Canadian Marathoners to Watch at STWM

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There is a strong contingency of Canadian athletes toeing the line at the 2017 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon.  From athletes making their debuts, to runners hoping to break master’s records, it’ll be a race worth watching.  Here are a few Canadians to look out for:

Sami Jibril

A local athlete who has Toronto as his hometown, Sami Jibril is no stranger to this race.  Not only does he have home course advantage, Jibril has been a pacer for STWM in previous years.  A member of the Canadian World Cross Country Championships team, Jibril is a force to be reckoned with on any cross-country course, and will undoubtedly be one on the marathon course.

Leslie Sexton

With a blazing personal best of 2:33, Leslie Sexton is a mileage hound who is inspiring to follow on Strava.  Running upwards of 200km per week, Sexton is no stranger to high mileage.  Slowly building up her tolerance to running these distances, she’s a workhorse that’s perfect for the marathon.  Don’t be fooled, even with that amount of mileage in her legs, Sexton has the speed that placed her in 2nd at the 2017 Under Armour Eastside 10k this September.

Kevin Coffey

Relatively new to the elite marathon world, Kevin Coffey has shown that he belongs there.  Having the cheeriest demeanour, it’s hard to find a race where there isn’t a photo of Coffey’s infectious grin plastered across his face.  Finding a balance between coaching with Vancouver’s Mile2Marathon, and running up a storm, Coffey has the same marathon goal almost every runner has: to beat his personal best.

Catherine Watkins

Faster as a master.  Catherine Watkins has shown the running world that age doesn’t slow you down.  Having represented Canada at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto in the marathon, her continual success in every race distance is awe-inspiring.  A mother of two girls, Watkins has found a balance between family and being an elite runner.  Like anything, at times it can be hard, but with her family’s, coach’s, and running community’s unwavering support, we have high hopes for this master to break some records at STWM.

Trevor Hofbauer

Giving up on his hoop dream of being an NBA star, Trevor Hofbauer has found stardom in distance running.  Initially he was training mostly on his own, Hofbauer made a big move from Calgary to Guelph to run with some of Canada’s top runners.  Representing Canada at the World Cross Country Championships, and at the World Half Marathon Championships, Hofbauer has shown he has strength in every distance.  Debuting at STWM has been much anticipated and we look forward to seeing what this young star will do.

Natasha LeBeaud Anzures

Originally from Kelowna, Natasha LeBeaud Anzures now calls San Diego home.  Running since she was a young girl, she’s made it her life not only in racing competitively, but in the non-profit organization she and her husband founded, 2nd Recess.  Ranging from 1500m to the marathon, Natasha’s natural speed is a benefit even in the gruelling 42.2km of a marathon.  In the hopes of hitting a new personal best, LeBeaud’s high-humidity training could give her an advantage when running through the potentially cool streets of Toronto.

Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon will be Live Streamed

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By Paul Gains

Running fans from around the world will once again be able to watch the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon in its entirety thanks to a unique partnership between race organizers, sponsors and Astrodog Media.

Beginning at 8:15 a.m. (EDT) October 22nd viewers need only log in to STWM.ca (the race is also being carried on cbcsports.ca and athleticscanada.tv) for four hours of live coverage. There will be no geo-blocking.

The 2017 edition of this IAAF Gold Label race features the best men’s field Canada has ever seen with Kenya’s Dickson Chumba, winner of Chicago and Tokyo marathons and his countryman the defending champion Philemon Rono, taking on a strong field of Ethiopian talent. Endeshaw Negasse (also a past Tokyo winner) and Tadese Tola, like Chumba, belong to the ‘sub 2:05 club’ and will promise an exciting battle for the $25,000 first place prize money.

The women’s race is also strong. Ethiopia is sending Fatuma Sado, second here two years ago in 2:24:16, Marta Megra (2:24:32 personal best) and Sutame Asefa (2:24:00 personal best Dubai 2014) It will be left up to Angela Tanui of Kenya to upset the favoured Ethiopians. She has a best of 2:26:31 from this year’s Vienna Marathon.

The race once again serves as the Athletics Canada Marathon Championships with a new generation Canadian marathoners toeing the line.

Last year more than 74,000 viewers tuned in to view the race from 129 countries around the world. Matt Hortobayi, Executive Producer, points out that the production will again include nine broadcast cameras, three promotional cameras as well as a drone.

The talented commentary team is comprised of 2016 Canadian Olympian Krista DuChene, Michael Doyle, the editor of Canadian Running magazine and Tim Hutchings.

Hutchings is a much accomplished and extremely busy commentator having worked for NBC, Eurosport, CBC, BBC and many other television networks covering top-flight athletics since his retirement from competitive distance running. He was a two time IAAF World Cross Country silver medalist and finished 4th in the 1984 Olympic 5000m final.

“The Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon is deservedly regarded as a world-class event and it should be,” says Hutchings, “because Toronto is a big, powerful and beautiful city, one that oozes energy and class in so many ways and provides a wonderful backdrop for the elite races to unfold over a fast course that has produced great contests year after year.”

Hutchings relishes the opportunity to commentate on this year’s race.

“The return of the 2016 men’s champion Philemon Rono of Kenya, who will duel with one of the all-time greats in Dickson Chumba, is a match made in heaven,” he explains. “Rono won easily last year and clearly can go faster, while Chumba is consistent and has many times run faster than his compatriot. Throw in three or four others who, on paper at least, look like they can win on any given day, and we are pretty much guaranteed another quick, competitive and yet unpredictable battle.

“By contrast, the women’s elite field has less experience but equally exciting talent, while keeping us guessing as to who can deliver on the day; Ethiopia’s Sutume Asefa for example, is just 23, yet with 2:24.00 is the fastest in the race and has only run two marathons.

“Those are just two examples of head-to-heads that I’m keen to see deliver what we can expect in Toronto – memorable world-class racing, fast times and importantly, great quality pictures for myself, Krista Duchene and Michael Doyle to describe.”

New this year, select celebrity runners will be equipped with GPS trackers so they can be easily found on the course increasing the efficiency with which the motorcycle mounted cameras can find them. Of course, the elites will be followed the majority of the time. This is the seventh year that Astrodog Media has produced the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon.

The rest of the broadcast team reads like a who’s who of Canadian distance running with Canadian marathon record holder, Lanni Marchant, handling social media, Commonwealth 1,500m bronze medalist Kate Van Buskirk conducting finish line interviews, Pan Am Games marathon bronze medalist Rachel Hannah doing research and Reid Coolsaet, a two-time Canadian Olympian assisting with the elite athletes.

With a fast field assembled this year and a crackerjack broadcast team, fans around the world can certainly enjoy all the action of this year’s Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon on their smart phones, tablets or computers.

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IMPORTANT. MEDIA CREDENTIALS: For media interested in access on race weekend, including press conferences, start/finish lines and Media Centre, credentials are an absolute requirement. Please apply here: http://www.torontowaterfrontmarathon.com/media/#media

About the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon:

An IAAF Gold Label race, the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon is Canada’s premier, big-city running event, the Athletics Canada National Marathon Championships, and the Grand Finale of the 7-race Canada Running Series. In 2016 it attracted 26,000 participants from 70 countries, raised $3.24 million for 182 charities through the Scotiabank Charity Challenge, and contributed an estimated $35 million to the local economy. The livestream broadcast was watched by more than 72,000 viewers from 129 countries. http://STWM.ca

Proper sports bra fitting

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Running can be unreasonably uncomfortable without proper sports bra fitting. Without the proper support, sensitive breast tissue can tear and cause irreversible damage. The materials in a sports bra will wear out with use, just like with a pair of shoes. When your bra celebrates a birthday, it might be time to retire it to low impact activities.

Good breast health requires proper support for your unique size and shape. What works for Mary in a size 34B will surely be a disaster for Ellie who wears a 40DD. Here are some quick tips and considerations for your next sports bra!

  • First off, don’t be shy to ask a sales associate for help. They will be more familiar with the products and make your fitting process more efficient.
  • Having a clear idea of what you are looking for in a bra and what type of physical activity it will be used for is critical.
  • When shopping, make sure you give yourself enough time. Rushing through a bra fit will leave you frustrated and walking away with the wrong fit!
  • When trying on bras, don’t be afraid to try different cup sizes. Most brands fit differently depending on their style and your individual body type.
  • If the bra chafes, allows excessive movement, rides up, or gapes under the arm, keep trying!
  • A proper fitting sports bra should fit more snug than a regular lingerie bra.
  • Breasts should be contained completely within the bra cups, with no overflow.
  • Underwire bras should sit next to the rib cage, directly below the breast tissue.
  • Wider straps provide comfort by distributing weight more evenly, thus helping to prevent back or shoulder discomfort.
  • With a properly fitted sports bra, you should be able to slip two fingers snugly between the band and the skin, as well as under the strap at the top of the shoulders.
Bra Tops and Shelf Bras

Both bra tops and shelf bras are designed for low impact activity. A bra top is a basic shelf bra that is sewn into a tank. Although sizing varies from extra small to extra-large, they will not provide maximum support for a cup size larger than B.

Support & Shape Bras

Support and shape bras are designed for medium to high impact. A wide range of supportive features includes; thicker straps, underwire, adjustable clasps, and racer back design. These types of bras range from A to DD, and sometimes E.

Compression and Full Motion Control Bras

Compression Bras are designed to firmly hold the breasts against the body and are ideal for high impact activities.

Some bras with full encapsulation and compression have underwire and are higher cut in the neckline to provide maximum support. These types of bras are best suited for women with cup sizes larger than a B.

Thanks to Rackets & Runners for this valuable information. Be sure to visit them if you have any questions or need help with proper fitting.

Remembering Ed Whitlock at Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon

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By Paul Gains

As the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon quickly approaches, organizers have revealed plans to honour a man who was a critical and inspirational part of the event for years but who, sadly, passed away seven months ago.

Ed Whitlock was 86 when he succumbed to prostate cancer on March 13th.

Over the years Ed defied aging to set world age-class records that perhaps will never be broken and which astonished runners around the globe. He also developed a close relationship with Toronto Waterfront, turning up for press conferences in his suit and tie whenever he was asked, and supplying the mantra which Race Director Alan Brookes eagerly adopted: “Don’t limit yourself.”

Ed, as he was known to the thousands who queued up to meet him at races, or, who ran alongside him, was the oldest man to beat three hours for the marathon when he ran 2:52:47 at age 69. But that was only the beginning.

A World Masters’ 70+ record followed when he ran 2:59:10 at age 72 in 2003 at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, and became the first and only septuagenarian to go under the magic 3-hour mark. He took that out of sight with a 2:54:49 at age 73 at the 2004 event. Indeed, as Brookes is fond of saying, Toronto Waterfront was “Ed’s race”. As his fame spread globally, Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon took off, almost tripling in numbers between 2003 and 2005, then earning first an IAAF Silver Label, then the coveted IAAF Gold Label.

2012 Scotiabank Toronto Marathon, October 14, 2012. Photo credit: Victor Sailer/Canada Running Series

Ed went on to set World Masters’ marathon records for age 75+, 80+ and most recently 85+ with a time of 3:56:38 last October 16th, 2016 in Toronto. In all, he set roughly 25 World Masters’ records over distances from 1,500m to the marathon. All this success meant that Ed was the subject of innumerable magazine and newspaper interviews and adored by runners of all abilities. It was a conundrum for him as he was as humble as much as he was talented.

“I don’t know how to respond to them. Well how do you respond to that?” he said with a laugh on one occasion. “I suppose it’s nice for people to say I inspire them but I am somewhat embarrassed and I don’t know what the appropriate response is to that.

“I don’t consider myself to be an inspiring person. I am not one to stand up on the stage and say ‘you all can do this.’”

No doubt he would be a little embarrassed then by what Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon organizers have planned to remember him.

With the blessing of his family, a #RememberingEd Signing wall at the Runners’ Expo is to be set up along with a display of memorabilia including Ed’s famous singlets, shoes, medals, trophies and photos, courtesy of the Whitlock family and the Milton Hall of Fame.

Also at the Runners’ Expo, noted chalk artist, Victor Fraser, will do a live drawing of Ed using a photo taken at the 2003 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon.

At the 8:45 a.m. race start there will be a minute’s silence in his memory. That will be followed by perhaps the most exciting element in this tribute, the inclusion of three designated pacemakers who will take runners through to the finish in three of Ed’s most recognized world marathon record times: 2:54:49 (age 73), 3:15:54 (age 80) and 3:56:38 (age 85).

Ed Whitlock Pacer bibs. Meet the Pacers this Sat Oct 21st at the International Friendship Run – Enercare Centre, Hall B at 9 a.m.

The volunteer pacemakers are from local running clubs and crews: Nick Croker from Black Lungs Toronto (2:54); Noel Guy from Longboat Roadrunners (3:15) and Ben Kaplan from iRun assuming the 3:56 pacemaking duty. Kaplan is writing a book on Ed tentatively entitled “The Master.”

In the words of Alan Brookes, with whom Ed had a close relationship: “This year’s race is going to be very emotional. No Ed. But he’ll be with us. He’ll be with us forever. He’s part of our DNA, of who we are, and what we’ve all achieved together — for our event, our sport, our city, our country and running worldwide. We just have to carry the torch from here, and never limit ourselves. Join us in #RememberingEd”

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For further information: www.STWM.ca

IMPORTANT. MEDIA CREDENTIALS: For media interested in access on race weekend, including press conferences, start/finish lines and Media Centre, credentials are an absolute requirement. Please apply here: http://www.torontowaterfrontmarathon.com/media/#media

About the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon:

An IAAF Gold Label race, the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon is Canada’s premier, big-city running event, the Athletics Canada National Marathon Championships, and the Grand Finale of the 7-race Canada Running Series. In 2016 it attracted 26,000 participants from 70 countries, raised $3.24 million for 182 charities through the Scotiabank Charity Challenge, and contributed an estimated $35 million to the local economy. The livestream broadcast was watched by more than 72,000 viewers from 129 countries. http://STWM.ca

How to Prep for Race Day. By John Stanton, Founder of Running Room.

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By John Stanton, Founder of Running Room. 

As race day approaches, you may have a few questions on final training and race strategy. Here are some thoughts from founder of Running Room, John Stanton.

At running events and expos, I am frequently asked: “What is the bare minimum I need to run to prepare for a big race?”

The answer is: you need to run four times a week. Two of these runs are simply for base training, while the other two should be high-quality runs with a focus on speed and stamina. The quality runs should consist of a tempo speed run and a weekend long slow endurance run.

For a tempo workout, begin and end with a 1K warm-up and 1K cool-down. The kilometres in between (ranging from 5 to 10K) should be run at a pace about 15 to 30 seconds slower than your current 5K race pace. Tempo runs help your body and mind adapt to running at an uncomfortable pace. They help increase your VO2 Max (your body’s ability to take in and utilize oxygen at the muscle layer to make energy), as well as push out your lactate threshold (the point at which you feel that burning sensation in your legs from the lactic acid). These workouts will make you a more efficient runner and improve your ability to fight off fatigue.

To teach your body that you can pull out some speed when needed, add a short burst to your tempo runs. During your weekly tempo session, include a repeat that is 60 to 90 seconds faster than your projected race day pace. The faster running over a shorter period of time will build your confidence and add some snap to your leg turnover rate, while minimizing your injury risk.

Your long slow run is just that: long, slow distance. Your pace should be about 60 to 90 seconds slower than your projected race pace. Doing your long runs at a slower pace helps your body build endurance without wearing it down. Most running injuries come from running too fast—I have yet to hear of a runner becoming injured from running too slow. The purpose of the long run is to introduce your body to the rigours of running for an extended period of time, so be disciplined about the slower pace required for these workouts.

The two weekly base training or “maintenance” runs are short runs of 3 to 5K. These are as much for your head as they are for your body, and they should be run at a comfortable pace.

They are designed to keep your total weekly base miles up and act as recovery runs to keep your legs loose and limber.

Following this four-runs-per-week program is useful, especially when you’re trying to balance your personal, professional and community activities and still find time to run.

Race Strategy

There are three strategies for race day:

  • Start hard and fast and fade in the later stages of the race.
  • Start slow and run a faster second half of the race.
  • Run the whole race at a steady consistent pace.

My recommendation is to run the whole race at an even pace. This approach will, in theory, produce the best times for the runner. Start too fast, and you will discover an early and deep fatigue created from early oxygen debt. Running the final stages of the race is a challenge because of the deep fatigue. For the best recovery, start slow and build into the race. Your optimum time may not be achieved, but your post-race recovery will be improved. It makes for the most comfortable race. Even pacing will give you the best race results.

Angela Tanui Flying Kenyan Flag at Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon

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By Paul Gains

A strong contingent of Ethiopian runners will make their way across the Atlantic to compete in this year’s Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon and so it falls upon Angela Tanui to be the Kenyan ‘flag bearer’ at this IAAF Gold Label race.

Tanui will not shy from the important role she finds herself in when she toes the line October 22nd. The rivalry between the East African neighbours is legendary and longstanding, particularly in Toronto. Ethiopian women have been victorious here seven of the last ten years. But as an indication of how close the rivalry is, the Course and Canadian All-comers Women’s record is 2:22:43, held jointly by Sharon Cherop KEN (2010) and Koren Jelala Yal ETH (2011) who ran identical times.

“Off course, yes, as a Kenyan I always want to make Kenya proud of me,” the 25 year old Tanui says of the matter.

Best known for her success at the shorter distances – last year she set personal bests of 31:26 in the 10k and a stunning 1:07:16 for the half marathon – she made her marathon debut earlier this year with a clocking of 2:26:31 at the Vienna Marathon. That was good enough for 5th place. She admits learning much from her experience.

“I learnt that the marathon is a calculation race which needs a smart mind,” she reveals. “I have increased the mileage per week and have planned an extra-long run (35 kilometres) compared to the last marathon preparation.

“My expectation is to run a personal best. With the debut in Vienna I am confident I learned a lot and can really improve. I can’t tell (by how much) but that is my inner prayer. Of course, the training was tougher and I will arrive much better prepared for this event in Toronto.”

Tanui is from a large family in Uasin-Gishu county, around 60 kilometres from Iten, where she is living and training. She has two brothers and four sisters one of whom, Euliter, is also runner and lives with her in Iten. Tanui’s boyfriend, Elijah Tirop, with whom she also shares her home, will accompany her to Toronto as he will perform pacemaking duties for the elite men.

Among her training partners are a trio of past Toronto racers, Ishhimael Chemtan (2015 men’s champion), Rebecca Chesir (3rd in 2016) and Sharon Cherop (2010 winner).  They are all represented by Demadonna Athletic Promotions, an Italian sports agency.

“I spoke of the race with them and they told me that it is a non-predictable race which varies according to the weather conditions,” she says of her reconnaissance.

Although she spends much of her time training and recovering, Tanui enjoys relaxing while watching Nigerian movies. And like many of her compatriots and training partners she is also a football fan.

“I am a fan and supporter of Manchester United and my favourite player is (Javier) Chicharito (Hernandez) even if he is not playing for Manchester this year,” she adds.

Although she is just 25 years old and conceivably has another five to ten years of running in her she has already had thoughts of what life might look like upon retirement.

“I would like to be a coach,” she says. “I’m accumulating a lot of experience in the field and would like one day to share my knowledge with the young runners of my village in order to give them the opportunity to improve their lifestyle and have an income from this activity.”

The future is certainly bright and she is only just beginning her marathon career. Suddenly, though she must carry the honour of her nation on the world stage. The question remains whether she can unsettle the Ethiopians on the streets of Toronto and carve out a victory. Her countrymen will be watching.

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For further information and to join Angela on the Start line, www.STWM.ca

IMPORTANT – MEDIA CREDENTIALS: For media interested in access on race weekend, including press conferences, start/finish lines and Media Centre, credentials are an absolute requirement. Please apply here: http://www.torontowaterfrontmarathon.com/media/#media

About the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon:

An IAAF Gold Label race, the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon is Canada’s premier, big-city running event, the Athletics Canada National Marathon Championships, and the Grand Finale of the 7-race Canada Running Series. In 2016 it attracted 26,000 participants from 70 countries, raised $3.24 million for 182 charities through the Scotiabank Charity Challenge, and contributed an estimated $35 million to the local economy. The livestream broadcast was watched by more than 72,000 viewers from 129 countries. http://STWM.ca

What Elite Athletes Eat: Marathon Edition

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For anyone racing a marathon, either for their first or fiftieth time, the pre-race dinner is always a hot topic.

What should you eat?

What should you avoid?

Is carb-loading really all it’s cracked up to be?

We may not have the exact answers, but what we’ve learned over time is that it’s best to eat what you’re used to, and that a carbohydrate-rich meal is a go-to for most runners.  There is a large Canadian elite contingent coming to race at the Canadian Marathon Championships at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, so we took the chance to ask them what fuels their fire the night before a big race.

Sami Jibril: When I’m out of town, maintaining a routine diet has its challenges. I personally try to pack at least one meal and snacks for long out of town races but when its not possible, and I am stuck in an airport with limited food options, I need to be flexible. I understand unhealthy food is better than no food, but healthy food (good fuel) is even better.

The most important factors I consider for selecting meals is food that is high in carbohydrates and easy to digest. The simpler the foods the better, and nothing unfamiliar.

Living in the Toronto and running STWM I have the luxury to eat a personal homemade meal the night before my race. I typically eat a heavy meatless pasta/spaghetti dinner with lots of veggies and I binge on fruits for dessert.

Leslie Sexton: My go-to meal before long runs and workouts when I’m at home is usually beef or chicken kabobs with grilled vegetables (splashed with a bit of olive oil and balsamic vinegar) and linguine with pesto sauce. I love cooking on the BBQ during the summer because it adds a bit of flavour and usually requires less clean-up. And of course some chocolate for dessert!

Kevin Coffey:  The last supper isn’t much of a change from the usual meal before a focused long run. I never experiment with new foods and I try to keep the fibre as low as I can.  For my last meal before a big race, I will have Thai gluten free stir fry rice noodles with a simple tomato sauce and half a serving of chicken (60g-75g of carbohydrate) with a refreshing glass of sports drink (30g carbohydrate). I have found gluten free pasta works best for my stomach and it often has less fibre than whole wheat.

Catherine Watkins: My favourite pre-race food is simply chicken or salmon with brown rice and veggies. For the marathon, I’ll go heavier on the rice and lighter on the veggies!  If it’s a shorter race and out of town I find sushi is a great pre-race food. Usually a salmon roll, tuna roll, and avocado roll.

Natasha LeBeaud Anzures: Before a race, I love to have a giant veggie-packed salad topped with my all-time favorite food: beets.  I love a big serving of brown race pasta (I have Celiac disease, so I cannot have any gluten) with marinara sauce and a side of salmon.

Trevor Hofbauer: My pre-race meal while traveling is pasta with a cream sauce and chicken. Regular pasta with a tomato sauce is an appropriate alternative as well.  For STWM, I’m actually bringing my pre-race dinner with me from Guelph. It will be my staple carbohydrate meal; cornmeal, sweet potato, chicken breast.

John Mason: The night and even through the week leading up to the race I eat a lot of bread.  I eat a lot of bread in general, but even more in the last few days heading into a marathon.  In 2015 before STWM I ate 4 loaves of bread in the last 36 hours leading into the race, an entire loaf of bread for dinner as I was strolling the streets of Toronto.  Bread and butter really is my marathon “bread and butter”.

running while travelling

Running tips while travelling

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When away on vacation, going for a run may seem like too much effort.  Where is there to run? Who will run with me? What if I get lost? There are a lot of variables when running in an area that you’re not familiar with. However, if you do the research, and have the motivation to lace up your shoes while away, there’s no reason for missing runs while travelling.

Be prepared

If the thought of running while on vacation has flickered through your mind, make sure you pack the essentials. Depending on where you’re travelling to, pack the necessary gear to be able to run comfortably in the destination’s climate. Looking at the weather forecast will help you avoid over-packing. Grabbing a versatile pair of running shoes, and a couple outfits should be enough to get you through the holiday.

Scout out popular routes

Thankfully, like most things in the world, there’s an app for that. Many runners have some kind of GPS watch that will record their running route. If they upload this data into any app such as MapMyRun, Strava, Garmin Connect etc., it can be available to the public to view. In addition, some sites have heat maps that show the most popular areas to run. Stick to previously run routes, or ‘hot’ areas, so the likelihood of having other people around increases.

Sign up for a race

This is the easiest way to get a run in. Even if it’s not a goal race, you’ll get to see the city without worrying about traffic, and possibly get a good workout in!  Even looking up other race maps can give some ideas on where to run too. After the race, knowing some of the areas that you ran through can give some insight on other areas to check out on a subsequent run.

Connect with the locals

Most cities will have run groups either out of running stores, or with local clubs/crews. Check out their websites, or ask a local running store about your options and hop in with the group. It’s a great way to run with others, see the sights without worry, and learn some good routes.

Ask your hotel

Hotels are a wealth of knowledge. Typically staffed with locals, the concierges or receptionists will likely know of local parks or popular areas to run in even if they aren’t runners themselves. If all else fails, utilize the hotel’s fitness centre. Most hotel will have at least one treadmill to get in some extra miles, even if it’s not the most scenic of options.

Look on a map

If you’re in a city, either check out a guide book, or look online at a map of the area. Local parks, trails, stadiums, and schools will likely be listed and can give insight to what’s available. If you need to get a workout in, there’s usually a track that’s available for public use.  It may not be rubberized, but it’ll be 400m of undisturbed running.

The internet is going to be your friend while travelling. From running apps, to online maps, and city pages, everything you need to know will be on there.  If you don’t feel like researching, just lace up your shoes, write the hotel’s address on your hand, and get outside.  Someone will be able to help you if you get lost!

Cam Levins To Race ‘Half’ at Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon

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By Paul Gains

In what could be a massive boost for Canadian marathoning, Cam Levins has announced he will tackle the half marathon at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon October 22nd.

The former Canadian 10,000m record holder at 27:07.92 has extraordinary credentials on the track, and coupled with his appetite for high mileage training volume it is only a matter of time before he makes an impact in the full marathon distance. His debut at the half marathon in Toronto is a giant leap towards that goal.

Now 28 years old, the native of Black Creek, B.C. had surgery in July 2016 to correct ongoing problems in his foot. Since then he has been especially cautious though he has set an ambitious goal for Toronto.

“My plan is to go out with the marathon pace group at 63 minutes,” he reveals. “What I would like to do is try and qualify for the 2018 IAAF World Half Marathon Championships. So whatever it takes to do that at the very least and if I am feeling good (I will) knock it out of the park. That’s sort of my main goal going into this.”

At a Portland Twilight meet in June, Levins took to the track and ran 5000m in 14:10.92 which is almost a minute slower than his personal best. But it was a starting point.  In August, he raced the Beach to Beacon 10K in 29:24. More recently, he won the Canadian 5K Championship. Being selected to represent Canada at the half-marathon championships in Valencia, Spain, on March 24th, is therefore, a tangible goal.

The comeback has been mounted with an enormous change in his coaching situation. In July he left the Nike Oregon Project, the Alberto Salazar coached group which includes Olympic medalists Mo Farah, Matthew Centrowitz and Galen Rupp, to return to his former college coach, Eric Houle of Southern Utah University.

Reuniting with Houle, who is a proponent of very high training volumes, has seen him head up to Utah’s high altitude for weeks at a time. Cedar City is at roughly 6,000 feet above sea level and some of his longer runs have taken place at 9,000 feet.

“I spent all of July, a bit of June and a bit of August up there getting on the same page as Coach Houle,” he explains. “I don’t feel necessarily the need to be there right now. I think he understands where I am. He continues to give me workouts from a distance. I have been able to train with Ryan Vail here. My plan is to hop back and forth.”

Levins also moved homes during the summer and discovered, to his delight, that American marathoner Ryan Vail was a neighbour. They have been training together up until Vail’s 8th place finish at the Berlin Marathon on September 24th. Levins is relatively pleased with his training.

“I think it’s coming along pretty well, some hiccups here and there,” Levins says. “I feel pretty good about it. It has just been forward momentum, not incredibly fast, but I think I am continuing to improve, so I am happy with that.

“Coach Houle and I have agreed to that (high mileage) and we have been doing it as much as I have been able to. That’s the idea for sure. I have done some 20 mile runs pretty consistently. I live just a couple of blocks from Ryan Vail and he has been a fantastic training partner.”

Levins had originally entertained the idea of running a full marathon but realized he must contain his enthusiasm somewhat. He credits Eric Houle for providing a solid ground on which to build for the future.

“Coach Houle and I think one of the big reasons it works is that we have a really good athlete-coach relationship which I didn’t realize was so important until I left (Utah),” he explains. “I didn’t realize how good ours was. Now, going back, there is a lot of trust there.

“If he tells me to do something, whether I have a discussion about it or not, I will do it. And, he will listen to me. The communication is there. He certainly believes in me. I trust him and if he pushes back on it, its ok. It’s a good dynamic, ultimately, that I just never really developed with the coaching of the Oregon Project.”

Leaving the Nike Oregon Project meant leaving Nike. Running fans have noticed him racing in all sorts of clothing, often his 2012 Canadian Olympic singlet and a variety of training shoes.

“I am wearing just whatever I want,” he declares. “I have run in some Nike and I have run in some Altra shoes just because my buddy runs for their company. But really I will run in whatever I feel like.”

For the most part, his foot is no longer troubling him although he sometimes feels an ache. He had been told that it might take a year or more for the pain to be completely gone. He puts this down to nerve damage from the surgery. But he is optimistic about the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. The half marathon distance will prove a good test of his fitness level and provide an indication of what he might expect in 2018.

“I am looking forward to a good track season next year. That is my plan right now, and using that strength and fitness to go into a marathon and knock it out of the park next year,” he says before unleashing specific goals.

“I want to qualify for the World Indoors. My focus will be at the 3000m and mile. Outdoors the 5K and 10K are obviously the big ones for me. I am not counting out anything.”

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For more information and to join Cam at this year’s race: http://STWM.ca

About the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon:

An IAAF Gold Label race, the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon is Canada’s premier, big-city running event, the Athletics Canada National Marathon Championships, and the Grand Finale of the 7-race Canada Running Series. In 2016 it attracted 26,000 participants from 70 countries, raised $3.24 million for 182 charities through the Scotiabank Charity Challenge, and contributed an estimated $35 million to the local economy. The livestream broadcast was watched by more than 72,000 viewers from 129 countries. http://STWM.ca

 

 

evan dunfee

Walking vs Running: one man’s very specific case study by Evan Dunfee

By | Elite Athletes | No Comments

Over the last 12 months it has become a fairly common occurrence for the Vancouver running community to see me out on the streets tackling a road race.  Over the last year I have walked in 10km, half marathon and full marathon races, and ran a 10km and a half marathon.

This dabbling in running during my off-season has led to a lot of questions. How often do you run in training? How does racing/recovery differ? Why do you do it?

And I think it would be fun to attempt to answer some of these questions by comparing my two most recent road races, the Scotiabank Half Marathon, where I race walked to a 95th place finish in 1:29:54, and the recent Eastside 10km, where I ran my way to 6th place in 32:26.

evan dunfee

So just how much running do I do in training? Since May 1st I’ve run 120km (not including a few 3km late night runs/plods home from the bar), or a whopping average of 6km per week. Evidently running isn’t something I find myself doing in training too often.

That lack of running most clearly rears its ugly head when it comes to recovering from running races vs. walking races. I can typically bounce back from a 30-40min hard walking effort either later that day or the next day. However, after running the Eastside 10k my legs were shot.

evan dunfee

Race walking, because of its lower impact, takes way less of a strain physically on your body (think somewhere between swimming and running). Plus, given that it’s my primary form of training, my body is primed to handle the specific stressors exceptionally well. Running however, requires way more calf/quad activation, and the higher impact takes its toll on my joints and ITBs.

Additionally, after most of my walking races my focus is on recovering as quickly as possible because I’m mid-season. After Eastside the focus was getting home ASAP to shower and head downtown to celebrate the end of my off-season. With drinks at the White Caps game and a late night concert, my body woke up the next day with considerably more DOMS.

There are many more similarities (think physiological measures: %VO2max, HR etc…) than there are differences. One difference, while running, is how easily my mind wanders. Not having to focus on technique freed up mental capacity. Unfortunately, that mental capacity was used to frequently question: “Why are you doing this to yourself?”. It’s tough to say if that is a positive or negative difference.

Another big difference was the overwhelming lack of expectations. When I go into a walking race I roughly know what I should be capable of. Sometimes this is a hindrance where I might hold back subconsciously. With running, I had no idea what to expect. I figured a good strategy was to make sure I ran hard enough that I was tired by 3km and then just hang on from there.

But moreover, no one else had any real expectations. I could have run 34min and people still would have thought that was pretty good for a race walker. Special shoutout here to my retired teammate/full-time lawyer Inaki Gomez who busted out a 35min run! He lost the fastest lawyer battle when Lanni Marchant pulled away from him late in the game.

Talking about others helps me segue into my final point, which is the real reason I come out to these races (running or walking). That reason is to sneak my way into the amazing running community we have in Vancouver. A community which I used to feel like an outsider in but now, finally, feel like I am welcome. Doing these events has helped show that we race walkers are serious athletes. I think that it has helped raise the level of respect we walkers have. It has also brought me way closer to this incredible community. From the awesome run clubs around the city, to the strong Strava contingent constantly pursuing personal excellence. These are the people I draw constant inspiration from. So if it means putting up with a few days of sore ITBs and calf cramps each year then it is well worth the price!