 6:05!







Perfectly imperfect

Hi Everyone!


Huge congrats to all who raced in the Gravenhurst Tri this past weekend! Of the people I coach I had a 16 yr old and 60 yr old athlete who competed and crushed it! I love sport for bringing everyone together like that. And I’m still feeling the joy of celebrating sport being back!!!


I’ve been thinking a lot about training lately, and the principles and techniques to apply to get the most out of ourselves. And then I’ve been reminded about the coaching course I took a few months ago. It was led by experts who study and analyze the best training methodologies. The idea was to learn how to take elite athlete training principles and apply them to community running groups. What was interesting to me was that, although there were a few new ideas and theories, in general, it’s not rocket science. It’s “apply a new stimulus and allow for adaptation”. Fine. But what I found so funny was that when they’d go into specific principles like whether we should prescribe weights before or after a running workout, or how many drills to do before a workout, or how much mileage and how much supplementary cross-training is best – we all realized that the theories didn’t matter when it came to applying them to our groups. We just had people doing the best they could. After the instructor covered the “perfect” way to do something I’d look around and say “ya – that’s not gonna work for my crew” and we all agreed. It made me laugh. If you can fit strength into your program at any point, you’re doing great. If you can get a few drills in before your workout, that’s fantastic. If you can make it to the pool or onto the bike for some supplementary training you are killing it. We all just have to accept that we’re doing everything perfectly imperfectly. Basically every thing we covered was “in an ideal world this, but for most folks, whatever works will work”.


I’m embracing the perfectly imperfect philosophy as I train for multi-sport. It feels like everything I do is somewhat compromised by something else. I’m not obsessing over that. I’m just doing what I can. I think we can all do well to accept this. Nobody is training “perfectly”. It’s impossible. We’re all making compromises all the time and fitting in what we can. And anything is better than nothing. I asked my swimming instructor how many days a week I should be swimming to train for my event. He said 5. I laughed. I said there’s no way that’s happening! I’ll aim for 2-3. Most weeks it’s been 2.


The biggest learning from that course was that theory is just theory. Real life is messy and imperfect. And if we don’t embrace that messy imperfection we’ll drive ourselves crazy and lose the enjoyment. So onwards with our messy imperfect training – we’re getting somewhere!


Workout tomorrow – we’re back to Lakeshore! 6:05 drills, 6:15 GO.


  1. 800’s. Let’s aim for 5-7 w 1:30 rest.

If you’re training for a fall marathon this is a good starting point from which to take your average time of 800’s. We will do another benchmark one later in the season. Just keep them nice and consistent.

If you’re training for 5K’s or 10K’s this summer, do every third one HARD (outside your comfort zone) – max 6 total. You can take 2 mins after the HARD ones.


  1. If doing these by time, 5-7 x 3 min On, 1:30 Off.


That is all – see you in the am!





I love my body

Hi All!


Happy June! We have the longest days of the year coming up now – enjoy the light! Speaking of longest days, there are a few LES teams registered for the Longest Day Ekiden relay at the spit on the 21st. It’s a fun community event that brings running clubs together. Check out our fbook page for details or if you’re not on fbook email me and I’ll send you detes.


Recently I’ve been thinking about how grateful I am for my body. Training is so cool because you can actually see in real time the adaptations that your body has made. I’ll admit I am only noticing this in swimming and biking because after 30+ years of running, I might be at the diminishing visible returns end of work/adaptation. But I just think it’s so neat to see yourself be able to do something that a year or even months go you could never fathom doing. Just by introducing the gradual stress to your body! Your good old body says “ok – if this is what you’re up to, I’ll help you out”. And it gets to work in building more mitochondria, more nerve pathways to your muscles, thicker muscle fibres, more capillaries to help you to go further …


I like thinking of my body as my friend. Sure, sometimes I’m disappointed when she doesn’t perform as I’d planned, but she’s trying! There is no little muscle fibre or nerve pathway that isn’t firing and doing their job to keep me alive. Our systems don’t know the difference between running a race for fun and running from a bear – once you have adrenaline and start to run, millions of coordinated cells go into action and give their lives in doing the best job they can. I have so much gratitude for that. Our bodies’ only goal is our survival and success in life.


And yet we abuse them. We sometimes ingest things we shouldn’t. We often don’t feed them what we should. We don’t give them enough rest. We push on when they’re sending signals that they’re faltering. We have high demands and are not always kind in return. Even when we get sick, our bodies go into over-drive, fighting for our lives. And we get frustrated that meanwhile, they aren’t letting us run and workout.


I love my body. I really truly am grateful for all the work she does for me. I know I ask a lot. But I’m going to try to remember to treat her as a close friend and ally – she really is doing the best she can.


On to tomorrow’s workout – back to Pottery Rd Hills!


It’s been a while since we’ve done these ones. Let’s just go steady up, steady down.

If you’re training for a longer event, aim for consistent effort and nudge up the volume.

If you’re training for 5K/10K’s, do a lower quantity and aim for every other one HARD.

If you’ve recently completed a marathon or half marathon, just steady and keep the volume on the low end as you get back into things.


I’ll aim to be there at around 6:15. Just start going once you get there – we’ll meet somewhere on the hill!