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Kim Doerksen

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Setting goals like an Olympian: Lanni Marchant

By | Eastside 10k, Elite Athletes, Training Tips | No Comments

Setting Goals like an Olympian: Lanni Marchant

under armour lanni

Whether it’s your first race or your 100th, you always need to set a goal.

Best Health web editor Lisa Hannam had the chance to interview Canadian Olympian and Under Armour athlete Lanni Marchant about realistic goal setting and the runner’s greatest accomplishments.

In the interview, Lanni explains her strategy for goal setting, in which she utilizes a work-backwards approach and vocally shares her goals with others.

“In 2012, I wanted to go to the Rio Olympics, so [my coach and I] worked backwards, in terms of how to qualify. But we also had goals for each season leading up to my qualifiers, [like the] Canadian records, Championship races, and medal contention etc.

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“For life goals, I’ll always keep that target in mind but I know that there might be some different paths and bends in the road to get there.

“Regardless of the goal, I have learned that I have to be vocal and share my goals with those around me. Keeping it a secret means I am carrying the risk of failure solely on my shoulders. When I share my goals with my family, close friends and coach, it means they are there to help me when I hit a bump or come to a crossroad and need help.”

To read the complete interview click here.

With less than two months until the Under Armour Eastside 10k, it’s time to set your goals!

recovery properly after a race

How to recover properly after a race

By | General, Training Tips, Uncategorised | No Comments

As soon as you step over the finish line, it’s important to think about recovering properly after a race.  It’s usually overlooked, but is a crucial component of one’s training program.  Accomplishing any race distance is certainly something that should be celebrated with post-race festivities, and a little rest and relaxation.  But what happens after that?  It’s easy to get through the pre-race taper, hit the ground running on race day, and bask in your success. But what’s the best way to get back into running?  How long does recovery take?  What’s the best way to recover?

Immediately after:

As soon as you cross the finish line don’t stop moving.  Keep walking towards your medal, post-race food, and to see any friends and family that have come to support you.  Working hard during a race causes your heart to pump blood and oxygen rapidly through your body, and will continue to do so even after you cross the line.  By walking around for a good 15-20 minutes afterwards will help to avoid any blood from pooling in your extremities if you were to stop abruptly.  Moving will help to flush out the metabolic waste that’s accumulated in your muscles from the race, and will aid in active recovery.  Continue to move for the rets of the day too – nothing crazy, but after you’ve had a nap opt to go for a short walk in the evening to keep your muscles from tightening up.

Within one to two hours

Get some fluids and food in you as soon as you can.  Burning through your energy stores, and sweating throughout a race can leave you depleted.  Races will have some post-race food that will be great to bridge the gap between the end of the race and your next meal.  Try to get a good amount of carbohydrates and protein to feed your exhausted muscles.  It’s important to rehydrate with 16-20 oz of water for every pound of body weight you’ve lost during the race.  Add in electrolytes, or grab a sports drink to replenish electrolytes lost through sweating.  The amount you have to drink to rehydrate will depend on your sweat rate, the heat/humidity of the day, and how much you hydrated throughout the race.  Keeping an eye on the colour of your urine is a good indicator: light yellow/lemonade is the colour to strive for.  Try to avoid alcohol immediately after the race, or at least until you’ve had some water/electrolytes.  Having depleted your body’s stores, the effects of the alcohol are much greater post-race and can impede your recovery.

24 hours after:

Getting a good night’s sleep after a big race is key.  It can be difficult falling asleep after big efforts due to achy and restless legs.  Avoid taking anti-inflammatories – your body elicits an inflammatory response as part of it’s healing process.  The sore muscles may suck initially, but it’s all part of the process.  If you’re having a tough time sleeping, look into taking melatonin. It is a natural substance created in our pineal gland that helps to regulate our sleep-wake cycle.

The day after a race, if your muscles are still sore and achy, take an ice bath.  This will help speed up the recovery process by assisting the body in reducing the inflammation in the tissues.  Use the day after a race to debrief about the race, go for a walk, and just relax.  The down time after a race is just as important as the hard work before a race.

The week after the race:

Going back into training doesn’t need to be done right away.  A lot of people will take a few days off, and go for walks/light cross training to keep their body moving and loose.  The rule of thumb is in the first couple weeks after a race, follow the structure of the taper week, but in reverse.  It’s a great guideline for easing back into intensity without overdoing it.  Avoid too much intensity until about 10-14 days after the race to allow your muscles to fully recover before getting back into the swing of things.  Also, don’t forget the importance of rolling and stretching.  Many runners will book a massage or physio appointment for the week after a race to help flush their legs out.  Both these options help your recovery by increasing blood flow to your recovering muscles.

Keep in mind that these guidelines are just suggestions.  Everyone takes different times to heal and recover.  Listen to your body to figure out the best approach for your return to training.

Feature Friday – PHS Community Services Society

By | Charity, Eastside 10k | No Comments

Founded in 1993, PHS Community Services Society (PHS) is a non-profit housing, health care and community development agency providing services in Vancouver and Victoria, B.C.  PHS develops, maintains and advocates for affordable housing for adults who have been marginalized as a result of homelessness, physical, mental health and behavioural issues, substance dependencies and more. They also provide low-barrier harm reduction, drug treatment and primary health care services. 

PHS operates and manages 21 low-barrier residences and over 1,200 units of rental housing that include emergency shelters and transitional housing. In addition to providing housing, PHS offers a range of health care services that are both embedded in their housing, and available to the broader community. Their multidisciplinary team of physicians, specialists, nurses and social workers offers comprehensive primary care, mental health and addiction treatment services. They also offer monthly internal medicine, gynecology and women’s health clinics. 

In an effort to foster and grow a sense of community for marginalized people, PHS aims to empower, generate trusting relationships and help them to determine their own course of recovery. They see people, not their pathology, and work hard to offer stability, compassion and love to those who need it most. PHS believes that there are solutions to homelessness and the opioid crisis, and that implementing them will require love, resiliency and – most importantly – political will. 

PHS has developed a range of innovative community based programs to meet the diverse needs of the thousands of people they serve each year. Programs include needle distribution and collection, community gardens, low-barrier methadone treatment, managed alcohol programs, dental care, alternatives to traditional detox, and more.   

Above all, PHS strives to be a champion for social inclusion, a leader in social innovation, and an advocate for marginalized people whose voices are rarely heard.  PHS is perhaps best known for leading the advocacy effort to open North America’s first supervised injection site, Insite, in 2003. Advocacy remains a major focus for PHS today, and their work continues to yield remarkable results for the community. For example, PHS was there to fight against the closure of the low-barrier New Fountain Shelter 2011, and later this year, PHS will be operating the ‘new’ New Fountain Shelter on East Hastings that will open in 2017, thanks to the innovative planning and renewed funding of BC Housing. 

To learn more or make a donation, click here. 

Workouts to get you out of a training rut

By | Training Tips | No Comments

We all have time where the last thing we want to do is run or work out.  These “slumps” are normal, and either come about due to boredom or fatigue.  The repetition of tempos, long runs, and hill repeats can be enough to make you dread having to do another workout. If you’re stuck in a training rut, it might be time to try something new to reignite the fire.  Switching up workout types, or who you’re running with, can be enough to motivate you again. Here are some ways to mix up the monotony of running:

Find a group

If you’re used to doing every workout or easy run on your own, it might be time to hop into a group environment.  Casual chatter and comraderie can help ease the pain of a workout, or at least create enough distraction that the miles fly by.  Most cities have a running group of some kind whether it’s a local running crew or a group out of a running store.  Do a little bit of research and find one that’s convenient and works with your schedule.

Group fartlek

We’ve all heard of the fartlek workout, which is essentially just speed play.  Paces and interval duration are varied to keep the workout fun.  Another way of doing this workout is with a group of at least 5 people.  In a single file line, the runner at the front sets the pace.  Then, the runner at the end of the line must surge to the front of the pack to settle in as the new leader at their desired pace.  The person at the rear can choose to surge whenever they choose which keeps the rest of the group on their toes.  It’s a great way to challenge each other and do a speedy workout without too much thought.

Be a broken record

Repeats are a simple yet effective workout for any distance.  The intensity and distance of the interval will determine the recovery.  Long intervals or short intense bursts will require longer rest periods than moderate intensity repeats.  The rest period should be longer enough that your heart rate settles and you’re able to talk.  Aim to keep the intervals consistent; blowing it out of the water on the first rep will leave you gassed for the rest of the workout and won’t provide the most beneficial training effects.

Go up and down a ladder

Pyramid or ladder workouts are a fun mix up to interval training.  Choose to do the intervals by distance or by duration.  For example, a ladder workout on the track could look something like: 200m-400m-600m-800m-1000m-1000m-800m-600m-400m-200m.  For recovery, match the hard interval distance and try to keep the paces consistent.  Much like coming down a hill, climbing down the ladder will feel easier with decreasing interval distances!  These workouts can be as long or as short as you wish, and can be done based on time so you don’t have to find a track.

Race!

A great way to get back into shape, or fuel the fire is to actually step onto the starting line again.  Use the pre-race nerves and adrenaline to pump you up to run.  The crowds of people will be great to push you, plus having a closed course with no traffic is ideal!  Check out your local running scene for upcoming races and sign up.  It could be enough to get booted out of a training rut.

Rest

If nothing seems to be working, it might be that you just need a couple days off of running.  Many people forget the importance of rest and recovery.  It’s just as important as running workouts!  Take a few days to sleep in, try a new activity, catch up on some reading, or try a new recipe.  Stepping away from a regimented training schedule for a short time won’t decrease your overall fitness.  It could be actually be exactly what you need to get to the next level of fitness and boost your training.

benefits of track work

The benefits of hitting the track

By | General, Training Tips | No Comments

The benefits of track work when training for anything longer than 5k aren’t often discussed during a race build. Track workouts have their time and place for any race distance.  While crucial for typical track events of 5000m and under, they also provide many benefits for any distance up to the marathon.  Even ultra marathoners do track workouts sometimes!  It can feel intimidating heading to the perfectly marked 400m oval. The fear of the workout’s intensity, not knowing how to pace, or pressure to perform an a perfectly flat and manicured surface can steer runners away.  Try to ignore those barriers and remember the benefits a track workout will provide.

Learn to pace

On the track, the terrain is consistent and is perfectly flat.  These characteristics help runners learn how to properly pace themselves and understand what difference paces feel like. When running on the track, you must mentally push yourself to keep on pace. This helps build mental strength as well as physical strength, which is the opposite of treadmill running that forcefully keeps you moving at the same speed.  Understand that not every interval needs to be an all-out effort.  Being able to keep tabs on the pace by checking splits every half-lap (200m) or full lap (400m), will provide timely feedback so you know how and when to adjust your pace.

Improved running economy/efficiency

Running easy is exactly what it sounds like: easy.  It builds a tolerance to pavement pounding and slowly creates an aerobic base, but it also only teaches how to run at a leisurely pace.  Track workouts encourage a faster turnover. Therefore, it teaches your body how to run fast by adapting neuromuscular, musculoskeletal, and respiratory systems.  Faster turnover helps recruit and stimulate fast-twitch muscle fibers.  The amount in which it helps to make you run faster is very individual, but it will certainly help you from getting slower!  By building an aerobic foundation, it enhances the amount of oxygen that is consumed at a given pace. Meaning you’re able to hold a higher intensity for an extended duration before running out of steam.

Mental toughness

The thought of running around in 400m ovals isn’t exactly appealing. The monotony of the unchanging terrain and elevation can make it hard to remain motivated throughout a workout.  However, that’s exactly what makes the track great.  It requires mental toughness to remain on task throughout the workout especially with the workout’s heightened intensity. Seemingly unnecessary to do 400m repeats when training for a half or full marathon, it’s actually incredibly helpful.  When busting out shorter and faster intervals, it forces your legs to get out of an easy run shuffle and into a more powerful stride. By pushing a pace that can only be held for a short period of time, it makes the speed of threshold/tempo runs feel much more manageable.

So when training for your next goal race, be sure to include some speedy track sessions into your build.  Ideally grab a group of friends to accompany you and push the pace.  Do a full warmup to fully prepare your muscles for the intensity of the workout and don’t forget to have fun!

dewc

Feature Friday – Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre

By | Charity, Eastside 10k | No Comments


With Love for the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre
By Kate Gustafson

 

We can, all of us, agree that Vancouver has a brilliant running community. It’s in all of the training, racing and being together that expands our awareness of the place we call home. It was the idea of “home” that sent me searching for ways to support our most vulnerable neighbourhoods.

Through fundraising and volunteer work I’ve come to know the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre (DEWC), a community at that’s equally strong, supportive, and full of incredible people. They provide basic needs, like a warm lunch, and a safe, non-judgmental environment for women from all walks of life, who live or work in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver. In the act of opening their doors for the past 39 years, the DEWC transforms lives. For many of us, running has transformed our own.

As a runner who treasures the road’s quiet moments before the city wakes, the DEWC is equally peaceful before the lunch rush. On volunteer shifts, I’ve sorted through donated clothes and set up tables accompanied by a hum of others putting their heads down to complete the task at hand. Like any rainy, snowy or sweltering race day, the show must go on. It should also be known that these meals are an amazing, daily feat; accomplished by creative, compassionate and hardworking kitchen staff.

The meals program is the DEWC’s most underfunded and important program, as food is the main draw to get many women in the door. Once inside, the DEWC has the opportunity to teach women about other programs and services, and provide access to much more than basic needs.

As a passionate runner and supporter of the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre, my hope is that you’re inspired to learn more, get involved and support this incredible community in whatever way you can.
https://www.dewc.ca/

Want to help raise funds for DEWC at the Under Armour Eastside 10k? Start your fundraising page here or donate directly to the charity!

#UAEastside 10k Training Run, Pacers, Shirt and Medal Reveal

By | Charity, Eastside 10k | No Comments

The Under Armour Eastside 10k unveiled their 2017 finisher medals and race shirts at their kick-off event last night. Over 50 local runners and race day pacers celebrated the unveiling of this year’s memorabilia with a 6k social run.  The run went out on a loop from the Greater Vancouver Food Bank (GVFB) and featured parts of the new 2017 race course.  The GVFB is one of the key charities for the UA Eastside 10k this year.

The medal for the Under Armour Eastside 10k’s 5th anniversary features the East Van cross. Presented in the same unique dog-tag style medal featured in previous years, this year’s medal features another iconic landmark of Vancouver’s Eastside.

The 2017 Under Armour Pace Team joined in on the medal and shirt reveal.  In preparation for race day, the pacers received their pacing kits and got a first hand look at the course.  There will be a pair of pacers for each of the following times: 45:00; 50:00; 55:00; 60:00; 65:00; 70:00 and 75:00. They will be running to help you achieve your race day goals!

A big thank you to the Greater Vancouver Food Bank for showing runners around the facility, and for helping out at the event.

About The Greater Vancouver Food Bank (GVFB)

The Greater Vancouver Food Bank is a non-profit organization with a mission to create empowering environments that provide and promote access to healthy food, education and training. The GVFB provides assistance to over 26,500 people weekly through 13 food locations and more than 80 community agencies located in Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster and the North Shore. The GVFB is committed to its vision of accessible, healthy and sustainable food for all and through community collaboration, is pro-actively working to help end hunger. Donate today!

Training Run Photos

Meet the 2017 Under Armour Pace Team

Dressing for the heat

By | General, Training Tips | No Comments

In the middle of summer, the heat has set in and most runner’s have become slightly more acclimatized to the weather.  However, if you typically run in the early morning/evenings when the temperature is lower, and you’re faced with an afternoon run, it can still be a shock to the system.  Much like winter running, what you wear can help you survive the run no matter what the conditions are.  Keeping sun safety, hydration, and thermoregulation in mind, these are some of the best ways to beat the heat.

Wear technical fabrics
We’ve all heard that cotton is the enemy, and it certainly is when it comes to running in the heat.  Unlike moisture-wicking technical fabrics, cotton absorbs sweat which weighs the clothing down and puts you at risk of chafing.  Technical fabrics are breathable and pull moisture away from the body to keep you cool through evaporation of sweat.

Keep it loose and light
Looser fitting shirts help to keep you cool by offering more ventilation as the air can move through the clothing unlike tighter fitting clothing which can retain body heat.  Choose light colours as they reflect the sunlight, whereas black/dark colour absorb the sun’s heat.  This will put you at risk of overheating.

Protect your head
Your body releases a lot of it’s heat through your head, so it’s important to wear a technical fabric hat or visor.  The benefit of a cap is that it protects your scalp from getting burnt, and can be stuffed with ice or soaked with cold water to cool you down even further.  Visors help shield your face and eyes from harmful UV rays, but do leave your head exposed to the sun.

Keep your eyes relaxed
It’s easy to forget how much energy squinting takes out of you while on the run.  It causes unnecessary  energy expenditure and can cause headaches or migraines.  Grab a pair of UVA & UVB protected sunglasses to keep your eyes relaxed and protected from the sun’s harmful rays.

Slather on the sunscreen
Skin is the body’s largest organ, so it’s important to protect it.  Make sure to apply sunscreen wherever there may be skin exposure; if you plan on delayering throughout the run, don’t forget those areas too!  Opt for at least SPF 30 and waterproof so that it stays on as you sweat on the run.

Accessorize with hydration
Running in the heat causes your body to sweat more and lose water and electrolytes at an alarming rate.  If not replaced in a timely manner, it puts you at heat of dehydration and susceptible to heat-related illnesses.  Use either a hand-held bottle, a fuel belt, or a hydration pack for easy access to fluids.  If you aren’t a fan of carrying something while you run, plan a route that passes by water fountains or convenience stores where you can pop in to grab a sports drink if necessary.

Feature Friday – Vancouver Food Bank

By | Charity, Eastside 10k | No Comments

An Important Member of the Food Bank Family

It’s 5:30 a.m. Every Tuesday morning, Kat Perrara hops out of bed eager to see her friends at the Greater Vancouver Food Bank’s Southside Depot.

Kat makes the long commute from Surrey to Burnaby.

It’s 7:30 a.m. when she reaches her destination which is already buzzing as the Food Bank truck works with volunteers to unload food from the main warehouse.

As Kat walks into Southside Community Church, she is greeted with a hot cup of coffee and a sandwich. Chatter fills the room as volunteers catch up on what has happened in since they saw each other last.

The volunteers work together to unload the truck and set up their stations.

When 9:30 flashes, Kat is waiting at the greeting table where she welcomes and scans in Food Bank members.

It was only four years ago that Kat stood on the other side of the greeting table — as a member of the Food Bank.

She would stay for hours talking and laughing with the other volunteers and even helping out where she could. They told Kat she should become a volunteer, and without hesitation she did. In return, she gained another family.

“We celebrate birthdays and anniversaries together. We get together when someone in the group has lost someone, and we collect donations amongst the volunteers if someone is going through a rough time,” Kat says. “We really take care of each other.”

The clock strikes 11, and the last of the members come in. The volunteers at Southside begin to clean up and prepare lunch. As the doors finally close, and clean-up is finished, the volunteers gather for a quick bite before they head out.

Kat is one of hundreds of volunteers who have found a family through her volunteering experience with the Greater Vancouver Food Bank. To find out more about volunteering opportunities with us, please visit:

https://www.foodbank.bc.ca/get-involved/volunteer/

Running cool in hot weather

By | Training Tips | No Comments

When summer hits, it’s important to take the heat into consideration when you’re planning your weekly runs/workouts.  Fortunately the days are long so there are lots of options for putting the work in without suffering from the summer sun.  Here are a few things to consider before heading out for your run:

Be timely:

The coolest temperatures are in the morning and evening when the sun isn’t high in the sky.  The UV ray intensity is lower, and if you go in the morning there’s usually less people to dodge and it’ll boost your energy for the day!  Depending on whether you’re an early bird or a night owl, find a time that works best for you.

Keep hydrated:

No matter what time of day you run at, be sure to hydrate before, during and after your run.  Warmer temperatures require you to up your overall fluid intakes to keep your perspiration systems and temperature regulation in top form.  Depending on your individual sweat rate, and how salty your sweat is will change what your replenishing needs are.  Water may not be enough, so consider a sports drink or electrolyte supplement too.  If you’re heading out for a long run, plan your route so there are water fountains or convenience stores where you quench your thirst throughout the run.

Protect your skin:

Harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays can cause skin damage, and can potentially lead to skin cancer especially in prolonged sun exposure.  Slather on the sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher with both UVA and UBV protection to prevent sun burns, protect your skin, and keep your skin/body temperature lower.  Your skin will thank you now and in the future!

Run cool:

Everyone has a go-to running route depending on their preference of terrain and scenery.  If possible, when the weather heats up choose a loop that either runs past water, or through the forest.  Bodies of water such as rivers, lakes and oceans tend to have breezier conditions that provide a slightly cooler environment.  Sticking to the trails will not only provide extra shade from the tree cover, but the softer surface won’t retain or radiate heat as much as asphalt does.

Dress appropriately:

Running is a perfect time to break out the bright and light colours that most people’s everyday neutral wardrobes don’t have.  Wearing dark colours or cottons is a sure-fire way to put yourself at risk of overheating; the dark colour absorb/attract the heat and cotton doesn’t have the best breathability.  Instead, opt for light-coloured and loose fitting attire that reflects the sun’s rays away and allows the breeze to get through.  Most athletic wear is now made of moisture-wicking synthetic fabric which helps to cool the body down, rather than the original cotton-tees that soak moisture up instead of wicking it away.

Always accessorize:

When fighting the heat don’t forget the value of a hat and sunglasses.  Choose a hat with breathable mesh so that the heat loss from your head isn’t trapped in the cap, and protects your scalp from the sun’s rays.  When grabbing sunglasses, don’t choose a trendy pair that don’t have proper UV protection.  Make sure that the lens have both UVA and UVB protection to shield your eyes from harmful light.

Adjust expectations:

Before you acclimatize to the heat, adjust your training and paces to accommodate for the increased energy expenditure that running in the heat brings.  It takes time to adjust to hot weather, so give yourself a couple of weeks to let you body adapt to the heat, especially if it hasn’t been given the gradual seasonal progression.  Begin by doing easy runs a few times a week, then slowly build in workouts and remember to slow the pace down and run by feel.  If you’re consistently running a minute slower per mile than normal but the effort is still there, understand that as long as the effort is there, the results will come!