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Adam Takacs shares his creative secrets for trail running in Toronto

Trail runner, ultrarunner, and coach Adam Takacs has been living in Toronto for over 15 years. As his passion for trail and ultraruning grew, so did his ability to get creative while living in the concrete jungle. Even with millions of people, Takacs has found Toronto to be a peaceful and unique place for his trail and mountain running training. “Most don’t know there are about 50 to 60K of technical singletrack right in the middle of the city. Over the years I have really mastered the link-ups necessary to get optimal training in for mountain and trail running. Depending on your skill level, you can get up to 150 metres of vertical per hour.” Here is how Takacs gets creative and trains for trail and ultrarunning races in Toronto.

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1. The Cloverleaf Trick

The Cloverleaf can be used when training for a race that involves both steady running and steady climbing. Start at a gym and use the treadmill as the imaginary centre of a cloverleaf shape. Run a “leaf” from the treadmill of whatever distance. Then, return to the treadmill for a long steady climb at 12-15 percent incline for 20 to 30 minutes. Repeat four or more times.

2. The TD Tower

The TD Tower run helps runners practice climbing and descending. If you’re training for a mountain race and need vertical, then this run is for you. Run to downtown Toronto toward the TD Tower at Bay and Wellington. Run up the 54 flights up stairs. Don’t take the elevator down in order to practice eccentric adaptations needed for running down mountains. Repeat if you’re completely insane.

3. Pottery Hill Road Aid Station


The Pottery Hill run is an opportunity to practice using an aid station while training for an ultra. Begin by parking your car at the trailhead at the base of Pottery Hill Road, and use your car as an aid station. Run out to Sunnybrook Park and back (10K round trip, which is roughly the average distance between aid stations at many ultras). Once you’ve completed one lap, practice filling your water bottles, eating, etc. Then, continue on your next lap.

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Takacs also recommends the hour drive to the beautiful Bruce Trail. Takacs believes that “living in Toronto doesn’t mean you’re limited to road races or not being prepared for a mountain ultra. You can get most of what you need right here.” For more information about Takacs, contact him here.