Trail Running

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…)

1 million minutes challenge: Wrapping it up with Prana!

Hitting the trails upside down during the #1millionminutes challenge!

Hitting the trails upside down during the #1millionminutes challenge!

Happy Monday! This morning I’m filling out a fun mad lib blog prompt for Fit Approach, as it’s the last week of their fun 1 million minutes challenge.

When the 1 million minutes challenge with Fit Approach started, I set out to achieve 3,000 minutes of activity over the two months of the challenge. And according to my Garmin and LEAF activity tracker, I came fairly close to that goal by running, hiking and strength training my way to 2,640 is minutes of activity. Of course, I totally failed to track everyday at Fit Approach, which only racked up my official time to 340 minutes. Despite my lame contribution, us Sweat Pink Ambassadors (SPAs) have racked up 375,839 minutes so far — well done SPAs!

The best part of this challenge for me was seeing how all the SPAs were logging their minutes on Instagram. Sometimes when I would be on the fence about going for a run, I’d open Instagram and see a photo from a fellow SPA that made me want to lace up and get out there. (more…)

How to choose the perfect trail running shoe

IMG_5305Thinking about taking your running off-road this summer? If you plan to stick to relatively flat dirt or gravel trails, your road runners will be sufficient enough to handle the terrain. However, if you plan to traverse rocky, single-track trails through the mountains, you will want some trail-specific running shoes. Aside from having better grip for all-terrain running, a good pair of trail shoes will help prevent falls, stubbed toes and other perils involved with running in the wild. Perils aside, the scenery, views and exhilaration you experience when flying through the trees over a single-track trail (in the perfect trail running shoe) is worth it.

If an off-road adventure is in your future, consider the following criteria when shopping for a pair of trail shoes: (more…)

#WorkoutWednesday: Become a stronger & faster trail runner with this strength circuit

Today I’m featuring part III of the strength training workout I’m doing as part of training for the Finlayson Arm 25K trail race. I’ve already shared the workout I do on Mondays, which focuses on upper body and core as it comes after my long run day, and the workout I do on Wednesdays, which incorporates upper and lower body supersets using heavier weights as well as core work. Today I’m sharing Friday’s workout, which incorporates both upper and lower body supersets. I use light-to-moderate weights for this workout, and will follow it up with an easy 10-12 km run either right after strength training or later in the day.

ultrastrenght3 (more…)

#WorkoutWednesday: Full-body strength training workout for trail runners

Today I’m featuring part II of the strength training workout I’m doing as part of training for the Finlayson Arm 25K trail race. Last Wednesday I shared the workout I’ve been doing on Mondays, which focuses on upper body and core as it comes after my long run day. Today I’m going to share my Wednesday workout, which incorporates upper and lower body supersets, as well as core work. Wednesdays are my heavier days, so I use 50 lbs weights and perform only 6-8 reps. However, you can use something lighter (10-20 lb dumbbells) and still benefit from the strength training exercises — just perform 10-12 reps for 3 sets instead.

ultrastrength2 (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: My off-season workout routine right now

Running in the bamboo forest in Maui.

Running in the bamboo forest in Maui.

It’s hard to believe that about six months ago I was running a sub 4:45-per-kilometre marathon pace. Right now I can barely run for 10 km. And I’m probably running at twice that pace.

It’s good to have a break from running and racing at least once a year for a few months, as it helps to prevent overuse injuries and gives you a chance to spend the time cross training and strengthen all those muscles you don’t get to use during marathon training. Though it can be humbling to head out with much faster and fitter friends during your “off-season”, taking a break from running now and again will benefit you in the long run — literally and figuratively.

Other than the set back I experienced a few weeks ago (where I couldn’t do anything more than walk for about three weeks), I’ve been pretty consistent with my strength and yoga routine, mixing in at least one or two short runs (7-10 km) and one hike per week to maintain a good cardio base. My weeks look something like this: (more…)

The importance of exercising outside

IMG_5561I feel incredibly blessed and lucky every time I go out for a hike or trail run — even if it’s pouring rain and the trail is nothing but miles of mud puddles and slippery roots like it was this past weekend. How lucky am I to live in a place where such pristine and breathtaking trails are only a short drive away? I am well aware that that are millions of humans on the planet who will never get to walk trails like these. That they may never see anything except for concrete towers or suburban slums. I wish I could come pick you all up on a bus and take to you these trails or somewhere just as magical. Everyone should have the opportunity to be in nature. It’s part of our humanity.

I don’t know the type of person I’d be if I didn’t have access to nature and the ability to exercise safely outdoors. It had been about three weeks since I went hiking, and I was already starting to feel the effects of my absence from nature: Despondent. Tired. Sad. Lost. Irritable. Luckily on Friday, Matt’s sister Sara — who resides in the middle-of-no-where Saskatchewan — agreed to join me for a hike out to Mystic Beach, one of my most favourite places on Vancouver Island.

There’s just something about being in the trees and near the ocean that’s so healing for me. And after the stress of these past few weeks, it seemed to be just what I needed to feel balanced again. (more…)

Another Vancouver Island trail you need to run before you die: John Dean Park in Sidney

John Dean Park - on the Barrett Montfort trail.

John Dean Park – on the Barrett Montfort trail.

And we thought we had run all the beautiful trails around southern Vancouver Island… turns out, we were wrong!

Back in 2013, I started creating detailed trail running route posts of all my favourite trails around southern Vancouver Island after reading this post on Shape.com and deciding that the trails I run regularly in Victoria could definitely give those suggestions a run for their money. I mean, how many places in the world have this many well-maintained, amazing and beautiful trails, all within an hours drive of the capital city? Probably not too many. And I’m sure there are many other spectacular trails that can rival these (Inca Trail, anyone?), but for accessibility’s sake, I’d take my moss-covered, root-entangled, winding west coast trails over almost-urban gravel trails any day.

By mid-2014, I had photographed, mapped and blogged about the seven best trails to run on Vancouver Island according to my “Best Trails to Run” criteria (scroll to the bottom of this post to read my criteria and for links to each post). Well… turns out I need to add a number eight to that list 🙂 Thanks to Coach Lindsey of TriStars for suggesting this trail and for providing directions. I can’t believe I’ve never been here before! (more…)

Best gift ever during birthday staycation week extravaganza

Views on my birthday morning run

Views on my birthday morning run

I don’t want this week to end.

Other than some social posts, I’ve successfully stayed away from my computer and spent most of the week getting pampered at the spa, hiking with my dog, and reading books. It’s been lovely, and much needed.

Though the massage, facial, daily yoga and Epsom salt baths all week have been amazing, my favourite day was obviously yesterday (my actual birthday), where I spent the morning in the spa getting a manicure and Ayurvedic pedicure and came out to find my wonderful boyfriend had already paid for my treatments. Then I came home to discover he snuck into my apartment and put a big bouquet of flowers on my kitchen table 🙂 Then last night before dinner with my family, he gave me this amazing gift.

 

 

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