Sunday, May 29, 2011

Predict your marathon time by using this workout

Sunday, April 17, 2011

My first half-marathon

It’s done. I ran my first half marathon. What a fun!. This is not a long sprint where you go near the boundaries of your body, as at 5 km, this is not a race that requires the extreme endurance as a marathon. It's just between the two: a respectable distance, which requires some strategy to preserve one’s reserves of glycogen and concentration, to have a little "juice" to make a final sprint (which is not as fast as 5 or 10 K) and cross the finish line.
I just did it. I followed my game plan almost perfectly. My goal was to run 21.1 km in 1:59: 00 and the whole time I kept the same pace at 20 seconds better than my goal, without exceeding the zone of 80-85% of my maximum heart rate. Then I realized that I still had enough energy to sprint, and that's what I did and improved my time for another 30 seconds. In short, a time of 1:58:10. Mission accomplished.
I must admit that I came out of this race dirty as a little pig because the mud was everywhere after the rain that fell all night and the wind was bad enough. A good shower and everything is gone!




Sunday, March 20, 2011

Test– 100% success!

For the first time, I ran this afternoon 21.1 km (according to my GPS). Actually, I did 22.1 km, with the first kilometer as a warm up, then I stopped my watch at 22.1 and continued into my cool-down.
Time - 2:03:40. I had great moments, but also those somewhat less pleasant (need to find a Wend's, which means I had to slow down.
So when I look at my chart, I see that my pace is well below 6:00 / km, apart from the moments preceding the break in the bathroom when I tried to keep pace, but without success. Otherwise I would have done my "half" under the two hours. But, well, it happens even to the best (what I'm not).
The experience is fantastic. With the fine weather, full of energy (one bar PowerBar and 3 gels - at 5,10 and 15 km), I made ​​one of the best races of my (brief) career as a runner . So if I continue to train properly, I know I am able to run effortlessly under 2 hours in about 4 weeks.

HR 21.1 20110320

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Not bad…at all

Let me say a few words about my long run on Sunday.
As the name indicates - it was a long run. Nineteen kilometers. It was a great mix – light jog, running near the anaerobic threshold, a small break between two accelerations ... for a total of 1:58, which is not so bad.
Today I made ​​a somewhat similar combination, but much shorter. "Only"12 km. But every day I feel more confident to face the distance of 21.1 km. With the good weather that arrives, my workouts will become more and more interesting. I already planned several races. Aside from my half-marathon in April, I would run 5 or 10 km of Spring Challenge (on May 7) and certainly 5km at Reha-Thon in Laval, on May 15.
I still did not decide how far I'll run at the Montreal Marathon. I hesitate between half and 10 km. A “tiny ten” is my favorite distance, but I'll see whether I’ll love the half.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Finally – the interval training

For the first time in almost a year, I did an interval  training. Or almost. Let me explain. When I was in top shape before  the hernia in April 2010, I was running my intervals between 4:18 and 4:20 min / km and my anaerobic threshold was around 5:00. Last night I was pretty far from one and another, but I managed to run about 85% (160 bpm) of my max HR, what I have not done for 11 months. At a pace of around 5:08 (with a maximum of 4:34), my training was by far the toughest and fastest since April 29, 2010. I'm still not in good shape (just acceptable), but I'm ready for my first half on April 19. And then, I have several months to prepare myself for my second half - in September. In any case, no one runs a half-marathon at the intervals speed! But I like them, anyway.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

In forced rest

This does not happen often, but this time, I caught a flu that forced me not to train since Sunday. A week without racing - it's a week too much.
Everyone in the office is sick, I was in bed for several days and even when I was back at work, I was not able to work properly. And I'm not alone.
But these others, they are not runners. I should, theoretically, have better immunity. One of my colleagues gave up his workouts when the temperature was -15, with the forecast of -20 ° C (a few weeks ago). I continued.
Then, the virus attacked me. And my colleague, who did not want to run at -20, well, he caught the same virus as me several days later.
I hope out of this torpor and start running early next week, but for now I do not feel ready. I am motivated, of course, but the body does not respond properly. I do not give up, anyway.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Winter Storm – a little bit late

Well, it was a winter storm - a little bit late. It was expected to have them more in January. But never mind. Even last night I did my training - 5 km on the sidewalks cleared well enough (in Hampstead). But crossing Decarie was quite an adventure. I even bought ski goggles to protect myself from the snow and extreme cold. If you are interested, you can find them on sale at Sports-Experts from $ 49.99.
So I follow my half marathon program (according to Jack Daniels). Not too fast (not easy to run fast on smooth pavement), but the intensity is not lacking. I hope to be ready in April and then I'll see if I like it. The goal is there, and this is important!

What happens when I run and it’s snowing:IMG_1087

It’s the edge of my hat beneath my left ear :)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Run at -20°C

After 15 km Saturday (yes, a little less cold than today, but ...) and a mere 5 km yesterday, today I decided to brave the freezing cold (-21 ° C and the light wind removed a couple of Celsius).
I had many difficulties during my Saturday long run because I could not put my balaclava properly. When I put it to cover my nose, my glasses become unusable after a few seconds. So I lowered the balaclava under my mouth and inspired the cold air.
I wanted to buy ski goggles, but I did not find the model that can cover my glasses (OTG - over the glasses). Indeed, I found, but the foam was damaged and they did not want to give me a small discount.
Today - strategy change. I take off my glasses and put the balaclava completely. I don’t see well, but better than with frosted glasses. And I run ...
Full training. At -21 ° Celsius. I'll be ready for my first half marathon!

Friday, January 21, 2011

This is serious :)

Yesterday evening, I officially registered for my first half marathon (Scotia Bank, April 17, 2011). It's a respectable distance - between a real marathon and shorter races, 5 and 10 km.
I hesitated a lot between 5 K and the half-marathon race, and finally decided to see if I can take a step forward.
Where is my endurance at the moment?
The basic training - it is already done. Six km on average each day, plus a long race weekend, between 10 and recently 12 km. I must now increase the mileage, especially the long run, and then add a little speed. This is not the same category as "long distance sprints", 5 and 10 K. However, I must accelerate.
I estimate a time between 1 hour 50 and 2 hours, but any result when will be my personal best. 
I could continue on 5 km, of course, and maybe even win a spot on the podium in my age group as I did last year. Moreover, the competition is not as fierce as on 21.1 km. But I decided to take the challenge - to try a half-marathon. It became the most popular distance in recent years. It's like the transition between the "weekend warriors" and more serious runners. But it is primarily a distance that requires of each athlete to give his maximum, both mentally and physically, without being as tough as a full marathon.
I hope the weather will cooperate a little bit more to allow me to be well prepared. Until now, it was not so bad. Do you have the taste of the challenge? Try the 5 km Bank of Nova Scotia on April 17 on Ile Ste-Helene. That's how I started four years ago.

Monday, January 10, 2011

The importance of shopping your running shoes

My best shoes (a pair of New Balance 859) are near the end of their useful life, for the total distance of a thousand km. My other two pairs (NB 850) are at about 700 km, but I do not like them as much as NB 859. These shoes are, perhaps, lighter and more advanced (whatever it means) but I did not find them so comfortable.
So I decided to buy new shoes. New Balance, of course, because my feet have trouble with 
"standard" shoes .
So I turned to And, miracle, I found NB 859  at a ridiculous price of $ 47 U.S. + shipping. I ordered a pair for a total price of CAD $ 70 directly to my door. I received my new shoes in less than two weeks. When I bought them two years ago in Montreal, they costed 149 + taxes, more than $ 167.
Then I wanted to add another pair. Unfortunately, they were out of stock. So I ordered two pairs of NB 1224 at a cost of U.S. $ 85 + shipping or $ 114 CAD at my door and I received them less than a week later.
Finally, I bought two pairs of Adidas Salvation on sale on the site of Running Room, for $ 19.99 + tax, no shipping costs for delivery in the Running Room store in Montreal. I use them only for short training sessions and the lack of support does not bother me.
The next time you decide to buy running shoes, look first in the US because, despite the parity of our currencies, the shoes are much more expensive in Canada and you can not find last year models as in the U.S. Sometimes, on you can find the real gems almost for nothing. By the way, the NB 1224 two years ago were costing $ 189 + tx in all stores here. I have got two pairs for the price of one!
And with all those beautiful shoes, I have a different pair for each workout.
It was worth looking on the internet, isn't it?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Happy New Year!

It is almost 2 PM and I am preparing for my first training in 2011. I started doing small exercises with weights (nothing too heavy, 3 to 5 pounds, plus some abs). Runners must strengthen the upper body without adding too much muscle mass - just the endurance of arms and core.

Two weeks ago, my dad's friend ran the Antarctic Marathon. He arrived at about 5:45, in rather difficult conditions (14th place among thirty runners who finished the race). One minute before him, the race has finished a marathon runner who made a "normal"  Marathon in 2:25. Quite obvious that Marathon not far from the South Pole is not easy. Especially at age 62. It is a true hero!

New year, for some means to lose weight gained during the holidays, start training after several days without activity, resolutions, etc.. Forget resolutions. They are good only for the computer screens :)  

If you want to improve your quality of life, you must start now, when the thought crosses your brain. Never "on January 1", "next Monday", "tomorrow" ... That means now, and if not, never. And you can, my dear readers and friends do so. So ... GO! (Starting gun!!!!)

Monday, August 9, 2010

A bit of history (without going to the Roman times)

I have the genes of an athlete, but I did not know long. I have the genes of a geek - that I could not ignore. Son of a professor and teacher, grand-son of teachers, great-grand-son of teachers - pretty obvious I was born for the book rather than for sneakers.
But on the other hand, my father was a fairly high level athlete. Shot putter and discus (occasionally, hammer) thrower, sprinter despite his size (1.90 m), he tried also the 110-meter hurdles when his club needed it (once he became a local champion in this discipline). Volleyball (member of the provincial team at the time), karate and water polo are among the other sports he practiced.
When dad went to the athletics stadium, he often took me with him. And while he hurled the weight and the disc, I had fun in the sand for the long jump. Unfortunately, dad was unable to get me interested in the sport. Admittedly, I had some results in karate and I played ping-pong, but I do not show too much persistence.
Of course, with such a pedigree, one would hardly say that I had even a little bit of athletic talent. I was probably the last to think I had.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

My first podium (if I can say so)

Yes, that's it. I knew- I'm in shape! Today at Scotiabank 5 km, I have proved. It was chilly, the wind was quite unpleasant, but I was ready. At 23: 19.9, I improved my personal best by 30 seconds (less than 1 / 10 sec, to be precise). Beyond that, I reached a 48th place amongst 768 participants and, even better, the 2nd place in my age group. No medal around the neck, but a second place is honest!
I thought I could do a good result for my last trainings seemed not too difficult (and yet they were demanding). But we can never predict what will happen on race day. For example, my friend Yves fell ill only two days before this race. All his hard training was in vain. But this happens even to the best.
In almost the same conditions, last year I made 23: 49.8. When I say so, I think on my parameters: heart rate of 166 (ideal, just a beat below my anaerobic threshold, the same as in 2009), the maximum heart rate during the race (175 compared to 174 last year), but the final time a lot better this year. Conclusion: I'm in better shape.
And my "pacing" during the race was also better this year. Thanks to my "magic bracelet" in Excel, I used the strategy of equal splits at every km, with a very fast final sprint. Thus, I avoided the "crisis of the fourth kilometer that was happening to me regularly on this course and I kept enough energy for the finish kick.
For years, I quickly began, then lost some speed at the first curve (with a small slope - this year the trainings at the Boulevard de Maisonneuve helped me greatly), and  with a slowdown in the fourth km, then the finish was not fast enough. This year - not the kind of errors. Next goal: under 23 minutes and it could happen already this year.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

VO2 Max Test (2) - results

Finally, I received my VO2 Max. test results. Quite interesting!
Stage Speed HR Lactates VO2 Total Fat
km/h bpm (mMol) (ml/kg/min) kcal/min kcal/min
1 6.5 116 1.36 22.4 11.5 7.8
2 7.5 135 1.73 30.1 13.4 6.7
3 8.5 142 1.74 35 15.2 5.6
4 9.5 150 1.58 37.8 16.8 3.03
5 10.5 158 2.58 44.6 19.2 2.01
6 11.5 165 3.78 48.7 22.2 2.2
7 12.5 173 5.3 50.9 24.6 0
8 13.5 179 7.82 54.2 25.6 0
What does this mean? First, that my VO2 Max is 54.2 or superior, for my age.
Lactates (causing fatigue) and VO2 Max rise regularly, which means that I am in excellent physical condition. The anaerobic threshold is around HR of 167 beats, or when lactate exceeds the value of 4.
The last two columns show respectively the total consumption of calories per minute and how much fat I burn per minute. We can conclude that I burn the most calories from fat at low speeds (this is known), but the total calories burned are highest, of course, in the upper zones.
The graphs show the same things. We see that the curve of lactate (No. 1) rises suddenly after 4 mMol.
The other graph shows the linear rise of HR and Vo2 Max.
What surprised me the most was the distribution of my training zones.
Zone1 116-154
Zone 2 155-163
Zone 3 164-171
Zone 4 172-179
Zone 5 >180
Zones 1 and 2 (aerobic) are relatively high. My anaerobic threshold is in the middle of zone 3. So I can train more with FC high enough, without generating lactic acid. A lot more than what I was doing so far. And the more I train, the more I'll delay the onset of blood lactate and fatigue. Wow! This test was really worth it.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

VO2Max Test

Since last Thursday, I feel like a real athlete. A true one. Because that day, I passed my VO2Max test. I did what the serious athletes do. It’s further evidence that I consider the race very seriously. Already I have a nice library of books of running, I read the serious sites, I use the technology for my workouts ... I was missing only the VO2Max test.
I did the test at the Centre Peak, downtown Montreal, on Mansfield Street. I was greeted by Caroline Brunet, the greatest athlete that canoeing has known. Seventeen medals in world championships and three Olympic medals are saying enough. With equal determination and a serious approach, meticulous and with the same enthusiasm that she has demonstrated throughout his career, Caroline helps athletes like me to test their VO2Max.
How it works? Following a ten minutes warm-up, Carolina put me a mask (with a tube like the one for scuba diving) attached to a hose, and I put a clamp on the nose to completely close it. Not easy to breathe. The slope is fixed (2%). From the initial velocity, she increases the treadmill speed of 1 km/h every three minutes. And with each change of level, Caroline has struck my finger to take a few drops of blood in tiny containers. This will be used to measure my blood lactate. At a speed of 13.5 km/h and heart rate of 178, I was afraid to do too much. I decided to give up. I could, perhaps, do a little more (3-4%, not more), but my mind was not strong. Anyways, I was already very close to my maximum. The detailed results will be ready in few days and Caroline will explain them to me. For now, I know that my VO2Max is 54. Not bad for a former obese. In fact, at my age, anything more than 46 is considered as excellent. Thanks to my dad for giving me good genes :) And big thanks to Caroline Brunet for her professionalism, enthusiasm and detailed explanations she provided me before the test. She is a great lady and a great athlete. She will be inducted in the Canadian Hall of Fame of Olympians in about two weeks. She really merits this honour.

The test looks like this (see image above)

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Cotton T-Shirts

So, spring is back, nice weather seems to be here for some time and we run more often, isn’t it?

Recently, I was with my friend on Mount Royal. We ran under the warm sun when a girl just passed as by. Provocation! No, it wasn’t her, nor the fact that she passed us by, but the fact that she wore a cotton t-shirt. No, no! Just the fact that a runner wears cotton apparel makes me feeling bad.

So, what is that bad with cotton? Everything. It is the worst material in the world to put on when exercising (no matter the sport). It doesn’t wick the humidity (sweat), even on the contrary, it will absorb it, your tee will become heavy and uncomfortable and if there is a wind, you have all the chances to become sick.

Actually, polyester is much better and became the obvious choice for tees and shorts, and even the socks are made in materials that wicks humidity and allow to your feet to stay fresh and without blisters (great, it doesn’t stink and moreover it is comfortable).

Unfortunately, during our workout we saw several runners in cotton t-shirts.

Maybe they just don’t know that polyester exists (I frankly doubt, but…) or think it is too expensive. No, polyester tees are really not expensive and you can wear them for years. They dry quickly so can be reused after several hours. The top models offer even the UV and antibacterial protection (no smell!). So, what are you waiting? If you already don’t have one, go to your running store and buy a polyester T-Shirt. You’ll feel much better under the sun.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Fit, in spite of the age

Another day, I read about Buster Martin, a 101 years old Brit who recently finished a half-marathon (the time is really not important) and is preparing for his first full marathon - London Marathon, in few weeks.

Almost every day I see in a gym men in their 70s, doing their workouts on a treadmill or with weights (not too big, to be honest, but anyway).

And finally - my source of inspiration since I started running - a phenomenon called Ed Whitlock. This Milton (Ontario) resident, born in 1931, is a real running machine and an exceptional motivator. Can you imagine - this man, record holder of 13 world records in different age categories, ran a full marathon (42,195 km, 26 miles 385 yards, use any unit of measure you like - it's veeery far)in less than three hours. At the age of 75! He runs between 2 and 3 hours every single day. What his heart looks like? I can imagine it as a well oiled (not because of the fat) and maintained pump that will function for many years to come. The idea is to do the workouts, stay fit and help out body to continue doing well even at the advanced age and preserving our physical and mental health - without using the drugs. We really don't need to stimulate the pharmaceutical industry. They are already too rich. Let's rather help ourselves to stay healthy at the age of 70,80, 90... years. I can't imagine myself running a full marathon in less than 3 hours at the age of 75 (like Ed Whitlock did), but running 5 or 10 K at the ago of 65 - why not? And after that, we'll see. It's already much better than most of the people around us do.

Ed Whitlock

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Add some jogging?

I hope that some of you started fitness more than six months ago. If so, you might be interested to introduce some jogging into your daily activity. About a year after I started my weight lose program, I started to jog occasionally. Then, I felt that I needed some more speed. If you are like that, the following program is for you. If not, continue with you current program until you achieve your goals.

WARNING:If you have heart related problems or you just think you might have them, consult a qualified physician before you change a program.

Program for advanced walkers/joggers

Day Intensity
Monday (day off)
Tuesday (short day) Warm up for 5 to 10 minutes; 30min @ 50-70% MaxHR (alternate 5 min walk/ 1 min light jog)* ; slow down for 5 minutes. Light stretching.
Wednesday (short day) (same as Tuesday)
Thursday (long day) Warm up for 5 to 10 minutes; 60 min @ 50-70% MaxHR; slow down for 5 minutes. Light stretching.
Friday (short day) (same as Tuesday)
Saturday (long easy day) Warm up for 5 to 10 minutes; 30 min @ 50-70% MaxHR; 30-60 additional minutes @ 50-60% MaxHR; slow down for 5 minutes. Light stretching.
Sunday (long day) (same as Thursday)

*Every four weeks, you can increase light jog by 1 min until you walk for 5 minutes and jog for the same amount of time. Your total workout time shouldn't change (max 30 min). Only the number of intervals will change.

BTW, this will increase the amount of calories burned, and if your goal is a weight loss, this will help you to get rid off the pounds a little bit faster.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Program for advanced walkers

Program 1 (5 months of training and more)

Day Intensity
Monday (day off)
Tuesday 30 min;Alternate 5 min at 50-60% HRM with 2 min at 60-70%. Finish with 2 min at 50-60%.
Wednesday 30 min @ 50-60% HRM
Thursday 15 min @ 50-60% HRM
Friday 30 min @ 50-60% HRM
Saturday 15 min @ 50-60% HRM
Sunday (same as Tuesday)

Program 2

Day Intensity
Monday (day off)
Tuesday (short day) Warm up for 5 to 10 min; 30 min at 50-70% MaxHR; slow down for 5 minutes. Light stretching.
Wednesday (short day) (same as Tuesday)
Thursday (long day) Warm up for 5 to 10 min; 60 min at 50-70% HRM; slow down for 5 min. Light stretching.
Friday (short day) (same as Tuesday)
Saturday (long easy day) Warm up for 5 to 10 minutes; 30 min at 50-70% HRM; 30-60 additional minutes at 50-60%; slow down for 5 minutes. Light stretching.
Sunday (long day) (same as Thursday)

Friday, November 9, 2007

Interesting question

Last Sunday, I was running in a park. I was doing my workout for several minutes when one of the two ladies in their 70's or 80's, sitting on the bench, asked me the following question: "Why do you run, Sir?". Without hesitation, I sincerely answered: "Because I like it!"
I continued running, but few minutes later, probably not convinced that somebody could run for pleasure, the lady asked me the same question. I stopped and explained her how I lost weight, started walking and running, etc. I finished with the same sentence as few minutes ago: "And now, I run because I like it."
This is true. I am not obliged to run but I like it so much that I cannot stop doing it. I hope you'll like walking and, eventually, running, too.
This is no more a matter of fitness or health. This is a Passion!