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Toronto Waterfront 10K

Wodak, Wendimu Win Toronto Waterfront 10K

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TORONTO June 17, 2017.

Canadian Olympian Natasha Wodak (33:52) and Kenyan-born Torontonian Daniel Wendimu (30:26) won today’s Toronto Waterfront 10K, presented by lululemon, in exciting races up front. Councillor Norm Kelly sent off a sold-out crowd of 7,100 from the 7:30 a.m. start on University Avenue next to City Hall under bright, sunny skies. The start temperature was a reasonable 21 degrees for June, with only a light breeze of 10k/hr from the east and humidity at 73%. The participants were drawn from 11 Canadian provinces and territories, 17 American states and 9 countries.

The men went through the first, downhill kilometre in 2:48 as Toronto Olympic Club’s Abrehem Wagaye moved to the front to push the pace ahead of a pack that included Wendimu, Canadian Olympians Eric Gillis and Reid Coolsaet, and Toronto’s Sami Jibril who ran so well as the top Canadian at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in March. Wagaye steadily stretched his lead, to almost 100m at one point, passing 5k in 14:53. But gradually, as the sun and temperature rose, he began to fade and the chasers closed in to set up an exciting finish.

Photo Credit; Todd Fraser/Canada Running Series

Wendimu passed him just after 8k to race to victory. The courageous Wagaye (30:41) managed to hold off a charging Jibril (30:46) for second. Speed River TFCs Tristan Woodfine was 4th in 30:53, ahead of his Olympic club-mates Gillis and Coolsaet. With the IAAF World Championships marathon just 2 months away, Gillis stopped around 4km to protect “a slight twinge” in his quad. Coolsaet, coming back from a serious foot injury over the winter was pleased to be back racing again, finishing 8th in 31:51. “Racing a 10k when you’re not in shape is tough,” he joked. “It was a fantastic event. A great way to spark my training for a fall marathon.”

Vancouver’s Natasha Wodak led the women’s race from start to finish to build a commanding lead in the current Canada Running Series standings after her victory at the Race Roster Spring Run Off 8K in April in High Park. London, Ontario’s Leslie Sexton and Olympian Krista DuChene of Brantford tucked in behind for the first two kilometres before Canada’s 10,000m record holder dropped the hammer in a quick third kilometre. She then cruised along Toronto’s scenic waterfront, perhaps losing a little concentration mid-race. “At 8km I wrote off the course record (33:50),” said Wodak. “Then with about 50 metres to go I saw the clock and sprinted as hard as I could.” She crossed the line in 33:52, to take home C$2,800 first-prize, but missed the $500 record bonus by a scant 2 seconds!

Photo Credit: Todd Fraser/Canada Running Series

Leslie Sexton (34:49), who was also thrilled to be back racing after a lengthy injury-layoff, hung on for 2nd, with TOCs Dehininet Jara (34:51) a close 3rd. Brittany Moran (35:35) came home 4th, with DuChene (35:53) 5th and first women’s Master.  “It was great to be back racing,” said Sexton. “It’s so fun. I really missed this!” DuChene was also pleased with her effort as she starts her re-build for the fall season. “This was more about having a good time and getting back at it, rather than a fast time,” she said.

Indeed, for all the participants, today’s Toronto Waterfront 10K put the fun into running. “I’d like to think that today’s race was a key moment for road racing in Canada,” said Canada Running Series Race Director Alan Brookes. “I don’t think that’s an exaggeration. The activation that lululemon brought to the event was a game-changer. It really represented the new running movement, that is more diverse, more inclusive, more social, more fun, while still including our Olympians and the best of traditional road racing. From the all-day yoga to the donut wall and the nineamazing cheer sites on-course, lululemon brought the event alive and created an experience.” Parkdale Roadrunner’s Daniel Blether summed it up well, “Amazing event, awesome community vibes. #Waterfront10K is a gem.”

Photo Credit: Todd Fraser/Canada Running Series

To round out the new community running experience, New Leaf Foundation, a charity that offers yoga and mindfulness-based programs to support youth in marginalized communities, went home with a cheque for $16,500, raised by the 7,100 participants.

Full Results at http://canadarunningseries.com/toronto-10k/the-weekend/#results-and-photos 

Canada Running Series continues next weekend with the Scotiabank Vancouver Half marathon & 5K: http://scotiahalf.com

Olympians Reid Coolsaet and Natasha Wodak join the Toronto Waterfront 10K

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By Paul Gains

In what is certainly a rare phenomenon in Canadian road racing, four of Canada’s Olympic distance runners will contest the Toronto Waterfront 10k on Saturday June 17. They will toe the start line with varying degrees of expectation.

The two defending champions, Eric Gillis (10th in the Rio Olympic marathon) and Krista DuChene (35th in the women’s race) are in relatively good shape having prepared for spring marathons. But the other pair are treading into the unknown.

Reid Coolsaet, whose personal best marathon time of 2:10:28 which he recorded in the 2015 Berlin marathon, has been nursing a foot injury since December. After finishing 7th in the Fukuoka Marathon (2:10:55) he took some time off only to experience pain when he resumed training.

“I had some underlying foot issues going in to Fukuoka, nothing too worrisome,” Coolsaet reveals. “Then I took time off after the marathon. I think my tendons, without running, tightened up a little bit. It kind of stopped the blood flow from getting in there.”

The condition is called osteonecrosis and meant he has slowly and carefully plotted his way back, only starting running again in May. Asked what stage he is in training he doesn’t mince words.

“Not one hundred per cent, definitely not,” he declares. “I am building up running at the same rate as taking four months off but I have to pay attention to my foot. My tendons are still tight and it’s a little uncomfortable but, that being said, it’s manageable. I am taking things slowly so I don’t re injure myself.

“I really just want to kind of test my fitness and see where I am; kind of have fun. I wanted to put it on the calendar rather than just having a few months of just training. It’s a fun race and race results don’t lie so I will see where I am.”

Ever the optimist Coolsaet has his mind set on a fall marathon. At the moment he is flaunting with a training regimen that sees him cover roughly 100 kilometres in a week – about half what he will eventually do at peak fitness.

Meanwhile DuChene is expecting a tough race with Vancouver’s Natasha Wodak who is slowly rounding into form following foot surgery last December. Wodak won the Race Roster Spring Run Off 8k in her comeback race but then suffered a disappointing defeat in the Canadian 10k Championships, May 27th in Ottawa.

After returning from the Olympics, where she finished 22nd in the women’s 10000m race, the Canadian 10,000m record holder also changed coaches. Now her training is being planned by 1984 Olympic 3000m bronze medalist, Lynn Kanuka. DuChene is definitely respectful of her rival.

“I really don’t know what finish time to expect for myself but I am glad Natasha will be racing as she prepares to do the 10,000m at the World Championships (in August),” DuChene says. “I’m sure I’ll be chasing her.

“The marathon is always my goal race so the Waterfront 10k will be more about having fun and moving the legs a bit faster.”

DuChene, who also switched coaches and now runs with Speed River Track Club under the tutelage of Dave Scott-Thomas (coach of Gillis and Coolsaet) declined her place on the Canadian marathon squad bound for the London World Championships.

“After completing three marathons in eight months, as well as a month of training at altitude in Kenya, it was important to have a complete recovery,” DuChene says. “It was difficult to decline my spot for the IAAF World Championships team but necessary.

This is only the second year of the race, now sponsored by lululemon, and DuChene’s course record of 33:50 could take a beating if the weather cooperates. Meanwhile, Gillis ran 29:23 to beat Coolsaet by two seconds last year a result the latter remembers with a smile.

“Oh the course is great,” Coolsaet says. “A little bit of downhill off the start to get you going and then it’s pretty much flat the whole way. I like running along the Lakeshore, it’s wide and pretty flat.”

The race begins at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon Start Line on University Avenue just north of Queen Street, then runs down to Lakeshore Boulevard where it finishes at the Liberty Grand.

Should the Olympians falter there is no shortage of emerging talent waiting to bring them back to earth. Tristan Woodfine, for instance, was third a year ago in this race and like Coolsaet and Gillis is a member of Speed River Track Club. He is obviously in good shape having won the opening Canada Running Series race, the Race Roster Spring Run Off 8k, on April 8th.

In addition there is Kevin Coffey, now based in Vancouver who took the bronze medal at the recent Canadian 10k championships in Ottawa (30:42) and Toronto’s Sami Jibril a member of Canada’s 2017 world cross country championship team.

London, Ontario’s Leslie Sexton bears watching in the women’s race.

This year’s race is sold out at its 7,000 cap, but everyone is encouraged to come out and cheer for the runners on race day at one of nine Cheer Sites along the course: http://canadarunningseries.com/toronto-10k/community-and-charity/#spectators There will also be a fun post-event party at Bandshell Park, Exhibition Place with music, yoga, food trucks and more.

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For more information: http://toronto10k.com  

Elite start list: http://runcrs.co/2r38JDM

Running in the Heat

Tips For Running In The Heat

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The weather is the most unpredictable part of race day.  You have no control over the conditions, and they can change overnight depending on what Mother Nature wants to throw at us.  Not only does the weather on race day matter, but the weather in which you’ve done your training will determine how much you’re affected by race day conditions.  If it’s been a cold winter and spring, and your target race ends up being in scorching heat, the body is in for a shock!  Here are a few things that you can do to help make your race day as ideal as possible:

Layer up

As acclimation doesn’t happen instantly when the temperature warms up, you can use your final weeks before the race for mock heat training.  This doesn’t mean trying to wrestle a treadmill into a sauna and running for hours. Full acclimatization takes about 10-14 days so an easy way to get ready for the heat is to wear an extra layer on your runs. You can wear tights over shorts and a long sleeve over a singlet to get your body slightly more adapted to hotter conditions.  Don’t forget to increase your fluid intake before/during/after to ensure you don’t risk dehydration from higher sweat loss rates.

Arrive early

If your target race is out of town, try to arrive to the destination a few days in advance.  Just one or two days of acclimation can make a big difference come race day.  Doing a shakeout run and being in the heat for a few days will not only give you an idea of what to expect on race day, it’ll help prepare your body to better withstand the heat.

Focus on hydration/nutrition

Running in the heat increases your sweat production in order to dissipate heat and regulate your core temperature. When your sweat rate increases, it decreases your blood volume. This is due to a reduction in the body’s total fluid volume if you’re not adequately replenishing.  Maintaining a normal blood volume is essential as your muscles need blood flow and oxygen delivery in order to work effectively.  However, try not to just drink water.  Consume electrolytes and carbohydrates to help to keep your internal electrolyte balance stable.  Use the classic pee test to monitor your hydration.  Aim for a light yellow urine colour which indicates you’re hydrated but not diluted.

In terms of nutrition, the fuels you ingested in cooler climates may not sit as well in your gut when the weather heats up. Practice taking in fluid and fuel as much as you can in hotter conditions to know exactly what you’ll be able to take in on race day.  On the big day, equip yourself with the fuel you need, and be sure to drink early and often while on course.

Protect your body

Apply sunscreen of at least SPF 30 on any visible skin, including scalp, ears, and back of the neck, to protect it from the sun’s harmful UV rays.  But don’t just rely on sunscreen to protect you.  Wear a hat or visor, sunglasses, light-coloured and loose-fitting clothing.  The light colour will reflect the heat, and a loose fit will help to let the air circulate and cool your body down.

Start cool

If there’s a chance that you’re able to reduce your core temperature before the race starts, do it. Whether it’s consuming icy drinks, placing an ice bandana around the back of your neck, or wearing a fancy ice vest, use a method that’s accessible to you.  Being comfortably cool at the start of the race means you’ll take longer to get up to a level of overheating.  Ice on the back of the neck is a great option because when the ice melts, the cool water will trickle down your back and continue to keep you cool.

Set appropriate expectations

When coming into a hot race, understand that the temperature is going to affect the pace you’re able to hold for the duration of the race.  If you were shooting for a PB, think about setting that goal to the side if race day is going to be a scorcher.  Don’t underestimate the power of perceived exertion. Listen to your body over the splits that are displayed on your watch.

If your body is rebelling against the heat, reset and focus on the race as an experience and enjoy it.  If a personal best, or your A-goal isn’t attainable, weigh the pros/cons of finishing the race or deferring the effort to a subsequent race.  If stepping off the course is going to reduce your risk of injury and allow you to try again at a different race, it could be worth it.  Here is a chart that’s worth noting when trying to decide what to do:

DEW POINT (°F) RUNNER’S PERCEPTION HOW TO HANDLE
50–54 Very comfortable PR conditions
55–59 Comfortable Hard efforts likely not affected
60–64 Uncomfortable for some people Expect race times to be slower than in optimal conditions
65–69 Uncomfortable for most people Easy training runs might feel OK but difficult to race well or do hard efforts
70–74 Very humid and uncomfortable Expect pace to suffer greatly
75 or greater Extremely oppressive Skip it or dramatically alter goal

 

Olympians Gillis and DuChene To Defend Toronto Waterfront 10K Titles

By | Elite Athletes, Toronto Waterfront 10K | No Comments

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.”

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For more information and to join Olympians Eric Gillis and Krista DuChene at the Toronto Waterfront 10K, with title sponsor lululemon, go to toronto10k.com

How to Increase your Speed over the 10K Distance

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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: http://toronto10k.com