Weeks 1-4 of base for STWM

Despite what the activity on this blog might suggest, I haven’t been sitting around doing nothing for the last five weeks! After Ottawa, I decided to sign on with Reid Coolsaet coaching me. My buddy Taylor Kraayenbrink has been working with Reid since November and it made a lot of sense for us to try syncing up our training plans to push each other on workouts when possible. I’m hoping Reid’s experience will help me nail down a better fueling strategy and build up my mileage to reduce the likelihood of fading over the last 10 km of my next marathon. I’m excited to be back on the road training and I’m hungry for another crack at a marathon. I’ll be looking for a better run from myself this fall!

We worked out a racing schedule through October with my next goal race being the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon (STWM) on October 18. This should be an awesome race as it doubles as the Canadian marathon championship race and it seems that just about every elite Canadian will be there (which hasn’t been the case for some of the past year’s contests). There have already been a handful of guys indicating that they’re going after Olympic qualifying times so we’re bound to see a good race amongst Canadians. I’m hoping there will be a few guys shooting for ~2:20 for me to work with or chase!

Leading up to STWM, I plan to run the Springbank Half in London (September 13); the CRIM 10 mile in Flint, Michigan (August 22); the St Clair River Run 10K in Port Lambton (July 18); and, as an early season rust-buster, I just ran the Huron House Boys’ Home 10K here in Bright’s Grove (June 21). Hopefully these races and the training I’ll do over the next sixteen weeks will prepare me well for something a bit faster than 2:31:45 this fall. Lots to look forward to this summer!

Here’s what I’ve been up to for the last few weeks:

Week of May 25

I took a week off running to let my legs recover. I wanted to ensure there were no minor aches that could develop into injuries once I started piling on the stress of heavy training through the summer. I planned to take two weeks off but, by the end of the first week, I was starting to go a little stir-crazy. I guess that’s to be expected when you feel like you didn’t really nail your last race and you’ve got something better in you that you want to get to work on.

Week of June 1

Week of 20150601

Goal of this week was just to get the legs moving so everything was easy jogging, testing things out to make sure there were no issues.

  • M: 30′ easy.
  • T: 30′ easy.
  • W: 35′ easy.
  • T: 40′ easy.
  • F: 45′ easy.
  • S: 60′ easy.
  • S: Rest.
  • Total: 58 km (4 hours).

Week of June 8

Week of 20150608

This week had me almost back up to my average mileage from last cycle with some strides and supplemental exercises (core, drills). The drills really tore up my legs and I could feel the effects for days after. The core routine is a lot longer than what I’ve done in the past so I will be building up to  45-60′ twice a week.

  • M: 60′ easy with 6x 20″ strides.
  • T: 60′ easy + 30′ core.
  • W: 60′ easy.
  • T: 60′ with 20′ steady (starting around 3:40/km, working down to 3:20/km) + 15′ drills.
  • F: 60′ recovery + 30′ core.
  • S: 75′ easy with 2x5x 20″ strides.
  • S: Rest.
  • Total: 90 km (6 hours).

Week of June 15

Week of 20150615

This week had me getting into some workouts. The tempo run on Monday was tricky as I forgot my watch so I ended up running a little too quick for the 20′ interval (3:23/km instead of 3.28/km) and then I ran the 10′ a little slow (3:30/km instead of 3:28/km).

The fartlek workout on Thursday was a tough one. I had some knee pain that morning carried over from Wednesday’s easy run (tight quads or IT band pulling on my kneecap) so I had to postpone the workout. I was able to get in a chiro session to help to loosen things up and I felt well enough to try the workout later that afternoon but by that point it was over 30°C and I suffered for the last two sets of intervals. The 3’s were close to target but the 1’s were too sloooow.

It’s only been a couple weeks back running but I was eager to test out my legs and got clearance to run the Huron House Boys’ Home 10K race on Father’s Day. I wanted to run something around 32:00 but I started a little too fast and then the humidity and wind took its toll on the second half of the race and I faded to a time of 32:33. It was a good effort this early in a training cycle and a minute faster than my result at this race last year… so progress, I guess.


  • M: Workout: 5 km warm-up, 20′ @ 3:28/km, 2′ jog, 10′ @ 3:28/km, 5 km cool-down + 30′ core.
  • T: [AM] 10 km easy. [PM] 10 km easy with 10x 20″ strides.
  • W: 15 km easy.
  • T: Workout: 5 km warm-up, 4x (3′ @ 3:12/km, 1′ jog, 1′ @ 3:00/km, 2′ jog), 5 km cool-down + 15′ drills.
  • F: 16 km easy + 30′ core.
  • S: 8 km easy.
  • S: Race: 4 km warm-up, Boys’ Home 10K (32:33), 6 km cool-down.
  • Total: 115 km (7 hours, 45 minutes).

Week of June 22

Week of 20150622

After a couple days of recovery from the 10K on Sunday, I ran a 6×4′ workout with Taylor and we hit paces of 3:12, 3:13, 3:15, 3:15, 3:13, and 3:08/km. That workout felt pretty controlled and it felt good to kind of open things up on the final interval. This week also had my first ‘long’ run since Ottawa. Happy to have made it through a relatively big week compared to my last cycle (about 80 miles this week). Next week should be around 90 miles so I plan on taking full advantage of the rest day on Sunday.

  • M: 16 km easy.
  • T: [AM] 16 km easy. [PM] 10 km with 10x 20″ strides.
  • W: 17 km easy + 30′ core.
  • T: Workout: 4 km warm-up, 6x 4′ @ 3:13/km (90″ jog recoveries), 7 km cool-down + 20′ drills.
  • F: [AM] 16 km easy. [PM] 8 km easy.
  • S: 27.4 km long run.
  • S: Rest! + 45′ core.
  • Total: 131 km (9 hours)

What’s next?

Four more weeks of base building before we get into the twelve-week marathon-specific prep for STWM.

Thanks for following along if you made it this far!

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Dave Freake says:

    Great update. I’ve been waiting for this one! Looks like your back into the swing of things.

    Working with Reid is going to be great for you bud, having a set of eyes like his on your training will bring you to that next level.

    Exciting stuff, and I can’t wait to follow along.

    I’d type a “fist bump emoji” right here if possible haha.

    Keep rocking and rolling.

    1. Aaron Cooper says:

      Appreciate your support, Dave! Still seems far away at this point, but I’m really looking forward to STWM! Keep up the hard work and you’ll crush the half there too, no doubt!

      I’ll hopefully be able to set aside some time for socializing without kids (fingers crossed) so I can get in a couple celebratory beers! I’ll let you know if that works out.

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