Hi Everyone!

First up I want to say a huge Thank-You to everyone for my beautiful and thoughtful Christmas gifts! I will Blitz my body thoroughly (it is in need of a good blitzing) and the CAMH donation is right up my alley. And I absolutely love the Epic Runs of the World book. It’s a beautiful picture book, travel planner, and running nerd lore all wrapped up in one. I read a couple before bed last night. You can really picture yourself experiencing these incredible parts of the world in a very relatable way – through running! Whenever I think about travel in other senses, I often think: but what would I DO? This makes it all make sense.

This is all along the lines of what I’ve been thinking about this week. Dreaming. Scheming. Planning. Goal setting. I think many of us are taking a bit of a pause on the “full throttle” aspect of running and exercise at the moment. And we need to do this so we can come up with thoughts and ideas and dreams about what we want to do. When we’re full steam ahead and locked into a goal, we are very in the moment, which is great. We have routines, plans, expectations and deliverables. It’s fun to turn off your brain and put your head down and just work sometimes. But that mode precludes the wandering mind, the dreamy wonderings, the visions of ourselves experiencing new things.

Not all dreams can or should be realized. I had many dreams when I was younger, probably 99% of which did not pan out. I’m sure at one point I wondered if I’d be in the Olympics in something. But the funny thing is, I don’t mourn the dreams that didn’t happen. They might steer you in one direction or another, and then you can let them go as new ones appear that you hadn’t yet imagined. But they can create excitement and passion and start you moving in a direction. When I look through this Runs of the World book, I can open it up to any page and imagine running in that location. And then spinning off on my own track and probably doing countless runs that aren’t depicted. And who knows what else! Some of the runs are more hardcore than others, and some require some serious training commitment. Others are light site-seeing tours. It’s a launching pad of many ideas.

So for the rest of December, let your training guide be to allow your brain to dream up what you want to do and where you want to be. Give yourself the space and time and energy to really get into it. Don’t flog yourself for sitting on the couch and not training right now. But this is not completely passive. Dreams don’t just land on you. You have to curate them and indulge them and give them space and attention. And you might realize them. Or more likely you’ll end up somewhere just as good that you never saw coming. But at least you will have started.


On to tomorrow’s workout – Lakeshore and Leslie! 6:05 drills, 6:15 GO!


Let’s do some cruisy 800’s and finish with some snappier 200’s. How about 5 x 800 to get us to the far end, then 4 x 200. 1:15 between the 8’s (we’re still keeping them aerobic – not going too far into VO2max territory), 3 min set rest, then 1 min between the 200’s (as long strides).


I pulled my hammy being an idiot and trying to sprint faster than my body wanted me to, so I will come out to jog, but prob not do the faster stuff. A good note to remember with me: do what I say, not what I do.


See you in the am!





Complaining and microdosing

Hey Gang!


As usual, I left out a couple of results from last week’s Holiday 10K: Chris Fortin in what I think is a PB of sub-40 (wohoo!), and Ian Gray – honourary LES-er! I do believe races are done for a while – there is a Boxing Day 10 miler in Hamilton and a Hair of the Dog 9K New Year’s run in the beach if anyone likes to use those to celebrate those occasions.


I have a couple of messages this week. The first is inspired by my daughter who is doing the high school swim team. This means being in the pool at 7 am a few mornings a week. She loves swimming and the swim team but hates early mornings, being cold and being tired. I am letting her come to her own decision on this, and as a result she has “quit” and rejoined twice (the quitting has been unofficial as I believe everyone makes the team and they’ll take who they can get at 7 am). Yesterday morning she had nothing good to say at 6 am. It was all, I hate this, why do I do it, it’s cold, I’m tired, this is the worst. I let her vent and then reminded her that the night before she had said she was going, so we were up, and this could be the last one. I texted her after the practice to see how it went and she said “it was good. Sorry for being dramatic”. And I totally got it. I was like, “complaining is totally part of it! My friends and I complain all the time before we do hard and uncomfortable things. And then we go and do it”.  I told her it’s totally fine to complain – it seems to release something – but then you put your head down and do the thing.  Again, there is something undefinable that we love about pushing ourselves and doing hard things, but that doesn’t mean we have to pretend to enjoy every instant of it. If complaining loudly gets you through, go for it. I’ll listen politely and then say “ok, now let’s go”.


The other idea I wanted to share this week is the concept of “micro-dosing”. As popularized by Silicone Valley, it’s the idea that you don’t have to do the full thing in order to reap the benefits. In fact smaller doses might work better in many scenarios. In this case I’m talking about exercise not mushrooms, but now that I’ve embraced the concept I find it applies to many things (cleaning, shopping, even socializing!) I first started to pitch the idea as a way to get plyometric training into some of the athletes I train. Yes, having a full session devoted to that is great, but it rarely fits schedules perfectly and is the first thing to get knocked off a list of priorities. So instead, we tell them to a little bit at a time. Some hops before a workout, a set of little jumps in between heavier lifting sets, 20 seconds after a run. It all adds up. We can get attached to our ideas of big workouts and accomplishing large chunks of work, but little bits can really go a long way. 10 push ups in the morning, a 15-20 minute run, 10 one-legged hops while you’re standing in the dog park, … It really is better than nothing, and often is actually better than the full dose. Especially at this time of year when the full dose could put you in a stress hole or energy deficit. Just sprinkle little bits of energy around – it’s a mindshift, but I promise it adds up and makes a difference.


On to tomorrow’s workout – let’s do a Fartlek Social! Bring lights – we’ll head into the beach but it’s pretty dark in some sections. Meet at Lakeshore and Leslie – 6:05 Drills, 6:15 GO!


Let’s keep it simple with 2 minutes “ON”, 1 minute “OFF”. Paces can be tempo/easy. 8-10 of them sounds about right. Actually, that’s a very similar workout to last week (a good range of stimulus for this time of year) – just with a different view.


That is all – see you in the am!







Hanging tough

Hi Everyone!


First an update from an oversight last week: Zoë came in third in her category at nationals xc, not fourth as I had erroneously stated. Podium! Way to go. And this past weekend we had a bunch of stealthy fast racers in the Holiday10K! Adam (PB!), Cindy (PB!), Eleanor (1st in age group!), Carolyn (nice return from a marathon!) Did I miss anyone?


What I’ve been thinking about recently is that this time of year can be kinda tough on a lot of people. I don’t know what it is – the lack of sunlight? Perceived forced merriness? Different stresses that bubble up after a few months of hard work with your head down? Between race and big goal season blues? Actual hard, uncontrollable things that occur? I’ve witnessed some version of all of this with a number of people who I coach, myself included.


I’m currently coaching a university varsity team. Among this team in the past month I’ve had two kids break down into stress/fatigue tears, one experience a traumatic close family death, one dealing with a close family terminal illness, and one experiencing a lingering illness which affects mental health. These kids are in their early 20’s (some are even still teenagers). I hope I tell them the right things, but I know when I see them show up everyday, that they will be ok. Maybe it’s because they’re distance runners, and we all have this strange relationship with pain. We don’t run away from it, but accept it and keep putting one foot in front of the other. We know that pain is a signal but that we can sit in it and it won’t kill us. I give them space to bow out and take a break, but not to quit. I know these kids will most likely all become very successful, empathetic, self aware and strong adults. But man, you have to go through it to get there, eh? This is the “life as chisel” metaphor.


Anyway, not to be too morose in this note. Just a reminder that life is hard and that’s ok and you can lean on others and you don’t have to pretend to be happy AND that often (not always but often) there is growth and meaning on the other side. And there will be another side. So take a break or slow down if you need to, but no quitting. We all need each other here. Big hugs to all!




On to tomorrow’s workout: Lakeshore and Leslie. 6:05 drills, 6:15 GO.


Let’s do tempo 600’s w 1 min rest. 1 min means they have to stay pretty chill. Up to 8 or 9 of them. This will depend on how chill you actually manage to make them. 9 of them at tempo pace is do-able. 9 at 10K pace will feel hard. Remember, this is base season so we don’t want to do too much fast V02max work yet. There is a ceiling of how fit you can get on that and it’s built on a base of strength.


That is all – see you in the am!






Running community

Hey Gang!


Huge congrats this weekend to Zoë who raced in Nationals x-country and came 4th in her age group, and Jen Drynan (who’s always finishing her workouts as we start at 6 a.m.) who ran the Holly Jolly 5K and came 1st in her age group and ran sub-20! Way to go you guys.


This week I’ve been thinking about community, specifically the running community. There are not many communities in which you can just show up, do the thing, and you are immediately welcomed in and included as one of their own. In many other activities in life there is some posturing and proving oneself; having the right gear and knowing the right people. It takes years of devotion to work your way up the ladder in order to prove that you belong. In my experience with running groups however, if you show up and run(any pace), you are invited in with open arms. Running groups are comprised of cool people and quirky people. And sometimes very cool quirky people. The “no membership required” rule means we’re not protecting our own identities when we run with people who have life experiences and world views very different from our own. There’s no more comfortable place to have a conversation than when in rhythmic footfalls beside someone, moving together under your own effort in the same direction. There is something about that which seems to be universally understood but hard to scientifically explain.


This past Sunday I started my run with one running group,peeled off for a pit stop, found a friend to run with for some km’s, and then we hooked up with another group for a few more km’s. The common denominator with all parts of this run was a “come with me” mentality. I appreciated that a ton. But I have also come to expect that. I can just glom on to almost any group and not worry about what I’m going to talk about, what I look like, or even really how fast I’m going. If the group ahead is going faster than is comfortable,I just drop back and there’s usually someone around. No one takes offence.People peel off at various stages, sometimes even without a word. They got all the group running they needed for the day and that’s that. No problem. And I think wherever you go in the world, it’s a similar vibe. You join a running group, and you belong. Imagine just jumping into a random soccer game or band practice or book club? You can’t. But you always can with running groups. You can count on that. And I love it.


On to tomorrow’s workout! We’re back to hills. I know – some of you love ‘em and some of you hate ‘em. They are part of every runner’s healthy diet though.


Let’s do a similar ratio of long/short as last time. Doesn’t have to be the exact same quantity. Something like 4-7 long, 3-5 short. 7 and 5is probably more than most people will do, myself included. Just putting it out there – you don’t have to decide until you’re doing them and you see how you feel. The goal for these is to run strong and steady up the full, peppier and faster up the half. Once you feel you’ve started losing power and pace on the full, move to the half. Last time that happened to me sooner than expected! Just roll with it – it’s base season and we’re building strength, not risking injury.


Beach people, this is a 400m and 200m hill. Wherever that works (I know you like Glen Manor – Balsam between Queen and Pine is a good replica of Pottery).


I will plan to be at Pottery around 6:15. Remember, just get there and roll into it – we’ll see you on the hill!


That is all – see you in the am





Training our way

Hi All!

Congrats to Andrew McKay and Nir who ran the Philadelphia Marathon on the weekend! I haven’t heard their stories yet, but I know there were some battles and demons fought out there. Way to go guys.


Last weekend cross country fans saw the NCAA x-country championships take place. The women’s race was won from the front by Parker Valby. Valby trains very unconventionally by running only 2-3 times a week, and training on an elliptical device for her other sessions. She has a history of injuries, knows what works for her, and confidently does that. She trusts herself. This appeals to me because I think many of us could use some of this “trust yourself to go-your-own-way” confidence. I’ve been thinking about this from a personal perspective as well as I get older. There are a lot of data and experiences and training programs for endurance athletes … up to a point. There is not a lot of research or experience or training paradigms for athletes as they want to stay competitive as they get older. Many of us at the ages of 40’s and 50’s and beyond are still looking at what the best in the world are doing as our benchmarks. Cam Levins runs 280km a week and Jakob Ingebrigtsen does double threshold days. It’s easy to fall into the thinking that more is better. We know we can’t do what they’re doing, but those are the models we are following, and the closer we can get, we figure the faster, stronger we will be. And as we age, we just get worse and worse at following the prescribed program until we stop.


That’s how it used to be. We are a new wave of athletes. Our parents (for the most part) did not do what we are doing at our age. Not many people have. We are high performance athletes. And just as women are not “smaller men”, older athletes are not just “slower, weaker” versions of younger athletes. We are different. We have different strengths and different training needs. The problem (or maybe the exciting opportunity, depending on how you look at it), is that we are still figuring out what those needs are because there have been so few of us in the past. When I lined up for 1500m races on the track last summer beside high school athletes, I had the thought that I could never have imagined my parents racing in the same competitive races as me when I was a teenager! It would have been a spectacle. But we are doing that now. We are forging the path for those who continue on behind us. That path is no less challenging than when we were younger. And no less rewarding. I ran a tempo run with a group on the weekend that ranged in ages from mid-20’s to almost 50 (me). I was not at the front, and I was not the fastest I’ve been. But the feeling was the same. The exhilaration of working hard, legs burning, lungs heaving, body sweating in the cold air. Why would we ever want to give that up?


I went to a show with some high school friends last week which was supposed to be a comedy about menopause. It absolutely missed the mark for us. We didn’t understand who it was supposed to be for. It seemed to have been written 30 years ago and for people who were 20 years older than us. We ended up laughing until tears ran down about how bad it was. So at least it was a comedy. But the point is, we need a new narrative. Getting older isn’t about laughing about getting fat, hairy, hot, and forgetful. Talk about a disempowering message! I’m glad we couldn’t relate, but then we were like, “who’s writing our narrative?” I guess it’s us. So, time to take a page from Parker Valby’s playbook and train confidently in a way that works for YOU. That might mean more rest, more strength, more cross-training, more mobility, less running. But it doesn’t mean giving up, or even necessarily slowing down! Guess what: No one else knows shit, so let’s do it the way that works for us.


(on that note, if you are interested in doing Sunday Power and Speed with me and designed by me and Kerry, at Monarch Track on the first three Sundays in December (7:30-9:30 am – we can start at 8:00 am), pls indicate here:  Speed/Powersign-up.  It is $100/session for the group, so if we can get 10 ppl it will be cost effective – I’ll only run it if there are enough ppl)


On to tomorrow’s workout: Lakeshore and Leslie. 6:05 drills, 6:15 GO.

Sets of progressive 400’s with 200 easy jog. (this is forcing us to take the sting out of them – it’s all about that base!)

1 set = 4 x 400 w 200 easy jog, getting 1-2 seconds faster each one. So start out measured! 3 mins bw sets.

2 sets would be a solid workout. If still feeling good you can add a set or a couple 400’s.


That is all – see you in the am!





For the love of base

Hi Gang!


Congrats to Zoë who ran the club provincial x-country championships on the weekend and came 4th in her age group! Ooh x-country … so hard – way to go. I believe for most of us the racing season is wrapped up. There are some winter races which are fun to jump into if you’re looking to maintain some sharpness or get a fun workout in (off the bat some standard good winter races I can think of are: Holly Jolly 5K – Nov 26, Holiday10K – Dec 3, Robbie Burns 8K – Jan 21). The great thing about winter races is that they definitely have more of a celebratory “we’re still doing this vibe” than “I trained really hard and want to prove myself” vibe. But as always, you do you.


On that note, I’ve been thinking about this “base” or “down” phase as many people call it. It’s the in-between season of big running goals. As much as I love chasing goals, I really love this season as well. Some people have asked me, “what should I be doing now to get ready for training in Jan?” To me the most obvious answer is: to get yourself into a happy and healthy spot with your running. Your goal for this phase should be to rekindle your love of running – whatever that takes. For some people this might mean replacing quite a few runs with x-training activities they feel they miss out on when they’re in “training mode”. That’s great. Go to the gym, take the classes, get in the pool, put on your skis. For some it means keeping up the routine of daily runs,but taking the pressure right off of pace and distance. For others it might bean opportunity to ramp up some consistent easy mileage so they have a strong base when they start training in a couple months. Some people might want to focus more on short sprints and gym work and other things that they don’t have time or energy for when doing singularly focused training. I find myself in the camp of waking up most days and asking myself what I feel like doing that day. It can be based on my mood, my energy, the weather, and what else I have going on that day. That’s the beauty of “unstructured” training. The question shouldn’t be “what should I do” but rather “what do I want to do”.  If you can do that for a month or so, you will be better in tune with your body, your energy levels should become realigned,and you should be feeling mentally refreshed and physically ready to lean in in the new year. So go, have fun and figure out how to stoke your love for running!



(Stay tuned for more info on Sunday morning speed sessions at Monarch Track. I will try to start with the first 3 Sundays in December and see how that goes. They will be sessions based on plyometrics and short speed put together by myself and Kerry. A little more focus on fast running than we did in Skills N Drills. If you can do your longer runs on Saturdays that should work well. They can complement each other while long runs are easy and not that long (20K and under). More info coming… if you’re interested and not on Fbook pls message me.)


On to tomorrow’s workout! Back to Lakeshore and Leslie: 6:05 drills, 6:15 GO


1.    3 x 1 mile AS: 200m steady, 200m pick-up –repeat for the whole mile (there will be cones). 2 min bw reps. This is a good one to give you the opportunity to get some work in and go by feel. No time goals – this is one to do by effort. Generally, the more fit you get, the faster the “steady” 200’s become. That doesn’t have to be now. And the pick-ups are to go by feel. Just have fun with this one. Then we will finish with 4 x200 as long strides (1 min rest).


That is all – see you in the am!





Cats and dogs

Hi Everyone!


Wow, what a weekend in New York! We had a such a great crew down there running AND cheering! I love so much how this team goes and supports each other in these huge accomplishments. Racing and doing SO well on such a tough course we had: Elizabeth Gladney (BQ and 2nd Canadian in AG!), Madalyn Marcus (BQ and really sent it! 2nd Canadian in AG), Laura Gage (BQ and so flippin steady!!), Samantha Farrell (BQ and also steady eddy! Feel like you could’ve handled another few kms 😉 ), Amanda Bugatto (awesome run with a questionable hip – grittiest runner out there), Jordan Stewart (PB!! On that course!! And 3rd Canadian in AG), Carol McFarlane (BQ and SO strong! Winner of the happiest runner out there), Carolyn Steele Gray (BQ and 3rd Canadian in AG!)  Way to go all. That was huge. Take two weeks off and then listen to your bodies about coming back.


Speaking about bodies, that’s what I’ve been thinking about recently. Our bodies, how we inhabit them, and our relationships to them as we age. I love this passage by Ursula K Le Guin on how cats and dogs understand their bodies:


“Dogs don’t know what they look like. Dogs don’t even know what size they are. No doubt it’s our fault, for breeding them into such weird shapes and sizes. My brother’s dachshund, standing tall at eight inches, would attack a Great Dane in the full conviction that she could tear it apart. When a little dog is assaulting its ankles the big dog often stands there looking confused — “Should I eat it? Will it eat me? I am bigger than it, aren’t I?” But then the Great Dane will come and try to sit in your lap and mash you flat, under the impression that it is a Peke-a-poo.


Cats know exactly where they begin and end. When they walk slowly out the door that you are holding open for them, and pause, leaving their tail just an inch or two inside the door, they know it. They know you have to keep holding the door open. That is why their tail is there. It is a cat’s way of maintaining a relationship.

Housecats know that they are small, and that it matters. When a cat meets a threatening dog and can’t make either a horizontal or a vertical escape, it’ll suddenly triple its size, inflating itself into a sort of weird fur blowfish,and it may work, because the dog gets confused again — “I thought that was a cat. Aren’t I bigger than cats? Will it eat me?” “

Le Guin notes that many of us humans are like dogs – having no idea where our bodies begin and end in space and time. When we are children, we inhabit our bodies like cats – we ARE our bodies. But when we go through adolescence with so many changes, we can lose sense of who we are and there is a disconnect between what we see in the mirror and how we feel. Then she says this change happens again as we age.

When I think about this I think about how grateful I am that I am an athlete. Athletes inhabit our bodies like cats. We have learned to become aware of ourselves, and what we can do. We experience the world through the movement of our bodies. We are right there inhabiting them through all our changes and adaptations – as we grow and as we break down. Many people view their bodies as external casings – to be shaped and perfected and beautified and controlled.They are separate from their bodies and I think therefore can be pretty hard on them. As an athlete, my body is home. It is me. I really took this in the other day as I ran down a ravine path, navigating around all the walkers, feeling the heat being generated by my body juxtaposed against the cool air hitting my skin. That is when I feel like me – experiencing all the sensations that come with movement. My body looks the way it looks because it reflects the patterns of my life. Massage therapists can still tell which hip I carried my babies on when they were little because my body formed around them on one side. I’m not encouraging wrinkles, but I accept them as signs of “having been there”. I move differently now than I did in my 20’s – not always slower, but the patterns are different. It’s a different pace with the emphasis in different areas. I am working with my body and its needs – not fighting it. I don’t think you can intellectualize your way into thinking of yourself like this. I think you have to really experience inhabiting your body as an athlete does. That’s why I will continue to move and think and train like an athlete even as I age into an old lady. So I don’t suddenly feel like a stranger to myself, and like a large dog,one day try to curl up in a box that is half my size.

On to tomorrow’s workout! Back to hills! Pottery Rd for Western East-enders, Beaches  for Beachers.


These will be the bread and butter of our base season. Lots of great strength building and we can just go the pace that our bodies are feeling at the time. Tomorrow is going to be cold, so we should start out gently. Let’s do up to 6 long and 4 short. Up to = you can do less!

I will aim to be at Pottery around 6:15. Just a reminder – if you’re in the Beach you can meet up with that crew, and if Pottery is your closest hill just start doing them when you get there – we don’t have an official start time for these.

See you in the am!





Growth mindset

Hi Everyone!


As far as I know only one person raced this past weekend –Shauna C and her daughter Tegan raced the Day of the Dead 9K! (and I only found out bc of a random conversation – you guys need to tell me when you race so we can all celebrate you!!!) Racing is hard and we all want to feel part of each others efforts. Way to go!


Recently I’ve been revisiting Carol Dwek’s work on Mindset. I know we circulated this book and have talked about it before. I think this is one that is important to keep revisiting, because it is so easy to keep slipping into a fixed mindset even when we started with a growth mindset. In fact, most of us start things with a growth mindset. This is what is sometimes called “the beginner’s mind”. It is the belief that we have potential and abilities which are as yet unknown but to be discovered through challenge and exploration. And the discovering and uncovering of potential is enjoyable work, with failures along the way being just signals of learning. However, what happens to many of us is that we fall into a “fixed mindset”. This is the belief that our characteristics and abilities are innate and predetermined. We are who we are. With this mindset we feel compelled to prove ourselves over and over, and every challenge becomes a potentially fearful event where we might not live up to what we believe are our fixed qualities.


We take these beliefs to all areas of our lives: work,school, sports, and even relationships. In all of these areas, having a fixed mindset pushes us away from challenge and growth, and towards seeking out safe scenarios where we can reinforce our beliefs about ourselves. I think I’m in the majority of people for sometimes slipping back and forth between these two mindsets, and having to remind myself to remain in a growth mode. Success, particularly early or quick success, can nudge us towards a fixed mindset. I am “fast” or “talented”or “should be able to run … X”.  This is not to be confused with confidence. Confidence is a feeling that you are in control. It is looking forward to the experience and believing you can handle the challenge instead of trying to prove what you think you know about yourself.I’ve noticed that the races for which I’m the most nervous are the ones where I’m feeling insecure and feel I need to prove my version of myself as a runner. To whom I’m not sure, but that’s the feeling. Whereas other times I can show up with an open mind, ready for effort, and excited to see how I can challenge myself and what I can learn on the day. Failure is an option, and it doesn’t change how I view myself. It means maybe I tried something that didn’t work,and becomes information for the next time. This is the mindset that keeps us coming back, keeps us engaged and most importantly, keeps us happy.


Two classic sporting examples of fixed and growth mindset are John Mcenroe and Michael Jordan. Mcenroe exemplified the fixed mindset. He believed he was innately talented and expected himself to win. He famously hated playing though. Games were only opportunities for his belief about himself to be disproven, and so they were emotionally fraught and he could not handle orl earn from mistakes. He also did not want to look like he was working hard for his success. His identity hinged on the fact that he was a “natural” and any setback was a big threat to his identity.  Michael Jordan was an exemplar of the growth mindset. He truly believed that he was only good because of practice and a willingness to fail. He loved playing the game. Every game was an opportunity to take risks and learn something new.


“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed.I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”– Michael Jordan


“I can’t speak for other people, but I still hate losing. When I did lose, I found it easier to yell than to cry. Guys aren’t supposed to cry, are they?” – John McEnroe

On to tomorrow’s workout! Lakeshore and Leslie – 6:05 Drills, 6:15 GO!


1.    NYC Marathoners!!! Taper time!!! 1 mile @ race pace, 2-3 min rest. 2 x 400 a lil quicker (w 60-90 seconds)

2.    Hamilton Half Marathoners: as above, but finish with 5 x 400

3.    Everyone else: Do the taper workout with marathoners to support them. Then a little social “finisher” into the beach.4-5 x 2 min On w 1 min Off.


That is all – see you in the am!






Hey Gang!


Huge congrats to Mike Greenberg who ran the Niagara Marathon in a PB of 2:55! It was a windy day and not perfect conditions, so all the more impressive. Coming up, we have the Hamilton Half and the NYC Marathon in two weekends! This week is the last little push with some intensity, but taking the volume down. People who have done their fall races or are training to train,let’s bring our energy to get this crew to the start line ready to go!


What I’ve been thinking about recently is experience.Experience as it relates to aging in a way. There is really no way to go through life without accumulating experience, and there is no way to become experienced in things without the process of time. We eventually become a compilation of our experiences. I read this quote recently and it resonated: “a person is less like a star, whose very chemistry, the source of its light,changes profoundly over its life-cycle, and more like a planet, like this planet, whose landscape changes over the ages but is always shaped by the geologic strata layered beneath, encoding everything the planet has been since its birth.” – Maria Popova.


I like the dichotomy of this as it applies to getting older.Yes, as we age our muscles become less powerful, our tendons less springy, our joints more creaky. It takes us longer to recover from efforts which aren’t quite as fast as they once were. But we have behind us and are still laying down layers of experience. Marathons can really highlight this dichotomy. It is not always the fastest person in workouts nor the person with the highest VO2max or even the person who has strung together the most impressive training cycle who comes out on top. Often it is the person with more experience – whose mind and body know what to expect and how to react to it –who does well. This is not something you can read about to learn – it must be experienced.


I was chatting with a friend about the funny phenomenon that once someone breaks a certain barrier (a time barrier in running for example),it is much easier for them to do it again. It’s because their body and mind have carved the path. They’ve been there. They can’t intellectualize it, but they know how to do it. And often they can do it again, even when their training doesn’t indicate that they could.


I’ve mentioned this anecdote before but it’s worth mentioning again. When world renowned coach Renato Canova was asked why his world record athlete in the steeplechase wasn’t doing as high mileage as he once had, he responded that he had already developed that system as far as it could take him. He could now count on it, and focus on developing other areas. What I take from that is that the training that we are doing when we are building, is not the training we have to keep doing in order to maintain. And this applies over a life cycle of training. How we trained in our 20’s is not how we should be training in our50’s and beyond, and this does not mean we’re doing it worse. It means we are relying more on our experience and wisdom, and less on our ability to pile on more and more work. And guess what – we may land on very similar results for the effort. And you know what else? We deserve it. There are advantages to getting older and accumulating experience. So to those with a fair bit of experience: take confidence in that. You don’t have to replicate the training you did in order to get there. And to those still accumulating experience:accept the process. Every race becomes a data point and a foundational layer onto which the next ones will be built.


On to tomorrow’s workout! Lakeshore and Leslie – 6:05 drills, 6:15 GO!


1.    1.5 miles @ Marathon pace (3 straightaways), 3min rest, 1 mile @ HMP, 2 min rest, 800m @ 10K pace, 1:45 rest, 600m @ 5K pace,1:30 rest, 400 @ a lil faster, 1:15 rest, 200 light and quick. Yes, this is not un-similar to what people training for Hamilton did last week – this week you’ll just do it with more company.

(So it looks like: 3 laps, 2 laps, 1 lap, 600, 400, 200. It will make sense when we get there.)


2.    If still recovering and coming back from having raced, feel it out. Start at Marathon Pace, and if your legs don’t want to go faster, stay there.




That is all – see you in the a.m.!






Hi Everyone!


Wow – where to begin. I’ll start with what I left out last week: Anna Dowse ran a 100 MILE race in just over 24 hours! Then on Sunday in the TCS races, in the 5K we had Pearce (4th in age-group and PB with a sub-17), Kerry (2nd in age-group), and Erin (1st in age-group!) In the Half Marathon we had Colette (PB!), Lyndsay (4th in age-group and PB!), Elese (PB!), Zoe (2nd in age-group) and Sean! In the marathon we had Roz Salter and Chris Fortin – both had tough days out there but went for it. We loved cheering for you and man … the marathon!!! And also in the marathon Andrew Higgs was guiding a visually impaired athlete through halfway to try to reach his sub-3goal (he just missed it but he went through halfway on target!)


We are in the thick of race season, and it is here that I become a superfan of others. Of people I know, people I don’t know, elites whose glory or heartbreak stories I read, of people going through hard times and running to prove something to themselves, of people supporting others through their training and races, of people smiling through the pain and tears as they continue on past the 39K mark to the finish … The word I keep coming back to is– Inspiration. Man, people inspire me.


The definition of Inspiration is “the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something”. What is so powerful about this is that we witness these struggles and accomplishments and we think – “that could be me”. I am currently coaching the York cross-country team. The thing about cross-country is that it is a team sport. Every finishing place gets added to the team score, and the lowest score wins. The top 5 count, and the 6th and 7th runners can pass runners on other teams to give them a higher score. So every effort counts. I have them practicing running together in workouts, so that in races they have the confidence to stick together. I tell them: when you are hurting but you push a little more, you are pulling up your teammate who knows s/he can run with you. And then, they might take a turn when you’re feeling weak. This is why you see some teams becoming dominant. They are not a group of individually strong athletes as much as they are mutually inspiring and pulling each other up. They have the confidence to stick with each other and the desire to pull each other forward. When they see a teammate make a breakthrough they don’t think “ugh, they’re better than me”, they think “I can do that too”.


As I said, I am drawing my own confidence and inspiration from those around me – many of whom I consider part of my team. Thank-you all for that – we are pulling each other forward, and in more ways than just in athletic pursuits. Y’all inspire me greatly.



On to tomorrow’s workout! Let’s do one last hill/tempo combo for our NYC friends. If you’re racing Hamilton I’ll give you something flat and different. Everyone else, Pottery Rd or a 400m similar hill:


1.    2 x Hill right into 4 min faster tempo. Repeat 3 times. I know no hills in NYC will be as big as that, but we’re callousing your legs to the feeling of turning over when they’re ‘hill-fatigued’. Again. And again.

2.    Hamilton racers: how about a nice cut-down wrkt. 2K, 1.5K, 1K, 800, 600, 400 – getting faster as you go. Start at HM race pace for the first 2 sets and then work down. Rests 3 mins, 2 mins, 90 sec, 90 sec,1:15

3.    Training to train: just Pottery hills, no tempo