Chapter Three – Marathon Training – Week Three – No excuses

The best thing about not working is the flexibility. I am officially on vacation and this is pretty exciting for me as training happens a lot after the kids go to bed when I am working. Fitting in exercise while working needs to be a priority, but there are so many hours in the day, and I also need to balance the schedules of my wife and kids to ensure that I can get any exercise in!

So, I am now on vacation and this is exciting! One reason is now my workout times can become more flexible than if I was still working. My wife is also on vacation, which makes it even nicer. She is just getting back into running after an injury and is currently re-training her gait when running to ensure she lands on her toes/forefront of the foot and not heel strike (as this was a source of a much lengthy and painful injury that has sidelined her for close to 9 months) so I will work around her schedule when she is running or doing her early morning swims.

This week I have had to readjust to running with a fuel belt. I usually don’t run with a fuel belt as most of my distances were shorter (under 8K) and I felt I didn’t need to bring water or fuel with me, so this is a bit of an adjustment for me. I really like the Nathan belt that I purchased from EBay. Two water bottles and a pouch where I put my phone (for emergencies), chews or gels in.

This week was my first week off and my first week trying to fit in a variety of different runs. For more information about the different types of runs, check out this running blog that I came across that I really liked It helped me distinguish the different types of running workouts.


This week, I decided to focus on heart rate, feel and creating benchmarks to establish a base to measure improvements when running since this is my first week of vacation. Over the next few weeks, running workouts will vary to ensure that I can compare to see if growth has occurred.

Day 1. Today I am participating in a sprint team Triathlon in town with my wife (she is swimming) and my brother in law (he is running). I am doing the bike leg. This is the first swim for my wife for a triathlon and it happens to be my brother in laws birthday (who is visiting from overseas), so it was a special day. Rain started early but stopped when the swim was under way. My wife had a panic in the water (who doesn’t when swimming their first triathlon) and came out of the water near the back of her wave and I took over. I did a 20K bike in 37:14. A great time. A personal best! Then my brother in law ran with the goal of being under 20 minutes but wore racing flats and didn’t realize that the majority of the course was on wet grass and gravel! He finished at 20:30. A good time had by all. But I still needed a long run, so I put my bike back in the van and ran home.

It was a slow pace. 6:27 a Km. I ran 12:23K in 1 hour and 18 minutes. Heart rate was 140. Running slow is hard to do. Generally my body wants to go quicker, faster. I need to run slower to train my body to run beyond the 10K mark and withstand the pounding of the pavement that my feet and knees will be enduring when I run the marathon.

I felt great after the run and had a great stretch. Doing pilates and core strength activities during stretching has also allowed me to get my muscles stretched but to improve the strength of my core (The bossy trainer on Youtube has a quick core strength workout and efit30 on youtube provides excellent starter pilates training as well). I highly recommend augmenting your training by doing some core strength exercises and pilates!

Day 2. Off. Heck, I am on vacation!

Day 3. Today I was to do a 6K tempo run with a pace of 5:50. Instead I did a 6K tempo run with a 5:08 pace. The reason is, I am still training for two to three duathlons / team triathlons and need to have a competitively fast 5k-10k time, so I ran faster!

Day 4.Today I am scheduled to do a 10K tempo run that was supposed to be run at 85%. This was a hot day and I didn’t run until after lunch. I managed to run 9K in 51:07 at a 5:41 pace with a heart rate of 149. I felt awful and slow. It was painful. I felt every leg turnover and was not happy about the run. I guess I should cut down on the ‘holiday booze’!!!

Day 5. I was supposed to do a 8K steady run but instead I road my bike. I did a hilly 23.75k route in 48:46 with a 2:03 pace with a heart rate of 146. I felt much better than yesterday as I did cut down on the ‘holiday booze’ 🙂

Day 6. Off

Day 7. Not a scheduled day off but what would a vacation be without getting ill! A stomach virus has left me in an uncomfortable state and has forced me to cancel my workout (unless you count running to the bathroom)!

This week was a crummy week of training. Next week I need to do a better job of running comfortably, try to elevate my heart rate more on shorter distances and monitor it on longer distances. The big question is balancing the training for shorter races with training for the marathon.

However, that is a story for next time!

Ps. Here is a great link to some other excellent running blogs that I recommend you check out!

For more information on Andy running the Niagara Falls Marathon in October 2013 for Brian the Great or to make a donation, please see the link on the homepage of the museum website at


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