October 20, 2020 – Training Shape

Hey Gang! 


First up huge congrats to Amy Hayes, Zoë Webster and Samantha Farrell who ran half marathon and 30K virtual races respectively this past weekend! Amy and Zoë both ran their “A” goals solo on a windy day. And Sam just decided to “jump in” to a 30K (virtual Around the Bay) race a few days prior! Not quite a PB, but a very solid run to be able to just jump in and conquer at any time.  


This leads me to my thoughts for this week. What I’ve been thinking about is the answer to that never-ending question we receive, “What are you training for?” Many of us don’t even think about this when we set out to run, whether hard, easy or something in between because it’s just what we do. But when we’re asked, we’re forced to ponder it. Is it all pointless if I’m not training FOR anything? I asked this question to a friend recently (Alex Hutchinson – an accomplished runner who wrote Endure and the popular column Sweat Science). I see him working out fairly hard on Saturdays, doing a solid tempo with a crew. And I know he’s obviously running on days I don’t see him, so I was just curious. He gave me the same answer that I often give people to this question: “I’m just staying in good enough shape so that I can get into shape when the opportunity presents itself”.  


This “ready to get into shape” fitness is not nothing. It includes workouts and tempos. Maybe the odd long run. But it’s flexible and shouldn’t require too much mental energy. Workouts can be missed or changed, or moved around. The key is to stay in touch with how it feels to run hard and fast. I love hanging out in this zone. In fact most of my “training” occurs in this zone.  


Every now and then you’ll hear the call to really dial it up and see what you can do in a race (virtual or live) situation. You’ll feel motivated and ready to put in an extra bit of mental and physical energy. If you’re starting from “in shape enough to get into race shape” you won’t have too long to work to really get into race shape. Probably 5-8 weeks (depending on the race). But you can’t hang out in “race shape” for too long without getting burned out, so best to only go there for specifically targeted times.  


On that note, apparently the Tannenbaum 10K will be happening virtually! And Andrew has found a live 5K in Caledon on Nov 28th (socially distanced waves of 25ppl every 30 mins). I would love to enter a Tannenbaum team if anyone else is game. Whether you’re in “race shape” or “training shape” it could still be fun (I say could bc last year really pushed the limits of what I consider ‘fun’). 


Happy to write a plan for anyone interested – we have about 6 weeks! 


Ok, onto workout options for this week: 


  1. 1 mile, 4 x 400, 1 mile, 2-4 x 400 – 2-3 mins bw sets, 1 min bw 400’s 
  2. Fartlek option: 2 x (7 min Hard, 3 min easy, 4 x 1 min Hard, 1 min Easy) 
  3. Tempo – 3 x 8 min Tempo, 3 min Easy 
  4. Hills – how about the cement hill at Riverdale – it’s in-between the steep grassy ones and Pottery – start at the fence near the track for about 200m to the top of the hill (repeat 4-8 times w jog down recovery) 


Have fun!