Hansons Method: Strength

It sure has been a while since I posted an update on my Hanson’s Method training plan. This is because 1) I was dealing with not always hitting my scheduled runs and 2) the first half of my program was speedwork and then it moved to a strength run.


These are totally new to me, as my programs in the past were focused on tempo. steady, speedwork and long runs – so what in the heck is a strength run?! I even had to review the chapter in my book to make sure I knew what I was getting myself into on Tuesday.

Strength workouts are still runs, but ones that emphasize volume at a slightly lower intensity with the goal of stressing the aerobic system at a high level. While the speed sessions are designed to be short enough to avoid lactate accumulation, the strength sessions are meant to force the runner to adapt to running longer distances with moderate amounts of lactate accumulation.


The benefits of strength workouts include:

  • improved lactate clearance
  • improved lactate tolerance
  • improved endurance at faster paces
  • improved O2 delivery
  • improved running economy

All of that sounds really good to me, especially since come race day I’ll be running and running and running and runni……You get the idea.

My speedwork sessions started with 400m (0.25 mile) repeats and progressed to 1200m (0.75mile) repeats. Strength workouts don’t start our nearly as kind. I started with 6x1mile (1600m) with 400m (0.25 mile) rest and will progress to 2x3miles (just shy of 5k) with only 800m (0.50 mile) of rest.

However, these are at a much slower pace than speedwork. I was running my speedwork at an average pace of 5:13-5:32/km and 5:00-5:18/km or 8:24-8:55/mile and 8:03-8:33/mile.

My super handy pace chart (click here) tells me for a 4:00-4:15 marathon time, I’ll want to run my strength workouts at a pace of 8:59-9:34/mile or 5:34-5:56/km.

That sounds….doable.

The lack of rest will probably be a challenge, but really, that’s the whole point of these runs – to get my body used to pushing hard and maintaining pace for a looong time.

Since there aren’t really pace times out there for the 50km, I plugged some expected finish times (anywhere from 5:00 to 5:30) into this site (<– also very handy if you need to convert min/mile to min/km and vice versa!) and here’s what it spit out.

5-00 5-15 5-30


To be honest, these all seem pretty reasonable to me. The 5 hour finish is definitely a stretch and I’m not even going to have that as a goal, but I really feel like a 5:15-5:30 finish is doable (provided I don’t cramp like I did in my marathon). I even looked up my average pace for my full and it was 6:19/km even with all the cramping and walking, so I feel like if I stay healthy, running at a 6:18/km pace for 50km is actually achievable.


The First Run

Tueday I set out to do my first ever strength session.

To be honest I really just wanted to lay on the couch. I was tired. It was my seventh day in a row of running. But, I knew I’d get to rest on Wednesday (can we pause for a moment to honour the awesomeness of a rest day) so I decided to get out there and just do it. You know, like the commercials said.

It went….okay.

My dinner on Monday probably didn’t help matters: fish, beans and four (yes, four) beets. Holy fibre.

It was also hella windy. Welcome to spring in Alberta. (I could look up how windy, but I think hella windy works).

The plan was to run 6×1 mile intervals, due to the wind, every second interval was running into the wind, so that was super fun. Then came my tummy.

Whenever I have speed work to do, I always tell myself I must complete more than half the intervals and then I can decide if I want to continue. 99% of the time I do them all. Not this time.

I made it to 4 intervals and my tummy had other plans. I tried to do a slow run for the 2.5km back home and even that didn’t help, so I walked.

All in all, my run was over 10km and I definitely think these workouts are dobale. For the majority of my running I was running a near 5:30 min/km pace and I felt really good about that.

Tell me: Have you ever ran a program with a strength run?





Long Runs

Training Plan


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Weekly Plan: 1/20-1/26



First let’s look at my plan, and how it played out, from last week:

Monday Greatist WOD
RW Core
10k run
RW Core
Tuesday 10k steady
Greatist WOD
Wednesday 10k steady
Yin Yoga
6.4k run
100 push ups test
Thursday 10k steady
Greatist WOD
Friday Greatist WOD 6k run
Push ups
Saturday 10k steady
Yoga Sculpt
Sunday 15k long run 15k

Before writing out what I did this week, I was feeling lazy and bummed about my runs, while I did them, they didn’t always feel great. Then I realized I’ve ran more this week than in all of December. Seriously. The awesomeness of my 15k run also pretty much made up for all the suck. It wasn’t fast, there was ice on the path so I walked instead of risking falling, but it was great. I never wanted a walk break and I only walked for safety – not because I needed to. I have a lot more to say about how I feel about running, so much that I’m writing an entire post about it (it’s been a long time since I talked about running!).

And now the plan for this week:

Monday Abs
Push ups
7 min workout
Tuesday 6k run
7 min workout
Wednesday 10k steady
Push ups
7 min workout
Thursday 10k steady
7 min workout
Friday Abs
Push ups
7 min workout
Saturday 10k steady
7 min workout
Sunday 18k long run
7 min workout

The ab and leg workouts I’m doing are from the 30 Day Fitness Challenges app, the push ups is from 100 Pushups app and the third workout is from the 7 Minute Workout Challenge app.

Once again, I’ve highly modified my training schedule – since I’m not a fan of being injured and not being able to run (being sick was bad enough!!) I’ve pretty much taken out all of the speedwork from my training program and I’m focusing on rebuilding my base through steady pace runs and building my distance to a half marathon distance in the 5 remaining weeks before Orlando!

Both Ann and I have had setbacks due to illness and winter weather, so we’ve revised our goals to be more in-line with where we are now – and I”m feeling pretty good about the two runs. We’ll be in Disney – we’re certain to have fun!!


I have four green smoothie packs in my freezer, so I plan on using those up Mon-Thurs and treating myself to something on Friday. I’m not sure what yet, it might just be oatmeal, but it’ll be a temporary change from the smoothies.


I enjoyed my salads so much last week, that I’m brining them back this week. It also helps that I have a lot of the supplies left over, so it’ll make grocery shopping easier for the fixin’s. I plan on posting the recipe (if you can call it that) on the blog this week. Probably.


Snacks are pretty much the same: yogurt, fruit, trail mix, except I’m also adding in the granola bars I made last week. They’re ridiculously amazing – if you haven’t made them yet you really should!


I did a bit more of a substantial grocery shop this week, so I’ll have salads, wraps and curry this week. The spinach peanut curry from a few weeks back was a bit of a fail, but I know the green curry is good, so I’m really looking forward to that!

Tell me: What are you looking forward to this week?

Today I’m linking up with Amanda at Run To The Finish for Accountability Monday.

How How I Feel Affects My Body Image

Ugh, what a totally awkward post title, but I’m assuming y’all understand what I mean 😉

It’s no secret that I’ve been not 100% healthy for a little over a month. I’ve done my best not to whine about it, but not being able to run, cross train and go to yoga has really started to affect me.

photo (22)

Last Wednesday I had an absolutely crap-tastic treadmill run. I set out to do an easy 10k and 5 minutes in I knew it probably wasn’t going to happen. I kept trying to stay positive and set a mini goal of making it to 30 minutes and then evaluating from there. Well, at 23 minutes I stopped running and walked the remaining 7 minutes.

Crap-tastic, indeed.

What I noticed after the run, is I started feeling bad about my body.

I started picking at how my pants fit, at how I’d gained (a small amount of) weight over the Christmas break.

Pick. Pick. Pick.

I know that feeling unwell and not being able to do the things I know I capable of doing affects how I feel about myself – this was a perfect example.

Gaining 4-6 pounds because I’ve been sick for, oh, roughly six weeks, and survived off alcohol and sugar for a week over Christmas is hardly significant. Like, barely.

My clothes all fit the same(ish), and I don’t feel all wibbly-wobbly (mostly) when I move.

But –

I don’t feel healthy.

Running, yoga, cross training: these are all things I include in my life because they make me feel better. It’s one thing to choose not to run because I have other commitments, it’s another to be unable to run because I’m not well.

I’m perfectly fine making a choice to take a day or two off from running when it’s my choice, but I really do feel like my body is betraying me with this dang cold because right now?! It’s not my choice.

I made the decision to take last Thursday off from running because my run on Wednesday made me feel worse. <– dumb.

I have no issues running through a cold (the sinus infection was completely different) but I’m not willing to push my recovery to healthfulness back just so I can get a few runs in, especially if those runs top out at 20 minutes because I can’t continue.

Can we also talk about how frustrating it is to run for 20 minutes and then have to take a freaking shower because I may have only ran for 20 minutes but I’m still a sweaty beast and needed (seriously, needed) to shower. How freaking stupid.

It’s certainly been eye-opening for me to see the distinct connection between how I feel health-wise and how I feel about my body.

Tell me: Does how you feel health-wise correlate to how you feel about your body?

Running in the Cold


Last week I talked about safety when running in the dark, so this week I wanted to touch on dressing in the cold. Unfortunately for me, dark and cold seem to go hand-in-hand from early November until mid-March, so by the time I’m done this half marathon training cycle, I should be an old pro at this.

The weather in Calgary can be quite fickle, even in winter I’m never quite sure what the temperature will be like. Last week Monday-Wednesday we had temperatures nearing -30C with the windchill (that’s -22F) and this week temperatures have ranged from -9C to 4C (16F to 40F). This will continue through the winter, low lows to nice weather. Thankfully it’s almost always sunny, even when it is really cold.

I have a few rules I like to follow when attempting to run outside in the winter.

Run in cold OR dark, but not cold AND dark

Last week, since it was cold AND dark, had I been feeling well, my runs would have been on the treadmill. I don’t mind running in the chilly temps when there’s sun, but I won’t do it in the dark. This may be me being a bit of a wimp, but the sun really does make a difference in the temperatures. Minus 15C or so is my cold AND dark cutoff, so this week I have no problem running in the dark when it’s near -10C.

Layer, layer, layer

I’m a bit of a wimp when it comes to cold, so sometimes I’ll over dress. I try to dress in layers such that I can open a zipper vent (can we take a moment here and celebrate the zipper vents) or easily peel off a layer. Last Sunday I headed out when it was -16C and it was -13C when I finished. The beginning of my runs is usually into the wind (I head west first) and then the wind is at my back heading home. This means I’m quite warm by the time I head home, so the ability to open a vent is super important.

photo (74)

Layer one: super warm pants and tank top

photo (71)

Also layer one: Warm pants and tank top. (Tucked in 1) because I’m awesome and 2) to keep the heat in

photo (75)

Layer two (if needed): merino wool blend top over tank top (tucking in is optional)

photo (72)

Layer two (final layer): vest with long sleeves for warmer cold weather

photo (76)

Layer three (cold days): down jacket (with vents!!), toque and gloves. Sunglasses optional


I mentioned last week I recently purchased a pair of Newton BOCO AT running shoes. Oh baby. This guys are amazing in the snow. Seriously. My first run in them was on cleared pathways, but because of the blizzard the day before, I was running in snow on Sunday. I’m absolutely terrified of falling and hurting myself when running (this is likely a result of a nasty fall I had nearly 9 years ago where I broke my elbow; coordinated I am not) and these shoes made me feel really safe. They still have the Newton lugs, but they’re designed in such a way they grip into the snow to provide fantastic traction.


Stay close to home

When the temperatures are really cold, I run multiple loops close to home. When temperatures are freezing, it’s important to minimize skin exposure (frostbite sucks!) and if you fall and hurt yourself, you don’t want to have a long trek back home to get indoors, especially since your clothing is likely not enough for walking. I did run an out and back that was ~7km out (for a total of 14km) and I’m thinking that may have been a bit too far given the weather. I evaluate this on a day-to-day basis (if it’s warm out I’m comfortable venturing farther out). I also carrying my cell phone and credit card just in case I need to call a friend, or a cab, to get my butt home.

And now, something unrelated to the above, but since it started today, I wanted to mention it.



Click here to read the official rules and you can join the RunChat Facebook group to be informed of upcoming #RunChats on Twitter.

I’ll be playing along and posting my entries to Instagram and Twitter (and will do a blog post once I’m done) so don’t forget to follow me there and play along!

Happy Thanksgiving to all my lovely American readers!

Tell me: what are your tips for running in the cold?

Marathon Recap

So I maybe kinda, sorta procrastinated a bit in writing and posting this recap.

I could waffle and say something silly, like I was waiting for the race photos to be available (they were posted Tuesday) but that would only kind of be true. The main reason is there were a lot of feels (a lot!) in this race, and sharing what I went through during 32km to 38km was a bit scary because I was going to need to make myself very vulnerable. But, if I’m going to write about running, I’m going to write about running: the good, the bad and the ugly.

The Before

The marathon start was scheduled for 7:15, so I set my alarm for 6am knowing we planned on leaving around 6:30. I even went to the trouble to set my alarm to go off to ROAR. Best! Decision! Ever!

photo (4)

I had a small drink of water, brushed my teeth (because I didn’t need morning breath adding to my marathon stench) and decided to throw my hair back in two french braids for the race.

I gathered up all my running goods and went downstairs to eat. As mentioned before, I don’t eat much before a race, I had my Stroopwaffel and mixed my Vega Pre-Exercise Energizer with Beta-Alanine to take with me in the car. We arrived at the race site shortly after 7am, which was perfect for me. As the race was relatively small, I had more than enough time to check my bag and head over to the corral.

I set myself up just behind the 4:15 pace group, figuring I’d run with them for the first half or so, and then evaluate the last bit depending on pace.

Right before the national anthem I ate a Gu Espresso flavoured gel and tossed my jacket to my dad and started my pre-race jitters routine. This mainly involves not smiling, shifting my weight back and forth and running through everything I wanted to remember to do (number one was start SLOW!).

The During (start)

After the anthem we had a short countdown and then we were off. I watched the gun time when I went over the timing pad and noted I started 0:50 after the gun, so I knew my time would be just under a minute off when I came through at the finish. I had a bit of trouble zipping up my phone in my fuel belt (I wanted to run with RunKeeper for the race) but it really didn’t affect me too much.

Right as I was exiting on to the main street I hear cheering for me: two friends I met while training for my first half marathon were making their way to the start of the half and seeing them really lifted my spirits (thanks Jenn and Cory!!).

I knew adrenaline would make my first bit of the race a little quick, so I really focussed on slowing my pace and making sure my breathing was steady, as I wanted to make sure I had some gas in the tank for the end of the race.

The During (0-10km)


I felt really good during the first quarter of the race. I worked hard at reminding myself to keep my pace in check and not push too hard as I still had a long way to go until the finish.

I ate my first gel at the 7km mark and also took off my gloves as my hands were sufficiently warm by that point. I’d arranged to have my sister meet me at the half way point in case I needed more gels and I planned on tossing my gear to her then, if I decided I was too warm. I just tucked my gloves into the waistband of my pants and carried on.

Around 8km in I realized I had to pee. Dangit.

After running my first half while needing to pee the whole time I rationalized that taking 30 seconds out of a 4 hour long race to pee wouldn’t be that bad, so just after the 9km mark I found a portapotty and did my thang. (as noted by the slow split at the 10km mark).

I have a tendancy to overthink things (ha! Surprising, right?!) so I was also working hard at this point to just take things as they came and not worry too much about anything.

9km 10km2 10km 10km3

10km split time: 59:12 (pace5:55/km)

The During (11-21km)


Right at the 10km mark for both the full and half marathons we run by the finish line, except we don’t get to stop, we have to keep going. I really thought that was going to mess with my focus, but I was so focused on my race that it (surprisingly) didn’t phase me much. Hooray!

Around the 12km mark I noticed my left glute was not a happy camper. This was something my bff massage therapist and I had worked on for my previous two sessions and I was really hoping it wouldn’t be an issue during the race. I managed to find a stop sign to use as leverage in an attempt to stretch out my glute. It worked for a while……Unfortunately this section of the course had a lot of left turns and every time I turned left it would put more weight on my glute and cause it to cramp again.

I ended up stopping at 12km, 15km and 18km to stretch out my glute as it was not a happy camper.

At the 20km mark I shed my ear warmers and arm warmers, knowing I’d be seeing my sister soon for my gels and I wanted to ditch my gear.

Except…..I didn’t see her.

I think she ended up mixing up what side of the park to meet me at, but no big deal, I fired off a text to her asking her to meet me at the 30km marker and carried on my way.


21.1km split; 2:05:34. (pace 5:55/km)

This was actually a full two minutes faster than I ran the half marathon last year.

The During (22-31km)


Aftering successfully texting my sis, I mentally planned when I wanted to increase my pace and when I wanted to start injesting my remaining gels. I decided to take them roughly every 45 minutes, knowing that would give me a gel almost exactly when I saw my sister.

Since moving to the other section of the course my glute wasn’t bothering me near as much, so I focused on my stride and breathing and tried not to think about how much further I had to go!

My average pace for this section was still under 6:00/km, which would put me at coming in under 4:15 for the race (yes, I’d attempt to do the math as I was running) but I really didn’t want to focus too much on pace. I knew 6:03/km was a 4:15 race and 5:47/km was a 4:00 race, and just went from there.

Right before the 30km mark I saw my sister’s dog Mazada, asked for 2 gels, quickly grabbed them and carried on my way. I knew if I stopped to give her a hug I might not convince my legs to start moving again 🙂

30km 30km3 30km2I even remembered to look at the camera and attempt to smile for these pictures!

The During (32-42.2km)


As you can see, just from looking at the splits, this is where life got really, really difficult for me.

I knew crossing into the last loop I was tired, but I also knew I could 100% finish this race.

Enter: my butt.

Yup, after being perfectly nice for 10km, it reared its ugly head, and oh man, was it ever painful! Seriously. It was the worst!

Instead of stretching 3 times like the previous time, I think I stopped every 5 minutes or so to stretch and then it took a lot for me to get running again.

At one point (I think right after the 35km mat) there were tears. I was frustrated with my butt, I was emotional because of everything that brought me to this point. I don’t like to say (or really even think) this, but if it weren’t for my separation I wouldn’t have even considered running a marathon. Truly. And so I was parts thankful (because MARATHON) and sad becase, well, I think you know why.

I walked through the remaining three water stations, taking water and willing myself to run again. My glute wasn’t bothering me much when walking, but I really wanted to run as much of the race as possible.

Around the 36km point, I seriously thought about walking in. I hurt, I was tired, I was scared of disappointing people because my race wasn’t as awesome as I’d hoped it would be. I even considered texting a friend for support, but I decided to stop pitying myself and push through as much as possible.

35km split: 3:32:48 (pace 6:05/km)

hurting hurting2 gyro3 gyro2I don’t look especially happy in most of the pictures above.

Once I hit the 37km mark, I knew I only had just over 5km to go. I kept telling myself I could run 5km. I was 100% capable of running 5km.

By this point I had pretty much perfected the marathon shuffle and was shuffle running my way to the finish. I’d managed to calm the tears and was stopped as needed to stretch (even though it frustrated the crap out of me to do that!).

At the 40.5km mark there’s a hard left turn onto a pathway for the final stretch of the race. My bum was very not pleased with that. I’m pretty sure I said, “ow” and then found a post to stretch on. Hrmph.

Knowing I was so close to the finish kept me going even though I hurt, but you know what – I was finishing my first marathon I was actually going to do it! There really was a point where I honestly thought I wasn’t going to finish, so to have made it, upright (and I didn’t puke!) was pretty freaking awesome.

gyro finish finish2I tried to push as hard as possible to the finish and my dad and sister were standing at the fence cheering me on to the end.

Overall time; 4:25:27 (pace 6:19/km)

(I’ll let you do the math on how long the last 7.2km took me to run).


The After

As soon as I had my medal around my neck and my water bottle in hand, I went straight to the bag check to grab my stuff and tossed a banana, apple and other goodies into my bag.

Thankfully my sister was easy to spot as all I needed to look for was her dog. Once we were all together, I walked with my sister to her car, except…..she wasn’t 100% sure where she had parked. At this point if someone had offered me a ride on one of those scooter wheelchair things I would have gladly accepted. Seriously. I’m pretty sure I was walking at about the same pace as an 80-year old grandma.

I was freaking thrilled to find my sister’s car and plant my butt in a seat for the drive to my dad’s.

Proof that I actually did it!

Proof that I actually did it!

I was really happy to be sitting in this picture!

Closing Thoughts

The wall sucks. Hitting it was harder than I had expected. I’d hit it a few times at the 15km mark in half marathons, but this was far harder. I’m really, really happy I pushed through and ran it, even if it was really slow. I still did it.

There were some course changes this year and I was really pleased with them. This year a narrow footbridge was eliminated and I was so, so happy not to have to dodge people, as the bridge was really, really narrow.

Although I really struggled through some parts of my marathon, I would absolutely, 100% do another one. Right now my focus will be on 1) resting for the next few weeks and 2) training for my half marathon in February, but once I’m done with that, I’ll start planning my next full.

The Thursday Runs: Tapering


So, be honest, how many of your runners just groaned and shuddered when you saw the word taper. Gross, right?!

So, what is a taper?

Everyone’s performance can benefit from a good taper, which is a carefully planned period of reduced training. This gradual easing up allows your body to disperse the residual fatigue products that have been carried from one workout to another. The extra recovery and regeneration that can occur during a taper result in what is called peaking.

The biggest complaint I get about tapering is that people often feel extremely restless during this period they feel like they should be doing more. Don’t. The beginning of the taper period signifies the end of training and the beginning of competition preparation and any hard training done during this period will do more to hurt your performance than help it because you won’t recover fast enough. A good taper will make you feel like a horse in the gate at the start of the race for the few days before your event. It is the feeling of peak fitness; use it to your advantage.

(From John Stanton’s marathon training program)

So, right now I’m kinda sorta running, but not really and it’s driving me crazy!

I’m definitely experiencing the restlessness and have a major itch to go out and run but I also know resting my body will allow it to perform better on race day.

PS – race day is in three days. THREE!!!!!!

When I was a competitive swimming, I also hated the taper. I hated it. But, I’m weird. I was the one who would go to meet right after hell week and pull out a PR in an event. That said, my body performs exceptionally well under stress, so I usually keep my taper to 1-2 weeks and not the recommended 3 because my body likes stress.

This is probably a great example not doing what I do. I’ve been competitive for a while and know what my body likes. That said, a marathon is a completely different beast, so I’m not sure how my taper will work for my race. I do know I’ve trained well and have done all I can do up to this point.

Remember, nothing you do in the final week will help you, but everything you do can hinder your performance.

How do you handle your taper?

Do you hate tapering as much as I do?







The Thursday Runs: Rest Days

photo (37)

As shown in my marathon training plan there are numerous types of runs used to prepare for a race. In this series I’m breaking down the types of runs, what they mean and their purpose, and also talking about other important such running things.

Today’s topic is rest days. Surprisingly, these are in specific places in my marathon training plan and are a super important part of the training process.

That said, I struggle with rest days.

rest day

The illogical part of my brain things I’m being lazy because I’m doing nothing when, in reality, I’m allowing my body to heal so I can keep running.

Rest days help to (source):

  • restock glycogen stores
  • build strength
  • reduce fatigue

Taking 1-2 days off each week won’t result in any detraining, so I’m not losing fitness, and I’m certainly not being a lazy bum (although I may feel like it).

I’ve been working on changing my view around rest days, instead of thinking that I’m doing nothing I’m thinking of rest days as something scheduled into my training program as something I am doing to heal. So, instead of doing nothing I’m actually actively healing my body in preparation for the upcoming week.

Sometimes I really struggle with listening to my body and taking rest days. I made the decision to take today as a rest day for a couple of reasons:

  1. My heart rate felt elevated last night (this can be a sign of over training)
  2. I went for a very intense massage last night and I’m a bit sore
  3. I woke up feeling tired and dehydrated this morning

With only 4 more runs until my race, I know I won’t lose any fitness and, 10 days out (there’s that pesky countdown again!) my number one goal should be keeping my body healthy. That means drinking more water (I’ve been struggling with this lately), sleep (some studies recommend sleeping 8-10 hours when training) and eating healthy foods.

Are you a fan of rest days?






Marathon Playlist

Although I’ve been running and racing since 2010, I only started listening to music on my runs in June of this year. I took pride in not needing music to get through my runs. Then? Enter Songza. As soon as I found out about Songza and started using RunKeeper instead of my beloved Garmin, my runs changed.

I now love listening to music on my runs. There are times when I’ll be in the zone running and two or three songs will go by and I won’t really have heard them, but there are also some songs that just push me to run harder and faster.

Since both Songza and RunKeeper use data and; therefore, battery life on my phone, I’m actually kind of nervous that my battery will die before I finish my marathon in 11 days. (Yes, I’m going to keep counting down until the day arrives. I love countdowns – hence the countdown button in my sidebar. Sorry I’m not sorry).

Enter: the play list.

My goal this weekend is to spend some time making a roughly 4.5 hour playlist for race day (and then cross my fingers I finish in 4:30 or less!).

There are two songs that will be making multiple appearances on list. There may also be dancing while running and listening to these songs.

How can you not want to rock out in your living room while listening to this song?!

I’m a huge Avicii fan. HUGE. I loved this song from the second it was released and the entire album is great.

Never fear – once finished I’ll post my playlist for y’all.

What are your favourite running songs?

Anything I MUST include on my playlist?

The Thursday Runs: Staying Healthy

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As shown in my marathon training plan there are numerous types of runs used to prepare for a race. In this series I’m breaking down the types of runs, what they mean and their purpose, and also talking about other important such running things.

With 24 days to go until my marathon, making sure I stay healthy and injury free is super duper important! There are a few ways I’ve gone about trying to stay healthy and before talking about speedwork (coming next week!) I wanted to touch on health since speedwork is one of the more common ways injuries happen.

On Sunday I logged my furthest run to-date: 30.8km, or a little over 19 miles. My original plan had me running 30km on Saturday, but I woke up with some aches and pains in my right calf and glute and I knew going for a run would be setting myself up for failure; it was unlikely I’d make it the full distance and I was pretty sure I’d just end up hurting more.

I put in a phone call to my favourite chiropractor and was able to get a same day appointment (hooray) in the hopes I’d be able to run on Sunday without issue (nevermind that I was going out with girlfriends on Saturday evening….). A visit to my chiro and some foam rolling put me in good shape to complete my nearly 31km run on Sunday (just 200m shy!).


When I’m not heavy in training, I see my chiropractor every 4-6 weeks. I’ve been seeing her for nearly five years – I started when I was having huge issues with my back and work and now my visits have progressed to my running injuries. She’s helped me with IT band issues, tight glutes and shin splints. Now that I’m just three weeks out from my race, I’m seeing her ever other week, or when I need to come in, like this weekend.

Massage Therapy

I’ve had an on-and-off relationship with massage therapy. I love massages (getting my hair done and massages are up there in the top two things I love most in the world) but finding a good massage therapist can be a bit of a challenge. Thankfully I found the most wonderful massage therapist this winter and she’s done amazing work on my back and lower body. I’ve even left with bruises on my butt!

Foam Rolling

Foam rolling is something every runner knows they should  do, but often don’t. I’m that person. However, I know that foam rolling may hurt for the 60 seconds I’m rolling, but once I’m done the pain is gone. A few weeks ago I downloaded an app (PEAR Training Ingelligence) that has a 13 minute foam rolling exercise (under the flexibility category), so I’ve started doing that after every run and it’s really helped things. I’ll also use a tennis ball for my feet and glutes.

After a run I’ll also lay on my back with my legs straight up in the air for about 5 minutes to help drain the fluid from my legs.

FitSugar has a short article on foam rolling and some how to’s here.

Ice Baths



I really really hate being cold.

There’s some conflicting data on whether ice baths actually do help with muscle recovery; however, I believe if it works for you then it won’t do any harm to continue to use them. I buy a bag of ice on my walk home from my long run (I have a teeny freezer) and dump it into my bathtub after raising my legs and completing my foam rolling workout. I’ll hang out in the tub with a cup of coffee (after refueling!) for 15-20 minutes and then reward myself with a nice hot shower.


Confession. I suck at cross-training. Heck, I’ve even emailed myself an awesome cross-training workout from Runner’s World and haven’t done it once. Bad, bad, bad.

However, the same app that has the foam rolling workout also has a quick (9 minute!) cross training workout that I’ve started to do after my shorter runs (I do nothing after a long run. Nothing. No thank you, I’m tired). It’s so easy, I have zero excuses to not complete the exercises:

  • 60 second plank
  • 60 seconds pushups
  • 60 seconds leg extensions on stability ball
  • 60 seconds lunges x 2 (1 minute each leg)
  • 60 seconds squats

BOOM. No excuses, right?!

What do you do to stay healthy while training?






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The Thursday Runs: Steady

photo (37)

Before reading any further, head over to this post to fill out my survey and a chance to win a Starbucks gift card!


As shown in my marathon training plan there are numerous types of runs used to prepare for a race. In this series I’m breaking down the types of runs, what they mean and their purpose, and also talking about other important such running things.

Full disclosure: I struggle with steady runs. If I’m going to skip a run, it’s going to be a steady run. Bad, I know, but hear me out. As stated in my LSD post, all of my runs have the following hierarchy:

  1. LSD
  2. Tempo/Hills
  3. Speed
  4. Steady

And so, if I’m dropping my runs from 5 to 4 (which I usually do) this means dropping off a steady run.

Before I get into why I’ll drop a steady run, let’s see what our friend John Stanton and the Running Room have to say (Toronto Waterfront Training Program):

Steady run is a run below targeted race pace.

Run at a comfortable speed; if in doubt, go slow. The run is broken down into components of running and walking. Based upon the clinic, the ratio of running to walking will change.

In the 5km and 10km clinics the Running Room now use the run/walk formula (10 — 1) on all runs, which includes regular steady weekday runs. We do not encourage participants to run continuous at these levels but prefer the walk/run approach. In the Marathon and Half Marathon programs walk breaks are optional during the week but not optional on the long run (Sunday), they must be part of the program. They are a great way to keep you consistent in your training.

  • To develop stamina, build strength and pace judgment

  • Improves your confidence

Steady runs build on the pyramid from the LSD post:



(All images from John Stanton’s marathon training program)

Since I’m talking about skipping my steady runs, I want to clarify that it’s not because I think base training in unimportant, it’s actually just the opposite, I’ll skip a steady run in order to rest my body and to prevent injuries.

Everyone has a point at which they’ll start to get injured – some runners struggle with mileage over 20 miles per week, some can run up to 50 miles per week, it really depends on the individual. I’m lucky in that I haven’t felt much in the way of niggles since starting my marathon training, but I have felt tired, so I will always sacrifice a steady run for rest (usually on a Saturday because 10 hours of sleep > 8km run).

For this training program, I really haven’t fussed over pace, I run what’s comfortable and, like John Stanton says, if in doubt, go slow. If my legs feel tired or sluggish, I’ll just run slower. One slow run isn’t going to make or break my marathon.

After writing all this, I skipped hills this week. I ran on Tuesday and I felt good and ran at a good pace, but my stomach just wasn’t feeling it at all. Not even a little bit. I felt off until I went to bed. I had hoped I’d feel better in the morning, but spent all day Wednesday feeling off and debating if I should head home (I stuck it out at work) and knew there was no way I’d be running hills. Not the best, but I also know running when I’m feeling off is only going to set me back.

This week I found an awesome article from Runner’s World that discusses training fatigue and really talks about pace times and how they are not the be-all end-all when it comes to training:

If you’re training by a calculated pace based on a formula or a race you did four weeks ago, you’re likely to over- or under-train, as your body is never in the same place daily. It’s like guessing the winning lottery numbers. The body knows effort not pace. For example, a common mistake I see runners make with long runs is to base them on planned finish time or just bump them up faster than last year’s training pace because the goal is to improve. That’s fine until you start running in your anaerobic zone because of the heat, lack of sleep, or the fact that it’s early in the season, and your fitness doesn’t support the planned pace. You end up struggling to finish or completely wiped out when you do. If you continue on this trend you can accumulate too much stress and end up in a continual state of fatigue, unable to recover from the greater demands of training along the way. One sign that you’ve overdone it is if the fatigue doesn’t subside after a few weeks.

I really, really needed to hear this this week. I’ve been worried about whether my tempo runs were too quick and my long runs too slow, but according to the above, nope! I still fully plan on using my pace chart below as a guide, but knowing that it’s okay for me to listen to my body is awesome.

Last week I did my steady run in 30C (86F) and that is hot for this Canadian! My pace was pretty slow on this one, but based on the above, my pace is good so long as I’m not wiped after. (You’ll note I almost always start out too quickly on my runs, I’m really trying to work on this!)

steady 2

steady 1

Last, but certainly not least – PACE TIMES!

Half Marathon

  1:45 2:00 2:15 2:30 To complete
Tempo/Hills (min/km) 5:00 6:15 6:36 7:17 8:37
Tempo/Hills (min/mile) 8:00 10:00 10:30 11:13 13:52
LSD* (min/km) 5:33-6:16 6:56-7:47 7:19-8:12 8:03-9:00 9:29-10:53
LSD* (min/mile) 8:53-10:02 11:06-12:27 11:42-13:07 12:53-14:24 15:10-17:25
Steady (min/km) 5:33 6:56 7:19 8:03 9:29
Steady (min/mile) 8:53 11:06 11:42 12:53 15:10

*note all LSD times are adjusted for a 10 minute run/1 minute walk interval, so if you’re not doing 10:1 you can adjust your times accordingly


  3:45 4:00 4:15 4:30 4:45 5:00
Tempo/Hills (min/km) 5:24 5:44 6:05 6:26 6:47 7:07
Tempo/Hills (min/mile) 8:38 9:10 9:45 10:18 10:51 11:24
LSD* (min/km) 6:00-6:45 6:22-7:11 6:45-7:45 7:08-8:00 7:30-8:25 7:52-8:49
LSD* (min/mile) 9:36-10:48 10:11-11:30 10:48-12:24 11:25-12:48 12:00-13:28 12:35-14:06
Steady (min/km) 6:00 6:22 6:45 7:08 7:30 7:52
Steady (min/mile) 9:36 10:11 10:48 11:25 12:00 12:35

*note all LSD times are adjusted for a 10 minute run/1 minute walk interval, so if you’re not doing 10:1 you can adjust your times accordingly





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