.: Ski XCOttawa.ca :: Skiing in Ottawa and Gatineau Park

Training in Toronto
By:  Mark Rajack   (2013/08/04)

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Being used to the jewel that is Ottawa-Gatineau, one of the most idyllic places in the country for outdoor and physical activity, it is always shocking to experience what other athletes in different cities have to contend with in terms of training. My time in Toronto this summer was no exception.

My time there was spent west of Midtown - south of the Yorkdale shopping centre, which is at the intersection of the 401 and the Allen Road.


At first glance, there is not much space to train. Yorkdale is located at the red pin, I was staying close to the green pin.

My training schedule dictated that I needed to complete my intervals first. As such, I needed to find a hill. Now many of my teammates on XC Ottawa are aware of how much the Mooney's bay hill in Ottawa has terrorized my life, so I was secretly hoping that the topography of Toronto would be much more forgiving than that.

Using the local knowledge of the individuals I was staying with, I was recommended to do my uphill ski bounding and striding at the St Clair Reservoir/Sir Winston Chruchill Park located at Spadina and St Clair West. It was a 25 minute run away which was a perfect warm up and cool down. I must have unknowingly committed a Cardinal sin at some point, for this hill was a terrifying experience beyond my imagination.

The tip of the iceberg.


Woah, it's starting to look like a double hill ! What does this mean ? ...it means a maxed heart rate, that's what.


It is apropo to declare, "started from the bottom now we here!" #drake


Needless to say, after that experience, I was wishing I was back at Mooney's bay training with my team. The next order of training was mid-distance running. A luxury we are used to in Ottawa is the experience of uninhibited running, free of traffic and cars and all the accompanying dangers. To my surprise, I was happy to have been informed of the fabled benefits of experiencing a run along the length of the Kay Gardner Beltline Park.


X marks the muggings?

Quite to the contrary, I found this unpaved trail to be an enjoyable and safe running experience in the middle of the city, at all hours of the day and evening. It does intersect with some major roads like Bathurst Avenue where you may be required to stop, but the length of the trail gives you almost 4.4 km of mainly uninterrupted running trail.


I was also thrilled to be able to use my barefoot running shoes on this trail.


In perspective now to the greater area.

For comfort and safety reasons, I left the roller skiing component of my training for cottage country much further north of the city. I was told about the bike path at the harbour front, but an earlier visit saw too much bicycle and runner traffic for me to feel safe roller skiing on that path at that time. But overall, I was very happy with my training experience in Toronto given the circumstances.

Finally, this local Toronto blog is very useful if you are visiting the city and looking for other alternatives to train or for the paths closest to you.
http://www.blogto.com/toronto/lists/top_toronto_bike_paths/

Stay frosty out there.
 
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