How to run fast in Toronto

Normally I wouldn’t blog about a particular workout, as it’s the entirety of the training that determines a result, not one session. That said, I had a bit of a breakthrough on Saturday morning. The numbers run like this:

10min at 3:20/k pace
1min jog
10min at 3:20-25/k pace
1min jog
2min at 3:20/k pace
5:30 jog
10min at 3:25-30/k pace
30sec rec
1min hard uphill
2min jog
24min at 3:45/k pace

That’s it. No warm up (started right at pace), ran about 70min, covered about 10miles fast, probably about 11miles total. It’s not really a workout that is easily translated to anything. I don’t think it predicts a result one way or another. What it was was a good bit of running at potential 21k race pace. I’m going to race 20k next Sunday, so we will see how close it really was to race pace.

What was special about the workout was that I hooked up with the self-deprecatingly named “Toronto Medium Performance” group. Trevor Caldwell, Rob Kitz, Joe Campanelli, Paul Chafe and Matt Leduc arrived at Mount Pleasant Cemetary at 8am on Saturday morning to do a pace run. Their plan was to run 21k at 3:20/k pace (marathon pace for them). They are training for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon in October, and for the most part, they look good. Trevor and Joe managed the full distance. Paul seemed a little banged up, maybe from helping Canada win the NACAC Mountain Running championship in Mexico a couple weeks ago. He dropped off after about 7k. Kitz also moved in and out of the group. He definitely helped me out on my last 10min section. Leduc completed the distance, but at a slower pace. Still a very strong workout.

If I lived in Toronto and were looking to get fast at running, I’d go meet up with these guys and chase them around the Cemetery. They are an easy-going group. They have no pretention about being fast; they run the right pace for their fitness. They want to be faster. It’s nice.

There’s a ladies group, too. I ended my workout with one 4 mile loop with Jane Cullis, at about 3:45/k pace. She completed her 21k workout with two loops at that pace. The first loop was around 4:05/k.

Sunday I ran nice and easy in High Park, which is across the street from my brothers’ apartment. He’s got a nice little set-up there. Anyway, there’s a nice trail loop that’s about 3miles, and I ran two of them with Tess, a recruit who we’ll be seeing at the end of the month, and one of them with Miriam. The loop is also the site of quite a few scenes from the short story I wrote for Canadian Running Mag this summer. High Park is a great place to run.

Toronto gets a bad rap from Montrealers, but I think it’s mostly because they don’t ever go there. The fact is, Toronto is a world-class city (insane bike- and library-hating mayor notwithstanding…Toronto seems to enjoy electing idiots to Municipal government). High Park even has a zoo! There’s great stuff in furniture stores that you can’t find here…but anyway, wrt to running, if you want to run fast in Toronto, you should take advantage of the TMP, and great routes like High Park.