Nicole's Training - Week 6

Don’t forget the stairs… 

We’ve entered the 30-day countdown to Seek the Peak. Are you ready? 

Quick check-in for this week as my training weekend revolved around the Grouse Grind and Nancy Greene, where I was once again reminded just how many stairs there are on this route. 

As you climb through Capilano and onto Nancy Greene, the grind of the race really starts to begin. Once runners begin the Palisades Trail, we will face an 800 meter climb up a section of technical trail and a series of stairs. Capilano to the base of Grouse Mountain is a total of 6KM in distance, but is the beginning of a great climb to the top. 

If you haven’t started preparing your legs for this sort of elevation increase, it’s time to begin. Remember - Grouse has a great training calendar that you can follow, and I recommend replicating a few of these routes before race day. 

I’ve exchanged some great tweets with a few of you as we all prepare for race day, so please keep sharing your thoughts and training preparation. We’re all in this together! 

Next weekend I will be tackling legs 1-3 of the race for a great session. Where will you embark? 

Happy training! 


Nicole's Training - Week 5

Could you hear the cheers from hikers across the North Shore last week as Grouse Grind was officially open for business? An extra loud cheer was sure to be heard from Seek the Peak participants as leg three of the race is now available for training. 

I was so excited to head up the mountain, so my training partner and I agreed to battle for two consecutive Grinds on Saturday morning. Attempting to nearly replicate the duration and climb of Seek the Peak, we thought this would be a great way to celebrate Metro Vancouver’s announcement to officially open the gates. 

Surprisingly, Grind 2 was much easier than Grind 1. Funny how that works, right? With the body already warm and loose, we didn’t face the typical 5-10 minute adjustment your body makes when first starting the Grind. 

If you are a new visitor to this trail, or simply need a refresher in climbing this mountain, below are three tips to help make your climb the best it can be. 

1. It’s not a race – so have fun! Unless you’re looking to break some personal bests, remember that it’s not a race to the top. There are hikers of all fitness levels who climb the mountain each and every day, and it is important to remember that you will all arrive at the same destination at your own pace. Whether you take 45 minutes or 2 hours, have fun and enjoy yourself on this beautiful trail. 

2. Climb on the right, pass on the left. Further to remembering that it’s not a race, understand that some hikers do want to reach the top in a time that feels right for them. Always climb on the right and pass on the left. Don’t be afraid to let hikers ahead know that you will be passing them shortly, so they can be aware of their surroundings. 

3. Listen to your body. There are some days when our bodies just aren’t working to their full potential – and that’s OK! Be sure to listen to your body throughout your hike. If you need to rest or simply slow down, don’t be afraid to do so. Hydrate and ensure you have the nutrition needed. 

The Grouse Grind is going to be a popular destination over the summer, and I hope that it is on your to-do list as well. Most importantly, get outside and be healthy! 

Until next week. 



Nicole's Training - Week 4

As your training increases and the days become warmer, it is important to start thinking ahead about accessories and nutrition for Seek the Peak. 

This past weekend I returned to Nancy Greene Way - though this time, I returned on my road bike. My training session for this weekend included a cycle from Downtown Vancouver to the base of Grouse Mountain, embarking on a one-hour round-trip hike through the Baden Powell, then cycling back into the city. I tried to replicate the climb and duration of Seek the Peak, much like the weekend run suggestions do here. With the change in footwear and accessories on this route, it made me think ahead and begin to prepare for our June 14th race. 

As Seek the Peak travels along both trails and pavement, you will need to select footwear that works best for you. Although I climb the Grouse Grind with hiking boots in the Summer months, this certainly wouldn’t work for a 16KM run. I would recommend finding a trail shoe that is light in weight, yet comfortable for your feet. 

Backpack or Water Belt? 
Wearing a backpack or using a water belt is a personal preference. Although most runners wear water belts, I am personally more comfortable with a trail pack. This allows me to carry my phone, water, keys and nutrition. Just make sure to pack light. 

What to consume is dependent on each and every runner, and I would highly recommend you determine what is best for your body well prior to race day. Personally, I will pack three gels on race day and consume them with water along the way. There are some fantastic options on the market, so make sure you select a product that suits your body best. 

Most important of all? Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Speaking of which, have you signed-up for the Whistler Water One Climb?

Until next week! 

Nicole's Training - Week 3

Last week I made reference to three mental and physical challenges that runners will be faced with during Seek the Peak, the most challenging of which is Nancy Greene Way. That is a personal opinion of course, and mostly because I recently completed the climb for the very first time. Ouch! 

This portion of the climb is in Leg 2 of the race, from Capilano to the base of the Grouse Grind. In this portion of the race, runners will emerge from the Palisades Trail and head onto Nancy Greene Way for a one mile climb to the mountain. 

Although one mile is remarkably short, the climb is a challenge. For runners racing this event, especially those embarking on the journey solo, I highly recommend you include Nancy Greene Way as part of your training leading up to race day. This leg just goes...and goes...and goes...and although many of us who love climbing the Grouse Grind during the Summer months simply see this road as a sign that we are getting closer to the base, it is deceivingly difficult on foot. 

Combined with the Seek the Peak training guide, I incorporated a few days of cross-training within my schedule this week - including becoming more familiar with the terrain of trail running. Cross-training refers to combining exercises of other disciplines, different than that of your regular training regime and is believed to improve your fitness, prevent injury and aid in a quicker recovery. With Seek the Peak being such a physical journey that builds leg strength, it is important to incorporate other activities into your training calendar - especially those that involve building strength in your core and upper body. 

Next week, I will focus on the nutrition and accessories of racing. With varying terrain in this race, we need to be prepared for what both the pavement and mountain areas will present to us. 

Until then! 



Nicole's Training - Week 2

Seek the Peak participant Nicole van Zanten is documenting her weekly training leading up to the big day. Have a read of her second training diary entry below:

Week 2: Breaking The Route Into Three Pieces

In Week 2 of the Seek the Peak training program, the recommended weekend run route is to begin at Cleveland Dam, tackle Nancy Greene and head down the road switchbacks to the Skyline trail. This run is 8KM and should take between 60-90 minutes. 

Nancy Greene is said to be one of the more difficult areas of the route. When chatting with a few friends about this race just a few weeks ago, I was challenged to stay focused on three challenging aspects of this event. The three potential mental hurdles, so to speak. Instead of waiting until race day to tackle them for the first time, it is important to be aware of these hurdles and face them head-on. 

Ready to tackle them with me? 

1. Solo vs. Relay

I love that there is a relay option for this race. Endurance events are meant to be supportive (there’s nothing like seeing your friends and family holding signs and cheering you on), and to have a relay team option is a remarkable addition for Seek the Peak. For solo runners, however, seeing fresh legs join your route can be a mental challenge. 

2. Nancy Greene Way

I’ve never tackled Nancy Greene Way, so this weekend training run will be interesting! I’ve been told that this part of the route is a huge challenge, so I expect for this to be tough. 

3. Post-Grind

When you complete the Grouse Grind on a regular Sunday, you don’t expect to be told you need to complete 3KM more, right? Although this is the home stretch of the race, I’m sure it will be a challenging, yet rewarding finale. 

Breaking the route into three challenging pieces will allow participants to know what’s coming, be prepared for what’s ahead and defeat those mental roadblocks before they begin. 

See you next week (with an update from the Nancy Greene run!)

Nicole's Training - Week 1

Seek the Peak participant Nicole van Zanten is documenting her weekly training leading up to the big day.  Have a read of her first training diary entry below:

You know when you sign-up for a difficult race, only to experience the “I’m actually doing this!” feeling a few weeks later? I think that just happened. 

My name is Nicole van Zanten and I’ve registered to participate in Seek the Peak this June. With 16KM of uphill trails that will require toughness and grit, I couldn’t be more excited for this challenge. 

As a long-distance cyclist and runner (recreationally, I might add), I’ve had the privilege of taking part in some very difficult races, though Seek the Peek is a different challenge of its own. Initially, I signed-up to help support such a wonderful cause, while slotting in a race as cross-training for long-distance cycling events later on in the Summer. Now, I have Seek the Peek circled on the calendar as my race of the year. 

To stay fit, currently I love hitting the trails, getting on my road bike for a long ride or joining a spin class at my local gym. Training for Seek the Peek will certainly be a whole new experience, so this blog will serve as a weekly update on my progress. From running the Cleveland Dam to heading to the Grouse Grind during the season, I will be mixing in some of my own training, along with Seek the Peak’s program

If you have raced this event solo, or simply have a few tips to help support a successful, injury-free training program, pleasetweet me

Until next week,