Training and the Real World


I’m often asked how I manage to fit it all in. The truth is, it is a fine line and sometimes it does get crazy. Everyone’s situation is going to be different, but here are some of the ways I work with my wife to manage it.

1) Work as a team – if you have a spouse or significant other, you better believe that you are a team. You may be doing the training, but she/he is making accommodations to allow you to train. Respect this team and communicate often.

2) Set your priorities and remind yourself of them. My priorities in my life are very clear;

1. My family.

2. My job.

3. My training

If the top 2 are suffering, I won’t be able to manage my training or competitions.

3) Have an Equalizer – For me, my equalizer is my wife. While I receive full support, she is also my elastic band that pulls me back if I get too far out. If she suggests something, it’s typically for a reason. If you’re not married, this could be that friend who reminds you that it’s been 3 weeks since anyone saw you! Listen!

5) Look for opportunities to combine – Within a given week, I pick up and drop our kids off at multiple events. 3 kids (including two teenagers) with different interests means a lot of road time. However, the events are often for a certain length and typically set each week. This could mean lacing up my shoes, or jumping on my bike while they are doing their thing at gymnastics or horseback. In these cases, I seek quality over quantity for my workout.

6) Use more hours of the day – This is exactly what it means. I get up early or go later in the evening. In summer, it’s not uncommon for me to be up at 4:30 am on the weekend. This ensures I have most of the day with the family. I also try to plan my day around the family as the starting point. If the cross over begins to happen, I use the equalizer (see point 3) to ensure what I am doing is ok. The days are busy and often non-stop, but I would not have it any other way.

Not all of these may work for you, but perhaps it can give you a starting point. It’s no coincidence that the top 3 all revolve around my spouse. It’s no joke when you hear the term tri-widow or ultra-hermit so be mindful and sensitive to what is happening around you at all times.



Pre-Season Wrap UP

The whole purpose of this preseason was not to build to anything in particular, just kind of play around a bit. There was no focus on speed, no focus on endurance and no focus on technical skills. All of this will come later. As Ray described it to me, he wanted me always coming out of each week feeling like I could have done just a little more.

The snowshoe racing season was a total write off this year, and I was happy to be able to get one race in. The trails in my area were stuck between a constant melt and thaw which meant running them was not realistic or safe. Almost all of the early winter training was done on the road as weather allowed. Not specific to any particular area, just kind of rotating through all of them to keep them somewhat fresh.

This left me with a bit of a void to fill, as my racing fix was totally absent with no snowshoe races. By March, I started looking for some road races to play with and test my fitness a bit. Little did I know, I’d actually come out of the off season with 3 PBs and a pretty good placing in a deep competitive field in Toronto.

Frontenac Snow-Shoe Race – 33:03 – 5th OA and 1st Male Masters

2016FrontenacSS RacePurpose: Have fun, work off-season speed a bit.







– Always hard, but fun.

– Snow was great, conditions ideal

– Last snowshoe race of year

Take Away:

– Cardio is a little light, but it is early

St. Patty’s Day 10K – 38:32 – 12th OA, 3rd Age Cat + PB

Right around the end of February, I started getting bored and decided I needed a race to brighten the season up. It had been a while since I raced a 10K, so I decided to go back to the St. Pattys Day race in Ottawa. I had no expectations going in, but I was looking to try and PB if the day would allow. I came away very happy with almost 20 seconds off my previous best.

Purpose: Test out where my 10K time was, shoot for a PB if possible


– Solid race with a very consistent effort

– No down points, effort stayed consistent

– Felt very strong

Take Away:

– Short game is in good shape with not too much speed focus. My garmin is reading this as 10.14K and actually has me crossing the 10K mark at 37:59. My goal is to break the 38:00 barrier within the year.

Freeze your buns 5K – 18:13 – 1st OA + PB

12377778_804246986348439_6879388943368852609_oWith some success at the 10K, I stumbled on a fun little 5K in Brockville and decided I’d give it a shot as well. The nice thing about this one, is that friends were also racing it which meant I would have the push I needed. For this, I was looking for a PB. This was not a very large race, but the front of the pack was competitive and saw me running with Paula Wiltse and her husband Brock. Both are very fast. I love running with them because they give me a real push. The differences between us are seconds and on any day it could any way. In fact, Paula had bested me earlier in the fall.

Purpose: Test out where my 5K time was, shoot for a PB if possible


– Solid race with a very consistent effort

– No down points, effort stayed

– Felt very strong

Take Away:

– Short game is in good shape with not too much speed focus. My goal to break the 18 barrier within the year.

Harry’s Spring Run Off – 30:53 – 53rd OA, 8th Age cat ( 1600 people overall )

This race was a last minute decision. Paula had suggested it to me in Brockville. It’s short, fast and hilly. I love hills and my short game had been performing pretty well, so once I saw the profile, I knew I wanted to run it. Plus, it was typically a deep field which meant I could try and play with the “Big Guns” a bit and see where I was stacking up.

Purpose: To run a challenging course with hills and speed and see how I stack up against some of the elite runners.


– Happy with results given conditions and course

– Like knowing I can hold speed on a hilly course

– Respectable results (Top 3%) given the depth of field I was running against. (1600 people)

Take Away:

– I know I can run hills and I know I can run speed, but I need to improve speed + hills b/c I faded last KM

Cornwall Run to end MS Marathon – 3 hr 6 mins. 4th OA + PB

MS Run 04-2016 (17 of 141)This race was also last minute and I am sure Ray was wondering what the heck I was doing. Three weeks before the marathon I decided to do this without any marathon training. I had been running long on trails for about 3 weeks getting up to 3 hours. I’d also been doing the races, so I knew I had some speed. But I had not been running tempo at distance/time…so it was a bit of a question mark where it would end up. I managed to grab a 21K run the week before and ran at the pace I thought I could manage. It went well, so into a week’s taper I went with little to no expectations. If I blew up…I blew up. If it worked, I’d land a BQ and a PB.

Purpose: To shoot for a PB and qualify for Boston if possible.


– Felt good on my pacing, raced smart and conservative for most of race

– Getting a 4th overall, a PB and a BQ

– Really enjoyed the race

Take Away:

– Nutrition is still a bit of an area during the marathon.

– Marathon is different than Ironman or Ultras. Continue to respect the marathon!

– Need more time running marathon tempo on tired legs. Faded in the last 5K

Summary and what’s next:

Right now, we’ve started exiting the recovery and begin transitioning back to full trails. The race schedule is set and it will be fun to start playing serious again. I’m feeling good about things right now. A new job, a good coach and a happy place in my personal life. My first race is about 2.5 month away, so we have some training to do. It’s not a race I will be competitive at, but I do plan a respectful finish within it. The big races follow later in the summer and I plan to be ready.

Huge shout out to my coach Ray Zahab . Ray continues to provide awesome guidance and seems to dial my training schedule in perfectly all the time.

Until next time,