Canadian Runner Malindi Elmore 2014-10-08T04:16:31Z WordPress Malindi Elmore <![CDATA[The hay is in the barn…race week thoughts]]> 2014-10-08T04:16:31Z 2014-10-07T22:05:16Z As many of you prepare for your season finale this coming weekend in either Kelowna or Victoria or Kona or anywhere else cool in the world, I urge you to repeat after me: “the hay is in the barn”.   At this point in the game, the work has hopefully been done; if not, it is too late now and you might as well wing it!  For many of you (ok – all I hope!) this is obvious.  You really can’t expect to train for a big race inside of 6 days.  For some strange reason though, the reverse scenario often seems less logical.  Everyone has heard of the taper but what really does it look like? Furthering the analogy of the barn, it means that all the training is done and if you do not guard it carefully at this point, it could be an awful lot of hay ruined by stupidity/anxiety/compulsive training…or any other reason why you resist to back off during race week.

The taper is meant to allow your body to have its “peak performance” by providing the optimal rest and recovery needed (combined with your earlier training) to produce your best result.   It is so tempting to second guess your fitness and attempt to “squeeze” in one more hard workout, one more long run, one more weight session, one more anything, but at this point in the game, less is more.  You have very little to gain and much more to lose by digging yourself a hole, and becoming even slightly over-tired or rundown which will impact your performance on race day.  Many coaches and experts argue that “it is better to be 10% under-trained than 1% over-trained” (just Google that phrase and you will see what I mean!) and the tendency of many driven and goal oriented people is to do as much as possible ALL THE TIME to ensure success which can be good at times and bad at other times.

I have fallen into this “goal oriented” pit on many occasions and it took the careful watch of my husband and coach to make sure that I did not over-reach in the days leading into an important competition.  I remember one particularly vivid conversation (ok, debate? Argument?) with my husband in Paris where my goal was the World Championships standard of 4:06.00 (for my road running/non-trackie readers, that’s about 65.5 seconds a lap for 3 ¾ laps).  I wanted to do “one last” hard workout to prove to myself that I could run that fast.  It was not on the plan from my coach, but since he was far away in Calgary I made the unilateral decision to “add it” to the week’s plan.  Cue husband interference.  HE WOULD NOT LET ME!  He insisted. I had a mini temper tantrum on the track under the Eiffel Tower (see – that’s why I remember it. Who said the Eiffel Tower was purely about romance?)  Not only was I not following my coach’s plan, but I was also interfering with the rules: the hay is in the barn AND less is more on race week.  Needless to say, dear hubby also did NOT let me do nearly the sightseeing I would have loved to do either – arguing that time on feet and sightseeing is also taxing, just like extra training.  Thankfully, the results paid off and I was rewarded with my sub 4:06 goal. Who hoo.  And I remember being shocked at how little running I did that week to achieve my goal because the “hay was in the barn” already.

For a nifty diagram and explanation of the role of the stimulus (training) and recovery sequence check this similarly themed blog post from Strength Runner (I wrote this post before discovering this blog…so I am not stealing ideas!).

Need some race week taper reminders? Check out my list of 7 things I try to remember to do to execute my race week taper.


PS Thanks Dave at for the cool photo with Ryan Hall and co running into the barn!


Malindi Elmore <![CDATA[7 Race Week Taper Tips]]> 2014-10-07T22:06:52Z 2014-10-07T22:04:48Z There are a few widely accepted rules and approaches to taper /race week and here are my favourite race week reminders:

  1. Keep frequency of running the same. If you usually run 5 days per week, aim for about five training runs on race week too.  If you usually run 7 days a week, consider adding one as an OFF day and train on 6 days (which is at least close to 7 as compared to cutting down to 3).  This makes sure you do not “go stale”.
  2. 2.    Keep some intensity and race pace.  You want your body to be reminded of what your race pace is but you do not want to kill yourself to do so.  For a marathoner, this may be as little as 10 -15 minutes of marathon-pace running with a short warm-up and cool-down.  For a 1500m runner, this is more like a couple 200s at 1500m race pace.
  3. 3.    Don’t freak out if it still feels “hard”.  It will. You will wonder how in the world you will run that fast for that long whatever your goal is.  It.just.feels.hard.on.race.week.  Its mind games, that’s all: ignore your mind it’s out to get you.
  4. 4.    Cut back your volume!  There are all sorts of parameters people go by depending on your event but a typical rule is 60% of volume for a marathon race week.  Since we want to keep frequency similar this may mean your typical 60 min run is now a 20 min run.  What to do with all that extra time? Get a pedicure!  Sleep! Post how pumped you are for your race on social media! But don’t run or feel guilty for not running.
  5. 5.    Rest, de-stress, recover.  Try not to add a visit from your best friend from college the week before a race. Try not to schedule an important work presentation or host a garage sale the day before your race.  Look at the calendar weeks before an important race and resist the urge to book anything you do not absolutely need to the week leading into a race.  Consider even taking a vacation day to put your feet up, rest and get organized prior to the flurry of race weekend.
  6. 6.    Eat well and healthy, but do not over-eat (or under-eat!).  Notice your training volume is going down by 60%?  Although that doesn’t mean that your eating should go down by 60% either, it might mean that the nightly ice cream habit should be locked in the freezer until the race is over.  It is easy to gain a pound or two race week which WILL directly impact your performance by up to several seconds per mile – which adds up to minutes over a long race!
  7. 7.    Think happy positive and productive thoughts.  We all know the power of positive thinking and visualization so put the power of your mind to work: stare at yourself in the mirror and remind yourself how fast, fit and awesome you are – just like you should do every day but usually are in too much a rush!
For more tips on recovery, check out my friend and the founder of the Run SMART Project, Brian Rosetti’s tips.

So with no further adieu…happy race week and remember…THE HAY IS IN THE BARN and good luck!  What are your race day taper fears, tips and stories?


Malindi Elmore <![CDATA[Welcome back Koter]]> 2014-10-07T15:22:16Z 2014-10-07T15:22:16Z So. I have ignored my blog for TWO years + 3 months.  I took a hiatus.  I can explain and/ or make excuses but it will all sound like this: blah, blah, blah.  Here’s the  1 run-off sentence summary – missed making the 2012 Olympic team, was devastated and gutted, took a break, which turned into 2 + years, went back to uni, earned degree #3 (I am SO done with school now forever) in Education, worked my first year of full time non-running employment as a social studies and French teacher, connected with friends and family over beer and ice cream, dabbled in some running/biking/swimming races and best of all had a baby!

Now I am itching to get back training and racing again and I have A LONG ways to go.  It will probably start with actually running again but that’s another story. Thankfully I have discovered that swimming and biking are great ways to build fitness especially since I am interested in racing triathlons, road races, cross country, and not so much the track anymore.  I am also really keen on some running-related side projects including online / local coaching and organizing race events.  A few people have asked lately about why my blog is SO out-of-date and I decided that I really love my URL too much to let it go.  If anyone wants it …everything’s for sale for a price. Ha ha.

Ok so there’s the short story.  Going to try to update more regularly.  They say…there’s always tomorrow.


Malindi Elmore <![CDATA[Post-race workouts]]> 2013-02-04T04:28:00Z 2013-02-04T04:28:00Z Alberto Salazar’s group may have made post-workouts most famous, but they are not the only ones to throw in some tempo, speed, or even volume after a race.  I especially love doing a long run while enjoying post-race endorphins – I find it much more enjoyable than once the soreness and fatigue sets in the next day!  Sometimes it only takes a few more miles in a cool-down, combined with a warm-up and a race to make for a high mileage/ quality day…allowing you time to sleep in and relax the following morning. For other ideas, and some of the physiology behind post-race workouts, check on the article by Caitlin Chock below.


Malindi Elmore <![CDATA[Getting a Head Start: Athletic New Year Resolutions]]> 2012-12-21T17:08:19Z 2012-12-21T17:07:09Z  

There is nothing like a new beginning to kick-start old goals! The beauty of a new year is the opportunity for a fresh start, the chance to invigorate your training with increased commitment to new and returning goals.  Thankfully, the New Year comes at a great time: right at the end of a period of indulgence, fun, and broken routine.  January 1st gives you a very definite timeline: this is the day that you refuse desserts, drinks, and late night parties.  This is the day that socializing no longer rules the calendar; replaced instead by training runs, workouts, trips to the gym and races.  It is a perfect balance because it allows you the opportunity to relax and enjoy the holiday festivities knowing that there is a deadline for a return to the structure and commitment you crave.  So without further ado, here are 10 tips for your new year running resolutions:

  1. Have some fun this holiday season! Allow yourself the permission to have a fun holiday season.  It is ok to break the diet and exercise routine for a short period of time. Everyone needs a break and chances are, you deserve it. Most runners tend to be highly structured and committed folk, so do not be too hard on yourself if you enjoy an extra helping, dessert or glass of wine over the holidays.  It is good to give your body and mind the occasional break and you can justify the social season with knowing that January 1st marks a clean start.
  2. January 1st, 2013:  Cold turkey baby. Rip that band-aid off fast and hard.  There is no such thing as “weaning” yourself into good habits, you just need to make a clear, decisive move towards achieving your new goals.  For this reason, I recommend being strict with yourself in January: no more desserts, no more extra drinks, and roll back that clock to a reasonable bed time again.  There will be bumps along the resolution path, and it is best to start off on the stricter side of acceptability.
  3.  Plan your Plan.  Map out some goals, chart how you need to get there, and if possible, get professional advice.  Even for very experienced runners, a new perspective and approach can do wonders to re-invigorate your planning.  It is really easy to get into the same routine of training, day after day, week after week, year after year.  Your body adapts very quickly to a training routine and you will hit the wall if you always do the same thing. The analogy I like to use is the weight room: the first day on a new plan you are brutally sore and miserable.  However, after a few weeks of the same routine you suddenly notice no difference in muscle soreness and find that was once difficult is now easy.  Time for change! The same principle can be applied to your running.  You cannot expect change if you do nothing to change it.   Check out Run S.M.A.R.T. Project to connect with an expert coach today.
  4. Buy yourself a beautiful new training journal.  Although some people prefer electronic logs or apps, I personally love starting the year with a beautiful new leather bound calendar that I use as a training log.  My husband buys me the same journal every year – except in a different colour – so that my bookself is a kaleidoscope of colourful journals all neatly lined up, very much appealing to my type A personality.  I really love cracking the binding for the first time and using my colourful gel pens to write my goals on the front cover.  There is something about actually putting pen to paper that really motivates me on days that I am really dragging my butt.  Some computer types prefer cuddling up with their excel spreadsheets and phone apps to record training, but for me, that’s too much like work.  Regardless of your choice of poison, choose one! (Note: check out professional runners Lauren Fleshman and Rosin McGettingan’s inspirational training logs for women at
  5. Keep a training journal.  Seriously! Now that you own your gorgeous new journal (or set up your dream spreadsheet), be sure to use it. How can you legitimately work towards your goals if you do not keep track of what you are doing?  A training journal is a very rich resource that will allow you to review what contributed to the ups and downs of a season.  It does not need to be fancy, simply record how you are feeling, what you did, your mileage, your interval times, your health and how you felt on your run.  There are no strict rules but to record at least what you did for your running everyday!  There have been many days where the only thing that gets me out for a 2nd workout is the fear of leaving the afternoon section forever blank.
  6. Remember that every cell in your body is replaceable! A friend once told me that every cell in the body regenerates every 6 months, although I think that biologists might disagree.  Nevertheless, I like to think of diet and weight management in terms of health and nutrition.  The better you fuel your body, the better it will feel and perform.  Take January as an opportunity to build strong, clean cells.  And remember: do not buy fuel for your body where you buy fuel for your car!
  7. Find a group! Yeah for people.  While some people thrive in their own mental space, it is nice to mix things up.  My preference is to find a large group to run with or a particularly chatty friend so I can be entertained as long as possible with minimal contribution.  The time goes by quickly and you avoid side stitches from uneven breathing if you are not the group entertainer; but be beware, you should be prepared to contribute positively to the group talk at some points in the run or you might get dropped from the invite-list!
  8. Accountability.  Maybe a word generally reserved for work, but meeting a group, a clinic, a friend or a coach really helps keep your running on track. Bonus points if you can work an arrangement whereby they come to you, minimizing an opportunity of calling off a workout due to “tiredness” or “headaches” when the snow is blowing hard and the mercury is low.  It is one of my favourite tricks: when people arrive literally on my doorstep to go for a run, I would have to dig very deep to flake out.
  9. Commit to a race with your greenbacks (or in Canada, your multi-coloured-backs).  No more wishy-washy “I think I will sign up” kind of attitude. Do it. Put down that credit card, and if you really need the extra incentive choose a totally awesome destination race to justify a holiday.  You might not feel you have time and money for a holiday in Hawaii this winter, but if you have to go for a race, well that’s a different story! Chances are your partner and friends will also be onboard with this approach.
  10. 90% Committed / 10% Flexible plan.  Life happens and can thwart even your best-laid plans.  Kids get sick, work gets hectic, winter flu hits home.  Do not be too hard on yourself if you are not able to follow your plan to a T.  If you have a bad day or week, allow yourself the opportunity to look forward positively and not dwell on the lost time.  The same can be said for diets gone sideways.  Realize that eating a quart of ice cream one day does not constitute a new routine, but instead is just a slip and a chance for improvement the next day. Keep the big goal as the over-arching motivation to be your best self and bring out your best running year yet!


Good Luck and feel free to share your 2013 goals with me…because I think that is Resolution # 11…Share, Share, Share and get your team on board!






Malindi Elmore <![CDATA[What day is it? Where am I?]]> 2012-06-04T14:35:02Z 2012-06-04T14:35:02Z The last few weeks have been a whirlwind to say the least! I have no updated my blog in a few weeks and a lot has happened. I am, however, really grateful for all the messages and emails of support and inquiry so I figured it was time to bring things back to current around here. And oh my goodness it is long so I should figure out how to do the “Cole’s Notes Version!” From what I can recall, in less than a month I have raced in Jamaica, South Korea, Morocco and Norway and have spent my transition time at home and in Switzerland.

Yesterday I counted that I have been in 21 airports in 14 days – no wonder they are all blurring together! (Now if only all my flights were all on the same carrier I could actually have accumulated some serious airline points!). All this in the hunt of an elusive Olympic “A” standard….!

After running Olympic B standard in South Korea on May 16th, my team and I agreed that it would be prudent for me to hop over to Europe for a couple races and to get the Olympic A standard. Otherwise my next – and probably last before Olympic trials – race would be June 10th in Vancouver at the Harry Jerome meet. Since things were feeling good and my training had been going so well, it seemed like a good decision to just go over and “get ‘er done” and then be able to train, recover and prepare for the rest of the season in June.

Our idyllic home away from home - the Alps & Lake Geneva are blocked by the clouds but on a clear day they are beautiful. Cows clang in the pasture beside the house and rosters wake us in the am!

My first race as going to be shortly after arriving in Europe on May 27th in Rabat Morocco. After that we were hoping that I would be confirmed in Rome (May 31st) or Oslo (June 7th) with a back-up plan with what was supposed to be a low key but fast race in Northwest Norway on June 2nd – or any other race that looked like a good opportunity. So I merrily hopped on a plane, joining Hilary Stellingwerff in Vancouver who had more or less the same plan. Since she lived in Switzerland for the last 5 years, she arranged for us to stay with her old massage therapist in a lovely village midway between Geneva and Lausanne. So far the best part of the trip has been staying with Inge and her delightful 12 year old daughter who have been so generous, welcoming and kind. I wake up every day at their home feeling grateful for being in a home and not a hotel, and for the wonderful views from their house of vineyards, orchards and old villages overlooking Lake Geneva.

Hilary and I spent a couple days in Switzerland before hopping over to Morocco for the World Challenge Rabat Meeting. Unfortunately, I felt really flat during the race and still in my “jetlag” window. No matter how many times I have traveled to Europe and expected better results from my first race, I have never felt or run well when I first arrive so in retrospect it was no big surprise. I had to rely upon some major positive thinking in the latter parts of my race in Morocco when I could not change gears and felt the field running away from me. It would have been easy to jog the race in during the last 100m but I know I still ran about as hard as I could, which in the end is the most I can ask of myself in any race. The result wasn’t great but it wasn’t horrible either. Nevertheless, with every race counting, it did not set me up well to get into my next set of races.

And this is where things start to unwind… Two days before the highly anticipated race in Rome (one of the best races in the world with smoking fast results, great weather, beautiful track surrounded by Roman statues and where my personal best still stands), Hilary receives an email that she is in the race! Who hoo! What a great opportunity and surely a very strong chance of running a personal best and Olympic standard. At the same time, I received an email that said I was “first on the waitlist” and if anyone dropped out that I would also compete. So we were both optimistic that things were going to work out for both of us.


The meet hotel in Rabat. Too bad I wasn't there for a holiday!

Needless to say the next 30 hours were close to agony for me as I waited to hear if I was in the race. Most of the time I stayed calm and at peace with whatever the outcome would be, but then I would check my email and get an update that suggested that there was still a very good chance that it would work out for me so I would get really excited and hopeful, only for more and more time to pass without any firm word and I would slide into a state of mild depression. I went to bed the night before the race still hoping that I would be given a spot in the race, but no more emails came making the final decision clear to me that it was not happening. So I watched the race on TV in Switzerland with my host family and a bunch of neighbour kids – you should have seen how they jumped and cheered to see Hilary dip under Olympic standard with a new personal best time! It was great to see Hilary meet her goals she has worked so hard for and I would have loved to give her a hug in person – ideally sharing a similar fate.

Races in Europe are so hard to get into and until you run a fast time (under Olympic standard) you are forever on the bubble. But usually it just takes one of those fast races to get the fast time – most girls who run in the 4:06-4:09 world outside a big meet are able to pop a time several seconds faster in a Diamond League caliber meet. Running fast is about many many factors coming together, including fitness, tactics, weather, pacing and competition. You can run fast without every factor being perfect but you need most of them to be at least strong for a 4:05 performance.

Real life just down the beach from our hotel

The day following Rome, with a slightly heavy heart since I had so badly wanted to have been there, I began my journey to most westerly part of Norway, in the quaint fishing village of Flora, to race at a low key meet. Although it was low key, it had been arranged for a Norweigan athlete who was only a few hundredths off Olympic standard so they were bringing in about 6 or so fast 1500m runners to create a fast race. It was supposed to be 4:04-4:06 type race, but as I was heading to the airport to travel to Norway I discovered some bad news: the weather was going to be crap and most of the field had pulled out at the last minute. So I was traveling 10 hours from Geneva (lots of connections!) to Norway to go race in a “time trial” situation in early spring like conditions.  I could have done that at home in better conditions with more athletes.  Let me tell you, it took a lot of emotional energy just to get myself to that start line. I don’t think I have ever been less excited to race in my life.

The only thing that kept me focused on running the race was the fact that several people had told me that if I ran “well” (a very ambiguous term), it would be reasonable to expect that I would be confirmed in the next big Diamond League meet in Oslo on June 7th. It would be my “Rome”. We obviously ran very slowly, but in about 7 degrees C (~40ish F) and 50 km/hour winds there was no way we were going to run fast so the race turned into a tactical race. I rallied all my energy to get through the race and met my objective of winning the race.  Obviously 4:16 is nothing to write home about, but I figured with the conditions it was at least a sub 4:10 effort.  Regardless, I was assured I would know by 3:00pm the next day if I was in the Oslo race. The only problem was that my flight was leaving Norway at 2pm! I got on my plane departing from Flora wondering if I would stay in Oslo, go to Amsterdam and try to fly back to Canada that day, or go back to Geneva to stay a few more days with my gracious hosts (who don’t mind me coming and going as long as I help cook some meals!).


Post race Norway: dinner and fishing on a boat. I am standing with a long time competitor from Slovena, Sonja Roman.

Spirits still hopeful, I check my email in the airport in Oslo and received a disappointing – although not entirely unexpected – email that the race was full and they did not have room to add me to the field but that if I waited “a few more days” maybe someone would drop out and there would be room. I almost burst into tears right there on the spot but I didn’t really want everyone staring at me so I just swallowed hard and resorted to many of the positive thinking lines that sound very fake when you are really bummed. It was another hard day of travel sitting on the planes wondering what next and how was I going to take back control of my running.

So this is what I have come up with: I can wait until Tuesday to hear about Oslo (race is Thursday) and if not then I will hopefully get on a flight back to BC and run Harry Jerome on Sunday. Is it ideal to not know if I am racing Thursday or Sunday in Europe or in BC? No, but now that I have gone through the emotional roller coaster of the week I have come to realize once again that I need to let go of things out of my control and focus on what I can control. I know that I am fit, strong and competitive; I can run at least the best race of the year this week whether it is in Olso or Vancouver and that both are good opportunities for fast racing. I know that once I step on the line I will be able to focus 100% on executing my best race and not worrying about the past or future. I want to walk away from the race and this year knowing I did everything in my power and control to do my best – and the rest is just the way life and sports goes.  And no one said it would be easy! But when it is easy and is does click, it is so worth it!

Western Norway after midnight at the beginning of June!


Malindi Elmore <![CDATA[An nyoung ha seh yo]]> 2012-05-15T01:38:13Z 2012-05-15T01:38:13Z In case you didn’t get that: Hello in Korean!

Track and Field is a crazy sport. In the middle of April, I would not have expected to spend the first two weekends of May racing in Jamaica and in Korea; but here I am, desperately trying to at least memorize the complicating and foreign phrases for “Hello” and “Thank you” in Korean.  Learning Jamaican was much easier!

One of the things I love best about my sport is that it is ever-changing and surprises are always around the corner.  Although I would prefer to have the luxury of a top track athlete who can confirm top competitions well in advance, I am in the position where each race I need to “prove” my worth for the following opportunity.  For example, after racing at Stanford on April 28th, I was invited to a meet the following weekend in Kingston, Jamaica. Convinced that it was going to be a deep and quality field, my teammate Hilary Stellingwerff and I decided to accept the invitation and fly to the sprint-crazed nation to race.  It turns out there is a reason why Jamaica is sprint country, and as much as the crowd support was appreciated, the race turned out to be a fartlek-style, collision-bound 1500m with a wind-up last 600m between Hilary and me.  Hilary documents the race in her blog here.  Needless to say, it was not the race I had anticipated…although positives can be taken from aspects of the race, the result was not what I had hoped for!

Enroute to Jamaica with Speed River Teammies: Hilary, me, Chris Winter and Taylor Milne

Two days after arriving home from Jamaica – and still recovering from the 20 hours of travel – my manger, the awesome Kris Mychasiw, emailed me and asked if I wanted to race in Deagu, Korea the following week.  Initially I rejected the opportunity, due to obvious reasons involving significant travel and last minute training adjustments.  At that point, I was set on racing at Occidental College outside LA instead on May 18th, which is set up to be an Olympic qualifying opportunity.  After a bit of reflection and team strategizing with my coach and husband, I changed my mind.


Hilary and I celebrate post-race with Johan Blake's 200m race in the background

Even though it is further away, I felt more optimistic about my racing in Korea than LA for a number of reasons.  And, although I am not overly superstitious, I had a really great race and experience at the World University Games (FISU) in 2003 in Daegu where I narrowly missed winning the race, settling for bronze in a hot race against two girls who have since become Olympic medalists (the feature photo is taken from the FISU Opening Ceremonies – back when digital cameras were quite the novelty!).  When I think Daegu, my heart gets excited.  To me, Occidental is a bit of a “chasing the standard” race while Deagu is a “race to race” race.  There is a subtle, but very important difference to me.

Right now, I am hoping and feeling really good about my chance to race tomorrow in Daegu, Korea, and that I will run fast enough and place high enough that I will have a much better idea of my next six weeks of competitions – which, in an ideal world will include my Olympic A standard so that I can extend my race schedule with certainty to August!

I was lucky to run into Canadian hammer thrower ace, Sultana Frizell, at the Vancouver airport.  We were our travel uniforms:  runners, compression socks, and sweats!  Comfort trumps fashion in the middle of track season. We arrived late last night and were very happy to fall into bed after nearly 24 hours of travel.  Today is an easy pre-race day with some easy running, drills and strides, and tomorrow is race day.  The following day is my nice long journey back home, but hopefully my spirits will be high and my heart will be glad.  I wonder where I will end up next weekend?


Match the legs to the runner and to the thrower!






Malindi Elmore <![CDATA[Pre Race Warm-up Interview]]> 2012-04-03T18:07:04Z 2012-04-03T18:05:42Z Here’s an interview I did with the Run SMART Project on pre-race warm-ups.  New Flagstaff training blog update coming soon…

Warming Up With Malindi Elmore

April 3rd, 2012      Comments


We asked Run SMART coach Malindi Elmore a few questions about warming up properly and how to approach a 5k or 10k race. Learn how an Olympian does it and what she recommends for runners of all levels.

What’s does your typical warm-up routine consist of for an easy run, quality session and race and why?

My warm-up routine certainly varies according to my workout objective.  Something of high intensity – a race or quality workout – takes me between 45-60 minutes to warm up for!  I usually start with 15-20 minutes of easy running and then do 3-6 minutes or so of “steady state” running so I actually start to “prime the pump” before the hard work begins.  I will either do a short fartlek (2 x 3 minutes) or short tempo run (5 minutes) where I gradually build my pace to about marathon pace. This helps to warm things up and get my body more ready for the hard work ahead – a sort of bridge between the easy jogging and fast running.  Next, I will do a series of drills and dynamic movement drills which help with form, recruitment, stretching, etc. Finally, I will do some “strides” which progress from longer and slower to faster and shorter the closer I am to the beginning of my race or workout.For an easy run, I generally just head out the door nice and easy until my body warms up enough to start running more normally. I certainly notice a significant difference with both my age and training workload – I used to dash out the door at a quick pace but now I am a bit of a “hobbler” for the first few minutes until things warm up and stretch out enough to start running better.  If things don’t start to feel better by 10 minutes into a run then maybe it is time to consider a change of plans: day off, easy day, cross train, etc.

What type of stretching do you subscribe to?

I am not big on conventional stretching. As I mentioned above, I use drills, strides and dynamic movement to warm up. Studies show that conventional stretching is not very effective – and in fact counter-productive – to running performance.  A certain amount of muscle tension is necessary for fast running and you actually don’t want to be too “loose”: consider the energy in a tight versus a loose elastic band.

When do you typically do strides before your races?

I do my strides approximately 15 minutes before my race.  This may change depending on the circumstances of the race and how easy it is to find space to do strides.  Sometimes people need to do strides before going to the start line – then you just need to bounce around to stay warm while waiting for the countdown.  Optimally you are warm and your system is charged prior to the gun but not exhausted from a long and hard warm-up!  I make sure my last strides is several minutes before the race start so my heart rate has a chance to drop down again.

You mentioned your warm-up varies depending on the race distance…can you elaborate?

Absolutely! The shorter the event, the more dynamic and zippy I like to feel. Prior to a long road race, I will focus on longer strides (30-45 seconds) so I actually feel like I am getting into race pace.  When I drop down to events as short as 800m I like to feel very sharp – but this would do me no good in a long road race. I think it is important to adapt the warm-up for the race and to hit strides which prime your body for the work ahead.  For a long event like a marathon or 1/2 marathon, I would keep the warm-up much shorter, although I would still advise some warming up so you feel ready to go when the gun goes.

What would you recommend to a beginner level runner looking to finish a 5k or 10k race?

One of the key pieces of advice I could give a beginner as well as a veteran runner looking to run 5k or 10k is to keep the first third of the race very controlled.  It is much easier and much more fun to pick up the pace at the half way mark when everything is feeling great than it is to suffer through the pain of having gone out too quickly and hitting the wall midway through the race. Given all the excitement, energy and competition on race day it is really easy to fly off the start line feeling like a million bucks, only to find the pace is too rich later in the race.  It is very hard to recover from going out too hard and you lose much more time than by starting conservatively and building throughout the race.

What about for someone looking to run fast? What are the key components they should understand?

I would say the exact same thing to a more experienced runner looking to run a fast time. Hopefully the athlete has done enough training to have a very good idea of what pace they realistically can sustain; starting the race at desired race pace (and not faster) and trying to run a negative split race is a much more positive race experience and usually nets a faster over all performance.

Any general warm-up tips, suggestions? 

Give yourself more time than you need – race day logistics often take longer than you think.  The bathroom lines get really long 15 minutes before a race and so you need to plan on some time standing around in line – don’t wait until the last minute! Also, changing shoes, changing into your racing gear, and putting your number on your jersey all take time, especially when your hands and fingers are a bit jittery from nerves.  It may also take longer to get to the start area because of the crowds – so these are all things you need to factor into a race day. Races are nerve-wrecking enough, so try to anticipate other stresses in advance and plan your morning accordingly.  When you get to the start area, take a couple nice deep breaths and remind yourself that you are doing this for fun and all you can expect from yourself is your best.  Don’t worry – everyone is a bit nervous but the euphoria at the end is worth the pre-race nerves!



Malindi Elmore <![CDATA[Getting High]]> 2012-03-22T02:53:18Z 2012-03-21T22:17:33Z Along with three feet of snow that arrived on Sunday, a large group of Canadian runners descended upon Flagstaff, AZ for our annual pilgrimage.  The coveted pot at the end of the rainbow:  improved fitness that comes from sucking air so high above sea level.

We are currently living and training at approximately 7000 feet in the small college mountain town of the tight knit Northern Arizona community.  Flagstaff has been a haven for endurance athletes for years and continues to grow in its popularity.  It has an almost cult-like mystic among runners and triathletes, with hoards of us flocking from around the world.  In fact, I spoke to a local here who said that every lane in the local pool has been booked all year already by visiting triathletes and swimmers looking for the pre-Olympic training edge.

Find our own trail in the woods

I am here with a group of Speed River athletes and affiliates as we all prepare for our respective track seasons.  I am sharing a really cute cottage with my friends Hilary Stellingwerff and Marilyn Arsenault – we have dirt roads and trails right out the door and the gym across the street.

It is an Olympic year and as such, people are doing whatever it takes to get the biggest advantage possible leading into the outdoor season.  Last week I chatted virtually with my two friends, American Lauren Fleshman and Australian Georgie Clarke, and discovered, low and behold – they were also coming with their respective groups! Who-hoo training party in Flagstaff!  This is one of the things I love best about being a runner: the world is pretty small and the likelihood of running into long lost friends from all around the world in random mountain town in Northern Arizona is actually pretty high.  I am sure we will be planning some large group potluck dinners.

As part of our acclimatization, we are on a low intensity-training week.   When you first arrive at altitude, the body needs some time to adapt to the thin air.  I have been running with my heart rate monitor for several runs and I have been impressed that my heart rate and pace are pretty comparable to what it is at home.  However, this is my 11th long stint at altitude so my body should adapt much quicker now that in the past.  I remember my first altitude camp at Mammoth as a freshman in college and how destroyed I was! It did not help that day one was a long run with tempo with the extremely fit and acclimatized upper classman!

Everyone responds differently to altitude and as such it is important to monitor and adjust training based on quality of sleep, energy, and health.  Many people experience stomach problems, headaches, nose bleeds or insomnia when they first arrive. I am pretty lucky that my body doesn’t notice it very much, although my breathing rate is higher on runs.  Although I am happy to not experience these symptoms, I wonder if on the flip side, if I reap the same benefits as people who are more sensitive?  For example, they may be more responsive to these changes in environment and therefore experience a larger training stimulus.

Since there was so much deep snow, yesterday we decided to rent snowshoes and go on a hike instead of our second run.  The snow was several feet deep, which combined with the trailhead at 9000 foot elevation, made for a challenging afternoon excursion. Nevertheless, we were rewarded with some stunning views and had a great group bonding experience.


]]> 3 Malindi Elmore <![CDATA[St. Patrick’s Day Fun Run 5 km]]> 2012-03-17T21:18:42Z 2012-03-09T22:31:37Z

What:  5km Fun Run / Time-trial

When: 9 am Sat March 17th

Where: Dolphins – the Grand

Who: All Runners

You are invited to join our  5km “time trial” run.  We will meet at 9 am for a group warm-up and begin the time trial around 9:45.  This is not an official race but we will take hand time performances and will mark out a 5km route with 1km markers.  We will have a few prizes and you are also invited to dress in spirit of the day. It is also possible that we end up drinking green beer somewhere afterwards…and who knows maybe this will be the start of a new St. Paddy’s Day tradition in Kelowna!

Everyone is welcome! Family, friends, kids, 4-legged kids on leashes

For more information / RSVP please contact:

Malindi Elmore at

Updated: March 17th, 2012

Despite waking up to a blizzard, 25 people came out for the 1st Annual St. Paddy’s Day 5km Fun Run / Time Trial.    Our first and greenest runner Alex, recovered from running off the course in the first 100m!  It was fantastic to have so many keen runners out today representing a number of local training groups including high school runners Quinn and Leanne, UBCO cross country team members, Kelowna Running Club, Critical Speed, PACE, Balance Point and of course Canadian Running Clinics.  In the four year old division, we had two all-stars running an entire 2 km: Owen and Abby!  Thanks to Al, Nate, Nikki, Pat & Corrine for helping with timing; and to Mizuno and Solo Bars for providing some draw prizes.  Stay tuned for next year…results may no longer be on first name basis.

Results: 2012_St Paddy 5km results

The whole crew spanning 70 years and 4 legged friends too!

Ready, set, watch out for snow!

Off they go for 5km of fun

While Nate Reiter & I pretend to enjoy the sunshine

After running 2 km and winning the 4 year old boys division, Owen takes a much needed break!