Earlier this year, I made the decision to NOT sign up for any Ultra races for the upcoming season. I needed to focus on becoming a stronger all around runner. Since running across Canada in 2012, I’ve struggled with maintaining full health through a season because of weak hips. The injury I sustained during my 187 day venture, beat me up – but taught me of my weaknesses as an athlete.

Although I teach of the importance of a proper Warm-Up & Cool Down, I rarely completed this simple yet effective routine. Along with this, I wasn’t giving my body the proper strength training I needed for my abs/hips/glutes to keep up with my legs. This is a common trend I come upon as a trainer, and it’s something I knew I needed to correct this season – so I could return stronger and smarter.

It’s taken some patience, and some tinkering – but I finally have a program I trust in.

I hired my wife, Amy, to be my Coach.

A few months back, I noticed I was gaining strength and stability in my weak areas, and I felt ready to test. I signed up for a “5 Peaks Running Series” out here in Northern AB (according to 5 Peaks). I had a month before the first race, and Coach Amy jumped in with a game plan. I went from running a self-made program, to being held more accountable with Coach Amy being nearby demanding targeted goals. I thought I had trained well for speed prior, but I was wrong. Amy added even more detail to my speed workouts, and the benefits were instant. I was hitting Personal Bests on a daily basis, and feeling very confident heading into my first race.

The upcoming 5 Peaks Races were; two 14km races and a half marathon, all on trails. I found the first race was more of a learning experience, as the nearly all grass course was full of hills, and lacked single track trail which I knew I do well with. I finished in the top 20, and was happy to cross the finish line. These races are much shorter then what I’m used to in the past few years, but they highlighted what I needed. To master the art of Ultra Trail Running, I needed to prove I could compete in the shorter distances on trails (prove to myself). I’m not talking about winning these races, I don’t ever expect that, but I know I should be able to chase the lead pack.

Race two was a 14km trail run in cooler temperatures and some wet muddy trails. Coming into the race, I was less confident following my first race, but as Coach Amy suggested, I feed off the ‘less than stellar’ weather.

She was right.

Straight out of the gate, I was with the lead pack and even considered taking the lead… thankfully that thought past within seconds, and I settled in with a guy who looked like he could serve a great pace at what I was looking to accomplish. I kept my cadence up to just shy of 180, and knew I could charge these hills. After the first 4km, the pack was starting to stretch out and I felt fresh… I also figured I was in the top 10, which was a cool surprise as that wasn’t a goal of mine. I also knew I could maintain the pace I was holding, in fact – I knew I could push harder.

 I managed to pass my running partner on an uphill climb, he lost his footing on a slick muddy climb – it was at this point I looked down at my feet and thought “Thank you Ray (Zahab) for the idea of purchasing Inov8’s”… I had the grip I needed, and I was confident. I charged each hill harder and harder, and it was paying off. I finished the race in 7th place, and held a pace under 4:49/km.

My recovery from this race was much quicker and I didn’t have any soreness from pressing the hills. The training is paying off – and it’s such a great feeling.

To view this weeks training - please click the link, and head over to my Strava page (Click here).

Follow my individual training by clicking my swim, speed work, bike, bike, easy run, easy long.

I hope you have a fantastic weekend, and enjoy some great mileage. I have a few more client openings for both Running & Personal Training, so shoot me a message and we can get started, today!!

Eat Plants, Love All, Nameste