Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start

Week one of my 10-week Mississauga Half-Marathon training program is in the books.

It didn’t go great.

Two things threw me off: a very long day at work and a little cold. I could have powered through one or the other, but the one-two punch basically knocked me out Wednesday (I left work early because I felt terrible and went to bed at 4pm), Thursday and Friday. I am freaked out because the training program is so short, but I am also trying to temper myself. I missed two runs. That’s not the end of the world.

I am also struggling with how to access the next level of my running. During my NYC training plan, I had access to a Running Room marathon clinic run by a very fast, aggressive instructor.  He ran with me and he kicked my ass and he made me a much better runner. This time around, the clinic is much more chill and celebratory. So I need to figure out – and fast – if I have what it takes to push myself to the next level or if I need an external source pushing me there.

We will see.


Now get to work, bitch

I’m the one in the back row, probably laughing too hard to do yoga properly. Image: Tribe Fitness

2017 is going to be hard. It’s going to be work. And it’s going to be lit.

This weekend, an amazing thing happened. A movement began.

And so did my 2017 fitness plans, haha.

It feels trivial to talk about running when there are more important things to be done and said and chased after. But I believe there are parallels in putting in the work to better yourself and putting in the work to bettering the world.

On Thursday, I did a MuscleFit class at the YMCA. One 2017 goal down.

On Friday, I did a yoga class. It was boy band themed. I stretched and laughed and had a great time. It was one of the best yoga classes I’ve done in a long time, thanks to the soundtrack but also thanks to the challenging and clever sequences put together by the instructor, Heather Gardner of Tribe Fitness.

On Saturday, I was too sore to move. Ah, the re-set of fitness after a recovery period.

On Sunday, I ran for the first time since Dopey. It was at the Running Room, it was 8k and it was relatively easy. The more important thing I did on Sunday, though, was purchase and commit to the advanced 10-week NYRR half-marathon training plan. I used this system for NYC and I loved it. The plan begins on February 28th, so my plan is to get back into a fitness and running groove so on the 28th I can hit the ground running. The advanced plan is intense – it has me running 6 days a week and the slowest pace is 5:45.

But if you want to see change, you have to put in the work.

So let’s get to work.

The 7 week training plan


Do you know what happens when you sign up for races?

You need to train for them.

A Midsummer’s Night Run is 7 weeks away. That’s not that far. Given that I’ve been mentally out of it when it comes to running this month, I’m using the fact it will be July this weekend (How is it July this weekend?!) to re-set my running schedule and get back on track. My schedule is loosely based on Hal Higdon’s 15k Intermediate plan, with one big change: there’s a lot more yoga.

This is my training program. Click for bigger.

(I also need to figure out how to fit in the beginnings of the Urban Warrior training program into this. Any suggestions?)

The basic structure is as follows:

Sunday: yoga
Monday: rest
Tuesday: short run and yoga
Wednesday: longer run
Thursday: speed work
Friday: yoga
Saturday: long run

This is not based on anything scientific. It is based on the yoga classes I like and the desire to run at least four times a week. While I’ve planned for 3x yoga a week, I expect that life will get in the way (it always does) and I can easily scale back to two without missing out on too much training.

The two big questions I have are: will I actually do my speed work? And what will Jill and I do when we head back to NS for a week in the middle of all this?

I guess I’ll find out.

What training programs have you used? How did it work? I need to know!



Happy Gravity Strength to me


What: Gravity Strength, 45 minutes
When: Friday at 12:30pm
Where: Get Spun (129 Spadina Avenue)
Who: Christie Ness

So last week being Valentine’s Day in all, what was a fit, single gal to do? Seeing I had no plans made for myself, nor did I want to impose on Erin’s potential plans…

Who are we kidding what I really wanted to do was watch Glee and New Girl and Smash in that order until we were all caught up to date. But, being the good middle sister that I am, I thought it would be best to let Erin enjoy the night with Matt and their television alone.

What was the next best option? Why, taking a Gravity Strength class after work that’s what! I wasn’t going to let being single on the one day all single girls are suppose to loath get me down. I went online and registered for a Gravity class at Get Spun, thinking my 5 class card covered Gravity classes (sadly, it did not). I did not know this at the time. Then what happens, as I’m pleasantly preparing for the killer workout that’s about to take place: class was cancelled. I guess the teacher had better plans for the evening than to Gravity train me. But, that’s totally okay (I hope the teacher, whoever it was scheduled to be, had a lovely night). I wasn’t going to let this upset me either, I had a back up plan (girls, you should always have a back up plan). Mine was a yoga class at Moksha Yoga Downtown. Yoga wouldn’t cancel on me, this I know. And disappoint it did not – more like my secret Valentine in disguise. What did my little heart burst at the sight of, but an insane amount of chocolate covered strawberries! No wonder I love this place so much.

After yoga, then dinner and a movie at home with my new roommate, I was beyond happy. And it gets better. After finding out class was cancelled Christie Ness kindly sent me an email inviting me to reschedule my date with Gravity Strength for anytime I wanted. I picked Friday afternoon, after cancelling an evening date I thought it’s best to keep it casual for the second try. Christie welcomed me to class with open arms and to my surprise Gravity training is really hard. With the primary focus on core strength (you have to engage your core in everything you do otherwise you may fall face first off the sliding seat, or backwards depending on what you’re doing), I quickly discovered my core is not strong at all. This was a big downer and rather disappointing, but, luckily for Christie, I loved the class so much I may have to schedule a third date. Even after all the trouble it put me through.

Christie was the perfect instructor and gave me a lot of individual attention. Being new to this training, I had no idea what I was doing. Christie may look nice and sweet, but don’t let the niceness fool you. You will work hard in her class.


Take this class if: you want a great total body workout.


6.2km to Kula

I did minimal yoga last year as my racing geared up. I decided that this would not happen in 2012. I made dedicated space in my training program for yoga and spent much off my down time from training exploring different yoga studios in the city to find the right combinations of teacher, times and locations that worked for me as my kilometres creeped up.

Which lead to a genius idea. It’s so genius I bet no one has ever thought of it or attempted it before: running to yoga classes. It’s efficient and if I chose my classes correctly, yoga would provide the perfect counter to my run.


Look at my messy kitchen behind me. Look at how I ignore cleaniness in order to be fit. I am that kind of person.


So yesterday, I decided to run the 6.2km to Kula Toronto and take Linseed’s hot hour class — possibly my favourite yoga class this city has to offer.

It worked out great! Yay! Linseed’s class is all about winding down and relieving stress, which is exactly what I need after a long work day and what felt like an endless climb uphill. The first half of the run was tough, thanks to Monday’s morning yoga class and an evening filled with drinking more Crack Baby Cocktails than anyone should ever attempt. (We were celebrating Kate Middleton’s birthday. We are going to make this an annual tradition here at Two Fit Girls. Don’t judge.) Once my legs warmed up, the running got easier. I coasted into a breezy yoga class that had too many lunges for my liking (what was with the moving lunge segment, Linseed?!), but I will deal. I’m a big girl.

I plan to do it all again next week. If only to have my neck massaged with miracle lavender chamomile cream again.  That was the best part of yoga class.

The Route:


On the run in the Don Valley

I hadn’t seen Jill since LAST YEAR (it was about a week ago, but LAST YEAR is crazy fun to say!), so I invited her to join me on my long run and have brunch after this morning. It was a beautiful winter day — -5 degrees and sunny — so we took to the Don Valley Trail for an easy 8k loop. Destination: the Fresh Co. and Dundas and Parliament for brunch ingredients!


A perfect day for a run! So sunny! Not so warm, but can't complain. It IS January after all.


I live steps from the Don Valley Trail, and it’s the perfect place to run on days like today. In the summer, it can be overun with cyclists, but in January? Only the crazy types hit the trail.


I include Jill in these crazy types.


My back has been super sore lately. That, coupled with my weird foot problem, my dog bite and the fact Jill isn’t much of a runner (which is going to change this year! She signed up for the Toronto Yonge Street 10k today — her first race ever!) means we took it easy and walked up hills and stairs. Everything felt good though, and it was a relief to know that I didn’t overdo it too much during my first week of marathon training.

In the end, we ended up doing just over 8k in 53:10. Not bad for the first “long run” of the year.

Of course, the best part was brunch.


Fresh salad and tofu scramble. Delicious.


The route:

The 2012 Running Plan

I’ve been thinking a lot about my 2012 running goals. I want to get faster, but considering that 2011 was my first full year running, that shouldn’t be hard. I think I want to run a marathon.

Okay, that’s a lie.

I know I want to run a marathon. But the time commitment, the physical exertion, the training — even thinking about it exhausts me!

The plan, then (because I am a wimp!) is to start training for a marathon on January 2 and see how it goes. If I ended up drowning in work (thanks, Canada Reads!), I can always scale back to the half-marathon if need be.

We will see.

So here’s the Winter 2012 racing plan:

Training begins on January 2. Right now I’m in holiday maintenance mode, which means running when I can, but not worrying too much about it. Which is a good thing, because it’s hard to run on back-country Nova Scotian roads when there’s two feet of snow on the ground! Thank goodness for showshoeing!


March 25, 2012: Around the Bay in Hamilton, Ontario



I am signed up and ready to go. (This is why I think a marathon is in the works. Why train for just 30 when you can *gulp* train for 42! It’s just 12 more!). My running pals Kate and Bronwyn have signed up too and there’s a few guys at work planning to run, so it should be fun.


April 22, 2012: Toronto Yonge Street 10k in Toronto, Ontario


The politics around the creation of this race are troublesome, but it fits the training schedule. I had a blast last year at the Sporting Life 10k (my first ever race), so I’m looking to top that time of 57:15 and be in great condition for…


May 6, 2012: Goodlife Fitness Toronto Marathon in Toronto, Ontario



The big race! The current goal is sub-5 hours (I’m a turtle, that’s okay). Kate is training for this as well. We did our first on the same day (mine, Goodlife, hers, Mississauga) so I want to commit to this and share our first marathon experience together.

And I want to say I ran a marathon. Can’t knock it if you don’t try it.

My training program is a combination of the Around the Bay training, Hal Higdon’s Novice 2 marathon plan and Run Less, Run Faster. I’ll share the details with you in a later post!




Running Chicago-style

Running in Chicago turned out to be the best thing ever. Like Toronto, Chicago has a spectacular waterfront. Unlike Toronto, Chicago has completely embraced this lakeside wonder. It was the busiest I have ever seen a running trail. Ever.

This was the first vacation Matt and I have taken since I became a “runner” so I was nervous about how would it all go. Would I find the time to run? The energy? We have a pretty hardcore travel style, where we hit the ground running every morning and see as much as we can until we collapse each night. (We really should plan better, but never think of this until our feet are blistering and I’m so exhausted I can’t keep my eyes open.) But the running and the traveling worked out fine. Better than fine, even. I got three runs run when I had only planned for one. Yay me!

Why it worked: Matt is lazy. Ha! Not really. I just get up hours before he does. Before, this usually meant I checked my email and went for coffee while he roused himself from slumber. This time, I ran. Not far. Just along the lake for about 30 minutes.

Being by the water is key. The closer one can get to water, the better life (and running) will be.

That was my plan on day one. Thanks to our adventures on Thursday, I had a vague idea where the lake was. The plan was to run to run, run for about 20 minutes, then retrace my steps back to the hotel. This turned out to be easier than I thought and I was by the lake near Soldier’s Drive in about ten minutes. I continued south, following the trail (which, weirdly, has no barrier to the lake. What if I tripped and fell? I wouldn’t put it past me.) It was glorious and amazing and for the first time, I got really *got* why people run.

Friday and Saturday were quick 5ks that took me north, along the River Walk, then down State Street back to the hotel. They were solid runs, but nothing like the magic of the first day.

Interestingly, running made our vacation better. It made me want to rent bikes and ride the trail (which we did and it was AMAZING. I am now renting a bike on every vacation I go on forever and ever), and allowed me to figure out where some attractions — the Science and Industry museum, Obama’s house and Navy Pier — were before Matt and I headed their way. Overall, it made my experience in Chicago a better one.

This was something I never expected.

What other cities are great for running? I want to go to there.