Monthly Archives: March 2015

RACE REPORT: Esquimalt 5k March 28, 2015

The Esquimalt 5k took place a week after the Comox RV Half Marathon.

It’s a very fun race designed to get the community together where people get to enjoy running through the beautiful area in Esquimalt and make new friends.

To me, “run” rhymes with “fun” and every year for the past 3 years I enjoyed running the Esquimalt 5k. It’s well-organized, there are great draw prizes and the entry fee is very affordable.

Although the Esquimalt 5k is a more challenging course with hills and turns, it’s a great event because of the people there.

Whenever I run the race, I don’t expect to run my fastest 5k time but I genuinely love doing it and I always have fun.

Runners of all levels are welcome here and it’s all about inclusion, which is something that I love.

I wasn’t sure how I was going to place or what will happen during the race. I had to stay in one piece for Boston, so I didn’t want to go all out.

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Above: Me, Marty the Marmot and my client Kent ūüôā

At the start line, it was awesome to see Marty the Marmot and my clients. I was thrilled to see hundreds of people out there. It’s awesome to see it grow.

The temperature was just right, although it was a little bit more windy than I would have liked. I started at a good pace and tucked in behind a few guys to try to hide from the wind.

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Above: The start line, getting ready to go.

I crossed the 3k mark in 11:45, which I thought was just right. Then, there were a few hills and turns which made it a bit more challenging to keep that pace for the rest of the race. I also didn’t want to risk tripping when coming around a corner, so I decided to take it easy.

At the 4k mark, I was still in the lead for the women. I was very surprised to find myself in that position in a 5k.

As I approached the finish line, I thought I still had a chance to break 20 minutes again. However, I decided not to sprint the last 300m like I usually do.

I crossed the finish line in 20:09, which I was happy with because it was slightly less than a minute slower than my best 5k time.

Not only that, but I was super happy to be the 1st female across the finish line (out of a total of 297 women) and 10th overall (out of 430 finishers). Kent also did well and ended up being 7th in his category.

The best prize for being in the top 3 at this race is a free race entry into next year’s race. I’m stoked.

Thanks to all the organizers and volunteers for a great event. I will see you next year!

 

 

RACE REPORT: Comox Valley RV Half Marathon March 22, 2015

The Comox Valley RV Half Marathon yielded me some shockingly unexpected results this year.

I left my house at 6:30am in order to give myself some time to warm up before the race, which started at 11am.

Honestly, I was feeling a little bit tired on my drive to Courtenay. When I got there, my legs felt tired and heavy during the warm-up, so I was a bit concerned about it.

I decided to put the “tired” thought out of my mind when the race started.

At the start line, a few of my friends asked me what time I was hoping to get. I said: “I will be extremely happy with 1:29:59.”

Basically, I just wanted to break 1:30, even if it was only by 1 second. That number in my head meant a lot to me.

After the first km, I was still unsure of what will happen. I was running beside a lady who usually always finished in front of me. I thought: “I will just stick with her for as long as I can.”

By the time I got to the 5km mark, my Garmin said 21:16.

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At that point, I had already passed the lady that I was trying to keep up with. I was expecting her to stay with me, but instead, by the time we reached the 10k mark, I could no longer see her. This was shocking to me.

I was keeping a very comfortable and conservative pace, so I was definitely surprised that she didn’t stay with me.

At the 10k mark, my Garmin read 42:38. I was very happy with that. By the time I got to the turnaround point, I only saw 2 other women in front of me.

In the back of my mind, I thought there was a remote chance that I could get significantly closer to them. With that in mind, I picked up the pace a little bit.

When I got to 15k, I was 1:03 into the race. That’s less than a minute off my Merville 15k time from last year.

Most importantly though, I felt great. I also felt like I could keep going at that speed pretty much forever.

There was an awesome small group of guys that I was trying to stick with. I had expected to see one or two girls inching closer towards me.

However, to my surprise, it didn’t happen.

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In fact, I didn’t see anyone too close behind.

Sticking with the guys in front helped me take my mind off the headwind, which appeared to be there strictly to slow us down. Luckily, none of us really did.

I backed off a little bit for kms 18 and 19, knowing that there were no other girls too close behind me. I really didn’t slow down all that much.

By the time I reached the 20k mark, I picked up the pace again.

Shortly thereafter, I heard and saw the finish line.

From a distance, I was trying to see what the clock said because I have not been looking at my watch for the past 2km at all.

When I got to the last 100m, I could clearly see the clock, which said 1:27:xx. I crossed the finish line in 1:28:15 (average pace 4:11 per km or 6:44 per mile), which was a 3+ minute personal best for me.

I used to struggle to keep that pace for 1km. To think that I did THAT for 21.1km and had no problems with it showed me how far I have come. It also showed me that hard work pays off.

Seeing that I could finish the half marathon under 1:30 was a hugely encouraging moment for me. I also remember that it used to take me about 1:30 to run a 10k (which is just a bit less than a half marathon).

I spent all of last year trying to break 1:30 only to come up about 90 seconds short of that goal when I was in my peak condition.

What’s pleasantly surprising was that I was the 3rd female overall (out of 235) and 1st in my age group (out of 27). It has been a while since I won my age group, especially because I am now in a more competitive one.

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I even got mentioned in Athletics Illustrated for my 3rd place finish.

If, back when I struggled through the Harriers Pioneer 8k, I knew that I was going to run a huge personal best in the half marathon approximately one month until Boston, I would have been a lot less worried about my not-so-great performances at the beginning of the year.

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Here’s to hoping that the upcoming races also go well.

How to Run Your Best 5k Ever

Running your best 5k depends on a variety of factors leading up to your target race. The 5k is a challenging distance because it falls in between being an endurance event and a speed event.

Generally, 70% of the total energy supply in a 5k comes from the Oxygen System (aka aerobic system), which would make sense why training for a 5k will require developing your aerobic base prior to developing your speed.

1. Train to run longer than 5k.¬†When you run longer than 5k to prep for a 5k race, you will feel mentally prepared to cover that distance. Not only that, but you will also develop a more efficient aerobic system. For example, I didn’t do any speed work leading up to the Bazan Bay 5k in 2015 because I was training for the Boston Marathon. However, I still ended up running my¬†fastest 5k strictly off of base training.

2.¬†Train with a group. It¬†is awesome to run with other people, especially if they are slightly faster than you, although their speed generally doesn’t matter. You will feel less bored during your training and you will also push yourself more. I have found that regardless of the speed of the group, I feel more committed and motivated to get out there when there are other people who also want to go running.

3. Do intervals at desired race pace. As you get closer to the target race, do some intervals at desired race pace. For example, if I’m looking to run a sub-20 min 5k, then doing 1km repeats at sub-4 min per km pace is a good idea. Intervals can be any length and the length of your interval will depend on where you are in your training cycle.

4. Run because you enjoy it. Sometimes, I like to leave my Garmin at home and run by feel. There are times when I don’t care how fast or how far I’m going as long as I keep the pace enjoyable rather than torturous.

5. Add plyometrics and strength training to your routine. Plyometrics and strength training help build power in your legs. Things like box jumps, skipping, lunges, and hamstring curls are some excellent exercises for runners.

6. Get proper¬†sleep and recovery in the weeks leading up to your race. You should be going to your race well-rested and recovered. In the last week before the race, don’t do any hard workouts that will leave you sore and/or tired for race day.

7. Don’t line up behind people who are slower than you at the start line. If you are looking to run a personal best, line up closer to the front at the start because there is nothing worse than having to weave around people as you try to pass them. This will add distance to your 5k and slow you down. Line up with other people that you know run a similar pace than you or slightly faster.

8. Get a good warm up in. In a 5k race, you must start relatively fast if you want a PR. This means that if you are starting the race cold, you will spend the beginning of your race warming up and the race will be over before you get a chance to run well.

9. Run the tangents. The race course is measured based on the shortest possible legal distance one can run. This can mean the difference between running a PR or not. In a race with many corners, running the tangents often means crossing from one side of the road to the other (provided that the road is closed to traffic).

10. Know the course ahead of time. If you can, try to find out what the course looks like ahead of time. This will keep you mentally prepared for all the hills, turns and corners that stand between you and the finish line. It also helps if you do some training on the race course, if the race is in your hometown.

11. Start at a pace you know you can keep. Some people will start too fast as soon as the gun goes off only to progressively slow down with each km. In a 5k, it’s very easy to lose time and there is not much distance to make it up. In the past, I’ve started 2 seconds per km slower than my desired pace for the first 2k and ended up speeding up later.

12. Don’t start too slow.¬† If you start too slow, the 5k is not enough distance for you to speed up and make up time.

I hope these tips were helpful. Good luck in your next 5k.

 

 

 

RACE REPORT: Bazan Bay 5k March 8 2015

The entire time leading up to the Bazan Bay 5k, I was training for longer distances. Since I spent most of December and January sick, I was very adamant about not doing any kind of hard and fast racing/training.

With that in mind, I skipped speed training in favour of redeveloping my aerobic capacity, knowing that it will serve me well in the long run (pun intended) when I do Boston.

For this 5k, I wanted to run between 19:01 and 19:59. Last year, I ran a few 5k races on the track and most of my times were under 20 minutes, so I was going for that.

This year was my first time doing the Bazan Bay 5k (I was sick for last year’s race so I stayed home even though I planned to run it) so I really didn’t know what to expect.

My 10k times predicted a sub-20 min finish and everyone who has done the race before told me that it was a flat, fast and accurate 5k.

A sub-20 min finish on a certified 5k road race was definitely a goal for me.

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Above: The warm-up! Photo by Chris Kelsall of Athletics Illustrated.

When I got to the start line, there were a lot of people. This is a very popular race and a lot of very fast people come out to run. Therefore, I didn’t expect any super amazing placing.

Immediately after the gun went off, the elite runners started out fast and stayed fast.

I settled into a comfortable pace and ran my first km in 3:55.

By the time I reached the turnaround point, I was socked to see myself ahead of some people that I never even dreamed of catching last year.

Of course, some of them ended up passing me towards the end but it was only because they sped up while I kept an even pace, which was my goal.

With that in mind, I maintained a 3:50-3:55 pace the entire way. It felt comfortable, realistic and doable.

This story, however, changes in the last 100m.

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Above: The sprint to the finish. Photo by Chris Kelsall of Athletics Illustrated.

I planned to just cruise steadily towards the finish. However, a few people had passed me right before the last 100m and I really wanted to finish ahead of them.

My desire to sprint as fast as I can towards the finish line trumped my desire to finish the race comfortably. It was a great feeling knowing that I HAD the energy to sprint, which didn’t happen too often in the past.

Immediately after finishing, I had to go and lay down on the grass.

That sprint had me out of breath for about 45 seconds after finishing. I was very happy to finish ahead of some of the people that I was chasing at the start of the 100m sprint.

In the end, my time was 19:25, which is an official personal best. I was 4/24 in my age group and 23/307 women. My average pace was 3:53 per km or 6:15 per mile.

Compared to the elite women, 19:25 for a 5k is not that fast.

However, given that a little over 4 years ago, I would be lucky to finish a 5K under 40 min, 19:25 is not that bad at all.

I traveled very far to get here and I still have a long way to go.

 

NEW: I’m a Lydiard Certified Level II Running Coach

When I first heard about the Lydiard Certification course coming to Victoria, I¬†got very excited. For those of you who don’t know, Arthur Lydiard was a New Zealand¬†runner and athletics coach.

He was considered one of the best athletics coaches of all time and he has popularized the sport of running to make it commonplace across the world.

Lydiard is one of the key people that has shaped the history of running and training into what it has become today. In the 1960 Olympic Games, several of his athletes finished on the podium, which is remarkable.

The success that many of his athletes have had is proof that he is the best of the best and that his training methods work.

Even Runner’s World Magazine hailed him as “All Time Best Running Coach”.

I spent an entire weekend back in November learning his methods from the best of the best. It was an honour and a privilege to be able to take this course so that I can take my own running and coaching to the next level.

I’m thrilled that I have been able to learn his amazing elite training techniques which can help runners of ALL LEVELS significantly improve their times and ACHIEVE personal bests.

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A few of my clients who have recently signed up for my running programs have had a first hand experience with this type of training and have seen amazing results.

For example, Jerry Hughes beat his previous PB in the half marathon by 5 minutes at the Victoria Hypothermic Half Marathon 2015, finishing it in 1:29:40. Not only that, but he also recovered faster, felt fresher for his race and has been able to run injury-free.

Arthur Lydiard emphasizes periodization, which allows runners to develop endurance, then strength and then speed in order to peak at the right time (the goal race). He emphasizes response-regulated training which allows for proper recovery and injury prevention because you really get in tune with your body.

It¬†is not about running as far as you can as fast as you can during training; that’s a recipe for disaster.

Every workout has a purpose and it has to be timed properly in order to ensure peak performance at your target race.

The Lydiard method has changed the way I run and the way I coach. For that, I’m really glad.

 

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