1983 Training Log




Wearing my 1988 uniform to watch Doug Alward carry the torch for the 2010 Olympics. Photo by Warren McCulloch


Training from today’s date in 1983  

Introduction to this page  

I’ve kept training diaries since April 1979. I haven’t missed a day of recording my workouts since that time. I have a collection of about 25 little notebooks containing all these brief entries. I’m astonished now at the workouts I was able to do when I was young.

I’ve found these diaries to be a helpful training and racing tool over the years. My times on familiar workouts allow me to predict the race pace I should be able to handle. In addition, looking back over workouts of previous months allows me to see patterns that might explain particularly good or poor performances, or possible causes of injury.

1983 was the year I burst onto the North American road racing scene by making a huge improvement in my 10K time, lowering it from the low 34’s of the previous year to 32:20 on the road and 32:23 on the track, which was a Canadian record at that time. For that reason, I decided to start this “Training Log” page with entries from 1983. I didn’t know what I would find for today’s date, but when I located the right little notebook, August 21 proved to be a great date to begin with: in 1983, that was the day of the Falmouth Road Race!

From 1983 Training Log

August 21, 1983

Falmouth Road Race–came 2nd, 26 secs behind Joan Benoit. 36:47 for 7.1 miles. Felt really good during most of race, really “floating”. Should have maybe tried to stay with Joan longer. 11 miles counting warmup, warmdown. Felt good after race.

August 22, 1983

AM: Ran about 6 miles moderate pace in Falmouth–legs tired but not too bad.

PM: Weights at home–lots of leg exercises–45 min.

August 23, 1983

AM: Did 5 mile course with Dave–30:49. Tried to stay relaxed, but last part with hills very tough.

PM: Club workout Earl Bales. 30 min warmup, quite hard, with Anne Marie. 2 x bottom circuit + ski hills. 1000, 800, 600, 400, 200 intervals on bottom. Once more up hill + short warmdown. 9.5 miles.

August 24

AM: Ran 6.5 miles moderate pace, most on roads. Didn’t feel too bad for a “morning after”!

PM: Weights–3 complete sets including vertical jumps, 2 sets hyperextensions.

August 25

AM: Fast 4 miles 23:01. Knee hurting badly during stretching and during & after run. Iced thoroughly.

PM: Track workout at York. 3 mile easy warmup + 50m strides.

Ladder workout, 90-120 sec. rest between intervals. 400m 70, 800m 2:28, 1200m 3:46, 1600m 5:06.
Mile really exhausting–2:30 for last 800m–Anne Marie right with me. Took 5 min. break. 1200m 3:45, 800m 2:22, 400m 65–amazing times! Pushed really hard. 1 mile warmdown. 8 miles. Knee just hurt a bit near end–got treatment.

August 26

PM: Did very thorough weight workout at G. S. [my old high school] 3 sets + vertical jumps, hyperextensions, front & back squats. 55 min. I set bounding to loosen up. Knee okay.

August 27

AM: Ran 7.5 miles near house & on golf course. Knee very bad after 1 mile–sharp pains off and on. Iced thoroughly. Later did some 100m strides & sprints at track.

August 28

AM: Marathon training on Dave’s woods course. Ran for 1hur54 min–second hour fairly hard. Legs OK, knee no pain at all! But turned ankle badly again, turned again later in day–very sore & stiff. About 15.5 miles.

August 29

AM: Rode bike to G.S. Did 4 sets stationary bike, medicine ball throws & situps, hyperextensions on bench. Ankle improving, can’t run yet.

PM: Weights–3 complete sets. No jumps, extra squats.

August 30

AM: Track workout at York. 3.5 mile warmup. 2 x 1000m, 2 x 800m, 2 x 600m with 90 sec recovery. Quite slow–raining and ankle felt stiff. 6 x 120m–not flat-out, good form. I mile warmdown. Felt good after workout. 8 miles.

August 31

Nothing–exhausted from trip [to Knarvik, Norway for a special IAAF World 10,000m race for women, since it wasn’t yet part of the World Championships, held in Helsinki that year].

September 1

AM: Ran 2.5 miles at Knarvik track with Eleanor Simonsick. 8 x 200m striding fast with 200m jog rest. Ran back to hotel on hilly roads. 6 miles.

September 2

AM: Ran 2.5 miles easy near hotel–didn’t want to do more because of hills.

September 3

PM: Jogged, walked and did some easy striding–about 2 miles running.

September 4

Big race–came 4th in 32:23.04. [This was a Canadian record at the time.] Stayed with leaders (Cunha, Teske, Rasmussen) almost 17 laps, then fell back. Pace felt OK, fatigue really hit at end but I could sprint last lap–could have gone a little faster but no one near. Jogged back to hotel with American girls. 11 miles counting warmup, warmdown.

September 5

AM: Ran 1 hr easy with Eleanor, then 13 min more myself at good pace. Felt fairly good except calves very sore. Weather miserable–cold and raining. About 10 miles.

September 6

AM: Ran 62 min on mountain roads in Oslo–very painful on calves because all up and down–no flat at all. Did 6 x 100m on path near hotel. 8.5 miles. Finished with 3 sets 50 situps, 20 pushups.

September 7

AM: Ran 66 min on mountain roads–pushed hard on uphills but calves still in terrible pain on downhills. 9 miles.

4 Responses to 1983 Training Log

  1. Graeme says:

    I love the training logs. Full of detail. Very interesting stuff!

  2. Fraser Wright says:

    Dear Nancy,
    Interesting to read your 1983 training log and about your experiences around the 1983 TO marathon. I recall it was a long homestretch straightaway going westbound on the Danforth for the last 8k or so! I’ve been looking for the listing of finishing times for the finishers at Toronto that year, through first 100 runners at least, as I’ve lost track of my time, and some friends who also ran. Do you or any readers know if / where the results of the 1983 Toronto marathon are posted somewhere on the internet?
    Many thanks for any tips !
    Fraser Wright

    • Hi Fraser,
      Thanks for reading my blog. I don’t remember much about the second half of that marathon except the pain in my feet!
      Results may not be anywhere online since the race was so long ago. The Toronto Star probably published results down to 100 places or more; perhaps if you contacted the newspaper they could find the article in their archives. I will look up the date in my newspaper clipping tomorrow, but I don’t think I have the full results.

      • Fraser Wright says:

        Hi Nancy
        Thanks for your reply – yes, definitely the pre internet era – seems straightforward enough to find results going back into the 90’s, but before that..
        Understand your ‘amnesia’; your pic looks painful! but 42k on hard surface for a 10k specialist.. I made mistake using v lightweight shoes; took awhile to get back to normal.
        Will check with the Toronto Star at some point, one would expect they’d keep archives over the years.
        Happy trails!

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