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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Race Recap: 2012 Springbank Half Marathon

44 years young!

I've stared at this blank page for long enough to know that I don't know what to write. This race took place a month ago now, and I just couldn't bring myself to writing much about it. But that's now changed. Something feels renewed, so here I am, writing a race report. Shall we?

A few months ago I had been approached by my coach in regards to helping pace one of our club athletes through their first marathon later in the fall. The idea of me pacing a distance donkey through their first marathon made me chuckle at first, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized it would be a great opportunity for everyone involved. So I smiled back at Steve (my coach), and nonchalantly said "Sure". He looked back at me in shock, and asked me if I had understood him clearly. And that's how I embarked on my mini-marathon training block with Leslie Sexton.

The Springbank Road Races Half Marathon was the first test we'd be putting ourselves through on our journey towards her 2:38 Marathon in October. The training leading up to the race had been going very well for both of us. I was slowly getting used to dialing my pace into the 3:45/km we'd need come race day, and for Leslie it took a little less adjusting as she had already done a previous block at this pace for the 2012 edition of the Around the Bay 30km. This however, would be my first attempt at 'racing' this distance.

The goal was to nail 1:19:00 as closely as possible through the twists and turns, ups and downs of the TVP along the Thames River from Springbank Park all the way to Harris Park and back. The morning was absolutely perfect for running. The temperature was just under 10C, the sun was shining and there was very little wind; I could not have asked for better.

The race unfolded quite perfectly. We had a nice pack until about 7km in, at which point Leslie and I distanced ourselves a bit. We were rolling through the course at 3:40-3:45/km, and it wasn't till we hit 20km that I started to feel the effort in my legs. It also happens that from 20km on the rest of the course is uphill. Oh joy.

In the final meters Leslie and I decided to stop just past the finish line, turn to face each other and shake hands. And that is exactly what we did. We crossed the finish line together in 1:18:44. Pretty close to our goal, and we both felt satisfied.

Leslie and I in sync as we finish up the 1/2 Marathon

Monday, July 23, 2012

Shoe Wear Over Time

There is so much talk about proper running form buzzing around, and within, the running community. There's always a new craze every other month. Pose this. Chi that. Minimal this. Barefoot just keeps going round and round.

I'm not here today to talk to you about how to quickly fix your running form. I'd like to provide you some evidence that changes do happen over time, and you don't really need to think much about it.

I'm not a heavy runner. I'm not exactly tiny either. I'm just shy of 6ft in height and weigh about 157-161lbs, depending on where I am in my training. Until this year I've worn a motion control shoe (the NB 850/940 has been my go to trainer). This year I decided that I would try and make the transition to something with a little less motion control, something a little lighter.

So I purchased a pair of New Balance 860v2 and New Balance 880 and made those my go to training shoes with some lighter flatter shoes thrown in for my track workouts. It wasn't without a bit of pain that I've managed to get my feet accustomed to less control, but it took time and lots of preventative work. But there was no change in how I made my legs move. It was not a voluntary shift. Every time I tried to force my legs to move differently, my feet to land differently or my arms to swing differently I would find a new pain somewhere along the chain.

So I resigned myself to stop worrying so much about it. I changed my shoes and hoped that as I continued to run lots I would become more efficient. I had no idea if I had become more efficient or not until I looked at the soles of the most recent batch of shoes I've worn.  I recommend you give them a look and see for yourself how my stride has changed over the last year.

Oldest Pair - New Balance 940

Not so Old Pair - New Balance 940

Newest Pair - New Balance 860v2

2012 Track Season Recap

Wow, it's been a while since I posted on this blog. My last race recap was back in June, after I attempted my first 5000m race on the track. Since then I've been busy working, running and trying to enjoy a rather warm summer in London.  Since I fell so far behind in my race recaps I figure I'll just dump it all on you in one massive post.

Sunday June 10 – RCLDS #3

At this event I ran my first 1500m race of the season. I had already kicked off my season with a 2:02.51 clocking in an 800m race in May, so I knew I had decent wheels, it was a matter of keeping it all together in the last 500m of this race. I went in with a seed time of 4:10 I believe, and what happened after felt very surreal.

After going through 800m in 2:15 (SLOW!), I managed to decimate the final 700m and dropped a 62 second last lap to finish with a 4:07.39! That's just a hair over half a second slower than my lifetime PB I set way back in 2001, when I raced my last track season prior to casting it all aside for years.


Friday June 22 – RCLDS #4: New Balance 1,500m Night

Fast forward nearly two weeks and my favorite race of the year is back. I had such a great time at this race last year ( Read my race recap here ). At this point I don't remember what the heat was like. I do remember it rained, only for my race, but I was moving so zen like that I didn't feel a thing.  I knew based on my previous result that I'd be looking to PB in this race, and I was seeded at 4:07 so IT WAS ON!

I again went through 800m a touch slow, but held on tightly throughout the 3rd lap to position myself perfectly to hunt down the field in the final 300m. I didn't eat up very many competitors, but I managed to post a new PB of 4:06.07. Just a hair above 4:05, and that kind of stung a bit since I had aimed to clock a 4:05 that night.



Friday July 6 – RCLDS #5: Forest City 5k

This was my 2nd 800m race of the year, and after my stellar start to the season in May, I was expecting big things from this race. I was planning on going sub 2:00 in the race, and when I saw my seeded time at 1:58 I realized just how much I had to want this in order to dip below that magic mark.

The race was rather uneventful, and when I crossed the finish line, thinking I had finished 3rd in my heat, I was ecstatic to hear over the loud speaker: "What a stellar finish, and with the top 3 finishers under 2:00!". I nearly lost it, had I actually run under 2:00? Turns out I hadn't. I was 4th and finished with a 2:00.84 clocking.

Sub 2:00 would have to wait a while longer. I then laced up again an hour later and helped pace Leslie to a 9:45 split in her 5000m, and we went through just about perfectly...about 9:43-9:44.



Saturday-Sunday July 14-15 - Athletics Ontario Championships (Ottawa)

I travelled to Ottawa for my first Athletics Ontario Championships EVER with some clubmates. The trip was great, though I found I had too much free time to get stuck in my own head. I had been dealing with a recent flare up with my knee and was worried that I wouldn't be able to make it to the start line, so that kept my mind busy as I whittled away the hours on Saturday.

First up was my favorite event, the 1500m. It was slated to run at 6:30PM in what felt like 1 million degrees and pure sun. I toed the line in the slow heat and was never in contention. I finished second last overall with a 4:14, well off my seasonal best of 4:06. It was time to understand what went wrong (just happy to toe the line, I forgot to race) and move on from it to nail my 800m race the next day.

After a quick dip in the Ottawa river we headed back home at 9PM, had supper at 11PM and I was in bed by 12:30. Back up early the next day, I headed to track focused on nailing that sub 2:00 barrier. I had to redeem myself and I only had one shot to do it, and less than 2 minutes to do it in.

Well, I went for it folks and it paid off. I came down the last 100m feeling pain I don't think I can ever recall feeling before. In the last few metres my knees locked and I slapped the track straight-legged, nearly sending me over board. I waited quite a while for my official result, and for the longest time all I knew was that the guy directly ahead of me was clocked at all came down to how close I was to him.

In the end the result was very satisfying. I had dipped below 2:00! I clocked a 1:59.94, just barely getting it, but getting it nonetheless. It was the perfect cap to a great season of track racing.


Friday, June 15, 2012

If you never try, then you'll never know.

that's right, I quoted Coldplay. Tough.

So after my last race one of my club mates asked me a simple question that I wasn't able to answer.

The question:
How do you run a fast last lap in a track race? I just don't know how you do it...
has made me spend some time thinking about my answer, and to form an answer I had to spend time actually thinking about why I was so successful at running fast at the end of a race. I had never heard his perspective, or at least thought about it from someone else's shoes, so when I began thinking about it, it became apparent the answer wouldn't be easy to elicit.

So what made me successful at running fast at the end of a race? Is it purely training? Mental ability? Drive? Reckless disregard? Fear?

It's probably a little bit of each of those, and other topics I didn't even list. But then I started thinking about how I handle pain, and I'm confident that my ability to manage pain plays a large part in my success at the end of a race.  To be truly successful in that last lap of a track race, you've got to be able to handle the level of discomfort needed to lay it all out. So I'm going to focus on the effect of pain, handling pain and the runner's ability to run a fast last lap.

Pain is a signal to the brain that we should stop a certain activity before we do any permanent damage. So logic dictates that if you feel pain, you should stop. That's exactly what I don't do. At what cost? Who knows, so far I haven't had any adverse effects (other than tight/sore muscles).

So now I'm wondering how pain levels work, and if it can be looked at in the same light as the speed of sound.  Take for example a supersonic air fighter. It crosses the sound barrier, and all of a sudden, you can't hear anything. Is it possible that the same thing happens with pain and the receptors within the body? Can we overload the brain to a point where it can no longer understand the pain signals, it cannot keep up with the deluge of signals, so that it just can't read any pain signals at all?

When I'm hammering away on my last lap, I don't ever remember feeling anything. I forget about my breathing. I forget about how much my lungs are burning. I forget about how heavy my legs get. I just run. Regardless of pain, I keep running. I push myself to see if I can handle just a little more pain...a little more....a little more....and what I've found is I don't ever get to a point where my body says "That's the end idiot, stop pushing".

And that's why I can run a fast last lap at the end of a track race.

Race Recap: 2012 RCLDS #2 The London Distance Classic

This was to be my 5000m track debut, and what a debut it was. I had booked the day off from work so I could rest up. My only twilight meet last summer was a bit of a mess, seems it's hard to 'perform' after 8 to 10 hours at the office. So I figured I'd err on the side of caution this time...except I found myself at CBI health at 9:30 that morning getting my shin looked at by the very best of the best, Rob Wingert.

I've been dealing with some tenderness in my shin/calf for the past 10 or so days, and after an easy workout on Monday, the rolling terrain mixed with speed work mangled my shin to the point where merely walking hurt. So I rolled into CBI that morning fearing the worst, but I had my worries put at ease nearly instantly when I was reassured it was likely not a stress fracture. From there we moved onto some general poking and prodding, ultrasound and taping. I left the appointment feeling optimistic that I would be able to race that night, but I still had quite a bit of work to do on the shin before I would know for sure.

So I spent the afternoon relaxing, stretching, reading, and massaging the crap out of my right shin.  Every hour I spent 10-15 minutes digging an ice cup into my shin. It wasn't until later that I would find out if my efforts would pay off, but I figured it was worth the effort to at least try. As I was leaving CBI I was told I'd be able to race that night, but that I shouldn't expect a great effort out of my leg. I was determined to prove that wrong.

The rest of the day was uneventful...I rested, stretched and read a book while the hours ticked by.  Before I knew it I was at the track, had picked up my racing kit and was chilling on the infield with other clubmates. LRDC fo'life yo! The night had other races lined up, you can see videos of all the races at

The goals for the race were pretty simple:
  • Work with Leslie Sexton
  • Run 3:10/km for as long as we could
  • Hang on for dear life
The race kicked off and we started rolling. I was boxed in early by two Speed River gents pacing their ladies, it would have been nice if they weren't taking up two lanes. So we clicked through the first km in 3:12, a touch off our goal pace, but within a decent margin.

....The next km was run in 3:15. UhOh.
....The next km was run in 3:17. Uhoh.

And so it continued until I finished in 16:21.  It wasn't a great race overall, but there were many positives to take from it. Most importantly, I just went for it and hung on as long as I could. I don't typically race this way and I knew it was risky, but in order to be great, one must take risks...and sometimes they don't always pan out.  This was one of those times.

Oh, and I got a new PB, so I guess it wasn't that bad of a race after all. I also want to thank everyone that showed up to cheer me on. 16 minutes is a long time to stare at me running around a track. You guys rock!

Stay tuned for my next race report, I crank out my first 1500m race of the season....

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Race Recap: 2012 RCLDS #1

Last weekend I kicked off my track season with the London Runner hosted RCLDS #1. This kick off event is also the Ontario 10,000m championship for Junior and Senior men and women. Along with the premier event are two other races, the full and half mile.

This was to be my first open 800m race since 2001, when I was graduating from High School. I managed to dip under 2:00 that season, just barely, and since then I've been slowly rounding into shape after my best winter of training ever. Needless to say, I was nervous throughout the day on Saturday in anticipation for the gun and my two laps of pain.

I arrived at the track early enough to settle in and chat with Leslie and I quickly realized I did not bring enough clothing to keep me warm, so I didn't waste too much time and decided to get into my warmup and give myself a solid 25 minutes to get the legs moving. It didn't take me very long to realize I left my watch at home, so I was going to fly solo for the warmup and my pickup, ah well, there was no sense in stressing out, I'd have plenty of time to do that after my warmup.

I was seeded at 2:03. Steve decided that all on his own and I felt it was an ambitious goal. I had already worked out my own goal, to break 2:05, and seeing my seed time shifted my mental approach a bit so I decided I had to get after it and get comfortable with the pain I knew I'd feel.

The goal was to go out in 61 and then hang on as well as possible to break 2:03, and if everything fell apart I'd still squeak in under 2:05.  We lined up in our staggered lanes, and my body was nearly shaking with nerves. I knew I just had to get the race started, but I tell you, in this situation 1 second feels like an eternity. The gun went off and before I knew it I was well behind the leaders coming through the 100m and even still at the 150m mark. I won't ruin the rest of the story for you because I can show you a video of my race.  So head over to and watch the video. If you're interested in reading some more once you've watched it, come back and keep on reading.


So, you came back, or you never left. Either way, let's keep this rolling. So I aced the race. I ended up running 2:02.51, just under my seed time and a great effort throughout the entire race. Here are my splits as I remember them:

200m: 30.XX
400m: 61.00 (200m split: 31s)
600m: 1:32.XX (200m split: 31s)
800m: 2:02.51 (200m split: 30.5s)

As I crossed the finish line I was very relieved, and so excited to see that I came so close to my seed time, and even beat it. I felt so strong in the last 400m, and I'm amazed to see that I was able to maintain that pace so evenly through the full 800m. Who knows, maybe I'll be flirting with a sub 2:00 effort by the end of the season?

I'd also like to give a shout out to my cheering section in the stands. Melanie, Sara, Wes, Brian and's so amazing to know I've got people who are willing to take time from their busy schedules to come see me run around an oval track.  You all mean so much to me!

And so, that's that folks. I'll be racing again this week, a 5000m on the track, my first 5000m on the track. EVER. Oh man, this is going to be interesting.

Friday, May 4, 2012

April Update.....

Well, it's been 4 weeks to the day since I last blogged (read my race recap from the 2012 Downtown 5km road race in London, ON) and I've gotta say, I've missed you. Yeah, you. I miss you, and maybe you miss me too?

So what's been going on lately you might wonder. Well, I've been running lots. I've been kind of injured. Heck, I've been kind of injured all year, so it feels kind of 'normal' now.

I've been dealing with the same injury, ITBS, that originally sidelined be coming into my first year at Western, but instead of cowering away from it I've decided to face it head on.  Oh, that and I have disposable income and benefits I can toss at it....lots of money. Sigh. Physiotherapy is expensive folks. I've spent upwards of $600 on physio in a month this year (luckily $300 of that was covered by my benefits) and for the longest time it felt like lost money. Until two weeks ago. Coach and I decided to take an extra easy week after the 5km road race and it paid off quickly. I paired up the easy week of running with a new stretching routine for my IT Band and the results were near immediate.

In the last 3 weeks I've only done physio twice, and for the time being I can finally see an end to my physio sessions.  It's about time!

As for training, things are going well. I'm putting in the hard work (100km/wk), recovering well and staying healthy.  Track season is nearly upon me, and as everyone in the club has been talking about their race schedule, I've managed put that aside and just engross myself in the work. And I kind of like that. But I'm starting to get the itch, so who knows how much longer I'll be able to last before switching over to 'race mode'.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Race Recap: 2012 McFarlan Rowlands DOWNTOWN 5K

Most of the London Runner Distance Club!

I'll kick things off by apologizing for not writing up a race preview, so here it is folks:

I'll skip all the boring stuff and just tackle what my goals were. I've been running really well lately (workouts and all) and I had a great season opener in February, at the Really Chilly Road Races, so I had high hopes for this race. I've been wanting to crack 16:40 since late last year, and I figured that would be a great goal to aim for this time around.

Then I had to go and run a stellar time trial in mid March, running a solid 15 second PB, and then my whole world got turned upside down. I figured I was in 16:40 shape (for 5km), but the results from the time trial indicated I 'should' be able to crank out a 16:15 for 5km. I could hardly believe it, you know, to just lop off 25 seconds from my goal.

So we started doing 5km work at that pace. 3:15/km it was....k after k, I put in the work, and I began believing. And that is what lead to the following goals:

B Goal
So, my B goal is to clock a sub 16:30. I cranked out a 16:57 just a month (or so) ago, and now it's time to improve. 

Goal Time: Sub 16:30 (3:18/km)

A Goal
My A Goal is to crack 16:15, and this is a realistic, but ambitious goal. Everything has to line up for this to happen, but I'm confident and know I've done enough hard work in the past months to warrant this goal.

Goal Time: Sub 16:15 (3:15/km)
So that, folks, is what I was aiming for. Best case scenario, 16:15 and in my mind, that's the only scenario.

So fast forward, to 24 hours ago, and I'm warming up, doing drills, snapping pictures (famous people always take pictures, right?) and toeing the line for my 2nd 5km road race of the year. The starting line was an absolute mess, with teams of young kids vying for prime start line real estate. Did some of us chirp 8 year olds? Who knows. Maybe, maybe not.

3........2........and we're off. We didn't even hear '1', or a gun, or a horn. We just went. Ah well. As usual, the start was a frantic dash, and I settled into my goal pace 500m into the race, and then the metres just rolled by. The pace felt right, but I had to mentally will my legs to maintain, not like those perfect races where your legs just do all the work themselves.  Km after km I kept rolling, I worked with club mates, passed a few that were having an off day and was passed, just shy of the 3km mark by a vicious Leslie Sexton. She was literally possessed and passed me with such determination that I instantly felt emasculated. Luckily it didn't shake me up too badly, and as the splits from my race show, I was as steady as could be throughout!

I ended up 12th overall (up from 16th last year) and ran a lifetime personal best for 5km on the road, 16:29! It was a 40 second improvement over last year's edition of this race, and even though I didn't nail my A-Goal, I still had a stellar outing and can't beat myself up over it.

My sister also snapped some great pictures throughout the race, feel free to browse them below.

Monday, March 12, 2012

CBC The Nature of Things: The Perfect Runner

This Thursday March 15th, CBC's The Nature of Things will be airing a 1 hour special that will certainly please most runners. The one hour episode will ask the following questions:
  • How did our ancestors survive the shift from trees to land?  
  • How did Homo sapiens evolve to dominate the planet?  
  • How did our ancestors hunt before they developed weapons?
And hopefully, answer them. I've had a chance to view the documentary ahead of time (don't I sound fancy) and it does a very good job at detailing our progression as humans into highly specialized endurance creatures. If you like staying on the tip of running trends, you'll have plenty to eat up in this hour: Ultramarathons, running evolution, barefoot running, minimalist running, gear and much more! Also, there's lots of cool hi-def, slow-mo shots....well worth the visual attention!

So go out for a run, grab your recovery drink and stretch/roll your legs out as you watch this one hour special airing on CBC at 8PM EST this Thursday (March 15th).  To get a behind the scenes look at the movie, head over to this URL:

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Race Recap: 2012 Really Chilly Road Races

Well, the first race of the season is behind me now, and I can breathe a sigh of relief and find contentment in the results I posted this past weekend.In my race preview I laid out my goals, and in the very last sentence said I hoped I could squeak in under 17:00.  Well, I did!  I ran 16:57 for the distance, and finished 5th overall, behind 3 of my club mates!

The weather was amazing. Calm skies, a gorgeous sun and bone dry roads. Everything was lining up perfectly.

The horn sounded at 9:45 sharp and the runners were off. Right off the start I found myself with my fellow training partners, and not many else around me. By the half km mark I was joined by a few other ambitious fellows who would later on fall off the pace we had set early in the race. By the 1km split I was feeling great, and saw that my watch read 3:19 for that split. All was well, as I continued to forge on down Dundas St, into the residential area between Dundas and Florence.

The 2nd km was also a breeze, and the slight uphill, and tight turns in the residential area resulted in a 3:23 split, still well within reason. My 3rd km was yet again, a 3:19, but as I worked my 4th I could feel my legs starting to tie up a bit, and the head wind did not do anything to help my case. I trudged down Florence street towards the Agriplex, and I clocked my slowest km at 3:25. The final km of the course has a harsh turnaround, an up and down (the only REAL hill of the entire course) and we finish in the Agriplex to the roaring applause of the crowd.  I finished strongly, with a 3:21 for the 5th km, but it turns out my Garmin's km splits didn't match the course's, so there is an extra 6-7 seconds to my final time that I wasn't expecting. Ah well!

All in all, I'm very satisfied with this kind of result so early in the year. I'm full of confidence, and I'm clearly fit. It's time to keep putting in the work, and trust the work. It's that simple.

Here are my splits according to Garmin

Full results are here:

Monday, February 20, 2012

Race Preview: 2012 Really Chilly Road Race

Well, it seems I've been so caught up in doing the daily work that my first race of the year crept up on me without me noticing. This coming Sunday I'll be racing the 5km road race at the annual Really Chilly Road Races in London (Ontario). I raced in the 10km edition last year, but frankly, I don't know why I did. I dislike racing anything longer than 5km, so this year I'm doing the logical thing: racing 5km.  Also, I had a very unpleasant experience in the 10km last winter, feel free to read all about it (including graphic evidence in the post) in my race recap from 2011. Quoted from my race recap last year:
I'm pretty sure that from now on, if there is a 5km option to a race, I'm opting for it. Screw these painful 10km road races, at least when they are XC races the scenery is enjoyable.

So, it's now 2012 and I'm geared up for this weekend's race.  I'll be bringing out some new racing flats, the New Balance RC152, and with the confidence I've built up since the new year, I'm hoping for a solid outing come Sunday. So now it's time to play the goal game...

B Goal
So, my B goal is to clock a sub 17:10. I cranked out a 17:10 last April, as my first 5km of the year, and I'm confident that I am as fit if not fitter at this stage of the year.

Goal Time: Sub 17:10 (3:26/km)

A Goal
My A Goal is to crack 16:50, and this depends entirely on how I respond to the pace required to accomplish this goal. 16:50 is approaching my seasonal best of last year, and I remember just how much I had to dig for that one. Am I fit enough this early in the season to repeat that effort? Will the weather cooperate? Who knows....but I know how to find out.

Goal Time: Sub 16:50(3:22/km)

So, in order to succeed at these goals, I need a game plan. I've decided that the first 2km will be a touch conservative, at 3:24/km - 3:26/km pace and the 3rd km will be a few second faster. Then I'll have to gauge how I am feeling, and that will tell me how I should attack the last 2 km. If all goes well, I'm hoping to dip below 3:20/km in the last 2 km, and squeak in below 17:00!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Somebody That I Used To Know...

That's right. My first running update with a song title! Am I finally cool in the blogosphere? I've always found it really weird to title a blog post with the name of a song, especially when your readers simply can't make the connection. Can someone explain?

Regardless, since my last update, my running has been going better with each day. My MCL is slowly settling down, and other than a tightness when I wake up, I'm feeling great throughout the day and my runs. My volume is slowly returning, and I returned back to proper workouts this past Thursday with an indoor track workout of 150s and 200s.

I leave you today with a music video that has had quite an impact on me lately, I can't stop watching it. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Running Log 2012: Week #01

Wow, it's been ages since I've done one of these. I figured I had some great training and races while I logged each week's running details, so here I am again, hoping this helps me out.

This week was a roller coaster ride. I've been dealing with knee pain since mid December of last year and it came to a point this week where I couldn't go more than 1km without wanting to saw my legs off. So I did what anyone would, and should do, I called a physiotherapist. As always, the fine folks at CBI Health took me in a flash, and I was scheduled on Friday to see Rob Wingert. I cannot recommend Rob enough. Give CBI a call and ask for Rob, he'll fix you up in no time. Since then I've managed to run 2km, 5km and then today, a whopping 10km nearly pain free.  So it looks like I'll be 100% healthy before long!

I'm itching to do my first workout of the new year, here's hoping that happens this week.

My 2012 Running Goals

Gotta run before we die!!
Well, 2012 has kicked off and before we know it I'll be writing down my 2013 running goals. Why is it that time just seems to stream by faster and faster as you age?

So last year saw me put in some solid kills week after week, and I finished the year with an average of 68.6km/week and nearly 3600km for the entire year. I'm rather satisfied with these numbers, especially since my first 6 months of last year were a little rocky as I adjusted to the volume and intensity. I predict that should not be as pronounced this year, but as I write this I am currently sidelined with a mild MCL sprain. Seems like January is the month for injuries.

I also posted some great results on the track (well, one great result) and some fine efforts on the road. In order of awesomeness:
  1. My Epic return to the 1500m on the track, with a blazing 4:21!
  2. My 10km lifetime PB of 34:54 late last fall.
  3. My 5km road win in Sudbury, covering a rolling 5km in 16:48!
Last year's work has set me up very well for this year, even though I can't shake the feeling that my current MCL sprain is setting me back some. In order of importance to me, here are my goals for the year:
  1. Stay Healthy and Injury Free!
    1. Core/General Strengthening 3x weekly
    2. Stretch/Roll/Massage 3x weekly
  2. Run an average of 75-80km/week, for a yearly total of 4000km
    1. High Weeks of 110km
    2. Low Weeks of 75km
  3. Race as much as I can physically handle, and fit into my schedule
    1. 1-2 times per month after April
  4. Dip below the following times:
    1. 1500m:   C - 4:20,    B - 4:15,    A - 4:10
    2. 5000m:   C - 16:48B - 16:30A - 16:00
    3. 10000m: C - 34:54B - 34:30A - 34:00
  5. Find my ideal racing weight, more on this later!
And there you have it folks. I'll be chasing these goals throughout the year and my blog posts will certainly build up around these goals and I'll be sure to keep you in the loop. I hope you've also got 

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Version 5 of my Core Strengthening Routine for Runners

It's 2012 folks. It's January. It's prime New Year's resolution season and if you included running in your goals for the year, you might want to include some general strengthening as well. This is my 5th version of this routine and I've removed one exercise and added another. As always, I update the routine whenever I get injured, and well it's that time of the year again isn't it. I hope you enjoy using the routine and let me know if anything isn't clear.

  • 3 x (15 ball squats. Stand feet apart about 8-10", clench pillow or ball between knees. Squeeze while squatting.) vastis medialis/adductor activated
  • 2 x (40 single leg hikes. Laying on stomach, prop hips up with foam roller, bring foot close to butt, raise foot to the sky while concentrating on activating the gluteus maximus. Repeat for both legs) gluteus maximus activated
  • 2 x (40 single leg lifts. Place back against wall, bend lower leg at 90 degrees and place foot firmly against wall. Point toes of top leg towards ceiling and raise leg along the wall.) gluteus medius activated
  • 2 x (15 static lunges, alternate forward leg) nearly all leg muscles, emphasis on adductors, quads, hamstrings 
  • 2 x (60 second planks for: chest up, chest down, left arm down, right arm down) abs, obliques, adductors, hamstrings
  • 3 x (15 declined situps, with 4lb medicine ball on chest) upper/mid abs activated
  • 3 x (15 declined leg raises) lower abs activated
  • 3 x (15 straight leg deadlifts, 50lb barbell) posterior chain activated (back, hamstrings, glutes)
  • 3 x (20 pushups, push up bars) chest/biceps/triceps activated
  • 2 x (10 ups, 10 downs. Come up on one foot, shift weight to other leg, drop down on that leg, shift weight to other leg, come up. You are essentially drawing a square with your body by shifting your weight from leg to leg in the up and down motion of the calf raises. Alternate for both legs) soleus activated 
  • 3 x (30 toe pulls. Sitting on a smooth floor, place a towel in front of you on the ground, and simply pull the towel towards you by using your toes. Alternate for both feet). General activation of key foot muscles
  • 2 x (10 hip rotators. Standing on all fours, take the right leg, swing your leg back and knee out and bring the leg forward and bring your knee back beneath your hip. This swing/rotate action should be done forward and backwards for each leg.)
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