Monthly Archives: October 2015

Top 10 Running Articles of The Month: October 2015

Every month I highlight the Top 10 Running Articles that I come across. They focus on topics like injury prevention, race tactics, training tips as well as inspiring stories.

1.Why Can’t I Run Faster?  by Runner’s World. This article discusses all the different sensations we experience while running that keep up from maintaining a fast pace. It also talks about the importance of understanding what goes on in our brains when we run. Why do we feel like stopping? Why do our legs feel so heavy? I’m quite impressed by answers to these and other questions.

2.  Exercise Tips: Circuit Training by Canadian Running Magazine. Personally, I love circuit training. This article covers a few awesome moves that you can use when you build your own exercise circuit. It’s a challenging, yet effective workout that alleviates boredom. It can be done any time anywhere.

3.  The Science of Running by Canadian Running Magazine. This article is very interesting as it covers topics such as whether or not running is bad for your knees, the difference between road and treadmill running, interval training and the benefits of strength training for runners.

4. Over the Hills by Canadian Running Magazine. Consistent and progressive hill training will help you become a better and stronger runner. You don’t have to kill yourself on the hills in order to reap the benefits.

5. The Ups and Downs by Canadian Running Magazine. This article talks about proper techniques for running up and down hills.

6. Running on the Road by Canadian Running Magazine. Just because you have a busy travel schedule, doesn’t mean that you should skip your run. You can stay on track even if your work requires you to travel a lot.

7. Over the Hills: 5 Hill Workouts to Make You Stronger and Faster by Canadian Running Magazine. Ideally, it’s good to have a variety of hill workouts in your training program. Examples include: short/power hills, medium/pace hills, long/endurance hills, acceleration hills and downhill running. Every type of hill workout will help you improve as a runner and this article does a great job at explaining each of them. It’s almost like an “add-on” to #4.

8. Marathon Training and Weight Loss by Canadian Running Magazine. Many people choose to take up a marathon training program in order to lose weight. However, research has shown that people who choose to train for a  marathon in order to lose weight are less likely to complete their marathon program. Part of the reason is that there are other factors that contribute to weight loss and a marathon program alone is not always enough. Therefore, it’s very important to train for a marathon for the sake of training for a marathon rather than looking at it as a way to simply lose weight.

9. Training Tips: Hot-Weather Hydration Planning by Canadian Running Magazine. Proper hydration is very important. Dehydration negatively impacts your performance. Over-hydration is dangerous. The key is finding the right amount of hydration to maintain your electrolyte balance.

10. First Steps: No Excuses by Canadian Running Magazine. This article is inspirational in the sense that it’s real. It’s written by a real person who knows how to relate to others. A lot of times, we come up with reasons not to run, especially when it’s cold, rainy, snowy, icy out and when we are tired. We need to find motivation from within.

Race Recap: Goodlife Fitness Victoria Half Marathon 2015

Every year, this is the biggest running event in the fall in Victoria. I always look forward to doing it. The crowds are fantastic and the atmosphere surrounding the event is great.

For the past 3 years, I did the marathon (42.2km), but this year I opted to run the half marathon (21.1km).

I felt that after finishing the Boston Marathon, I had to take a break from the 42.2km distance in order to focus on running shorter races faster. Doing one marathon after another becomes too much so I had to switch things up.

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I decided that until I run a half in under 1:25 (or a 10k under 40 minutes), I will not do another marathon. The reason being is that 1:25 seems to be the elite or sub-elite standard at most races and my PB is a couple of minutes too slow (1:28:15 at Comox Half Marathon 2015).

Since I was dealing with a few challenges (moving and an incident with a cyclist on the trails) leading up to this year’s race, I knew that I wasn’t in shape to get a personal best, but deep down I believed that I would get relatively close. After the incident with the cyclist, I took a full week off running, which I think was a good decision.

What I was most looking forward to was seeing how some of my coaching clients will do in this race. Two of them were doing the marathon and one was doing his first half. By the way…they all more than exceeded my expectations of them (but that’s for another post as I feel each of them deserves a separate one highlighting their amazing individual achievements).

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After my week off from running, I decided that I was going to have fun at the race and that I won’t look at my Garmin more than 4 times in total. In the past, I would find myself staring at my wrist for the majority of the race and that’s not good.

In fact, some of my best races have been the ones where I didn’t stare at my wrist so much.

At the start, I saw many of my running friends. We all wished each other luck in the race and off we went.

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The first 5k felt very easy. Then, the next thing I knew, I was already passing the 10k mark, in a shocking time of 41:06!!! What???

For those of you who don’t know, my 10k PB is 40:56, which, if my math is correct, is only 10 seconds faster than I was at the 10k mark of the half marathon. This means that I almost ran a 10k PB while racing a half marathon.

Shortly thereafter, I was at the turnaround point. Coming back was a lot of fun. I saw many familiar faces and at that point I was so happy that I wasn’t staring at my Garmin.

Instead, there I was, enjoying the moment rather than worrying that I only have X amount of minutes before I have no hope of running X:XX.

As I was starting the last km of the race, all I thought about was how much I enjoyed it. Truthfully, I was enjoying it so much that I didn’t want it to end.

To my surprise, as I approached the finish line, I saw that my time was 1:30:xx. It was my second fastest half marathon time ever. Most importantly, I felt no stress and no pressure to “perform”. Sure, it wasn’t 1:25 but at the same time, I was in the Top 100 overall finishers and over 3000 people finished behind me.

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Shockingly, I ended up being 3rd in my age group (out of 263) and 24th female overall (out of 2008).

The good thing about finishing was that I was reunited with my friends and clients. Let’s also not forget the post-race food….delicious!! 🙂

2015 Season Recap: Christie-Phoenix Insurance Victoria Run Series

Yet another Christie-Phoenix Insurance Victoria Run season has come to an end. The series was previously known as The Q’s Victoria Run Series and 2015 was its first year with the new title sponsor.

In addition to changing the title sponsor, they also changed their charity partnership. For several years before, The Mustard Seed Food Bank was the charity partner. This year, it was KidSport.

Over the past few years, the series raised over $12,000 for charity and that’s awesome.

By the end of the season, I definitely got to know everyone. This was my 2nd year participating in the series and it was great to meet all the prolific racers who come back for more fun year after year.

Seriously, I think there is a good reason why some people have been racing every single race of this series ever since it first started.

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Above: So excited to add another medal to my collection. 1st place in Age Group Overall.

I’m super stoked that I will be able to participate next year. Since I won my age category for the entire series, I won a free 2016 season pass. 🙂 Not only that, but my name also got drawn for a free pair of shoes. SCORE!!!

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Above: Photo by Chris Kelsall from the Awards & Silent Auction Night.

The silent auction to celebrate the end of the season was excellent. I couldn’t think of a better way to spend a Sunday night than be surrounded by like-minded people who love running as much as I do. All the money goes to charity and there are some really fantastic items to bid on.

What I really like about this series is that it’s not expensive to enter, the medals are great, and the atmosphere is awesome.

I swear, this is a very fun experience. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be super fast and super young to participate in the track races. Runners of all levels and ages are welcome!

If you’re reading this and wondering whether or not you should do it…I think you should.

 

Top 10 Running Articles of the Month: September 2015

If you are looking for some inspiration and running tips, check out this list of articles I read and liked during the month of September. I LOVE to promote other running writers 🙂

Seven Ways to Improve Speed Without Increasing Mileage by Matt Fitzgerald of Competitor Running. We don’t always have the luxury of increasing our mileage. Work, responsibilities and family life often “get in the way” of our training. Matt Fitzgerald offers ways to improve your running speed through core training, sprint training, plyometric workouts, and hills.

4 Elite Coaches on the Importance of Base Building by Competitor.com. Elite coaches agree that the base building phase is very important in any given training cycle. It prepares the athlete for the hard work ahead and decreases the likelihood of injuries from the speed work, hills and sprints that will be done in later stages of the training cycle.

The Dangers of Overstriding and How to Stop It by Dr. Eric Schweitzer. Overstriding increases stress on your body, which increases the likelihood of injuries. It happens when you land too far in front of your centre of gravity. Overstriding also causes you to heel strike.

10 Exercises to Treat IT Band Syndrome by Jason Fitzgerald. IT Band Syndrome is one of the most common (if not the most common) running injury that affects runners of all levels. Jason shares 10 very useful exercises that will help you conquer IT Band Syndrome so you can continue doing the activity you love.

Six Plyometric Exercises for Runners by Mackenzie Lobby. In addition to adding excitement and diversity to your training routine, plyometric exercises help you become a better runner.

Weak in the Knees? Strengthen Your Hips by Matt Fitzgerald. Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS) is a very common knee injury affecting runners. In the past, it was believed that knee injuries originated at the knee. However, recent research indicates that we need to look higher and see the big picture. There is a direct correlation between hip abductor (such as the gluteus medius) weakness and knee issues. Therefore, when you strengthen your hips, you decrease the likelihood of knee problems.

Five Essential Strength Training Exercises for Runners by Linzay Logan. Since running is an activity that involves the whole body, it makes sense to do exercises that strengthen the whole body, not just the legs. Examples include: pushups, planks, lateral step-ups, lateral lunges, and Bulgarian split squats.

Strength Training Circuit for Distance Runners by Mario Fraioli. This article discusses eight exercises that will help you gain strength and balance out your body (so it doesn’t look like all you’re doing is training your legs). It will also decrease the likelihood of an overuse injury. With these exercises, you don’t need any fancy equipment. Examples include: pullups, single leg deadlifts, pushups, planks, hamstring curls, burpess, squats, and dips.

Strength Building with the Jump Rope Redux by Duncan Larkin. There are many benefits to jump rope exercises. Jumping rope helps strengthen your glutes, calves and quads. Additionally, it helps strengthen your Achilles tendon and plantar fascia.

What Dehydration Does to Your Running Performance by Karl Gruber. Proper hydration is very important for runners and can be the difference between bonking and running a personal best. This article also discusses that “over-hydration”, known as hyponatremia, is also a bad thing. “Finding the right balance for you between dehydration and over-hydration is something you will learn as you continue to consistently run”.

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