This is what it feels like!

Hi All!


First up I want to congratulate everyone on their resiliency and positive attitudes in training (or accepting not training) through what has been a pretty challenging week and winter with the snow, cold and lack of gyms or indoor tracks. Don’t forget that if you’re training for a marathon, one of the most important things to practice is patience! So we’re all working that muscle.


I think in my last email I mentioned I’d come back to Keira D’Amatto and her recent American Record in the marathon. So here I am again. I’m probably not done yet either. But what I’ve been thinking about this time is about a post which one of her pacers – Calum Neff – posted. He said that for most of the race, he could tell that Keira was not “flowing” and did not feel good. The pace was strained and uncomfortable. He looked at the clock at 20 miles and they were just barely hanging onto their mark and it wasn’t easy. Then he said something to Keira – “THIS is what it feels like to run an American record!” Like, d-uh. But so good! Of course! Of course it isn’t going to feel easy! But just that reminder that it’s ok for hard things to feel hard. Don’t panic. Don’t fight it. Don’t tell yourself the feeling shouldn’t be there or is signaling something is wrong. This is just what it feels like!


Sometimes running paces and times seem to come with an easier effort than others. I don’t always trust my memory in telling me how easy I recall something to have been though. When I end up with a good result, I always remember it as having been easier. I know that’s my storytelling brain though and probably wasn’t the case in the moment. So then when I’m back in the moment I could easily think “it shouldn’t feel this hard”. But it should. This is what it feels like. It’s what it feels like to get back into shape. It’s what it feels like to train through a Canadian winter for a spring marathon. It’s what it feels like to run your 5th or 6th repeat at a pace you’re not sure your legs can hold onto. It’s what it feels like to extend your long runs beyond what you’re used to. It’s what it feels like to run on dead legs after a bike workout. It’s what it feels like 5 minutes into a tempo pace when you’re sure you can’t hold it but have 5 minutes to go. You’re not weak or doing it wrong – it’s SUPPOSED to feel like that! The best you can do is not attach the feeling to anything else – just accept it and keep going. And as Neff said, the real feeling you’re chasing comes at the end. And that will feel soooo good.


Onto tomorrow’s Workout!


Guys, it’s supposed to be -20C with a windchill of -29C at 6 am. All feelings aside, I think this is just not safe or very effective for a good interval workout. The footing isn’t great as of this am, running hard in that cold is very tough on your body, hitting paces is near impossible, and risk of injury goes way up. So I will give you options:


  1. If you have a treadmill or are currently somewhere warm with solid footing, here is the workout: 1600 (1:45 rest) 1200 (1:45 rest) 800 (1:30 rest) 600 (1:15 rest) 400 (1:00 rest) 2 x 200 (45 sec rest)

Start at 10K pace and get a bit faster with each one as you go.

  1. Or do similar fartlek style by effort: 6-5-4-3-2-1-1 min Hard, 1:45-1 min easy
  2. Do a workout on the bike trainer (actually I just read a really interesting study showing that high intensity bike workouts boosted Vo2max levels in runners which translated to faster running times with no additional running training) – Do the same efforts as above, but if you have the time, repeat 2 x (sorry – your body can just handle more intensity on the bike, so go for it!) – 3 min easy pedalling bw sets
  3. If you want to show up at 6:15 at Leslie and Lakeshore for a social, I will plan to be there. Wearing LOTS of clothes! Then I will do option 3 later in the day.
  4. Strength train. ALWAYS helps. (msg me if you need ideas)


That is all – have a great one – stay safe, stay upright and stay warm!