Monthly Archives: February 2014

BMO Vancouver Marathon Training: Week 3 & 4 recap

If you’ve seen my previous post about training for the BMO Vancouver Marathon, you may have noticed that I started to work on speed right from the start.

Normally, the first phase of marathon training consists of building endurance, but my training period for this one is a little shorter and I know that I can build on my previous experience.

I’m not one to take shortcuts, especially with marathons, but I am experimenting with a newer training program that I’ve designed for myself.

If it works the way I’m hoping it would, I will share a more detailed version of it with my more experienced running clients who would like to improve their marathon time.

The third week was all about getting as many miles (or kilometers) under my belt as possible. Still, I didn’t do any super long runs. The longest I ran was 21km that week. Other times, I would be focused on runs between 8k and 10k. I also did some weight training to mix things up.

The fourth week included some hill training and a few light runs. I was preparing for the Hatley Castle 8k so I didn’t do any hardcore training that week. However, I still did weight training and plyometrics earlier in the week. Never underestimate the importance of hill training for overall performance improvement.




Race Recap: Cedar 12k 2014

The Cedar 12k took place on February 9, 2014, about 1.5 hours north of Victoria. Every time I have to drive over the Malahat, I admit, I get a little bit nervous. At least I wasn’t too nervous about the race itself, especially after I learned how to keep pre-race anxiety at bay.

Again, I was thrilled to be racing! This whole idea of racing every 2 weeks is definitely growing on me. Like I said before, I treat these shorter races like “hard training runs”, which will hopefully help me PR in the upcoming BMO Vancouver marathon. Thinking of them as “hard training runs” takes all the pressure of “racing” off me.

Also, the more I race, the better I feel about racing. In high school, I used to get very nervous for races and I believe that being nervous can hinder performance.

The fact that my friends always do all the races in the Island Series make me want to do it too.

Remembering the course from last year, I knew that it was not an easy race. There are rolling hills that make it challenging.

Going into the race, I was 100% sure I was going to beat last year’s time. What’s every interesting is that this year, it was my first race where I was referred to as “elite”, so I got a very low race number. It was a really pleasant surprise. 🙂


Above: Nearing the finish line, almost ready for the sprint. Sporting my Public Myth teaser leggings and racer back tank.

At the start line, I thought to myself: “I’m prepared, I’m trained and I’m looking forward to seeing how much faster than last year I will be.”

As we took off at the start line, I made of point of trying to do ~4:15kms using my Garmin. When I got to the halfway point, I realized that I was about 30 seconds faster than last year.

At that point, the hills were a non-issue. I have been running up and down Mount Doug for the past few weeks in order to get used to hills and I believe that type of training helped a lot. Last year, the hills almost got me, but not this time.


Above: Really coming in towards the finish. All I could think was: “get him, get him, get him!”.

When I got to the turnaround, I aimed to maintain pace. Although I ended up slowing down a little bit going up the very last hill, I still managed to beat my last year’s time.

I finished the race in 51:02, which is 59 seconds faster than last year. My average pace this time was 4:16 per km (6:51 per mile).


Above: The awards ceremony. Sporting my medal and teaser jacket from Public Myth. 🙂

I was SO THRILLED that I also won 1st place in my age category. I’m definitely looking forward to the next race in the series. These races have become ADDICTIVE, in a REALLY good way. 🙂

You can see the full results from Cedar 2014 on Raceday Timing.


BMO Vancouver Marathon Training: Week 1 & 2 Recap

Right before Christmas, I made the decision that I was going to be doing the BMO Vancouver Marathon on May 4th, 2014. I gave myself about 14 weeks to train for the marathon, only because I have done 3 marathons before and I try to keep myself well-conditioned. Normally, I recommend a solid 20-22 weeks to train for one.

I signed up for the marathon because I want to get a personal best. Ideally, I would like to finish in about 3 hours and 15 minutes, even though my previous personal best is 3 hours 25 minutes.

Since I already feel like I’ve built up a lot of my base, I knew that I had to focus a bit more on speed training this time around, just to see how much difference it would make. So I signed up for a series of shorter races, ranging from 5k to half marathon, using all of them to keep myself motivated to do more speed work. I have also redesigned my own marathon training program and I am testing it on myself before I try to do something similar with clients.

The first week, I had 2 speed workouts, where I was doing 1km intervals with 90 second rest between each. I would shoot for 4 minute kilometers or just a few seconds under. I feel most challenged at around 3:50 per kilometer when I’m doing repeats.

Then, I had 2 runs that were longer than 10k. One of the runs was 15km and the other was 12km. The longer runs were done at a comfortably hard pace, only because I didn’t really classify 15km as a “long run” per se. Compared to a marathon, 15km is actually quite short, so again, I went at a faster pace than if I were to do a marathon.

The second week, I focused on hills and longer comfortably hard runs. My favorite hill to run is Mount Doug, because it’s so steep and challenging. The first time I ran up it, I made it once and thought it was awesome. The second time I did it in that same week, I completed two ascents up Mount Doug. I felt very accomplished because both ascents took me the exact same length of time. It’s important, because it’s the equivalent of an “even split” where the first half is done at the same pace as the second half.

The longer comfortably hard runs consisted of a 15km run and a 17km run. Normally, I don’t recommend doing that pace or distance in the second week, but I have already built an established base for running from previous rounds of marathon training.

So I had 4 training runs each week for the past 2 weeks, which is a very realistic and maintainable number. Anything more than that and I feel like I would be doing too much, as I also lift. Anything less than that and I feel like I would not benefit much from the training.

Cedar 12k tomorrow! Wish me luck! That’s another one of my speed training runs. Just a lot more fun to do them as a race.



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