The power of the group – marathon training 

I’m very behind in blogging my race recaps and have a few on the go. In the meantime, I wanted to take a moment to write about my marathon training so far.


I officially started training for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon (STWM) on June 23. Originally I was going to take a year off between marathons, but then Dan decided to run his first marathon and he said it had to be STWM. To be honest, fear of missing out got the better of me so I signed up as well, thinking that it would be fun to train together. As I did with my first two marathons, I joined a Running Room training clinic. Since it’s Dan’s first marathon, we knew that a structured program with moral support from other runners training for the same thing would be good for us. 

running clinic reunion

I still get together with some of the runners from my 2014-15 clinic.


There are so many first time marathoners in my clinic and they’re all amazing. I think I’m even more excited for their first marathon than I was for my own because I was too busy feeling terrified when it was my own.
We’re now on week 10 of the clinic and the group has been amazing and a constant reminder of the pull and the power of training with others. When I first started running, I trained and ran my first four half marathons and my first 30k race on my own. I still enjoy running on my own from time to time, but I find that more times than not, I need a little extra motivation to get me out the door. 

What I love about training with a group:

  • Keeps me accountable – would I be running hills in the rain, snow or extreme heat? Probably not. Sometimes I worry that nobody will show up and our clinic instructor will be on their own. This actually happened once last year where I was the only one who showed up and my instructor said “Good thing you’re here or I would have no one to run with!” 
post-run treats

One of the rewards of running with a group is coffee and treats afterwards!

  • Makes me run faster – this is both a good thing and a bad thing. I tend to be one of the slowest runners in my group (I think a lot of fast people run in the Beaches). This has forced me to run faster, especially when I’ve been unsure of the route and didn’t want to get dropped.

Look at how in sync Karen and I are as we run through Rosetta McClain Garden!

  • They pick you up when you fall down…both literally and figuratively – I have tripped and fallen during a run and it was nice to have friends with me to help me up, get me bandaids and fawn over my bruised ego! They also help give me a much needed boost when I have a bad training run or a bad race.

Showing off my wounds after a fall.

  • We cheer for each other up and down hills – our first hill training night in this training cycle was a few weeks ago and I somehow misread that we were running 5k. It turns out we were really running 15k (apparently my brain didn’t register the 1 in front of the 5). In the end we actually ran 17k because of the route we took. It was also pouring rain that day. And by pouring I mean monsoon, flood basements, watch cyclists and waist deep in water on some parts of the road pouring. My clothes were so wet that I chafed everywhere, resulting in yelps and screams in the shower later on. I remember getting to the first hill and as I was running up and down and passing my fellow runners everyone was smiling and cheering. When you see the smiling faces of your fellow runners, even while hill training in the pouring rain, how can you not smile and keep going? Without them I would have quit and gone home. 

17k with 4 hills in the pouring monsoon-like rain? No problem! Photo by Katherine.


These are just a few reasons why I love training with a group. 

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