A Training (and Birthday) Weekend

This past weekend, I piled on the training, getting active with my fellow Ignition athletes and Toronto Yonge Street 10k digital champions. Somewhere in there, I also managed to celebrate my birthday!

On Saturday morning, Tommy Ferris from Ignition hosted another Big Training Day -- AKA major brick session. At these training days, athletes meet at Balance Physiotherapy for up to three hours of cycling, followed by a 90 minute run.

We helped pass the time on our lengthy (in my case, two hour) indoor cycling workout by throwing some Ironman Kona and Challenge Roth footage on the TV screen. I'm glad I had the visual distraction because, little did I realize, but the workout was structured to get harder as time went by. This is the longest, continual indoor cycling workout I've ever done and completing it gave me a distinct feeling of accomplishment. Can't wait to get outside and see what this fitness translates into on the roads.

We didn't celebrate for long, as we still had our 90-minute run planned. We set off as a group and quickly broke into packs, with the speediest guys up front and the rest of us split along the course. My legs had that familiar, post-cycling heavy sensation that gives brick training its name, but they eventually loosened up as we ran through the streets and trails of Mississauga. After a group of us pushed out 15 km, I was ready for some food and to get home for a nap.

Not having done a training session like this one before, I was curious how I'd hold up to the 3.5 hour load. I'm glad I did the workouts with a group as I can't discount the powers of distraction and competition that accompany group camaraderie. That said, I could have gone longer on both parts of the workout. Each week, I'm feeling more and more confident in the strength that I'm gaining through my training, especially as the cycling volume pays off in both sports.

Check out the gang at: http://instagram.com/p/l2zdd6sXLT/

After a night out for a birthday dinner & drinks with some friends, my alarm rang extra early on Sunday morning and I arose to prepare for the Toronto Yonge Street 10k tune-up run.

Overnight, the temperature had dropped at least ten degrees, meaning I'd be wearing three layers on top, tights, a hat, neck warmer and gloves for the run. No worry - I was pumped to meet the other digital champions and especially any new runners preparing to race this course for the first time.

Despite the resurgence of winter, runners arrived in droves, making this the largest Canada Running Series tune-up run ever! A group of elite runners attended as special guest, including Canadian Olympic marathoner Eric Gillies. It's amazing watching these athletes in action, as they have such an effortless, graceful stride.

Our 10 km tune-up run turned out to be both longer than 10 km and more than a tune-up. Our pace group got a little turned around and ended up doing closer to 11.5 km. The route itself was a great challenge. Living in the core of downtown Toronto, I didn't appreciate the size of the hills in this midtown neighbourhood. Now I do. While I haven't done much hill training this winter, I have increased my cycling volume and raised my average running speeds and I was able to tap into those reserves to push through the tough parts of the route.

Join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #TYS10K and watch out for a series of photo illustrations of the digital champs by Andrew Chak.