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Kim Doerksen

SVHM 17

Kangogo & Tessier take tactical wins at 2017 Scotia Half

By | Elite Athletes, Scotiabank Vancouver Half | No Comments

VANCOUVER, BC. June 25th. Lethbridge’s Kip Kangogo (65:35) and Toronto’s Lyndsay Tessier (77:00) raced to emphatic victories in the 19th edition of the Scotiabank Vancouver Half marathon, presented by Asics, ahead of 4,229 participants this morning. Another 2,506 took part in the accompanying 5K. The total, sold-out crowd of 6,735 were drawn to the magnificent scenery of the Pacific Northwest and the finish in world-famous Stanley Park, from 9 Canadian provinces, 26 American states and 27 countries around the world. Combined, the runners also raised and impressive $970,000 for 76 mostly-local charities in the Scotiabank Charity Challenge.

SVHM 17The summerlike conditions showed one of the world’s most-scenic half marathons at its best, but led to tactical races up front. It was 19c for the 7:30am start of the “Scotia Half” start at the University of British Columbia at 7:30am. A group of 4 immediately broke away from the field, led by Canada’s 2012 Olympic marathoner Dylan Wykes, with Kangogo, Lakefield, Ontario’s Thomas Toth and Tristan Woodfine from Guelph’s Speed River TFC tucked in behind. Two initial three-minute kilometres got rid of Woodfine who drifted back on tired legs, and the pace slowed to consistent 3:10s as Wykes kept things moving along. Toth, who had already put in over 200 kilometres this week as he prepares to represent Canada in the IAAF World Championships marathon in London in August, was gone by 8k (24:51).  It then turned into a thoroughly absorbing cat and mouse contest between two wily veterans. Kangogo had already won the event an impressive 5 times, Wykes once in 2014 (with Kangogo 2nd). The pair continued down through Spanish Banks, Jericho Beach, Point Grey and into Kitsilano with Wykes doing all the leading, and Kangogo in his footsteps behind. 10k was passed in 30:47 and 15k in 46:33 before Kangogo moved out to test Wykes’ race fitness around Kits Point at 17k. At 18k, going onto the challenging uphill over Burrard Bridge, the Albertan made his signature, decisive move that has given him so many victories on the course and it was over quickly. “My training has been coming along really nicely,” Kangogo said. “I was happy with my preparation and I planned to make my move at 18k on the bridge. I had won the Canadian Half marathon Championships 3 weeks ago in Calgary and I was ready. I love this race and am glad to come back anytime.” Despite dropping off to finish 18 seconds back (65:53) Wykes was also pleased with his performance. After battling injuries for 4 years and starting a family, he ran a steady, controlled effort. “It’s great to be back racing,” he said. “Right now I’ve still only got one gear, but watch out for me in the Fall!” Toth crossed the line a distant third in 68:02, with Woodfine another minute back (69:03).

SVHM 17 TessierThe women’s race produced a surprise winner in Lyndsay Tessier from Toronto’s Black Lungs club, ahead of strong pre-race favourite Dayna Pidhoresky (78:10) of Vancouver. Pidhoresky was coming off a breakthrough performance at the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon just 4 weeks ago – a PB of 2:36:08 that also earned her a place on the Canadian team to the World Championships. “It was tough out there,” she said. “It was hot. The plan was to do a tempo workout and I thought that might be good enough to win today, but it wasn’t. Lyndsay really deserved to win. I’ve only had a couple of workouts since Ottawa, and I was worried if I pushed too hard it might set me back, and I’d miss some important training for London.” Pidhoresky got off to her typical quick start and was well clear at 3k which she passed in 10:02. But Tessier remained steady, gradually hauling her in. Tessier caught up around 8k, and the pair battled back and forth until 13k when Tessier made the move, to eventually win by over a minute. “Early on I just tried to keep the green shorts in sight,” said Tessier. “I’m not good on downhills, and Dayna got away from me on the downhill from 8k to 9k, but I caught up to her again by 10k. I do much better on the uphills and I moved away on the rise from Jericho at 13k. Burrard Street bridge was really a throat punch at the end but once I got over it I just held on.” Washington State’s Courtney Olsen was 3rd in 80:47.

Following the race, Race Director Clif Cunningham presented Kangogo with 6 rings to represent his 6 victories on the course, after several years of the former college All-American repeatedly joking about “where’s my rings?!” A live band, a teeming “Charity Village” and all around good vibes with snow-capped mountains and the Pacific Ocean as a backdrop, rounded out a spectacular Vancouver running experience.

After a summer hiatus the Canada Running Series resumes in Vancouver, with the Under Armour Eastside 10k on September 16th. http://canadarunningseries.com/vancouver-eastside-10k/

Full results from today at http://canadarunningseries.com/scotiabank-vancouver-half-marathon/the-weekend/#results-and-photos

SVHM 17SVHM 17SVHM 17SVHM 17

Adjusting your race goals when things get hot

By | Racing Strategy, Training Tips | No Comments

Racing in the heat can be tough: you sweat more; your body temperature is higher; and your perceived exertion goes up for paces that are usually manageable.  The heat throw a wrench into your plans, both mentally and physically, especially if all of your training has done in cooler weather.  Most runners have race day plans for their pacing, various race strategies, and nutrition, but it’s rare that people plan for significant weather changes.  While you won’t be able to change the weather, there are ways to adjust to prepare yourself in a short amount of time:

If you’re travelling to run in a hot race, try to arrive to your destination as soon as you can.  Taking a few days to acclimate will make a big difference come race day.  The body needs time to adjust to the heat, especially if you’re coming from a cooler climate.

When temperatures go above 20C , the negative effects of heat start to amplify, so the least amount of exposure to the heat and sun possible one race day is ideal.  Cut your warmup short and do just enough to get your muscles moving and ready to ease into race pace. If you there’s an opportunity to keep cool in the shade, take it.  Also, think about bringing a towel to soak in cool water or ice, to place on your neck/hands in an effort to keep your core temperature down.  You’ll feel more comfortable at a cooler temperature and ready to run fast as a result.

Once the gun goes off, try to start at a slower pace and adjust your goals.  The heat can negatively affect the race, but it won’t necessarily sabotage it entirely. If you’re sensible in your approach, a fast time is possible, it just might not be a personal best.  By going out a little bit slower than initially intended will keep you in check, and increase the likelihood of finishing the race strong.

Throughout the race understand that your fueling strategies may have to change.  Your body will be working hard to regulate your temperature, so the fuel that you’re used to may not sit well in your gut.  However, drinking a fuelling is key so do your best to consume early and often.  Taking in nutrition while you’re feeling good in the first half of the race, will help you in the latter part of the run if things start to go sideways.  Taking even just a sip or two or water/sports drink at every station will help to get you to the finish line.

Adjusting your race plans and goals when the heat sets in can be enough to salvage a race.  Throughout training be sure to plan for any and every kind of mishap, it can make a difference when it really matters!

Meet your 2017 #ScotiaHalf Contenders

By | Elite Athletes, Scotiabank Vancouver Half | No Comments
Kip Kangogo

Age: 37
Personal Best: 1:03:22

Kip Kangogo is a previous Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon winner, having won the event 5 times!  After immigrating from Kenya 14 years ago, he resides in Lethbridge, Alberta with his family.  Kip ran a 2:17:12 at the 2014  Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, to earn the opportunity to represent Canada at the 2015 Pan Am Games Marathon.  He is an accomplished runner in any event from the 5000m to the marathon, and has an exceptional knowledge of the #ScotiaHalf course , Kangogo will be a force to be reckoned with on June 25 as he hunts for his 6th win.

thomas toth
Thomas Toth

Age: 26
Personal best: 1:04:26

Thomas Toth had a breakthrough performance at the 2016 Aramco Houston Half-Marathon where he ran a blistering 1:04:26.   Following this, Toth went on to win the 2016 Canadian Half Marathon Championships in Calgary.  Since then, he’s set a solid mark in the marathon, debuting at 2:18:58 in the Hamburg Marathon. Beating the qualifying standard by 2 seconds, Toth has been selected to represent Canada in the marathon at the 2017 World Track and Field Championships in London, England this summer.

geoff martinson
Geoff Martinson

Age: 31
Personal best: 1:05:18

Geoff Martinson has specialized in shorter distances, with a semi final appearance in the 1500m at the 2011 World Track and Field Championships.  With many podium finishes at local road races, he was the former BC Champ in the 5k, and the winner of the 2015 Eastside 10k. With just a few early results at the half marathon distance, he’s one to watch for in the field.

dylan wykes
Dylan Wykes

Age: 34
Personal best: 1:02:14

Dylan Wykes is one of the most successful marathon runners in Canada. A member of the 2012 Canadian Olympic Team, he finished 20th in his Olympic debut at the London 2012 Games. He qualified for the Games by running 2:10:47 at the 2012 Rotterdam Marathon; a time that is the third fastest ever by a Canadian, behind only Jerome Drayton’s clocking of 2:10:09 in 1975 and Reid Coolsaet’s 2:10:28 clocking at the 2015 Berlin Marathon.  Wykes won the Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon in 2014 in 1:03:52, and will be contending for the top spot again this June.

dayna pidhoresky
Dayna Pidhoresky:

Age: 30
Personal best: 1:11:46

Dayna Pidhoresky has had a season like no other this year.  She has won every race she’s entered, and although she came in 7th behind an international field at the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon, she was the first Canadian and hit the mark that would qualify her for the 2017 World Track and Field Championships in London, England later this summer.  Having battled through a sacral stress fracture after running the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon in October, Pidhoresky has shown that all her hard work has paid off.  A previous winner of the Eastside 10k, Pidhoresky lives and trains in Vancouver with her husband/coach.  She has never run the Scotia Half, but living in the area will have helped in her preparation to shoot for the winning spot on June 25th.

sabrina wilkie
Sabrina Wilkie:

Age: 32
Personal best: 1:16:20

Sabrina Wilkie grew up in Langley, BC and now calls Vancouver home with her husband and their three-year old son. Self-coached since 2014, Wilkie has podiumed in many local road races and represented Canada at the 2014 NACAC Cross Country Championships.  Debuting in the Victoria Marathon last October, Wilkie won the women’s title in 2:45:54.  Outside of running and family, Wilkie is at the University of British Columbia completing her Masters of Physical Therapy.

lyndsay tessier
Lyndsay Tessier:

Age: 39
Personal best: 1:16:12

Lyndsay Tessier is a competitive runner from Toronto, Ontario who placed second at the 2016 Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon.  Tessier has competed in many road running races all across Canada and recently won the Mississauga Half Marathon on May 7 in 1:16:12.  Being familiar with the Scotia Half course, Lyndsay will be ready to better her last years placing, and will be in contention for a spot at the top of the podium.

The full Elite List for this year’s event can be found here.

Want to join these contenders on June 25? Head on over to the Scotiabank Vancouver Half-Marathon to see if there’s still space left!

Perfecting the taper

By | Scotiabank Vancouver Half, Training Tips | No Comments

 

Tapering can be the hardest part of a training block, but also the most important.  It’s a time where runners start to go a little stir crazy.  After months of training and maintaining a routine of running most days of the week, it’s always strange to cut mileage back.  Feelings of unpreparedness, sluggishness, and worry grip even the most confident runners.

Easing off of running volume, but not necessarily intensity, allows the body to fully recover from the training build.  With rested muscles that are fully loaded with energy, race pace will feel more manageable than ever.  Here are some tips to nail your taper without going too crazy from the lack of running!

Taper duration:

Taper phases can last anywhere from seven to 14 days depending on the race distance and the runner’s experience.  Make sure to stick to your taper plan even if you become restless.  It’s common for beginners to take two weeks to taper, while more experienced distance runners tend to opt for a one-week taper.

Training:

In the final weeks of a build, it’s unlikely you’ll gain a lot of extra fitness.  Instead of continuing to push your body right up to race day, ease off and allow it to bask in the efforts you’ve put forth in the months leading up to the race.  Cutting back your mileage is crucial to a successful taper, but it doesn’t mean that the intensity needs to decrease.  Many runners will reduce their total mileage by at least 50%, but still include a couple quality workouts to keep the legs feeling peppy and their mind at ease.  Reducing both running quantity and quality results in an overactive mind that convinces us that all our training has vanished and we’re unprepared.  So, keep the mileage low but maintain a small amount of intensity to keep the body sharp.

Distraction:

Less training, means more spare time.  Instead of going stir crazy, use this time to catch up on neglected tasks, or turn your training focus to recovery.  Go for a massage; stretch and roll out any kinks; go for short walks to get some fresh air; or take the time to visit with the friends and family that have supported you along the way.  Create race day plans, organize your race kit, collect your bib, set goals and visualize your race day success. This extra time should be filled with activities that celebrate YOU and get you into the best physical and mental state possible.

Nutrition:

Eating right and fuelling your resting muscles before a race is key.  Lower mileage doesn’t mean you have to slash your calories significantly.  With that, you don’t need to consume quite as much as you would during high training weeks. The taper is a time to replenish your stores and start storing glycogen for race day.  Fill your body with some extra complex carbohydrates in the couple of weeks before the race.  A gradual increase in carbohydrate is far more effective than wolfing down plates of pasta the night before the race which can result in feeling heavy or bloated come race morning.  As long as you’re sensible in your food intake and still eating healthy fats, protein and complex carbs, weight gain is unlikely.  Instead your body will thank you for the fuel and will be burned off come race day!

Sleep:

Pent up energy is common during a taper. This can sometimes make it difficult to get a good nights sleep.  Try to maintain a consistent schedule and hit the hay around the same time each night.  Catch up on your favourite TV shows, or grab a good book to rest your body and indulge in some frivolous entertainment.  Keep in mind that two nights before the race is the most important night for a restful sleep.  Most races occur on a Sunday, so Friday night is the important one.  It’s normal to have a short sleep the night before a race.  Many high level athletes you talk to will admit to barely sleeping the night before big events.  There’s too much excitement and anticipation the night before to truly rest.

Trust the taper!

It’s easy to feel “phantom pains” or have doubts sneak into your mind in the days before the race.  Try to ignore these thoughts and feelings, and stick to your plan.  Keep to your usual schedule, don’t try anything new leading up to the race, and believe that you’ve prepared yourself as best as you can.  Then, go out and have a killer race day!  That’s the fun part.

How to deal with hitting the wall

By | Racing Strategy | No Comments

Hitting the wall is one of the worst feelings to have in the middle of a goal race.  It can happen during training as well if you haven’t fueled or hydrated properly, but it’s easier to cope with a botched training day than a ruined race day.  The “wall” is the point of sudden fatigue in any endurance event that can be brought on by either poor pacing, poor fueling, or poor preparation.  The result is what feels like a death march for the remainder of the race, and is something that every racer tries to avoid.  While nutrition is very individual, there are other ways to train your body to be able to avoid and cope with hitting the wall.

Before the race:

  1. Stimulate race fatigue.
    Running on back to back days helps to train your muscles to work when they’re already tired.  Incorporating long runs that have some intensity worked into them helps stimulate the fatigue that creeps in on race day.  If you have a long run scheduled, try throwing in some surges, tempo efforts, or change of pace to get more bang for your buck.
  2. Dial-in your nutrition.
    Throughout training, especially on long runs, try to practice the fueling strategy you want to use on race day.  Typically, taking it a gel every 45-60mins is the standard, but people can handle more or less than that depending on what their stomachs can handle.  Practice different fuelling methods throughout your training cycle and learn what your body responds to the best.  An important thing to note is that fuel should be ingested before you feel like you need it.  There is delayed absorption of fuel in the gut so if you only fuel when you’re starting to feel like you’re going to “bonk”, it’s too late.  The goal of mid-race fuelling is to stop your body from going into a large deficit and hitting the wall.  Don’t forget about your everyday nutrition too.  Eating a slightly higher amount of carbs the week leading up to the race will help your body store extra glycogen for your muscles to tap into when they need it most.

If you’re in a position where you’ve hit the wall, here are a few tips on how to cope during the race:

  1. Acknowledge, but don’t succumb to the wall.
    When you start to feel like you’re losing steam and the wall is drawing near, understand that this is normal.  It’s not going to be a great feeling but you’re not alone.  The wall forces us to lose hope, shutdown, and want to quit.  When realizing the wall is looming ahead, focus on a repetition that distracts you and have faith in your mental strength.  Find a focal point: whether it’s a mantra, a face, your own breathing, or a memory that keeps you moving forward, use it to your advantage.  By switching your focus to a more positive experience, it’ll help the body cope with the pain and fatigue that “hitting the wall” brings.
  2. Create mini-goals.
    Depending on where the wall hits you, getting to the finish line may become too daunting to think about. Instead, create mini-goals to help you reach the end.  When you’re feeling mentally and physically beat, even the smallest successes can help propel you towards your goal.  Aim for the next lamppost or water station, celebrate when you reach it, and then create another stepping stone.  Celebrating little victories can help your moral and boost your drive enough to cross the finish line.
  3. Get tough.
    Sometimes even all the tricks in the book might not be enough to distract you from bonking, but that’s when you have to hunker down and give it everything you’ve got.  Trust in your training and remember how many times you’ve toughed it out in workouts, in terrible weather, or on days you didn’t want to run.  All of these situations exude mental toughness that you’ve been building throughout training just as much as your physical fitness.  Utilize that strength.

While these tips aren’t a flawless way to beat the wall, it’ll put you in a far better position to conquer it!

Running in the Heat

Tips For Running In The Heat

By | Toronto Waterfront 10K, Training Tips | No Comments

The weather is the most unpredictable part of race day.  You have no control over the conditions, and they can change overnight depending on what Mother Nature wants to throw at us.  Not only does the weather on race day matter, but the weather in which you’ve done your training will determine how much you’re affected by race day conditions.  If it’s been a cold winter and spring, and your target race ends up being in hot conditions, the body is in for a shock!  Here are a few things that you can do to help make your race day as ideal as possible:

Layer up
As acclimation doesn’t happen instantly when the temperature warms up, you can use your final weeks before the race for mock heat training.  This doesn’t mean trying to wrestle a treadmill into a sauna and running for hours. Full acclimatization takes about 10-14 days so an easy way to get ready for the heat is to wear an extra layer on your runs. You can wear tights over shorts and a long sleeve over a singlet to get your body slightly more adapted to hotter conditions.  Don’t forget to increase your fluid intake before/during/after to ensure you don’t risk dehydration from higher sweat loss rates.

Arrive early
If your target race is out of town, try to arrive to the destination a few days in advance.  Just one or two days of acclimation can make a big difference come race day.  Doing a shakeout run and being in the heat for a few days will not only give you an idea of what to expect on race day, it’ll help prepare your body to better withstand the heat.

Focus on hydration/nutrition
Running in the heat increases your sweat production in order to dissipate heat and regulate your core temperature. When your sweat rate increases, it decreases your blood volume. This is due to a reduction in the body’s total fluid volume if you’re not adequately replenishing.  Maintaining a normal blood volume is essential as your muscles need blood flow and oxygen delivery in order to work effectively.  However, try not to just drink water.  Consume electrolytes and carbohydrates to help to keep your internal electrolyte balance stable.  Use the classic pee test to monitor your hydration.  Aim for a light yellow urine colour which indicates you’re hydrated but not diluted.

In terms of nutrition, the fuels you ingested in cooler climates may not sit as well in your gut when the weather heats up. Practice taking in fluid and fuel as much as you can in hotter conditions to know exactly what you’ll be able to take in on race day.  On the big day, equip yourself with the fuel you need, and be sure to drink early and often while on course.

Protect your body
Apply sunscreen of at least SPF 30 on any visible skin, including scalp, ears, and back of the neck, to protect it from the sun’s harmful UV rays.  But don’t just rely on sunscreen to protect you.  Wear a hat or visor, sunglasses, light-coloured and loose-fitting clothing.  The light colour will reflect the heat, and a loose fit will help to let the air circulate and cool your body down.

Start cool
If there’s a chance that you’re able to reduce your core temperature before the race starts, do it. Whether it’s consuming icy drinks, placing an ice bandana around the back of your neck, or wearing a fancy ice vest, use a method that’s accessible to you.  Being comfortably cool at the start of the race means you’ll take longer to get up to a level of overheating.  Ice on the back of the neck is a great option because when the ice melts, the cool water will trickle down your back and continue to keep you cool.

Set appropriate expectations
When coming into a hot race, understand that the temperature is going to affect the pace you’re able to hold for the duration of the race.  If you were shooting for a PB, think about setting that goal to the side if race day is going to be a scorcher.  Don’t underestimate the power of perceived exertion. Listen to your body over the splits that are displayed on your watch.

If your body is rebelling against the heat, reset and focus on the race as an experience and enjoy it.  If a personal best, or your A-goal isn’t attainable, weigh the pros/cons of finishing the race or deferring the effort to a subsequent race.  If stepping off the course is going to reduce your risk of injury and allow you to try again at a different race, it could be worth it.  Here is a chart that’s worth noting when trying to decide what to do:

DEW POINT (°F) RUNNER’S PERCEPTION HOW TO HANDLE
50–54 Very comfortable PR conditions
55–59 Comfortable Hard efforts likely not affected
60–64 Uncomfortable for some people Expect race times to be slower than in optimal conditions
65–69 Uncomfortable for most people Easy training runs might feel OK but difficult to race well or do hard efforts
70–74 Very humid and uncomfortable Expect pace to suffer greatly
75 or greater Extremely oppressive Skip it or dramatically alter goal

 

Common Race Mistakes (plus how to avoid them)

By | Racing Strategy | No Comments

When race day arrives, runners seem to forget everything they’ve done in training. Nerves interfere with their normal thought processes and causes people to overthink and doubt their abilities. Understanding that if you trained smartly and effectively, there is no reason to freak out on race day; it’s the fun part! However, race day mistakes are so common that recognizing the issue and dealing with it before it sabotages the race entirely is key. Here are some common problems and how to prevent them:

  1. Forgetting something essential.
    It’s really important to lay out all of the essential items you’ll need on race day the night before. Make sure your outfit is washed, dry and ready to go; your race bib is secured with safety pins onto your top; and you’ve set an extra alarm to ensure you wake up in time. Plan a few different outfits in case of changing weather. Prepare any other pre-race necessity, as it’s calming to have everything sorted out the day before. This will help your race morning go smoothly and you’ll arrive to the startline on time.
  2. Arriving late.
    This can be related to problem #1. Scrambling on race day and not being organized the night before can lead to a delayed departure. If you wake up late, can’t find a sock, or any other minor disaster occurs, it can make you late for the race start. While most races have a small window from when the gun fires for the race start until they close off the start line, many other components of the race are time-sensitive. Bag checks, port-a-potty lineups, traffic, and the hustle and bustle of a race can all take time. Be sure to get up with plenty of time to get to the race start efficiently.
  3. Not having a race day plan.
    Having a plan for race day is important for a successful race, but it also needs to be flexible. Many runners will line up at the start knowing the exact kilometre splits they want to hit, but may not account for terrain, weather, or race day mishaps. Have a pre-race plan: know how you’re getting to the race, what time you need to leave, the race day schedule, and your racing details. Always account for issues such as traffic, line ups, and unexpected weather changes. For the race, have an understanding of the race course to help set realistic time goals, and inform you about where to ease off/pick up the pace. Adjusting your goals based on the conditions of race day and the course will leave you satisfied at the end of the race, instead of being disappointed.
  4. Not warming up.
    It may seem counter-intuitive to run before a race even starts, but it’s a good idea. The shorter the race distance, the more important a warm-up becomes. Anything from 5-10 mins before a marathon, to 2-3 km before a 5 km is enough to lubricate the joints and loosen your muscles. It allows the body to warm-up, move efficiently and reduce the risk of injury, especially on cold weather mornings.
  5. Starting the race too fast.
    At every race there will be a runner than will sprint off the start line like a bat out of hell at a pace they can’t maintain. This not an effective way to race. Tapering before a race leaves your legs recovered making it easy to feel good right from the get-go so race pace may feel easy at the onset. As the race progresses, especially if you’ve run the first few km at a ridiculous pace, that speedy start can come back to bite you in the butt later on. Adrenaline will carry you through the first section of the race, but make sure to reign yourself in so you can finish the race strong and not hit the wall halfway through.
  6. Abandoning race nutrition plans
    Any training runs that were compromised due to taking in the wrong type or flavour of fuel and caused you to hit every bathroom for the rest of the run is the reason why we practice. These mishaps are what you want to avoid on race day. Knowing what flavour/brand of fuel works best, whether you should drink water or a sports drink, and the timing of your intake is key to a great race. If it’s left up to fate, your GI system isn’t very forgiving. Don’t abandon your practiced energy intake plan and solely rely on on-course fuel as it may not be available when you need it, or be the flavour/brand you’re used to. Implement the regime you practiced throughout training for fueling success; no one wants to race with GI issues or bonk and hit the wall.
  7. Putting too much faith in the pace bunny
    Pacers are great tools for staying on pace, but they aren’t robots. Utilize the pace bunnies to keep you on track, but don’t forget to have faith in your own abilities. Keep an eye on your watch just in case, and be willing to let go of the group if you feel you need to change your pace.

It also helps to go over the event details before showing up on Race Day. Know where package pickup is, how to get to the start line, how gear check works – simple stuff, but important to have all that info. Race Weekend details for the Scotiabank Vancouver Half-Marathon & 5k are here so make sure you read them before the big day in June!

A Behind-The-Scenes Look at 3DRun Analysis

By | Training Tips | No Comments

The Fortius Lab, located within Fortius Sport & Health in Burnaby, is a state-of-the-art human performance lab that is accessible to all levels of athletes. In collaboration with their integrated team of sport medicine and science practitioners, the focus of the lab is to provide a series of tests and analyses that support in injury management, injury prevention, and optimize performance for athletes and active individuals.

Earlier this month, we were given the opportunity to offer two free Fortius Lab analyses to a participant of our races. Preston, a runner of only three years, undertook the challenge of going through the tests so he could share his experience with our readers. First up was a 3DRun Analysis.

WHAT IS A 3DRUN ANALYSIS?

The 3DRun Analysis looks at a runner’s form in three different planes: the sagittal plane (side view); frontal plane (front and back); and the transverse plane (birds eye view). Having three perspectives on the movement of the body while running allows the practitioner to see the forces produced when the foot hits the ground, and any restricted or excessive movement that may lead to injury over time.

All of these angles are filmed with state-of-the-art 3D video technology during a one-hour session on a force treadmill. The data collected is analyzed by a biomechanist and a report is shared during a follow-up appointment where the practitioner shows the runner the pros and cons of their running form. A practical review is provided with suggestions to determine if their movement patterns may be associated with a past or current injury, could be altered to prevent future injury, or could lead to greater efficiency in movement and overall improved performance.

Now, we’ll turn it over to Preston to hear his experience firsthand.

PRESTON’S STORY

Over the past 3 years my fitness goals have shifted dramatically. My journey started about 3 years ago with a desire to lose weight and improve my health after a break-up. As I began to see results I started getting curious about my potential. After losing approximately 98 lbs and vastly improving my cardio I met an experienced runner who invited me on my first 10K run and I was hooked.

My first goal was to complete a 10K in under an hour which I did (barely) in the spring of 2015. I ran my first half-marathon 2 months later with a goal time of 2 hours and missed it by a few minutes, but I knew I enjoyed the training and I was able to break the 2-hour mark at another race later in 2015. By the end of 2015 my times plateaued without the experience or knowledge of how to train for speed. I knew I enjoyed hitting the pavement and I ran frequently throughout the week but most of my half marathon times over the next 8 months were consistent at around 2 hours.

I met my coach from Mile2Marathon in the summer of 2016 and while I didn’t know what I was in for at first (or how much more there was to training than just running consistently through the week) the changes to my workout routine began to pay dividends quickly. Over the last year I’ve knocked approximately 20 minutes off of my half-marathon time and reduced my recovery period after long runs significantly.

PRESTON’S 3DRUN ANALYSIS

As someone who’s never seen himself run before this experience, I didn’t know what to expect. Seeing so many cameras pointing at the treadmill when I arrived was a bit intimidating at first, however the staff were amazing at putting me at ease and explaining what they were looking for each step of the way.

I’ve always liked data and was interested in the science behind the testing so I appreciated the time they took explaining the different measurements and tests that were being performed. Once the treadmill started it was easy to forget about the cameras and sensors and just run (which was one of my favourite parts of the test). I had just finished my second marathon 9 days before the testing and this was my first hard workout since the race so it felt great to get my legs going at half-marathon rather than marathon pace. After a warm-up, we accelerated to my half-marathon pace and before I knew it the treadmill was slowing down and we had the data that we needed.

The experience reminded me of animation work that friends have done using similar motion capture technology but I never considered myself a serious enough runner to explore it on my own; I always thought this level of testing was reserved for elite athletes but it was surprisingly accessible.

MY RESULTS

I was impressed by the number of practical recommendations that came up when we reviewed my results a few days after testing, but most importantly I was glad that no critical issues were identified that could lead to injury. I’ve been fortunate through my first 2 years as a runner to have avoided major injuries so my main goal coming out of this testing was to identify areas to focus on for injury prevention.

Runners I talk to always focus on their shoes and while they are an important part of your running gear it was exciting that the recommendations coming from the testing were not footwear focused. From specific muscle groups I could target, to cues and drills that I could try to improve my form, the tangible takeaways that were identified were impressive. I’m excited to see the impact they have as I implement them into my workout this summer as I train for my next half-marathon.

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chafing

Chafing Prevention for Runners

By | Training Tips | No Comments

At some point in every runner’s life, they’ll be struck with the incredibly uncomfortable feeling of chafing. Add in the agony of stepping into the shower after a run, and having the hot water hit the chafed area on your skin – there’s a reason why we’ve chosen to create a list of preventative measures. Chafing occurs on the skin when there’s excessive friction in that area, and any part of the body is fair game.

Factors such as high temperatures, sensitive skin, poor clothing choices, body composition, and skin irritation from skin-on-skin contact/moisture/clothing etc. can make an athlete susceptible to chafing. The salt that is pushed out of our body by sweat can dry, crystalize, and stays on one’s skin leaving the sharp grains of salt to act like sand paper and cause chafing as the race wears on.

Here’s are some tips to prevent chafing from happening to you:

  • Know your “hot spots”
    Chafing tends to occur in the same areas any time it happens. In the summer, new spots can be affected but as training continues, you’ll have an idea of where to focus your preventative measures. Keep a note of any areas that are problematic throughout training, and if there are certain outfits that reduce the chafing. Then on race day, you’ll know exactly where to apply anti-friction lubricant.
  • Experiment with solutions
    Just like any other component of training, practice is key. Try out different outfits and anti-chafing remedies. Common preventions include Band-Aids, lubricants like Vaseline and body glide, or even powders can help reduce the risks of chafing. Moisture wicking fabrics tend to reduce friction better than cotton. Opting for a t-shirt over a singlet, or tights instead of shorts can also help as it reduces skin-on-skin friction.
  • Wear properly fitting clothing
    For women, having a properly fitted sports bra can make a huge difference. Any movement our skin has will be accentuated by poorly fitting attire. The combination of skin movement, and fabric friction can result in chafing. Compression apparel such as socks, tights, or shorts can limit the amount of leg-to-leg friction. Understand that tight clothing can rub against the skin, so apply anti-chafing lubricants in susceptible areas just in case.
  • Take action
    If you feel like any chafing is occurring mid-race, the aid stations may not have Body Glide on hand, but ask a medical attendant for Vaseline or other protective supplies. When running past water stations, think about taking an extra cup of water to wash away any aggravating salt crystals that can bite into your skin.
  • Have a recovery plan
    Chafing is incredibly painful, and is usually discovered as soon as you step into a hot shower. To reduce that pain, check problem spots before hopping into the shower, and use a wash cloth soaked in cold water to gently rinse the affected areas. The cold water seems to be less painful than hot water, and once the area has been rinsed, a hot water shower isn’t as unpleasant. Clean the area with soap and water to remove any dirt or debris, pat the area dry, and let the chafed area air out. This will help heal the top layer of skin so it’s not sensitive to the touch, or susceptible to infection. Opt for looser fitting clothing until the area heals.

The Ins and Outs of Mid-Run Fueling

By | Scotiabank Vancouver Half | No Comments

As the distances increase in both training and racing, it’s important to understand the ins and outs of fueling on the run.  The advancements in sports nutrition have helped create the number of products available to help fuel our working muscles mid-run.  Every runner handles fuel differently, from the amount they can consume, to the type of product, to the flavour that sits best in their gut.  It’s all about trial and error, mixed with the science of what one’s “optimal” fueling strategy is.

There is a myriad of choices for running fuel.  With every flavour imaginable, runners can choose from a variety of energy gels, chews, drinks, and everyday foods to help them on the run.  By ingesting some form of carbohydrate, the primary fuel source for working muscles, it helps to replenish depleted glycogen/calories while on the move.  There is a limited amount of stored carbohydrates in our muscles, even after carb-loading effectively.  Companies that specialize in fueling such as PowerBar, have invested an inordinate amount of time and research into developing products that can equip an athlete with the resources that they need in training and races.  Creating products such as endurance fuel like PowerGels and Gel Blast chews, to pre-workout energy bars, and post-workout protein bars, there’s a product that can help to refuel your working muscles at any point of your training.

Due to the lag in absorption time, it’s not as simple as taking a gel and having it instantly fuel and replenish fatiguing muscles.  It takes a bit of time to be digested, absorbed into the blood stream, then delivered to your muscles, so the timing of fuel intake is crucial.  Our brains are fueled by glucose in the blood, so when we ingest a gel, we give our brain an “instant” boost to clear any haziness that occurs when our stores are low.

The frequency at which we can take gels is very individual and depends primarily on our stomach’s reaction to the ingested sugars.  When racing, the body is working hard to sustain your exertion, so it diverts blood away from the digestive system as your working muscles need it more.  By taking gels early in the race before you really need them, you will allow the stomach to digest and transport the glucose to your muscles before it rebels completely.  Most products suggest taking a gel every 45-60 mins during exercise.  Avoid taking more than one gel at a time as it can spike your blood glucose and leave you feeling sick from too much sugar.

Throughout your training, try to practice a fueling strategy as often as possible.  The stomach/digestive tract, just like any other muscle in your body, can be trained.  The more often you use gels and force your stomach to handle the digestion and distribution of sugar while on the run, the less likely it’ll be that you have GI distress come race day.

Other important notes:

  • Always have water with your gels/chews/etc.  It will help dilute the sugar enough to make it easier for the gut to digest and absorb into your system.
  • Prone to stomach problems? Instead of taking a full gel every 45-60 mins, try taking a 1/4 of a gel every 20 mins instead.
  • Using natural food works too.  Use homemade staples like dried fruit, baby food pouches, gummy candies, or honey.
  • Can’t eat and run?  Opt for a sports drink: something like Gatorade is great, just be sure to have the proper ratio of glucose/fructose and some electrolytes to keep everything balanced.

Win a PowerBar prize pack!

If you’re running the Scotiabank Vancouver Half-Marathon on June 25, there will be stations with water and Gatorade located every 2-3km along the course, as well as a PowerGel station at approximately 13km.

Want to win some PowerBar product this week? Tag one of your friends in our Facebook or Instagram posts and you’ll be entered to win a race entry for each of you into the Scotiabank Vancouver Half-Marathon and a PowerBar prize package! The draw will take place on May 19th.