How They Train #1: Leslie Sexton Winter 2019

This is the first edition of what will become an ongoing series called ‘How They Train’ in which athletes and/or coaches will post an interesting block of training, provide some context and relevant detail, and avail themselves for an interactive Q & A in the Community Forum. The offers a great opportunity to learn the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of different training. Over time, we plan to host a variety of How They Train segments with friends and colleagues.


Please read through the posted training block, register an account if you haven’t already, and post your questions for Leslie Sexton and coach Steve Weiler. Starting at 4:00pm on Friday, they will start answering any posted questions, checking in periodically over the subsequent 24 hours, and will aim to wrap-up by responding to any posts made by 4:00pm on Saturday.


Let’s get started!


I have chosen to share several weeks from my buildup over the winter towards the upcoming Prague Marathon on May 5th. These five weeks were for the most part in the thick of marathon training, with one down week when I raced the Chilly Half Marathon in Burlington. This is a particularly interesting stretch of training during which we collaborated with multiple groups (BC Endurance Project in Vancouver and Dundas Valley Track Club in Hamilton).


This winter I spent most of February in Vancouver to train in some milder winter weather. While I was out there I ran workouts with BCEP and for the most part followed the same workout schedule as their marathoners (Rachel Cliff and Catherine Watkins). Richard Lee had sent us a training outline ahead of time, and Steve and I decided that I could make the most of my training out west if I ran their workouts, rather than getting worked up over small differences in training plans. Richard was awesome, and I felt like I was a full member of the group while I was out there. When I was back in London in March, Steve and I made a point of coordinating with Victoria Coates and her coach, Patrick MacKinnon. Victoria and I had met up for some long runs late last year and we were both keen to keep meeting up for long runs or MP workouts in the spring.



February 18-24

My last full week in Vancouver, workouts were with BCEP.

Monday: AM - 21.7k in 1:37:24, ran with Catherine.

PM: 10.9k in 49:05, UBC loop.

Tuesday: AM - 16.1k in 1:12:17 with Catherine, Jericho finally melted, nice to run on a softer surface again.

PM - 11k in 49:30, same loop as Monday but added the extra 100m.

Wednesday: AM - “Split 1600s” workout at Empire track. 2 sets of 4 X (2 X 800m w/1 min rest), 2 min rest every 2 X 800m, 4 min between sets. 23:03 up/22:54 down. First set 2:40.0 avg, second set 2:38.0 avg. Rachel, Erica Digby, and Kirsten Lee dropped me hard! 24.7k total.

PM - 9.6k in 43:09

Thursday: AM - 20.2k in 90 minutes, ran with Dayna Pidhoresky and Catherine.

PM - 10.4k in 48:38, spent the day at the aquarium and did this after. Tired!

Friday: AM - 16.1k in 1:14:42 with Catherine. Started out raining, then turned to snow. Poor footing in second half.

PM - 14.5k in 66 minutes, sunny and nice out, Jericho was in great shape!

Saturday: AM - 16.2k in 1:14:56 with Dayna and Catherine. Rain and slush again, miserable!

PM - 11k in 49 minutes, nice out again in the afternoon.

Sunday: AM - Workout in Fort Langley. 5k up, 20k at MP in 1:12:09, 5k down. 3:36.5/k avg (5k splits were 18:06, 18:02, 18:02, 17:57). Wanted to be under 72 minutes today but the legs were tired! Happy with the effort. GU Roctane drink every 5k. 30.2k on the day.

Total: 213k

Photo by George Aitken

February 25-March 3

Monday: AM - 16.1k in 1:11:09 with Catherine. Ran the Seawall around Stanley Park, picked it up at the end to hold off some runner bros. Felt good.

PM - 10k in 45:15 along Jericho. A filthy casual tourist run, stopped to take a bunch of pictures.

Tuesday: AM- 16.2k in 1:13:36, last run in Vancouver, flying out after this.

Wednesday: PM - 16.1k in 1:12:30 on the treadmill. Ontario welcomed me back with a bunch of snow so I stayed indoors. Watched Lego Batman.

Thursday: AM - 6.4k in 30 minutes. Tired from jet-lag.

PM - Workout: 5k up, 10 X 2 min hard/1 min easy (3:24-3:28 pace range), 5k down. Still tired and it was pretty cold and windy out. Effort felt right but paces were slow.

Friday: PM - 16.7k in 1:14:25, trying to get used to running in cold weather again!

Saturday: AM - 6.6k in 30:27.

PM - 8.7k in 40 minutes in Burlington.

Sunday: AM - Chilly Half in 1:15:25, 2nd to Victoria (5k splits 17:31, 17:35, 18:34, 17:55, 3:50 final 1.1k). Started off running low 3:30s per km and had a slight lead on Victoria and Lyndsay Tessier at 10k. I had a really bad stretch from 10-15k, maybe my early pace was too ambitious for the cold conditions. Victoria passed me around 12k and Lyndsay shortly after. I managed to stay on Lyndsay for a few kilometers, and after 15k I was able to rally and push a bit harder. I managed to make my way back up to Victoria, catching her at 20k, then losing by a second at the finish. I was disappointed with my time (I’m still not sure on how much to adjust for the conditions as it was cold but not too windy out) but happy with how I was able to race over the last 6k and come back from a bad patch. 20 min warm up, 22:17 cool down. 29.3k on the day.

Total: 144k


March 4-10

Monday: AM - 10k in 47:22, recovery pace! There was some snow on the ground but I am also very tired. Half marathons are hard.

PM - 10k in 45:11, Steve advised me to take an easier day (and he was right, I’m still pretty tired).

Tuesday: AM - 10k in 45 minutes, it’s snowing again.

PM - 20k in 1:29:40 on the treadmill. Watched Hot Fuzz.

Wednesday: AM - 10k in 45:20, treadmill again.

PM - 16.1k in 73 minutes on the treadmill, bored and regretting my movie pick (Cliffhanger)

Thursday: AM - 8.8k in 41:14, back outside.

PM - Workout: 25:15 up, 7 X 1.5k (2 min rest), 28 min down. Cold today, was -15 with the windchill. Times were 5:06, 5:13, 5:06, 5:12, 5:07, 5:15, 5:06 (every other one was going west into the wind). Had to remind myself that I don’t need to “prove fitness” in every workout, the point is to do the work and get fitter!

Friday: AM - 10k in 45:30.

PM - 20k in 1:28:38, felt good.

Saturday: AM - 10k in 45:44.

PM - 16.9k 74 minutes. Windy.

Sunday: AM - 32.3k progression run in 2:05:54, 7 laps of the 4.6k Springbank loop (don’t call it the “3 mile” loop because it’s shorter than 3 miles). 60-70 km/h wind gusts made this a tough one and the last 4 laps were slower than assigned pace range. Progressed ok so I’m happy with the effort. Laps were 19:22, 18:47, 18:23, 17:52, 17:25, 17:07, 16:55. GU Roctane drink every lap (300ml total) and 2 gels.

Total: 198k


March 11-17

Monday: AM - 10k in 45:47.

PM - 20k in 1:27:42.

Tuesday: AM - 10k in 44:57.

PM - 20k in 1:25:52 with 10 X 30s hard/90s easy turnover.

Wednesday: AM - 8.8k in 40 minutes.

PM - 16.7k in 1:13:04.

Thursday: AM - Attempted workout. 20 min warm up, tried 3 X 8k at MP, only got through one in 29:45. Felt tired and was way off pace so we called it there.

Friday: AM - 8.7k in 39 minutes.

PM - 16.1k in 1:18:13 with Karen. Raining and cold, the last few ks were pretty miserable.

Saturday: AM - 8.7k in 40:54, some snow.

PM - 8.7k in 39:02. Been feeling off since Thursday so I backed off today, hoping to have a decent long run tomorrow.

Sunday: AM - Long run in Hamilton with Dundas Valley Track Club. Hilly 36k in 2:24:00, 4:00/k avg, felt really strong. Ran with Victoria, Pat, Paul Rochus, and Chris Shaw. Pat gave us the route ahead of time so that Steve could follow in the car and set up a bottle station about every 5k. Felt great to run with a pack! Took in 425ml of GU Roctane drink plus 3 gels to put me at 52g of carbs per hour.

Total: 176k



March 18-24

Monday: AM - 10k in 45:28, left quad a bit tight from those hills yesterday.

PM - 20k in 1:27:32, felt good and moving well.

Tuesday: AM - 10k in 45 minutes.

PM - 20k in 87 minutes with 8 X 30s hard/90s easy turnover. Quad still a bit tight but it was ok to do the surges.

Wednesday: AM - 8k in 36:37.

PM - 16.7k in 1:14:30. A bit tired but quad is fine.

Thursday: AM - 8.7k in 39:09.

PM - Workout: 5k up, 5 X 3k (2 min rest), 5k down.  Went 10:32, 10:24, 10:25, 10:25, 10:39. Felt ok for most of the workout, had a bit of an asthma flare-up on the last one and ended up struggling. 25k total.

Friday: AM - 10k in 44:50. Slept for 10 hours last night so this actually felt ok!

PM - 16.4k in 1:13:34. Crazy windy, cold, and I wasn't feeling it. Tried to think of nice things.

Saturday: AM - 16.2k in 72 minutes. Ran from home to Powerhouse Brewing to help out with the 5k race today. Felt good on the run, got to taste a few beers after the race!

PM - 10k in 44:40.

Sunday: AM - Workout: 20 min up, 3 X 8k at MP (4 min rest), 20:42 down. Went 28:46, 28:50, 28:45 (3:36/k average). Felt good, happy to nail this workout after a failed attempt last week. 33k total.

PM - 30 minutes easy, 6.7k.

Total: 212k


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