Toronto Waterfront 10K

Olympians Gillis and DuChene To Defend Toronto Waterfront 10K Titles

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By Paul Gains

“I remember not knowing where the finish was,” says three-time Canadian Olympian Eric Gillis, laughing as he recalls his victory at the 2016 Toronto Waterfront 10K race.

“Any race I run it’s the kilometre markers I look at more than anything. I think I relied on that just a little too much last year. I knew where the start was, though!”

Gillis won the race in 29:23 and then spent time meeting and greeting fellow runners. The race provided both him and women’s winner Krista DuChene (33:50) with an opportunity to break up their Rio Olympic marathon training and be given a proper send off from the running community.

The pair return to the June 17 race, along with a brand new title sponsor lululemon, with the intention of defending their hard-won titles.

The 36-year-old Gillis, of course, finished an incredible 10th in the Rio Olympic Marathon, the best performance by a Canadian since Jerome Drayton’s 6th place in the 1976 Montreal Games. DuChene, meanwhile, was 35th in the women’s race in Rio. Knowing the Waterfront course a little more intimately this time should be an asset when they line up on University Avenue for the start.

Gillis says he enjoyed last years’ experience on the waterfront.

“I enjoyed the course,” Gillis continues. “It’s a little bit downhill at the start; the waterfront and the finish is great. It has a nice big open feel to it before and after the finish. I stuck around and shook a lot of hands. That was special, last year. A good vibe afterwards and having the kind of Rio sendoff for Reid (Coolsaet), Krista and I, was cool.”

Until a swelling of his achilles tendon interfered with his preparation, Gillis had intended to run the Boston Marathon last month but instead decided to give it a proper rest. Now his attention has turned to the IAAF World Championships in London in August, giving the Toronto Waterfront 10K much more importance as a proper fitness test.

“There is nothing like getting out there on a closed race course and getting in a race. Last year worked well and I believe it will this year,” Gillis adds. “Once I have begun a buildup for the marathon they are all pretty similar in terms of the commitment and the interest and the work that I put in for each marathon. So the Toronto Waterfront 10K will be pretty similar to last year in the way I approach it.”

Following the Olympic Games, Krista DuChene made some significant changes. First there was an amicable parting with long time coach, Rick Mannen, and her subsequent move to Speed River Track and Field Club, where she joins Gillis and six other Canadian Olympians under the guidance of Dave Scott-Thomas. Then, as a 40th birthday present, she spent a month training at a high-altitude camp in Kenya, something she has never done previously.

“I just felt that I needed the next level, kind of the next step. I didn’t want any regrets looking back on my career and I didn’t want to say ‘why didn’t I step out of my comfort zone?’” DuChene says of the changes. “I didn’t want to settle at a level because I was used to it. Knowing I probably have a couple of years of good marathoning left before I plateau, it was definitely the right time to do it.

“I think it’s safe to say my birthday gift was the trip to Kenya. I am thankful that my husband basically gave me his blessing to leave for a month – leaving him at home with the kids. It was a big commitment for him in order to support me, in order for me to be gone for a month. They gave me some earrings and I had some chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting. Pretty good for a 40th birthday present, if you ask me.”

The altitude training went well and she was in good shape to race at the London Marathon in April. But for the first time in her career, the Brantford, Ont. native experienced gastrointestinal issues while racing. A fall marathon is in the plans now. Nevertheless, she looks forward to racing the Toronto Waterfront 10K.

“I just love running races with the Canada Running Series,” she admits. “Toronto is close to home. I am somewhat familiar with the course and it will be good for me to do a race at a shorter distance off of three marathons since August.

“There are so many reasons I love CRS and choosing those events, so it just made sense to do that one. The timing was also appropriate. It will be almost two months since I ran in London.”


For more information and to join Olympians Eric Gillis and Krista DuChene at the Toronto Waterfront 10K, with title sponsor lululemon, go to

How to Increase your Speed over the 10K Distance

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By Kim Doerksen

Getting into the routine of training gets people thinking about personal bests, and wanting to run faster than before.  At the start of training the thought of crushing a previous time may feel far-fetched. However, as runners get into a rhythm and regain their fitness, the idea of trying to crush their time in an upcoming race feels more achievable, assuming your training has set you up to do so.  Here are a few tips for gearing up to run a fast 10K:

Incorporate specific speed work:

Interval training is key when trying to increase your speed over 10K.  It allows the body to adapt physiologically to the demands of the race.  Intervals can be a mix of different duration, pace and distance.  Typically interval workouts are done at race pace or faster.  Use anything from track intervals, sustained effort tempo runs, hill repeats, and fartleks to keep your training varied and fun.

Example workouts:

  • Mile repeats: 4-6 x 1 mile with 2-3 minutes recovery jog. Start at 4 reps, then build towards 6.  Aim for these to be around race pace.
  • Minute reps: 12-20 x 1 minute with 1 minute recovery jog.  Remember the recovery time is shorter on these so try to keep your hard intervals at a pace that you can maintain for the whole workout.
  • 1km floats: 5-10 x 600m “on”/400m “off”.  This is a sustained effort workout where the 400m “off” is still as a good pace.  Think of it like 600m at 10km pace; 400m at marathon pace.  It helps your body to recycle any lactate buildup so you’re more efficient.

Maintain endurance:

While running a fast 10K requires some speedwork, don’t forget how important having good endurance is.  If you have a good endurance base, running 10K won’t seem terribly long.  Having a combination of getting your legs used to running further than 10K, as well as running shorter intervals as a faster pace is essential.  Consistent training and regular long runs will effectively improve your endurance.  A common duration for a long run while gearing up for a 10K race is about 90 minutes long.

Understand pacing:

Realize that running hard for 10K is tough.  It requires discipline in order to effectively push your limits but remain relaxed.  Well, until the last 400m and then you just have to give whatever you have left in the tank!  It’s easy to get caught up in the rush of adrenaline that surges through your body when the starting gun goes off.  If that happens, it could come back to bite you in the butt when your legs start to shut down at 6K.  Before the race starts, sit down and realistically determine what time you think you’re capable of running.  Then, figure out the splits required to hit that time.  There are lots of online paces calculators that can help determine your average pace which will hopefully keep you controlled throughout the race.  Take note of any big hills that could affect your time, and adjust accordingly.  Try to race evenly, or even negative split (running the second half of the race faster than the first).

Avoid overtraining:

When adding speed into your training program, know that it takes more out of you than running easy all the time.  Overtraining is what happens when you put too much stress on your body than it can handle and adapt to.  To avoid this from happening, keep this points in mind:

  • Keep track of your weekly mileage and don’t increase your mileage than more than 10% per week.
  • When incorporating speed work, reduce your mileage.  Intensity is tough to measure, so cut back from excess mileage to balance out the training.
  • Don’t increase mileage and intensity simultaneously.
  • Schedule rest days.
  • Alternate hard workouts with easy runs, or cross-train instead of piling on “junk miles”.

Pick a potential PB course:

Throughout training you’ll understand your strengths and weaknesses.  If you’re a powerhouse on hills, choose a rolling course; if you love loops, don’t choose an out-and-back course; if you thrive on flats, pick one that isn’t exposed to the elements.  Typically a flatter course is the fastest choice, as long as it’s not too windy or twisty.  Also, choose a race that has a lot of people registered, or has a history of runners that are around your target time.  Check previous year’s results and see if it’s likely that there will be a group to tuck in with.

Taper, taper, taper:

After putting in months of training, the last thing you want to do is to overdo it the week before the race.  In the final week before the race, it’s unlikely you’ll gain any additional fitness, and instead could tip you over the edge.  To avoid this from happening, reduce your mileage and intensity of yours runs, with your last speed session about 4-5 days before race day, to allow your body to fully rest and be ready to roll.

lululemon joins Toronto Waterfront 10K

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Canada Running Series is delighted to announce a new partnership with lululemon, who will become title sponsor of the Toronto Waterfront 10K, to be held on Saturday June 17th, 2017. The course will run through the heart of the city, along the lakeshore and finish with a celebration at Bandshell Park at Exhibition Place.

As the official retailer and apparel partner of the event, lululemon will transform the race experience. Each participant will receive a lululemon technical t-shirt as part of their kit. Participants will get a chance to take part in an 8-week Training Program led by lululemon run ambassadors at their Queen Street and Cumberland locations. Additionally, participants will be encouraged to take part in the brands yoga and recovery programs which will be offered exclusively at their Queen Street store.

“This is a truly meaningful partnership for Canada Running Series and our loyal runners,” said Canada Running Series Race Director, Alan Brookes. “It’s a perfect pairing of two outstanding Canadian organizations that will combine leading-edge, high-performance apparel and run activation with Canada’s premier, best-organized running series. We are both passionately committed to excellence and to our Canadian running community. With lululemon’s partnership, we expect the Toronto Waterfront 10k to transform the running and road race experience in Toronto and send good vibes across North America.”

Everyone is encouraged to join us on Saturday June 17th. Those interested in participating are encouraged to register early, as this year’s race is currently just $50 with a cap of 7,000 runners and is expected to sell out quickly. Registration opens Tuesday April 11th at 10:00 a.m. EST. Information and entry: