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Running: How I do what I do

As I gear up for a big race this weekend (another 21.1k in Ottawa), I’ve been reflecting on how I’ve gotten to where I am today fitness-wise. There is no real secret. Just blood, sweat, and a lot of tears.

My key is to have become more efficient in when I train and how I train. Nothing has helped me more than the training plan that my old running club in Quebec gave me. The core of their philosophy was high intensity interval training twice a week. These are multiple high speed runs/sprints at distances anywhere between 150m to 3k, depending on the training week. If the distances were shorter, say 500m, we would do more reps (like 10, easy week), versus 3 to 4x 3km (tough week). Every session was tough and my body was in the red zone with every rep. By the end of the session I would be completely bagged. With warm up and cool down, training would take around 1 hr to 1.5 hrs depending on the workload that day. Not only does this type of training improve speed but also endurance. The other days of the week would be easy runs of around 8-10k or time wise 45-60 min, without straining too much. On the weekend would be a big long slow run from 1:20 to 2:00.

Was there a real difference in the time I spent training within this framework versus what I did before? No, not at all. My training has just gotten so efficient, through the use of interval training, that I still spend about an hour working out/training, but my results improved dramatically. I started with the club in Feb of 2007. As you can see from the graph above, I started to make drastic improvements immediately and this has continued to this day.

I guess the real question that I’m going to ask you is, are you training efficiently? When you go to the gym, are you just going through the motions or are you really using that hour to the maximum of your potential? If not, start thinking about how you can use your training time more effectively. Keep pushing your limits and never give up.

And as always, keep fit and have fun!

** Also, here is my GPS watch graph of the 21.1k I did at the Vancouver Marathon. I finished with a new personal best of 1:18:21, placing 20th of 10181 runners. Average pace: 3:41 min/km.

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