Back over 20km

For the first time since the 2018 BMO Vancouver Marathon last May, I ran over 20km yesterday – 23.5km to be exact.

I set out with about 19km in mind, considering that I have a half marathon in three weeks and I really don’t have a lot of reasons to push things too far, too fast. The route was 23km, but I figured I would run through about 19km and then hop a streetcar back to the start.

As you do…

Well, as you do when the run is fun, I pushed through the 19km distance and we changed things up a bit on the fly to run past my parents’ place where I would check in (they are away for a few weeks) before calling it quits and hopping that streetcar for the last few kilometres.

After the stop, which was about 60 seconds total, I started running again and figured I would just keep going along King St. until a streetcar finally came. It never did and by about Spadina I could see the group again so I just decided to finish it up on foot. I ended up catching them around University and then ran it in from there.

It felt good to get up over 20km again. I thought back to marathon training runs in the past and remembered why I like distance running. It’s enjoyable to run out to Jane St. and through some nice neighbourhoods. I like the feeling of accomplishment that comes with pushing myself beyond what most would consider a normal distance.

Three weeks until Palmetto Bluff

I have two long runs before the Palmetto Bluff Half Marathon on March 10. That probably means one more run over 20km before a taper run the Sunday before. I’m feeling good about where I’m at, even with the less intense training I’ve done this winter.

Early 2019 Results

Two weeks into 2019 and I’ve already posted my highest monthly run total since last May. I think it’s fair to say that I’m back on track now after six months of taking it easy.

With any luck I should just barely top 200km for the month which is something I haven’t done since last April.

January Training

Things are starting to come together now and I’m finally getting into the swing of things after seven months of not-so-consistent running. The key, as usual, is to have a schedule and then to stick to it. Duh.

I made a nice calendar again with runs on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday. The distances are a bit less than my marathon plan since I’m not running a marathon this spring. I’ve got two 6km and one 8km runs during the week, 5km on Saturday and then a longer Sunday run. Right now that’s about 15km and a weekly total around 40km which will increase as the Sunday runs get longer.

I’m at 40km for the year now after just one week, and on pace for a solid month that might be close to 150km depending on the Sunday runs. There’s a lululemon challenge on Strava that’s got me chasing 80km by January 25th and I’m right on target for that as well. There’s also a New Balance challenge to run 91 miles (146km) in January which seems doable without to much trouble assuming I can ramp the Sunday distances up to get there.

It’s nice to not have the whole big marathon plan in the calendar, but it’s also good to have a fairly aggressive plan to start the year. I missed having goal races to go after and while it’ll be a 30km and a half this spring, that will still be enough to get me out for those runs during the week.

Hair of the Dog

Fun times with Heather. She won the women’s masters open division and I had a great run to finish 49th out of 142 which is squarely in the front of the mid-pack (as usual).

In the home stretch, heading to a sub-45 minute 9km.
Representing Eastbound Run Crew, striking the usual pose.

Running into 2019

Last year wasn’t exactly a stellar one for me in terms of running. The first half was fine, with a normal training session heading into the BMO Vancouver Marathon. The race didn’t go as I had hoped, and so heading into the summer, I dialed back the mileage and took it easy.

Later in the year I did start to get back into the swing of things with Eastbound Run Crew (EBRC) runs on Monday evenings and Downtown Yonge Running Room (DYRR) Sunday runs. I ran 77km in December which is a far cry from what I used to do in the average month.

The break was nice, but it’s time to start getting back to a regular running lifestyle again.

Hair of the Dog

That started today with the Hair of the Dog race. It’s a 9km run from Balmy Beach Club down to the entrance to Tommy Thompson Park and then back. I ran well this morning and did a 44:38 for the 9km with about a 45 second negative split. A shot of schnapps at the 4.5km turnaround likely helped.

2019 Training Plan

Heading into 2019, I’ve set an 1,800km goal for the year. That means 150km a month which is quite doable for me, assuming I get back to my old habits of running four or five times a week. My plan is this:

  • Sunday: run with the DYRR (or EBRC) for about 15-20km to start, and eventually more. I’ll run the marathon training plan until it gets to the 29km and 32km runs which I’ll likely cut short at 23-26km depending on how things play out.
  • Monday: run 8km with the EBRC weekly.
  • Tuesday: rest day.
  • Wednesday: run a steady 6-8km on my own around the neighbourhood or on the treadmill.
  • Thursday: run a steady 8-10km on my own around the neighbourhood or on the treadmill.
  • Friday: rest day.
  • Saturday: run an easy 5km (or take a rest day).

That’s approaching the marathon training plan I’ve done over the last few years, but I don’t intend to run one this spring. Instead, the focus will be on the 30km Around the Bay Road Race and maybe a half marathon in May.

That plan allows for some long runs in Hilton Head in March, but not the really heavy distances I’ve had to do when training for the marathon. I can fit a couple of 20km runs in and still be ready to go 30km on March 31st.

We’ll see how things go from there. By the end of May I should have a 30km and a half marathon done and a good base in place to continue training over the summer and into the fall for a faster half marathon and maybe a run at my personal best.

Regular Running

Just nine days into December and with 37km logged I’ve already out run my November monthly mileage total of 33km. That’s not to say December has been impressive, but more that November was just sad.

I’ve run three days in a row now and 12.6km today which is longer than I’ve gone in a good long time. It felt pretty easy to go that distance and I’m looking forward to getting back into things over the next couple of weeks and then into the new year.

Proof I ran today. Photo “stolen” from Mike Lin. Thanks Mike!

I think I’ll train up with the marathon clinic in January and see where that takes me. I don’t want to run 42.2km this spring, but I do want to get back to running 20km or so without difficulty.

Vancouver Bound…Again

As is the tradition, I’m writing a post a couple of days prior to the BMO Vancouver Marathon as we fly out from Toronto.

The flight provides a good opportunity to take some time to write up some thoughts about how training went and also to look ahead to the race itself.

img_0294Just like last year, the weather wasn’t great in Toronto today as we flew out. Unlike last year, it’s an Air Canada flight instead of WestJet and I have Ginny with me for the trip. The weather in Vancouver looks good, with sunny skies and warmish temps for the whole weekend.

Race day looks to be sunny with temperatures between about 10ºC and maybe as high as 18ºC by the time I finish. That’s a wee bit warmer than I prefer, but the seawall section is generally shady and it’s always a bit cooler along the waterfront as well.

Looking back, thinking ahead

Training went really, really well. I avoided injury through out and missed very little training. All four months were over 200km and I’ll have run a total of 900km after the short shakedown run tomorrow.

img_0077My long runs went really well, including a 30km treadmill run that was a solid test of my mental game. The 29km run in Naples, FL in the heat was also a big test and while I faded at the end, considering the conditions, it was a great run too.

I ran all of the hill workouts (save one when we were in Florida and there weren’t any hills) including the 10 x hills monster workout.

Race expectations

It’s been a good while since I’ve had a good marathon. My 3:36:01 in Ottawa in 2015 was the last one I ran from start to finish. Generally that lack of a good race has come down to hot weather on race day and the rib injury last fall.

The weather is looking good for Sunday and with a solid 18 weeks of training under my belt, I feel like I should be able to run a good marathon this time around. My PB is probably out of the question, but I would like to beat my course record of 3:48 if I can.

Like last year, I’ll probably run with the 3:40 group and go from there. My “A” goal is to beat 3:48. My “B” goal is to run the whole 42.195km. And my “C” goal is to just have an enjoyable race on my favourite course in my favourite city.

One Week To Go

Seven days until the BMO Vancouver Marathon. It will be my 12th full marathon and my fifth time running 42.2km in Vancouver.

Training is all but done and things went really well this year. It’s the last day of April tomorrow and with a rest day scheduled, I can call it a month at 242km. That comes on the heels of a 225km March and makes four straight months over 200km. I’m at 880km for the year and I’ll be heading into the race at just about 900km.

Injury Free, Good Long Runs

I made it through the winter and spring mostly free of injury. I had the usual minor foot soreness that I’ve dealt with in the past. Some rolling and stretching kept things in check and it never really caused me any issues.

Life didn’t get in the way either. Our March Break trip to Florida brought a few challenges in terms of getting the runs in, but aside from a pair of weekday runs, I managed to stay on track. That included running 29km solo in Naples in the heat.

The long runs went really, really well too. I didn’t have any tough runs outside of the Florida run where the warm temps really took a tool. I had a couple of good 29km runs and a really solid 32km.

The last 32km ended up being 30km and indoors on the treadmill thanks to some awful weather on that Sunday morning.

What Spring?

The weather this winter was not terrible. But spring was basically non-existent. We had a couple of cold runs, one slushy and windy run and then a whole bunch of generally cold runs. I think I only ran long in shorts twice?

Even the weeknights were tough with cold weather making for more treadmill running than usual, especially in April when normally I’d be able to switch to some outdoor running at least a few days a week.

18 Good Weeks

All in all it was a good four months of training and I’m proud to have really stuck with the program from start to finish. As mentioned, I missed just two runs since I started the program back on January 1. I only shortened up two runs as well. One was an 8km that turned into 5km thanks to some stomach issues. The other was the 30km treadmill run that was supposed to be 32km outdoors.

Taper Time

Two weeks to go and that means one thing in marathon training – it’s taper time.

This is when you officially say, “I’m done training,” and switch your focus to resting and getting ready for race day. That doesn’t mean no running, but it does mean far less mileage for the next couple of weeks.

I ran 23km today at a bit slower than race pace. This week I’ll do the usual 6/10/8km weeknight routine. On Saturday I’ll run 16km at race pace and then it’s really time to rest up with just 6km on Sunday, 6km again on Tuesday and a final 10km race pace run on Wednesday.

I generally take Thursday off on race week and then pick things up with a very easy 3km the morning before the race.

Some runners talk about the taper crazies, but that’s the least of my worries. After 17 weeks of hard training with no breaks, I’m ready to ease back a bit and enjoy a couple of weeks of easier runs.

My focus is to not do anything dumb over the next 13 days. I’ve got a big run left to do, and I need to be healthy, rested and injury free. That means no stupid speed runs, or silly things like stubbed toes. I’ve been there and done that before; I’ll be taking it easy on stairs and not pushing things out on the run either.