enJoying July

31 Jul 10,000start

This month was relatively quiet with one race and a lot of training. I enjoy training towards a goal, but I love competitions even more. However, I understand in order for me to get to the next level of performance that I seek, the only thing I can control is my training. I recently started to train with the group coached by Dorys Langlois on Friday and Sunday, and the reason for this change is to have training partners that are aiming for a fall Marathon. So far, the workouts are difficult, but great, and I believe I am making solid progress at getting my next Marathon correct.

Toeing the line of the Quebec 10,000m championship with some of my best training partners.
10,000start.jpg
Photo: Jerome Bergeron

Racing wise, John convinced me to give the 10,000m another shot after some mediocre result at the Waterfront 10. I seeded myself at 32:30 since this was the McMillan equivalent of my half Marathon PB. My new training partners have PBs much faster than this, and being able to keep up with them at workouts gave me the necessary confidence to run at this pace. Even though I ran a huge PB of 32:42, I only see this as a confirmation that the fitness gained from the last cycle of Marathon built is still there. Next month, I will race two half Marathons to further test my fitness. Hopefully, I will have some good news to report in my next blog.
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Photo: Jean-Daniel Labranche

Below is my training for the month,

Week of July 4-10 (202k)
M: AM: 12 w/ strides; PM: 8*400m in :69; 200 Recovery
T: AM: 11 w/ strides; PM: 20 w/ strides
W: AM: 12 w/ strides; PM: 25 w/ 20 min @ 3:25/k
T: 25 w/ strides
F: AM: 3000m in 9:26; 2000 in 6:12; 2400 in 7:32 before stopping; PM: 13 w/ strides
S: 25
S: AM: 30 progressive long run; PM: 5

Week of July 11-17 (127k)
M: 16 w/ strides
T: 15 w/ strides
W: 4*k loop; 3 min R
T: 5
F: 10,000m in 32:42
S: 20
S: AM: 24 w/ strides; PM: 15

Week of July 18-24 (200k)
M: 25k w/ 25 min and 35 min @ 3:35/k; 5 min R
T: AM: 11 w/ strides; PM: 21 w/ some trail running
W: 2*1000m in 3:00; :40 R; 600m in 1:42; 6 min R;
T: 23 w/ strides
F: AM:2*14 min @ 3:33/k; 3 min R; mile in 5:09; 3 min R; PM: 13 w/ strides
S: AM: 20 w/ strides; PM: 10 w/ strides
S: AM: 30 w/ 5*15min@3:35/k;2minR; PM: 11 w/ strides

Week of July 25-31 (218k)
M: 22 w/ strides
T: AM: 17 w/ strides; PM: 23 w/ strides
W: 10 min @ 3:15/k; 4*800 in 2:26; 3 min R
T: AM: 12 w/ strides; PM: 23 w/ strides
F: AM: 2*20 min @ 3:30/k; PM: 13 w/ strides
S: AM: 22 w/ strides; PM: 10 w/ strides
S: 35 progressive long run

June with John

30 Jun John&I

The recovery from Ottawa was a slow process, but I tried to enjoy it as much as I can. The shorter workouts reminded me what 10k race pace felt like and I took full advantage of it by racing the Toronto Waterfront 10 at the end of June. The race featured some of the best Canadian runners, and I was motivated to show my best on race day.
startlist.png
Another motivation for me was having my coach, friend, and rival, John Lofranco, in the race. John was looking to beat his age, while I had a much less ambitious goal.John&I
For a Marathoner, I started conservatively early and moved around people on the wide roads of Toronto. I thought I can run under 33 minute, and I managed to stay at that pace until 8k. The last 2k required a lot of mental toughness to get through, but I crossed the finish line in 33:19, which is good for a 10 seconds PB. It was not necessarily the PB I wanted, but I know better to complain about a PB. I haven’t PBed in the 10k for more than a year, and will definitely not know when my next PB will be. Therefore, I celebrated by enjoying some great 10,000m racing at our national championship in the evening.Waterfront10
Photo: Michael Lin

Below is my training for the month,

Week of June 6-12 (150k)
M: AM: 12 w/ strides; PM: 1000m in 3:00; 4*400 in :67; 2*200 in :32; 3 min Recovery
T: 14 w/ strides
W: 5000m in 17 min with 400 at 5k effort and 200 at MP
T: AM: 12 w/ strides; PM: 13 w/ strides
F: AM: 12 w/ strides; PM: 13 w/ strides
S: 5*5 min; 1:30 min R
S: AM: 12 w/ strides; PM: 14 w/ strides

Week of June 13-19 (181k)
M: AM: 12 w/ strides; PM: 6*1600 in 5:20; 90s R
T: 19 w/ strides
W: AM: 10 w/ strides; PM: 25 min w/ 5*30s surges
T: 21 w/ strides
F: 21 w/ strides
S: AM: 20 w/ strides; PM: 15 w/ strides
S: AM: 12 w/ strides; PM: 13 w/ strides

Week of June 20-26 (84k)
M: 4*800 in 2:32; 2*400 in :68; 2*200 in :32; 2 min R
T:  10 w/ strides
W: 2000m in 6:30; 4 min R; 4*400 in :70; 2 min R
T: 8
F: Rest
S: AM: Toronto Waterfront 10 in 33:19; PM: 6
S: 10 w/ strides

Week of June 27-July 3 (200k)
M: 26 w/ strides
T: AM: 12 w/ strides; PM: 17 w/ strides
W: mile time trial in 4:47; 10 min tempo; 4*400; 3 min R
T: AM: 12 w/ strides; PM: 19 w/ strides
F: AM: 15 w/ strides; PM: 17 w/ strides
S: AM: 35 with 4*15 min @ 3:35/k; PM: 5
S: AM: 12 w/ strides; PM: 13 w/ strides;

Mayhem in May

30 May

Running sucks sometimes.

Training was better than ever during this cycle of Marathon preparation. I was professional and did everything I was aware of to become a better runner. I slept more, ate healthier, and focused on the details to get my training to be as consistent as possible. I am also aware that in the end, result is very important, since it is the only thing that is fair in life. Unfortunately, the result was not there on the race day.
Ottawa.png
Photo credit: Canadian Running

I lasted about 400m at the pace I wanted to run. I quickly adjusted my goal and patiently waited for the tide to turn. At 15k, my diaphragm forced me to re-adjust my goal again, and at 25k, I knew finishing would take a lot from me. The decision to stop at 28k was very difficult, as I was hoping to give much more to my friends, family, and the wonderful people at Ottawa. I am deeply thankful that many people assured me that this was the right decision given the circumstances.

As always, when you set high goals, failure is part of the process. In the short term, I hope to recover in time to race at the Toronto Waterfront 10 on June 25. In the long term, I will definitely be aiming for a fall Marathon at either Montreal or STWM.

Below is my training for the month leading up to the Marathon.

Week of May 2-8 (188k)
M: 25 w/ strides
T: AM: 25 w/ strides; PM: 17 w/ strides
W: 10*2min 10k; 2min Marathon
T: 23 w/ strides
F: 24 w/ strides
S: 8 w/ strides
S: 38 w/ 30 at 3:46/k

Week of May 9-15 (155k)
M: 26 w/ strides
T: 24 w/ strides
W: 2*1200-800-400; 3-2-1 min Recovery
T: 12 w/ strides
F: 24 w/ strides
S: Long run w/ 80 min @ Marathon effort
S: 24 w/ strides

Week of May 16-22 (100k)
M: 20 w/ strides
T:  Rest
W: 20*1 min at 10k pace; 1 min jog
T: 13 w/ strides
F: 13 w/ strides
S: Long run w/ 60min MP
S: 15 w/ strides

Week of May 23-May 29 (72k)
M: 14 w/ strides
T: 4
W: 10 min tempo; 3*400 in :73; 3 min R
T: 4
F: Rest day
S: Rest day
S: Stopped at 28k of Ottawa Marathon

Awesome April

1 May

This month was awesome since I finally begin to see the benefit of training. Earlier in the month, I traveled to Toronto to participate in the Spring Run-Off 8k. It is always humbling to race outside of my comfort zone once in awhile, and get my butt kicked by 18 other people that were better than me on that day. It makes me realize that others are working hard as well, and I still have a long way to go to get to that next level of fitness. Later in the month, I had a great race at the Montreal Half. The Montreal Half was my last test of fitness before the big show in Ottawa, and I nailed it by running a well paced 72:20. It’s difficult to race well during Marathon training, but I was very please with the results. This race made me believe that I can run with the 2:30 pace group at Ottawa Marathon.
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Krista, her pacers, le boys, and I

Another event that indirectly made me believe that I am in store for a good race at Ottawa is the Boston Marathon. Even though I was not able to travel to the race to support my training partners, following them throughout the race on social media made me believe that we are doing something right in our training.

Below is my training for the month.

Week of Apr 4-10 (124k)
M: 4*k hills
T: 24 w/ strides
W: 22 w/ strides
T: 3*10*short hills w/ circuits
F: AM: 10 w/ strides; PM: 6 w/ strides
S: 19th at Spring Run-Off 8k in 27:33
S: 11 w/ strides

Week of Apr 11-17 (200k)
M: 25 w/ strides
T: 4*3k in 10:30; 2min Recovery
W: AM: 21 w/ strides; PM: 13 w/ strides
T: 1600 in 5:00; 1200 in 3:40; 800 in 2:20; 400 in :70; 3min R
F: 26 w/ strides
S: AM: Long run with 80 min @ 3:55/k; PM: 18 w/ strides
S: AM: 24 w/ strides; PM: 6

Week of Apr 18-24 (112k)
M: 4*6 min @ 5:20/mile; 2 min R
T: 4
W: 3*5*:75 uphill; :45 R; 3 min R between sets
T: 2
F: 12
S: AM: 12; PM: 4
S: AM: 10th at Montreal Half in 72:20; PM: 12

Week of Apr 25-May 1 (202k)
M: 22 w/ strides
T: 23 w/ strides
W: 2*800 in 2:20; 3 min R; stopped on the 3rd
T: AM: 24 w/ strides; PM: 13 w/ strides
F: 27 w/ strides
S: AM: 32 w/ 20 min MP; 5 min HP; 20 min MP; PM: 18 w/ strides
S: AM: 24 w/ strides; PM: 4

Made in March

31 Mar

Last month did not end well, but the time spent away from the sport when I was injured and sick helped renew my passion for running. I stopped to dwell on missed or bad workouts that I cannot change, and I started viewing each day as a new beginning and an opportunity to get better. With the increased level of dedication, the volume and intensity of this month’s training have been higher than I previously anticipated. Hopefully, this will make Ottawa Marathon a great experience for me in 2016.

With an increase in the amount of training, there comes an increased uncertainty of its benefits. After all, the benefits of training only appear when I have recovered and execute my goal race. During the Marathon build, I am almost always tired, and each workout was a grind to get to the next. Luckily, I had a good test of fitness at a local 10k race in LaSalle, where I finished 4th in 33:35.

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The race reminded me of my love for competition, and it was nice to be within seconds of my 10k PB based on only Marathon specific training. After the race, one of the runners asked me to write a few lines about my running story that might help to inspire others. For now, the story is very simple. I was just a boy that loves running and competition. In high school, I ran 50k/week and thought I was working hard. University was a big surprise when I found out only 160k/week is considered working hard. It took me 10 years to get here. However, I am now running 200k/week and know that there are others working harder than me. Running has made me humbler. At the same time, I realize that hard work does not guarantee success. In the end, I am back to that boy who just loves the process of running and competition.

Below is my training for the month.

Week of Feb 29-Mar 6 (160k)
M: 18k w/ 12 min tempo
T: 20 w/ strides
W: 10*100m fast; 100m cruise
T: 17 w/ strides
F: 20 w/ strides
S: AM: long run w/ 20 min Marathon Pace; 5 Half Pace; 20 MP; PM: 12 w/ strides
S: AM: 20 w/ strides; PM: 12 w/ strides

Week of Mar 7-13 (190k)
M: 9*4 min @ 3:30/k; 1 min Recovery
T: 20 w/ strides
W: 10*2 min 10k effort; 2 min MP
T: 22 w/ strides
F: 20 w/ strides
S: AM: 29; PM: 12 w/ strides
S: AM: 25 w/ strides; PM: 14 w/ strides

Week of Mar 14-20 (130k)
M: 25min@3:40/k; 5min@3:30/k; 15min@3:40/k;
T: 12
W: 12 w/ strides
T: 5*800m in 2:25; 2:30 R
F: AM: 14 w/ strides; PM: 10 w/ strides
S: AM: 10 w/ strides; PM: 5
S: AM: 4th in 10k (33:35) @ LaSalle; PM: 5

Week of Mar 21-27 (198k)
M: 24 w/ strides
T: 23 w/ strides
W: 10*3 min @ 3:25/k ; 1 min @ 3:45/k
T: 20 w/ strides
F: AM: 21 w/ strides; PM: 10 w/ strides
S: AM: 10k @ 4:00/k; 10k @ 3:50/k; 10k @ 3:30/k; PM: 5
S: AM: 10; PM: 24 w/ strides

Week of Mar 28-Apr 3 (192k)
M: 10*2:15 of hills
T: 24 w/ strides
W: AM: 22 w/ strides; PM: 10 w/ strides
T: 3*300m hill; 1300m tempo; 300m hill
F: AM: 12; PM: 17 w/ strides
S: AM: 24.3k in 90 min; PM: 5
S: AM: 10; PM: 15 w/ strides; Evening: 12 w/ strides

Forever February

1 Mar

When training is going well I wish it would last forever, but when I am injured and sick, everything seems to last forever. Earlier this month was my most consistent training block to date. Even when the temperature dipped below -30C, I still managed to get out the door twice on the weekend, and put one foot in front of another. If I can have this kind of opportunity for another year, then the Marathon will take care of itself.

I tapered a bit during the middle of month to prepare for a road race at Ile Bizard. The plan was to race in both the 5k and 10k, and attempt to get a couple of wins to break even with the entry fees. I always wanted to try this double since witnessing Terry Gehl performing it multiple times on Circuit Endurance. Ile Bizard is known to be a low-key race, and I thought this would be a great opportunity to double. The 5k started first, and I was alone for most of the race. The weather cooperated, and I decided to race in T-shirt and shorts.

2016-02-21 | 2016 Défi Hivernal Ile Bizard (31e Edition)

The time in between the two races was not very pleasant, since I was shivering from the snow and splash picked up in the previous race. Things always looked easier when I watch others do it, but when it’s my turn, then I begin to realize the problems. I tried my best to stay competitive in the 10k, but Steve and Dan were better runners on that day. When my training partners are having good races, it makes me believe that we are doing the right things.

2016-02-21 | 2016 Défi Hivernal Ile Bizard (31e Edition)

Unfortunately, the month did not end on the high note that it started. After weeks of running on snow and ice, my glutes began to bother me and forced me to stop in the middle of workouts. To make things worse, I caught a bad cold that depleted all my energy and willpower to cross-train. I remember forcing myself to get out the door for a jog, and later crawling back totally drained. 4k runs all the sudden seemed impossible to manage. Running is a powerful addiction, the more I run, the more dependent on it I become. On the brighter side, I just ran 16k yesterday with some quality in between, therefore, I hope I will be back to full strength very soon.

Week of Feb 1-7 (190k)
M: 45 min @ 5:50/mile
T: AM: 16k w/ strides; PM: 20 w/ strides
W: 3*400-200-200-200-400; 200 recovery
T: 22 w/ strides
F: 22 w/ strides
S: AM: 4*5k @ 4:00/k (snow); PM: 10 w/ strides
S: AM: 19 w/ strides; PM: 20 w/ strides

Week of Feb 8-14 (160k)
M: 2*20 min @ 3:35/k
T: 21 w/ strides
W: 10*100m fast; 100m cruise
T: AM: 12; PM: 19 w/ strides
F: 30 min @ 4:00/k (snow)
S: AM: 12 w/ strides; PM: 12
S: AM: 12 w/ strides; PM: 12

Week of Feb 15-21 (125k)
M: 10*3 min hard; 1 min recovery
T: 14
W: 10
T: 15min@3:45/k; 5min@3:35/k; 15min@3:45/k;
F: 4
S: AM: 11 w/ strides; PM: 4
S: AM: 1st in 5k (16:55); 3rd in 10k (35:31) @ Ile Bizard; PM: 10 w/ strides

Week of Feb 22-28 (70k)
M: 25 w/ strides
T: Stopped during the tempo due to issues with my right glutes
W: 12 w/ exercises
T: 5
F: 4
S: 5
S: 4

Jumbo-pack January

31 Jan

It is unusual to have this much to write about in the first post of the year, but I hope this is an indication of the great things to come in 2016.

The story started awhile back after my fall Marathon in 2015, I ran a decent race, and lost some motivation to train seriously again. After the Marathon, I originally planned to train regularly, participate in local races, and eventually get ready for a spring Marathon in 2016. Then, I got an invitation from Skechers Performance to run in the Half at Houston Marathon on January 17. I was never satisfied with my Half best, and knowing Houston to be a flat course packed with fast elites, I decided to travel for a good Half in January.

The training leading up the Half was one of the most consistent block I have had. I think I averaged around 165k/week for around 6 weeks, and then gradually decreased the volume as the race got closer. I hit most of the key workouts except for a couple where I was very tired. Initially, I thought 72/3 minutes would be a great time goal to aim for, but as the race got closer, I decided I will just get to the startline and race.

The trip to Houston lived up to every bit of my expectations. The Houston Marathon organizing committee did a great justice for all the runners who participated. Everything from the Expo to the race volunteers to the post-race food were the highest of quality that I have experienced. It is definitely a race I would recommend and an experience I would like to have again.

IMG_20160115_172618439_HDRGood job! Houston Marathon
IMG_20160115_162218898_HDRProud to be part of a fast growing team.
IMG_20160115_161255611_HDRSneak peek into this year’s collection.

What made the trip sweeter was that I had a wonderful stay with the family of a colleague. They were the best hosts that one can ask for. One of them worked with George W. Bush, and I had a blast learning about US politics.

IMG_20160116_075906958This was home for 3 days.

These were my training partners!

The gun went off at 7AM on a breezy 4C Houston morning. I was not used to having so many elites at a race, so the first kilometer was a bit of a mess trying to pass people and getting passed by people. Eventually, a group of American women pulled along me. I knew the leading BAA girls were capable of running around 72s so I jumped on the back of the group and started rolling 5:25/mile. The good times last until about 10k, and after that I felt apart and began feeling sorry for how slow I was moving. Occasionally, I would be able to hold on for a couple of minutes with the people passing me, but for the most of the second part of the race was pretty miserable. In the last 5 kilometers, it was easy to realize how this is the course where Ryan Hall set his American record (59:43, and that is not the course record (59:22)!). The entire course was flat as a pancake. I finally found some energy in the last 2 miles and came through the finish line in 74:34.

Of course, I was not in this journey alone. On a day where I thought my effort would be overshadowed by the awesome performances the Canadian crew had. I received many more warm congratulations and encouragements from family and friends than I can mention here. It is the first time where I felt my training and racing have made an impact for others as well.

IMG_20160117_092852497cGo Rachel!

Like every race, I came away with many lessons. The first is that the first 15k of a Half should be comfortable. Looking back, I shouldn’t have forced myself to continue with the 72 group after I began to feel uncomfortable at 8k. The extra 2k at the wrong pace did more damage than I could have recovered at the end. In a long race, it is okay to drop back when you realize your initial goal was too aggressive, but at the same time it is difficult to think logically when you are racing. Second, I need to trust my first instinct to be better at running tangents. I actually studied the course and watched last year’s race a couple of times, but it was difficult to not get caught up in the moment and follow the runner 50 meters in front of me. On a couple of occasions, I swirled around the road causing me to run extra distances than necessary. I am always annoyed when people complain that the course is a few hundred meters long according to their GPS, because I do not think this is the course’s fault.

From my interactions with the runners at Houston. The simplest and most important lesson is that I did not achieve the times I desired because I did not train hard enough. Therefore, I am back to training for the next race.

Week of Jan 4-10 (120k)
M: 4.6 miles tempo
T: 14k easy
W: 10*3 min hard; 1min recovery
T: 15 w/ strides
F: 14
S: 5 min tempo (twisted ankle)
S: AM: 20 w/ strides; PM: 4

Week of Jan 11-17 (75k)
M: 10 min tempo; 10*1 min hard; 1 min recovery
T: 6
W: 1000m in 3:10; 2000m in 6:28
T: 4
F: 5 w/ strides
S: 5 w/ strides
S: Half at Houston Marathon in 74:34

Week of Jan 18-24 (118k)
M: 2
T: 15 w/ strides
W: 17 w/ strides
T: 5*1000m in 3:05; 3 min recovery
F: 20 w/ strides
S: 3*15 min @ 3:35/k
S: 19 w/ strides

Week of Jan 25-31 (155k)
M: 10 min @ 5:30/mile + 4*2 min fast; 2 min recovery
T: 20 w/ strides
W: 20 w/ strides
T: 10*200m in :33; strength exercise recovery
F: 21 w/ strides
S: AM: 19 w/ strides; PM: 21 w/ strides
S: AM: 19 w/ strides; PM: 5

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