Wednesday, 19 December 2012

So some goals...

So I know I said I was off doing max strength and was replacing it with endurance strength, but after a few rounds of that I got a little board and went back to max strength and with that have progressed my 3RM squat PR to 285lbs which is no small amount of weight I can asure. The bar is not bending but it is a bit of an effort to get into position.

I am going to admit something here, something I rarely do, I have been at a cross roads, I have not been sure of what to do with myself goal wise these past few months. I am not as young as I used to be and quite possibly age is catching up and with that age my realistic matrix is starting to settle in on something close to Disney. Trust me up until the last few years my idea of what was possible was off the charts.

So here is what I think is possible, or what I would like to try to accomplish this year;
  1. Birkie
  2. Break 2:30 for the marathon
  3. Break 31:00 for the10km
  4. Break 7:00 for the 100km
  5. Franks Spring XC Series
  6. 5 Peaks Races
So there we have it folks, some goals. Like I said somewhere south of Disney:-)

Monday, 3 December 2012

Recap, shall we:-)

To recap, we took a break as we kept breaking down, so we decided to step back from the milage and the hours to focus on strength and building back strength and developed the 4x4 program in the process. The 4x4 program combined max strength with anaerobic threshold intervals with the goal of the National Cross Champs and the NorAm Nordic race the next weekend and at the end of the day I think we can say it was a success.

Nationals went quite well even though I put my back out the week of the race from lifting some boxes. With the back slightly "janked" I still ran strong and then at the NorAm up against the strongest skiers in Canada I skied one of the strongest races in a long time with no back pain.

Note #1: This is especially encouraging as I have only skied handful of times this winter and can say was a little rusty:-)

With this new found strength and confidence I briefly thought about going back to more milage but the more I thought about it I decided I like my new program too much and would adjust to endurance strength between intervals and increase the amount of intervals, instead of increasing milage.

***Note #2: Periodically I will put in some max strength combined with short intervals.

So before I would do 4 pull ups with a 25lb plate and I now I will do 1 minute of pull ups with body weight. So for instance tonight I did 5 x 4min @ 10mph with 4mins off. The 4 minutes off being 1minute back squats with 65lbs, 1 minute pull ups, 1 minute over head squats with 45lbs and 1 minute back extensions on my new Roman chair.

***Note #3: Surprising weakness with the Roman chair, this may prove very beneficial!

The goal will be to do longer intervals at 10mph on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and shorter intervals at 11mph on Wednesday and Saturday with short sprints through the week at 12mph. Over and above this as much skiing as I can fit in with the next big Nordic goal of the Birkie and maybe the National Championships 50km in Whistler in March if things go well:-)

***Note #4: Considerable work to be done on the nordic front:-)

As for running goals I am going to hold off for now, but I do look forward to a few indoor track races and burning out the lungs on the boards of the butterdome:-)

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Post Nationals

Nationals played out as I thought and with a strong start I had placed myself in the lead group ready for the challenge but could tell shortly in that things were not quite right. As Shauna had noticed in our warm up as I turned my whole body to chat instead of turning my neck that I had done something to my back to put things out of whack. My neck had been in spasm for the past two days and things were still not quite right race morning. From that point all I could do was settle in and run as hard as the body allowed. Shauna noticed, I was running somewhat off and could tell I was not able to push as my breathing was not overly hard. Given that I was pleased with the strength I did have and think all the strength training has helped but I still need to be careful when lifting large boxes at the shop. I had prepared a large order mid week and in the process must have tweaked things slightly and in the rush to get everything in order before leaving did not get a chance to get things checked out.

The plan moving forward is to maintain the strength training and increase my aerobic training. By including the strength training my back will be better able to handle the aerobic training and I can continue on the road of consistent training and building the milage back up to 100+ miles per week.

Now I would be lying if I did not mention some level of frustration as this is another effort I have put some time and effort into just to have it go the road of having the back dictate but I'm all in as always and look forward to the next challenge.

Monday, 19 November 2012


After some thought I decided to move to the masters division at Nationals, originally I had entered the open category but in the end thought I would be better suited to racing masters as I am not as young as I used to be and now that the change is made I am looking forward to the challenge, the field is incredibly deep and it will be allot of fun running with master runners of this calibre.

After working the rotation core exercises last week I was able to re-introduce overhead squats to the program with the strength gains and have found them to be very helpful.

Overhead squat benefits

  • Increases strength in your quads and glutes
  • Vast recruiting of muscle fibres considering a relative small load
  • Increase your speed and acceleration
  • Strengthen the core and abdomen
  • Improves timing and muscle control
  • Improves balance
  • Builds a good foundation for the olympic lifts

This week will see a tapering of training, maintaining strength and interval styled training. With the taper I have reduced the volume and the intensity doing my intervals at 11mph from 12mph to prepare for the weekend. In my estimation to be able to run with the lead group I will need to be able to maintain 5:30 pace or 11mph after a fast start.

This week, the goal of the overhead squat is continued increases to torso stabilizer strength and core building. The goal of the 11mph paced intervals, dial in race pace with a few blaster workouts with hard starts and then settling into 11mph pace.

Should be a good week, now time for another workout!

Monday, 12 November 2012


Good progression with the weekly time trial with 15min at 12mph this past Sunday and good progression with the intervals and can now handle 4 x 4min @ 12mph with strength between intervals. 

Along with all the running I managed to squeeze in a 10k classic time trial out at SWC and felt solid but weak in the core and the poling which got me thinking that the back, arms and legs were strong but I still felt weak in the core from a rotation perspective which lead to a little searching of ideas, which lead me to the sport of kayaking and the more I looked into it the more I thought some of their core work could transfer to running and skiing as it is not so much how strong your legs or arms are but more the speed and power which you can rotate your hips.

In some respects it could be argued the legs are not responsible for gait but merely “instruments of expression”. The rotary motion of the hips is translated through the core causing storage of potential energy, leading me to this video and a few new exercises that might translate into a little extra power.

Monday, 5 November 2012

National Cross

As we gear up for the National Cross Championships I am aiming to be able to sustain 5min mile pace for 25mins before toeing the line. This past Sunday I managed 10mins at 12mph on the treadmill and the next test I will aim for 15mins, then 20mins and then 3 to 5 days out I will aim for 25mins and then start the taper.

Training has progressed to two 32min workouts per day with 5 x 3min @ 8mph building to 12mph with max strength between sets so something to the effect as follows;
  1. 1 x 3min strength
  2. 1 x 3min @ 8mph
  3. 1 x 3min strength
  4. 1 x 3min @ 9mph
  5. 1 x 3min strength
  6. 1 x 3min @ 10mph
  7. 1 x 3min strength
  8. 1 x 3min @ 11mph
  9. 1 x 3min strength
  10. 1 x 3min @ 12mph
Strength currently entails the following exercises starting light and adding weight with each set
  • 3RM push up
  • 3RM chin up
  • 3RM dip
  • 3RM step up @ 105LBS
  • 3RM box squat @ 265LBS
The other thing of note at this point is tightening up the diet slightly to get back down to race weight weight, I have let things slide as of late and the weight has crept up:-(

So there we have it, allot of quality and allot of strength, the combo of adding the strength to the quality at this point seems to be the key, as without the strength the body seemed to break down to this amount of quality. Not at all scientific, just an observation as I have tried quality every day before and broke down but now with the strength / quality combo I seem to be progressing each week gaining strength and speed and more importantly the ability to sustain 5min pace for longer periods.

The other key, and in some respects most likely more important, is progressing the pace of the intervals so that the first interval "for all in tents and porpoises" is part of the warm up and then progressing speed as the body adjusts and if the body does not adjust do not push the pace, i.e. some days the intervals only progress as far as 6min mile pace.

Note: "for all in tents and porpoises" - one of my Grandfather's best lines:-)

Monday, 29 October 2012

Stewart Cup

Things are progressing well, took part in the Stewart Cup this past weekend, uncertain if I should do the open 10k or the masters 8km, in the end decided to go with my age and went with the 8k and finished up the first master for the day in just under 30mins for the 8km course.

The course was a 2km loop and the open, masters and juniors started as a mass start and then the juniors and masters peeled off after 4 loops and the open runners completed one more loop. Safe to say it was a fast start and I was fairly janked after 1k but held tough and ran a strong race in semi deep snow.

When crossing the line one of the juniors who was also doing the 8km event asked if I was a junior and in response said thank you but no I was in the masters event and in response to this he remarked that I was pretty fast for an old guy:-)

As an observation, having raced the Stewart Cup a few times over the years I felt something missing without Glen yelling encouragement while on the course and missed the pat on the back post race, "good race old man"
Lining up for the start. Maybe skis?
Were off!
Holding strong... 
Making the big push. Go Brian!
Out for a tempo ski on the Sunday.
Whats next, Nationals Cross in Vancouver on November 24th, the big decision continue to run in the masters division or step it up and run in the open category.

As for the training the plot thickens with daily strength and intervals at various paces today hitting 265lbs for 1RM squat and got my man card with the bar sitting directly on the upper back without the sissy bar cushion, well, well, well:-)

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Post Victoria

After returning from Victoria and having put in a solid marathon it is back to focusing on 10km styled training and making the switch to Nordic for the winter and if everything goes to plan, I plan on attempting a spring marathon with marathon specific training.

I took a week with reduced paced intervals and light strength work and have now started to ramp things back up preparing for the National XC Championships on November 24th and then the distance race at the Canmore NorAm on December 3rd.

To that end I have started double workout days with light paced intervals in the morning and high paced intervals in the evening with 2 to 4minutes of 2-4RM strength between intervals depending on the length  of the intervals.

The combo of running and strength is working well, slightly unorthodox but working none the less, so we continue and keep tweaking as opportunities and ideas present themselves.

Monday, 1 October 2012


Over the past few weeks it has been the same workout repeated on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday with the following workout.

After completing a 4 minute front plank I complete the same 32 minute workout with 4 x 4 minute tempo intervals at 10mph with a 4 minute break where I complete what I refer to as 4 x 4 strength where I complete 4 reps of 4 exercises at my 4 rep max. The exercises I use are low box step ups, high box step ups, split squats and pistil squats followed by 4 box jumps, one following the other and if time permits 4 wide grip chin ups and 4 push presses and back to the treadmill. Then once the 32 minutes is complete I do another 4 minute front plank to finish up the workout.

Editors note: There are several breaks in those 4 minute planks, just sayin:-)

Then on Wednesday I do Franks race, throwing in 2 x 3 minutes with 3 minutes rest as part of my warm down and on Saturday I do a long tempo run or like last Saturday the ACAC 8km run in Camrose. As you can well imagine the legs have been pretty janked with all the strength but that is part of the loading process. This week to prepare for the Victoria marathon I am dropping the strength portion of my regular 4 x 4 interval program to give the legs some recovery, and to get that jazzy vibe when the gun goes off:-)

The idea being keep each workout consistently crisp, not too hard, not to easy and then use the strength as the tool to bring about the taper for the key events. After Victoria I will look to return to the strength straight away but at a reduced weight and slowly build back up to pre race weight and continue with the program with slightly more upper body to get ready for the Nordic season which by todays weather is not too far away:-)

Keep in mind this is just a test, by no means I am saying this is going to work, but my back is responding and is feeling stronger each week allowing me to slowly increase my training and it has been fun to do things a little differently:-)

Monday, 24 September 2012

Step up

Using squats numerous times to help strengthen my back and legs I have found once I get to a certain point, as I pointed to in my last post, my legs become stronger than my back and then the squats end up doing more damage than good. So instead of making the same mistake more than twice I decided to utilize high step ups and split squats instead and in only three weeks have made noticable gains in back strength.

Back squats are potentially dangerous to the structure of the lower back and high step-ups produce greater gains in thigh and hip power as well as the back stabilizer muscles and cause fewer low back flare ups.

Thus far these step ups have helped me gain leg and hip strength without the normal pain I have been accustomed to. After three weeks my back is not in pain which has helped my running and I have also been able to sleep better and perform daily functions with more ease.

So as we progress my daily squat program has been adjusted to my daily step up program with some workouts like yesterdays Sunday long run where I use step ups in my warm up and cool down to work the muscles when fatigued.

If things keep progressing this well I may be able to squeeze in a fall marathon, fingers crossed:-)

Tuesday, 11 September 2012


So what does one of these strength workouts look like, you ask, well it changes each day as I tweak but here are the basics of my workouts on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Some days if I have time I will do a morning workout similar to this but with 6RM and 10mph intervals. Certainly having a home gym helps as some days during the 5min rest break I get breakfast or supper started or do computer work and have a timer that reminds me to get my butt back downstairs for the next set:-)

Basic Set
This is my full set with current weight, the squat will remain the same but I will aim to increase weight of other exercises as strength progresses.
  • Front plank - hold 2min building to 10mins
  • Squat - 3RM @ 165lb
  • Step up - 1RM @ 115lb
  • Bulgarian split squat - 1RM @ 115lb
  • Pistal squat - 1RM @ 25lb
  • One leg deadlift - 1RM @ 95lb
  • Overhead press - 1RM @ 95lb
  • Chin up - 1RM w/ 25lb weight vest
  • 1min interval @ 12mph - aim to increase to 4mins as speed increases.
    • No rest between exercises
    • Rest 3 to 5min between sets
    • Repeat above three to five times
    • Complete workout takes roughly 45 to 60mins
So there we have it, then on Wednesday and Saturday I do regular tempo runs and long intervals depending on the week and I do a 1km time trial on the track on Sunday if no racing that weekend.

At present I can run 35mins for 10km based on my run at the Rotary Run for Life last weekend so I will use that as my base line as well as using the Frank's XC races to monitor effectiveness of the program over the next few months.

Tally ho!

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Next step

Now that I am up to 200lbs for my 1RM squats my legs are stronger than my back and I run the risk of back flare ups so it is time to change over to single leg exercises to increase the strength of my Glute Medius, Tensor Fascia Latae (TFL), Adductor Complex (adductor magnus, adductor brevis, adductor longus, gracilis and pectineus) and the Quadratus Lumborum (QL).

In single leg movements such as running and skiing, this group of muscles are most involved in the “stance” phase of gait, leg force reduction and single leg landing/deceleration, as well pelvic and spinal stabilization.

The bilateral squat is the cornerstone movement for hip mobility, neuromuscular efficiency/coordination and patterning.  However, single leg movements are key for lumbo-pelvic stability, postural support and improving injury prevention. Each of the following exercises targets these muscles and engages the lumbo-pelvic complex for stabilization which will be key in kicking my current back issues.
  1. Warm up squat "aka" squat:-)
  2. Box step up "aka" painful:-)
  3. Elevated split squat "aka" Bulgarian squat 
  4. Single leg deadlift "aka" hard:-)
  5. One leg squat "aka" Pistol squat
It has been a long road for sure and I am still having flare ups but with the less volume and a greater focus on strength and speed I am making small steps forward each week for the first time in a few years.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

"the Bulgarian System"

So what does this new training entail, well it is evolving and will be adjusted over time but I can sum things up by saying, I wanted to try something completely different. I have been training for allot of years and have enjoyed studying various methods of training and over the past few years have become quite interested in weight lifting and how the ideas might transfer to running, in particular "the Bulgarian Method".

For those not familiar with the Bulgarian method, it was developed by the famous Bulgarian weightlifting coach Ivan Abadjiev. It was based on the premise that if you subject the body to a constant load of heavy stress composed of steady repetitive explosive movements, it would adjust to this load and adapt to handle the increased stress. 

Abadjiev's training methods, the creator of the Bulgarian Method, at the time were unheard of. His athletes trained twice a day, six days a week. There were no assigned recovery days, they trained hard every day. Also, the athletes competed frequently, and competitions were incorporated as an integral part of the training cycle, meaning there was essentially no off-season. The methodology was so radical and so distinct, that it became known as "the Bulgarian method." Abadjiev was constantly adjusting the application of training in order to improve performance; most notably he would later emphasize specificity, meaning that the training revolved around an increasingly small amount of movements. Only movements with high correlation and carry-over to the competition movements were implemented in training.
Traditional understanding of muscle development calls for 48-72 hours of rest between training muscle groups. The theory behind this is that the muscle fibres that are damaged in training take time to repair and grow back stronger than before. 

The accepted training model is based on the idea of periodization. The general model used is to begin with a high-volume, low-intensity phase, then progressively decrease volume and increase intensity and following competition there is usually some period of rest in order to allow the athlete to recover.
Periodized training does produce improvements in performance, and is still a common and arguably effective training method and yet Abadjiev's system contradicted the accepted principles of periodization in almost every way. What made it successful was a different interpretation of the idea of adaptation, the recognition of the human body's ability to adapt. This meant frequently lifting a certain limit percentage of the athlete's maximum ability and forcing the athlete's body to adapt to the training, not to train the body to simply respond to stimuli, but to force the body into a stress-response state, an adapted state. This was achieved through intense and frequent training as well as the integration of competitions into the training cycle, in order to induce a psychological as well as a physical stressor upon the athlete. 
Abadjiev's application of the adaptation theory called for the human body to be placed under an environment of near-constant stress, both physically and psychologically. His training system was, in his words:
"(Not) like any other system in the world. It contradicted every basic principles. In Bulgaria, many other sports disciplines are build on the methods developed by the Soviet experts. The main concept is distinct periodization, preparation stage, interim stage, competition stage. I threw it away at once. When a rabbit is being chased by the wolf, does he have an interim stage for running? Yes, he can hide in the bushes but he is ready to start running 100 percent at any time. Is it logical to achieve outstanding results by hard work and then to stop and to go back to a lower level?"
To allow the body to rest and "recover," to Abadjiev, meant to return the body into the "recovered" state - that is, the state in which all physiological functions were normal, the state in which muscle development and neuromuscular function were not in a stress-response state. To remove the stimulus of intense training was to return the athlete to a lower level of performance.
There are, of course, criticisms of Abadjiev's methodology, the injury rate was known to be excessively high, and while it consistently produced top-level competitors and champions, its athletes also had the shortest competition lifespans. Many were eventually overcome by injury or an accumulation of injuries and unable to continue training.
Despite the criticisms against it, the principles of Abadjiev's method are undeniably an important training resource. It is perhaps best perceived not as the most effective training method, but as one effective training method. When the Bulgarian method was first introduced, it was radical, and yet it was accurately based on the understanding of the human body at the time. There will never be a truly perfect training method, as the functioning of the human body will never be completely and perfectly understood. The idea is not to follow Abadjiev's principles, but rather to use his principles and apply them to meet the demands of running and more importantly continue to search for training methodologies that focus on strength and increasing my ability to run without back pain.

So that is the premise of the idea and over time I will look to apply these ideas to running...

New training

It is that time of year again, Franks XC Race Series starts on Wednesday and for the first time I have signed up for the full series. Training is progressing nicely and I am looking forward to using the Frank's Series to test my new training system with the shorter more race specific workouts and strength training.

Tally ho!

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Progression of strength

After pushing the squat program too hard the first go around I am am back after it, Broz's style, having just finished up a good block of core and body weight strength. This go around I am focusing on the following four exercises with good form;

  • Squats with 1-3rm
  • Step Ups with 1-3rm
  • Lunges with 1-3rm
  • Box jumps with low box
da gym
Over time with the right progression I aim to add some olympic style lifting.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Whata you doin, gearing down...

After a few weeks of "gearing down" and general training, giving the back some time to relax, its time to get after things with my goal 10km race coming up September 22nd.

During my break which nicely corresponded with my vacation to Ontario cottage country, I had some time to do some reading on Tim Noakes low carb approach and and his ideas on nutrition and have made some adjustments to my food choices.

As for training I have been putting more thought into preparing for 10km events with my unique trick back and have decided to shorten workouts to 30min and increase the pace even further on the notion that I have put in the aerobic work over the past seven years with all the ultra training.

To help lesson the impact I have been doing this increase in pace while using elevation to push the system completing workouts at 15% on the treadmill. By using 15% I can do tempo runs at what corresponds to 6min / mile pace and not feel completely destroyed at the end. I can also do medium length intervals at 5:00 pace and short intervals at 4:45 pace at the same 15% and again not have that beaten up feeling as I would trying to do the same pace on say a track or bike path.

In doing this I also need to keep up my fast twitch work with high paced turn over, so at the completion of my short intervals at 15% I do a few 12mph at 0% intervals to keep the turnover.

The last thing with this approach is a slow time trial program starting with a 1km time trial at goal 10km race pace and increasing 1km in length each week taking the speed and then extending the speed replacing the normal Sunday long run that has been in the program for years.

Now through the ideas outlined in the Tim Noakes article, I plan on reducing weight to reach goal race weight which I think will play an important role in taking pressure off my low back. Combined with this decrease in weight, the shorter workouts at elevation should allow me to increase intensity without breaking down and the progressive extension of the time trials should tie everything together.

Incorporated with these changes is the concept of warm up and warm down core strength and strength as outlined in the following example videos.

Warm Up Core Strength - Tempo Days

Post Workout Strength - Interval Workouts

Post Run Core Strength - Tempo Workouts

Tally ho, 10km here we come...

Friday, 10 August 2012

New Direction

With the ultra running putting too much pressure on my weakening disc I will be looking to take on a new challenge and lowering my 10km personal best over the next few years and build back up to the marathon distance and maybe over time return to the ultra distance. If I do decide to do a ultra distance event down the road, I would focus on the road ultras as the trail ultras with the steep downhill sections are simply to hard on my back.

Having made the decision to make the change it has been exciting to make a new plan and try something new and attack training with a new goal. These shorter crisper runs have been great after allot of years of longer easier paced runs. I feel refreshed, excited and having a blast with this new styled training.

Time to hit the road!

The plan at this point is to focus on two to three quality 40min runs per day with quality intervals on Wednesday and Saturday aiming to run the National 10km Championships in September and the National Cross Country Championships in November.

Included in this plan I will continue to ride my bike to the shop and back each day as I have really enjoyed the road riding!

Tuesday, 31 July 2012


Had a great run at the National Mountain Running Championships two weeks back with a very hard 11km uphill climb and was able to push hard with no back pain to hold me back. Was not as aggressive as I should have been in around the 6km point but with so many break downs I think I have lost a bit of my aggressive running style. Having said that with each positive run the aggressive style is starting to see a comeback.

Start of Mtn Running Race, straight up!

Since returning from the mountain race I have been on the road bike with one hill running workout this past Saturday to keep the legs run specific but the back fresh. Since that hill workout, that felt very strong, I have been focused on the bike and putting in big hours with back to back 5hour depletion rides on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday to put in one last endurance block before the CDR.

The body can handle this as it is cycling and not running, if I was to have done this running I would have needed to do this three weeks ago.

From here the focus is easy rides with no running and absolutely no lifting so the back goes into CDR fresh and ready to pound.

Looking forward to toeing the line and pushing the pace and being aggressive once again!

Monday, 16 July 2012

Road bike

After returning home from S7 and deciding to incorporate road biking into the program to take some of the pressure off the low back we have seen some big hours on the road and the idea and the hours in the saddle seem to be showing good signs with a solid showing at the 5 Peaks in Camrose. I was a little unsure going in and was nervous to push the pace but felt solid and gained confidence as the race progressed.
Simon, Shauna, myself and Warren post race.
With that under my belt I continue with the road bike program in preparation for this weeks Canadian Mountain Running Championships on Cypress Mountain in Vancouver.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Adjusting plan

Pictures say a thousand words in away, I felt strong and in control at this years Sinister 7 but you can see the disappointment on my face after Leg 2 having to go through the pain of having my disc flare up once again and all the joys that go with it. I worked hard on Leg 3 to work through the shooting pain into the neck and the legs but after too many excessively steep downhills I had to make the decision to step off the course on Leg 4. One never looks to or likes to step off the trail but sometimes it is the right thing to do.

I would like to congratulate the all the men's and women's solo runners, you each ran a tremendous race and give a shoot to Oleg, Joe and Darren for their strong runs. It was great to see the three of you on the podium, you each ran a very strong race!

Also I would like to congratulate each of the relay runners, you each looked very strong and determined and were an inspiration and your encouragement you give to the solo runners is greatly appreciated.
The disappointment post event is always hard and dealing with the shooting pain and the headaches is difficult but in time the inflammation subsides and the discomfort settles.

In the time spent traveling home and stopping at the Lake with Shauna for a swim and a picnic a few thoughts came to mind.

One retire from Ultras as with my chronic back issues the ultra distance just seems too hard on my body, specifically my disc space between L5/S1 and focus on running shorter events as I seem to be able to run up 90mins completely pain free.

Second, take a break from running and focus on bike training and see if I can maintain my aerobic base through road biking and key in on one or two short specific running workouts per week and with that maybe go into these ultra events with a healthy disc ready to handle some impact.

After a good nights sleep, I awoke inspired to give the road bike option a try and try one more time. So over the next three weeks I will be on my road bike putting in the miles and once things settle down I will add one or two short runs per week to keep the sport specificity active in the legs and then be back for the CDR to run the way I know I can!

These decisions are simply ones of reality, if ones body cannot handle the load then the question becomes how do I correct or do I change course. I love to run, but ultimately it does not need to be ultras but if I can I would love to continue as I love the community.
First road ride of the new bike regime:-)
So for now the plan is to incorporate road biking as my main aerobic conditioner, add in a few select runs when the back feels strong, continue core strength and take on the challenge of the CDR.

Who knows, if this works we may be onto a new and better way to train for ultras, but with the rides being so long I will need to be even better at managing my time:-)

Lastly, I wish to thank Andrew, Brian, Erin and all the wonderful volunteers, what you did on the weekend was truly a wondrous thing and I thank you!

Tally ho!

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Sinister 7

Things are in full swing getting ready for this weekends Sinister 7. This will be my first full taper of the season and will be looking to push the pace, the body feels good and the calf is healing quite well from the 10k track event I did last weekend in Calgary.

Tally ho!

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Triple down

Things have been going quite well as of late. Inspire by Cam Levins, I am back doing three workouts per day with the goal of doing three 60min runs per day on my easy days and two 60min and one 90min run on my hard days. It does not work everyday but every week it gets a little easier. Next week I hope to hit the magic 150mile week, but it could be tough with the ultra this Saturday.

June 4th to 10th

  • Mon am 60min, pm1 60min, pm2 60min + strength
  • Tue am 60min, pm1 75min w/ 10x400m @ 76sec w/400m crisp jog on gravel track, pm2 60min
  • Wen am 60min, pm1 60min, pm2 60min
  • Thr am 60min, pm 90min w/ 10 x 3min w/ 3min off, pm2 60min + strength + cold bath
  • Fri am 60min, pm 60min + strength + cold bath
  • Sat am 90min w/ 5 x 5min w/ 5min off
  • Sun am 60min, am2 60min, pm 60min for 135 miles for the week + strength & allot of cold bathes.

May 28th to June 3rd

  • Mon am 60min, pm 60min + squat program
  • Tue am 60min, pm 90min w/ 30 x 1min w/ 1min off
  • Wen am 60min, pm 60min + squat program + cold bath
  • Thr am 60min, pm 120min w/ 15 x 2min w/ 2min off + cold bath
  • Fri am 60min, pm 60min + squat program + cold bath.
  • Sat am 60min, pm 90min w/ 10 x 3min w/ 3min off.
  • Sun am 60min, pm 90min + cold bath for 125 miles for the week + strength.

Also I am having really good luck with a new isometric training program with resistance bands for my hips and low back. As for the long training run, I have never been a huge fan and I am finding the cumulative fatigue from doing three runs per day to be as effective as doing a long run and the recovery time is much faster and I do not fry the legs every Sunday slowing recovery and reducing quality training.

So whats coming up;

  1. Fast Trax Ultra - race director, no running:-)
  2. 5 Peaks
  3. National 10000m champs - track race, this may be a mistake and I may change my mind:-)
  4. Sinister 7
  5. National Mountain Running Championships
  6. Death Race

Monday, 28 May 2012

Still work to be done

Pretty happy with my Blackfoot effort on Saturday, as I new things with my back were not 100%. I am still seemingly feeling the effects of falling off the ladder back in the spring and that is why I decided not to do the Calgary marathon.
The 50k start!
I approached the Blackfoot 50k as a training run and I started conservative to let the back ease into it and after almost one lap I started to feel like I could push the pace as the back was feeling good and maybe close the gap to the leader but once I got up to pace the back started to tighten and had to walk for about 3 km's until things relaxed and then I was able to jog at an easy pace to finish up the final 25km lap.
Shauna finishing off the 25k, so proud of her!
The back today is tender but by listening to the body in the race and only running as fast as the back felt comfortable we should be able to continue progression with strength program and continue to get stronger for events to come.
Getting ready to close the gap, or at least I thought:-)

Tally ho!

Monday, 21 May 2012

Renewed focus on strength

With the Calgary marathon approaching my marathon mojo is just not there and with the back not quite where I want it, I have decided to put the marathon on the back burner and focus on training and some low key trail racing getting ready for the CDR.

As part of this I have renewed my focus on strength training and combining the benefits of both aspects of strength and endurance. Last time I pushed the weight too fast and had to back off but I am feeling ready to resume the squat program but with a much slower progression starting with lighter weights, focusing on mastering and perfecting technique, and preparing my body for heavier weights as the body adjusts.

The key is getting the mix right, one that builds strength and allows the recovery needed for proper aerobic development as an endurance runner.

Tally ho!

Monday, 14 May 2012

Back in the mix

Back in the mix taking part in the 5 Peaks Terwilliger on Saturday, my first race back since tweaking my back several months back. Very happy back was able to withstand the hard pounding of the downhills.
Marty and myself taking the turn, Dave has long gone through:-)
M am 60min, am2 60min, pm 60min for 21miles
T am 60min, pm 90min w/ 8x5min w/ 5min off, pm2 60min for 25 miles
W am 60min, pm 60min for 14miles.
T am 60min, pm 90min w/ 7 x 4min w/ 4min off for 17 miles
F am 60min for 7miles
S am 90min with 5 Peaks, pm 60min for 15miles
S am 60min, pm 120min for 21miles
One more time
Totals for the week 120miles

Tally ho!

Monday, 7 May 2012

Getting dialed for Calgary

Starting to dial the milage back in to get ready for Calgary. A little less than planned this week due to a busy week at the shop and a slight cold but things should return to normal next week:-)

If all goes well this week, plan to toe the line at 5 Peaks Terwillegar.

April 30 to May 6
  • M am1 30min, am2 60min, pm 60min for 18miles.
  • T am 60min, pm 60min for 14miles.
  • W am 60min, pm 60min w/ 10 x 2min w/ 2min off for 16miles.
  • T am 60min, pm 60min for 14miles.
  • F am 60min, pm 60min for 14miles.
  • S am 60min, am2 60min, pm 60min for a total of 21miles.
  • S am 60min, am2 120min, pm 60min for 28miles.
125 miles for the week + core work
Time to trail!
April 23 to 29

  • M am1 30min, am2 60min, pm 60min for 18 miles.
  • T am1 30min, am2 50min, pm 120min w/ 5 x 5min w/ 5 off for 28miles.
  • W am1 30min, am2 60min, pm 60min for a total of 18miles.
  • T am 60min, pm 90min w/ 8 x 4min w/ 4min off for a total of 18miles.
  • F am 60min, pm 60min for a total of 12miles.
  • S am 90min w/ 10x3min w/3min off, pm 60min for a total of 20miles.
  • S am 60min, pm 90min for a total of 18miles.
132 miles for the week + core work.

Sunday, 22 April 2012


Back in the mix after a wonderful trip accross the pond. Having some time to ponder what triggered the back, I think it is as simple as the long travel on the plane that triggered the disc issues during the marathon. In hind site I most likely should not have picked an overseas marathon but when New Balance offered the trip it was hard to pass up.

Now being home, based on recovery, the plan is to slowly get back into the training groove and all going well lace them up for the Calgary marathon and I think with some smart training we can get things back on track.

This past week saw single workout days as the inflammation and the back settled down and after a good weekend of training I feel ready to get back to my regular routine of running to and from the shop with the possible addition of an early morning shake out run if I can pull it off.

This time around I am going to aim use my Garmin on each of my runs to get a better idea of milage instead of just using time, mostly for interest sake.

One thing I will adjust is my current strength program with a few ideas I gained while talking to a few of the coaches in Rotterdam, good gains have been made to date, but with a few tweaks to my current exercises I think we can raise the game.

Tally ho!

Monday, 16 April 2012

Failure to launch

Also marathon finish line:-)
The goal of breaking 2:30 for the marathon not attained this past weekend in Rotterdam, but in the end, there will be races fast and slow. Now is the time to ask what happened, not to be disappointed. Now is the time to learn, adapt, change and raise the game.

What will the next goal be, not sure but I am sure it will be huge!

Peace out:-)

Monday, 9 April 2012

Time to set a PB

In these final two weeks of hard training, I had to make some slight adjustments as the body responded to each workout. After my short break with the flu I felt I needed some more work on my endurance and needed to dial back intensity slightly so not to stale recovery.

The one thing that you will see that seems slightly out of place is the 6 hour run on April 2nd. I used this to help me decide if I wanted to run the world 100km championships and while the run was a success and did not feel any back pain I decided in the end to focus solely on the marathon this spring and look to the ultra latter in the summer.

March 26th to April 1st

  • Mon am 60min aerobic, pm 60min aerobic 
  • Tue am 60min aerobic, pm 90min w/ 4 x 15min w/ 2min off
  • Wen 120min alternation workout
  • Thr am 60min aerobic, pm 90min w/ 15 x 2min w/ 2min off
  • Fri am 120min endurance
  • Sat am 120min simulation run
  • Sun am 120min endurance

April 2nd to 8th
  • Mon am 6 hour endurance run
  • Tue am 60min recovery, pm 90min w/ 2 x 30min w/ 5min off
  • Wen am 60min recovery, pm 60min recovery
  • Thr am 60min recovery, pm 90min w/ 30 x 1min w/ 1min off
  • Fri am 60min recovery, pm 90min endurance
  • Sat am 90min 10 x 3min w/ 3min off, pm 60min
  • Sun am 60min recovery, pm 60min recovery

So now with a week to go the focus is on cruise runs and making the travel as easy as possible. I decided to travel on Wednesday as the flights were better arriving on Thursday giving me Thursday, Friday and Saturday to settle in and then return on Tuesday giving me a day to explore the city after the race.

A few things stand out on this journey that I started on November 20th;
  • two workouts per day
  • complete change in approach to core strength
  • moderate increase in milage
  • reduction in pace in intervals from 1km and 3km to 10km and marathon specific pace
  • slight adjustment to approach to running stride
  • adjustment to meal timing
  • reduction in race weight from 170lbs to 160lbs - aiming for 158, but not there yet:-)
  • adjustment to race nutrition and timing of nutrition during event
  • adjustment to pre training, training and post training nutrition
Could I have done more, there are a few things I would have tweaked but for the most part I stayed the course and enjoyed the training along the way.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Nailed it

Just finished up a 2 hour alternation workout, alternating 1min at goal pace with 2min's at a pace slightly slower than goal pace, plus warm up and down. Now we need to increase amount of time at pace.

With that under my belt, everything seems to be back on track. The key to coming back was to staying active during the down time. Even at the height of my cold I made sure to continue to go for walks to keep legs active. As soon as I was starting to feel better I was running on the treadmill at 15min mile pace to have some impact stress to the legs. One day I did 4 hours of running broken up into three workouts so to maintain endurance but not stressing the body so much as too kick start cold symptoms. The reason I choose the treadmill was so I could control the environment and if I started to feel run down at all I could stop at any time.

Once I was able to increase the pace of these runs and had a few solid continuous runs at 10min pace I returned to interval workouts at reduced pace and now I am taking it day to day as to how hard I can push to get back to where I left off before the cold. Should not be long now and I will be back to 100%. Things always take longer than one hopes but all is well.

A cool video, I like the idea of always looking for ways to tap into ones potential, now if we had the same budget as Alberto:-) As I watch this video, my mind wanders. The scariest thing for me, is committing everything you have to one idea and what the repercussions of such an endeavor are and the complete lack of control you have over what actually might transpire. 

To truly commit is a concept that most people would say they do, but I would venture a guess there’s always an aspect of hedging your bets or holding something in reserve for the great unknown.  After all if we actually went all in, then heartbreak would be enormous.  But there would be greatness too.  And that’s the tradeoff.  To hedge your bets and be good, perhaps with luck great, or to go all in and be great at the endeavour of your choosing. 

Tally ho!

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Moving forward

Back on my feet after a few days with the flu that saw me flat out for more than a few days.  It is nice to be mobile again and feeling the strength starting to return. On the plus side I am down to race weight, but do not think that counts in this situation.

So moving forward having missed the Comox Half Marathon where I was looking to put in a strong time I thought about adding another race before Rotterdam but in the end decided to just focus on quality training at race pace.
A view of the trails I was training on last week in Germany while visiting with Fischer.

Here is the outline for the next month leading up to the marathon.

  • 48min run w/ 6min warm up - 36min cruise - 6min
The "Big Tuesday" workouts
  • 19-25 - No "Big Tuesday" this week, had to skip due to flu.
  • 26-01 - 4 x 15min
  • 02-08 - 2 x 30min
  • 09-15 - 20 x 3min
Thursday and Saturdays workouts
  • These workouts will be a mixture of short intervals with short and long recoveries at marathon pace, so a little slower than the outlined 5km and 10km pace.
Monday, Wednesday and Friday workouts
  • These evenings will be cruse runs the same as the morning cruise runs.
Sunday Runs
  • 19-25 - 30km
  • 26-01 - 30km
  • 02-08 - 30km
  • 09-15 - marathon
I have been doing the same distance leading up to this but doing them as double downs at quite a high pace, now it is time to bring that all together and get comfortable at running at a high cadence for a longer distance and at the same time practicing race nutrition. (note these distances do not include warm up and warm down)

I will aim to maintain the double downs right up to three days before the marathon when I will switch to singles.

The only question remains, do I stay in Europe after the marathon to take another crack at the World 100km Championships or do I return home, not sure, thoughts?

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Keeping things from derailing

Just returned from a week in Germany visiting the Fischer factory and testing product for next years ski season while taking in the Biathlon World Championships. It took some creative planning and some will power to keep the training on track but some how I managed to keep the dbl downs going on most every day with a triple throw down one day just for insurance:-)

I may have missed my second workout on this occasion, I fully intended to go for a run but...

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Something missing

Constantly tweaking looking for that sweet spot to take my training to the next level, good gains but there is still something missing, hopefully find in the next few weeks, we have big plans!

February 27th to March 4th

  • M am 60min aerobic, pm 90min aerobic
  • T am 90min aerobic, PM 6 x 9min w/ 3min
  • W am 50min w/ 30min cruise, pm 90min w/ 30min cruise
  • T am 50min w/ 30min cruise, 90min w/ 10 x 30sec w/ 2:30 off + 30min cruise
  • F am 50min w/ 30min cruise, pm 50min w/ 30min cruise
  • S am 90min w/ 10mile in 60min, pm 90min w/ 6 x mile w/5min off @ 12mph
  • S am 90min recovery workout

February 20th to 26th

  • M am 120min aerobic
  • T am 50min w/ 30min cruise, pm 90min w/ 2 x 25min w/ 5min off
  • W am 50min w/ 30min cruise, pm 50min w/ 30min cruise
  • T am 50min w/ 30min cruise, pm 90min w/ 10 x 30sec w/ 2:30 off + 30min cruise
  • F am 50min w/ 30min cruise, pm 50min w/ 30min cruise
  • S am 90min w/ 60min tempo, pm 90min w/ 60min tempo.
  • S am 60min alternation workout, pm 120min alternation workout

Good two weeks heading to Comox for the Half marathon on March 18th.

So how do we make this better?

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Post Birkie

Needed to take it easy after the Birkie to recover and back was tight from falling off a step ladder the Tuesday after the Birkie.

February 13th to 19th

  • Mon am 120min aerobic, pm 60min aerobic
  • Tue am 60min aerobic, pm 90min aerobic.
  • Wen am 60min aerobic, pm 60min aerobic
  • Thr am 60min aerobic, pm 90min aerobic
  • Fri am 60min aerobic, pm 60min aerobic
  • Sat am 90min w/ 10mile in 60min, pm 90min w/ 10mile in 60min
  • Sun am 60min aerobic, pm 60min aerobic
Very pleased with Saturdays double down workout and have seen a good increase in fitness this week being about to complete cruise runs again between workouts.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Birkie week

Not going to lie, I skied way over my nordic pay grade on Saturday. My run fitness got me into trouble and allowed me to push quite hard except given I have only skied a dozen times this winter the next day I felt like I was run over by a truck:-)

February 6th to 12th
  • Mon am 60min aerobic, pm 60min aerobic
  • Tue am 60min aerobic, pm 90min w/ 20 x 1min w/ 2min off w/ only a slight reduction in pace
  • Wen am 60min aerobic, pm 60min aerobic
  • Thr am 60min aerobic, pm 6 x 7min w/ 3min off
  • Fri am 60min aerobic, pm off
  • Sat am 55km birkie lite in 3:15:ish w/ 10km warm down ski
  • Sun am 60min walk

Big push to the finish!
We are now nine weeks out form the Rotterdam marathon and after a good block of marathon specific interval workouts it is now time to take that speed and translate that to the marathon distance with marathon specific long runs. The aim will be to go into each long run fully rested and increasing the amount of goal race pace each week right up to the week before the event. 

My goal is too increase the amount of easy run distance during this time as well to increase recovery and continue to do the weekly interval workouts with the group but a much reduced pace to prepare for the Sundays marathon specific long runs.

So in a nut shell, all easy all the time except for Sundays and then we bring it:-)

Monday, 6 February 2012

Training transition

Training transitioning to be slightly more marathon specific aiming to do marathon race pace work with only 15% reduction in pace for recovery sections between intervals making the pace of the intervals slightly easier but the overall work load harder and more marathon specific.

January 30th to February 5th

  • Mon am 120min alternating 9min on w/ 1min off
  • Tue am 60min aerobic, pm 90min with 12 x 3min w/ 3min off
  • Wen am 60min aerobic, pm 60min aerobic
  • Thr am 60min aerobic, pm 90min w/ 7 x 7min w/ 3min off 
  • Fri am 60min aerobic, pm 60min aerobic
  • Sat am 90min w/ 60min tempo run, pm 60min aerobic
  • Sun am 150min aerobic
This week kept pace of recovery sections of intervals crisp to make more marathon specific.

January 23rd to 29th

  • Mon am 60min aerobic, pm 60min aerobic
  • Tue am 60min aerobic, pm 90min w/ 10 x 3min w/ 3min off
  • Wen am 60min aerobic, pm 60min aerobic + 5 x 1min w/ 9min off
  • Thr am 60min aerobic, pm 90min w/ 6 x 7min w/ 3min off
  • Fri am 60min aerobic, pm 60min aerobic
  • Sat am 90min w/ 60min tempo, pm 60min aerobic
  • Sun am 120min aerobic
This week kept pace of recovery sections of intervals crisp to make more marathon specific.

January 16th to 22nd
  • Mon am 60min aerobic, pm 60min w/ 30min alternating 3min on w/ 3min off
  • Tue am 60min aerobic, pm 90min w/ 60min alternating 5min on w/ 1min off
  • Wen am 60min aerobic, pm 75min aerobic
  • Thr am 60min aerobic, pm 30min aerobic
  • Fri am 90min w/ 10km classic race, pm 60min aerobic
  • Sat am 60min aerobic, pm 120min aerobic
  • Sun am 120min w/ 15km skate race, pm 60min aerobic run

Starting February 20th I will be reducing amount of intensity midweek preparing for one hard long hard workout per week to again make the training that much more race specific. These workouts will be alternation workouts aiming to run at goal marathon pace for a section of time followed by a section slightly slower than goal marathon pace to teach the body to run at pace.