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The Globe and Mail

A runner's diary: more focus, less ice cream

Dave Emilio is preparing for this fall's Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon

Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail/Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

Sixteen weeks.

That's how long I have left to train for my next marathon. The ScotiaBank Toronto Waterfront Marathon in October will be my 25th, my diamond jubilee marathon, if you will. Each race has been a great experience, especially my first, in Ottawa, in May of 2007, where my love of going the distance began. Running 42.2 kilometres is a true test of strength, will power and commitment, and I still get excited for each one.

Every new race poses new challenges for me. I've become physically stronger for some and mentally tougher for others. I've run less mileage but done more cross training; I've also crossed the finish line with a minimal amount of preparation. Following more intense, focused training periods, I was twice able to qualify for, and run, the Boston Marathon.

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But there hasn't been a race where I've finished and looked back on my training and been able to say, wholeheartedly, that I did the best I could.

Even during my most diligent training programs, I've cheated with too many "rewards," like extra bacon after a Sunday long run, a few beers after a hard tempo run on a Wednesday night and ice cream, oh sweet, sweet ice cream.

For the STWM, I want to slice eight minutes off my personal best. I plan to run this marathon in 3:10:00. I have all the confidence in the world that I can, and will, do this, while coaching my wife, Anita, to her third and fastest marathon as well.

I'm four weeks into a 20-week self-designed program and already I feel stronger and more motivated than ever. As I am not secretive about this goal, I have plenty of accountability to help me on my way. Follow along with my pitfalls and breakthrough moments each week.

Dave Emilio lives in Toronto's Beach area where there are many great routes to run and friends to run with, including The Toronto Beaches Runners Club, which he presides over.

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