Friday, 17 February 2017

Thoughts on new marathon standards, more indoor talk and my training.

What's up friends! Oh man, are we ever getting a lot of snow here on the east coast, over a 48 hour period this past Tuesday and Wednesday we saw 66cm fall, everything was closed so your boy was running like a hamster on the treadmill.....not fun at all. Since we last spoke, Millrose went down, a few low key meets in Europe and the usual meets here in Canada as well as ones a lot of Canucks like to hit like Spire, UW and the BU Valentine Invite. We saw some fast times, tactical races and are starting to get a look at where people are going into outdoors. On the marathon front Tokyo has apparently removed a couple hills from their course and Kipsang announced a WR attempt and we got an update on the controversial Nike Sub2 Project, Kipchoge seems to be going about his normal training, and Desisa as well as Tedese seem to be in great form as well. From the workouts that were talked about Tedese's were the most impressive sessions of 12X1200m where he worked down to running 62 second quarter pace off 2' and a 35K long run at 5:00/mile pace. (Both at sea level). In other marathon news Athletics Canada has adopted the IAAF standards of 2:19:00 and 2:45:00 for this years WC's which opens up the door for more athletes to realize their dreams of representing their country. I'll talk a little about that below, some indoors and my own training as I get ready for my first goal race of the 2017 season which will be the Vancouver Sun Run.

Canada Adopts the IAAF Marathon Standards.

So this is the big news here in Canada and has a lot of athletes excited. Personally as a fan of the sport I'm really pumped for this. I'm of the opinion that international competition will help the development of athletes and encourage them to take their training to the next level. With that said however, I'm also partial to the idea that we shouldn't just rush or force training and racing. When we compare the men's standard in the marathon to the 5 and 10k it's not even in the same ballpark in terms of relative performances based on IAAF point scoring, so guys who may be 10k specialists but can't yet run the 27:45 10000m standard may try to lace up for a shot at the marathon time before they are ready and that's something to be careful with. Because someone can run a relative performance over a shorter distance it doesn't necessarily translate to the longer events. The biggest example of this is the USA Marathon trials, there you can get in with a sub 65 half which is pretty attainable for a relatively fit post collegiate runner in the states. You see them roll a 63/64 and then getting amped up for the trials, they go out with the lead pack and fade to sometimes outside 2:30. The marathon needs to be respected and a 2:19 is still a very fast time. Our women seem to be more aware of this and they treat the distance with respect from what I've seen. Leslie Sexton comes to mind in 2015, she ran her game plan, forgot about 2016 time standards and was rewarded with a huge PB. Now, if your a male and a sub 29 athlete or a 64 minute half marathoner then this doesn't really apply as if you follow a proper training plan then you should be able to relatively easily break 2:19 (if they are only going for a 2:18 and not a sub 2:15). It's people who haven't displayed that ability who are going for broke in order to make an attempt at the standard that scares me. Like Andrew Jones mentioned on the trackie forums, you won't learn anything about your marathon potential if you blow up and jog it in or DNF. Running to what your fitness is indicating is the safest move and will results in steady progress. Look at guys like Reid, Eric and Dylan, they were very accomplished 10000m runners and all made debuts around 2:15/2:16.....high 27 and low 28 10000m runners. The distance deserves the utmost respect. Again, I'm all for these new standards and I'm so excited for what the spring marathon season brings now that this has been put into effect.

With that said who are the players, and who could be booking a ticket to London? Well there are 3 tiers of athletes on both the women's and men's side. The top tier are Eric, Reid, Lanni and Krista. All can run under the old standard and I suspect they will pass on worlds but if they do chose to run then they will be on the top of the list. (Rachel Hannah's 2:32 should be a lock, she is in my mind at this tier as well). Then you have the second tier, those who are either already under the standard, close or displayed the ability to do it with ease given a proper race execution. In this category I have runners like Brandon Lord, Thomas Toth, Kip Kangogo, Sami Jabril, Evan Esselink and if Hendrix or Woodfine give it a go both have displayed sub 2:19 ability. On the woman's side we have Leslie Sexton, Tarah Korir, Dayna Pidhoresky, Erin Burrett and Neasa Coll. Then we have the guys and girls who on the right day can go under the standard or are already under it but are far down on the list. For the guys we have the likes of Rob Winslow and Terrence Attema who went 2:19 last year, Kev Coffey and John Mason who can go under 2:19 on the right day as well as some guys who could potentially debut under the standard, the name that comes to mind is Blair "Captain" Morgan. His first half was sub 66, I have no idea if he has any plan to ever even run one but he's the guy who stands out to me as someone who could drop that kinda sub 2:19 debut. For woman Lissa Zimmer, Ailsa MacDonald and Ellie Greenwood come to mind when looking at the rankings. 

Now, this is all just speculation and ramblings, anything can happen, a guy like Seth may knock his debut out of the park, he's training hard and is a grinder. The same can be said if we see a debut from someone like Lisa Brooking, Laura Batterink or Emily Setlack. Anything can happen under the right circumstances. But with all that said expect the guy's team to be composed of athletes who run sub 2:17 and girls who run under 2:36.

More great indoor action - Who's looking good going into outdoors?

Eric Jenkins - This guy is really developing his speed under Salazar and ran an amazing race taking the win in the Wannamaker mile. He looked like he'd been a 1500m runner his entire career how he executed, when he lost the lead got right back on the shoulder and made his last big move with 80m to go running 3:53. Look for him to be the next american under 13:00 for 5000m

Ben True - He hasn't run indoors in a long time but his endurance/strength really showed as he outlasted Ryan Hill's final push at the 2mile during Millrose. To take down a 7:30 3k runner in his best event shows True is in the form of his life. The question is can he translate this to outdoors and finally break the 13 minute barrier which he has talked about doing for the last few years

Genzebe Dibaba - She looked silky smooth in that indoor 2k WR running solo basically the entire race, now that was a soft record for sure but her run there was worth around 3:54/55 for 1500m and to do that solo indoors.....yeah she's mighty fit.

Laura Muir - I think this is the girl to watch moving into outdoors, her indoor season has been flawless where she started off by going sub 15 solo and taking the British indoor record down. She then blasted a crazy fast 3k to add another record to her name and one that put her on the top 5 list all time indoors over the distance. She's in great shape.

CPT and Brannan - Both displayed some fine form this year so far and won't have any trouble running the 3:36.20 worlds standard once they take a crack at it outdoors. I personally want to see both of them do two things if they get the chance outdoors; 1 - Run the 5000m at Payton Jordon and see how low they can both go. (I suspect sub 13:20 is possible but will take a great race) and 2 - Get into a really fast Diamond League like Shanghai or Monaco where they can jump on the back of the bus and hopefully get dragged under 3:34.

My training

Things are going really well right now and my last two weeks I ran 132 miles and 119 which is a lot but not crazy, I've been as high as sustaining 140 for a few months and I feel a lot better with a big base under me which could have been a reason I didn't run well after getting injured last May, my base eroded after some promising racing in April and May and I didn't have time to build it back up so I'm making sure I'm super aerobically strong so it can carry me through the summer even coming down for periods of time to target certain races.

My last 4 workouts were a set of 5X2k at goal 10k pace off 2:30 recovery which averaged 6:10, I wanted to go a little quicker but the fact of the matter was that felt like the right effort, any harder and it would have been like 8km pace so I figured I'll train at my current ability and go from there. Next I did 16X400m Hard with full 400m recovery. These were done at mile race pace but the recovery was near two minutes on some reps when I'd get down to 62/63 which was a little too spicy. Then this Monday I did a 5km on the roads at goal 10k pace. I ran 3.12 miles in 15:23.6, I think I split the 5k in 15:19 but I went a little past just in case the garmin was off. I was sheltered so I didn't have any wind to deal with which was nice. Then today I did a progressive 80' run starting at 6:00 per mile and going down about 10 seconds a mile every 15 minutes, so not super fast but I averaged about 5:40 pace so a good aerobic run, slower then M pace but much quicker then a normal run.

Anyway that's all for me right now, I hope your all putting in work, the spring season will be here before you know it. Be sure to watch the Birmingham indoor meet tomorrow at 9am ET and the Montreal Grand Prix as well. On another note I got a huge shipment from the great people at Brooks today with the new pro kit, I left my phone at work but I'll post a pic on social media and on here next blog, it's pretty fast looking! ;). 

Have a great weekend and be safe out there,

Friday, 3 February 2017

A look at the first month of racing in 2017 and a training update.

Hey guys how is your 2017 shaping up thus far? I trust your all grinding out some strength type work or your in the middle of indoors and are sharpening up for the championship season. In this post I'll talk about some of the racing that has gone down in this first month of the new year and then talk briefly about what I did running wise the last 2 weeks. I'm pretty fit right now in general, not ready to knock out any PB's because I've just been doing general work without any specificity but based on a hard 5 mile tempo I ran (which if I'm honest I should have called a time trial) I'm in probably 15 flat 5k shape, 31:30 10k shape and 69 flat half marathon shape which is actually ahead of where I was last year on account of having a broken jaw so I'm really excited to start transitioning into some specific work. I haven't figured out my full spring race schedule yet but I'll 100% be at the Sun Run on April 24th, thanks Maurice for the invite! I'm hoping to stay through the week until the TC 10k but that's no confirmed yet. After that I was thinking of doing the Goodlife half again in Toronto but I've decided to do the Mississauga half instead as my GRE teammates are running in most of the events there that weekend. My boy Josh Bolton will be doing the half which is ideal for me as he's run 1:07:40 and we work really well together in races. Then the last one of the spring season will be Ottawa Race Weekend once again. So yeah, 4 big ones away early in the spring and then back to grinding and preparing for a fall marathon with the goal of going inside out Newfoundland record which is rather soft 2:24:17. Now, I may actually get up to BC for the St. Paddy's 5k as well, I hadn't even thought about it but my Brooks Rep mentioned it to me this week so we will see if that develops, I'd love to get out west for that one. Anyway, before I look at some of the racing that's transpired I want to send out huge Happy Birthday to my boy Jeremiah, I hope it's a great day man. Your working so hard out there in BC and it's great to see you making such headway in your career! I'm sure you'll enjoy a nice weekend with Mariah and Tucker!

Who's looking good early in 2017

So we've had a few big indoor meets going down each weekend of this new year out in Washington, New York, Boston, Penn State as well as some road races like the Pioneer 8k and the Robbie Burns 8k here in Canada. Not to mention Millrose is coming up and the First Half out in Vancouver goes off this Sunday and always puts together a stud filled line up. 

I guess the first guy we can talk about is Centro, in his season opener he looked to be picking off right where 2016 left off and was silky smooth running a 3:55 mile for the win. Granted he certainly wasn't running against the best in the world or anything but the ease at which he runs a 26 second last 200 not even straining a little shows he's VERY FIT. Now, the question is if he was to go after it, would he have a chance at Rupp's Indoor 2 mile AR of 8:07? I personally doubt it, that's a really fast mark, the outdoor record held by Tagenkamp is also 8:07 and back when Teg ran that he was one of the best 5000m runners in the world that year running 12:58. Centro can for sure run in the 8:11ish range but I think he will need a couple more years of strength under him to get that 8:07, but he's the one to take it down when the time does come.

Next I guess we talk about the two new 3000m PRs that CPT and Nate ran. Both looked really strong and closed well in a relatively fast race. Anything around 7:45 is definitely a world class indoor time and it's early in the season, it's not a stretch to say they could take another few seconds off what they laid down there and CPT in the future might break 7:40. We saw him lower his 5000m PB to 13:33 last spring, I'll be interested to see if he toes the line in Palo Alto again how much more he takes off that. Could he go sub 13:20?

We certainly can't talk about mid distance running without mentioning how badass Paul Chelimo is becoming. Now, I follow track VERY closely, but I thought last year going into Rio a good finish from him would be to make the final, not be trying to chase down Farah and pull away from Hagos Gebrewit. This guy is not a one hit wonder and if you listen to his interviews he has some swagger to him too which is refreshing. He knew that 3k in Boston was his for the taking and he threw it down and showed the chops of an Olympic Silver Medalist. Another point that's worth mentioning is that Lawi Lalang looked very good for the first time in a while, he was scheduled to bring the group through 3k but he stayed in the race and ran a respectable 7:45. Now a guy of his pedigree and talent (3:33 1500m man and 13:00 for 5000) should be running like 7:33-35 but this is a step in the right direction and he's one to keep an eye out for when outdoors comes around.

Next up is a teammate of Chelimo's from the US Army club coached by Dan Brown, Leonard Korir. This guy looked fantastic in XC taking down Callum Hawkins at the line and then threw down a 61 low in Huston beating Olympic Silver Medalist in the marathon Lelisa Feyisa at the line in really humid conditions. He's another guy to watch for. I don't know that he's got the closing speed to win medals on the track over 10000m as Rupp on marathon legs dusted him the last 200 of the US trials and he didn't have the aerobic strength to hang on to the lead group of the 10k in Rio but perhaps his future lies in the marathon. He will certainly be a guy going well under 2:10. 

Here in Canada we are starting to see some road races playing out which is always fun to watch. The Robbie Burns 8k in Burlington had some solid depth up front with Sammi running well under 24 minutes wearing long tights and a half zip. My boy Captain Morgan looked great almost going under 24 himself, this guy is a stud and will have a bright future over many distances. You guys reading this likely already know that but ever since that 14:10 he ran over in Belgium last year he's been on fire. Sergio came in around 30 seconds or so after Blair, he's another athlete with a bright future, he's still a JR and ran 30:00 on the track last summer. Arron Cooper had a solid race back after battling some injuries running 25:00, he's a tremendous strength based runner who gets better as the distance grows. Look for him to go 67/68 at the Chilly half and sub 2:24 for the full come April. Rounding out the top 5 was Paul Rochus who's another stallion and owns a 30:33 10k PR (I will also add that he's the younger brother of the legendary Micheal Rochus of Terminal Mile fame which increases the aura around him). Look for Paul to attack the FISU half marathon standard the next chance he gets!

My training

So yeah I've been plugging away these past two weeks. I'm running my easy days on feel and have been turning my watch around so it's facing down and on the days I'm outside I run a 10 mile route from my house in the mornings. Some days its as fast as 58 and others have been almost 75 minutes depending on the footing and how I'm feeling, I've been doubling on the treadmill in the evening for 45' which generally gets me around 6.5 miles. The last 4 workouts I did over the 2 weeks were a set of mile repeats off 2 minutes, 6 to be exact. I stayed at 5:00 even for the first 4 and went 4:43 and a hugely positive split 4:36 on the last one going out in 2:11 through 800. I also did another set of K's on the indoor track but this time did 10 at goal 10k pace off 2 minutes averaging 3:03. That's a pretty easy workout considering the break and not ripping but I was still getting tired over the last 3 or 4. then I had 2 tempo runs. the first was an 8k time trial outdoors wearing far too little gear and being froze solid, but it was successful averaging 5 flat a mile but suffering the last 8 or 9 minutes then a proper controlled 40 minute progression from 5:40 down to 5:00 pace that averaged 5:16/mile for the whole run. Other then that it's been all easy days. I'm starting my build for the spring next week so I'll document everything like I used to from there on out.

Lastly before I get out of here I'll announce that I've joined the Grand River Endurance Team based in Ontario. Obviously I live in Newfoundland but I know the whole team well and they are an amazing group of talented, driven, hard working athletes and people. We are all around the same age, are passionate about the sport and strive to improve and have some fun along the way. You can check out the club's site here

I also wanted to share my teammate and runner extraordinaire Tanis Bolton's blog/site on here. She's a great athlete and personal trainer. She runs everything from a 17 minute 5k to a sub 3 hour marathon debut last fall. Check her out here -

Ok guys that's it for this week,
Enjoy the weekend and be safe out there on the roads!


Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Marathon WR attempt, the indoor DL circuit and could Centro be the heir to Farah's 5k throne?

What up running friends. I hope you guys are having some better luck with your weather then we are here in Newfoundland! I ran 114 miles last week with only 18 being outside, it's been brutal, but it's got to be done. I'll save my training recaps for when I start ramping it up and doing interesting workouts. I'm just trying to build some general fitness right now. Last week I did 8X1k on the indoor track with 2:30 recovery and went 3:04, 3:00, 3:01, 2:55, 2:57, 2:55, 2:49, 2:49 as well as a longer fundamental tempo outside just to get a good aerobic stimulus and make sure I had at least some lactate threshold strength in me. It was an 8 miler on my 1k road loop (I know, boring as hell but the only place with sound footing and not much traffic). It went well, I started off at around 5:45 pace and got down to running 5:10/15 for the last couple miles. It wasn't a super fast tempo or anything but it was really controlled and long enough that I'll get a decent stimulus from it. Anyway, like I said, once I start getting into some more specific stuff we will get the recaps going in more depth. In this post I'll talk about Bekele's record attempt tomorrow night and the quick turnaround he will have trying to run London as well, then we will chat briefly about this new indoor circuit and if it will encourage more of the big name mid distance guys to run indoors, then lastly we will look at if Centro could be the future of the 5k. Before I get into that good stuff, you may have noticed that the blog has been redone a little. As you've probably guessed I've decided to sign a new deal with Brooks Running. It has absolutely nothing to do with Saucony, they have been amazing and they took a chance on me when I was running like 32 high for 10k and had zero following whatsoever (Thanks JJ!! It's ironic you and your wife now roll in the Brooks Launch...I guess I'm just following in your footsteps dude! :) ). I'll be forever grateful for the support they gave me and who knows maybe in the future I'll run for them again, but right now this was the move for me to make. Brooks made me an amazing offer and the opportunity to run for them and lace up the same shoes and singlet as some of my favorite runners was a chance I couldn't pass up. I'll be at brooks sponsored races across the country this spring/summer and fall so I hope to meet with some of you guys when I'm there. As for Saucony, I can't say enough great things about them as a brand. They signed a couple new athletes that will for sure help promote and grow the brand like my boy Phil from Quebec who's a 2:20 marathoner and Emily Setleck, our National Half Marathon champ. So Saucony are in great hands and have some great things coming in 2017 (Look for their Ocean Wave series that will drop fall 2017!). But yeah at least for the next few years your boy is on Team Brooks and I couldn't be happier about it.

Will the Marathon WR fall tomorrow night in Dubai?

We now have Bekele's agent and coach Jos Hermens confirming the attempt and that Kenny is 100% healthy. If this is in fact the case, with the topography of the Dubai course and there being only 4 turns the only thing that could stop him is the heat as it's generally about 10 degrees hotter then Berlin at the start of this race, though they do set the runners off before sunrise. Kenny has requested 61:00 through the half, which I personally think is a little too quick, but the man has run 12:37, 26:17 and 2:03:03 so who am I to comment. That would be 23 seconds faster then anyone has split the half before in a marathon. He's got hired pacers guaranteed through 30k and they will continue as long as they can. (Getting that far takes 2:04 type of talent). So yeah, what do you guys think about this. I like that he's going for it, and fast times have been run here in the past. It's also worth noting on his other WR's he ran mostly alone and just hit splits. Without the thought of trying to win the race with a competitor breathing down his neck he's free to relax and try to run the splits with the least amount of energy expended. I personally think he's fit enough to go under 2:02:30 but I'm not sure if this is the place to do it. I like the idea of a little cooler temps and having another guy there right up until the end to push the pace if it starts to drop. With that said however Kipsang and Bekele left the WR out on the course last fall from 35-40k when they ran side by side trying to figure each other out. Either way, this is going to be a treat, and the fact that Bekele will come back and face a LOADED field in early April again in London means he's got his MOJO back and he wants to cement his legacy as the greatest distance runner of all time.

Thoughts on the new IAAF World Indoor Tour.

I spent some time reading about the indoor tour on the IAAF site and I really like the idea, the money they are offering is really good for indoors and it's not a long season like the outdoor Diamond League. I don't feel however, that it's enough to get guys like Kiprop, Makhloufi, Rudisha et all. But on the women's side, the girls already seem fond of indoors. We always see Dibaba attacking records and girls like Siffan Hasan and Kipyegon running both here in North America and overseas during the indoor season. I love this idea, generally without world indoors it can be slow from January until March with only a few big meets like Millrose and Birmingham but this gives the track fan some action to bridge the gap until people start chasing times at Stanford. Prediction; we see a sub 3:50 indoor mile this year and Dibaba breaks her indoor 1500m WR going under 3:55!

Could Centro be the 5k Olympic champ in 2020 

Now I know this seems like it's coming out of left field, and that Centro just won the Olympic Gold Medal in Rio this past summer but hear me out for a second. I feel like he's going to obviously stick with the 1500 this year at Worlds in London but with the next year, 2018 being an off year I have this sneaking suspicion that Alberto will have him run some 5km's and start the transition, maybe choosing to go for the double at worlds 2019. We know that Alberto is more of a longer distance coach and that he likes his athletes to have great range. Pair that with the fact that most of the recent 5000m world finals, with the exception of Rio have been utterly pedestrian. Worlds in 2015 was won in like 13:50 with a big last lap. Centro, at least in my estimation is the perfect tactician and can close like maybe 3 other men on the planet can. He's obviously doing a lot of aerobic work and he used to run and score for Oregon in the glory XC days when they had Rupp, Shadrak, Wheating, Puskedra and the gang. If memory serves he ran in Palo Alto in either 2014 or 15 and ran 13:20 looking like he was jogging. This is a move I'm really excited to see. When Mo moves to the roads full time after worlds this year it seems like Gold in the 5000 is there for the taking. The only guy who he might struggle with first going up to that event would be Iguider as he's also a beast in the 1500 with a 3:28 to his name as well as a sub 13. I don't really think Centro, at least early in the move up to the 5k, would do well in sub 13 races but with some time and work I think he could be a world beater at that event. His old man was, and as his tattoo reads "Like father like son".

Alright guys that's it for me. I'll be back to recap some indoors and Dubai next week. Thanks for stopping by. I've got the fire in the belly with my training so I'm excited to kick off this new year with some big mileage and some fast spring races. I hope all my homies are doing well, Michael Rochus keeps killing it with the Terminal Mile, the wolf, Jeff Costen seems to be grinding as usual based on some strava creeping (watch for that guy this spring.....PB's coming from the 5k to marathon in 2017!) and Zimak as well as Coffey took on the spicy heat of Huston. Don't worry fellas, you'll both go sub 2:20 next time out, take that to the bank, you are both the definition of legends.

Keep that chin down, hands high and let em' fly!

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

My top 5 story lines of 2016 and 5 to watch in 2017.

Hey friends, sorry for the delayed post, I've gotten some flack from my friends about slacking so I figured I'd better get this up right away. I honestly have just been running easy since my last post at the end of November. I had some niggles after a long season that needed time to heal and mentally I wanted to not worry about workouts or anything and get back to enjoying the run and the sport. But now it's 2017 and upon reflecting on my 2016 campaign and not having run any PB's I'm pretty fired up to really get the training ramped up and run a 30' 10k in April/May and a 67 half or better. Those times won't run themselves and I've got a lot of work ahead of me so it's time to get after it. We are now back to regularly scheduled programming and I'll be back to putting up blog posts every Tuesday. Since I've just been taking it easy the last month I won't talk about my easy 60'-100' daily runs, rather I'll look at my top 5 story lines in track/running for 2016 and 5 we should look at as me move into 2017.

My pics for top 5 story lines in track/running for 2016

5 - The utter dominance of Almez Ayana

Going into the 2016 track season we knew Ayana was a big time talent, but she was overshadowed by Genzebe Dibaba and her consistent smashing of world records indoors and a 3:50 outdoor 1500m time. But 2016 would be the year of Ayana from 3k-10k, save for a fumble in the 5k final in Rio likely due to that ridiculous 10000m WR she ran a few days prior. Other then that she was simply perfect in 2016 and gave Tirunesh Dibaba's 5000m WR a scare on several occasions. Based on her 10000m time it's not a matter of "if" she can break the 5k record more a matter of "when" she will break it. Her gutsy front running style is amazing to watch and really makes for some entertaining distance running. I'd really like to see her run a 1500 in 2017, I don't think she has the wheels of G. Dibaba but in a spicy/honest race from the gun I don't see anything stopping her from running 3:54/55.

4 - The return to form of Kenny Bekele.

When Bekele came 3rd in London this year in 2:06 I had mixed feelings. On one hand that was one of the deepest fields in history, he beat the likes of Kipsang, Kimetto and Ghirmay Ghebreslassie. With that said however he was 3 minutes and 30 seconds off Kipchoge. When Berlin rolled around and his agent Jos Hermens said his training had gone well but that he was hoping to break 2:05 and was at 80/90% I didn't have high hopes. I knew that the field wasn't super strong with the top dogs having run Rio and either choosing to not run a fall marathon or opt for NYC. Boy was I wrong, Kipsang showed he's far from done and with the help of some great pacemaking the two had a great 25km split and Kipsang put the foot down and Bekele was yoyo-ing off the back. But when he closed the gap and made a decisive charge for the finish at just past 40k it was like the Bekele of old. It reminded me of the WC's in Berlin back in 2009 when he took off on Tedese. Kenny is certainly not done and with him now running basically 2:03 flat he has the confidence to know he can manage that type of pace. He can certainly run something in the mid to low 2:02 range. That said, to do it he's going to need a really good field, ideally with Kipchoge. Bekele will likely run London, along with Kipsang, Biwott and a few other studs, I don't think anyone will break 2:03 there but in Berlin next fall expect to see a record attempt for sure.

3 - The marathon debut and success of Galen Rupp

I'd be remiss if I didn't have this included in the top story lines for distance running. When it was announced he was running the trials I figured he would easily take the win as the field just wasn't very good. I was shocked to hear people who are fairly knowledgeable on the sport saying he wasn't going to make the team. Now, that said, I had serious doubts about how he would stack up against the best east Africans in Rio who routinely go out in 61:45-62:15 through half. His performance at the trials was very dominant, running 2:11 flat in the heat making it seem like a tempo run. Add to that the rumors confirmed by Alberto that Rupp had run a 20 mile tempo at 4:50 pace with his heart rate never over 160 and I was starting to get interested on just how quick/competitive he could be over 26.2. Fast forward to Rio where he looked great in the 10k just lacking a little foot speed which is to be expected when training for a marathon. As the marathon in Rio started to shake out and I kept seeing big names falling off the pack it was pretty exciting to watch. When it was down to 3 and Rupp was running with the best marathoner to ever live and a 2:04 guy who won Tokyo earlier this year we had our answer, Galen is VERY good at the marathon and took to the event seamlessly. I hear he's running the Huston half on the 15th with eye's on Hall's HM record so be sure to tune in for that and keep an eye on what he does leading into Boston this spring.

2 - How far the USA have come in the Mid-D and Distance events.

We knew that the US have been enjoying a resurgence of sorts in the mid and long distance events thanks to the growth/establishment of top quality training groups. Athletes like Jenny Simpson, Matt Centrowitz, Evan Jager and Galen Rupp have shown that on their best day they can compete with anyone in the world and it seems that this has translated into more confidence and overall higher levels of performance over a multitude of events. The US took home some MAJOR hardware in Rio, from the young Clayton Murphy running 1:42 and taking a bronze in one of the deepest events contested, the 800m, to Evan Jager and Emma Coburn asserting themselves in the Kenyan dominated 3000mSC to Rupp medaling in the marathon. The US has become a power house nation once again and it's encouraging for all non African born athletes to see that it's possible to be competitive on the world stage. (Paul Chelimo and Jenny Simpson's medals were equally as impressive I just didn't include it in that sentence ha)

1 - Hyperandrogenism in the women's 800m

Other then the Russian doping scandal/ban this was the biggest story in track as far as I'm concerned. (I didn't want to touch the doping stuff as there's still more info that needs to be released but this is a great piece if you want to know more about that - ) Anyway, the woman's 800m, I'm not going to get into my stance on it as frankly it's just that, my stance/opinion, and I'm certainly not an expert on the situation. I will say however that Semenya, Niyonsaba and Wambui certainly enjoy a HUGE advantage over two laps when compared to woman who don't suffer from Hyperandrogenism. In my mind Melissa Bishop is the world number 1 if everyone was playing with relatively the same hormonal profile. Am I biased because she's a Canadian? Absolutely, but this year she broke 2 minutes a ridiculous amount of times, set national records indoors and out and handled the Olympics with such grace and class. This situation is something that needs to be looked at further and debated by those in the know who can make a fair and just recommendation on how best to proceed for all athletes involved. I'll end by saying Semenya is an amazing athlete and a tremendous champion who deserves to be treated as such with only the utmost respect.

Other story lines of note for 2016;

Mo Farah's continued dominance,
Usain Bolt's legacy as possibly the best track athlete ever,
Why Kiprop struggles at Major Champs,
Wayde van Niekerk's 400m WR,
Ruth Jebet's rediculously fast steeples,
Jama Aden's doping bust (And Rosa's)

5 story's to keep an eye on in 2016.

5 - Will Farah win the double again and go for a WR?

There has been some talk of Farah taking a stab at either the 5k or 10k world record this year. I'd personally love to see it. Based on his 1500m ability you'd think he 5k would be his best bet but 12:37 is just so fast, I mean Komen only ran 12:39 and the guy went 7:20 and 7:58 for 3k and 2 miles. Personally, I feel like the 10k record is softer then the 5k, not that 26:17 is soft by any means but as Ronato Canova has stated before, he thought Bekele could have gone under 26:10 with competition, like Haile in his prime racing him. I don't know if it's within Farah's abilities, but I'd like to see him at least try. He will likely win the double again as he rather easily won both the 5 and 10 in 2016, an Olympic year when everyone was to be at there best. If he does the double again then there is no doubt we need to start having a serious discussion about him being in the GOAT conversation. (That said, Bekele added to his case with that Berlin performance).

4 - Will Rupp take the HM American Record down and/or win Boston?

With a 26:44 10k in his pocket, it's not really a matter of "if" Rupp can run that fast it's a matter of getting into the right race, he ran 60:30 after falling in his HM debut back in 2011 before he ever even broke 27 minutes for 10k and jogged a 61:20 in Portland last year as a training run. He will eventually run slightly under 59:30 I'd imagine. As for Boston, with most of the top dogs either participating in the "Sub2" Nike project or running London which have deep pockets for appearance fees this is the time to do it. I wouldn't consider him the favorite with the champ returning but he's up there with him and if it's a 2:08-2:12 type race he can likely close the last 10k much faster then anyone else who's been announced as running thus far.

3 - Savoring one last year with Usain Bolt in the sport.

Usain is one of the rare athletes in track and field who can transcend the sport and can reach into mainstream media. Part of that is thanks to the prestige of the 100m dash and being the fastest man on earth but more then anything it's his charisma that makes him a star. Let us cherish this last season he's going to give us and be grateful we witness him in his prime and trust that he leaves the sport on top.

2 - Will Genzebe Dibaba return to form & go for the 5k WR against Ayana?

Obviously 2016 wasn't the best year for Dibaba (granted for anyone else it would still be a spectacular season). The complications/scandal with her coach clearly played on her, coupled with a slight injury early in the season. That said, when she's 100% Dibaba is unbeatable over 1500m and my dream match up would be for her to race Ayana over 5000m in a record attempt. It's guaranteed to fall as both have come within a second or two over the last couple years. So, Diamond League, please make this happen!

1 - The pursuit of the sub 2 hour marathon.....

This is the big story to follow for 2017. Now, do I think anyone currently has to ability to break 2 hours on a ratified course? Not a chance! And do I like the idea of 2 of the world's best Marathoners and the HM world record holder missing out on London? Not one bit! But this is a cool idea, it's generating some mainstream media and attracting more attention to the sport and marathoning so in that sense I'm ok with it so long as I get to see Kipchoge run Berlin. Eliud is the best marathoner to ever live, that's not even up for debate at this point, the guy's won 6 out of 7 marathons and in my estimation he can likely run a low 2:02. His 2:03 flat at London was not paced well early and he still finished looking full of running. So I'm very anxious to see go after a really fast time in the fall of 2017.

Well, that's all for now, it felt good to write this. Again, sorry for the delay. With the holidays and what not things just get busy but I'm back at it now. Speaking of I owe my coach an email/FB msg so we can put some plans in place for 2017 and ramp up the training. I'll be back posting every Tuesday so make sure to keep it locked for more ramblings and training updates/talk.

Thanks for reading and I hope you all had an awesome holiday with your loved ones.
Keep those sticks on the ice,

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Hello darkness my old friend

Hey friend's, I'm so sorry for the delayed post. I'll be honest. I'm in a funk. I didn't run well at Scotiabank, obviously, and I'm not super fit for cross country nationals. That said, we keep going right? I'm not that guy who gives up when the going gets tough. So I didn't hit my goals for the fall, so what? I'll make new ones for this winter and spring.

How I've missed this blog, where to start........Firstly, the good from scotiabank, the wolf, Jeff Costen, in his marathon debut becomes a national bronze medalist, I know the kid isn't happy with 2:27, as he's got sub 2:20 potential, but regardless this is a big deal. I called it, he's wise beyond his years, he chilled and took scalps the last half. Also, shout out to Eric Bang, who killed it, I honestly feel he had the best race of the day.

Next, how ridiculous was New York? The black cactus coming 3rd, holy cow. Abdi, you are a strait legend. To pull off 3rd in that field is redonkulous. We were treated to a display from the young Eritrean as he just dusted the boys when he made his move. He even waved to the them.....crazy. I was super impressed with molly huddle as well, coming 3rd in her debut.

Then we have CIS. Yves Sikubwabo.....let's be honest, we knew when the kid was throwing down some respectable 800m times this summer at the U of T track that the kid found his stride again....he looked to be jogging and could roll with the top 10-15 of the NCAA by my estimations. On the women's side, it was a tremendous race, I didn't expect it to play out as it did, but I did expect Claire Sumner to take the win, but huge props to Julie-Anne Staehli for going for it. Far more guts then anyone in the mens race!

As far as the NCAA goes.....just wow, what a race. I honestly though Ches couldn't be beat. Hes basically a distance guy who's run 3:36 flat in college....who else has that pedigree and his track record but man was I wrong. I mean I knew Tiernan was solid after last years NCAA champs and his 13:20 5k PR but dude....he was a man on a mission. And I mean for our homie Justyn to be that close.....he's the future, which is something to be excited about.

Anyway, as for the kid here, I'm just running lots, it's nothing glamorous I'll tell you that haha, but I mean I'm paying, in my mind one of the top 3 coaches in the country and I'm hardly updating our log that he has just for me and him.... I guess I'm just in need of a little break from being competitive. I didn't PB this year and I'm kinda upset about it, I ran 69 low for a tactical half but really I didn't run all that well, 15 low, 31 high, and a 69 low....not where I want to be. So I need a little time to just lick my wounds (John L. I love you bud, we will right the ship yet, I just need some time big guy!), regroup and then attack with vengeance. I've got 0 excuses. I'm in a position to have the coach I want, gear, travel, whatever I need, provided so I have no excuses. It's time to get this bus going towards greatness.

I appreciate the patronage and the continued support. I just needed a minute to get my head strait. Don't worry, the kid is still ready to go, I ran a 3 mile tempo for kicks last week and went under 15 so I'm at least fit enough to roll anyone around here right now,'s time to get ready for 17'. Thanks Saucony for all the support and for using me in that 2017 hurricaine Ad! You guy's always have my back! #Blessed and I can't wait to work with that new rep of yours! ;)

Stay Hungry, I forgot that,

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

A look at STWM and is running something of a religion?

Hey folks, so here we are, a few days out from STWM weekend. I'm super excited, not only to race but to spend some time in one of my favorite cities and hang out with some good peeps. The weather is looking anything but favorable with heavy rain and winds in the 30km/h range but I'm still going to go out and give it a good rip. Anyway, I don't have a lot of time for this post so I'll quickly give some shout outs and people to watch this weekend followed by a short rant about how I feel like in this day and age people seem to be looking for a sense of belonging and where some would turn to religion in the past, I wonder if they are choosing activities/groups like running, crossfit, cycling... etc more and more in modern day.

Athletics Canada Updating 2017 WC Marathon Standards.

So I'm sure most of you that read this know that earlier today Athletics Canada announced that the standards used for the 2015 WC in Beijing have been updated and made stricter. To be assured of a place on the 3 person team you have to run the times that were in place for the Olympic selection. (2:12:50 and 2:29:50) Or, run their secondary time, which doesn't guarantee selection of 2:14:10 and 2:31:20, both well under the previous marks of 2:15:00 and 2:35:00. I know this has got to be super frustration for some of the girls and guys who were planning on trying to run the standard this weekend in Toronto. With such little notice, the weather forecast and added pressure of knowing the time is faster then anticipated it's an unfortunate situation. I really don't think the previous standards needed to be altered, it would have been great to send a full squad so they could gain the experience of competing at the highest level and return knowing what it takes to get to that next level. I'll save the discussion on this until more comes out, but it's something we need to talk about for sure.

Shout Outs

So lot's went down last weekend from road races to cross country meets people were out there getting after it. The biggest one on the east coast was the AUS meet where Mr. Cyr and Dewolf appeard to be out for a Sunday jog going 1-2 in the exact same time. I didn't catch the finish line photo but I suspect they did a "super friends" high five as they crossed. I predict some serious pack running from X at the AUS champs with Neuffer and Donald in there as well. I'm interested to see how they fair at CIS this year, they have 5 men who will all run very well and are in 30-31 minute shape so they are in the mix for sure. My boy Matt Power also showed some racing chops and hung tough with the boys until they shifted into beast mode and managed a strong 3rd place showing. I predict Matt will be an AUS all star and finish 6th at the big dance. On the other end of the country was the Victoria Marathon Weekend. Robbie D won the half as he continues his comeback on route to NYC. Trevor "Nacho Libre" Hofbauer got the win in the 8km while Lyndsay Carson cleaned up on the women's side. In the marathon we saw Sabrina Wilkie back in action making her debut in an impressive 2:45. Well done friends....well done!

People to watch this weekend at STWM

1 - Eric Gillis - Complete stud, coming off his best year to date and a 10th place finish in Rio, if the weather holds he's going to be close to the CR.

2 - The women's national marathon championship battle. Realistically I see this going down between Krista, Rachel, Leslie, Dayna and Tarah. There are other great athletes in the field like Erin, Meggan, Shelly, Tanis who could all throw down something fast and possibly sneak under 2:35. But, it'll be interesting to see that pack of 5 shake out up front. All have potential to run very close to if not under 2:30 so keep an eye on this storyline.

3 - The battle of the beauties, John Mason, Kevin Coffey, Robert Winslow, David  Le Porho and Philippe Viau-Dupuis. All seem to be close in fitness and running well. On a perfect day I can see all these guys going south of 2:20, heck 2 have already done it. This could be the battle for the 3rd spot in the Canadian Championship. (I like Kip to repeat his Silver). 

4 - The debut of Tristan Woodfine and Jeff Costen. (Now to be fair I feel like I remember Woodfine running Rotterdam a couple years back when Winslow went 2:19?). Anyway, Woodfine is a stud when he's at his best and could potentially run as fast as 2:15 if all goes well. The marathon is cruel tho so we will have to wait until 11:00 on Sunday to see where the dust settles. As for Costen, like I've said before, kids got spunk, loves to put himself in the hurt box and grind. He's a student of the sport and knows his range of abilities and 9 times out of 10 gets the most out of his body. He ran his half debut on this course in 2014 going 1:08:02 for 3rd and won the half last year, I expect a smartly executed race from the wolf, with a strong last 10k as he runs through the carnage.

5 - The half debut of Matt McNeil. This kid has a ton of talent, he didn't get much love on the boards last year going into CIS but he certainly showed he deserved to be in the conversation with the big boys. I could seriously she him running 5 minute miles the whole way and looking smooth doing it. Watch out for this one, it's going to be fast!

Is Running like Religion?

That's a weird way to phrase it, but after reading Michael Rochus's last two articles and listening to more Joe Rogan podcasts then I care to admit, I've been doing some serious thinking about this. As it stands, there doesn't seem to be the same numbers going to church every Sunday like you would see say 50 years ago. Now, I'm not a super spiritual person. I've read the Bible, and I believe the scriptures but I don't see the need or point for that matter of going to church one hour a week and claiming that religion. A building is just that, a building. One's faith is different, it's something that's yours and you don't have to show up somewhere or be seen attending a mass to believe what you believe. If you truly have faith, then your a living testimony to your beliefs, you don't have to tell anyone anything, they will see what you believe through the way you live and that's simply enough.

So with that said, I feel like people in general like the feeling of belonging, and church/religion for most people is just that, a sense of belonging to something. What I'm wondering, are sports like running, triathlon, cycling, crossfit starting to attract more people and fill that void that some people are searching for? When you have something that makes you different, and something you share with only other like minded people it gives that sense of belonging and accomplishment. Not to mention that it's improving ones health and you normally participate in these activities with like minded, driven individuals.

This may be just a jumble of thoughts but it's something that I've been thinking about a lot recently. When I'm driving on a Sunday morning and pass a church with a few dozen cars in the parking lot, then 5 minutes later pass a group of 75 runners heading out on their Sunday long run from their local Running Room I can't help but smile and think, how great is it that we can find belonging in a pursuit as simple as running.

Anyway friends, that's all I've got time for this week, I promise I'm going somewhere with that last point about running/religion haha, I assure you I haven't lost my whole mind yet. I'll elaborate more when I spend some more time thinking about it. But yeah, it's off to Scotia, I'll report back next week with great stories, a race recap and some snaps of some beauties getting into shenanigans! :).

Thanks for reading and see you next time

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Chicago Marathon Preview and under 2 weeks out from STWM

Hey folks! How goes it? I'm sure your all training hard, or for some of you the taper crazies are starting to set in! Fear not, it's normal, when you start to overthink things and doubt yourself, look back over your training logs and find confidence in what you've done. Know that you can only hurt yourself by trying to squeeze in more work before your goal race. It's better to get on the line 10% under-trained then 1% over-trained. This is ESPECIALLY true for all you beauties taking on the marathon, get those legs fresh and enjoy the reduced volume. When in doubt, always do less. Anyway, things over here on the east coast are going great. I'm feeling sharp for the first time in a long time, there's pop in my legs and I'm about as lean as I can get without people asking me if I'm doing OK haha. We are in the homestretch of the training for the Scotiabank half. My goals are pretty strait forward. Chop a little over a minute off my time there last year. I'll find a group of guys going after 2:14/15 and roll with them. 5:07-5:10/mile or 3:10-3:12/km. I've done a ton of work in that zone over the last 6-8 weeks so it should feel good. I've got the confidence to know that even if I go out a little hot I can still grind out 3:15/km when I'm tired so it'll be fun. I'll break down the full marathon for STWM 2016 next week. But the half should be pretty solid. Last year I was 4th in 68 minutes and 1 second behind 3rd. I can already tell it'll take a lot faster then that to crack the top 3. Matt McNiel is in unreal shape right now so don't be surprised if he runs 5 minute miles the whole way and goes 65 mid to high. There's also Josh Bolton who's in phenomenal shape and has already gone 67:40 this year so he's looking to go 66. Also in the field is Trevor Zimak who's at least in 68 minute shape himself (Split 70 in his last marathon and routinely splits sub 70's during training). Needless to say the kid here is going to have to dig deep, channel my inner Kipchoge and just grind it out. Regardless of the outcome, I know I've trained incredibly hard and I'll be able to walk away from the race knowing my preparation was excellent. After that It'll be all eyes towards XC nationals in Kingston. So without further rambling I'll look at the Elite Field for this weekends Chicago Marathon.

2016 Bank of America Chicago Marathon

So, the second of the fall majors is upon us. Full disclosure I was not happy they took out the rabbits from this race. We have NYC for a tactical fall marathon and Boston in the spring. Chicago was way more exciting when you had E. Mutai and Kimetto both going sub 2:04 in an epic battle in comparison to a sluggish race like last year. But I guess they want to save some money and make it so more Americans can be competitive until the last move is made (Like Puskedra last year in it all the way until 40k).

With that said, looking at the men's start list and what the major players have done this year I expect we will see a mid to high 2:08 race with a strong move coming around 35k. There are 4 major studs in the field and 3 of them have run fast marathons before. Dickson Chumba should be considered the favorite going into this followed by the always consistent Tsegaye Kebede, now Kebede hasn't really shown the magic as of late but this guy has run about as many sub 2:10 marathons single handedly as every american ever combined. He's a beast over 26.2 so look for him to wait it out, hope for a couple people to expose themselves early and then close hard. Then you have veteran Abel Kirui, 2012 Olympic silver medalist coached by the famed Canova. He really hadn't done a whole lot since 2012 until this year where he came back with a solid 2:08 in Tokyo as well as a decent 46 minute 10 miler. If he's found his 2012 form he can be in the mix for sure. The last big guy I'd keep an eye out for is Micha Kogo, this is a guy who really hasn't figured out the marathon yet. He's run 2:06 on Chicago before but he's a complete stud over the shorter stuff. The guy has broken 27 minutes on the road for 10k. Run 26:35 for 10000m and 59 flat for 13.1. He's been average this year running 62 minutes at the always fast RAK half marathon and 2:08 flat in Paris. If he knocks one out of the park he could win the race, or he could blow up and go over 2:10. He's hard to judge but has all the tools to win. 

Now, the one X-Factor is the debut of former Arizona state standout and sub 27 minute man Stephen Sambu. This guy is an assassin on the roads. He trains with Coach James Li in Arizona with the likes of Lalang, Lagat, Chelanga, Abdi et al. Since going pro he's been utterly dominant on the roads from 5k to the half marathon so there's no reason to suspect he won't excel over 26.2, he may be the guy to put your money on.  

As for the American field, Luke Puskedra should lead the way here, if the pace up front is fast enough he could very well dip under 2:10. Elkanah Kibet is another guy who sort of came out of nowhere last year and dropped a 2:11 mid so he may also threaten that 2:10 mark. The last american of note is Diego Estrada. He's definitively got the talent to run well over the marathon but I don't like this sub 2:10 talk when he's yet to finish one. his half PB is impressive but I hope he runs smart and knocks out a 2:12 or so and then really gets after his next one.

As for the women's marathon, it's much more of a 1 women race. Originally I saw both Edna and Florence Kiplagat on the start list but it appears Edna has withdrawn. So the safe bet is on Florence she's far and away the best in this race. She's run 2:23 this year, (Has a 2:19 PR) and dropped a ridiculous 65:09 half marathon last year. She's going to take the win here but if she falters look for Kipketer or Baysa to contend as well.

The women's American field isn't very strong as the marathon event in general in the US is very top heavy. You've got about 5 girls who can consistently break 2:30 by a strong margin then a whole crew of 2:30-2:35ers. I suspect Serena Burla will come out on top as first american in about 2:30-33.

My week in training.

Monday - 92' with 4X15" strides

Tuesday - 75' with 4X15" strides

Wednesday - 64' with 12X200m worked down from 32" off 90" rest.

Thursday - 77' Farlek on the trails 15X1'/1' @ 5:00/5:30 a mile continuous. (Hard on trails)

Friday - OFF

Saturday - 75' with 4X15" strides

Sunday - 120' Long Run with 4X15' mid run @ 5:15/mile on the hilly Blvd Loop 

So that's another one in the books, we started taking my volume down a bit to freshen the legs for Scotia. Before I get out of here, if anyone hasn't read my boy Micheal Rochus's piece on the homepage go give it a read (Junk Miles). It's important our sport starts to attract more casual fans and he's got some ideas that can really work. Give it a read!

Until next time keep those sticks on the ice guys, and go jays!