6 weeks to #TORW2016

It’s now less than 6 weeks to the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend where I’ll be running my fifth marathon. Training has been going well and I’m hopeful that over the next 4 to 5 weeks fitness will continue to progress so that I’ll be ready to go on race day.

I almost jumped into a half marathon as a tune-up next weekend but decided with the limited time I had to get in this build-up, that it would be more beneficial to get in two more workouts instead. This way, I won’t have to worry about how I ran in the tune-up when deciding on my marathon goal pace; I’ll just have to base it on how my workouts have been going and, fortunately, how this cycle compares to last year (since I’ll be running the same course as last year).

I was pretty disappointed with how things went in Ottawa last year but I did come away with some things I want to improve this time around:

  • Make my first km my slowest. No sprinting off the line in order to stay with a pack. I need to let them go, run easy, and use them as motivation on the second half. A way-too-fast first km last year didn’t do me any favours.
  • Don’t sprint to catch a pack (unless there’s less than 10 km left). Last year I worked really hard up a hill to catch a pack ahead of me. I thought it would be worth it to be tucked in behind them once we turned into a headwind but the effort required to catch that pack probably cost more than the mild headwind would have (especially since they barely blocked the wind anyway). Save the surges for after the 30 km mark. Don’t be afraid to run solo–it is how I do almost all my training runs!
  • Figure out fueling. The details are fuzzy now, but I remember thinking that my stomach didn’t want any more of my sports drink and I might have only had one gel of the two I taped to my bottles. This was a huge mistake and was likely one of the main reasons I ran out of gas. Over the remaining weeks of training, I’ll be fueling during my long, marathon-pace tempos to see how much fluid and carbs I can comfortably consume.

That’s all the in-race stuff I’m thinking of.

As far as training preparations, I’m trying to get more warmer runs in to be ready for the temperatures one should expect at the end of May. I’m also working on increasing my weekly mileage as best I can, while adding in a bit of supplemental cycling.

Still not a lot of news on who else will be running in Ottawa yet. It sounds like Rob Brouillette and Nic Browne will be running. I wonder if possibly Kip Kangogo or Sami Jibril will run Ottawa after they race the Montreal Half this coming weekend.

There’s been lots of road running to follow the last few weekends. Around the Bay ended up being on a cold, windy day and unfortunately Krista Duchene was due to demonstrate fitness for her spot on the Canadian Olympic marathon team after posting a qualifying time last spring in Rotterdam. She missed her target by 1 minute and there’s been lots of drama about that on Trackie and in response to a CBC article where Team Canada’s head coach essentially said the athletes are shit-out-of-luck if they are hindered by poor weather and fail to achieve their ‘proof of fitness’ target. The attitude displayed by the head coach, Peter Eriksson, I found to be very unsupportive, defensive, and unreasonable. He apparently has a speed skating background and clearly doesn’t understand long distance running where the temperature or wind can have a significant impact on performance. Just ask everyone who ran the Boston marathon this morning when temperatures soared above 20°C! Anyway, Reid Coolsaet wrote a great blog from his perspective as he has to figure out how to prove fitness to make the Rio team and how that goal seems to be at odds with wanting to run well in Rio. Check out the link here:


Let’s hope Athletics Canada’s head coach comes to his senses and can work something out with these fantastic athletes!

Anyway, back to ATB… Lots of good performances despite the weather. Trevor Zimak (31:12 at Yonge St 10K last April and 2:26:46 at Grandma’s Marathon last summer) managed to take down Sami Jibril (1:35:47 at ATB last year and 1:04:30 at the Houston Half in January), both running low 1:40. Rob Brouillette, Eric Bang, and Tyler Chacra all had solid races. Looks like Lucas McAneney had a tough day but avoided a DNF. I’ve wanted to run ATB for a few years now but it’s such a strange distance and is a long race in the lead-up to a marathon. Maybe one day.

This past weekend had the Rotterdam marathon where big things were expected of London, Ontario’s Leslie Sexton. Not sure what happened but she unfortunately didn’t finish after coming through 10K in just under 36 minutes. Rough to travel all the way to Europe for a race and then have an off-day. I’m sure she’ll take this in stride and we’ll see another perfectly-paced marathon from her this fall. (Or maybe sooner?)

Last weekend we had the Vancouver Sun Run 10K to look forward to. It’s one of the biggest races in Canada with 40,000+ entrants. They put together a great field at the front with guys like Eric Gillis (who took the win in 28:52), Geoff Martinson, Trevor Hofbauer, Kevin Coffey, and Terence Attema. Lots of guys dipped under 30 or 31 minutes so the national championship race in Ottawa should be amazing.

Anyway, I’ve rambled on long enough. Here’s a look at the last three weeks of my training leading up to the Ottawa Marathon:

Week of 2016-03-28

I over-shot my mileage target a little this week (was aiming for ~125 km) but came away still feeling good. Both workouts this week were on windy days but I’m not yet at the point where I’m overly concerned about paces so long as the effort is there, I’m happy.

Looking back on my training for Ottawa last year, I ran a 30 km long run on March 28 at 3:30/km with two marathon-pace segments (9 miles @ 3:25/km, 6 miles @ 3:26/km). That was a big workout but perhaps it came too early in the build-up as I think I started succumbing to over-training by mid-April. So, I’m maybe a little behind compared to last year but hopefully that means I’ll be peaking right before the marathon this year!

  • M: 70′ run
  • T: [AM] 50′ run with 10 x 20″ strides [PM] 30′ run
  • W: Workout: 90′ run with 10 x (2’/1′, 1’/1′), averaging 3:08/km for the 2’s and 3:01/km for the 1’s
  • Th: 45′ run
  • F: 80′ run
  • S: 60′ run with 10 x 20″ strides
  • Su: Workout: 33 km run with 4 x 10’/2′, averaging 3:21/km for the 10’s
  • Total: 9 hours of running (135 km)

Week of 2016-04-04

Things got a little off-track near the end of this week. The day after my midweek workout, I kind of felt my tendon (the same one…) becoming irritated during my afternoon run. I decided to cut the run short and get on the lacrosse ball to massage it. I took Saturday as a rest day and started contemplating what in the world I could do to beat this issue. The rest day must’ve been just what the doctor ordered as I was able to get back out for a run on Sunday. I shuffled the remainder of my plan around to ensure I had a day off running each week (with cycling or full rest instead).

  • M: 30′ run
  • T: 80′ run
  • W: [AM] 60′ run with 10 x 20″ strides [PM] 45′ bike
  • Th: Workout: 90′ run with 4 x 5’/1′ + 6 x 3’/2′, averaging 3:17/km for the 5’s and 3:09/km for the 3’s
  • F: [AM] 30′ run [PM] 20′ run
  • S: Rest
  • Su: 45′ run + 15′ weights
  • Total: 5.75 hours of running (83 km)

Week of 2016-04-11

Thankfully, the tendon remained under control as there were no further flare-ups. After missing a few hours of running and a workout last week, I had five days of easy running leading into my mid-week workout. I managed to run a good one, which was a real confidence booster and a reminder to trust that the fitness will eventually come around.

My long run on Saturday went well. I bumped up the length of the tempo segments and worked on drinking fluids while at race pace. I got in about 900 mL of Gatorade for 57 g of carbs over 2 hours. That was close to my stomach’s limit for fluids so I’ll have to try increasing the carb density or supplementing with jujubes next time to get closer to 1-1.5 g/minute.

  • M: [AM] 60′ run [PM] 20′ run
  • T: [AM] 70′ run with 10 x 20″ strides [PM] 30′ bike
  • W: Workout: 90′ run with 20’/3′, 15’/3′, 10′ (working down from 3:20/km in the 20′ to 3:18/km in the 10′)
  • Th: [AM] 50′ run [PM] 60′ bike
  • F: [AM] 30′ run [PM] 70′ run with 10 x 20″ strides
  • S: Workout: 128′ run with 2 x 30’/6′ @ 3:26/km
  • Su: 83′ bike ride
  • Total: 8.66 hours of running (128.7 km)

Thanks for following along!

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