Drills and Hills: Conquer the Grade


On Wednesday, July 5, 2017,


2016-07-16 | 2016 MultiSport Gravenhurst Triathlon (Saturday)

Join Dempsey Cruz, MultiSport Canada Ambassador, fitness coach/trainer and Penticton-bound age group duathlete, in conjunction with the Nike Women Running Room at Liberty Village for an evening of fun hill training!

Along with their Wednesday Running Club, learn how to conquer those dreaded hills using specific running drills and technique.

Improve your running skills with Dempsey and the Running Room coaches; learn how to breathe efficiently and fine tune your biomechanics on hilly courses and have fun while doing it!

The clinic starts at 6:30 p.m. 
Meet at the Running Room Liberty Village, 61 Hanna Ave #1, Toronto, ON M6K 3N7
10-15 minutes prior to start of clinic.
Everyone is welcome to join! Open to all skill levels, this clinic is guaranteed to be fun and engaging!
Running Room Liberty Village

61 Hanna Ave #1, Toronto, ON M6K 3N7 (p.c.blogTO)


11.29.16: The Gold Medal Mentality

After a week of not training from being sick, I’m finally back at it with Trainer Road. Three sets of 3x3min intervals at 115% FTP: there’s nothing like a tough VO2max repeats spin to get your bike training week started!


It’s tough to get started again after a period of no training. It’s synonymous to the feeling you get before you jump into cold water, or when you hear your alarm at 4:30am.

“The body achieves what the mind believes.”

This is the quote on the medal holder my sister made me. As an endurance athlete, I’ve developed appreciation for motivational quotes.

Having gone through years of training with different coaches and athletes, I’ve learned the importance of training your mind with your body. I’ve come to believe that you need to prime your body to do the work that it needs to. This is exactly what I do before a training or race day. Having a “gold medal mentality” gets me in the right mind frame and stay in “the zone”.

The gold medal mentality is what I call the mindset that we should always strive to do our best and push through the burn especially during the toughest of times. It’s the mental state that will allow our bodies to accomplish things that we didn’t know were possible.

Sport is 90 percent mental and 10 percent physical. It is, if not more, important to condition the mind than it is to train the body.

How do you stay in “the zone” during your training?

11.22.16: The magic of sprint intervals

Over the years, I’ve trained for many running races ranging from 5km to 42.2km. I oftentimes find myself getting lost in my busy schedule, getting trapped at work, or dealing with unexpected life situations. It’s not always ideal to spend hours in the gym trying to make up for lost training time.

My solution? Speed Intervals. They are perfect for maximizing training when pressed for time.

Incorporating them into your training plan is essential for building speed, stamina, and cardiorespiratory efficiency (vo2max). It is the perfect way to vary intensity levels during your sessions, as you cycle through bouts of high intensity sprints and active recovery.

Today’s training involved five repetitions of 3min sprints at 80% of my max effort, with 1 min active recovery in between.

Be sure to maintain good running form when increasing your pace; arms bent at 90, shoulders relaxed, and hips forward. It’s easy to let your form drop as fatigue sets in. Don’t cave in!

This type of training is also very effective at burning fat, and improving metabolism.


Around the Bay Race, 30 km. Hamilton, ON. Finish line photo by ZoomPhotoInc.

11.14.16: It’s all about endorphins

A challenging spin seemed daunting after a long day at work but it’s exactly what I needed to de-stress. There’s nothing like a 6x3min Vo2max repeats at 120% FTP to help me unwind.

Crazy talk, I know.

But what exactly makes exercise the perfect stress reliever?

It’s all about physiology! Exercise has the ability to trigger the production and release of “natural painkiller” hormones called endorphins.

Endorphins are produced by our brain’s hypothalamus and pituitary gland when our body experiences pain or discomfort. You can look at it as the body’s coping mechanism to counteract stressors it experiences.

Structurally similar to morphine, endorphins activate opioid receptors in the brain that causes feelings of euphoria.

Have you ever heard of the term “runner’s high”? Well, this is the exact science behind it!


11.9.16: Running gait analysis

Today, I did a bit of running gait analysis on the treadmill 🏃🏻

As an athlete, I always look for opportunities to grow and hone my “craft”. I’ve been a runner for many years now and I’m still trying to refine my running form.


As a flat-footed runner, my tendency is to over-pronate. This means that my feet roll inward as they make contact with the ground. This sounds problematic right? This can certainly lead to injuries overtime if not addressed and accounted for. For this reason, I opt for running shoes that have motion control and arch support to limit overpronation.

There is mixed research on foot strike; i.e. Which part of our feet should strike the ground first?

It’s tricky to give advice on this but most coaches believe in mid- to forefoot strike to reduce impact on your joints, activate the proper leg muscles and lower your risks for knee injuries. However, every runner is anatomically different and therefore needs their own personalized coaching on foot strike.

It’s more important to focus on not over striding, maintaining spinal alignment, and optimizing stride frequency.

Remember to keep your shoulders relaxed, arms naturally swinging front to back (not side to side) at 90 degrees, and core engaged along with your glutes to maintain stability and balance.