Return to Yaya: the man in the arena.

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“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory or defeat.”

– Theodore Roosevelt

A return to Yaya

The beautiful Yaya Village (Yaya) resides just 11 kilometers outside of Ethiopia’s largest city, Addis Ababa (population: 3.3 million). The mission of Yaya is to provide world class high-altitude training for both local and international endurance athletes. Lush forest and mountains surround the facility, which creates ideal temperatures for training. The facility includes a 3,500 sq. ft. gym, 400m sand track and of course miles of running in the forest and ‘valley.’ Coach will be keeping good company. Yaya is also known to be the interim home to some of the world’s best athletes, including endurance runner Ryan Hall from the United States and Taoufik Makhloufi of Algeria. Athletes Joseph Kibur and double Olympic gold medalist Haile Gebrselassie also founded Yaya.

Coach’s Journey

Within 48 hours of the leaving the plane, Coach was told to do 8x 1km and 6x 500m by the Yaya Village Coach. At 8,800 ft. altitude, you can imagine the shock to the system that would be for anyone regardless of your stature as an athlete. Since then, Coach has run every day with every Monday being a run to and then climb up and down the beautiful Mount Entoto (310m ascent and 315m decent). He powers his days with amazing Ethiopian cuisine including his typical favourite lunch of tomato soup, shiro w/inera, fruit salad and a fine Ethiopian macchiato. We mentioned earlier Coach is keeping good company; he has already ‘bumped into’ Kenenisa Bekele an Ethiopian long-distance runner who is a world record and Olympic record holder in the 5,000 and 10,000 metres, and is wildly considered one of the world’s best distance runners of all time. Yaya provides the space and level of athleticism Coach needs to get back into the arena.

Coaching from afar

Pace & Mind runners may have thought Coach would ‘lighten the load’ a bit while in Ethiopia. They were surprised to find this wasn’t the case. Thanks to TrainingPeaks and his handy MacBook Air (this is not a sponsored post), Coach is able to issue plans and workouts for Coach Kate and athletes to execute upon. The wonderful thing about the ‘interwebs’ and using software like TrainingPeaks is Coach can be anywhere in the world and still communicate with athletes at any time. The other amazing thing about being in Ethiopia, is it will allow him to take the best of what he learns and turn it into an increasingly improved coaching program for athletes at Pace & Mind. The benefits of the journey to Ethiopia will reveal themselves in the runner training programs which are highly customized. It’s also important to move beyond our own backyard to see what best practices are being applied globally in order to keep things fresh back home for our runners.


About Pace & Mind

Pace & Mind is an advanced coaching service for runners. We offer advanced and highly customized 5k, 10k, half-marathon and marathon coaching for runners to improve their performance both on and off the road. Our coaching is based on the principles founded by Head Coach and Co-founder Rejean Chiasson, a Canadian marathon champion, 4x half-marathon medalist and Brooks Elite Ambassador. He is supported by our Online Run Coach, Kate Van Buskirk, an internationally accomplished track and field athlete, bronze medalist at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and Brooks Elite Ambassador.
Unlike traditional ‘cookie-cutter spreadsheet’ or ‘clinic’ approaches to coaching, our Coaches first assesses, then customizes each runner’s training program based on:


Coaching programs are powered by TrainingPeaks software to ensure data accuracy. No runner’s program is the same and constantly changes season by season, cycle by cycle. Our Coaches review your plans in detail each week, then adjusts based on your progression and listens to you in terms of changes in nutrition, mental state and cross training efforts. Each runner also receives a cross-training plan and a racing singlet as part of the program.

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