Marathon Training

How to apply Coach John Wooden’s Pyramid of Success principles to running

johnwoodenbrirunI like to listen to fitness, health and business related podcasts when I’m on the treadmill and getting ready for work in the morning, and one name in particular kept coming up on several of my favourite podcasts that warranted an online search to see who this wise and influential person was. This person had clearly impacted and shaped the lives of the podcast hosts and guests, so I wanted to know what he was all about.

If you’re a basketball fan or participate in sports of any kind, you may have heard about John Wooden. Wooden was an English teacher, American basketball player and coach who, during his time as head coach of the basketball team at UCLA, won 10 NCAA national championships in a 12-year period, including a record seven in a row. No other team has won more than two in a row since.

It’s no wonder he was named national coach of the year six times and is one of the most revered coaches in the history of sports.

As a strength and conditioning coach, I’m always looking for tips and tools to not only help my clients reach their full potential in whatever health and fitness goal they want to achieve, but also to help develop myself to become a better coach and athlete.

During his years spent as an English teacher and coach, Wooden developed a guide to help his students and players become the best version of themselves that he called “The Pyramid of Success”. (more…)

My post-marathon recovery plan and why runners need a post-season

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In the pain cave at the 2016 VIctoria Marathon

So far I’m having a fairly typical post-marathon recovery.

My legs are incredibly sore and I’m walking like a zombie. The head cold I got just before my race is still kicking around (because I ran a marathon instead of resting like a normal person). My underarms are still sore and chafed, so I’m applying lotion liberally and not wearing scratchy sweaters. My marathon hanger has subsided, and I’m ensuring I take in lots of protein to aid in muscle repair and recovery. And as usual, I totally compromised my immune system by running hard and have the worst fever blister ever covering 75% of my nose and a bit of my chin. It’s so bad I actually had to work from home today — I look like quasimodo with my poor nose and shuffle-limp. I’m currently locked away in the bell tower hunched over my computer, only lumbering downstairs occasionally for tea and snacks. (more…)

Goodlife Victoria Marathon race recap: A tough race with lots of lessons learned

Goodlife Fitness Victoria Marathon

At the starting line for the Goodlife Fitness Victoria Marathon

You didn’t train enough. You didn’t run your tempo runs fast enough. You should have gone up to 36K in training. You should have focused more on running and cut back on strength training. You should have tried harder to be at your racing weight. You went out too fast.

These were all the things swirling around in my head at kilometre 33 of yesterday’s Goodlife Fitness Victoria Marathon. I was having a good race up until that point, deciding to run by feel instead of constantly watching my pace. My quads were burning at about the 25K mark, but I was able to push through to find a comfortable pace again and feel confident about my race. It wasn’t raining, the sun came out, my head cold was almost gone, and I wasn’t injured going into the race. Conditions were seemingly perfect.

It was at the dreaded 30K mark when things fell apart for me. The 3:30 pace group, which I’d been just in front of for the majority of the race, passed me and I couldn’t keep up. There’s a yucky, twisty incline after the 30K mark that goes on for about 5K that usually slows me down, and even though I pumped my arms and legs as hard as I could, I just couldn’t stick with the group. As the shiny, sparkly 3:30 pace sign bobbed out of sight, I started to beat myself about everything I thought I did wrong during training. “If I’m not going to make 3:30, why bother?” I told myself. That’s when my legs and mind threw in the towel and I starting plodding along, walking through aid stations and looking back behind me expecting to see the 3:35 group hot on my heels, ready to overtake me and crush my BQ dreams altogether. (more…)

Fitness Friday: With 3 days to go until the Victoria Marathon, guess who gets sick?

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Well… I almost made it.

I’ve been feeling off for the last week or so since my half marathon PR race, and have being taking it easy with lots of rest aside from my scheduled workouts to help prevent whatever I seemed to be fighting from turning into illness.

I felt like I was winning until late Wednesday when I got a headache after lunch that stuck around until the evening. I felt a bit stuffy and “off”, but nothing I didn’t think a good sleep might fix. I went to bed at 9 pm, and as soon as my head hit the pillow, one sinus plugged up 🙁

I felt like I had a head cold when I woke up but slightly better after a shower, so I went into work. My symptoms progressively got worse (sneezing, stuffy and runny nose, headache) as the day went on, so I went home. I felt bad for my coworkers since I was lecturing everybody for the past few weeks at work about how you should stay home when you’re sick so you don’t spread germs around the office and how I have a race coming up and don’t want to be sick… then I get sick and come in anyways. Sorry, everyone!

My plan for the rest of the week is to just rest, stay hydrated and get better for Sunday. If things improve by Saturday, I might attempt a short run, but honestly, at this point, running will do more harm than good. I’ve been here before (getting sick days before a race) and know that rest is best.

Here’s how my last week of marathon taper went:

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Fitness Friday: Goodlife Fitness Victoria Marathon training week 12 recap

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I need to stay healthy, injury free and well rested for at least the next nine days.

I always seem to have something come up just days before a goal race, which probably has something to do with the time of year I like to run marathons (fall, when flu season hits), how hard I run my last long run or if I do a tune-up race near the end of training at a tempo pace (my immune system gets knocked down a bit), and how much sleep I get in the two weeks leading up to the race.

Because I’ve been feeling yucky since Monday (headache, stomach ache, generally blah-ness), I’ve been taking it easy this week on workouts and runs. I usually like to do shorter duration, higher intensity runs in the last two weeks leading up to a marathon, but I think I’m good for speed since I nailed my half marathon race pace two weeks ago. This week and next I plan to focus on some easy runs with a few pick-ups near the end, yoga and foam rolling.

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Running to BQ and running for a good cause

At this time last year, I was coming to terms with the fact that even though I qualified to run the 2016 Boston Marathon in 2015 with 1 minute and 3 seconds to spare, I did not make the cut off that was capped at runners who were 2 minutes and 28 seconds faster than their qualifying time.  The cut-off times for the 2017 Boston Marathon have yet to be announced, but my fingers and toes are crossed for those who are in the 5-minute plus registration category and are eagerly awaiting to find out if they will be one of the lucky 30,000 runners toeing the line in Boston in 2017.

Worst email ever.

Worst email ever.

Even though qualifying is an accomplishment in itself, I know it sucks to hear the experience you worked so hard for and achieved does not pan out the way you planned. Since I had a horrible second BQ attempt at the Phoenix Marathon in February, I’m not one of those people eagerly checking my inbox this time around – but I hope to be at this time next year after my third BQ attempt in 11 days. (more…)

Goodlife Victoria Marathon training week 12 – Beating the Blerch (with a half marathon PR!), new FitBit Charge 2 and training update

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Apparently I can’t count.

Even though I clearly have on my training plan that after the Beat the Blerch half marathon on September 16, I would run a 15 km and 10 km for my last long slow training runs, that technically puts me at a four week taper, not a three week taper as I generally like to do. Last time I did my longest run four weeks out I had a terrible marathon, so I’m keeping my volume relatively equal to the week before cutting back. What usually causes me to hit the wall in the marathon is not having enough long run time in ahead of the race – whether that’s a confidence thing or not I don’t know, but it’s always my legs that go before my cardio and energy levels.

So this weekend I plan to do a 24-26 km long run instead of a 15 km long run, followed by a 12 km run the following week, which is 7 days out from the marathon.

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Fitness Friday: Goodlife Victoria Marathon training week 11

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Happy Friday, friends!

After a great long run last weekend and solid week of training this week, I’m feeling ready to run hard at the Beat The Blerch Half Marathon in Seattle this Saturday! Although I’m not sure how realistic running faster than my marathon race pace will be at this race, given that I’ll be fully amused and distracted by people chasing us in Blerch suits, Nutella and birthday cake aid stations, and Mr. The Oatmeal himself, Matthew Inman, who will be there running (hopefully in a Blerch suit?) and signing copies of his comics. I also read that there will be a KITTEN TENT. FOR CUDDLING AND ADOPTING KITTENS. The only thing that would make this race more amazing is free post-race wine and chocolate. Oh, and a puppy tent, too.

If you live under a rock and are unfamiliar with The Oatmeal and what this race is all about, you have some reading (and cry-laughing) to do:

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Goodlife Fitness Marathon training – Week 10

I can’t believe my last long run of training is already here — and it looks like it’ll be a perfect day for it! I’ve been pretty lucky with the weather for almost all my runs during this round of training; it certainly makes for a more pleasant running experience when you’re not out in the cold and rain for hours. Even though the heat can get to you sometimes during summer marathon training, I’d take that any day over winter marathon training. Fall races FTW!

Falling running sure beats winter running!

Falling running sure beats winter running!

I’ve got 34 km to run today (once I finish this blog and, more importantly, my coffee), then the Beat The Blerch half marathon next week, followed by a 15 km run, a 10 km run then race day.

Here’s how my week of workouts shaped up: (more…)

Fitness Friday: Goodlife Fitness Marathon training week 9

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What happened to summer?

Even though I appreciated the slightly cooler running temperatures this week, I don’t appreciated the wet trails, dark and foggy mornings, and dry, brown leaves all over the ground reminding me that winter is just around the corner. And as a chronically cold person who has to wear five layers of clothing when exposed to temperatures under 10 degrees C (you think I’m kidding), I feel a true sense of dread I when I realize our west coast Winter Is Coming.

Me from October - May.

Me from October – May.

At least I should be done the majority of my must-do-outside training runs before the weather takes a turn for the worse — I can’t believe I only have two big long runs to go! After this weekend’s 31 km run, I’ll be doing a 34 km, then heading over to Seattle for the Beat The Blerch half marathon. Is anyone else doing that race? I’m so excited for the birthday cake aid stations!

YES

YES

Here’s how my week of workouts shaped up: (more…)

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