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Lyndsay Tessier’s morning routine

A look at a World Championship marathoner's schedule that balances teaching, running and staying healthy during COVID-19

Lyndsay Tessier had the season of her life in 2019. The runner made her first Canadian national team, running the marathon at the Doha World Championships, where she went from almost last in the race to finishing ninth place–a remarkable feat on one of the hottest courses in the world championship’s history. Since then, the world has changed a lot, and so has Tessier’s routine. Here’s a look at how the runner is managing training, teaching elementary school and staying healthy during COVID-19.

Lyndsay Tessier
Photo: Matt Stetson

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Wakeup is at 6 a.m.

Tessier says her wakeup time has shifted from 5 a.m. to 6 a.m. That’s when she gets up, has a coffee and takes her dog, Ben, for a walk.

“Our walks are about two hours long,” she says. “My house backs onto a ravine so I like to get out early before there are lots of people. I’m finding walking super meditative. When you’re running, you’re working hard. But walking, you don’t have to think as much. For those two hours, things feel normal.”

Tessier’s dog, Ben.

Breakfast at 9 a.m.

Tessier gets back around nine from her walk with Ben. Then it’s breakfast time. “This is new for me. I always used to run fasted, but now I’ve been up for three hours so I need something in my stomach before I run. I’ll have cream of wheat with honey and I check in to see if any of my students have responded to their morning assignment, or if they have questions for me. If the classroom is quiet, I get out the door. If not, I try and answer as many questions as I can.”

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Tessier’s motivation pro tip: She always get dressed for her workout before sitting down to her computer, because if she isn’t dressed, it’s easier to get comfy and skip the run.

RELATED: How Lyndsay Tessier started near last and finished 9th in the world

Run at 10 a.m.

The runner aims to begin her workout by 10 (which is very late compared to before, when she used to be out the door by 5:30 a.m.). “Now, I’ll activate and head out the door around 10. Activating is also new for me. I had really tight hamstrings and quads from running in the snow over the winter and my knee got hurt. For seven weeks I was dealing with this pain. Now, I activate, and the stretching pre-run helped the problem to go away. My main focus is during activation are my hamstrings and hips.”

Vancouver Half-Marathon
Photo: Inge Johnson/Canada Running Series

Her workouts are between 85 and 90 minutes. Her coach, Steve Boyd, has her focusing on base miles right now. “I do three workouts a week, but they’re a bit lighter than normal. Tomorrow I’ll do 35 minutes of tempo, straight. Right now I’m going by perceived effort instead of pace.” Tessier says it’s too tempting to remember where she left off before Doha, when she was in the best shape of my life, so she’s running by effort right now to avoid feeling discouraged about her pace.

“My ego would take a big hit if I saw these splits on a watch,” she jokes. “I’m not worried about being in shape right now, but I don’t want to be a total sloth. So I’m running by effort with a Casio watch.”

Work for the rest of the day

Once the third-grade teacher is finished her run, she’s usually heard from a few of her students. She says post-run, it’s time to do some online learning from around 11:30 to 5 p.m.

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