Coach Blog: Fall training October 13-19

This was an interesting week for a few reasons. It was week two of a build up, so we had a fairly big load last week, and the plan was to have a similarly heavy load this week. It was also a challenge because I was away for a week in Toronto. That was good because I got to see the Toronto Marathon and watch Annyck crush her goal of 3:15 (I think we started out at 3:30 and it kept gradually getting pushed down).

Monday: We did a similar amount of work to last Monday, but a little more intensity. We did 3-4×3-3-3, so that means 27-36min as 3 or 4 9min intervals. The first 3min was at cruise, the middle at xc race pace, and the final at cruise again. This is the previously discussed Foxy Frog workout. Then we did another 4x400m set, not on the track this time, but on the 400m loop at the mountain. We were able to get this in because we started early for Thanksgiving Monday to take advantage of the light.

Wednesday: The workout was another hill set, similar to previous ones, but with a little more intensity, as follows.
3min uphill xc race pace
Then circuit (run/exercise up, jog down est. 6min circuit)
fast run (to turn)
walking lunge (15sec then sprint)
squat jump forward (15sec then sprint)
fast run (to turn)
bounding (15sec then sprint)
Fast run (to turn)
3min uphill xc race pace
Repeat circuit
3min uphill xc race pace
Repeat circuit
3min uphill xc race pace

I wasn’t there on Wednesday, but Misia took over and provided coaching support in my absence. This is cool because I am always trying to get the group to take more responsibility and be more independent. A good coach makes him or herself obsolete, I think.

Speaking of “herself” we had a nice discussion on our club email about two articles about men coaching women and women running less in xc than men.

I’ve gone over the race distance thing ad nauseam. Steve Boyd’s article was an interesting take. I shared my view with the club and there were some interesting responses. My thoughts are that I coach men and women the same in the sense that every athlete is an individual. So if there is something about a female runner that is unique to her precisely because she is a woman, well, that will come out in her individual needs anyway. So I don’t have a plan for men and a plan for women. There are general principles about what is required to improve at running, and those principles are adapted according to the individual.

Someone asked the question of whether men might be missing out by not having access to female coaches. This assumes, again, that there is something particularly female, that all women coaches would have. I don’t know if this is the case or not, but certainly, by encouraging more women to coach (because there are not as many, relative to the number of athletes who are women), we grow the pool of knowledge, and that helps everyone.

It was also suggested that the dearth of women in positions of leadership in distance running is simply a product of the delayed entry of women into the sport (only in the 80s did women’s distance races make it into the Olympics: this must have some trickle-down effect). I’m not sure if this is true or not but anything we can do to encourage a broader pool of talent in the coaching ranks, we should do (and we are under-represented on the female side, so more women coaches will improve the pool, without a doubt).

To close out the training week, Saturday we did another long run with tempo, keeping it to 20min. A large group of runners raced on the weekend as well. Here are the results:

Toronto marathon
Annyck 3:10:22 first in age group well under goal time!
Marcus 17:13 in the 5k PB

Parc Lafontaine 10k
Phil Tremblay 33:59 (part of Kyla’s triathlon group)
Dave Liu 34:08
Shawn Kehoe 35:20
Mike Martin 36:16 PB
Jess Porfilio 38:00 PB
Gab Vaillencourt 38:13
Leslie Gold 41:25

Mohamad 15:54 PB and sub-16 for the first time!
Linda 19:31
Brenna 19:37
Nicole 21:52

Mont Orford
23k trail
Max Leboeuf (newest member of the club, Ottawa division) winner in 1:58
Bertrand Montel 3:13

20k trail
Katrina Driver (friend of the club) winner in 1:56

11.5k trail
Oliver Babineau (2nd newest member, also in Ottawa) winner in 57:53

Chambly 21.1k
Glenn Cowan 1:23:04 (workout at marathon pace in preparation for Hamilton)