The Final Quality phase for my summer 2014 TrainningDaniels’ Training Phase IV: Final Quality

Categories: General Running
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Published on: August 20, 2014

It’s amazing how quickly time flies. If feels like only yesterday that I picked up Jack Daniels’ book and started drafting my  Jack Daniels Inspired Summer Training Program. Now I’m almost done Phase III: Transition Quality and moving into the final stretch, Phase IV: Final Quality.


The Final Quality phase for my summer 2014 Trainning

This last phase is normally when I would be tapering, but Dr. Daniels’ takes a different approach. The last week feels almost like an anti-taper with a significant amount of easy miles. I’ve trusted the plan so far, so I’ll trust this too.

The last week of this is the strangest. I’m used to taking it very easy in the last week of training. Jack Daniels’ book is very specific of what the last week should look like. I’ve read about not tapering, but this is the first time I’m really going to try it.

And there are two races in there: My goal race the Ottawa Army Run Half-Marathon, and  the DisneyLand Half-Marathon. I hope to finish the Army Run in less than 2 hours. We’ll see how it goes… 


Review of Phase III

I won’t mince words: This section was hard!

The mileage was high. In fact, many weeks of this half-marathon training program exceeded the mileage I used to do for full-marathon training!

I‘m actually kind of glad that I didn’t do much weight training or tai chi on August; I just didn’t have time!


My summer 2014 Training so far; note the unfortunate dips during Phase III
My summer 2014 Training so far; note the unfortunate dips during Phase III

As you can see in the above graphic, I had great ramps up to big weekly mileages. And there are some obvious dips. I had a couple setbacks during this period: July didn’t go completely as planned. I finished phase II during vacation, so adjusting back to reality while training was hard, and I missed a few runs. In fact, I had to re-work the whole Phase III plan so that I didn’t ramp the mileage too fast. But, I’m glad I reached my peak of 55km/week.

I am finally starting to feel the benefits of this style of training. I surprised myself by comfortably holding race pace a couple times during runs. According to my VDOT, that should have been my interval pace! Maybe I have actually adapted and improved…


#2 on Runner's World's "25 Worst Questions to ask a runner"In Praise of the #5amRunClub

Categories: General Running
Comments: 2 Comments
Published on: August 18, 2014

I posted some motivational images about running early in the morning on this post, but this post will talk about it in detail.

One of the biggest challenges of my current Jack Daniels inspired training program was finding time to do five runs each week. I constantly saw dailymile posts by Nicole, Sam, Emma, Patty and others featuring the hastag #5amRunClub, so I decided to join in. I wasn’t disappointed.

(To be fair, the idea of running early in the morning wasn’t entirely foreign to me; I ran early in the morning during my Dopey Training last fall)

It is tricky to find time to exercise. It feels like we’re always so busy that we don’t even have time to breathe. And the thought of securing 5 nights a week for running was ridiculous; I have other things to do with me time (like tai chi and weight training). So, I had to find time!

Normally, I have to be at work around 8am. It takes me about an hour to commute. Add in time to shower after the workout and have breakfast, and I need to be done my workout shortly after 6am. So, I’m running at 5am is out of necessity, not novelty.

In all honestly, I’m not a morning person. In university, my best studying and working hours were from 10pm until about 2am. I can remember still being awake when the morning shows started on the radios at 5am.

And no, I don’t drink coffee. I’ve barely touched the stuff in 4 years. I fee like many people are overly addicted to coffee. And the last thing I need is to be dehydrated.


#2 on <a href=
#2 on Runner’s World’s “25 Worst Questions to ask a runner


CONS of RUNNING at 5am

  • It’s an absolute necessity to go to bed early. Getting ready for bed around 8:30pm seems ridiculous, but you get used to it
  • It’s dark: Usual tips for running at night apply
  • It’s hard to go high-intensity intervals while still half-asleep
  • I feel a little rushed to finish because I need to get ready for work
  • I have to go to bed very early*

*This going to bed early business is the weirdest. In my New Year and Half-Year Resolutions, I resolved to sleep at least 8 hours a night. So, to get on the road by 5am, I’d have to be in bed before 9pm. Ouch!

But, it didn’t take me long to realize that a lot of things I do at night are easy to cut out. I don’t have an active social life, so I’m not missing out on that. I watch few TV shows. I found the only thing I missed by going to bed early was wasting time. It’s amazing how much time I wasted in the evenings when I could have been sleeping.


PROS of RUNNING at 5am

  • It wakes me up and I feel more energized all day! Better than coffee (not that I would know…)
  • I have a sense of accomplishment all day
  • It’s quiet, there aren’t any cars
  • Beautiful sunrises
  • Afternoons are free for whatever: more workouts, housework and chores, or social calls.



One other things about #5amRunClub is that it makes for great selfies:

Running during the "supermoon"
Running during the “supermoon”

Being a goofball of a runner early in the morning
Being a goofball of a runner early in the morning




And you don’t have to run alone

Forced smiles around 5am
Forced smiles around 5am

#5amRunClub growing... apparently I'm contagious
#5amRunClub growing… apparently I’m contagious



I’m not the only one who thinks morning exercise rocks!



I will continue my membership in the #5amRunClub past the end of this season and plan to continue running early in the morning. It will definitely be darker, so I’ll have to rely on my Knuckle LightsAs it gets icy, I may wuss out and find an indoor track 

Further, since I resolved to do a triathlon next spring, I plan to join the #530amSwimClub that Mari and Sam talk about on dailymile.



clock-running2Distance Running Time Dilatation

Categories: General Running
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Published on: August 15, 2014

Our society is very fast paced.

We live in an era of instant messages and instant gratification. No one has time for anything! Our attention span has been reduced to twitter messages of 140 characters or less. Magazines promote that we can lose “10 pounds by the weekend!” It’s possible to communicate “face-to-face” with anyone almost anywhere in the world. And we have instantaneous access to the collective information of human history through smartphones. And yet, everyone seems busier than ever and don’t seem to have time for anything!

I suppose it’s ironic that running, a sport that is synonymous with speed, has made me look at time very differently.





Running does make you look at short intervals, such as seconds or minutes for intervals and sprints. And many people know their PB’s down to the second or millisecond. But, it’s the much longer-term that I find more interesting. 

With half or full marathons, your planning window needs to be months or years. A typical training season for a half or full marathon is at least 18 weeks, though I hear that 24 week programs are gaining in popularity. Realistically, you can only do one or two goal races each year.

Some people were surprised that I committed to run the Goodlife Fitness Toronto Marathon almost 9 months in advance. I don’t think it’s surprising. I means I take this seriously.

Some really popular races like the Marine Corps Marathon, DisneyLand Half-Marathon and LA Marathon sell out super-fast, like in seconds. But registration usually opens many months in advance. So, even before registration opens, you need to be mentally (and financially) willing to make the plunge the second registration opens! 

I’ve mused openly that I want to someday do an Ironman Triathlon. Realistically, the earliest I could probably hope to attempt this is summer 2017, about 3 years from now! That’s a long time in an era of instant messages!

I know there also last-minute runners, who go to an expo and register for a marathon. But even amongst those those procrastinators, only absolute fools register for such an endurance race without months of training.

Just food for thought: While we strive to improve our time by seconds and minutes, our planning horizons go to years. Maybe that’s how it’s meant to be…

teeth2Not So Sweet News…

Categories: Diet
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Comments: 2 Comments
Published on: August 13, 2014

A few weeks ago, a co-worker was surprised to hear that I don’t drink coffee, get up to run at 5am, and seldom drink alcohol. He chortled “What, do you want to live to be 140?” In a roundabout way, I do! The crazy running I do is just part of a healthy lifestyle to which I’m aspiring.

But, if I intend to live that long, I obviously would like to have all my organs and body’s systems working well too. Age without youth may actually be a course

It may sound superficial, but the physical benefits of being healthy are noticeable. Improvements in body shape are an obvious benefit. And, since taking charge of my health about 5 years ago, I have also had noticeable improvement to my skin (oiliness, acne, and complexion), hair, and nails.

There is also some evidence that taking good care of your teeth is good for your overall health. Apparently, flossing improves heart health! I don’t think that’s entirely true through… I get the feeling this is a correlative not causative relationship. I imagine people that floss every day are more careful about what they eat, their fitness, and hours of sleep, which leads to better heart health.

Anyways, I’d like to think I take very good care of my teeth too. I’m well aware that these are the only set of teeth I’m ever going to get, so, I brush at least twice a day and floss regularly! As I mentioned before, I even used a whitening product with great success. That’s why I was particularly dismayed to hear some bad news…




I had a regular appointment with my dentist and dental hygienist recently. There were two things they remarked on that had me very concerned:

  1. There was a film on my teeth. They suspect I have some sugary fluid on a regular basis. I have Popsicles now and then and didn’t realize they were causing so much damage.
  2. I have gum line recession. They suspect I clench my teeth, perhaps while sleeping.

I’m discouraged by the film on my teeth. Those 60 calorie Popsicles have been one of the few treats I’ve allowed myself all summer. But, in the name of preserving my teeth for my lifetime, I’ll severely cut back on those and other sweets. Maybe it will help me with the weight loss goal I stated in my New Year’s Resolutions and Half-Year Resolutions.

The clenching of my teeth is a lot harder to swallow (pun intended). They say there is evidence that I clench my teeth, but not of grinding. I don’t think I clench my teeth when running, working out, driving, or while stressed, but I’ll keep an eye out for it in the future. I don’t know what I do when I sleep, but I’d be surprised if I clench my teeth.

Their recommendation is to wear a mouth guard at night to protect my teeth and gums. I’m NOT happy about that. It sucks to have to rely on some external device and worse, sleeping with something in my mouth is going to be weird and icky. But again, if it’s for my long-term health, I guess I’ll have to deal with it.

Sp, there’s some not-so-sweet news from me for this week. Hope y’all are having good week! 

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