Run Faster Fun Friends

The Dynamo Fall 2008

CONGRATS TO ALL!  And the awards go to...


Very well run…and now, all done!  The weekend before last, between two very intimate gatherings (in Oakville & Toronto), almost 100 Marathon Dynamics runners, and a few coaches and “athletic supporters” gathered to celebrate and commemorate the summer/fall 2008 running season, and look forward to ‘09.   A wonderful time was shared by all (especially a few at the Toronto bash still partying past 2am…yikes!)


From the over 150 of you we worked, ran and played with this season, the coaches had some tough calls to make to decide on the award winners…but alas, we did.  Click here to see who came out on top, and who earned honorable mentions.  We did our best to keep track of everyone’s results throughout the season, and have also come up with the TOP 100 Summer/Fall ’08 Marathon Dynamics runner performances. Click here to see if you made the list!


Please note: these are not necessarily the fastest runners, or even those with the highest age category placing, but are chosen based on how well they trained, improved and rose to the occasion on race day, relative to their season-starting ability, in light of the race day conditions and/or circumstances (also: unless you called/emailed us to let us know how your race went, we may have missed you, so be sure to do so in the future!)



...or give one as a gift...


Ever wonder what it would be like to be that shiny golden runner atop those big trophies the race winners and age category aces haul away from big races?  Well…wonder no longer, now you can BE that runner—or more aptly put—that runner can be you…or your best running friend or family member.


At a recent birthday party of mine, I opened an oddly shaped, delicate-feeling gift, and was amazed at what it turned out to be.  My father, needlepoint artist Geoff Smith (shameless plug…visit to see his work), had painstakingly painted a wooden “artist’s dummy”, to look exactly like me at the finish line of last year's Boston Marathon:  in mid stride, arms raised in triumph, replete with an uncanny likeness in facial features, exact running outfit, bib number, running shoes…heck, even my watch on one wrist, and my MDI paceband on the other.  The finishing touch was a gold ribbon strewn across my chest as I broke the tape in victory…metaphorically at least!


It brought back the powerful flood of emotions I experienced in my Boston race, and I was overcome.  It was by far the best birthday present I’d received in many years.  Shortly after, I joked that I probably know a hundred runners who would LOVE something like this (or to give something like this to a runner they know).  Then I thought…hmm, why not ask them?  So, I checked with my dad to see if he could handle such a project on a “limited edition” basis, before letting the cat out of the bag, and got the all clear.  Here is what the “My Trophy” he did for/of me looks like.

 Hi Rez My Trophy

Interested?  For yourself, or for a runner you know?  Get or grant “running immortality” with this truly one-of-a-kind creation—a “My Trophy”.  For only $150 (plus tax)…you can!  Just email me back at to place your order—first 50 come, first 50 served (for ’09).

We’ll email you back with confirmation of your order, and then ask you to either email/snail mail the highest resolution photo you have of the runner to be immortalized, along with any other special notes/instructions you might have, and Geoff Smith will get to work on your “My Trophy” as soon as possible (please allow 6 weeks turnaround time).

Winterproof Your Running


We all know how important it is to tune up your car for the winter season, right? Or to winterize your home BEFORE the cold and snow arrive (e.g. put plastic on windows, seal any drafts, maintenance check the heater, etc.)  So why not winterize your running?


Now that we are in between seasons (or most of you are!), it’s the perfect time to learn or remind ourselves of the critical behaviors and skills to keep ourselves happy, efficient, and motivated running machines throughout the long winter ahead. Based on the accumulated experience of over 100 winters our MDI coaching staff have now run through (between all of us…not by any one of us silly!), we’ve compiled a list of time-tested tips to help you be all the runner you can be this winter!  

                                                   Winter Runner                    

    12 Terrific Tips to Make Winter Running a (Cold) Snap!


     1. GET “GEAR READY”…BEFORE THE REALLY NASTY STUFF HITS!  All to often, runners wait until the first big blast of frigid temps, or a big dump of snow, to go search for their thermal tights, base-layer tops, running gloves, mitts, headbands, wind-briefs, winter running socks, etc., and invariably can’t find stuff, or remember then that they were going to replace some of that stuff after last season, right?  Sometimes that leads to skipped runs, and/or less enjoyable first winter run efforts.  So consider your running goals for this winter spring, assess your anticipated gear requirements, and make a quick trip to the running store to fill in the gaps.  Then create a space at home (closet, laundry room rack, box system?) where you have everything you need organized and at the ready. This way, no matter what the conditions are, when the mood/opportunity (or “responsibility”!) to run hits, you don’t have to forage through a mess of worn out/lost gear before you get out there!

2.  PLAN YOUR RUN...RUN YOUR PLAN:  If at all possible, attempt to run into the wind when you start, and with the wind as you finish.  This stops sweat from freezing up on you and chilling you down as you progress into the later stages of your runs.  This also prevents wind from adding to the challenge of cold condition running, by letting you “cruise” home with the wind at your back—especially helpful on longer or faster runs when your energy may be lagging late in the run.  Also, try to run loop-shaped courses (with “cut short” options), as opposed to “out-and-back” routes.  That way, if you ever have to stop mid-run (i.e. muscle pull, ankle sprain, stomach cramps, etc.), there’s less distance between you and home-safe-home!

3.  BE BRIGHT—BE SEEN:  It is especially important to be seen by drivers in the winter, due to the darker conditions, poorer visibility, and slippery roads.  Make every effort to stand out by using reflective clothing, vests, or arm/leg bands, flashing lights and or headlamps, and never assume you have right-of-way in intersections, driveways, or parking lots.

4.  TAKE “EXTREMITY” MEASURES:  When running, your head, hands, and feet will feel the effects of very cold weather much sooner than the rest of you.  Up to 40% of body heat is lost through the head, so cover it up with a breathable, synthetic running cap or headband.  Also, ensure you wear a good pair of synthetic running gloves (or mittens if it’s really cold) which are relatively light weight and more breathable than “regular” gloves.  With socks, and go with a little heavier weight than you do in the summer for some extra warmth, and make sure to get the “crew” cut, not the ankle/mini-crew, to ensure no skin is exposed directly to the elements if running tights/pants ride up.

5.  BEWARE AND PREPARE: Bring cell phone, or coin(s) for telephone calls, money for cab fare, tokens for buses/subway, and I.D. for emergency information.  The extra clothing you wear in the winter gives you extra places to carry these things, so there is no excuse not to bring them, especially during cold weather, when the likelihood of needing them, and the risks of not having them, are higher than ever.  It’s also a good idea to inform another person of your route and expected run length as you head out, so that he/she knows when to push the panic button, and where to start looking for you!

6.  DON’T BE SLIP SLIDING AWAY: Many runners worry too much about icy conditions.  Obviously, if the roads and sidewalks are completely covered in sheets of ice, it’s best to retire to the gym’s treadmill, or put your run off till the next day.  But most of the winter we are faced only with icy patches and sections of rough footing.  For ice patches less than 10 metres in length, the best thing to do when you run across them least, nothing different.  Keep your direction, speed, cadence, and stride length exactly the same as just before you hit the icy section, and you can cruise right across it on your momentum.  It’s only when you suddenly change your speed, rhythm or direction that you end up with a bruised torso.  With rough footing (snow, slush, uneven surfaces), its best to slightly shorten your stride for balance early, hold your arms out from your sides (hands splayed at the ready) and attempt directional and speed changes gradually and cautiously.

7.  RUN SOCIAL, RUN SAFE:  Running with others is still the best way to ensure your safety and enjoyment of winter runs, especially--but not exclusively--for women.  Also, when the conditions are absolutely fierce, it’s just nice to know that someone else went through what you did!  Make an effort to join up with training group or running club (like Marathon Dynamics…hint, hint!) …you just may find that it’s not only safer, but more fun too! 


                                                  Winter Road

8.  USE INTENSITY AS YOUR GUIDE, NOT SPEED:  When the footing gets poor due to snow and ice cover, runners lose up to 1 minute per mile (40 seconds/km) of “ground speed” at a given effort level, regardless of their normal running speed.  Faster runners transfer more power/force through each foot plant, so they slip more on each stride, losing more speed than slower runners, who lose less of their speed proportionately, but about the same “seconds per mile” speed loss.  Thus, it makes little sense to attempt to maintain the same running pace as you would on clear ground.  So either use your well-honed sense of intensity to moderate your pace, or invest in a heart rate monitor, which will do it for you!  As well, in complete or nearly complete snow coverage conditions, make sure, especially on longer runs (over 10 miles/15km) that you shorten the actual distance you plan to run, since otherwise you’ll end up running much further/longer that you or your training plan called for (i.e. on a 16 mile run you could end up running 16 minutes longer than you would have on a clear footing day…that’s like adding 1.5 to 2 miles more to your run than you’d planned…and in awful conditions to boot!)

9.  HAVE A PLAN B!  It’s very unrealistic to presume we won’t get hit by some rough weather stretches over the course of a 4-5 month winter, so no matter how “hardy” you are, and/or how much you pride yourself on being able to run through “anything”, it just makes sense to build in some options and flexibility to your winter running plan.  If you don’t own or are not willing/able to buy a treadmill (and at $3000+ and up for a good one, few are!), get a membership to a fitness club that has a good supply of high quality, well maintained treadmills, ready and waiting.   Even if you’re not an active aerobic trainer, or don’t regularly do strength training as part of your overall fitness regime (which are two more great reasons to invest in fitness club membership), inquire about a “3 month trial membership” for the roughest winter months (ie. January to March).  This way, you’ll have the option of switching over to a treadmill for key intensity workouts, steady state runs, or even (once in a blue moon, for sanity’s sake!) the odd long run, when the weather outside is too dangerous or depressing.

10.  WATER, WATER EVERYWHERE:  During the winter, many runners forego the rehydration rituals they employ so diligently when summer running...don’t make that mistake!  You’re often still sweating as much as in the summer for a variety of reasons (hard effort, one too many layers), so maintain your regular drinking frequency...especially on long runs.  Extra tip…on very cold days, make sure you fill your bottle with room temperature water (or even lukewarm), since cold water will often freeze the spout and/or cap of your waterbottles within 30-60 minutes.  Also…drink early and drink often…not just because your body needs it, but because the more you use your bottle, the less chance there is of it freezing shut!  Similarly, with gels, don’t pull them out of the fridge before you go, leave them out overnight at room temp, so they don’t start to thicken up in the cold.

11.  THE GREAT COVER-UP:  In very cold conditions, make sure to cover exposed skin (cheeks, forehead, chin, around eyes, etc...) with petroleum jelly, and/or wear a balaclava--just remember to remove it before stopping at any gas stations or convenience stores! (Trust me on that…funny thing happened one late night run I did years ago...but that’s another story)

12. "LESS IS MORE”: The great majority of runners, even experienced, technically savvy, post-synthetic revolution runners, tend to wear too much clothing (and/or too many layers) through the winter months.  We must learn to gradually test the limits of these space-age super-fabrics that we spend a good deal of money on, and trust that they will do what they purport to do—thermally regulate our body temperature by transferring moisture away from our skin…cause guess what?  They do!  The more you try this, the more comfortable you’ll be, the less money you’ll spend on apparel, and the less wash you’ll do after every run!


Watch & Learn From The Best!

                                         Haile WR

I’ve been a runner, and an avid fan of running, long enough to remember the days when it seemed like every major running event was televised on good ‘ol regular TV (mid 80’s-mid 90’s, for those who aren’t!).  As a teenager, I watched with rapt attention the drama unfold at many a Boston or New York Marathon, World Cross-Country Championship, or early “pro” 10-15K road race.  

Next came an era of declining television coverage of running events by the major networks (late 90’s to early 00’s), where it was just about impossible (except for Olympics) to watch world class distance running—ironic, given that during that period, “big running” events grew and professionalized to unprecedented levels.  In those days, we “running event junkies” (at least those of us without kick-ass satellite TV subscriptions) got our fix by logging on to on event mornings, and in terribly unfulfilling and anticlimactic fashion, “watching” the races play out, by feverishly hitting the “refresh” button on our keyboards, to read text updates provided by live correspondence.  Objectively, we learned what was happening in “almost” real time, but much of the subtle and subjective (visual, audio, etc) was lost in translation.

Then, just in the last two years or so, something great happened. The electronic media world evolved to the point where, fairly quickly and easily (using Google searches, for the most part), one could find complete, uninterrupted, real-time, video coverage of just about any major running event in the world (Boston, New York, London, Olympics, etc.), usually accompanied by fairly expert color commentary throughout.   I remember the thrill of patching into the men’s US Olympic Marathon trials last November, in time to watch the triumphant coronation of the next great American Marathoner, Ryan Hall, as he powerfully strode to victory.  For the next couple of months, on just about every run I did, I would draw on the video emblazoned in my “mind’s eye” by watching that footage, to anchor my running form cues, and improve my relaxation.

More recently, I had the pleasure of getting up at (OK, staying up till!) about 3am to watch this year’s edition of the Berlin Marathon, in its entirely, before I headed off to race day coaching our runners at the Toronto WaTerfront Marathon in September.

For those of you who don’t eat, sleep and breath distance running (i.e. you have a life beyond this crazy sport!), you may not be aware that Berlin produced not only the fastest marathon ever run by mankind, but also the third fastest woman to ever run a marathon—all in the space of about 15 minutes!  The incomparable Haile Gebrselassie set his 26th world record, and broke his own marathon world record set at this same race one year ago, running an inconceivable, 2:03:59 (under 2:57/km or 4:44/mile!). Moments later, comparative marathon newcomer, Germany’s own Irena Mikitenko won the women’s race in 2:19:19, a time previously bettered by only two women on planet earth!

Aside from the excitement of watching both runners achieve their respective greatness, I was so impressed with their running that I’ve actually since gone back to the site that aired the race, and watched it AGAIN (with lots of fast forwarding, mind you, I’m not a total running nerd…er, well, OK I am!), and was struck by a couple of very important revelations.  What I’d like to invite any/all of you to do when you have perhaps 10-20 minutes to invest in your running future (or are bored and looking for a distraction other than Facebook apps…lol!), is to go to the Universal Sports site where the Berlin race is archived (you may have to create and account and/or log in to do this, I can’t recall), and click on the Berlin race icon.

Here is the link:

Once open, unless you really want to watch much of the first 90 minutes of the race (which you’re more than welcome to do of course), click on the fast forward button, and turn down your speakers (lest you want to hear endless chipmunk chatter!).  Make sure that the coverage is advancing quickly, and you can then minimize that browser window, and go do something else for a little while.  Check back in around 15-20 minutes, and make sure you don’t go much past the 1hr30min mark of the race time clock (top corner of screen).  Once there, you can play it normal speed, turn up the speakers to hear the commentary, and see firsthand the 2 most important aspects I drew from that race.

1)       RUNNING FORM:  Cadence, cadence, cadence…and did I mention cadence?  Seriously, one of the things that sets the two aforementioned marathon phenoms apart from their nearest world-class competition, is their stride rate.  I actually measured Haile’s, in repeated 20 second samples, and compared his to that of the runners around him.  It turns out that he maintains EXACTLY the oft recommended 90 strides per minute (per leg)--like a swiss-engineered metronome!—whereas those running around him are all in the 80-85 range.  Mikitenko provides an even better example of the efficiency of high stride rate.  I measured her at or above 100 strides per minute in the closing miles of the race.  In great contrast, I measured the Kenyan woman leading the race until Irena blows by her, at just UNDER 80 strides per minute.  Her bounding, knock-kneed, arms akimbo, running style was so markedly different from the high-revving, super-efficient, piston-driving cadence of Mikitenko...and so was her result (many minutes behind at the finish).

Next time you’re out for a run, check your own stride rate: once early (5-10min in), once late (5-10 min to go), by counting your same leg foot falls in exactly 1 minute (or for 30 seconds and doubling).  Check it on a fast/hard run, check it on a steady state run, and check it on an LSD run.  If at any time (especially the “later” checks) your count dips below 85 (yes, regardless of whether you’re 6 foot 4, or 4 foot 6!), then you should focus on quickening your stride rate (little earlier/faster pick up of trail leg, hips farther forward, even with chest, tighter/shorter arm swing, etc.) while keeping the effort/intensity the same.

2)       PACING:   Negative splits—running the second half of your race faster than the first half--those of you who have worked with us before know how ardently we preach the importance of employing this tactic on race day (contingent on course layout and wind direction). And though almost every marathon is won by negative splitting, it’s extra reaffirming for those of us who believe in its tactical superiority to see the world’s best marathoners employing it so perfectly and emphatically.  Case in point here:

Haile G: 1st half – 1:02:04, 2nd half – 1:01:55 (9 second neg split…how perfect is that?!)
Irina M: 1st half -1:10:05, 2nd half – 1:09:14 (51 second neg. split…even more dramatic)

Mikitenko Berlin
So unless you know something about marathon running that Haile and Irina don’t know, maybe it’s time you give this approach a try for your next season, eh?  Remember, pacing perfection like that doesn’t just happen by accident, or because on race day, a runner decides to give it a try.  Strategic pacing is a skill that must be practiced throughout your training, in EVERY type of workout you do, week in, week out, in order to have it all come together like that on race day.

Frequent Calf, Ankle & Foot Injuries?

...Walk 'em off!



In one of our e-newsletters last year, we highlighted an increase in “ankle lever” running injuries of late--basically, pain involving anything from the plantar fascia, to heel, to Achilles tendon, to calf muscles (soleus and gastroc).  We also prescribed some helpful  fixes and healthy habits to prevent or minimize problems in that area.

However, more than a year later, we’re finding we’ve got to step it up in the war against “ALI” (ankle lever issues), because the incidence and severity of running injuries specific to this area is NOT decreasing (far from it).  Two cases in point are the awful times that two MDI coaches have had in 2008: Jennifer Faraone with a chronic Achilles problem, and myself with a “worst in 25+yrs of running” calf pull.

So, I spent a great deal of time thinking about and researching this problem…since both from a personal (i.e. my own running) and professional (ie. everyone else’s running) standpoint, it seemed very important to come up with a solution.


Well, a few months, and 3 “watershed instances” later…I think I’ve got it!

 1 - “ALWAYS ON THE RUN” – last year, I came across the website of a runner/coach in the states (a sub 2:30 marathoner, so no slouch!), who strongly believed in what he called an “always on the run” philosophy.  He felt that any aspiring runner required to sit still for many hours a day (i.e. desk work), should make an effort, at least every 3 hours, to get up and go run a little (i.e. 1 mile) in addition to regular training, to condition the body to movement.  Hmmm #1…

2 - “100 YEAR OLD WISDOM” – next, I happened to be perusing a book that an MDI runner gave me as a gift after we coached her to Boston last year (Bridget, if you’re reading this, thank you!) called “Training for Athletics and General Health”, by Harry Andrews.  It was written in 1903, and is basically a compendium of Mr. Andrew’s beliefs on how to train distance runners in his day.  Now, you’d expect his book to be riddled with inaccuracy and faults given the ensuing 100 years of advances in athletics and sport science since he wrote it, wouldn’t you?  However, though certainly there were a few elements that were nothing if not amusing (with a century of hindsight to draw on!), what was most amazing to me was how dead on the great majority of what he had to say still was!  And most interesting, was that while the best runners of that era were being coached to RUN just 3 or 4 workouts per week, they were required to WALK anywhere from 5, to 15, or even 20 MILES PER DAY in addition to their running!  Here’s a quote:

“it is in keeping with the rest of the beneficent provisions of Providence, that the very best exercise is walking, which we must all of us perforce indulge in to a greater or less extent from the time after our entry into this world when first our legs are strong enough to carry us….softly, easily, unconsciously, but surely, walking gets at every muscle in the body…no undue strain is cast upon the functions of any particular part, but all are affected for good”   

Hmmm #2…

3 - “A BUDDY OF MINE TOLD ME”…– finally, a long time running friend of mine, who was a national level and world ranked road racer “back in the day”, had gotten out of running for almost 10 years, but then upon becoming a master (40+) got back into it when his competitive juices started to flow again. Within about a year of training, he placed 2nd at the Canadian Masters Cross-Country championships and ran a 1:14 Half Marathon, and then…got injured.  Badly injured.  Despite throwing many thousands of dollars at sports med/treatment at his achilles tendon injury over 4-5 months, he couldn’t get healthy again.  So you know what he did?  He started walking to work (High Park to downtown office, at least one way, every day).  And a month or two later, you know what happened? He was able to run again.

Hmmm #3…

As all the above percolated through the coffee maker of my mind, I arrived at the conclusion that maybe, just maybe, the reason that my calves and achilles had slowly become my biggest injury nemesis over the last 10-12 years, was because my lifestyle OUTSIDE of running (or even aerobic x-training) had become increasingly sedentary.  Pathetically, one of my daily rituals had become a morning drive to/from Tim Horton’s for a coffee & bagel (just 1 mile away…ugh!), and most of my work day now, unlike 10-15 years ago, involved sitting a desk.  And oh yes, let’s not forget that my carcass is now 10-15 years older than it used to be.

The ankle lever is the conduit for all the combined force that your mind, heart, lungs, upper body, and big leg muscles (quads and hams) can muster, as it passes on through your feet and into the ground, to produce thrust to move you forward.  And if you’re generally using your legs less and less in daily life, then the differential from “0” (sitting still for long periods) to “60” (training as hard as you always used to, or want to in the future) is very likely too big a jump, so “something’s gotta give!” (thanks Jack Nicholson!).  It appears that for myself, and for many of you “non-spring chicken, day time desk jockey” runners, what “gives” is a link in the ankle lever chain.

So early in August this summer, I started walking…almost every day, at least to Tim Horton’s and back (2 miles), often a little further. And almost immediately, guess what I was able to do that I hadn’t been able to for 4+ months prior?  Yup…RUN!

Now, I wish I could say that since being struck by this “pedestr-iphany” everything has come up roses and that I’m running fit as ever, that I’m a walking zealot, never missing a days “constitutional”, and that I was smart and cautious enough as I started back into running not too push too hard, too soon, and exacerbate my sore calf (and/or other borderline injuries).

Unfortunately, though it would make for a truly great newsletter item, such is not the case.  I have been too aggressive starting back, I have experienced minor injury “hiccups” along the way, and I do not—yet—walk EVERY day of the week (4 or 5 is my current average).

However, despite those “water-muddying” circumstances, I am now firmly convinced that regular daily walking can injury-proof runners…especially those who a) are sedentary for much of their day, b) have a past history ankle lever injury, and c) are talented and/or experienced enough to run fast (when fit and healthy)—thereby widening the chasm between rest and average running speed”, and increasing the bottleneck of stress and strain on the ankle lever.

Perhaps in the coming months and or years, many more of you runners will be out on brisk morning, afternoon or evening walks, chanting my new favourite mantra as you go:

“2 miles a day keeps the sports doctor at bay!”

Marathon Dynamics Sunday Run Group

Grenadier Restaurant, 8:30am (and it's free)


Whether you are currently training with Marathon Dynamics this season, or whether you are “alumni” from past seasons (having learned everything we could ever teach you…lol!), or perhaps are interested in Marathon Dynamics but looking for a chance to meet/chat/run with some of our coaches and other runners before joining up…whatever the case may be—YOU’RE INVITED!


 The Grenadier Restaurant in High Park has graciously accepted our request to use their premises our Sunday Morning Running Group homebase, starting December 7th (next week!) onward through 2009:

                                                    Running Group

·         Mapped & measured routes on scenic and challenging courses (online maps provided at

·         Great pre-run gathering place (to change/stretch/chat/etc.)

·         Great post-run coffee and eats to refuel and rehash the morning’s run

·         Tons of Sunday morning fun, sociability and shared motivation along the way!

·         Group leaders for pace groups of a wide range of runner ability, experience and goals:

o   Fast Group: goal time/current ability of 4hr-4:30 marathon (1:50 to 2:05 Half)

o   Faster Group: goal time/current ability of 3:30-3:50 marathon (1:40 to 1:50 Half)

o   Fastest Group: goal time/current ability of 3:20-3:10 marathon (1:35 to 1:30 Half)

o   “Faster than Fastest” Group: goal time/current ability of sub 3:10 marathon (sub 1:30 Half) 

We can take up to a maximum of 60 runners (capacity of our area inside the Grenadier), so please contact me (Kevin Smith) at to confirm your interest if you’d like to join us, and we’ll send you the links to the course maps we’ll be using, and a registration form to print out, sign and bring with you, the first time you come out.  Please try to arrive around 8:20am, since we’ll try to organize ourselves and leave at/shortly after 8:30am to start our runs.




New Season, New Coaching Groups, New Approaches...


As you decide on your running goals for 2009, whether you’ve run with Marathon Dynamics before or not, we hope you’ll consider what we have to offer.

If you’re new to Marathon Dynamics running services, 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.

If you’re a “Repeat MDI Runner”
(i.e. training plan and/or coaching in the last year) then you can receive a 10%-37% discount on your CTP development this season (depending on your recent and current MDI services)

So without further ado, here are the Winter/Spring ’09 Marathon Dynamics' Coaching Groups (our Coaching Services info is now also updated on our website too).

All sessions @ 6:30-8pm , Dec ’08 - May ‘09
(unless otherwise noted):

1.    MONDAY — Downtown Toronto: Quail & Firken (Yonge/Bloor) - starts Jan. 5th
2.    TUESDAY — York University:  Indoor Track - starts Dec. 2nd 
3.    WEDNESDAY — High Park: Grenadier Restaurant - starts Dec. 3rd
4.    THURSDAY (9:30AM–NEW!) — Midtown TO "Women Only": Sunnybrook Park - starts Jan 8th
5.    THURSDAY — Midtown TO: Sunnybrook Park/Leaside HS - starts Jan 8th
6.    THURSDAY — Oakville: Revolution Health & Fitness - starts Jan 8th
7.    FRIDAY (6AM!–NEW!) — Mississauga:  Rivergrove Comm. Ctr - starts Jan 9th

We will be hosting “Early Bird Meet, Greet & Hit the Street” Coaching sessions for the Midtown Toronto (PM) & Oakville Groups on Thursday, December 4th and December 11th in order to do initial speed assessments and get those who would like to rolling before the holidays (i.e.. those with early Half, ATB 30K and Marathon race dates to train for, and/or those with “big dreams” who want to get solid momentum going before holiday lethargy sets in).  Those groups will then go on a 3 week hiatus over the “thick” of the holidays, and start up with a vengeance the first week of the new year.

If you'd like to secure your spot in one of these groups, do so ASAP.  Here’s how:

     1) Go to our website and carefully complete (if you are new to MDI) or update (if completed last season/year) your ONLINE PROFILE (see “Ready to get started?” halfway down homepage).  

    2) Then go to Coaching Registration (drop down off homepage menu) and complete your registration/invoice to claim your spot in the appropriate group.

Or, if you would like to “tawk shop” about your training, and/or have further questions about our services, please give a shout (best time to reach us is 10am-4pm weekdays, or just drop us an email)

New Stuff: aside from the services many of you have come to know & expect from Marathon Dynamics Coaching (workout prep/summaries, analysis, feedback, Mix 'n Match, Supporting Cast referral, Silver/Gold Level Coaching, E-Coaching, Race Day Coaching, E-bulletins, etc.), we’re shaking things up in two new ways this season, for the better, we hope you’ll agree:

1)       Runner’s World Online Training Log – we’re still working on our own version which brings together the MDI training plan system with an online log, but that’s still months away from completion, so in the meantime, we are asking EVERY RUNNER we work with (whether “just” with through Training Plan, or especially if also through Coaching), to begin using the online training log found at Runner’s World (unless already using a similarly functioning online training log).  We’ve been using it ourselves for the past few months, and find it to be an excellent tool for recording, tracking, analyzing our training.  Most importantly, it provides a quick and easy common interface for training information between coach and runner, without the need for emailing files or faxing pages, and is a HUGE improvement for those who have to date attempted to use the admittedly clumsy Excel training log portion of our training plans.  So for anyone planning on running with Marathon Dynamics in the coming year, please start logging your training (running, aerobic cross training, strength training, shoe use, conditions, etc.) NOW (i.e. December 1st onward) on the RW Online Training Log.  Go to and click on the “Training Log” header at the top to get started…it’s really easy!

2)       Race Pace Run (RPR) Update
– the landscape of the running scene has changed markedly since back in the late 90s, when we first began hosting RPRs in conjunction with our clinics and coaching groups.  The advent and refinement of personal GPS and footpod distance/speed measuring devices, and internet resources such as, and its more running-centric successor “Map My Run” have largely addressed one of the primary reasons we started  RPRs, the establishment of accurate distance/speed/pacing guideposts for runners.  Furthermore, the growth of “mid season” races (such as Chilly Half, Around The Bay, Nissan 10 Miler, Midsummer Night, etc.) has rendered the RPR format largely redundant (albeit at a much more expensive price tag!), and made restructuring training plans, and finding dates to draw most runners together for RPRs, increasingly difficult.   As such, after hosting approximately 80 RPRs in the last 9 or 10 years, we’re retiring the venerable “workout workhorse”, and replacing it with what we hope will be a much more flexible, convenient (and free!) alternative.  From now on, Marathon Dynamics runners are encouraged to use our High Park Sunday Morning High Park Run Group (see info above) to do their RPRs, even if you don’t do your regular weekend LSD runs with us.  This way you can run mapped & measured routes (using the maps provided online), and benefit from the social motivation of running with an appropriately paced group.

Reading & Watching Running (in case you’re not sick of running by the end of this newsletter…lol):

On our “Books to Read” list:

“What I Talk About When I Talk About Running”
– Haruki Murakami – philosophical musings on running with a practical bent

“Wired To Run”
– Scoop Skupien – a racy, wild and hilarious take on what it means to be a runner

On our “Movies to Watch” list:

 “Run Fat Boy Run”
– romantic comedy about a man determined to run a marathon to prove his worth to the woman he loves

“Saint Ralph” – (hard to find, but a true classic!) comedic drama of  a boy who believes his running and winning  the Boston marathon is the miracle that will save his dying mother

Well…that’s certainly a year’s worth of running e-news crammed into one newsletter wouldn’t you say!  We hope you found some useful info in there you can use to make your running better, stronger, and most important, more enjoyable in 2009!  In case we don’t see you until the New Year, have a super and stress-free (yeah right!) holiday season with your friends, your family, and of course...your running shoes!

Your Faithful Marathon Dynamics Coaches,

Kevin, Jennifer, Jackie, John, Robin , Todd and Steve!

In This Issue - Fall 2008  

BE YOUR OWN TROPHY...or give one as a gift!


WATCH & LEARN FROM THE BEST: Haile & Irina take Berlin


ONE RUNNER'S STORY: From A(nnie) to Z(urakowsky)


MARATHON DYNAMICS NEWS: Winter '09 Coaching Groups & More

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