Jeremy Hopwood

Jeremy Hopwood

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Granville Island Turkey Trot - 34:59 and 2nd Overall

Canadian Thanksgiving was this past Monday and after a good couple blocks of training it was time to lace up for a race. The Granville Island Turkey Trot has been around for a few years and winds around the east part of the Vancouver Sea Wall.

After having raced the Eastside 10km while sick 4 weeks prior I was happy to have a opportunity to race feeling healthy and with 4 more weeks of training under the belt. I talked a little bit about my last couple months of training in my last blog post about Building Blocks and running consistently has been a big part of that.

The week leading up to the race had some good quality sessions and on the back of a strong workout on Friday night and a easy weekend I was looking forward to lacing up the shoes.

In the end this is race report about a 10km so not much drama or excitement to be had but have given an overview of how I approached the day for those interested in what I do the day of race.

Pre Race Routine

My plan going into this one was not to race others but have a good solid effort with view to taking hills (both up and down) easy and focussing on rhythm for the rest of the race.

Had a good relaxed warm-up which is now the same warm up I do before all my structured workout runs which is;

  • 2 to 3km Warm-up run (super super easy - shuffling nearly moving backwards type of easy)
  • Followed by drills and strides (I focus on a race pace feel for strides) 
  • Before a race I ensure getting a longer recovery between strides than sometimes with a workout.
This takes me about 30 to 40 minutes so normally start this about 45 minutes prior to the race start as it gives me time to have a chat and say hello to people I may know racing.


So then it is time to go. Race morning had promised a good dumping of rain but apart from the odd sprinkle the rain held off for racing. The seawall is a beautiful place to run but racing the east section involves a lot of turns and it can be a bit slippery with moisture. 

First km looked to find my own rhythm which meant yoyoing off the back group for the first 500m before ending up pushing the pace a little. after about 2km comes the Burard bridge and as per my plan I backed off on this section both up and down and at as the course returned to the seawall I was in 4th place.

Lost concentration through some of the twisty bits and a group of 5 or so was starting to form at 5km at which point I focused on nice turn over and ended driving ahead of that group. Kirill of West Van Run fame (he is race director) had already established a nice gap at this point after pulling away on the Burrard Bridge. So at this point I was in 2nd and just focussed on having a nice strong run. Could see Kirill in the distance but realistically I was not going to drop a 3 min/km to drop the gap so focussed on a nice strong run. Had to push a bit on the last 100m or so to dip under 35 minutes and was happy to that and have a good solid race and end up with 2nd place.

Based on GPS the course showed a little short (200m) but with all the turns I likely trust the course measurements over the satellites on this one.

Goals for this One Achieved

My goal was to run sub 36 so sub 35 was nice. Negative split as well which bodes well for current fitness. A few things to take form this like really concentrating on form and relaxing after a couple km's and the need to keep on working on my leg turnover.

M30-39 Podium - Managed to get my AG Win
(Photo Credit Stephen P)

What Next

Next up is a few weeks of solid training, potentially a cross country race before jumping in the MEC Marathon on Nov 16th which starts about 500m from my house. Idea for this race will be to have a solid run and hopefully not bury myself too much, but will know a lot more about the plan for that in the coming weeks.


Thanks to Granville Island and the Vancouver International Marathon Society for putting those race on that supports the Vancouver Food Bank. Also thanks to all the sponsors including Tenderland Meats from the Granville Island Public Market  that were kind enough to supply me with a gift card for post race. Also thanks to the volunteers who stood out there on a cold holiday Monday.

Thanks to Powered by Chocolate Milk, Forerunners North Vancouver and Speed Theory for their continued support.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Building Blocks

Had a few people ask what I am training for at the moment. The reality is at the moment is I do not know and it is actually been a fun and refreshing time.

Lots of ideas in my head but at the moment are not committing or focussing on anything long term. Instead I have taken the approach of 4 to 6 weeks at a time and setting mini goals for each of these periods.

This week marks the end of the second of these such blocks and it has been fun to enjoy training again and not being stressed out about my current level of fitness or goals/races many months away.

A recap on these two blocks and some future plans

Block 1 - Creating Routine

One thing I had been struggling with is the creation or routine. So for my First Block form August to Early September I focussed on this with a priority focussed on running. This ended up being 25 runs in August and then 32 runs in September.

Add to this I have now found a workout schedule that works for me. The big part of this for me was moving my long runs from the weekend to Friday's. Fridays I am in control of my schedule and rolling out after work seems to work perfect for me.

The upside of this first block was started to enjoy training again and through a focus on running have got my run rhythm back.

Block 2 - Building Momentum

Block 2 as I have called it ends this Monday with the Turkey Trot 10km. This has once again been focussed on running and really hitting workouts as planned. This has involved learning to suffer on the run again and the last few weeks of this block have been some of my best training since over 4 years ago of BK (Before Kids). Through finding a routine that works in terms of what days to do what workouts - getting out for easy runs when a window opens up and having fun have found a balance which has been nice.

Not expecting anything ground breaking time wise on Monday but feel like are setting a good foundation for future goals and fitness. This last 4 weeks has involved a focus on some consistent running workouts. All my long runs have involved some interval work as well which adds some variety for the 2hr sessions.

What's Next Block 3 - Layering

So next up is block 3. This one will be 5 weeks in duration culminating on Nov 16th with the MEC Marathon that starts and finishes 500m from my house in Steveston.

Even though this block concludes with a race my aim is to take the 26.2 as a extended long run so will likely not be trying to go full gas but rather have a strong effort. The race is pretty low key and on the gravel dyke which can be exposed to the wind even though it is pancake flat. Not too mention November could bring any type of weather but it will be good to have a focussed hit out.

Having said that the main goal of this block for me is to start to layer in some consistent swim and bike on top of the run. not looking for perfection on this front but trying to build a schedule that will work for me going forward. 

By moving my long runs to Friday's has opened up some more flexibility on weekends for the bike and getting in a long ride. Given I normally commute around 100km a week if I long ride on the weekend and get in another spin at some point getting my mileage up is pretty straightforward. The focus for this block will be getting in the long rides and ensuring most of the work is aerobic to allow for strong run workouts.

The big challenge this block will be layering in the swim. Part of this has already started in terms of focussing of going to bed earlier. I am a big believer in 8-10 hours of sleep as my standard so if I am to swim with a group (which I need to do) I need to be asleep by about 9pm on a consistent basis especially when swimming in the am. My goal by the end of this block is to be swimming 4 times a week with a view to hopefully expand this in coming blocks to 5 or 6 swims a week.

So in short here are the goals for the next 5 weeks;
  • Run consistently and maintain momentum around structured sessions.
  • By the end of the block be riding long once a week and have a non commute bike session during the week.
  • Swim 4 times a week with 2 of these being in a group environment

What Follows?

If I am successful in this block then block 4 will be focussed on solidifying the above habits and schedule throughout December.

In terms of goals still working through these but at the moment are focusing them on specific times or test sets vs. big A races. Some of these goals are easier to achieve where as some may take over a year. The idea is that once achieved they then can be replaced but a subsequent goal.

These are still tentative and my aim is to form these over the next few weeks. Based on some test sets and current fitness my plan is to create some intermediate goals with the below. Once I have worked this out then I cans tart to organise my blocks to focus towards getting closer to these goals

Run - Sub 33:30 10km or 26:30 8km (VDOT 64)
Swim - Sub 25 min 1500m (LCM)
Bike - FTP of 4.5 W/kg

So the next part of the goal setting will be getting baselines of where I am at and setting intermediary goals whether that be times and/or process related for each training block.

Favourite Photo from the Last Week

So this last week my second daughter turned 1 - Kona race day will fall on her 20th birthday  so no pressure form that perspective :) (or for dad trying to qualify in the 50-54 AG)

Been a fun year and now we have a bit more routine going in the household looking forward to building some momentum with my training like I have been doing for the past 10 weeks or so.

Friday, October 3, 2014

I Know What you did last summer

Its October - so a bit of a recap of my summer which didn't turned out as planned in some regards but was fun none the less. To cover off some of stuff I did;

End of May - Rode from Vancouver down to past Olympia via the Olympic Peninsula. 

Day 1 was about 320km and day 2 a short jaunt before hopping in the car with some buddies to go watch the Whitcaps play in Portland. A solo adventure which involved riding a dollar bill boot for 40km to get a new tire. Learned a lot from this open for big solo rides (bring spare tire!) and may take those lessons in for some adventures in 2015.

Plan on riding down for the PDX game in 2015 so should be a fun annual tradition.



Went to salt spring for a week for a family and friends vacation. Lots of short intense rides and saltspring definitely a great place for a hill focussed bike block, Something to take into account for future years.

Victoria Granfondo Doppio

For the second time this year out of three I proved that trying to compete while sick sucks! Regardless this is my favourite event and will be back in 2015 hopefully without a chest cold.

I Did a Triathlon and it kind of sucked

Next up was Vancouver Half Iron - motivation had been an issue to a variety of distractions (good ones) this year and to be honest my head wasn't with it. Is a great event and they made soem course improvements and hope it remains as a half race now with WTC ownership although my gut feel tells me it will become a 5150.  

This race (actually the first 2 minutes) determined the rest of my summer would be a relaxed sabbatical from big races. During the race I was hoping to flat so could go home which is not a good mental approach - but happy I raced as it told me I needed a break and following this realisation have actually had the best training block I have had in years.  

This is a entire blogpost in itself but here is the ride data. Think I still may be out in ocean on the swim given my swim split on this one!

Hanging Out with the Family

Made sure to have lots of fun hanging out with the family. Was a great summer of bouncy castles, bike rides and just general fun

Went to Alaska and Ran Up Some Mountains

Went on my first ever cruise - didn't get crazy fat and did lots of running. Good family holiday to end the official summer

Racing When Sick Again - Eastside 10km

don't do it kids! having said that this events rocks and I love the challenging course

What's Next

TBD - Been running lots with 90km weeks becoming the standard now, Thinking will start to layer in some strucuture around everything else. But that will be all talked about in my next post.

But now you know what I did last summer - what did you do?