Instructor Profile / Sandy Leblanc – High Park, Toronto, ON

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by Andy Bentley

The Running Room training programs are a brilliant concept that have helped many Canadians start their running journey. Many start with the Learn to Run program and work their way up through the distances, pursuing one goal and then the next. One thing that can make all the difference in sticking with your training is having a great instructor: someone who is experienced, knowledgeable and caring. Sandy LeBlanc is one of those coaches!

Sandy has been an instructor for the Half Marathon program at High Park for 10 years now, and she specializes in retention. With two clinics per year, that’s 20 sixteen-week clinics. Sandy’s full-time job as owner of Fit Journey, a running-oriented yoga and fitness studio, gives her the insight and experience to help her runners get strong and stay injury-free. At Fit Journey, the “Yoga for Runners” and “Cross Training for Runners” sessions are in high demand. You can find Sandy’s cross training tips on page 24.

Toronto’s High Park Running Room location is blessed with some of the most picturesque and challenging running routes in Canada. Many of the routes wind their way through old established neighbourhoods, canyons, creeks, hills and forests. Sandy and her co-instructor Paul Miller have developed new routes and refined older ones. The list contains great choices like “The White Elephant,” “Mount Olympus,” “Marquis-de-Sade,” “Hurricane Hazel,”
“Casa Loma” and “Butterfly Habitat.” Most offer great photo opportunities, as well.

Sandy has an excellent knowledge of periodization, nutrition, injury prevention and care, the mental game, and race day prep. She’s a huge advocate of the Running Room’s methodology, and is always willing to work with more competitive runners to progressively challenge them and get the athletic improvements they need for race day. Having competitive runners in the Running Room programs is a motivational bonus.

We take inspiration from others along the way and most significantly, we feel the influence of teachers and gurus in the art of running. We need that influence when we just don’t feel we’re progressing. We need it when we are injured. We need it when we have the post-race blues because we missed a goal. Or, we simply need a positive word because sometimes, running is so damn hard.

Sandy is a true leader, and one of her strongest attributes is her compassion. She is always ready with an empathetic ear and helpful advice. No runner is ever left behind in her groups and “running someone in” to finish a tough race is a common occurrence. Sandy’s intuition and willingness to provide moral support make her one of the top Running Room instructors. Thank you, Sandy, for 10 great years!

Above: Sandy (centre, in red) with her New Balance half marathon training program at Toronto’s High Park Running Room.

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