Rob Watson’s Favourite Places To Run in Vancouver

By | General, Scotiabank Vancouver Half, Training Tips | No Comments

There is no denying that Vancouver is a fantastic running city. I would actually argue that it is the best running city in the world. But I don’t have a lot of time to gush about how much I love running in this fine city, so let’s get down to brass tacks and talk about some of my favourite places to put in work.

People love lists, let’s do that. I present to you Rob’s 5 favourite running spots in Vancouver.

The Top 5

Jericho/Locarno/Spanish Banks

jericho beachOut and back from Jericho to Spanish Banks has been my go to 10km route for a few years now, I have literally put over 5000km on this route, and you know what? It never gets old. On the way out you get a breathtaking view of the coastal mountains, on the way back there is a nice view of our downtown and mighty Stanley park. As a bonus, there are often bald eagles flying around out at Spanish Banks. Bald eagles are majestic as hell.

The path is flat and the trail is soft gravel. You can also easily add on loops in Jericho park or head up the hill to UBC & Pacific spirit park to make for a longer run. This is a very solid place to run.

Point Grey High School Track

west point grey trackOne thing Vancouver lacks is decent tracks. I’m not sure what the deal is there. Maybe something to with the fact that the land needed for a track would be worth like $100 million. Anyways, if you are looking for a place to put in some speed work, this is the place to do it. The track is blue, which is cool, and it has a nice soft surface. It is well lit with flood lights, super convenient for working out in the evening. Just don’t go on a Tuesday night, Tuesdays are bonkers.

 

University of British Columbia (UBC)

When it is time to get some serious training done for road races, I head up to UBC. The roads up there are generally quieter than the city routes, and there are many different options to make different routes. There are many different Strava segments up there you can follow along. Also, bonus points for warm-ups and cool-downs in Pacific Spirit Park. When you want to roll, head up here.

Stanley Park Trails

People tend to lose their heads over the seawall that goes around Stanley Park. I get it, but the trails within the park is where the real magic is. There are dozens of kilometres of trails in there. You can roll tempos, interval work, hill sessions or just go for an easy stroll. Whatever you are doing in there, your legs will love the soft trails, and it is easy to just shut off your brain and run while you take in the beautiful forest full of ancient cedars and massive Douglas firs.

My favourite route is to enter the park at 2nd beach and to make my way up Bridle trail to Prospect Point. Stop briefly to take in the view of the north shore mountains and Lions Gate Bridge, before making your way down Rawlings back to where you started (That is also a great loop for Boston Marathon training).

Pacific Spirit Park

One of the first times I came to Vancouver, I was visiting the family of a girl I was dating. I managed to find my way up to Pacific Spirit Park on a long run. I have no idea what that girl is doing these days, but I will always be thankful to her for allowing me the opportunity to discover this park. Just go run up there. It is unbelievable.

 

The Runners-Up

I feel as though I should give a couple honorable mentions that didn’t quite make the list …I guess this is technically kinda like a top 7 list then?

The Seawall

stanley park seawall Is it blasphemous that I neglected to include our most famous, and well-used route in my top 5? It is flat, scenic and super convenient, there is no denying that this is a great place to run. I do run on it a fair bit, but man does it get busy! I get frustrated weaving in and out around people, therefore it does not make the top 5.

The Arbutus Corridor

This is a new option for runners/commuters in Vancouver. It is totally a game changer a very solid North/South connector, but I have not run on it enough for it to squeak into the top 5.

 

Finally, always keep your personal safety in mind when hitting the trails or roads. Run with appropriate safety gear for your route, and take the necessary precautions for the area of the city you’ll be running in.

The End.

The importance of sleep

By | General, Training Tips | No Comments

Article by Kim Doerksen

In today’s society the value of sleep is often discounted.  Saying such as: “I’ll sleep when I’m dead”; or “sleep is for the weak”, results in a negative connotation towards sleeping.  Athletes of any caliber can benefit from the simplicity of a good night’s sleep.  Between 7 to 9 hours is seen as the optimal duration to allow for psychological, physiological and physical recovery benefits.

Psychological Benefits

  • Reaction times: in running this may not seem relevant, but there are many situations where if one is in a sleep-deprived state, the consequence could be a risk of injury. For example: jumping out of the way of a distracted driver or cyclist; navigating one’s footing in the trails; or dodging out the way of other pedestrians.
  • Focus: trying to navigate your way through a workout, especially complex ones, can be difficult while in a fog.  Attention and focus on the task at hand can fly out the window if one is too tired.
  • Motivation: runners are usually self-motivated individuals, so if cumulative fatigue creeps into one’s routine, the temptation of staying in bed or doing a less strenuous task will become too much to overcome, that it will result in decreased motivation and ultimately a break in routine.

Physiological

  • The human body is an incredibly intelligent being. Many of the fundamental functions our body has in order to keep us alive, occur on a sub-conscious level.  The fine-tuned processes, like hormonal release, keep us in a balanced state and help in our sleep cycles.  Without too much detail, the body has various stages of sleep, and the hormonal release that occurs during each stage helps in one’s every day functioning.  Ignoring natural signals and forcing ourselves to stay up late; or having too much artificial light (from lamps, TV, cell phones etc.) all effect the natural release of these hormones and therefore disrupts our circadian rhythms.

Physical

  • Injury risk: many studies have shown the difference in injury risk in athletes who experience sleep-deprivation, and those who have a good sleeping routine.  Well rested?  Less injuries.  Simple as that.
  • Illness frequency: sleep allows the body to rest and rebuild after a day of training, working, and living life.  If those precious hours of rest are cut short, the body’s ability to maintain its health becomes an increasing difficult task, and can make one susceptible to getting sick.

Want a more in-depth look at the importance of sleep?  Check out this article from the National Strength & Conditioning Association.

 

Ryan Chilibeck joins Canada Running Series as Western Race Director

By | Community Leaders, Eastside 10k, Newsletter, Scotiabank Vancouver Half | No Comments

VANCOUVER. January 30th, 2018. Canada Running Series is delighted to announce the appointment of Ryan Chilibeck, who will join the team as Race Director, CRS West, replacing Clif Cunningham. Ryan’s first day will be tomorrow, January 31st, though Clif will continue full-time until the summer as part of a smooth transition.

“After 17 years, we’re sad to see Clif move on in search of new adventures,” said President Alan Brookes, “but thrilled to have someone with Ryan’s combined running, community and business experience on board to continue to build on the success of the events.”

Ryan ChilibeckA lifetime sportsperson, Ryan turned to running in 2010, and got the “race experience” bug when he signed up for Canada Running Series’ Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon in 2014. That was also the year he founded East Van Run Crew:

“Until 2014, I typically ran alone,” he recalls. “Then one of my friends was running with Parkdale Roadrunners in Toronto and I couldn’t stop watching his social media feed to see what was going on. I looked around Vancouver and didn’t see anything that really captured the energy of this new running movement that they were bringing to the streets every week. In the lead up to my 2014 Scotia Half, EVRC was founded over social media, to a lukewarm reception. From there, things have just snowballed into what EVRC is today…a large, dynamic, inviting, open-door, community-building and thirsty group of people who also like to run.

Once this social aspect of running came into my life, it gave me another thing to look forward to every week: a new circle of friends and a creative output that no job could not offer me at the time. We were able to raise money for charities, jump on social media to connect with runners across the globe, host group events in our own city and represent our run crews at races around the world.”

From 2012 to 2016, Ryan also gained invaluable business experience establishing and managing a flourishing Famoso Pizza franchise in East Vancouver that also helped sponsor races and act as a popular location for crew runs, post-run pizza and beer, as well as supporting a wide range of community-based charities. He also coordinated and oversaw the training of new Famoso partners and their management teams, and re-vamped and refreshed the music offerings at 29 Famoso locations across Canada.

Ryan has spent the past year in Edmonton where he launched and managed the Northern Alberta Trail Run Series.

“Bringing a new Race Series to Edmonton was an incredibly rewarding experience. I was able to use my previous racing knowledge to coordinate the entire runner-experience from registration to finish line. There is no better feeling than seeing a lofty vision and months’ worth of planning come to reality. The only downside was that I never got to race in any of them! I’m really looking forward to bringing my personal experiences and talents to the amazing structure that Clif, Tom and the rest of the CRS team has worked hard to create across the country.”

Ryan will be joined on the Canada Running Series West team by Jen Cerullo and Ron Denischuk, two high-energy event professionals, as Event Manager and Operations Manager, respectively. Jen has worked on many Vancouver-area events including prominent roles with lululemon’s Seawheeze, the Rock ‘n Roll Vancouver Half marathon and the First Half Half Marathon, as well as with CRS on the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon in a range of volunteer-management, course, venue and “people” areas. Ron has worked with CRS under Tom Skinner for 5 years, as well as on the Sun Run and other major events. A UBC Business graduate, he is eager to step up as Tom moves on to a new challenge with HUB Cycling. Like Clif, though, Tom will be there in the transition to support the Scotia Half and the Under Armour Eastside 10k in race-week roles.

“We’re really excited about 2018, from Vancouver to Toronto and Montreal,” said Brookes. “And we’re looking forward to seeing the running community out in force to give Clif and Tom a royal send-off, and be part of the new energy, excitement and innovation that Ryan and his team will bring. We’re all building this together.”

Canada Running Series [CRS] is the nation’s premier running circuit with 7 events: 4 in Toronto, 2 in Vancouver and 1 in Montreal.  It annually attracts some 60,000 participants and raises more than $6 million for some 320 mostly-local charities. The Series includes the IAAF Gold Label Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, and the Scotiabank Vancouver Half marathon, the only event in Canada to receive “Inspire Gold” certification from the Council for Responsible Sport in Oregon for its exemplary practice of sustainability. Since 1999, CRS has gained international recognition for innovation and organization. We are passionately committed to staging great experiences for runners of all levels from Canadian Olympians and International stars, to healthy lifestyle people and charity runners; and to making sport part of sustainable communities and the city-building process.  Our mission is “building community through the sport of running”.

Help choose the #ScotiaHalf shirt!

By | Scotiabank Vancouver Half | No Comments

We need your help to choose the 20th annual Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon shirt design!

Participants in both the 5k and the Half Marathon will again receive excellent Asics tech-shirts in both unisex and women’s sizing. Help us pick the final design by voting on your favourite option below, or by commenting on our Facebook post. The winning design will be announced on Friday.

 

Haven’t registered yet? Come run with us on June 24, 2018 in the Half Marathon or 5k!

Hot meals for cold days

By | Nutrition | No Comments

Training in the middle of winter can be cold and miserable, but that doesn’t mean your food needs to be.  One of the nice parts of the cold weather is the warmth a hot meal brings to warm a chilled runner from the inside out.  Unlike in the summertime, when the thought of having the oven on for prolonged periods of time is unbearable, in the winter it’s welcomed with open arms.  Soup, stew, chili, and slow cooker meals, are hearty staples for a winter diets.  Another bonus to these soul-soothing meals is that they are filled with nutritious ingredients that are sure to help with recovery and refuelling from a hard session.  Here are some tips of how to perfect your winter meals.

When making soups remember to:
  • Cook raw spices for about 1 minute to intensify the flavours
  • Fry any ingredients that need to be softened with a little bit of oil before simmering in stock (i.e. onions, garlic, spices)
  • Add in your main ingredients (vegetables, meat, potatoes etc.) and add just enough stock to cover them
  • Bring this all to a boil and simmer until the vegetables are tender.  If adding in noodles, or rice, time the boiling duration right to fully cook the vegetables and the grains.
  • Add extra water if using rice in a recipe as the grain will absorb a lot of liquid.
  • If blending the soup to make it creamy, place in a blender and cover with a tea towel to allow the steam out, or use a hand blender.
  • Season well with salt and pepper (to taste).
  • Adjust the consistency using water to thin it down, or cook it longer to thicken.
When making slow-cooker meals:
  • Choose the right cuts.  Chuck roasts, short ribs, or dark meat from poultry will remain juicy and become melt-in-your-mouth tender.  Lighter and leaner meats will tend to dry out unless a larger amount of flavourful liquid is added.
  • Keep the lid closed!  Opening the lid and releasing the steam will increase cooking time even further.  No stirring is required in slow cooker meals, so there’s no need to open the lid for that.
  • Care for your crock pot.  If you’ve pre-assembled the ingredients and placed in the refrigerator overnight, allow the pot to reach room temperature before placing it on the preheated base.
  • Browning boosts flavour.  Piling raw ingredients into a slow cooker works just fine, but to add depth to the flavours, brown the meat and sauté the vegetables.  If you want a thicker sauce, coat the meat in flour before browning.
  • Avoid overcrowding.  For best results, fill the slow cooker about one-half or two-thirds full, so the lid still fits snugly on top.
  • Trim the fat.  Take an extra few minutes to trim excess fat from the meat, and skin from chicken to ensure the sauce / gravy is silky smooth.  Too much fat can lead to greasy cooking liquid.
  • Layer wisely:  Cut all ingredients into equal bite sized pieces.  Place all root vegetables (carrots, potatoes, turnips etc) on the bottom, and place the meat on top.
  • Add dairy last.  Sour cream, milk, and yogurt break down in the slow cooker.  Stir them in the last 15 minutes to avoid breakdown.
  • End of a fresh note: Sprinkle fresh herds, or a squeeze of lemon juice at the end of simmering to enhance the flavours and cut the richness of long-cooked recipes.

How to go from rest to workouts

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Once the holiday season is over, and the nausea from any festive hangover has subsided, the drive to workout tends to come rushing back.  Whether it’s because of a New Year’s resolution, or the urge to get back into a routine, it’s important to return to workouts with realistic expectations.  But how do you go from laying on the couch, to intense workouts?

Today’s society has instilled a norm of instant gratification.  Unfortunately, with running and working out, it’s hard to see results immediately after a workout.  Building back into fitness requires time and patience, but that doesn’t mean you can’t push yourself early in a training block.  Here are a couple things to keep in mind when jumping back in to workouts.

Keep things in perspective

Taking a break, whether it’s over the holidays, or as a part of a training cycle, requires a check-in before getting back into the swing of things.  If the time off has been filled with lying on the couch watching Netflix with no amount of activity, the amount of fitness lost is going to be greater than if there’s been some kind of activity during the break.  Be realistic about the break you took, and don’t expect to jump back into training where you left off.  A few weeks off won’t decrease your fitness too much, but it will set you back a step of two.  Easing back into workouts, doing shorter long runs, and taking additional rest days will reduce the risk of injury when returning to a routine.

Walk before you run

If returning from an injury, make sure that it’s pain-free to walk for 30-45 minutes before attempting to run.  If the break was scheduled into a training cycle, or occurred because of the chaos the holiday season brings, ease into a run by walking for 5-10 minutes before setting off.  Walking helps to warmup muscles, tendons, ligaments, and get joints moving smoothly.  Incorporating a good warmup by walking or hopping onto a stationary bike for 5-10 minutes will make the run feel less creaky than if you just started right out the door.

Keep cross-training

Getting back into running doesn’t mean that cross-training has to stop.  Keeping different activities in a training regime until you get back into shape will help build an aerobic base and will stave off injury.  Strength training, helps to maintain muscular strength that carries over into running, especially when focusing on fundamental exercises.  Core work, glute strengthening, and plyometric exercises don’t require gym equipment and can easily be done in the comfort of your own home.  Create a routine that’s efficient and accessible so there’s a higher chance of adhering to the program.  Adding in various aerobic exercises will bring cardiovascular fitness back without requiring too much additional impact on the body.  Choose cycling, swimming, elliptical, or pool running as great options that can improve fitness and reduce the chance of injury.

Hit the trails

If it’s been a while since you’ve pounded the pavement, think about hitting the trails or a rubberized track for some of your runs.  The impact of the roads is far more than soft surfaces, and can take a toll on an unconditioned body.  Opting for the track allows for flexibility in distance.  If you get tired at 5km when you planned for 10km, stepping off the track to hop into your car or on the bus is far easier than having to walk 5km back home on a route that takes you away from your starting point.

Don’t be a hero

It’s hard to not to get caught up in the excitement of getting back into a workout routine, especially if it’s associated with an end goal.  However, the body can only handle a certain amount of training everyday, and may require additional rest days at the beginning.  Sore muscles are not uncommon when getting back into training, so make sure to take easy days easy, and don’t try to hammer in a workout every time.  Rest days, or easy days, give the body time to reap the benefits of the work that’s been done, and allows for positive adaptation.  Trying to do too much all at once can result in injury or burn-out,  either from getting worn out, or from compensating in workouts due to fatigued / sore muscles.  Taking rest days won’t set you back, if scheduled properly, they can enhance your training.

Consistency is key

Getting back into training doesn’t need to be rocket science.  At the end of the day, if you’re training consistently and putting in the work most days of the week, your fitness will return.  That doesn’t mean doing longs runs everyday, or doing anything out of the ordinary.  It can be as simple as doing 30 minutes of some kind of activity everyday, whether its running, yoga, strength work etc.

resolutions

The Art of New Years Resolutions

By | Training Tips | No Comments

New Years Day is when many people are nursing their hangovers by sitting down with a pen and paper to jot down their New Years resolutions.  However, no matter how good one’s intentions are, the enthusiasm for a resolution deteriorates by about February.  Unfortunate as this is, it could just be a matter of poor resolution planning.  While the goals may vary between individuals, here are some tips for making and keeping your 2018 resolutions.

Make the one goal specific

Focus on one main goal.  While there may be other goals that contribute to the success of the main goal, choose one thing that you really want to achieve.  Then make it specific.  Having a generic goal like “I’m going to get faster” is great, but leaves out a lot of details.  How much faster?  Over what distance?  By when?  Have a goal that is SMART: specific, measureable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.

Share your goals

It’s a scary thing to tell someone about your goals, but it’s also a beneficial thing to do.  Having your family, partner, or close friends know about your goal will help you be successful in achieving it.  It also keeps you accountable.  If someone else has similar goals, or is looking for a helping hand, working together will increase the likelihood of being successful.

Be patient

A lot of New Year resolutions are goals that encompass lifestyle changes.  These require habits to change, and take more effort and time than people realize.  Measure your success but don’t be discouraged if you don’t see any results in the first few weeks.  Goals revolving around weight-loss, eating habits, or fitness can take over six weeks to see results.  If it’s a goal of doing all the dishes before bed every night, then hopefully the results are immediate!  Be patient, and understand that long-lasting changes take time.

Make time

There is no way to create more time in a day, but adjusting schedules and becoming better at time management will free up more time.  Make your goals a priority, and schedule them into your calendar like you would for any other important appointment.  Thirty minutes everyday can be enough to do a quick run, do some core work, prep a meal, or clean up.  Spending a little bit of time on a goal everyday is better than an “all-or-nothing” approach.

Anticipate slip-ups

Nobody is perfect.  Understand that it’s likely that a slip-up will happen, and your goals could get off track.  However, instead of losing hope and giving up, acknowledge the mistake and create a plan that will decrease the chances of it happening again.

Plan rewards

Rewards don’t have to be big, but they can be enough to keep up your motivation levels.  Treat yourself to a new pair of technical socks if you hit a benchmark training time; or go grab a latte instead of a black coffee if you’ve hit that month’s weight goal.  A reward doesn’t have to be every week, but if that’s the frequency that they need to occur to keep you on track, then do what’s best for you!

strength training

Benefits of strength training for runners

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We’ve all heard how strength training will give us an edge and enhance our running. However, when push comes to shove, strength work is the first thing out the window in a time crunch. Most runners will instead opt for an easy run, or workout, if they only have an hour or two to train. While workouts like intervals, hill repeats, and tempos are great for functional muscular strength, working on fundamental strength is advantageous for any runner looking for an edge.

What kind of strength training is the most effective? There are many components to a comprehensive strength routine including core strength, flexibility, general strength, and functional strength.

Core strength

When people see the word ‘core’, they automatically think of abs and six-packs. They’re right to some extent, but there’s more that makes up our core than just abdominal muscles. The core encompasses the muscles that act to stabilize and move our spine. Our core is essential for a variety of things: maintaining posture, especially when fatigued; reduces the stress placed on the lower body which prevents injury and tightness; and a strong core helps generate more speed and power over short distances. Utilize exercises that strengthen the core in a functional manner by doing planks, hip stability work, and dynamic movements, instead of traditional sit-ups.

Flexibility

As a runner, being as flexible as Gumby isn’t an advantage.  While there’s a lot of controversy on what the ideal level of flexibility is, the general consensus is that some, but not too much is great. Static stretching is somewhat frowned upon as it’s counter-productive.  Dynamic stretching and running drills on the other hand is applauded.  Drills accentuate general running form, so it works on flexibility in a functional way.

General Strength

Compound exercises, such as squats, deadlifts, step-ups, and upper body exercises are great as they’re multi-joint exercises. They work the movements we do on a daily basis, and make us stronger in everyday life.  Utilizing weights help to build muscle, and is great for base training in pre-season.  During racing season, runners don’t want a huge amount of muscle bulk. Any muscle atrophy that comes from increased mileage, and decreased strength training won’t be as detrimental when you start with a higher muscle bulk.

Functional strength

This encompasses both bodyweight exercises and plyometric exercises.  Running requires the athlete to move their body over a specific distance as fast as possible. As there are no external constituents, it’s just bodyweight that needs to be moved.  Using bodyweight exercises helps in recovery and maintaining strength during race season. Adding in ballistic movements that are required in plyometric training. These are incredibly helpful to runners as they aim to develop strength and speed by training the neuromuscular and elastic characteristics of our muscles. Therefore, they can generate more power through quicker muscle contractions.

Whatever kind of strength is added into a running program, it’ll be worthwhile.  These sessions don’t have to be long.  Even 30 minutes 1-2 times a week is enough to have benefits. So, next time you’re about to sit on the couch and have a Netflix binge, do some kind of workout for the first 30 minute episode, and your strength workout for the day will be done!

How to Up your Running Game in 2018!

By | Race Roster Spring Run-Off, Training Tips | No Comments

By Heather Gardner, founder of Tribe Fitness.

The start of a new year is a great time to set goals and try something new. So whether you are starting to run for fun, or are fired up as a goal crusher. Here are 5 tips to help you up your running game in 2018!

5 Tips to Run for Fun!

1. Track progress. Whether it’s on your favourite app (there are so many out there) or on an old fashioned calendar on your fridge, tracking your workouts, recording how you feel, or even checking something off your monthly workout plan will give you that extra feeling of progress and accomplishment.

2. Create the perfect playlist or find the perfect podcast. Music or podcasts can be a great motivator to help you get to into the running mood! Make a new playlist filled with high-tempo tracks or save a new podcast for each workout to inspire you to keep moving while on route.

3. Sign up for a race/fun run. Committing to an event gives you a good reason to create a training plan and stick to it. Start planning ahead now, the Race Roster Spring Run Off is just around the corner.

4. Fuel up. Running on an empty stomach can keep you from having the right amount of energy, but eating too much can lead to cramping. Look for a small snack containing carbs and protein for sustained energy.

5. Join a run Tribe. Whether it’s a friend or family member, community run crew, or virtual group of online friends, having people with a similar interest to connect with and learn from will help keep you accountable and having fun.

5 Tips for the Goal Crushers!

1. Get into proper form. It may seem like the simplest way to work out, but running does take knowledge and skill to make sure you don’t end up on the injured list. Get reading, listening, or meeting with professionals in your community to make sure you’re running to the best of your ability.

2. Get out of town! Taking your runs to new roads is a great way to combine travel and your favourite sport. Destination races within Canada or abroad will leave you with a new sense of adventure and motivation to move.

3. Cross train. Don’t limit yourself to improving your pace only out on the road. There are many things you can do when you aren’t running that can help: Take a yoga class to improve your flexibility; strength train regularly to build speed and prevent injuries; meditate to find focus and calm those pre-race jitters.

4. Roll out. Massage your muscles with a roller to increase flexibility and range of movement in the knees while breaking down scar tissue and adhesions.

5. Give back. Whether you volunteer to help a new group of runners get their start, support your local school’s track and friend day, or give your time stuffing kits at a race expo, giving your time back to the sport you love will leave you filled with gratitude and pride for your local run community.

The Gift of Giving – Elite Edition

By | Elite Athletes | No Comments

With the holidays just around the corner, we asked some of the elites that have graced us with their presence on the start line about some of their favourite holiday gift, traditions, and ideas for other runners.  We heard from Trevor Hofbauer, Catherine Watkins, Dylan Wykes, Leslie Sexton, and Kate Gustafson.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?

Trevor Hofbauer:  The best Christmas gift I ever received was a Nintendo 64. The N64 is a classic and it logged hundreds of gaming hours.  The best running related gift I ever received was a Petzl headlamp. It has 3 settings at 50-lumens, 100, and 150. It gets put to use frequently throughout the winter and periodically in the summer during early morning runs and around the campfire.

Kate Gustafson: Composite hockey stick. As a teenager, this was so epic!

Catherine Watkins: The best gifts for me are experience gifts with a destination or an activity (Escape the Room or a Broadway Show for example).  I love the long lasting memories these kind of gifts leave me with.

Dylan Wykes: Goalie pads. When I was 13.

Leslie Sexton: I got a Garmin Forerunner 205 about ten years ago. It was big and bulky and took a while to connect with satellites, but it told me how far I ran and how fast, so I loved it. I upgraded to a 220 a few years ago.

What the best gift for a runner?

Trevor:  The best gift is definitely a headlamp. It’s a multipurpose gift that can be used all year round.

Kate: A gift certificate to a local spa (with a massage included), hands down.  This is such a treat.

Catherine:   Gift certificates for race entries, babysitting services to look after their children while they race/train, homemade cookies (runners always love a good cookie), or a great running watch.

Dylan: Gloves, headlamp, socks, wind protective undies (if you live east of the Rockies…). All the stuff you never think of, but that is essential, and can’t hurt to have a lot of, especially for winter running.  A good running book is great at Christmas too; Once a Runner is the classic.

Leslie: Winter running socks! It may not sound very exciting but a good pair of merino wool socks can cost $20 so it is something a lot of people wouldn’t buy for themselves, making it a practical and thoughtful gift for a runner training through the winter. For guys, a pair of winter running boxers with a windproof material in the front is also an essential winter apparel item, so get one for the runner dude in your life.

Favourite part of Christmas / holiday season?

Trevor:  Spending time with family and friends.

Kate: Hmmm, my dad’s fruit salad on Christmas morning is something I always look forward to. If I’m at home, I love to run on Christmas day with my younger brother on the snowy roads in Northern Ontario, it’s not fast but it’s always fun.

Catherine:  My favourite parts of Christmas are the traditions. Going out with the family to get the tree, decorating the tree while drinking hot chocolate and eating Christmas cookies and reminiscing about where the ornaments came from. I also love the food !!

Dylan: Eating & Drinking with friends and family.  I also like to getting out for a run on Christmas Day every year. Now it’s with my two little girls! We’ll see how long that tradition lasts…

Leslie:  I usually have a pretty quiet Christmas day because I race the Boxing Day 10-miler the following day in Hamilton, Ontario. After that I visit family and refuel with the traditional Christmas turkey dinner. I always bring desserts: homemade brownies and Nanaimo bars.

Some of our favourite places to shop for running gifts:

Looking for gift certificates to local races? They’re currently available for the Scotiabank Vancouver Half-Marathon & 5k as well as the Under Armour Eastside 10k.