Having Fun

Hey All!


Hope you’re all enjoying watching the Olympics. Wow. So much drama and emotion and so many stories!


I have always loved sports. To me, sports have always represented fun and play. When I was a shy little kid and my parents asked me what camp I wanted to do in the summer, I always said “Sports Camp”. There was such a thing. It was completely generalized –  which worked for me. I didn’t care which sports I played – I just wanted to play. My favourite day of the year at school was Journée Sportif which was basically a mini-Olympics but we all did all of the sports. I think that’s where I began to self-select into the longer running events vs. shot-put and high jump, but I certainly had the opportunity to “play” at everything. All through elementary and even high school, my favourite class was always Phys-ed. Again, I didn’t really care what game we were playing – to me Phys ed meant running around, laughing with others and basically having fun. Phys ed was my absolute relief from math and science and geography – sitting still at a desk was so boring!!! (still is tbh). So of course when I learned that Phys Ed was an actual degree you could take in university, that is what I took!


Aren’t we lucky that as adults we still have this opportunity to play and run and laugh together? That is what I want to remind us all about. When did sport become so serious? I guess I get it for our Olympic athletes, although in some you can definitely still see the elements of play and fun they have managed to hold on to. For the rest of us who are running and biking and swimming for our “goals”, let’s not forget to keep it fun. Fun, play and enjoyment are the reasons I got into all this sports stuff over 40 years ago. And to be honest, they’re the reasons I’m still doing it. And yes, it’s “fun” to work hard, but let’s not lose the ability to keep the lightness in there – to laugh with others and at ourselves, to show up with excitement and enjoyment and to remember that we’re playing here. This is what we do as a relief from work and stress and obligations. So keep it fun. Or if you prefer, I could always give you a sheet of long-division problems to do on Wednesday mornings!


Tomorrow’s workout: (and here’s a sub-goal – smile as you pass ppl every time)


  1. 3 x 800 @ HM pace, 3 x 800 @ 10K pace (all w 1:30); 3 min rec,; 2 x 400 w 1:15 @ 5K pace
  2. If going fartlek style: 6 x 3 min on, 1:30 off (first three @HM, second 3 @ 10K), 3 min easy, 2 x 1:30 w 1:15
  3. If training for 5K: 2 x 800 @ HM pace, 3 min, 4 x 400 w 1 @ 10K, 3 min, 4 x 400 w 2 @ 5K
  4. Tempos are written in your plans


See you at 6:15 and Have Fun!!!!






Hi Everyone!


It’s been so great seeing so many of you out doing a multitude of activities. And I hope everyone is getting in some good Olympics watching! I am loving it.


What I’ve been thinking about this week is the ability to ask for what we want or need. I think many of us have had this ability trained out of us by society or our own inner voices. But being able to ask for what you want is a huge strength. People want to help us – they just don’t always know how.


I was listening to a podcast with Brandi Carlile. She was asked whether she was good at asking for what she wanted. She unapologetically said “Yes! I know what I need and I can’t get it all alone”. I loved this. There was no shame in asking – only confidence. A lot of what she asks for is charity involvement for fundraisers. She joked that people in Hollywood probably screen her calls because she is so unafraid of asking, but she believes in what she is doing and makes things happen. And in reality, people do want to help.


A female friend of mine who is a top executive in a male dominated industry was on a podcast talking about going back to work with small kids. Her team had meetings at 8:30 am. She asked for them to be moved back an hour because she was doing the school run. No problem. She has since risen higher and higher and that is in part because she has been able to ask for what she needs.


Similarly, as we take on commitments in our lives as athletes and in service to others (paid or unpaid), it will only help us if are able to ask for what we want. Can you make dinner on these nights? Can we move these meetings a bit later or earlier? Can you join me on this hard effort? Can I have this half day off to attend to my wellness needs?


The people around you want your success. But they can’t guess what you need. So please learn to ask. If not only for yourself, then as a path that you’re carving for those who are coming behind you and who maybe won’t have to ask as loudly. Jumping through hoops while carrying all the balls yourself won’t help you. Please learn to ask. It will make you so much stronger and more successful.


For this week! We are back to hills:


  1. 5-6 x Pottery Rd Hill – 3-4 min recovery then 2 x 8 mins @ mara pace w 3 min recovery
  2. If on a recovery week, 3 x hills and a few good strides after
  3. 5K runners: 5-6 x Pottery (or similar if in beach) and 4-5 x strides after
  4. Short tempo for recovery week ppl if feeling like you need something: 5min, 2min, 2min, 2min – same tempo paces – don’t speed up bc it’s shorter – all w 2 min easy OR no tempo
  5. Tempo for 5K ppl: 3 x 5 min w 2 min, then 5 min easy, then 5 min a bit quicker
  6. Tempo for ppl building: 2 x 12 min w 3 easy


That is all for now – see you out there!





Magic Bullets

Hi Everyone!


Hope you’re all managing to stay cool and drinking lots of water (dehydration can sneak up on you when you’re going from heat to air conditioning). Also, let’s just stay aware of this smog that is hanging over the city – it is particulates from forest fires, so if you’re feeling any irritation in your lungs or feeling light headed, back off. Hopefully some rain tonight will clear it out.


What I’ve been thinking about is our strange irrationality as humans (again). What if I told you you could take a pill that would give you greater exercise adaptation, increased muscle growth, bone building and fat burning? It would also be your recovery salve when you’re injured as it would increase your recovery rate by increasing protein synthesis. And it would increase your motivation to work out and make your workouts feel easier? Would you take it? How much would you pay for it? Consider how much you invest in all of your other products that give you a slight edge. Now what if I told you it was free? Yes, I’m talking about sleep.


This is where we become irrational. Yes, workouts are important, and fitting them into our busy days are hard. And the truth is, you won’t get fitter and stronger if you have nothing to recover from. But continually depriving yourself of sleep in order to work out will eventually lead to diminishing gains if not injury.


I’m not lecturing, just reminding you of something to remain aware of as you lean into training at the same time that you rediscover patios and socializing, and your kids and partners get busier, and work is not slowing down. None of these things should be taken off the table. But please remember that sleep is not the one that should constantly be compromised. It won’t help you. Rationally, if you want the best results from your efforts, the smartest thing to do is to compromise your workouts every now and then in favour of sleep. We think if it doesn’t feel hard, we’re not working towards our goals – but that is not the truth. I’m telling you that. So shut off that part of your brain that is compulsively telling you to “push through” and take the advice that will actually get you fitter, stronger, faster. Sleep!!!! It actually is a magic bullet.


Ok, onto Wednesday workout!


  1. 1K tempo; 2 min rec, 6 x 600 @ 5K pace w 1:30, 3 min rec; 1K tempo
  2. If doing this fartlek style: 4 mins tempo, 2 min easy, 6 x 2 min Hard, 1:30 Easy, 3 min easy, 4 min tempo
  3. If on a recovery week (like me!) feel free to join me for jogging, strides and mobility



That’s all – have a good one and see you out there! (Lakeshore & Leslie at 6:15 J)






Hi Gang!


Many of us are getting into the groove of summer training. We have fall goals on the horizon and are excited to work towards them. This is what we love! Big goals with plans filled with hard work and fun in order to get us there.


As we start out and map everything out, I just want to set you all up with one expectation: expect the odd set-back. Most people will not have a completely smooth journey and be able to follow their plan 100% to the letter. That is expected. Most of us will confront schedule changes, energy ebbs and flows, injuries, life events that will lead to set-backs – large or small. That is OK. That is all part of the journey. These set-backs, and how we handle them, are actually more significant for our growth and learning as athletes than a smooth road.


I was listening to an interview with LeBron James. He was talking about his kids. He said they would never have the same drive as him because he could never recreate the circumstances that led to where he is. He grew up poor, in a single parent household, in rough neighbourhoods and schools. His kids have a stable family, live in wealthy neighbourhoods, and go to private schools. Of course this is what he wants to give them, but LeBron also said, I wish for my kids enough hardship and obstacles in their lives that they can grow and learn.


As parents and as coaches or leaders, we all sort of hope for this, but yet we would never put hardships or obstacles in our kids or athletes’ way on purpose. Rather, when they experience them, we don’t stress about it or try to fix it, but rather let our kids/athletes/mentees struggle and grow through the challenge – even if it’s uncomfortable.


So, as much as I hope for smooth journeys for all of you, I know as a matter of odds and experience that that won’t be the case. And when we each hit our own set-backs, although I won’t be celebrating them (they are tough), I also won’t be stressing and cursing and wishing it were different.  We all have the opportunity to gain wisdom, self-knowledge and strength with every new challenge, difficulty and failure if we are able to accept them, use them, and move on. So whatever happens, this will be a great season for all of us J


On to our Wednesday Workout: (6:15 am start at Lakeshore and Leslie)


  1. 2-3 sets of: 800-800-400. 1:30 between reps, 3-4 mins (and 400m easy jog back) bw sets. Marathoners, do three sets as half marathon/8K pace. 5K runners do 2 sets as 10K/5K pace.
  2. If doing this fartlek style: 3min-3min-1:30 w 1:30 bw reps, 3-4 mins bw sets
  3. Tempo: 3 x 5 min w 3 min (unless you’re a marathoner doing work in your long run this weekend)


See you out there!





Make the hard things easier

Hi Everyone!


I can’t tell you how great it’s been to see faces to work out live with again – for running and boot camps in the park! I’m loving it.


What I’ve been thinking about this week is about making hard things easier. Sometimes, once we’ve gotten our heads around doing something hard, we seem to want to lean in and make it even harder on ourselves. We don’t have to do that. Many of us are just getting going on some bigger training which is ramping up. Let’s try to find ways to make the hard things as easy as possible.  For example, if you’re exhausted and need extra sleep, don’t wake up at 5 am to do your run. If it’s the hottest day of the year, don’t rigidly stick to your plan and do your long run on that day anyway – move things around – don’t punish yourself! Work your routine so you can ride/run/swim with friends who help you laugh. One of my training buddies told me that her coach advised her to bring her favourite chocolate bar on her long rides – I love that advice. And don’t run fasted – that’s hard. Instead, eat yummy food before and after your workouts. Stop at water fountains. Bring your favourite sports drink. Buy the new shoes or shorts that are comfy and make you feel good. Whatever you can do to make the hard things easier, do that. This is not a toughness competition – it’s training for a specific thing. Being tired or uncomfortable or grumpy will not help you to do that thing. We are doing enough hard things already – instead of reveling in how hard they are, figure out how to make them feel easy – that’s the trick to long term sustainability!


Onto the hard-ish (but fun!) things for this week:

  1. Boston people, remember the downhills are just as important as the uphills. You want to come out of that first half with as little muscle damage and fatigue as possible. So let’s do this: half to 2/3 your usual number of hills but focus on going downhill a little more quickly and smoothly than usual. You won’t be as recovered going up, but that’s ok – the focus is on the blend. THEN finish with 3 x 5 min @ marathon race pace with 3 min easy.
  2. 5K people: do an equal number of full hills and half hills. Finish with 3-4 x flat fast strides.
  3. People who are camping and don’t have a hill: 6 x 2 min Hard, 1 min easy, 3 min easy, 3 x 5 min @ mara race pace w 3 min easy



Tempos are written on your plans.


Enjoy all and stay cool!!!!





Happy Summer :)

Hey All!



Happy Summer!!!


On many of my runs and walks this week I’ve noticed so many people out enjoying each others’ company, playing tennis, splashing in pools, playing basketball, walking, running, just enjoying life. And it makes me so happy. I feel welcomed back into our outdoor spaces – washrooms are open! Water fountains are on! We are being invited back out!


So what I was thinking, was: let’s allow ourselves to take a moment and just enjoy this. Enjoy summer. Enjoy everything we’ve put on hold. Enjoy not worrying if you’re doing the wrong thing and are about to get yelled at. Smile at people on the sidewalk! Breathe out. Pause. Let it all sink in. We deserve this.


Yes, there are still many injustices in our world and in our country and a lot of pain that we should keep our eyes and actions open to. But for a second, let’s just allow ourselves to feel happy. Feeling happy does not mean you don’t care about others who aren’t. It’s the opposite – when you really feel it, you want to share it, so it makes it easier to care. So go out and enjoy summer and spread the joy as much as you can!


I know this isn’t totally about running, but it is in a way. If you run with joy and as a celebration of life instead of as self-punishment and guilt, you will get waaaaay more out of it.


Onto workouts for this week!


I promised we’d start getting together again, so anyone who wants to join or even run by and say ‘hi’, we’ll be meeting at Lakeshore and Leslie at 6/6:15. 6 if you want to do some mobility and strides, 6:15 Go-Time.


  1. Cut-downs. 1 mile (2 mins), 1200 (400 jog), 1000 (200 jog), 800 (90 sec), 600 (90 sec), 400
  2. If on a recovery week, let’s work on speed and neuro-muscular recruitment. What this means: if you make the connections to engage more of your running muscles, it will be easier for your body to use those connections and that muscle recruitment when running at slower paces. This makes you a more “efficient” runner (ie. You use less energy to sustain a certain pace). But you can only specifically engage some of this “muscular reserve” by training them through running fast. Recovery weeks are a great time to work on this bc you can do it while still taking a volume break.
  • Good warm-up (maybe some more drills and strides than usual). 4 x 200 w 2 min rec. Focus on good form and power throughout. 4 mins. 4-6 x 100 w 2 min (or slow walk back recovery). 4 mins. 1 x 200. Cool-down.
  1. Tempo – these are becoming specific to peoples’ builds, so if you have a plan, check those.


Enjoy and hope to see some of you tomorrow!!!






The Art of Showing Up

Hey Everyone!!!


First up, if you’re looking for some jolts of inspiration, motivation and just pure entertainment, I hope you’re following the US Olympic track qualifiers happening now, and this weekend we have the Canadian trials coming up! So fun.


What I’ve been thinking about this week is the art of showing up. I think this matters most when we are starting out with big far away goals. Yes, we’ll have to do a lot of work – eventually, but it’s important first to set the stage. Start by committing to showing up. Count each time out as a success. Don’t measure what you did, but the fact that you did it.


Some of us are taking up open water swimming. It hasn’t been easy with cold water and early mornings. I know it will get easier, but my goals so far have been about just getting in the water. A few times some of us have arrived early in the morning, put on our wetsuits, gotten waist deep, and then called it. I still count those sessions as a success. Goal achieved. We showed up. We can and will build from that. But that’s the first step. We’re creating routines that we know we can do.


Same goes for runs. With many of us starting training schedules, we are currently creating the patterns. We will layer on the work, but what we’re doing now is creating less mental resistance for when it eventually becomes harder. Show up for your workouts, tempos and long runs. Be there. Don’t worry about what happens once you get there for now. Just be consistent. What was once hard (creating the space for a weekend long run, or getting your body up early for intervals) will become easier, and then we can focus on adding a bit to each session. But if you’re training for something that is a few months or more away, I promise you that there is not one individual session which will matter more than the overall benefits of showing up for all (or most) of them. So let’s start with a routine you know you can do again and again. If you’re feeling exhausted and beat up after a week or two, you’re starting out too hard! Go back to just showing up. It will get you there, I promise.


That said, I think next week will be a good time to start meeting again for Wednesday workouts! I’ll wait until then because that’s when it will be officially ok to get together outside for up to 25 people. I can’t wait to see many of you!!!


For this week, let’s continue to work in whatever groups are working for you and we’ll get into a good group routine soon.


Workouts for this week:


  1. Marathoners: 6 x 800 w 1:30 rest, 3 min, 2 x 400 w 1 min. The pacing of these is important. First 2 @ marathon pace – (basically a good extended warm-up); Second 2 @ ½ mara pace (~ 10 sec faster), Third 2 @ 10K pace (another 10 sec faster); 400’s @ 5K pace
  2. If training for 5K: 4 x 800 w 1:30 (2 @ ½ mara pace, 2 @ 10K pace), 3 min rec, then 4 x 400 w 1 min @ 5K pace
  3. Tempo (if not otherwise written on your plan): 5 x 6 min w 1:30


Have fun everyone and can’t wait to see you sooooon!!!!!








What are you measuring?

Hey Crew!


What I’ve been thinking about this week is about being deliberate about knowing what we’re measuring and why. I think we all get in a trap of thinking certain measurements mean more than they do. Mileage, for example. We count it, track it, try to boost it. But that might not be what is helping you get to your goals. We get so caught up in getting to a certain volume, but weekly mileage is a false target. Running volume should be an indication of where you are in your training (ie. This is what it takes to support the amount of work you need to get done) vs. an erroneous target you’re trying to hit regardless of how you get there.


I coach a group of athletes who are divided into Middle Distance (400m-1500m racers) and Long Distance (5K and up). At certain times of the year, their workouts are somewhat similar, but as we get closer to race season they diverge quite dramatically. The other day the MD group had a TOTAL of 1200m in intervals. One of them remarked on how they were running ¼ of the volume of the LD crew. I reminded them, that’s not what they are measuring. I read that on average, Usain Bolt struck the ground when sprinting with 1,080 pounds of force. He needed to be building and measuring force and power so he could run fast. I bet he didn’t even count his milage. Middle distance runners (or long sprinters as they’re also known) – fall closer to that side of things when they’re in their competitive phase. The number of kilometers covered means nothing.


My point is, know what your goal is so you know what to measure and what doesn’t matter. If you’re injured, I think you should be measuring hours of sleep. That’s the only thing that directly helps you to recover. If you’re supplementing your running with other activities, start measuring time instead of km’s. KM’s don’t tell you the whole story. If you have a hard time keeping your easy days easy, you can do what the Bowerman track club does: count every KM as a standard measurement of time. For instance, every 5 minutes = 1 KM. Whether you’re going fast or slow. That way, you won’t be tempted to speed up on your easy days – you only get to count a kilometer for every 5 mins – even if you’re running 4:40’s (this also makes sense because your body knows how long it is spending doing something, not how much ground it is covering – so it does make sense to train that way).


So that is all – just a reminder to re-evaluate what you are measuring to make sure it is aligned with your goals.


One more thing: I am honoured to be doing a small contract working with War Child. I’ve become very moved by this organization and the big, hard work they do protecting children who have experienced war. They are holding a fitness fundraiser coming up in September (12-23 – around International Day of Peace). I will be entering an LES team, so I will hit y’all up to join that, but also wanted to put it out there that if anyone thinks their company or workplace would be interested in entering a team, please message me and I will send you more information. Thank-you!


Workouts for this week:


  1. Hills! If you’re building for Fall marathons, let’s just build the volume back up on full hills. Workin’ on that strength. If you’re looking at a track 5K this summer, do an equal number of half hills to full (added on at the end). You will need to be able to call on power when fatigued.
  2. Tempo: 3 x 6 min w 3 min easy (some of you are doing progression run vs. tempo, so no tempo for you this week)


That is all – enjoy!





Zooming back in

Hi Everyone!


As we do every year, we’re going through that uncomfortable feeling of adapting to the heat again. Feel free to reference one of my past posts on heat training but just remember these facts: it feels hard for a reason (it is harder until you adapt) and you will adapt and become more fit from it. So that’s what it is – an added element of difficulty that we didn’t ask for, but will make use of.


What I’ve been thinking about this week is about zooming in again and finding the motivation to sweat the small stuff. What I mean by this is that I feel like I’m moving out of “survival mode” where I just had to keep moving forward to keep my head above water, and the details were un-important. Was I safe, healthy, managing food and schedules for everyone at home, getting out for most of my runs, getting some work done? If those boxes were ticked, I didn’t really care about the details. I couldn’t. None of us could. It was too overwhelming. We have been living our lives in broad strokes.


But maybe now that things are opening up, programs are re-starting, races are being scheduled in, we should take some time and focus on some of the details. We can shift from “who cares – just get it done” to “actually, let’s take some time and do this well”. The way I apply this to running is to start thinking about basics: biomechanics, form, speed, turnover, efficiency, strength. These are all details which, unless you address them specifically, will not improve by just “getting your run in”. I would recommend layering back in your drills, strength routines, strides, physio exercises, etc… Make sure you’re healthy and in working order before launching forward. Take care of all of the little details. Let’s go granular again before we zoom back out. Our bodies and our running have helped us all tremendously through this time – let’s all make sure we’re all tuned up and ready to go before launching out again in full force.  


It was nice for a while, not to sweat the details. Even in the rest of life. We have given ourselves and others a lot of slack (and rightly so) in how we’ve shown up. Looking like an extra from The Walking Dead, dragging your body parts as you run along? Totally get it – we did what we had to do. But now that we have goals, let’s start shifting out of “survival just get it done” mode to “take our time and do it well” mode. It’ll be worth it in the long run.


Workouts for this week:


  1. 2 x (4×400 w 100m jog) – 400 jog bw sets – @no faster than 5K pace; 4min rec, 3-4 x 400 @ faster w 2 min rec
  2. 2-3K w-up, good drills and strides, 2-3K c-don
  3. Tempo: 3 x 5 min w 2 min easy – finish w hill bounding or strides


That is all – Enjoy!!!





Turning Down the Noise

Hi Everyone! 


Can’t say this often, but I feel like we’re looking at some perfect running weather ahead. Enjoy! 

I feel like a big part of my role as a coach is to keep people doing what they love so that it brings them happiness and self-fulfillment. Two things about that: 1 – that just seems like such a rewarding goal to help someone achieve in and of itself, and 2 – if all you really care about are times, feeling happy and self-fulfilled will cause you to be consistent and to keep showing up, so that’s the most important element to achieving your time goals. 


What I’ve been thinking about in all of this, is to remember that your own sense of pride and self-judgement is all you really need.  Of course it feels great to get kudos from others and to post your workouts on social media. I’m not anti-these things if you need a boost. Just try not to get too reliant on external validation for your own sense of achievement.  


I find it interesting watching my kids and my friends’ kids as they challenge themselves. They run consistently, they run far, they bike technical terrain, they work as hard as they can up a hill. And I can tell that the last thing on their minds is external feedback. They don’t think anyone is judging them, nor do they expect accolades. They have a very strong internal sense of whether they achieved what they set out to or not. And maybe I’m just not on their platforms, but I’ve never seen any of these kids beg for external praise from people they barely know. They don’t need that to make themselves feel good – they know whether they’re proud of themselves. 


So that is my word of caution to keep in check as we enter race seasons where our results can be judged by others. And as we load up our workouts for all to see. (and I’m not talking about sharing with our intimate training groups who are there with us and to support us). But maybe try keeping some efforts that you’re super proud of to yourself, so that you can bask in them and realize that that actually makes you happier and more self-fulfilled than thumbs-up from strangers. Then you can start learning the hard lessons, like being happy with your effort and what you had on the day, regardless of what your watch says. But it starts with turning down the external noise. This is just my thought to keep you all feeling good, happy, and running “successfully”! 


Ok, really quick Boston and Fall racing sched update: I’ll have new tabs up this week. If you need one more easy week so you can start with full batteries, please take it. We are not in a rush. You are not couch-to-marathoners so too long a build can be too much.  


Workouts for this week: 

  1. 2K at HM pace, 3 mins, 4 x 800 at 10K pace w 1:30, 3 mins, 2K at HM pace 
  2. As fartlek: 8 mins Hard, 3 mins easy, 4 x 3 min Hard, 1:30 easy, 3 min easy, 8 mins Hard 
  3. Tempo: 2 x 12 w 3 min rest, 2 x 4 min w 1:30 (a bit faster)