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Runners from all over Eastern Ontario, West Quebec and Northern New York State are gearing up for the Cornwall Run to endMS Marathon. Local MS Society Office Manager, Karen Torrie-Racine (KTR), sat down with local runner and marathon assistant, Phil Barnes (Phil) to discuss training for the 42.195 kilometer run.

(Skip the talk and scroll down to the plans.)

KTR: Hi Phil, thanks for helping out with this year's marathon and this little interview.

Phil: It's a pleasure! Thank you to the MS Society and Pat [Editor's note: Pat Clarke is the long time race director] for putting it on and for ensuring it's a Boston Qualifier.

KTR: Are you gunning for Boston yourself?

Phil: Heavens no! I'm a long way off from that. But my wife is going for a BQ. We'll be training together to get her there. 

KTR: When would you start training for the marathon then?

Phil: We like to use an 18 week schedule. We find that gives us enough time to build us up to be marathon-ready. For us, week 1 will be just after Christmas.

KTR: What does a typical training week for you look like?

Phil: The schedules we've used usually have you running short distances 3 times per week (Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday), and then a long run on Sunday. Saturdays are "Cross-Training" days - we like to swim or bike. The distances gradually grow week by week - so week one the short distances are 5K and the long run is 10K; by week 13 the short distances are 8K and the long run is 29K. We've had good success with this approach. Since Guylaine [Phil's wife and long time running partner] is aiming for a BQ, we are going to follow a more advanced plan that has an extra run on Saturday.

KTR: I'm looking at your schedule and it says you are running 32 K on week 15! Do you ever freak out, and wonder if you're going to make it?

Phil: [Laughing] All the time! But the plan really works. It builds you up gradually and prepares you for it. The really funny thing is after you do that particular run, the training starts to taper off, and you look at your plan, and you say, "Gee, next week's run is only 19K!"

KTR: So where do you get these plans? Do you have a coach?

Phil: Personally, I've had really good luck with online training sites. I talk a lot with running-buddies, and read running blogs. I've found that the Hal Higdon plans work for me. Some people do have coaches - there are some good coaches and trainers in town (and online). Locally, the Cornwall Multisport Club is a great resource. In fact, the club often organizes long training runs and speed workouts. Last week we had a group of over 20 runners for the long run - we divide up into smaller pace groups and run with people our own speed.

KTR: Can you share your training plans with us online?

Phil: Sure. When I get home, I'll email you a PDF of them, and send you the links to the original source.

KTR: That's great. Thanks Phil for your help, and good luck with your training. Can we bug you again soon to share some tips for the half-marathon, 10K and 5K run?

Phil: Sure thing. Same time, next week!


Here are the two suggested training plans Phil was talking about. There are many more out there. 

Basic Marathon Training Plan

All distances in kilometers. Adapted from Hal Higdon's Novice 1 Marathon Plan. See http://www.halhigdon.com.

Download this plan as a PDF.

Intermediate Training Plan

All distances in kilometers. Saturday "pace" runs means Marathon pace. Sunday long runs are nice and easy. The half-marathon at week 9 could be a race. Adapted from Hal Higdon's Intermediate 1 Marathon Plan. See http://www.halhigdon.com.

Download this plan as a PDF.

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Race Date: Saturday, April 28, 2018

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