Running

My first attempt at the half marathon

Race Review: Finlayson Arm 25K trail race

We weren't last!

We weren’t last!

Okay, so it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be.

Despite the typical burning quads, achy knees, extreme fatigue, unquenchable thirst and mild headache I usually experience during trail races, I had a really great race on Saturday at the Finlayson Arm 25K (actually 28K) trail race.

The thing I love about trail races as opposed to any road race is that you get to make friends out on the trail. You’re going slow enough and you’re out there for long enough that you can actually chat with other runners for a few hours, which makes the time go by quicker and makes the race far more enjoyable. That, and I find trail runners are far more friendly in general on the course than road runners are. Even the lead racer who passed me somewhere around the 13 km point said “great job” as he flew by. And words of encouragement were exchanged by every single runner after that.

Since Debbie and I ran the course two weeks ago, I generally knew what to expect. I’ve run these routes and hiked Mt. Finlayson many times, so I was well prepared to tackle the elevation  challenges on the course. I wasn’t sure how it was going to be after Holmes Peak to Jocelyn Hill, but it wasn’t as bad as I remembered. (more…)

Guest Post: Behind the lens – What it’s like to be a race day photographer

Behind the lens at the 2015 Hatley 8km

Behind the lens at the 2015 Hatley 8km

Today I’ve got a great guest post for you from my running buddy and owner of Penny Lane Photography (who took my awesome headshot, by the way) Debbie Preston about what it’s like to be behind to camera on race day, capturing our moments of pain and pride as we run to the finish line (for free cookies). 

I can remember my first race like it was yesterday; the Times Colonist 10km race in Victoria on April 29, 2012. So not quite yesterday, but it was a memorable one. I had just started running seven months prior because I was determined to be a fit person and fit people ran, therefore I was determined to be a runner. I had a few friends who were these fit runner types who talked me into racing the TC 10km with promises of free chocolate milk and runners highs (they had me at the chocolate milk). These kind, runner friends of mine held my hand (not literally) as I tackled my first few 10km training runs around Elk and Beaver Lake. A month or so later I was as ready as I was going to be for race day, the starting gun sounded and I enjoyed every second of it (although I vowed to never run another 10km again… but that’s another story for another time). After crossing that first finish line I knew it wasn’t going to be my last race, and sure enough over the next 12 months I ran in about 10 different races and had worked my way up to a full marathon by May 2013. I had done it; I was a runner. (more…)

Sunday Runday: Finlayson Arm 25K course preview

IMG_6912Even though I haven’t run more than 23 km on the trails in over a month (or anything more than a 10 km road run a few times a week, for that matter), Debbie and I decided to tackle part of the Finlayson Arm 25K race course (which is actually 28 km… why not just call it the Finlayson Arm 28K???) this Sunday just so we knew what to expect for the race coming up in two weeks. Even though we got some awesome written directions from race director Myke LaBelle, we still managed to get lost at least 10 times, including for about 10 minutes at the start trying to figure out if we were supposed to cross a river (if we had stopped to read Myke’s directions that said to cross east to west we could have saved ourselves running the route with soggy socks and shoes yesterday — turns out you just follow along one side of the river under the first tunnel, not cross to the other side… whoops). (more…)

How I’m changing up my fitness routine for fall

In three weeks I’ll be running 28 km of rock and root-covered trails with 4,000 feet of vertical for the Finlayson Arm 50. But I’ve barely been out of the trails lately, let alone done much running. My last long trail run was about a month ago when I did 23 km. Then I took a week of vacation. Then got sick. Then helped Matt move. I did manage to go for a  2.5 hour hike this Sunday… but now I’m sick again. Ugh.

This weekend will be our longest run, where we’re actually going to run the entire race course. I’m going to do it, but it’s not going to be pretty. Although this race was just supposed to be something fun for me to do with my running buddies and to keep me moving and motivated during the summer, I’m looking forward to changing up my fitness routine for fall to something more manageable. Especially considering both my personal training business and freelance writing have picked up considerably these last few weeks, which is awesome, but makes hitting the trails for 3+ hours on the weekend a bit tricky. (more…)

How to properly taper for a marathon in three weeks

Last long run before taper time

You’ve just run your last long run in your marathon training plan for that fall goal race, and feel relieved that the hardest part of training is over. No more packing around multiple water bottles or gels during your long runs; no more spending an entire weekend morning pounding the pavement. You’ve put in the hard work. Now it’s time to ease up and get ready for race day.

But just how much resting up should you do?
Should you still do speedwork?
How long should your weekend runs be now?
Should you still strength train?
What do you eat?

How you taper depends a bit on how you train, but generally you want to cut your training volume by 20 to 30 per cent each week from your highest volume week. So, for example, if four weeks out you ran a total of 55 kilometres (two 7.5 km runs, one 4 km run, and one 36 km run), three weeks out you could run a total of 39 kilometres (two 7.5 km runs at marathon pace with 4-7 minutes of repetitions in each, one 4 km run, and one 20 km run); two weeks out you could run a total of 28 kilometres (two 7.5 km runs at marathon pace and one 13 km run); and the week before the race you could do two easy 5 km runs and one easy 3 km run with a few pick-ups near the end to get the legs moving.

Aside from cutting your mileage accordingly, here are a few other things you should consider to properly taper for a marathon in three weeks: (more…)

#WorkoutWednesday: My Finlayson Arm 25K trail race training plan

Views from the Finlayson Arm 50K/25K course

Views from the Finlayson Arm 50K/25K course

I finally signed up for a race.

It’s been almost eight months since the Goodlife Fitness Victoria Marathon, and I must admit I’ve been slacking in the running department. I took a planned break from training to focus on building strength and flexibility for the first few months of this year, but have started to get bored and unmotivated to workout. My workout routine has looked something like this since January:

Monday – 35-40 minute upper and lower body strength circuit
Tuesday – 30 minutes of HIIT or an easy 45-minute run
Wednesday – 35-40 minute upper and lower body strength circuit
Thursday – Easy 45-minute run
Friday – 35-40 minute upper and lower body strength circuit
Saturday – 1 hour hike, 30 minutes of yoga or a rest day
Sunday – Easy 45-minute run or a rest day

Although my fitness-related goal for this year is to work on yoga inversions, I love having an event or something to train for as it gives me something tangible to work towards. Plus, I love participating in races – the nervous excitement, the runner camaraderie, the race shirt and medal, a sense of accomplishment… who doesn’t love the race-day experience?

So, last week I signed up for the Finlayson Arm 25K. It’s a challenging trail race incorporating all my favourite mountains in one of my most favourite places to run: Gowlland Tod Provincial Park. (more…)

#WorkoutWednesday: A sample Boston Qualifier marathon training plan in honour of National Running Day!

IRun2014blankHappy National Running Day! Although I won’t be logging any miles today because Wednesdays are my resistance training days, I thought I’d put together a sample Boston Qualifier training plan in honour of the day! You can use the base of this plan (the Monday to Friday workouts) for 15 weeks to build up strength, speed and stamina leading up to the two to three weeks before race day. It’s very similar to the one I used to achieve my BQ this year, so I know it can work 😉

 

 

 

bqplan

(more…)

Why you should run when you’re on vacation

Debbie checking out the views in downtown Seattle

Debbie checking out the views in downtown Seattle

This past weekend I went to Seattle for my friend Katie’s stagette (or bachelorette party, as you call them is the U.S.), and despite a late night the day before, my friend Debbie and I got up early to hit the streets for a morning run. We decided to do some hill repeats up and down a few blocks near the water (if you’ve ever been to Seattle you know the San Fransisco-like hills I’m talking about) and get ourselves orientated to the area in which we were going to be spending the next two days.

Despite the obvious reasons for going for a run while on vacation (burning calories, staying fit, sticking to routine, etc.), here are a few other reasons we discovered:

  1. You can see as much of a new city as you can while on foot. You can cover a lot more ground when running than walking.
  2. You can do a recon mission to check out areas you plan to visit later. Knowing where the pub was that we planned to visit later was helpful, especially when trying to find it after several beers at the baseball game.
  3. You can discover cool places to shop and eat. Though we never made it back to Biscuit Bitch, we’ll definitely stop there next time.
  4. You might discover some incredible views. You’re usually rewarded with a gorgeous view at the top of a set of stairs.
  5. You can justify having one more drink or that amazing-looking dessert later because you ran in the morning and pre-burned some calories.

(more…)

Strength training. You’re (probably) doing it wrong.

IMG_3505Before I became a certified strength and conditioning specialist, I thought I had pretty decent form when lifting weights and  doing core exercises at the gym. I’d been studying the instructions in fitness magazines and following along carefully to workout DVDs for almost nine years, all the while thinking I was working the muscle groups I was trying to target.

Nope.

When I was studying for my CSCS exam, I got schooled by another trainer at a private gym where I was volunteering and job shadowing last summer. Turns out I have a wicked anterior pelvic tilt (meaning my hips tilt forward, like I’m trying to sit all the time), which made me botch up most of my core and hip exercises and was probably the reason to blame for my tight calves. (more…)

My evolution in blogging

My second race ever, a half marathon in Maui

My second race ever, a half marathon in Maui

Yesterday I read this thoughtful post by run blogger Susan and it got me thinking about why I started this blog and where I’m going with it now. Like Susan, I also started to blog because I was training for a race, and wanted to document my journey and maybe inspire others along the way. But I had another reason for starting a blog. And I explained it in my very first post in August of 2009:

If you stumbled upon this blog and wondered to whom this unorganized and unprofessional looking site belonged, you might have checked out my “25 Random Things” (a la Facebook) in my About section.  Number 21 on the list mentions that I had a blog back in the day, when ICQ and MSN Messenger were the popular forms of social media, used mostly by teenagers and geeks.  I posted regularly in my LiveJournal, mainly about what I did on weekends with the occasional “stupid customer” story from my days in the hospitality industry.  I documented about 5 years of my adolescence… and it’s pretty entertaining to go back and read, and I’ll post some of my finer entries here occasionally for your enjoyment. [Note: I ended up deleting it. No juicy tales from my past will ever be revealed on this blog!]

The point is, I thought it was about time I wrote about my life again. That, and I should be writing more often if I want to become a writer… that’s what “they” say, anyway.  I’m also training to run in my first half marathon this October as well as training to become better in all aspects of my life (health, fitness and wellbeing). I know there are tons of blogs about people doing these exact same things, so I will also include lots of anecdotes and observations that I usually just keep to myself in my head… rather than just amuse myself, I will try to amuse you as well!

So that’s how it all began. Now six years, one blog rebrand and 180 posts later (I wasn’t posting very consistently in the first four years), my blog has definitely become more of a how-to, magazine-style blog than a “here’s what I did today” and “these were my workouts for the week” type blog. Although I enjoy reading both types of blogs, I prefer to write in a more how-to magazine-ish style because that’s what I love to do, what I went to school for (I have a minor in professional writing and publishing), and what I generally prefer to read. As someone who is trying to build their freelance career and get more articles published in print magazines, writing in this way not only helps me hone my own writing style, but also acts as a bit of a resume — I wouldn’t have got my first published piece in a print magazine if it wasn’t for the content on this blog. I also notice my tips and how-to posts generate more traffic than diary-style posts. (more…)

%d bloggers like this: