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Fall 2011 Marathon Dynamics E-Newsletter


...but we gave it a shot anyway, didn't we?  Topspin, that is, at the big Marathon Dynamics "Tween Seasons" Party last weekend at SPiN Toronto--the funky new downtown TO hotspot.  Thanks to all of you who joined us for a super fun evening of drinks, snacks, laughs and ping pong!  What a "smashing" way to wrap up yet another sensational running season! 

  Michelle C, Harvey F, Josi MS @ SPiN

MDI Top Performers Harvey Foote and his "running wives" Michelle Clarke (l) and Josi Mori-Stoodley (r) mug for a pic amidst fierce ping pong action at SPiN Toronto

We're eagerly awaiting this weekend's Philadelphia Marathon, where the last of our crew will test their mettle, before enjoying a short off season recovery break with the rest of us. Good luck "Phillies"!

Special Congrats Fall 2012 "Baker's Dozen" Highlight Performers    (not necessarily the fastest, but the best efforts, in alphabetical order)

  1. Michelle Clarke - 2:57 @ Waterfront Marathon (15 min PB, 3rd Canadian!)
  2. Laura Dale - 3:37 @ Waterfront Marathon (6 min PB, 3rd in age cat)
  3. Kristin Dalzell - 1:34 @ Waterfront Half (PB, 14min faster in 1+ years w/MDI)
  4. Harvey Foote - 3:00 flat @ New York City Marathon (2nd 3hr flat this year!)
  5. Rodrigo Lara-Gonsalves - 1:23 @ Waterfront Half (12 min PB!)
  6. David Hill - 1:30 @ Waterfront Half (7 min PB)
  7. Paul Jamael - 3:17 @ Waterfront Marathon (6 min PB)
  8. Janine Moffett - 2:58 @ Hamilton Marathon (2nd overall!)
  9. Eric Morris - 3:41 @ Waterfront Marathon (14+ min PB)
  10. Ken Moscoe - 3:14 @ Waterfront Marathon (5 min PB)
  11. Jennifer Salter - 1:35 @ Waterfront Half (all time PB, 7th in age cat)
  12. Peter Speight - 3:04 @ Hamilton Marathon (4+ min PB, 6th in age cat)
  13. Tanya Wharton - 3:25 @ New York City Marathon (all time PB)

"Michelle C @ 36kmBeing coached by Marathon Dynamics has been the one of the BEST experiences of my life. They provided the right tools to work with to help me achieve my personal best. Since joining MDI I went from a 3:12 Marathon to a 2:57 Marathon. I wouldn't have been able to achieve that without the preparation and planning that MDI offers with personalized training plans and great coaching support."  Michelle Clarke

Michelle Clarke (at left) continues her dream season, running toward a HUGE Marathon Personal Best at the 2011 Waterfront Marathon, placing 3rd Canadian woman in a time of 2:57!


Coach Kevin Smith gets his racing groove back to become Ontario Masters Marathon Champion

A confluence of experiments and revelations over the past three years, has helped lift me from the depths of my biggest running slump in almost 20 years, to produce my best season in 15 years, and culminated in victory as the Ontario Masters Marathon Champion at the recent Waterfront Marathon in a time of 2:42.

My watershed moment came while on a family holiday trip to Mt. Tremblant in the summer of 2010.

Kev WF MaraAs a running coach, I was extremely fulfilled by the success achieved by the runners we work with every day, and grateful for the opportunity to do what I do.  But as a racer, as a competitor, I was extremely frustrated with what appeared to be an unshakable pattern of continually severe, protracted, debilitating, and discouraging injuries, which were effectively killing any chance I’d ever have of fulfilling my remaining potential as a runner.

There I was, now 40 years old, vexed by a year-long mysterious foot injury, which followed on the heels of a many-months-long knee injury, preceded by a number of pesky calf and achilles problems, reading of the superhuman exploits of the real-life characters in Chris McDougall’s epic “Born To Run”.

Whipped into an emotional frenzy by the book, I was eager to exorcize my running demons, and release the pent up anger and sadness of not being able to do what I loved so much, for so long.  So on a beautiful, warm, sunny morning, on a fabulous mountainside trail ensconced in verdant natural beauty, with more positive energy and drive than I’d had in a long time, I struck out on a run.

It was to become the most painful run I have ever endured.

Foot PainMy foot ached even as I began, and worsened slowly over the first couple miles, but I kept running.  By four miles, the pain was terribly sharp with every foot strike, and against all my instincts as a coach (I was purely a runner now) I angrily soldiered on.  A brief glimmer of belated good judgment saw me stop at 5½ miles, take my shoe off and “kill my foot with kindness” with deep, excruciating massage, and turn back for home.  However, within moments, the pain climaxed:  sledgehammers smashed my foot, and left me yelping and moaning into the hazy solitude of the countryside…but I kept running.   If the Born to Run heroes could do 100 miles in 110+F temps, in bare feet, I’d be damned if I couldn’t do a measly 11 miler!  So I limped, lurched and shuffled all the way back, and finished with tears streaking down my face from the pain I’d endured, and the mounting certainty that I’d probably wrecked my foot, and along with it, my chances of running again, for a very long time.

Then a weird and wonderful thing happened.  About a week later, I began running again, and for over 15 months straight till the Waterfront Marathon, I didn’t take more than 5 days off running in a row!

So: how did it happen?

Well, during the after my “foot-plosion”, I had an epiphany:  tweaking my training (as I had started to do over the previous 18 months) was just not enough.  I had seen some improvement in my running consistency and fitness, but was still experiencing the odd setback (2 steps forward, 1 step back).  Though I was on the right track to healthy running with some of the steps I’d taken, I concluded that to really put it over the top, I was going to have to make a consistent, wholesale LIFESTYLE change.   The drive and desire—dare I say “desperation”—to see what I could do as an “old guy” runner motivated me to stick with it, and it’s paid off--big time.  With some fairly minor increases in time/focus devoted to a “supporting cast” of behaviours on a daily basis, I’ve seen huge payoff in my running performance.

5 Key Elements of My Return to Racing Form:

1 – Walk The WalkingWalk:  Over 2 years ago, I began to start my days with 25-30min walks, and have continued to do so almost every morning (5-6 times/week) since.  This ain’t window shoppin’ folks--quick, purposeful, form conscious hoofing the whole time.   Why?  Click here for the “long but very convincing story”.  In short, I realized that as I aged, my lifestyle had slowly become more and more sedentary, creating an ever-widening chasm between what I did with my body 22-23 hours a day (almost nothing) and the 1+ hour day when ran or cross-trained.

My theory was that it was in attempting to traverse this chasm (going from the proverbial 0 to 60) where most of my injury troubles were starting.  My tendons, ligaments, and certain specific smaller muscles had slowly weakened over time, and were just not strong enough to match the thrust of my still powerful “engine” (cardio/respiratory) and larger muscles.  So by introducing regular bouts of a softer, gentler, but still similar exercise, I was shoring up these “weak links” and inuring them to the demands of faster, harder, longer, more intense running.

Not only am I convinced these walks have contributed to much more consistent, injury-proofed running, but you know what?  I’m actually enjoying them!  It’s a great way to kick start the day, shake out the morning mental fog, and get those creative juices flowing.  The fresh air and forward motion contributes to positive emotion for the rest of the day!

2 – JiggityJiggity Jog Jogs: Though my wife and son positively hate the cutesy term I came up with to describe them, these 2-3 times a week, very short (20-25 min), very easy (LSD pace or even slower) jaunts, done ideally on grass, trail or other soft surface (even a treadmill if you can’t get outside!), on non-“biggy” training run days, are another great way to gird your lower body to the long term demands of higher training intensity and volume.   The trick with these is to always remind yourself NOT to try for any fitness or performance betterment out of this type of run (to eliminate any inclination to pick up the pace and challenge yourself), since it is the epitome of RECOVERY running.

I focus on relaxing as MUCH as possible, getting my breathing and foot strikes as quiet as possible, my heart rate as low as possible, my strides as small and quick (almost “skittering”) as possible, and on taking in as much of the peaceful, natural beauty of the nearby forest that I usually do them in as I can.

Barefoot3 – Run “As If” Barefoot: Though the debate rages on about perhaps  the most controversial running phenomenon in the past 25-30 years, our position at Marathon Dynamics hasn’t changed since barefootin’ really hit the collective consciousness of the running community about 2-3 years ago: essentially, we can all benefit as runners by moving “toward” barefoot running, but that sudden, wholesale embracing of barefoot (and/or extreme minimalist footwear such as Vibram Five Fingers), is fraught with at least as many biomechanical problems and injuries as one had before trying it!

So at the very least, we should stay in the same types of shoes we currently run in but spend time and effort consciously trying to run “as if” barefoot.  Using a more compact, quicker stride rate, softer footfalls further forward on the foot (NOT necessarily on the toes or even forefoot), with more flexion at both the knees and ankles than we were previously accustomed to.

 At the very most, we should do this while shifting to slightly more minimalist footwear (less midsole bulk), and perhaps venture very cautiously into the land of true barefoot running with very short and infrequent bouts of barefooting (literally scant minutes at a time) on grass or playing field as free of potentially injurious debris as possible.  Then gradually increase the amount of time and/or range of surfaces we practice barefoot running on.

Click here for a click to an article we wrote a year ago which provides a more detailed account of our view on barefoot running—one which we still believe 100%!

Though I haven’t gone “whole hog barefoot” yet, I have definitely moved to a more minimalist running shoe over the past 6-12 months (even marathon long runs and races), and have certainly altered my running form as indicated above.  I know this has a lot to do with my recent turn of good racing fortune.

Ripped Abs4 – Strength Before Speed:  For most of my 30 years of running, I’ve always been a bit stockier build than the runners I compete with, so though I would at times be semi-consistent with weight training in the past, I’d often abandon or at least reduce my strength work when my running started to go well.

But over the past 2 years, I’ve kept up with almost daily (5-6 times/week), very short, efficient, time-effective trips to the gym (20-30minutes, max), where I work on a routine of core, upper and lower body exercises designed to target very specifically the areas that have always been my weakest link during long or hard runs.

Ask yourself “over the past 2-3 years, what muscle groups or joints have given me the most grief, especially during high mileage, on long runs or races?”  For me, that hit list includes: calves (gastrocs AND soleus), hamstrings, glutes, quads and hip flexors).  As well, instinct (and a lot of recent research and anecdotal evidence) told ) told me that my running would benefit from intense core (stomach, abdominals) strength work,  something I’d always just taken for granted figuring I was “strong enough”.

Well, though I’m not going to be entering a Mr. Universe contest anytime soon, I have to say—I’ve never had abs like this in my life—even at 22, much less 42!—P90X-ers eat your heart out! (lol)  And through my most recent marathon training cycle, where I was able to increase my mileage by almost 50% (!) over any previous average 17 week lead up, all my “usual injury suspects” barely complained above a murmur.  Exercises such as lunges, leg press, “calf ups”, and other unique moves that the experts at Absolute Endurance taught me, were certainly a big reason why.

Running Buddies5 – Run (Hard!) With the Right Crowd:  For the past 10-12 years, I’ve done my weekend long runs with the same great group of “old farts” (my age), who like me, have been running since our teens and can’t seem to get it out of our systems.  I look forward to and treasure those runs, and will continue with them for as long as I’m able to.  However, since I’m a full time running coach, for the most part I’m working when everyone else is running.  So for the last 15-20 years, I’ve usually done most of my “hard stuff” by myself.  I can do it, and I don’t dread it, but I’d often thought about how great it would be to do that stuff with partners or a group, especially higher intensity workouts (tempo and speed work), like I used to 20-25 years ago.

Well, this year, I was lucky enough to have that happen, logging hundreds of miles with Canadian Women’s Half Marathon Champion Megan Brown in the winter/spring, and then during the summer and early fall season, putting in some all business efforts with local Kenyan up and comer, Josphat Nzinga—a nephew of famed 3 time (in a row!) Boston Marathon winner Cosmos Ndeti.   Aside from the camaraderie I expected to experience (which I did, in spades), I benefitted from teaming up with these very special individuals in so many other ways:

Attitude I’d forgotten what it was like to train with really goal-driven, task-oriented, serious runners…when birds of a feather train together—great things happen!
Motivation –  since we were so well matched (Megan re: strength,  Josphat re: speed) we were able to help push each other that little bit further during the tough 2nd half of tough workouts, where the magic happens!
Perspective – since I respect these athletes so much, I was much more open to heeding their advice when things got “prickly” with my old body.  I listened to their ideas and cagey words of wisdom, backing off at times when I would have most certainly pressed on or pushed harder if on my own.  Who would have thought these young pups—fifteen years my junior—could teach this old dog some new tricks!

Even if you adopt just a couple of these behaviours (that you're not already doing) consistently, we’re sure you’ll see a big boost in your running performance.   It’s not a get fast quick scheme to be sure, but it will happen!

If you’re interested in the specifics of HOW each of these can and should be put into play in the context of your own training and racing this winter/spring, please (re)join Marathon Dynamics this coming season.  Not only will we be encouraging the runners we coach to embrace these techniques, but EXPECTING it of them, and will be explaining, describing and demonstrating the nuances of doing them well on an ongoing basis.

I don’t have all the answers, and I’m fully aware that next week I could be right back on the injured list, but for now, I know why I think my running has taken a decided turn for the better, and I’m going to keep on doing what I think has helped, and enjoy the ride as long as it lasts.

Rest assured, your best running years are still ahead--you just need the right road map to find your way!

KevKevin Smith is a full-time coach with Marathon Dynamics and a sometime elite masters distance runner, water running enthusiast, (hyper) active elliptical trainer-er, life cycle-ist, inline speedskater, power walker, hiker, reluctant rock-climber, and skinny gym-monkey!


Overwhelming Evidence for Injury Prevention & Performance

By: Dr. Trevor Vander Doelen BSc (Hon), DC @ Absolute Endurance

Due to the repetitive nature of any sport, cross training with strength training in Body Planes is recommended to challenge the body in ways that the athlete’s main sport cannot offer. Strength training not only offers benefits of injury prevention for runners, but can also benefit running performance.

Abs End Strength DiagramCross training corrects the inevitable structural imbalances that occur with the repetition of an athlete’s main sport.  These structural imbalances are found in the length/tension relationship of muscles, ligaments, and tendons across specific joints.  Certain muscles, tendons, and ligaments predictably become overused or underused. These predictable imbalances can be observed and or palpated by a trained individual familiar with proper biomechanics.  Running is a sport that is performed completely in the sagittal plane.  This means the runner is always moving forward (sagittal plane), not moving laterally (coronal plane), or rotating (transverse plane). See the “Body Planes” picture to help understand this concept. This also explains many of the injuries that are experienced by runners, listed in order of prevalence below.

•    Patellofemoral pain syndrome
•    Iliotibial band syndrome
•    Plantar fasciitis
•    Meniscal injuries
•    Tibial stress syndrome
•    Patellar/achilles tendinosis
•    Gluteus medius tendinosis

Cross training for runners should be heavily focused on stressing the athlete in the coronal and transverse plane’s as these are the motions that are neglected while running. Overuse injuries result from a complex of training errors including lack of specific strength and flexibility, inappropriate surface and terrain, biomechanical lower extremity misalignment, and inappropriate footwear. Cross training with strength exercise can positively influence two of these four variables.

Strength training for running performance has been heavily researched in the past ten years. Running performance is determined by maximal oxygen consumption (VO2 max), lactate threshold, and running economy. These factors were traditionally thought to be improved simply through aerobic endurance training. In the past, endurance athletes have been hesitant to try strength training because of concerns of possible negative side effects of hypertrophy on capillary density and energy production.  Research has shown that strength training does not negatively affect the VO2 max, but rather can be very beneficial for running performance if done effectively.

While all three of the above factors for performance can be increased through strength training, it is running economy that is positively affected the greatest with strength training. So what exactly is running economy? The concept of running economy can be understood by examining two runners at the same speed. The runner that is working at a lower VO2 (oxygen consumption) at this speed has a better running economy. Resistance training is thought to affect running economy by three proposed mechanisms:

1.    Functional strength improves mechanical efficiency, muscle coordination & motor recruitment patterns

2.    Increased total body strength leads to advantageous mechanical changes in running form

3.    Increased muscular strength and coordination may reduce relative intensity

Strength training has consistently been shown to improve running performance in amateur runners, but these results have been questioned in highly trained runners. More recently, a systematic review of the effects of strength training among highly trained runners suggests that strength training improves long-distance running performance in this group as well. Running economy has consistently been shown to increase by 3%-8% with strength training, which can drastically affect your performance when extrapolated into a long distance race like a marathon. Specifically, the use of explosive plyometric strength training, due to increased musculotendinous stiffness, has been shown to have a significant effect on running performance, most notably in the 3km–5km distance.

The inclusion of a well-structured and periodized strength training program can be beneficial for both injury prevention and running performance.  The program should include circuit training (short breaks between exercises), traditional functional strength training (squats, lunges, deadlifts, etc), sport-specific high intensity training, and plyometric based cross training. The athlete’s goals are very important when designing a strength training program and a functional assessment and gait assessment should be done by a trained professional prior to starting a resistance training program.

Happy strength training!

Check out our website for more info, or to set up a strength training session (references available upon request)

Trevor Vander Doelen works as a personal trainer at Absolute Endurance, training athletes from weekend warriors to elite.  He is trained as a Chiropractor and thus has extensive knowledge of biomechanics, physiology and anatomy that he applies to his program design and implementation.


And It Made Me a Better Runner!

By MDI Coach Jennifer Faraone

AffairI’m not sure how or when it all began…but before I knew it, I was experiencing excitement, desire and passion all over again

 Feelings that had been suppressed since the birth of my children suddenly re-surfaced.  Maybe it was the lure of the unknown; the thrill of the chase; or perhaps the inability to resist that musky, woodsy, “manly” scent.  It wasn’t however, the thrill of the “tall dark stranger”…after all, I’ve had a series of “flings” over the years with this particular individual.  Regardless of the reason, before I knew it, I was in love--with trail running.

At first, I felt guilty for not focusing on my first love--road racing—after all, he had been my primary partner over the years.  Improving my road racing times was my focus year after year.  Part of my identity was associated with past performances on the road.  I felt as though I was cheating on old faithful and that I owed him an explanation of why I was spending all of my time with someone else.  Was I going through mid-life crisis?  Was I being selfish for being exclusive to trail running for the entire summer? 

Looking back, I realize that my heart just wasn’t into road racing anymore.  Getting back to it was becoming more stressful, and was no longer providing me with the pleasure that I used to get from running.  It also represented a previous phase in my life that I just couldn’t relate to right now. 

Regardless of the reason, I simply wasn’t motivated to get back into running road races right now.  I didn’t have a goal or focus and no desire to push harder and to train harder.  But all of that changed after I did my first 5 Peaks trail race of the season in April 2011.

Suddenly I becaTrail runningme inspired and I wanted to do more.  I wanted to focus on this particular race series, and to win the series.  I suddenly enjoyed training again! I even took the running principles that I had learned over the years with road racing and applied them to trail running.  For instance, incorporating long runs, interval work, fartleks, etc….Or tapering and having a game-plan going into the race.  Suddenly, I felt “alive” and  “I was back”.  And I owed it to my new-found friend-the trails!

So my recommendation to you?  Now that the season is over—go out and have an affair!  Find some form of cross training, or focus on a different type of run or distance.  Something that will get your juices flowing, your heart rate up, and will inspire you to do better.  Not only will it make you feel great--but it will likely make you into a stronger and more rounded athlete! 

Jenn F & kidsJennifer Faraone has succeeded as a top-ranked distance runner (personal bests of 35min for 10K, and 1:18 for the Half marathon), and enjoys cycling and trail running, and has even represented Canada at the World Mountain Running Championships.  When not running, she's ultra-busy with parenting her two young children, baking and discovering new red wines.



It’s about the friends you meet along the way!

By Michelle Clark, Marathon Dynamics Runner & Coach

Running BuddiesRunners come from all walks of life and with all our differences we share one thing in common – running. At least that’s what we think as we chase down our times during our 800 m repeats or on our long run on Sunday morning waving and smiling to others who also got out of bed at 8am during a snow storm.

When I started back to running it was a very solitary event. No one I knew was running and they had no interest in starting. Everyone in my life thought a 5 km race was a marathon and having to explain the difference was becoming less and less funny. I enjoyed some of the time by myself,  having room to think but I always felt there was something missing. I started meeting other runners through races and running groups. Slowly my list of “running friends” grew.

Racing was one way I slowly got to know more of the running community. I would recognize faces and sometimes chat along the way. It was when I joined Marathon Dynamics that I found a home. Here was a group of runners who embraced me with open arms and from day one I was amongst friends. Every Wednesday we showed up for workouts--in blistering hot temperatures or freezing cold ice storms--and worked together to get through our hardest and fastest runs of the week.  I'd see many of the gang again early on Friday mornings.  Even though the sun was often not yet up, we always waved and smiled and yelled encouraging words. The "have a great weekend" as we passed by each other was the best part of my Friday mornings.

Sunday’s were another day for us to get together. This was a longer runs were we could really settle into a pace, chat and get to know each other even more. It was always on these runs that I learned the most about a person and that running wasn’t the only thing we had in common.  I met great people and more and more my little running community grew. Finally I knew other people that talked about running as much as I did!

The last two seasons have been my personal best, and although I trained hard I know that a lot of it has to do with the people who run in front of me, beside me and behind me.

A favourite memory is waking up with my boyfriend (a fellow MDI runner) insanely early, and in the cold and dark, driving to Mississauga to meet up with our coach and two other runners, then on to Guelph for a 15km race. The 5 of us got our race bibs and warmed up together, and arrived at the start line, then cheered each other on as we passed one another throughout the race. That was a great race day for me as well as those 4 other runners. Having your running partners there with you from beginning to end can bring out the best in you. Firstly you have to finish the race – others are counting on you, waiting for you, cheering you on. Secondly, you can’t wait to tell them what happened at 9K when you went up that hill and passed two guys on the way.

Another race that sticks out in my mind, was one of the best and smartest I've ever run--the Chilly Half Marathon in Burlington (2011). Days beforehand we collectively agreed to meet so we could warm up together and get to the start line. Overnight the GTA was hit with one of the worst storms of the season. The morning was dark, cold and wet, but we all got out of bed, contemplating our sanity and wondering why we do this.  We were depending on each other to be there and so I pushed off the blankets and knew I had to do this. When we all arrived and got to the start we had learned that almost half of the runners that had signed up for race didn’t actually show up. I never really said it to anyone but I was really proud of my Marathon Dynamics running partners because every single one of us showed up as we promised. As a group throughout the season we had run in some pretty crummy weather so this dumping of snow was not going to scare us away.

As the guMichelle & Harveyn went off we all went our separate ways getting into our pace and finding our groove. Fairly early on my friend Harvey caught up to me and we discussed racing strategy--turned out we were hoping for the same time so we decided to work with each other. Harvey gave me great tips on getting through the slush and we would take turns cutting the wind and giving our legs a break. Harvey soon left me and went into another gear. I watched him slowly get farther away while I stuck to my pace and carried on. I gradually moved up into 3rd place, then into 2nd. People from my running group were screaming out my name, cheering me on, and I felt exhilarated and cheered back. By this time, I had bunched up with a group of strangers who now knew my name (from my running buddies screaming it!), and since they knew there was only one more girl to catch, they worked together in front of me, beside me and behind me to push me to not give up. I picked up the pace and could see her getting closer and with only one km to the finish I passed her swiftly. These strangers were so happy for me and excited by me potentially being the first female to cross the finish line. Then I saw Harvey.

With about 400m to the finish line we came shoulder to shoulder.  When he realized it was me--the race was on (in a friendly sort of running way). We both kicked into our highest gear we could muster and ran like hell laughing all the way until we crossed the threshold and I got to finally break the tape. We caught our breath and waited for our friends and congratulated everyone for not only showing up but also doing such a great run in the worst weather imaginable.

I know that showing up for the workouts with my group every Wednesday in good or bad weather, prepared us for anything Mother Nature could throw at us on race day. But it was the other ingredient that I truly believe is the reason for my success and continued passion for running--my great friends, my fellow runners.

I have learned over the many years of being part of a running group how special runners are. It’s a growing, worldwide community, but no matter how big it's mass it still has that small town feel for me.  We seem to always be there for each other in good and in bad times. Whether we succeed or fail on race day, the people who will pat us on the back and congratulate us for our tremendous effort are those who were running in front of us, beside us, and behind us, from start to finish. 

Michelle ClarkeMichelle Clarke is a competitive runner (5K to marathon) sponsored by Mizuno, with recent personal bests of 2:57 at the Toronto Waterfront Marathon (3rd Canadian woman), and 1:22 in the Half Marathon.  When not ripping up the roads, she enjoys mountain & road biking, yoga, snow shoeing, skiing, baking and spending time with her dog Kona


Marathon Dynamics

Customized Training Plans & Coaching


What's New?  Our "Winning Edge Guarantee", That's What!

In competitivwinning edgee contexts the world over, the concept of the "winning edge" abounds.  It's the idea that in order to reap a great deal more joy, success and satisfaction from an endeavour, in order to "win", you don't have to try a great deal harder, work a great deal longer, or be a great deal smarter, than the rest.  You just have to be a tiny bit better "on the margin".  Turns out that this difference--between those who experience great success and the "next best" who strive and struggle to catch them and don't experience half the "spoils of victory"--is about 3%.

Well, after honing our craft of designing training plans and coaching runners now for almost 15 years, we're SO confident in our system, philosophy, staff and spirit, and what we can do to help you improve your running, that in 2012, we're offering what we call our "Winning Edge Guarantee".

We're essentially offering a "half back" guarantee on coaching fees: if you'll commit to training with us this season (training plan and coaching, at least 4 months), we WILL help you improve your personal best half or full marathon time by (at least) 3%. If that doesn't happen (subject to a few conditions and restrictions - click here for full details), we'll credit 50% of paid coaching fees upon request toward next season (if you believe we’re on the right track and can make it happen with fine tuning), or refund same amount if not.

3% improvement doesn't sound like much? For 4hr marathoners, that's over 7 minutes! For 1:45 half marathoners, that's well over 3 minutes! Click here for a table which shows race time improvements based on your current PBs.  At the bottom, you can even enter your exact current PB and it will calculate your guaranteed improvement.

Register before December 25th (online registration opens November 25) for a Customized Training Plan and 4 months (min) of ANY level of our Personal or E-Coaching, and your "Winning Edge Guarantee" goes is in effect.

What a great Christmas gift, huh? For a special running friend (or even yourself!)

MDI all Atwitter About Getting in Your Face(book!)

Though we feel we've always provided exceptional customized training plans & personal coaching for our runners, one thing we have not done nearly as good a job at is fostering a social connectivity between runners of like ability to train together, AWAY from our structured group workouts.

In 2012, that's gonna change...and we're going to use the power of social media to put it over the top!

We're still going to offer a couple of weekly group OMP (steady, strong) and LSD (long, slow) and RPR (racepace) options, and we'll be using the new Marathon Dynamics Facebook page and Twitter feeds to build those more than ever.

But in addition, we're hoping to foster additional run partnering and bonding, and smaller off-shoot groups, to ensure the most potential opportunity for MDI "birds of a feather" to train together.

More on that in the weeks to come, but for now, if you haven't yet joined our Facebook page or Twitter account, please do so ASAP!


    Click here to join us on Facebook


   Click here to follow us on Twitter  Twitter

Winter-Spring 2012 MDI Training Group Workouts Line-up

(and/or click here to check updated website info).  All sessions are @ 6:30-8pm

Dec '11 - May '12 (6:30pm-8pm, unless otherwise noted)

  1. MONDAYS - CENTRAL TORONTO: Absolute Endurance...starts Dec 5th
  2. TUESDAYS - NORTH TORONTO: York U INDOOR Track...starts Dec 6th
  3. WEDNESDAYS - WEST TORONTO: High Park...starts Dec 7th
  4. THURSDAYS - OAKVILLE: Physical Edge Physiotherapy...starts Dec 8th

If you’rLaura De new to Marathon Dynamics we feel that on every front—from our staff, to our systems, to our services—we can provide the best training plans & personal running coaching, and deliver the best results, for the best price.  To find out more about our how our Customized Training Plans work, please click here, and if you’d like more information on our Personal Coaching Services, please click here, and to find out more about who our coaches themselves are, please click here.

Initial Testing for new Customized Training Plans is available at all sites thru the months of December and January (beginning December 5th), but please call/email to notify us of your attendance at least 24hrs in advance (alternatively, self-testing is an here for further instructions).

If you’d like to “tawk shawp” re: your spring 2012 running goals, the best time to reach Coach Kev for a free consultation is between Nov 21-Dec 5 (10am-4pm).  After that, things get a little “time pressured”,  so call soon...905 891-3197

THANK YOU MDI Sponsors...Old & New!

We are soAbsolute  Endurance grateful for the unflagging and ongoing support of Marathon Dynamics’ primary “Runner Health & Wellness” sponsors:

Absolute Endurance (Toronto) and Physical Edge (Oakville/Mississauga).

 This past season,Physcial Edge our runners and coaches (especially me!) have benefitted greatly from your healing powers, your “supporting cast" athletic know-how, and your ever-positive, can-do attitude.  THANK YOU!

  Also a big welcome aboard to Mizuno, Flight Centre and Clif Bar, Marathon Dynamics newest sponsors!

Every one of these special companies will be providing great value to Marathon Dynamics runners & coaches, to showcase their products and services for us.

MizunoMizuno  - those of you who know our coaches personally know how passionately positive we are about our own experience with Mizuno equipment.  Well, now we'd like you to get in on the fantastic function & fashion of their great products.

Cliff BarClif Bar - many of you already use Clif Bar products pre/during/post workout, and thus won't need any convincing, but for the rest of you--it's time to try it!

Flight CentreFlight Centre - many of you are runners who travel (or in a few cases, travellers who run!), right? Do you prefer the option of dealing face to face with a personal travel manager? Flight Centre Business Travel specialists provide local service, with a world of experience, focusing on exceptional customer service.

Book your travel--running, personal, business--with Flight Centre Travel and you'll always receive:

  •     A Personal Travel Manager. We will never route you through a call centre.
  •     Great savings - delivered on both money and time
  •     Guaranteed choice of travel options - low cost, best route, best value
  •     24-hour Traveller Support

Contact Laura Barrington @ 416 451-5036 or

Phew! That's more than enough running e-news crammed into one newsletter wouldn’t you say!  We hope you found some useful info in there to make your running better, stronger, and most important, more enjoyable this coming season.

Your Faithful Marathon Dynamics Coaches,

Kevin, Jackie, Brant, Michelle, Steve, Jennifer, Dera, Robin & Todd

PS - we're hard at work this week trying to get our new online PAYMENT system in place for you to start the new season.  Our deadline is November 25th, so everything should be up and 'online' by then.  Sorry for any inconvenience this delay has caused.

In This Issue  

A  Phenomenal Season - Baker's Dozen Highlights!

Old Lion Not Dead Yet! - Coach Kev wins Ontario Masters Marathon Champs

Get Stronger--Run Faster - By Dr. Trevor Vaner Doelen

I Had An Affair! - By Coach Jennifer Faraone

It's About More Than Miles - By Coach Michelle Clarke

Marathon Dynamics News:

- Winning Edge Guarantee!

- MDI on Facebook & Twitter

- New Season Starts...NOW!

Thanks Sponsors!

Absolute Endurance

Physical Edge

Flight Centre 
Mizuno LogoClif Bar Logo
Mizuno Winter Gear Here!

Mizuno logo

Mizuno BreathThermal

GREAT Top! MDI Coaches

Kevin & Michelle LOVE it!

Click here to learn more

 Mizuno Fleecy GloveMizuno Arm W & Gloves


Fleece Glove ($25) &

Arm Warmer/Glove Combo ($40)

Available at Du Tri and Run (Streetsville), and Running Free stores in Markham, Milton, Ajax, Barrie, Newmarket, Orangeville.

Coach Jackie's Kitchen  


A favourite for pre-long run & marathon carb stock-up, and for snacking during long-distance bike rides and hikes.

3 large, well-ripened bananas
1 egg or 2 egg whites
2 tbsp oil, preferably canola
1/3 cup low-fat milk
1/3 to ½ cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
1 ½ cups flour, preferably 1/2 whole-wheat & 1/2 white

Preheat oven to 350 F. Mash bananas with a fork. Add egg, oil, milk, sugar, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Beat well. Gently blend the flour into the banana mixture and stir for 20 seconds or until moistened. Pour into a 4-inch by 8-inch loaf pan that has been lightly oiled, treated with cooking spray, or lined with wax paper. Bake for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the middle comes out clean. Let cool for five minutes before removing from the pan.

Nutrition per serving (1 slice): 135 calories, 3 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 24 g carbohydrates, 3 g protein

From Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook

A Happy MDI Runner
You really have brought me to a place I never thought I would see. I never imagined I’d be able to deliver the race result that I did this past year. I’m still in disbelief of the time in fact!  I've vastly improved through your coaching.  You took me from a 4:02 marathon where I thought I left everything I had on the course down to a 3:19 in 3 years – with a BQ to show for it as a bonus!"

Ken Moscoe
Another Success Story  
I'd achieved some success making my own training plans, but I felt I could improve and didn't know how. With the experience, knowledge, and technical expertise of Marathon Dynamics, I've been able to bring my half marathon PB from 1:48 to 1:34! I also ran my first marathon, and I'm heading to Boston next April.  If you have the drive and determination, MDI can take care of the planning that ultimately produces your dream results. You'll marvel at coach Kevin's ability to assess your fitness and predict your race day results. You'll arrive at the starting line feeling super confident and ultra-prepared.

Kristin Dalzell after her 1st year with MDI

MDI Runners Rule!
"I just wanted to say THANKS!  Without you, your help and support, my PB result at the 2010 Ottawa marathon (3:26) would not have been possible.  You went the extra mile with me (pun intended!), by giving up a lot of your time to teach and coach me through each and every concern I had (which I know were many!).  You believed in me that I could accomplish my goal…and made it really easy - all I had to do was to follow your program.

I am truly grateful and you have made me a better runner!"

New Marathon Dynamics Runner David Gauthier, who improved his marathon PB by 23 minutes

Marathon Dynamics Runners Rave  

MDI Rocks! Why? The Personalized Training Plan and the Weekly Group Coaching. I did both. The result? 18 weeks later I qualified for Boston! The Plan was personalized for me, advocated cross training combined with a sensible number of non running days and was easy to follow. So I was realistically able to manage life outside running. And bonus...when I needed my Plan to be tweaked (due to really rough winter weather) it was easily done.

The Weekly Group Coaching got me ‘out there’ with other runners (of all abilities) and my professional MDI Coach. The coaches are runners too and were adept at keeping me on track (literally!) with my Plan by providing encouragement, advice (by email, phone or in person at the weekly workouts) and good jokes! Boston here I come!

MDI Runner Katie Thomas improved her marathon PB by over 15 min and qualified for Boston

And Rave Some More!
"Marathon Dynamics coaches offer a positive focused atmosphere for people at a variety of skill levels, which is something I very much appreciate. Their friendly encouragement has worked like a tonic to inspire me to push through my own obstacles and reach my traing goals. This is one of the most intense activities I’ve been involved with; I get to with feel the burn and the joy...marvellous!"
Jacquie Jacobs - qualified for Boston at her debut marathon in her 1st season with MDI
and even more!  
“Thanks to Kevin Smith and the Marathon Dynamics approach to training, I was able to fulfill a personal dream - to qualify for the 2010 Boston Marathon.  By joining the Marathon Dynamics team in 2008 and following their program, I was able to improve my marathon PB from 3:57 to 3:19 in just one year!” 

“Even more important to me is that Kevin works really hard to foster a friendly and supportive team environment throughout training and coaching sessions... As a result, I have been able to establish incredible new friendships with some great people that share my passion for running.” 

New Marathon Dynamics Runner Harvey Foote 

Jumpin' on the Praise Train
"MDI does a fantastic job of tailoring your training to you. The plans are very detailed, the support is fantastic, and the results speak for themselves. Kevin really knows his stuff and his approach is both resolute and flexible at the same time. I look forward to working with them again to take the next step in my running.

MDI runner Glen Way improved his marathon PB by over 10 min in his first year with MDI (3:08 for a Boston Qualifier)
Bev Whelan - 3:07 debut!  

"Marathon Dynamics’ training program showed me that if I run the race the right way, I can break 3 hours.

My first marathon was painful, but the training for it was a lot of fun, and I would definitely recommend Marathon Dynamics to anyone. Whether you’re aiming for a particular time, or your goal is just to finish, the coaches will design a program that will help you safely and enjoyably reach your goal"

MDI Runner Stephan Steen  
"I had run 10 marathons and really needed something extra to boost my performance level if I was ever going to qualify for Boston.  With the help of MDI I managed to shave over 13 minutes off my PB at the Mississauga Marathon!  Without the MDI program and their support I could never have done so well"

MDI Runner Benoit Keppenne  

"8 months ago I was immobilized on an hospital bed with severe injuries suffered in a horrible motorcycle accident. I just ran my half marathon in 1:29--an 8 min PB!

This would not have happened without MDI's help. The personal plans are very effective at keeping you focussed & the camaraderie of the group running sessions and coaches push you to the limit without you even noticing it!"


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