Try This Workout: Moves Like Lanni

Lanni STWMLast month after the Scotiabank Vancouver Half-Marathon, I had the opportunity to chat with Lanni Marchant, Canada’s marathon record-holder and recent bronze medalist in the 10,000m at the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games. The incredible thing about so many of our Canadian athletes is that they really care about their fans and are so kind and generous in sharing their training experiences. Lanni is no exception and it’s amazing to see how she’s become a hero for Canadians and women runners all across the country!

We were talking about developing speed and training on the track and I asked Lanni if she had a favourite workout she could recommend. She mentioned something called “The Brazilian,” which she describes in this post on her blog. 

The Brazilian involves a lot more than running. It includes crunches, push-ups, supermans, and lunges, followed by a 100m sprint, running drills, and then even more sprints! I am telling you, the first time I did this workout I screamed on my last interval because I was in so much pain. Lanni’s version of the workout is pretty intense and obviously tailored to an elite level athlete (which I am not), so I asked my Coach Brock Armstrong to modify the workout into something I could fit into my training. Here’s what he came up with:

Lanni Marchant’s Brazilian Workout, Modified for the Recreational Athlete:

Warm-Up: 5-10 minutes of full body movement.

Main Set:
Repeat this set 4 times, increasing the final sprint distance each time:
10 crunches, 10 push-ups, 10 supermans, 10 reverse lunges
100m all-out sprint
20 reps of a running form drill. Choose one from this video:
90 second easy jog
200m sprint
Back to the top for a total of 4 intervals, increasing from 200m to 400m, 600m, and finally 800m on the final interval. Get ready for the HURT.

Cool Down: 5-10 minutes of easy jogging after stretching out any tight areas.

Moves Like LanniLooks OK on paper, right? But those core exercises really add up and the final 800m sprint will really test your pain tolerance! Can you see the pain on my face? The first time I did this workout, I had to stop for 10 seconds during my final 800m sprint. The second time I did this workout I controlled my pace and didn’t fade at the end. Woo! This is definitely a workout I plan to keep in my training regimen and my goal is to increase the number of intervals as well as the distance of the final sprint as my speed improves over time.

If you’re looking for something new to do at the track, I definitely recommend trying this Lanni-approved workout! It’s easily modified to fit any runner’s skill level or preferred distance by adding or removing intervals. Right now I am focusing on shorter distances, but this workout could also be used by the longer distance runner. As Lanni says in her original blog post: “As my season progresses, the intervals will lengthen, and eventually the entire workout is replaced with more marathon-specific intervals.”

Let me know if you try this workout! Tweet me @jennapettinato and tell me how it goes. Good luck!


Around the Bay Race Review

Around the Bay finally happened and it was pretty damn awesome! After what felt like an endless winter of training, the first race of my 2015 season has come and gone and I couldn’t be more happy with the results. Having never run the Around the Bay before, I set myself a goal of 3 hours for this race. To me, this seemed achievable within’ my fitness level, yet also challenging due to the hilly nature of the course. My game plan was 6:20 pace for the first 10K, 5:50 pace for the second 10K, and then hammer it home for the last 10K. Luckily, my running buddies Jay and Christa thought this was a good plan too so I had some good company to run with. Also, we look pretty damn badass in the photo below, don’t we. #DreamTeam


Jay, Christa and I at the start of Around the Bay. Photo Credit: Thomas Sapiano

The first 10K flew by like nothing. We were laughing, chatting, and the kilometre markers just flew by. Even on the hills, we never lost our momentum and only stopped once to shed some layers around the 9K mark because it turned out to be much warmer than we thought it would be! Our pace for the first 10K was 6:17/km so we were right on track. We picked it up for the second 10K and I started to “feel it” around the 16K mark, but we stayed strong, and managed to average a 5:52/km pace for this portion.

Around the 21K mark of the course, we started to encounter some big rolling hills in Burlington. Jay made the smart decision for us to keep our pace a bit slower, and then try to pick it up once we were on flat ground again. I’m not going to lie, those hills took a lot out of my legs, but never once did we stop or slow down. We kept our effort strong and our legs turning and we finally hit some flat ground around the 26K mark. This was the point in the race when I should have been picking up the pace, but I really wasn’t looking at my watch and I was passing tons of people, so I felt like I was going faster than I was. I’m not going to lie, this part really hurt and even though I was instructed to not stop at any water stations, I did. Instead of kicking it up to a 5:30/km pace, I averaged 5:51/km for my final 10K and snuck in just under the 3-hour mark with a 2:59:43 final time. If you want to see my triumphant finish, check out the video below:


All in all, I am proud of my performance at Around the Bay and am itching to get out on May 3rd and run a full 42.2K at the Mississauga Marathon. I’ll probably execute a similar pacing strategy, but pick up the pace a bit, with the goal of finishing in 4 hours or less. When I think back to those last kilometres at Around the Bay, I could have dug deeper and I could have gone further into the “pain cave”, but that’s all part of learning what we’re capable of. If you had asked me if I could run a 3-hour 30K a year ago, my answer would most definitely have been no. But after a year of solid training with Coach Brock and some big work on my mental game, I am a different person that I was 365 days ago.

After two recovery days, it’s back to the grind today. Next up is the MEC 10K on April 12th and then the Mississauga Marathon on May 3rd. After that, it’s all triathlon baby and I can’t wait to see how a whole winter of swim/bike/run training translates out on the race course!

tribe atb

Love my Tribe. Couldn’t do this without them. Photo Credit: Tribe Fitness

Trust The Process

I know I’m not the only one who’s currently suffering from a case of the “February Training Blahs.” This cold, snow, slush, and windchill is never-ending and although the Around the Bay 30K is only 32 days away (eek!), it feels like we’ve been training for this race forever! I don’t know what I’d do without my Tribe Fitness crew who have been helping me keep pace on weekend long runs.

Dealing with my ongoing groin/adductor injury has also put a damper on my training this winter, with a particularly tough recovery after my 26K run two weeks ago. I was sore with every movement for 3 days after and to be honest, I was at my wit’s end and quite ready to give up. If I’m going to keep it real, I have been ready to give up a few times this winter, wondering why the hell I am doing this and what’s the point? After many chats with my Coach, I was left with two choices: continue with traditional training or switch things up and take a chance on a minimalist  training program. I went with option #2.

I don’t know if it’s because my mindset has changed or because I am actually dealing with less pain, but this week I have had two big breakthroughs in my training and I couldn’t be more pleased. I did my fastest interval on the bike (2 minutes at 40km/h) and my fastest interval on the run (30 seconds at 3:55/km)…ever. I don’t usually post my pace times on my blog or social media, because I think it can lead to unnecessary comparing and competition. The only person you should be competing against is yourself.  It took me a long time to realize this, but I am so much more at peace with myself now that I accept this. In 2015, I want to beat my times from 2014, not anyone else’s. But I’m posting these times because I want to remember them and remember this breakthrough as a result of all the sweat I have shed this winter.

I have been recording my training in the “Believe” training journal for the past 3 months and the quote that appears at the top of this week’s training log is this: “It’s amazing how the same pace in practice can feel so much harder than on race day. Stay confident. Trust the process.” It’s by pro runner Sara Hall and it couldn’t ring more true. For the past year, I have put the work of developing a training plan in the hands of my Coach and thus far he has helped me achieve a PB in every distance I’ve raced. While it may be a bit scary to be going in a different direction with my training, Coach says if I believe in the training and put in the work, the results will come. This week I have experienced two big breakthroughs and I don’t think that’s any coincidence. Once I made the decision to believe and “trust the process”, my body followed my mind and everything clicked.

As I was doing my interval run today, I felt a sense of calm and a renewed sense of purpose come over me. For a long time I’ve been anxious about my progress, wondering if I was making gains or just going through the motions. But now I know.  I know that 2015 is going to be a breakthrough year and I trust that my Coach will get me to the start line healthy, happy and ready to race. I know that every early morning swim, bike ride, and run is going to pay off on race day. I know that my body and mind are getting stronger and that my fastest times are still to come. And most importantly, I know that I am going to enjoy this ride, I’m going to have fun, and I’m going to kick some serious ass!

(Photo Credit: Tribe Fitness.)

Training and Racing in 2014: Lessons and Moving Forward

Mid Summer Night's RunI’m writing my 2014 training and racing season recap earlier than expected, due to an unexpected injury. About 3 weeks ago I started to experience some soreness and pain in my groin, on the right side. Hoping that this was just a temporary issue, I laid off running for two weeks and went to see my physiotherapist. She diagnosed a strain in my pectineus muscle and told me that running with a strain could eventually lead to a tear which would lead to 6 months off running. Not cool. Upon her advice, and the advice of my coach, I tried a gentle 5K on Tuesday and another 5K on Wednesday, but the discomfort remained and actually got worse the faster I ran. Knowing that I couldn’t ignore the pain for 42.2 kilometres, and feeling pretty “off” that my taper was all messed up, I pulled the plug and have postponed my first marathon until spring 2015.

Am I bummed? Yes. Did I cry? Yes, a few times. But, I also realize how lucky I have been this training season to have hit personal best times in all the distances I raced and to have every one of my races go pretty much exactly how I planned, or better. I have learned so much about myself this year, about what I am capable of, where my limits are (and aren’t), and how much faster and further I want to go. Up until this year I had always thought of myself as a mediocre runner and was actually getting slower, rather than faster (thanks anxiety!).

2014 Race SeasonIn June of this year I raced my first all-out 10K and not knowing what to expect, I just ran as fast as I could. To my surprise I finished in 55:54 and bettered that time with a 52:53 at the Ekiden Relay Race. For me, these were times that I hadn’t seen in 2 years, times that I could not run when I was plagued by anxiety, worried that my heart would burst or I would faint if I ran too fast. In the 15k distance, I started the season with a 1:26:58 at the Bread & Honey Race in June and bettered that time with a 1:22:46 at A Midsummer Night’s Run 15k in August. That month I also raced my first Sprint Triathlon in a time of 1:31:35, about a half an hour faster than I thought I could do it in. Finally, in September I ran my goal race and achieved the elusive sub-2 half marathon with a time of 1:58:33 at Run for the Grapes. A marathon would have been the icing on the cake, but I have had a good year and I am content.

So what’s next? Well I have given my coach my 2015 training and racing plans and they include a 30K, marathon, half-marathon, 50K bike race, Olympic Distance Triathlon, Sprint Distance Triathlon, and a Half-Ironman 70.3 Triathlon. Writing them all out like that seems a bit crazy, but I trust my coach and I trust myself to achieve as many of these goals as I can, safely, and with a smile on my face. Because if you’re not smiling throughout all this training, what’s the point? The next few weeks will just be swimming, biking, and strength training as this silly groin strain heals, but I hope to be back to running before the beautiful fall weather leaves us. I am a bit obsessed with my indoor bike trainer right now and am looking forward to spending many sweaty hours indoors this winter riding.

If 2014 was the year of rediscovering my abilities, 2015 is going to be the year of going beyond them and reaching new heights in distance and speed. Since I am going to have to wait another 6 months to run a marathon, I have set myself an ambitious time goal (which my coach fully supports) and I am going to train my ass off to get there. Is it going to hurt? Yes. Are there going to  be days when I don’t want to run? Of course. Am I going to let that stop me? No freakin’ way.