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: Ultramarathon strength training program for trail runners (Part I)

finlayson-summitLast week I shared my 25K trail race training plan, and aside from the usual mid-week and weekend long runs on the trails, you might have noticed I also included three days of strength training per week. Just as strength training is important for runners training for marathons held on paved roads, it’s also important for runners racing on the trails — even those racing an ultra distance.

Although fitting strength training in to ultramarathon training can be tricky, it’s doable and totally worth it. According to the National Strength and Conditioning Association’s Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning, some of the benefits of adding strength training to marathon training include faster recovery from injury, prevention of overuse injuries (which is one of the most common injuries ultrarunners experience), and a reduction of muscle imbalances. Besides providing preventive benefits, strength training can also help runners increase their power output, which comes in handy when climbing hills. (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…)

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…)

So I finally went for a run yesterday…

I think this was from early in the race as I don't look like I'm dying yet.

I think this was from early in the race as I don’t look like I’m dying yet.

It’s been two whole weeks since the marathon. One week of complete rest and two weeks of no running.

I’ll admit, the whole not-running part has been a welcomed break. Though my foot didn’t hurt after the race and I didn’t end up breaking anything (thankfully), I can tell my body needed a break. The pads of my feet were actually quite sore, and my legs just felt tired and achy.

Of course, after a week of doing nothing, I got tired of sitting around and jumped right back in to weight training, picking up where I left off before taper.

Bad idea.

I definitely lost a lot of strength, and a workout that wouldn’t have cause any DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) before caused me to hobble around for days. For DAYS. At least I know my programmed workouts are effective 🙂 (more…)

Going for the BQ: 2014 goal update and my Boston-bound marathon training plan

IMG_3542It’s been six months since I declared my 2014 personal and fitness-related goals for this year: become a certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS), get published in a print publication, and qualify for the Boston Marathon.

So how’s that all going, you ask? (more…)

Gowlland Tod 10 km point-to-point trail run: Squally Reach, Joceyln Hill and Caleb Pike

Beautiful views on the trail

Beautiful views on the trail

Confession: I haven’t spent a whole lot of time running on trails lately, partly due to my crazy work and study schedule, and partly because I’ve actually been enjoying my urban runs and strength training workouts at home. Granted those urban runs are alongside the ocean in beautiful downtown Victoria, so they aren’t quite as mundane as your average pavement run, but I digress.

After Squamish, I didn’t hit the trails again for a long while. I wasn’t really sure if I’d even want to do an ultra again… but lately I’ve been really missing those long days out on the trails: the quiet serenity of the forest; the quad-busting, chest-burning climbs; the semi-controlled falls on technical downhills… (more…)

7 Trails to Run Before You Die: 7. Matheson Lake in Metchosin

photo 1(1)After almost eight months, I finally mapped the last trail I wanted to feature in my “7 Trails to Run Before You Die – Vancouver Island Edition” series. I was thinking about featuring Elk/Beaver Lake, but it didn’t quite meet my twisty-windy-fun-trail-with-nice-views criteria. It’s a great place for long, easy runs, but I find I get bored when I run on flat trails that don’t twist and turn through the trees. The trails around Matheson Lake, however, are anything but flat and boring. The trail loop isn’t very long (about 4 km), but you can tack on another 2.5 km by starting at the parking lot right off Rocky Point Road and doing a nice warm-up run down the Goose.

(more…)

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