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Parc-nature du Ruisseau-De Montigny (****)

Parc-nature du Ruisseau-De Montigny
in Rivière-des-Prairies-Pointe-aux-Trembles

also includes a small playground parc André-Cailloux

Runtastic route info | My run stats in this park (5.1 km in 43:31 min)
5.1 km track – Gravel, Asphalt
This nature parc of the De Montigny stream is a beautifully preserved spot of nature on the north-east island of Montreal that not alot of people know about. It passes from the Marie-Victorin cegep to the Riviere-des-Prairies Hospital but you can barely see them while you run. The trail is marked with soft gravel and is really well maintained. The only downside is that it’s separated by a big street in the middle you have to cross at a light. Next to the College part you have a rest area with a waterfountain and some tables but no bathrooms (we are in the nature after all). There are also a few offroad trails for walking next to the river but not running in them.

Photos of Parc-nature du Ruisseau-De Montigny & Parc André-Cailloux:

Parc-nature du Ruisseau-De Montigny & Parc André-Cailloux
The park is divided into 2 parts separated by Boul Maurice-Duplessis. Each part is around 1.25 KM long and together it makes a 2.5Km Route. I decided to make my loop of 5K on the street next to the park which doesn't have much traffic but you can choose to go back and forth in the park for a 5K.
Well maintained gravel surface with asphalt outside the park.
The nature forest view is great, especially in a densly populated urban area such as this. The air is fresh and the sounds of the water stream really add to a great feeling.
Not many, only one waer point in the middle and no bathrooms, you can go in the nature.
A beautiful nature park park with a stream (rare) on the north eastern side of Montreal, I enjoyed running here and I recommend it.

Review of the kids playground of the Parc André-Cailloux:
Kids playground review
Size of
It is a medium sized park.
Quality of
It's ok quality probably completed 5 years ago. Kids can have choices between a big kids set and babies set with lots of swings and a little hill.
Pretty normal park for kids they will have fun for about 1h here before getting bored. Hint explore the forest across the street after!

Run in Montreal in a larger map


I know, I haven’t reviewd any parks in Montreal for a while or posted anything to the page for a few months, but I’ve been busy. Dividing my time between my family and training for my 1st half marathon (21K) at the Marathon Oasis de Montreal. I still ran in Montreal’s beautiful parks but didn’t organize any group runs. I hope to continue my project after my 21K milestone. My last vacation turned into what I like to call a ‘runcation’ in the USA. I ran in the Adirondack Mountains (Old Forge) and on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean (Wildwood). Here are a few photos. PS: I strongly recommend both.

20140824_070425 Watermark

Some friends joined me in my running in Old Forge, Adirondacks, NY

20140824_073155 Watermark

It was an eerie feel that morning

20140826_064450 Watermark

Sunrise on the Atlantic Ocean on the boardwalk (Wildwood, NJ)

20140826_070808_HDR Watermark

The WildHalf runs I might come back…

Conseils du Coach/Advice from the Coach: Running Form

John Lofranco is a Athletics Canada's National Road Running Coordinator and Level 5 IAAF Elite Coach candidate in Endurance

John Lofranco is a Athletics Canada’s National Road Running Coordinator and Level 5 IAAF Elite Coach candidate in Endurance

I get asked a lot about running form, and I have to admit, I am often at a loss about what to say. Many people feel very strongly about this topic, some perhaps too strongly, in my opinion. The best way to improve your distance running performances is to improve your aerobic abilities. I may sound like a broken record on this point, but too often this essential element gets pushed aside in favour of the flavour of the week. The best part is, running more can help your form.

There are two schools of thought on running form, or at least, two ways we can work to improve it. One is to work directly, by actively doing things differently during a run, and another is to work indirectly, that is, by doing general work that will lead to a more efficient form. You might have guessed by now that I fall into the camp of trying indirect work first.

I guess the first question to ask is: why do we care about running form anyway? The short answer is that form is an indicator of our energy use, and to run faster race times, we want to be able to use less energy at greater speeds. So if we can figure out a way to move our bodies when we run in such a way that we use less energy, we’ll be able to run faster, or longer at the same speed. Of course, we still need to maintain and improve the fitness that allows us to run that speed.

Another reason often given for the need to improve running form is to avoid injury. The relationship is not that direct. The body is very good at being economical, that is, the body moves in the best way possible given the current conditions. So if you have a weakness in one area, the body will compensate for it by changing a movement pattern in another. Eventually, if the weak area is called upon to do work, there is a risk of injury because that area has not been well-used. Alternatively, the area that is compensating may end up over worked, and then possibly injured.

The solution to this problem, in my mind, is to make sure that a runner is doing some strength work, especially in the problem areas of the hips and glutes. A common issue for runners is hip flexor pain, and this is often caused by glutes not firing, and the front of the leg getting overloaded. Another problem is knee pain, and this is usually an issue of the outer part of the quad being more built up than the inner part, which causes tension in the illo-tibial band, which translates to knee pain. A great exercise to solve both of these problems is the one-leg squat.

Notice that none of this advice involves telling you where to put your foot when you land or how to move your arms. There are three things that will help you have better running form and avoid injury, and none of them involve video analysis or require expensive workshops. Stop me if you’ve heard me say this before…actually, they are three things that help you gain speed as well.

Run more. The more you run, the more your body learns to adapt to the energy demands you are making of it. Your body will naturally find the movement pattern that best suits it. The idea that you if you run too much you’ll reinforce bad habits is faulty. If you don’t run enough, you can’t engrain good habits either. Plus the trade off is too imbalanced: you need the aerobic development running gives you and you need the strength you’ll gain from spending time on your feet. If you are a true beginner, just starting to run and maybe want to lose some weight, you need to get out there and move before you start worrying about how you are doing it. Running is a pretty easy and natural movement. Don’t over-think it. Your body is going to change anyway, so let that happen, and then make adjustments to your new shape, size, weight.

It may be for the most elite runners, that a lot more attention is paid to form. But if we listen to Alberto Salazar and what he’s got the NOP group doing, the rules are pretty simple: run lightly, relax and move forward. None of that is crazy technical, and you don’t need Nike’s number one coach to explain it to you. Just do it! (Ha!)

Speaking of Salazar, another area where we can learn from him is in the attention he gives to sprinting. This is the second, indirect, way you can improve your running form.

Just like with increasing our running volume, if we increase our intensity, to the point where we are doing very short fast sprints, we are increasing the energy we demand of our body. The body adapts to find the best way to meet those demands. We call upon it to use all the tools (i.e. muscles) at its disposal to get us from A to B as quickly as possible. Once we’ve built up the strength from doing some easy running, adding sprints gives the body a taste of the ideal form.

The third indirect way to help running form is by doing some form of jumps. There are a few different things that can be done here. Big, explosive, plyometric jumps will help, but it is important to build up to that. Sets of short little hops are a good way to get into plyometrics. Check out this video from two of Canada’s top marathoners for a demonstration (go to 1:37 for the hops):

Once you’ve built up with this for a while, you can build to the more explosive “tuck jumps” that they talk about later in the video.

So, there you go. How do you fix your running form? Run more, relax, learn to sprint, and do some jumps. Pretty simple!


On me pose beaucoup de questions reliés à la forme et je dois admettre que je suis souvent à une perte de ce qu’il faut dire. Beaucoup de gens se sentent très fortement sur ​​ce sujet, peut-être un peu trop fort, à mon avis. La meilleure façon d’améliorer vos performances est d’améliorer vos capacités aérobies. Je peux paraître un peu répétitif sur ce point, mais trop souvent cet élément essentiel est poussé de côté au profit de la saveur de la semaine. Le simple fait est que courir plus aidera votre forme.

Il y a deux écoles de pensée sur la forme de la course, ou deux manières dont nous pouvions travailler pour l’améliorer. La première consiste à travailler directement, en faisant activement les choses différemment pendant une course et une autre est de travailler indirectement, c’est-à-dire des travaux généraux qui mèneront à une forme plus efficace. Vous avez peut-être deviné que je tombe dans le camp de travail indirect.

Je suppose que la première question à se poser est pourquoi nous soucions-nous de notre forme de toute façon? La réponse courte est que la forme est un indicateur de notre consommation d’énergie et pour courir plus vite, nous voulons être en mesure d’utiliser moins d’énergie à des vitesses plus élevées. Donc, si nous pouvons trouver un moyen de déplacer notre corps lorsque nous courons d’une manière telle que nous utilisons moins d’énergie, nous serons en mesure de courir plus vite, ou plus longue à la même vitesse . Bien sûr, nous avons encore besoin de maintenir et d’améliorer la condition que nous permet d’exécuter cette vitesse.

Une autre raison souvent donnée pour la nécessité d’améliorer la forme est pour éviter les blessures. La relation n’est pas directe. Le corps est très compétent à être économique, à savoir comment se déplacer de la meilleure façon possible compte tenu des conditions actuelles. Donc, si vous avez une faiblesse dans un secteur, le corps va compenser en changeant d’un modèle de mouvement dans un autre. Finalement, si la zone de faiblesse s’est appelé à faire un travail, il y a un risque de blessure parce que la zone n’a pas été bien utilisée. Sinon, la zone qui est compensée peut finir par travailler plus ce qui causera aussi un problème.

La solution à ce problème, à mon avis, est de s’assurer que le coureur est en train de faire des exercices de musculations spécifiques, en particulier dans les zones à problèmes des hanches et des fessiers. Un problème commun pour les coureurs est la douleur de muscle fléchisseur de la hanche et ce qui est souvent causé par fessiers qui ne s’activent pas et l’avant de jambe se surcharge. Un autre problème est la douleur au genou et c’est généralement une question de la partie extérieure du quadriceps qui est plus développé que la partie interne, ce qui provoque des tensions dans la bande illo-tibial, qui se traduit par une douleur au genou. Un excellent exercice pour résoudre ces deux problèmes est le squat sur ​​une jambe.

Notez qu’aucun de ces conseils consiste à vous dire où mettre votre pied lorsque vous atterrissez ou comment bouger les bras. Il y a trois choses qui vont vous aider à avoir une meilleure forme de fonctionnement et éviter les blessures et aucune d’entre elles impliquent l’analyse vidéo ou exigent des ateliers coûteux. Arrêtez-moi si vous m’avez déjà entendu dire tout cela… en fait, ils sont trois choses qui vous aideront à prendre de la vitesse aussi.

Courez plus. Le plus vous courez, plus votre corps apprend à s’adapter aux exigences de l’énergie requis par ceci. Votre corps va naturellement trouver le modèle de mouvement qui lui convient le mieux. L’idée que si vous courez trop vous renforcez les mauvaises habitudes est complètement tort. Si vous ne courez pas assez, vous ne pouvez pas ancrer les bonnes habitudes non plus. En fait, le compromis est déséquilibré. Vous devez avoir le développement d’aérobie que la course vous donne et vous avez besoin de la force vous gagnerez de passer du temps sur vos pieds. Si vous êtes un vrai débutant, qui commence à peine à fonctionner et peut-être envie de perdre du poids, vous avez besoin de sortir et de se déplacer avant de commencer à se soucier de la façon dont vous le faites. La course est un mouvement assez facile et naturel. Ne pensez pas trop. Votre corps va changer de toute façon: attendez que cela se produise, puis fait des ajustements à votre nouvelle forme, taille et poids.

Il peut être vrai que les coureurs d’élite prennent beaucoup plus d’attention à la forme. Mais si nous écoutons Alberto Salazar et ce qu’il a le groupe NOP font, les règles sont assez simples: courir légèrement, se détendre et aller de l’avant. Rien de tout cela est trop technique et vous n’avez pas besoin de l’entraîneur de Nike pour vous l’expliquer. “Just do it!” ( Ha!)

Parlant de Salazar, un autre domaine où nous pouvons apprendre de lui est dans l’attention qu’il accorde au sprint. Il s’agit de la deuxième façon indirect que vous pouvez améliorer votre forme en cours d’exécution.

Tout comme avec l’augmentation de notre volume de course, si nous augmentons notre intensité, au point où nous faisons très courts sprints rapides, nous augmentons l’énergie qui nous demande notre corps. Le corps s’adapte à trouver la meilleure façon de répondre à ces demandes. Nous appelons à utiliser tous les outils (c.a.d. muscles) à sa disposition pour nous rendre de A à B le plus rapidement possible. Une fois que nous avons construit la force de faire un peu de marche facile, ajoutant des sprints donne au corps un avant-goût de la forme idéale.

La troisième voie indirecte pour aider la forme est de faire certains exercices de sauts. Il y a plusieurs choses différentes qui peuvent être faites ici. Des sauts explosives, nommés la pliométrie, aideront beaucoup, mais il est important de bien bâtir le corps pour préparer à ceci. Des séries de courts petits sauts sont un bon moyen d’entrer dans la pliométrie. Regardez cette vidéo de deux des meilleurs marathoniens du Canada pour une démonstration (aller à 1:37):


Advice from the Coach: Racing

John Lofranco is a Level 5 IAAF Elite Coach candidate in Endurance

John Lofranco is a Level 5 IAAF Elite Coach candidate in Endurance

PART 1 “We are racers, not runners”
American Olympian PattiSue Plummer tells her high school girls cross country and track teams to remember “we are racers, not runners.” There is so much interesting about this idea, and also so much anxiety and hype over racing, that I want to unpack this weird thing we do called racing.

The first thing to think about is that everyone comes to running with a different agenda. Some are racers and they know it from the start. Others might start out with a different goal of losing weight or getting healthy, but get pulled into the whole racing scene after the fact. This is where some tension can arise, as we do enter races, but we’re really not sure what to make of them. Expectations can be too high or too low, and this can result in a negative experience at the race. For many people, it is a blast, even if we do go through some pre-race nerves. So despite our different approaches to running, it seems like everyone ends up racing at some point. My goal here is to examine racing more closely, as we assume a lot about the purpose of a race, and what we hope to get out of it. Sometimes, the two are not in line, and this can cause stress.

There are several different kinds of race, and I’d like to name them, and note that each one has its peculiarities. There are also a few different “events” that include running, like various race series named after classical heros and what not, but I’ll exclude them because that’s a different sport, to be honest. The main types of racing are: track, road, and cross-country/trail/mountain running.

Track is the easiest to describe and nail down. The track doesn’t lie. Notwithstanding weather, you will run exactly 5000m (or as close as you are going to get) or 1500m or 10000m, so you’ll know exactly what you can do in those conditions. Some find the track easier: more frequent reference points as you pass the start/finish every 400m, all the competitors are within sight at all times, and sometimes there are even people in the stands! Some find the repetitive elements more difficult, and strain to keep their focus. Either way, a track race can be a very useful measuring stick, though at a certain level, it may be difficult to find good competition.

Track is the pure form of our sport–the Olympic disciplines lay there, save one: the marathon. And so on the road, we also compete in various race distances. While it may be hard to find someone to race on the track at a given fitness level, you’ll always have someone to run with on the roads. One of the reasons for this is road races don’t (usually) divide men and women, so a faster woman who can run under 20min will find lots of competition with some beginner or older guys who are also around that mark. There are various distances to try: 5k, 10k, 15k/10miles, 20k/half marathon, 30k, marathon (please no one say “full” marathon: it’s just a marathon, by definition it is “full”). The reference points in a road race are usually further apart: you get markers every km or every mile, and sometimes a marker for 400m or 500m in the last part of the race. This can be helpful for those who worry about splits: you can focus on something else, and not stress out. Being off 1sec/400m or 3sec/km is the same (well, 2.5sec/km) but 3sec/km seems much more manageable in terms of making up the time in a race, especially when the seconds start to pile up every lap on the track.

The final racing mode is “au naturel,” that is, cross-country, trail or mountain racing. These are all somewhat different, but the idea is the same: get off the road, onto some soft, natural surfaces with some hills. The distances are sometimes defined (as in championship cross-country races) but even then, courses vary so much that a “10k xc time” is meaningless. Therein lies both the attraction (for some) and the repulsion (for others). You might run a 6.3k xc or trail race in 26min. What the heck does that mean? Not much, to a calculator. The challenge here is either to beat the course, with all its mud and hills, or to beat the others in the race. In this way, it is the pure footrace: first to the tree on the other side of the hill through the river wins! Mountain running has some specific rules, but basically it is the same idea, only up (and sometimes down) a steep incline. Trail running probably differs from cross-country in that xc is more a schools event, on grass, with prescribed distances, while trail races could be anything (even though the names would suggest it would be the other way around).

So this is what we mean by racing: getting out to one of these events, and giving it a go. The next question we want to ask is: why? Why would you do this? We’ll talk about that next week!

PART 2 “Fear”

Last week I described the various possibilities for racing. I just wanted to set the table for a deeper discussion of why we race, and what we can do to feel good about it.

Here’s the thing: we all bring various reasons for running to the table. It may be having a group of people to hang out with, a good excuse to buy fun clothes, a way to burn off stress, a way to relax, a way to keep fit (mentally and physically). The one thing that we all share is that we want the results that come from competition. Maybe we don’t like racing much, but we like and want to see our performance improve. This is fun! When our aversion to racing comes up against our desire to improve, we get pretty nervous. What is good about this is that it is a sign we care. Whatever we are nervous about, it is part of the process. So the way to deal with it is not to try to be less nervous, but to understand the role those nerves play.

A few weeks ago in our club, we had a little “practice race” or “time trial” as some would call it. It was a 2000m run on an indoor track. The reason behind this was to remove all the distractions of racing such as travelling, checking in, strangers in our race, other races going on, parents, friends watching, extended recovery by keeping the distance short(for most), and just focus on the performance. What we found is that the nerves are still there. So from this we can glean that it is not any of these outside things that make us nervous (or at least, even without them, there are still some nerves). We can see more clearly the essence of our fear. We can get to know it a bit better, and hopefully start to embrace it. Fear is associated with racing. Racing is opportunity to perform. The opportunity to perform is simply an expression of your current state in a very specific way. It’s not a judgement, or a general statement about you. It’s just a way of putting all you have done (the running, the jumping, the talking, the shopping) into one small space in time. There’s a lot of energy behind you when you think about it that way!

This is not to close the matter and say, “See, now you don’t have to be nervous!” Rather, the awareness of the role pre-race nerves can play will allow you to not add layers of anxiety about being anxious (“I’m so nervous, oh no, I shouldn’t be, what’s wrong with me”), but to embrace the feeling (“These nerves are part of the process, it means I’m ready to race!”).

When I ask most runners what it is they are afraid of, there are two answers: fear of pain and fear of failure. Once you decide that the pain is an inevitable and important part of racing, you can view the nervousness not as fear of pain, but of preparation for pain. It’s not an easy switch to make, but if you’ve never considered it, now at least you have that tool.

While much of the fear can be related to the pain we know we are going to feel, some of the nerves are also connected to our expectations. This is fear of failure, and it’s a whole other kettle of fish for next week!

PART 3 “Expectations”


Last week we examined the reasons for racing, and the reasons we feel nervous before a race. One of the reasons we covered was fear. The other reason we tend to get nervous before a race is our expectations. I sometimes hear from runners that they are afraid they will let people down: maybe themselves, or a parent, teammates, friends, the coach.

As far as I am concerned, expectations are a good thing: we need to expect more out of ourselves, or we’ll remain stagnant. That said, if these expectations are creating too much anxiety, they can hamper our performance, which is not fun. This feeling of “letting people down” I believe comes from unrealistic expectations.

Obviously expectations will differ depending on the race, and depending on the individual’s goals. I frequently encounter runners, for example, who seem to have a goal of “running all the races in the local series” but also a goal of “running a PB every time out.” There are several problems with this. One is that often these goals are not stated openly. The expectation of a PB is just there, and when it isn’t achieved, that creates disappointment, and anxiety the next time out. This is compounded by the idea of racing every weekend or very often: if you don’t run a PB one week, what exactly do you expect to change in 7 days that will result in one? It’s possible that if you take an easy week, you might rest up and be able to run faster. Of course that is not what most people do. Most runners react to a disappointing race by piling on more training, which may or may not be the best idea.

So you can see how unreasonable expectations can create anxiety and hamper performance. It is not so much the expectations themselves that need fixing (it is probably quite reasonable to want to race a lot and run PBs), but that the expectations are not examined. The assumption is that if I train, I will get better, and if I train harder, I’ll get even more better. Timing is everything in training, however, and this is where examination comes in.

Runners need to set goals by writing them down, sharing them with the coach at the outset of training. They can be flexible, but they should still be firm. You’ve probably heard of “SMART” goals: Specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, time-bound. These are good criteria for running goals, but just the process of setting goals will help so much with how you approach a race.

Here I want to share a very controversial idea. I have a few benchmarks in mind that will guide expectations for beginner runners. You may notice these benchmarks are set fairly low at first. Progression and timing is important, though, and I do think that using these as a guideline for expectations in racing is a very wise choice. Here’s the deal: until you can race a 5k in 30min, do not race a 10k. Until you can race a 10k in 60min, do not race a half-marathon. Until you can race a half-marathon in 2h, do not race a marathon.

I realise that this may cut off a large chunk of many road racers. Perhaps, but I wonder if it would not also make many people more satisfied at throughout their running careers, and as a result, give them longer careers. Again, it is all about expectations. If your goal is “finish a marathon and then never run a step again in my life” then go ahead. Run the marathon. You’ll do it. With consistent training, it’s a do-able proposition. But if your goal is to “be a runner” and use running as a part of your life, then the marathon can wait. You can let your friends go ahead and run that 4h45min 26.2miles, but when you debut at 4h, you’ll have a lot more fun, you probably won’t walk, and you’ll feel a great sense of self-satisfaction. If you go into marathon training (or 10k or half-marathon training) without having hit some benchmarks, your expectations are not going to match your performance, and you might not have as much fun.

Run happy!


Conseils du Coach/Advice from the Coach: Winter running Part 3

John Lofranco is a Level 5 IAAF Elite Coach candidate in Endurance

John Lofranco is a Level 5 IAAF Elite Coach candidate in Endurance

Here is the 3rd and final installment of a series on winter running. Part 1 focused on beginners, and part 2 on those with some intermediate experience. This week, we’ll take a more advanced view. Then you can head up to Boutique Endurance and get outfitted for your run! Ready?

If you’ve been through training before, and you’re doing a regular long run, regular tempos, and including sprints in your regular runs, then you’re doing quite well, and you’ll probably improve a lot just by being consistent and training through the winter.

Most people will want to know about intervals and where they fit in. You can, surprisingly, do without intervals in the winter base season, as long as you are hitting your tempos and being religious about your sprints. It may be, however, that you’ve got a goal race in the early spring, or you want to do some races over the winter. If that’s the case, you do want to try to run a few sessions at race pace, which is usually where intervals come in to play.

Intervals are simply fast runs broken up by periods of rest. For example, you can run 13x400m at your goal 5k pace, and jog 200m very easy as a recovery. That will help you practice running the pace you want for 5k. You may not have access to a track, which means you won’t know exactly how far 400m is. That’s ok. You can get the same physiological benefits by running 13x90sec and jogging for a minute in between. There’s nothing magical about the track. The magic happens in your body.

Ideally, you’ll want to have a plan for intervals that goes one of two ways. You can start with shorter intervals (like 400m) at your goal race pace, and every couple of weeks, you can increase the length of the interval until you are running a session that approximates a race effort. So 13x400m, then 10x500m, then 9x600m, then 6x800m, and finally 5x1000m. Over the course of 3 months (sometimes you’ll have to repeat a session a couple times before moving up, and you’ll have some weeks where you don’t do intervals), you can build up your ability to run at your 5k race pace.

Another way to try to build up intervals is to start with your goal session of 5x1000m, but at your current fitness level. Do the same session regularly, but try to go a little faster each time. Your fitness will increase as a result of your jogs and tempos, and your ability to run fast will be stimulated by your sprints. The interval workout then becomes a kind of “test of fitness” to see how much you are improving. The danger with this method is that if you do the test too often, you won’t see much improvement, so it is best to vary the intervals, and only do the test session maybe every 4 to 6 weeks.

Run happy!

Voici des conseils pour le coureur un peu plus avancé:

Si vous êtes un coureur expérimenté qui fait déjà votre longue sortie, vos tempos et vous faites des sprints après chaque jog, vous êtes sur la bonne voie. Continuez votre entrainement, car être cohérent pendant tout l’hiver vous servira très bien.

Cela dit, la plupart des coureurs veulent savoir de quoi à propos des intervalles. C’est possible de passer l’hiver sans faire d’intervalles, si vous faites vos tempos, etc. Il se peut, par contre, qu’il y a une course en mars (Lasalle?) ou avril (Scotia 21k?) dans votre plan. C’est possible, alors, d’inclure des intervalles de façon semi-régulière en hiver.

Les intervalles sont des courses vite, diviser avec périodes de repos. Par exemple, vous pouviez courir 13x400m à votre pace désirer de 5km, avec 200m de jog facile comme récupération. Ceci sert comme pratique de pace de course, ainsi que du travail de certains systèmes d’énergie.

Si vous n’avez pas accès à une piste (intérieur ou extérieur), ce n’est pas grave. Les mêmes systèmes énergétiques sont travaillées en courant 13x90sec avec 60sec de jog. Il n’y a pas de magie dans la piste: la magie est dans vous!

Idéalement, il y a deux façons de progresser les intervalles. La première est de commencer avec les intervalles plus courts, à la vitesse désirer pour votre course printanière. Progresser le longueur des intervalles comme suit: 13x400m, 10x500m, 9x600m, 6x800m, 5x1000m. Pendant les 3 mois d’hiver, vous pouviez bâtir votre économie de mouvement à ce pace. C’est possible qu’il faudra répéter les sessions plusieurs fois avant d’aller à la prochaine.

L’autre façon est de commencer avec une session qui sert de “test” de la distance de course, par exemple, 5x1000m avec 90sec de récupération. Les 1000m se font à votre habileté courant de 5km. Tous les 4 à 6 semaines, répéter la session pour voir d’où vous en êtes rendu. Votre forme améliorera avec les jogs, les tempos et les sprints, tout simplement. Le danger avec cette méthode est que si vous courez le “test” trop souvent, les améliorations ne seront pas si apparent.

Courrez heureux!
Je vous aime tous!

Conseils du Coach/Advice from the Coach: Winter running Part 2

John Lofranco is a Level 5 IAAF Elite Coach candidate in Endurance

John Lofranco is a Level 5 IAAF Elite Coach candidate in Endurance

Hi again!

Last week, I wrote about some winter running tips for beginning runners. This week, I’ll look at what a runner with a little more experience should do. Thanks as always to Boutique Endurance for their support.

For those who have been running on their own for a while, or who are probably generally fit, and can run for an hour without much trouble, you can also greatly increase your running-specific fitness by merely running more easy runs and adding some short sprints to your regime. That said, you may not be able to do much more than you already are: 5x week of running, before or after work, with family responsibilities on the weekend could mean you don’t have time to do more. So if you can’t add more running, how can you optimise your training?

The first way is to start doing tempo runs. These runs are in that “faster distance running” zone, where you can run a good while, maybe 15min up to 45min if you are quite advanced, or if you are not going as fast. A 15min tempo run might correspond to your 10k or half marathon pace. A longer tempo might be closer to 30k or marathon pace. You can put these tempo runs into your existing plan at the end of a run, so that you finish on a high note: 30min of jogging with 15min of running at half-marathon pace doesn’t take any longer than 45min of jogging, but you can stimulate your body a bit more, and encourage improvements.

The tempo run also fits nicely with another staple of distance running, the long run. A long run is just as it sounds, a run that is longer than the rest. If you are not doing one of these every week or two, you should start. A long run is typically about 1.5x the length of your regular run, or even 25% of your total weekly mileage. So if you usually run 30min, then a long run would be 45min. If you usually run an hour, a long run would be 90min. If you are training specifically for a longer event, like a marathon or a half-marathon, then you probably want to get your long run up to a solid 2 hours, or even 3 for the marathon. You can put the tempo run in as part of the long run, to break up the long outing with something quicker. You can also put it at the end.

Run happy!

Cet semaine on parle de coureurs avec un expérience intermédiaire.

Pour ceux qui courent déjà pendant un certain temps, ou qui sont en shape pour courir facilement une heure de jog, il y a quand même beaucoup de progrès possible en augmentant le volume et la fréquence de course et en ajoutant des sprints réguliers. Cela étant dit, il est possible que le facteur limitant pour vous soit le temps que vous avez à consacrer à l’entrainement. Peut-être que vous devez vous limiter à 5x semaine de course, avant ou après le travail, avec vos responsabilités familiales la fin-de-semaine. Si vous ne pouvez pas courir plus, comment optimiser le temps que vous avez?

Une première façon est d’inclure des tempos, ou des “demi-trains” dans votre semaine. Ceci sont dans ce zone de “medium-vite” et correspondent à votre effort pendant certains courses. Un tempo court de 15min devra être fait à un effort semblable à votre 10km ou demi-marathon (l’important ce n’est pas le pace précis, mais l’effort général. Des tempos plus long, de 30min ou plus, devront être couru à un effort semblable à une course de 30km ou un marathon.

Les tempos sont bien placés à la fin d’une sortie: 30min de jog, suivi de 15min de tempo, par exemple. Ils peuvent aussi être combiné avec un autre élément de base, la longue sortie. La longue sortie est tel que nommé: un jog plus long que normal. Typiquement, la longue sortie est de 1.5x une sortie régulière, ou 25% du volume total de votre semaine. Si vous vous entraînez pour un marathon ou demi-marathon, la longue sortie pourra se finir en plus de deux heures. Alors, un tempo plus long (45min) à un pace de marathon, pendant une longue sortie est une bonne addition à votre répertoire d’entrainement.

Courrez heureux!
Je vous aime tous!

Advice from a coach : Winter Running Part 1 / Conseils du Coach : Courir en hiver – 1ere partie

John Lofranco is a Level 5 IAAF Elite Coach candidate in Endurance

John Lofranco is a Level 5 IAAF Elite Coach candidate in Endurance

Hi all!

It’s been so cold, and it can be frustrating to think that we are not getting in the training that we’d like. That said, winter is a good time to get in some easy miles which are vital to spring and summer success, and the cold weather won’t hurt our ability to do just that! Just bundle up and you’ll be fine! And you don’t have to go that fast…

Here are some thoughts for beginning runners. In the coming weeks I’ll write about what runners with intermediate and more advanced experience can do!

If you are just starting to run, the best training you can do is slow, easy running. There’s no need to do much more than that at first because you will see great and quick improvements just by increasing the length and frequency of your runs. As far as your pace goes, find a comfortable pace, and don’t go much faster than that. You are likely to find that you have only two (or maybe three) speeds: jogging and sprinting. The third speed may be described as “faster distance running.” Stick to jogging for at least 3 and preferably 6 weeks. Gradually increase the time you spend running by about 5min per run per week: so if you run 3x30min one week, run 3x35min the next week. After a three week cycle, you can also increase the number of runs per week: so if you run 3x30min one week, 3×35 the next, and 3×40 the third, on the fourth week, run 4x30min. In this way, you will gradually increase the amount of running you are able to do, and, you’ll see improvements in your ability to do those runs. Always keep the runs comfortable: don’t pay attention to pace, other than to ensure you don’t go too fast.

You can do some fast running. At the end of your runs, do a few (start with 3 or 4, and gradually increase to 6 or 8) short sprints. These are very short (8sec at first), and all out. These aren’t just moving into “faster distance running” but actually sprinting as fast as you can. The reason you only do 8sec of sprinting is because you don’t want to allow your body to shift to “faster distance running.”

If you are just starting out with running, this is all you need to do to get better, and to set the stage for more complicated training later. The challenge is that there is not much variety, but if you are looking for variety, you can always buy a box of Timbits and sit on the couch enjoying the different flavours of donut! Trust me, you’ll feel much better by getting out in winter and getting a little run in!

Run happy!

L’hiver canadien pour les coureurs peut être un défi. Quoi faire pour bien se préparer pour les courses sur route au printemps et à l’été? En général, je conseille de faire beaucoup de kilométrage, des sprints très court et ce qu’on appelle des tempos, ou comme disait le grand coach Ben Leduc, du “demi-train.” Mais ses conseils vont dépendre du niveau du coureur. Plus le niveau est haut, plus complexe et spécifique est l’entrainement.


Pour les débutants, c’est-à-dire, ceux et celles qui viennent tout juste de commencer à courir, le meilleur type d’entrainement est tout simplement les jogs. Des sorties faciles, à un effort minimal, sont la façon le plus efficace d’améliorer vos habiletés de course. Il faut simplement essayer d’augmenter la longueur de vos jogs, ainsi que la fréquence. Le pace est confortable, pas plus vite que ça.

Vous remarquerez que, comme débutant, vous n’avez peut-être que deux vitesses: lent (jog) et vite (au maximum). Il se peut qu’une troisième vitesse, qu’on appellera médium-vite soit possible. Il est important pour les débutants d’éviter ce mode pour le moment. Ça deviendra plus utile après quelques mois d’expérience.

Augmentez votre volume ainsi: si vous courez 3×30 minutes la première semaine, la deuxième semaine essayez 3x35min. Après avoir augmenté pendant deux ou trois semaines, prenez une “semaine de relâche” en retournant à votre volume initial. Vous trouverez probablement que c’est très facile. Cela signifie que vous avez fait du bon progrès!

Une autre façon d’augmenter le volume de course est de courir plus fréquemment. Alors celui qui cours 3×30 minutes la semaine, fera 4x30min, ainsi de suite.

Il est possible d’augmenter le volume et la fréquence en même temps. Le seul avertissement est de ne pas courir trop vite! Même si ça devient très facile de courir, forcez-vous de rester dans une zone très confortable. À cette étape, ça vaut plus de courir plus loin que de courir plus vite.

Il est quand même important de courir vite dans des situations bien contrôlées. À la fin de vos jogs, faites quelques (3 à 4) sprints très courts (8sec seulement!) avec un repos complet. Il est important qu’ils sont vraiment des sprints et non pas 8 secondes de course “médium-vite.” Pensez à Usain Bolt.

Si vous faites que ça pendant les trois ou quatre mois d’hiver, vous serez bien préparé pour compliquer votre affaire en printemps, car votre entrainement sera bien optimisé. C’est un défi parce qu’il n’y a pas trop de variété, mais la réalité est que pour améliorer la course, il faut faire beaucoup de répétition de simple course. Ce n’est pas un sport de “no pain, no gain.”

Courrez heureux!
Je vous aime tous!

Running in -34c and meeting Yogi the 80 year old marathoner

This is my first experience running in the true Canadian cold since I started running less than a year ago. I promised myself I’ll run all year long, 365 days, rain or shine (or snow). So here I was this morning watching the weather network with the red warning banner of EXTREME COLD WAVE of -25c (-34c with wind factor), then listening to my worried father in law about how his car didn’t start that morning and you kind of feel like you have to give up, stay home and wait for better running conditions. Then something awoke in me, maybe it was the need to lose the 2 gruelling days of New Years eating and drinking frenzy. Or maybe it was a thought that I remembered of my good friend Marius that mentioned the word ‘călesti‘ which roughly translate to ‘anneal‘ which is to subject yourself to extreme temperatures and therefore to make yourself stronger or more immune to that temperature, the Russians do this in Siberia by jumping in freezing waters. So i put on 2 running pants, 3 shirts and a windbreaker, and 2 gloves. Then I turned on my Runtastic app, and Slacker Radio app and went out. First thing I noticed in -34c cold is the silence of the surroundings. In all my 37 minutes (5.6Km) of running I met only one person with his head all but covered completely running to his car. Next thing i noticed is the colourful snow (yellow and brown) decorated nicely by mans best friend and left there by the ‘man’ who was probably freezing his ass off and didn’t have time to pick it up. I can’t say i was really cold though, except for my face, my breathing got used to the chilling cold air after a few minutes, and my running gear protected every inch of my body from the cold (a good thanks to my sponsor for the running gear: At the end of my run my body wasn’t used to the heat of our building so i coughed a bit and got re-adjusted after 10 minutes. I will say this though: you know how there is shrinkage in water (*wink wink* Seinfeld)? Well it’s worse coming in from this cold… talk about “finding Nemo“, yikes 😉

Yogi Bolduc - an 80 year old Marathoner from MontrealOn another warmer run last week of -15c, I met another fellow runner with a Montreal Rock-N-Roll Marathon shirt on, and I said hi. It turns out he was an 80 years old marathoner by the name of Yogi (like the bear) Bolduc, that runs up to 3 hours, every day, 7 days a week, and ran multple marathons in his 70’s! I talked to him about my running project, and he talked to me about running his marathons and his life in general. Overall an amazing man with tremendous motivation. It left me with one motivating thought : If an 80 year old can run so much imagine what the rest of us can acheive!

Yogi Bolduc – an 80 year old Marathoner from Montreal

Evie’s letter

It’s the first time that i’m posting this kind of e-mail but honestly, it works as a huge motivator not only for me but for others that want to start running, I present you “Evie’s letter”, I’m really grateful of this email and proud of your achievement!

Hi Vlad!

Remember a looong time ago, at your brother’s birthday dinner … we talked about your running project and you downloaded Couch-to-5K on my iphone…I am writing you this long overdue email to thank you for that day and for encouraging me and inspiring me to run.

I was intimidated by the idea of running. I had never been athletic and only quit smoking a year ago in August. I had gained a lot of weight and was unhappy with my size and energy level.

The app made it so easy. The intervals really helped me build up my speed and strength at a pace that I was comfortable with. I wasn’t discouraged because I could keep up. I started to feel a lot better both physically and mentally. The pounds started to shed and my energy level began to rise. (I have lost 20 pounds since mid-July and can now dash up the stairs in the metro stations without being out of breath!)

I suffered one mishap – a minor ankle sprain in September – that led me to finally buy proper running shoes and kept me off running for one month because I could barely walk without pain. I wanted to stay fit until I could run again so I switched to swimming 3 days a week and while I grew to enjoy that sport as well, it could not replace the passion I had developed for running.

I try to run 3 times a week since I restarted in October (ankle-pain free!). While I haven’t reached 5k yet, I’m really close at 4.5k in 30 mins. I have a run tomorrow morning – maybe I will make it to the elusive 5! All of Verdun will know because I will start jumping around like a fool on the bike path and screaming for joy! 😉 

I am so grateful to you for telling your story and inspiring others, like me, who are not such athletic people, to put on some running shoes and give this sport a try. I love so many things about running: the wind in my hair, the joy I feel when I’ve beat a previous personal best, running to the beat of the music in my run mix, making it to the next water fountain, and the feel of my pony-tail swinging from side-to-side as I dash along the path. Best of all, I love the “zone” I can get into when I run – it clears my mind of any stress and frustrations I might be feeling… Finally, you should know that sharing your story with others has had a domino effect. Soon after I started running, Andy downloaded the app and started running as well. We are both also using Runtastic and MyFitnessPal to track our health and fitness goals. The results have been great! I will end this email by simply saying thank you once more for that conversation at the restaurant and that I look forward to your review of my “home turf” for running: Parc Therrien in Verdun. One day, Andy and I hope to take part in one of your group runs!

All the best to you, and your family…and happy running!


Parc Rene-Levesque & Parc Monk (****)

Parc Rene-Levesque & Parc Monk
in Lachine

 also includes Parc du musée de Lachine & Ranger Park 

static_mapRuntastic route info | My run stats in this park (6.97 km in 47:27 min)

7.1 km
track – Asphalt
This route goes through 2 beautiful parks : the Park Rene Levesque peninsula and the Parc Monk island, in the south west of Lachine next to the old Lachine lock system. It has amazing views of the Lachine Canal, the a marina full with boats and many artistic statues and installations. The route surface is well maintained asphalt separated from the bike lane. The only thing it lacks is waterfountains and more bathrooms. The starting point address is “1 Chemin du Musée Lachine”, and there is plenty of parking around.

Photos of Parc Rene-Levesque & Parc Monk:

Great birds eye view of the park systemThe beginning of the route - and the Museum of LachineParc Monk has some art tooParc Monk is just breathtakingThe Lachine Locks - The information center for visitors of the areaParc Rene-Levesque Art Installations - Flags?Beautiful view of the St-Lawrence riverMore art sculptures in Parc Rene-Levesque Parc Rene-Levesque route after a rainy dayInviting lounge chairs in Parc Rene LevesqueThe art installations that decorate the route are interestingThe trees provide great shade in Parc Rene-LevesqueParc Rene-LevesqueThe separate routes for bikes and runners or walkersSt-Lawerence river viewThe end loop of Parc Rene-Levesque These are the artsy bathroomsParc Rene-Levesque Panorama - beautiful spaceParc Ranger is a small park next to the Lachine MuseumLittle bridges connect small islands in Parc Monk

Review of Parc Rene-Levesque & Parc Monk
The cercomference of each park takes about 2.5Km each, add to that the smaller 2 parks : Ranger park and Parc de la Musée de Lachine and you have an amazing route of 7Km long. BTW: the route could be extended eastward along canal Lachine or westward along St-LAwrence river.
Well maintained asphalt with a few cracks here and there but not major. Most of the route has a separate bike path and walk/run path.
The views are superb. YOu have the St Lawrence river, the marina full of boats and great vegetation and trees. What really makes this route unique tho, is the beautiful art installations along the Rene-Levesque park: statues, sculptures from metal, and rock, and other amazing works of art. Check out the photos.
I would have to deduct a few points here, maybe i wasn't looking well enough but i didn'T find one drinking fountain along the route in either park! Maybe they want you to buy your water at the tourist boutiques or they ignored the fact that people drink water? Bathrooms are only at the end of Rene-Levesque park and well maintained, and hidden as art.
A beautiful park system at the end of the Lachine canal with exquisite views, and well maintained track. If only it had more amenities for runners.

As a bonus I’m also rating the playgrounds in or very close to the park I’m running in, since I’m a new papa and i know how important playgrounds are to new parents and especially their kids, so here goes:
Kids playground review
Size of
There isn't a kids playground per-se here, you can find multiple art statues and installations in Rene-Levesque and Parc du Musee de Lachine. It occupies a vast amount of green space.
Quality of
You have to be creative here, it isn't a usual playground, but kids find ways to play with the art installations verry well, some of them even invite youngsters to interact with the art itself, or so I deducted.
Not your usual playground, but kids have plenty of imagination. Just be careful of the riverbanks!

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