The Running Whys – Mark Kirby


Ottawa Marathon Finish Line

Mark Kirby, Allyson Finley and Tammy Blechschmidt cross the finish line at the 2016 Ottawa Marathon.

It’s almost a decade since Mark Kirby formally took up running, unsure if his initial steps in 2007 would lead him much past his five-kilometre training goal.

Fast forward nine years and Kirby has seven marathons to his credit, including the Ottawa Marathon last weekend, where he and 16 other Fredericton area athletes – including 13 marathoners – combated the heat to tackle major personal goals in one of the country’s biggest races. Continue reading

The Running Whys and Hows – Hannah Arseneault

 Hannah Arseneault, right, pictured with Lilly Coffin, won the half marathon title at the 2014 Marathon by the Sea.

Hannah Arseneault, right, pictured with Lilly Coffin, won the half marathon title at the 2014 Marathon by the Sea.

Last year, we asked Alex Coffin, a past champion of Marathon by the Sea, for his Running Whys story. This year, Alex is slipping into the coaching role with the Running Whys and Hows, with a look at Hannah Arseneault of St. Martins. Hannah’s progress in various areas of running has benefitted from two strong appearances in the MBTS half marathon. Here, Alex details her path to the half marathon title a year ago! Enjoy

By Alex Coffin

Hannah Arseneault joined the Saint John Track & Field Club even though it was a tough commute from St Martins into the city for practices. When she decided on her high school, she also committed to attend Saint John High School to take advantage of the well-supported running program there. Continue reading

The art of dealing with distractions

I recently changed jobs and among the biggest benefits was an opportunity to ease back into the volunteer sector. At my previous post, while the hours were reasonably regular, there were enough irregularities that you could not firmly commit to something like coaching. Many a night last summer, we arrived at the soccer field with just enough time for a goodbye wave before the girls quickly sprinted to meet Coach A or Coach B.

So this summer, I have, thanks to better timing, opted to coach Avery’s under 7 girls soccer team. When I was younger, I coached a decent amount but since the move to New Brunswick a way back when, my soccer involvement has essentially been limited to several seasons in a Sunday night league in Fredericton (A masters loop that was quite enjoyable) and one interesting summer on a B-Division squad named the Grim Reapers. Grim was our record but the team featured a bunch of interesting people I really enjoyed competing with against, often times, superior opposition.

So what does this have to do with the P.E.I. Marathon?

Last week, plenty.

As part of the preparation requirements, each coach at the U7 level was encouraged last week to take a 7-hour community coaches clinic – 3.5 hours on Tuesday and 3.5 hours on Wednesday. Because of the timing, I stayed in the city after work and headed over to the sparkling UNBSJ turf soccer field for two worthwhile nights of learning, drills and a bit of peer teaching.  Energetically, and somewhat optimistically (foolishly?), I ran after work Tuesday for 7k through the hills of the city prior to the clinic. I skipped the run Wednesday but thought the clinic hit a number of good notes that night, preparing all for the rush of U7 activity on the pitch, beginning June 4. The only problem, from the running point of view,  was the carryover effect, which ate into one of my long runs on Thursday because I was pretty tired – sapped actually – and I was asleep early.

On Friday, by the time I was ready to run, it was 9:30 p.m., so I rescheduled things and opted for a 10 k run Saturday and the 14-k long run Sunday, on plenty of rest. It worked out well. I felt content with both those runs. Overall, there should not be many evening-clogging events all summer – or at least in huge midweek blocks – as soccer night is about 1.5 hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

However, the soccer-running combo last week provided a good lesson in discipline and time management. One thing about this training is the focus requirement; the need to hit the mini goals along the way and plan accordingly to meet them. It is early, but I’ll need to improve in dealing with potential curve balls that could and will impact or hamper the running schedule.

That said, I hit 41 k for Week 2 of the 4-week base-level training plan and put together a decent 14k run Sunday at 6:31 for the first 7k and 5:56 for the second 7k. Just two weeks away from the first true stage of the Pfitz 18/55 Marathon plan, I am confident I can hit comfortably meet the early weekly demands. The first week calls for 53k overall, ending with 19k run – the shortest long-run of the 18-week training period.

Last week – 41k, long run 14k.

This week – 50 k, long run 16k.