The Definition of a “Real Runner”

What is a “real runner”? Ever since I first started running, I’ve always wondered: when would I be considered a real runner? What separates the “runners” from the “joggers”? Also, why do some runners get so mad when they are referred to as “joggers”?

What is a real runner?

In my books, simply put, a real runner is anyone who puts on a pair of running shoes and runs. No, they don’t need to run a sub 8 minute mile to be considered a real runner. Some snobby “runners” will say that anyone who is not capable of going faster than 9 minutes per mile should be called a jogger.  At the end of the day, if you run, no matter how fast or how slow, you are a runner. Give yourself the credit you deserve and stop putting some arbitrary numerical value on what separates the joggers from the runners. To be honest, at the end of the day, both running and jogging have health benefits. The pace you choose to go is entirely up to you. It often depends on what you are trying to get out of your exercise routine.

When did I become a “real” runner?

I became a real runner the moment I joined my junior high cross-country running team way back in Grade 7. To be honest, I finished dead last in many of my first few races. I still think that even back then, I was a real runner. I trained consistently and tried hard to improve my speed. Later on, I did and I was winning races. I referred to myself as a real runner long before I ever won any races even though there were many people who tried to rain on my parade. HAHAHA.

What separates the runners from the joggers?

First, jogging requires a lot less effort than running because it’s a less intense form of aerobic exercise. One of the biggest differences is, of course, the pace. In order for a jog to be considered a run, a person’s pace should generally be about 10 minutes per mile or faster. Anything slower than 10 minutes per mile is usually considered a jog.

Keep in mind, however, that pace is often subjective. Therefore, for some people, a 14 minute mile may feel like a run if they are starting their fitness journey. There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with that. If you run a 14 minute mile and that’s the best you can do, kudos to you for getting out there and doing it. I promise you will get better if you stay consistent.

Although jogging and running both use the aerobic system, jogging will allow you to burn a higher percentage of fat relative to carbohydrates.There is a time and place for both running and jogging. However, all these numbers used in this example are subjective and vary between individuals.

I urge everyone who is reading this article to take these numbers with a grain of salt.

Above: Photo by IMS FotoGrafix

Why do runners get mad when they are referred to as “joggers”?

Honestly, I have far more important things to worry about than wondering if people consider me a runner or a jogger. Sometimes, I run and other times, I jog. Every pace has a purpose in my training schedule. It’s time that people stopped being “butthurt” over terminology and started focusing on what’s important. Let’s forget about the pace we run. Instead, let’s focus on creating an inclusive community that inspires people to lead a healthier lifestyle. By all means, strive to improve your pace. Aim higher. Try new and challenging workouts. Do hills. Do speedwork. Follow running programs.

However, next time you see someone running slower than you, I urge you to encourage them. Don’t get mad if someone calls you a jogger. Be grateful that your body lets you do the thing you love. Strive towards being an ambassador for this amazing sport.

Running is awesome for many reasons. It’s not expensive. It doesn’t require a lot of equipment. You will make great friends. You will enjoy a lot of free food at races.

The open roads are always waiting for you.

Run4Dreams 2017: Results, Winners and Thank You’s

The moment we have all been waiting for! It’s time to officially close out the 2017 Run4Dreams and start working on Run4Dreams 2018

What is Run4Dreams?

Run4Dreams is a Virtual 5k Race, where the net proceeds from registration will be donated to Help Fill a Dream Foundation. Help Fill A Dream provides hope, help and happiness for Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands’ children under the age of 19 with life-threatening conditions. Help Fill a Dream Foundation fulfils their dreams as well as assists their families with much-needed financial support.

Not only that, but Run4Dreams also aims to unite the worldwide running community and inspire runners and walkers of all levels to take part.

I first came up with Run4Dreams back in August 2017 and decided to do a pilot project right away. I wrote more about that on the Q Academy blog.

It warms my heart to know that I’ve been able to sell out the first Run4Dreams. It wasn’t an easy task and there were a lot of skeptics when I first started promoting it (I won’t mention anymore, because this is intended to be a positive post).

The results we’ve all been waiting for:

First of all, I want to say THANK YOU to all those who signed up and participated. I also want to thank Float House Victoria, Muscle MLK Canada and MEC Victoria for donating draw prizes to give to race participants.

THANK YOU to those who believed in the cause and who made a difference.

THANK YOU for believing in my vision to unite the worldwide running community, inspire active living and raise funds for a great charity. I cannot thank the participants and the draw prize sponsors enough for making this pilot project a success.

The first ever Run4Dreams raised $400 for Help Fill a Dream Foundation. There were participants from four different Canadian cities. Images from cheque presentation to follow.

I am definitely hoping that together with my expert team from Q Academy we can get a lot more people to participate in Run4Dreams 2018. We need more participants in order to make a greater impact on such a wonderful organization, Help Fill a Dream Foundation.

Submissions ranged from 16:05 for a 5k to over an hour. This is proof that everyone is welcome to participate and I’m thrilled to see such a wide range of running abilities. At the end of the day, whether the 5k takes you 15 minutes or 1 hour, you are still a winner because you did it. You helped a great charity and you should all be proud of yourselves.

There was a lot of positive feedback on the Run4Dreams endur socks that participants received just for registering!

The WINNER of the $75 CASH Prize for fastest submission is Matthew Winkler. His time was 16:05, which is his personal best. Matthew ran that fast at ParkRun and I watched him do it! Matthew is an inspiring local elite athlete who is passionate about running. I’m so thrilled that he took part in the race!

Above: Matthew looking speedy. Photo credit to whoever took this photo.


Muscle MLK Winners:

Adam Dennis

Kent Ainscough

Karolina Lazdzin

Jerry Hughes

Mark Hamblett

Float House Gift Card Winners:

Bernice Smith

David Mackenzie-Kong

Anne-Marie Sutherland

Dom Spragg

Ian Simpson

MEC Race Entry Winners:

Neil Frelick

Angel Farley

Connect with me to arrange claiming your prizes 🙂 yhempler (at) gmail (dot) com or Yana Hempler on Facebook.




How to Qualify for The Boston Marathon

Many runners dream of one day crossing the finish line of the Boston Marathon. I know this because I was one of those runners. When I was fifteen, I saw the Boston Marathon on TV. Ever since then, I dreamed of running it. Then, finally, in April 2015, ten years after I first saw the race on TV, I lived my dream. 

To say that crossing the finish line was a life-changing experience is an understatement. Despite being about 50 minutes too slow to qualify for the Olympics in the Marathon (Canadian Standard is sub 2:30), completing the Boston Marathon made me feel like an Olympian. There were so many people watching the race and cheering for all of us. Although we were nowhere near the elites, we all still got a lot of accolades and high fives.

It also took a lot for me to get there. When I toed the start line of my first marathon, I never thought I’d qualify. Then, I actually did. If you have been chasing a BQ for the past few years, please don’t despair.

Below are tips to help you qualify for The Boston Marathon:

  1. Review the qualifying standards carefully. Once you’ve reviewed the qualifying standards, understand that to guarantee your spot in the race you must run at least 5 minutes faster than the qualifying standard for your age and gender. There are so many people applying to run the race. Therefore, running a 3:34 when your standard is 3:35 will not get you in.
  2. Figure out what pace per mile (or KM) you need to run to be able to achieve that goal time. For example, if you need to run a sub 5 min km for all 42.2km, it’s very good to know that.
  3. Pick a fast course to attempt to qualify. An ideal course would be relatively flat with minimum sharp turns. It would preferably be done as close to sea level as possible and in temperatures that are not too hot and not too cold. I ran my personal best (3:18) at the Goodlife Fitness Victoria Marathon, which I think is a great course. I’ve also qualified for Boston at the BMO Vancouver Marathon twice. Another good example of a PB-friendly race is the California International Marathon/.
  4. Give yourself enough time to train before your goal race. An ideal length of time to train consistently for a marathon is 6 months.
  5. Don’t skip your long run. The long run will help you improve your aerobic fitness and boost your confidence that you can actually go the distance. You should do at least 3 or 4 runs that are longer than 32km before your marathon.
  6. Hills are your best friends. Learn to love hill workouts. Hill training helps increase leg strength and power as a result of the resistance that hills give you. It will also help prepare you for the faster and more demanding workouts that are ahead of you.
  7. Train at goal race pace. You should strive to train at your goal race pace once a week, especially after you are done the base-building phase. Your race pace training run doesn’t have to be super long. However, it will give you the confidence that you can keep it up.
  8. Don’t be too stressed about qualifying for the Boston Marathon. There will be plenty of other chances if it doesn’t happen at your next marathon.
  9. Enjoy the journey. Listen to your body. Make your workouts fun. Cross-training will help you decrease your risk of injuries.

If you found these tips helpful, please share with anyone who hopes to one day qualify for the Boston Marathon.

Run4Dreams 2.0: Virtual 5k Race For Help Fill a Dream Foundation

The initial Run4Dreams was a success and it got SOLD OUT! More on that in my upcoming post on Oct 15th, so stay tuned for all the numbers, photos and stats from the first virtual run I ever organized.

Given the success of the first Run4Dreams, I have decided that there will be another one in 2018.

Early bird registration for Run4Dreams 2.0 is officially open!

What is Run4Dreams?

Run4Dreams is a Virtual 5k Race, where the net proceeds from registration will be donated to Help Fill a Dream Foundation. Help Fill A Dream provides hope, help and happiness for Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands’ children under the age of 19 with life-threatening conditions. Help Fill a Dream Foundation fulfils their dreams as well as assists their families with much-needed financial support.

One of those children was Jerry Hughes.
Jerry grew up to be an inspiration to many people.He was born with a rare genetic disorder called Gardner’s Syndrome. Currently, Jerry is one of the top ultra marathoners in Canada. Help Fill a Dream Foundation has made a hugely positive impact on his life when he was younger. Jerry has two young kids of his own now. There is a chance they might have inherited his genetic disorder. However, Jerry’s kids are too young to get tested for it yet. The thought of those two handsome young boys potentially having this disease breaks my heart.

Not only that, but Run4Dreams also aims to unite the running community all over the world.

REGISTRATION: Early Bird Registration ends Jan 1, 2018 (after that, price goes up!)

Included in registation: a FREE pair of high quality Run4Dreams Endur Officials Ankle Socks. Early bird registration is $24.99 CAD! You will also be entered to WIN some AWESOME draw prizes!!

Left: Actual photo of the socks that come with your registration. Submitted by a participant who received his! 🙂








ONCE REGISTERED: Submit your name, shipping address and Garmin/Strava/MapmyRun/etc data from the run to Run (or walk) must be completed between date of registration and final submission deadline of April 15, 2018. Optional: Submit a post-run selfie along with your results ? You can run (or walk) anywhere in the world as long as the proper data is submitted.

“My 5km time at the 2017 Park Run in Cloverpoint was a 16:07, which is a personal best for me. I also want to thank Yana Hempler and Jerry Hughes for telling me about what Run 4 Dreams stands for”Matthew Winkler, local elite runner.

A $50 CASH PRIZE will be awarded for the most creative submission (open to interpretation…think run selfies, running outfits, creative routes, creative run story, but must be safe for work!) 

A $50 CASH PRIZE will be awarded for fastest submission. All submissions faster than 19 minutes will be carefully reviewed and dishonest entries will be disqualified.

WINNERS with the fastest and most creative submission will be revealed on April 16, 2018.

ALL Winners must agree to have their image, name and time published in order to promote upcoming events. All socks will be shipped to the participants before April 15, 2018.

By signing up, you have read and understood the Disclaimer & Disclosure.

Your information will not be sold to any 3rd parties. However, your images may be used to promote upcoming future events. The information will not be shared with any third party, other than as necessary to fulfill your request, e.g. to ship an order or prize winnings. From time to time, you may be contacted to be a part of future virtual race events organized by Yana Hempler Fitness if they occur. You may opt out of any future contact at any time.

Prize may be changed at any time without notice depending on the number of registrants. By signing up, you agree to accept the results and the determined winner as final.

I do not collect or store your credit card information. You can pay with any major credit card. It will be on RaceRoster

No refunds are given for registrations.

These terms and conditions are subject to change.

5 Ways to Find Joy From Running Again

No matter where we are in our journey, sometimes we go through phases where we don’t enjoy running as much. All of a sudden, the activity that we loved so much became a chore.

We started to dread going out there. Instead, we opted to watch the latest episode of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills or American Idol (kidding!). I’d rather watch Homicide Hunter: Joe Kenda or Storage Wars. Well, anyways, you get my point.

If you are a runner and you see yourself opting to watch TV instead of running or are trying to find reasons not to run, then you may need to re-kindle your motivation to run. You need to get back to enjoying your runs as opposed to dreading them.

Maybe you got injured and are having trouble getting back into it. Maybe, you allowed some personal challenges in life get in the way of your running. Whatever it is, I hope that this post will help you.

So, how do you re-kindle your love affair with running and get back out there?

  1. Remember why you started running in the first place. Chances are, there is a reason why you started running. Ask yourself, “why did I start”? Why did running make me happy before? If you can honestly answer those questions, then you will be able to get motivated to run again and enjoy it.
  2. Change how you train. Maybe you are overtraining and burning out. On the other hand, maybe you are not training enough to see results. Whatever the issue is, take a look at what you’ve been doing over the past few months and see where you fall on the “overtraining to not training enough” spectrum. This will definitely help you figure out what you need to do to start enjoying your runs again. Here are 5 Things that Changed the Way I Train.
  3. Run with your friends. Running with friends will allow you to spend quality time socializing. At the same time, you will get your training run in. You definitely can’t lose when you run with a buddy. Your buddy will keep you accountable. It’s always harder to stay at home in front of the TV when you have your friend waiting for you to go for a run.

  4. Sign up for a destination race. Think of it like a vacation during which you get to run through a new beautiful place. Destination races are fun and exciting. Take photos and keep your finisher’s medal. Ideally, try to do one at least once every couple of years. This will motivate you to keep training. The vacation is your reward for staying motivated to run.
  5. Set a new goal you know you can achieve. Achieving a goal will help you regain confidence in yourself and your training. We all know that achieving goals brings us joy.


I hope that you found this helpful. Please share if you enjoyed reading this article.



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