SeaWheeze 2016: Training Update

SeaWheeze deliveryThree weeks from today, I’ll be back at work with sore legs and a full heart after spending a week in Vancouver and completing Lululemon‘s SeaWheeze Half Marathon. I’ve been officially training for this race since the first week of June, and I can hardly believe how fast the time has flown by. It seems like just yesterday I was arriving home to that top-secret envelope containing my exclusive SeaWheeze training shorts (one of the many perks of registering for this much buzzed-about race). And let me tell you, I’ve since put those shorts through the wringer.

As I’ve mentioned several times over the past few months, I decided to spend this season working to speed up my shorter distances in hopes of significantly improving my marathon time next year. Though I’m sure I’ll be itching for the full marathon by the time the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon comes around in October, I know the strategy to stick to a half this fall is in my best interest. Plus, I’m still trying to sort out that hamstring injury that popped up in early spring.

So in an effort to work on my shorter distance speed, I’ve been trying to move up a pace group in my training runs, and I registered for a few shorter races this summer to get some chip-timed benchmarks nailed down. I ran the inaugural Toronto Waterfront 10 on June 25 and finished with a time of 51:30. And then I ran the confetti-filled Pride & Remembrance 5K (so fun!) on July 2, with a finishing time of 24:35.

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Goal getter

With those two races under my belt, and my performances at both the Around the Bay 30K and the GoodLife Fitness Toronto Marathon this past spring as indicators of my potential, I’ve reevaluated my SeaWheeze goal and I’m now aiming to finish in 1:50—which would mean maintaining a 5:15/kilometre average pace. Then in October, I’ll set my sights on a 1:45 finish. I admit these goals are pretty ambitious if not utterly lofty, but I just want to give it my all and see what I’m capable of. I’m not out to torture myself though, so if my speed goal makes me hate every minute of the race then I’ll most certainly be dialling it back.

My training this summer hasn’t gone exactly as planned. I expected my hamstrings to be completely healed by now, but they’re not. My physiotherapist says the injury isn’t too serious and it should eventually heal on its own, but it definitely hinders my progress and causes me to worry a bit. I’m thinking a second opinion might be in order. We’ve also been dealing with an extraordinarily hot summer here in Toronto, which I’m generally in favour of, but it makes quicker runs less attainable. And my plan to make a permanent switch to the 5 min/km pace group has been hindered because of it. Some days it is simply too hot and just running at all feels like a pretty major victory.

On a positive note, I’ve been really enjoying this season of training—running with new groups, meeting new people and taking advantage of all the incredible free fitness offerings that have sprung up throughout the city. I’m feeling stronger, faster and more confident in my abilities. And I’m having tons of fun, too.

Training schedule

Here’s what a typical week looks like for me this summer, including all the various options I have to choose from on a daily basis:

Shorts story

Below are some photos from the evening I put my special-edition SeaWheeze Speed Shorts and my Peace Collective x Lululemon tank top to work at a HIT & Run session hosted by Toronto’s Nike+ Run Club. If you’re looking to add a little cross training to your running routine, this is a great way to do it. Coach Inge never disappoints—her sessions are always equal parts challenging and fun. (Register at NRC Toronto’s events page.)

NRC HIT & Run

Photos below by Tobias Wang, courtesy Nike Toronto

Hill sprints. Photo by Tobias Wang, courtesy Nike TorontoV-sits. Photo by Tobias Wang, courtesy Nike TorontoSide crunches. Photo by Tobias Wang, courtesy Nike TorontoSingle-leg lifts. Photo by Tobias Wang, courtesy Nike TorontoV-sit from above. Photo by Tobias Wang, courtesy Nike TorontoSquats. Photo by Tobias Wang, courtesy Nike Toronto

Yoga.Run.Party

To all those who are running SeaWheeze: good luck, have fun and be sure to say hi if you spot me in the crowd! And for those who may be experiencing a little FOMO, make sure to keep an eye out on Lululemon’s social media pages in late August/early September to find out when registration opens for next year’s race.

One last thing: Please comment below with any Vancouver must-sees/dos and #preWheeze festivities that I need to know about. I’ll be in Vancouver the week before the race and I’d love to find a group to do my last few runs with. I am planning to attend the VanRunCo x EVRC Summer Social on August 11 and I’m really looking forward to it, but that’s all I have planned so far. And be honest, how crazy would I be to hike the Grouse Grind the weekend before the race?

SeaWheeze countdown: 16 days! *happy dance*

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