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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!

SVHM 17

Kangogo & Tessier take tactical wins at 2017 Scotia Half

By | Elite Athletes, Scotiabank Vancouver Half | No Comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

SVHM 17SVHM 17SVHM 17SVHM 17

Meet your 2017 #ScotiaHalf Contenders

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

Age: 37
Personal Best: 1:03:22

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

thomas toth
Thomas Toth

Age: 26
Personal best: 1:04:26

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

geoff martinson
Geoff Martinson

Age: 31
Personal best: 1:05:18

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

dylan wykes
Dylan Wykes

Age: 34
Personal best: 1:02:14

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

dayna pidhoresky
Dayna Pidhoresky:

Age: 30
Personal best: 1:11:46

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

sabrina wilkie
Sabrina Wilkie:

Age: 32
Personal best: 1:16:20

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

lyndsay tessier
Lyndsay Tessier:

Age: 39
Personal best: 1:16:12

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

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

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

Scotiabank Vancouver Half-Marathon & 5k – Elite Field

By | Elite Athletes, Scotiabank Vancouver Half | No Comments

 

Scotia HalfIntroducing our Scotiabank Vancouver Half-Marathon & 5k Elite Field.

Scotiabank Vancouver Half-Marathon Male Elite Athletes  
  Bib # Last Name First Name City Prov.
1 Kangogo Kip Lethbridge AB
2 Toth Thomas Plaistow NH
3 Wykes Dylan Vancouver BC
4 Martinson Geoffrey Vancouver BC
5 Woodfine Tristan Guelph ON
6 Kimosop Willy Lethbridge AB
7 Kasia Dancan Toronto ON
11 Bascal Shoayb Victoria BC
12 Gomez Inaki Vancouver BC
13 Browne Nicholas Vancouver BC
14 Blazey Paul Norwich UK
15 Mulverhill Chris Vancouver BC
16 Dunfee Evan Richmond BC
17 Nicholson Drew Surrey BC
21 Ziak Jeremiah Vancouver BC
22 McMillan Craig North Vancouver BC
23 Hatachi Tatsuya Coquitlam BC
24 Fieldwalker Matt Vancouver BC
25 Newby James Squamish BC
26 Portman Bryan Nanaimo BC
Scotiabank Vancouver Half-Marathon Female Elite Athletes  
  Bib # Last Name First Name City Prov.
F2 Pidhoresky Dayna Vancouver BC
F4 Tessier Lyndsay Toronto ON
F5 Wilkie Sabrina Vancouver BC
F6 Olsen Courtney Bellingham WA
F7 Coll Neasa Vancouver BC
F11 Moroz Jen Vancouver BC
F13 Lewis-Schneider Meg Vancouver BC
F14 Smart Kristin Cobble Hill BC
F15 Pepin Cheryl North Vancouver BC
F16 Dale Shannon North Vancouver BC
F17 Longridge Corri Vancouver BC
F18 Moore Katherine Vancouver BC
F22 Kassel Melanie Chilliwack BC
F23 Montgomery Darcie North Vancouver BC
Scotiabank Vancouver 5km Elite Athletes    
  Bib # Last Name First Name City Prov.
5002 Wilkie Mark Vancouver BC
5003 Watkins Catherine Vancouver BC
5004 Gustafson Kate Vancouver BC

Olympians Gillis and DuChene To Defend Toronto Waterfront 10K Titles

By | Elite Athletes, Toronto Waterfront 10K | No Comments

By Paul Gains

“I remember not knowing where the finish was,” says three-time Canadian Olympian Eric Gillis, laughing as he recalls his victory at the 2016 Toronto Waterfront 10K race.

“Any race I run it’s the kilometre markers I look at more than anything. I think I relied on that just a little too much last year. I knew where the start was, though!”

Gillis won the race in 29:23 and then spent time meeting and greeting fellow runners. The race provided both him and women’s winner Krista DuChene (33:50) with an opportunity to break up their Rio Olympic marathon training and be given a proper send off from the running community.

The pair return to the June 17 race, along with a brand new title sponsor lululemon, with the intention of defending their hard-won titles.

The 36-year-old Gillis, of course, finished an incredible 10th in the Rio Olympic Marathon, the best performance by a Canadian since Jerome Drayton’s 6th place in the 1976 Montreal Games. DuChene, meanwhile, was 35th in the women’s race in Rio. Knowing the Waterfront course a little more intimately this time should be an asset when they line up on University Avenue for the start.

Gillis says he enjoyed last years’ experience on the waterfront.

“I enjoyed the course,” Gillis continues. “It’s a little bit downhill at the start; the waterfront and the finish is great. It has a nice big open feel to it before and after the finish. I stuck around and shook a lot of hands. That was special, last year. A good vibe afterwards and having the kind of Rio sendoff for Reid (Coolsaet), Krista and I, was cool.”

Until a swelling of his achilles tendon interfered with his preparation, Gillis had intended to run the Boston Marathon last month but instead decided to give it a proper rest. Now his attention has turned to the IAAF World Championships in London in August, giving the Toronto Waterfront 10K much more importance as a proper fitness test.

“There is nothing like getting out there on a closed race course and getting in a race. Last year worked well and I believe it will this year,” Gillis adds. “Once I have begun a buildup for the marathon they are all pretty similar in terms of the commitment and the interest and the work that I put in for each marathon. So the Toronto Waterfront 10K will be pretty similar to last year in the way I approach it.”

Following the Olympic Games, Krista DuChene made some significant changes. First there was an amicable parting with long time coach, Rick Mannen, and her subsequent move to Speed River Track and Field Club, where she joins Gillis and six other Canadian Olympians under the guidance of Dave Scott-Thomas. Then, as a 40th birthday present, she spent a month training at a high-altitude camp in Kenya, something she has never done previously.

“I just felt that I needed the next level, kind of the next step. I didn’t want any regrets looking back on my career and I didn’t want to say ‘why didn’t I step out of my comfort zone?’” DuChene says of the changes. “I didn’t want to settle at a level because I was used to it. Knowing I probably have a couple of years of good marathoning left before I plateau, it was definitely the right time to do it.

“I think it’s safe to say my birthday gift was the trip to Kenya. I am thankful that my husband basically gave me his blessing to leave for a month – leaving him at home with the kids. It was a big commitment for him in order to support me, in order for me to be gone for a month. They gave me some earrings and I had some chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting. Pretty good for a 40th birthday present, if you ask me.”

The altitude training went well and she was in good shape to race at the London Marathon in April. But for the first time in her career, the Brantford, Ont. native experienced gastrointestinal issues while racing. A fall marathon is in the plans now. Nevertheless, she looks forward to racing the Toronto Waterfront 10K.

“I just love running races with the Canada Running Series,” she admits. “Toronto is close to home. I am somewhat familiar with the course and it will be good for me to do a race at a shorter distance off of three marathons since August.

“There are so many reasons I love CRS and choosing those events, so it just made sense to do that one. The timing was also appropriate. It will be almost two months since I ran in London.”

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For more information and to join Olympians Eric Gillis and Krista DuChene at the Toronto Waterfront 10K, with title sponsor lululemon, go to toronto10k.com

Yoga for Runners

By | Elite Athletes, Training Tips | No Comments
by Katherine Moore (@RunningIntoYoga)

As runners, we’re told time and time again that yoga is great for our tight muscles. So why don’t we practice yoga more frequently if the benefits are innumerable? From the physical benefits, to the mental aspects, and becoming more in-tune with one’s body, it’s hard to belief more athletes don’t have it as part of their structured workout plan.

The more mileage a training program has, the higher the risk of injury.  Pounding the pavement isn’t forgiving, so it’s good to give your body a little TLC to help the muscles recover and relax. Especially if you’re prone to injury.  Quite often, time is a limiting factor.  Compared to quickly lacing up your running shoes and bolting out the door for a run, it takes time to get to a studio, complete your practice, and head home.  However, you don’t have to go to a scheduled class.  If you’re new to yoga it might be worth hopping into a class, just so you understand/experience the different poses.  After that, it’s easy to do some key poses at home that are great for runners and still reap the benefits yoga classes provide.

With the following poses, keep these five general principles in mind:

  1. You should always be able to breathe evenly. Challenge yourself to find your edge but don’t go past it! Allow your body to open up and adjust over the space of about eight to ten breaths in each pose.
  2. Keep your core muscles active throughout the poses, but still remember to breathe.
  3. Keep a neutral spine; try to keep your back flat and don’t over arch your back.
  4. Twisting happens at the waist, not at the shoulders.
  5. Hinge forward from the hips, not your back (remember, neutral spine!).

 

Thunderbolt Pose (toes tucked under)

 

Begin in a tabletop position. Bring feet together and tuck toes under. Slowly lean hips back until you can sit comfortably on heels. Eventually you want to sit with a tall spine, lengthening your tailbone up through your spine. Keep the abdomen toned and hands resting on the thighs. Hold for 8-10 breaths, 2-3 sets. Release slowly and repeat.

 

Opens toes and feet. Strengthens ankles. Start out slowly if feet are tight.

02-11-downwardDownward Dog 

 

From Thunderbolt inhale and lean forward to tabletop pose. Press your hips up and back to form inverted V from the side. Spread your fingers and ground down from the forearms into the fingertips. Outwardly rotate the upper arms broadening the collarbones. Engage the quadriceps strongly to take weight off the arms. Keep a bend in the knees to continue to lengthen the spine.

Opens the entire body fingertips to toes. Opens the hamstrings, shoulders, and strengthens the core, upper body and quadriceps. Hold for 8-10 breaths.

02-11-lungeHigh/ Low Lunge

 

From Downward Dog step your right foot to your right hand and bring your left knee to the floor. Stack your right knee over your right heel. Press your fingers into the floor to lengthen the spine. Roll your shoulders down your back and lengthen your chest forward. Straighten the back of your knee up towards the ceiling (or keep it on the floor for low lunge). Relax and breathe into your hips. Once you feel balanced stretch your arms overhead and spread your fingers wide.

This pose opens the hips, lengthens the spine and stretches the groin and legs. Hold for 8- 10 breaths.

02-11-pigeonPigeon Pose 

 

From Downward Dog, lift your right leg up and place your right knee to the outside of your right hand. Release your left leg to the floor with the toes tucked under. Square your hips. Use padding or a block under your right hip or knee as necessary to bring your hips square. Keep both feet active and begin to lengthen your spine forward and down towards the floor.

Stretches the thigh, glutes, groin, psoas muscle and lengthens the spine. Hold for 8- 10 breaths.

Camel Pose

 

Stand on your knees hip width apart. Place your hands on your lower back for support. Hug your legs towards each other with energy. Inhale lift and expand your chest. Draw your chin in to lengthen the back of your neck, throat back slowly head back. Eventually reaching for your heels. Keep your hips stacked over your knees. Breathe evenly and slowly. To come out of the pose bring your hands back on your lower back lead with your chest head comes out last.

Opens hips and hip flexors, lengthens and improves flexibility of the spine, opens the chest and shoulders improving respiratory, complements overall health and well being.

Savasana – Corpse Pose

 

Complete this series by lying on your back, relax your legs, arms palms face up and close your eyes for 5-15 minutes. This is complete relaxation of all muscle tension and relaxes the mind completely. Never skip Savasana!

Balancing Life & Training

By | Elite Athletes | No Comments
by Rachel Cliff (@Dangerous_Cliff)

Many people struggle to perfect a healthy balance between work and life; this can become even more challenging when you add an athletic goal to the mixture. Five years ago I decided to push for the impossible: to qualify for the Olympic games. With a personal best over 50 seconds off the standard I knew this was a serious long shot, and if I was going to pursue it, it was critical that I keep my professional development in mind as well.

Since then, I have moved to being an elite Canadian runner while completing my MSc in Occupational and Environmental Hygiene and have been working as a research assistant since October 2016. This journey hasn’t been easy, and there have been times when my running may have suffered from inadequate sleep and academic stress, and other times when my academics may have fallen behind (i.e. taking a bit longer to complete my thesis). Through trial and error I have learned to balance having both athletic and career goals and to be thankful to have both avenues in my life. Here are a few tips I’ve learned along the way:

Find a flexible employer and earn their trust: It’s best to find a manager who not only supports your athletic goals but offers some flexibility in scheduling and, ideally, is more focused on deliverables than whether you are sitting at your desk from 9-5pm (within reason). Runs and workouts often need to be completed during these hours, especially in the winter months so having someone who’s okay with you taking a longer lunch break to do your run, arrive a bit later or leave early is very helpful. All that said, flexibility of hours does not mean flexibility of deadlines, and it’s critical to demonstrate that you can complete assignments when asked. If your job is shift work by nature then try to be flexible in when you exercise and not sweat the small stuff: such as running or biking to work or wearing reflective safety gear and finding a safe running route for after dark are all options. Transparency is always key. There should be open communication about your goals and the needs of your employer.

Be organized: My most productive weeks happen when I plan in advance. On Sunday I’ll sit down and write out how to fit training goals around my work schedule and vice-versa. First, identify critical meetings and workouts that need to occur at certain times and then secondly write out all other weekly goals and put the puzzle together. Once your schedule is made it can be helpful to re-visit this to-do list before going to bed each night. Use your weekends to cook and prepare breakfasts, salads and snacks for the upcoming week.

Focus on quality: While it’s typically okay to brainstorm work ideas on your easy runs, there are times when one task requires absolute focus. Ideally, I aim find 15 minutes to unwind before a workout and go over the training goals. If there’s no time for this I try to use my warm-up to focus and avoid talking or thinking about anything other than running. The more focused you can be for your workout, the better quality it will be. Execute a similar strategy at work; limit procrastination and aim to produce high quality work as efficiently as possible.

Prioritize goals: If you’re at a critical stage of your career, your athletics may have to go on the back burner for a bit. Alternatively, if there’s a once in a life-time race or goal on your radar, you may need to decrease the hours you work. Adjust your goals accordingly and be aware that one may need to take priority over the other. For example, I did not work last summer while I was chasing my Olympic dream, but when I started up at my new job this fall I only ran once a day while I got used to a 37.5hr work week. I try to think of it as crop rotation.

Take care of yourself: No matter how big your goals are, your sleep, nutrition and mental health should always come first. Aim to eat good food, and get enough sleep so that you’re not wrecked at the end of the week (8-10 hours depending on the person). Also, take a few nights off to see your friends, watch a movie or do something else that makes you happy. Extreme stress is manageable for only a short amount of time, and just like over-training, prevention is the best policy when it comes to burn out (trust me, I’ve done it!!). Pay close attention to the symptoms of burnout and remember, there’s only 24 hours in a day and you’re only human.

Whether your fitness goal is to complete your first half marathon, or qualify for a Canadian national team, I feel these tips can apply to everyone looking to balance their career with any athletic goal. I realize not all jobs allow for flexibility in your work schedule, so keep your athletic goals in check with how much time you can realistically devote to them. The most important part is to have fun and be inspired by your running goals.

Running & Beer

By | Elite Athletes, General | No Comments

Beer and running seem to be a match made in heaven.  From infiltrating local running clubs, races, the Beer Mile, and as a reward for any hard workout or race, beer has added yet another social element to the running scene.

Chemically speaking, brewing beer occurs from the fermentation of starch by yeast.  The sugars in the grain are metabolized which creates the alcohol and CO2.  Although beer is 90% water, and typically four to six percent alcohol, it is still considered a diuretic. Beer does contain sugary carbs, nutrients from the hops, starch, and some electrolytes, but the alcohol content puts a damper on these benefits.  So if you plan on having some post-run brews, grab a glass of water and a snack to have before the beer.

Even with the alcohol content, beer has health benefits when consumed in moderation. Moderate consumption means one 12-ounce beer per day for women, and two for men (but don’t think that the days you don’t have a beer can be added to another day and still be considered “moderate consumption”).  In moderation, beer has been seen to lower risks of kidney stones in men compared to other alcoholic beverages; contains multiple B vitamins and chromium; helps lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and increase HDL (good) cholesterol; contains hops that are rich in anti-inflammatory polyphenols; and can decrease the risk of Type 2 diabetes.

While it seems quite normal to have a beer after a run, having beer during the run may seem a little extreme, but that’s exactly what the Beer Mile is. We caught up with some of Canada’s top beer milers to share their running & beer stories:


Jim Finlayson

I was one of the rare ones who didn’t really drink beer. Had my first one 2nd year university, 1992, and didn’t care for it. Felt way too bloated, too, and I couldn’t understand how my roommates could drink more than one. And so their surprise when I ran my 5:09 beer mile world record in 2007.

My first beer mile was in 2005. It was a fundraiser for melanoma, in honour of a local triathlete who had passed away. We had a huge crowd. 75 participants and over 100 spectators. The Times Colonist newspaper was on hand. I only did it to support the cause. At the time the world record was 5:42 and I figured if things went really smoothly I could be 6:20-30. Certainly wasn’t thinking anything faster than that, and so I chose Guinness, which isn’t beer mile legal (only 4.4%, and it needs to be a 5% beer). It was late December, just before Christmas, and we ran it in the rain and dark. I had no idea what my splits were. I just ran as hard as I could. Someone told me after the race I’d run 5:12, which seemed impossible to me, but it was corroborated by the official timers. The mark didn’t count as a record since I drank Guinness, but I knew then I would return the next year with a legal beer, which I did, and ran 5:20 drinking Keepers Stout from a can. The year after that I ran 5:09 with Granville Island Winter ale, which stood as the world record for 6 years.

I didn’t run a single beer mile after that until Flotrack hosted the World Championships in the fall of 2014. By then I was a master, with suspect speed and no chugging practice. I thought I would get dusted by these University kids. Figured I would come last. Nick Symmonds was in the race, Lewis Kent, Corey Gallagher. These boys were big and fast and young. They were brash and controversial. In the media guide all of our fastest chug times were listed and mine was the slowest at 8 seconds. Our mile bests were listed, too, and I was nearly the slowest there, with my personal best from 16 years prior. But for whatever reason my body takes to the beer mile. I ran 5:20 and finished 3rd. A year later I took another serious crack at it on the track, just because my curiosity was intense, and ran 5:01 which still stands as my beer mile best.

This nascent beer mile frenzy… I feel like it’s a bit of a supernova. After that first World Championships and before the first World Classic the beer mile burned pretty brightly, and so when I went to the pub with my mates I would order a beer in whatever bottles they had, Sleeman or Heineken or (preferably) anything from Phillips, and I’d get my friends to time me. They’d pull out their iPhones and set them on the table, and as soon as the waitress put the beer down and turned away, I’d go. The truth is I don’t love beer. I can enjoy it, sure, but I’d rather train than sip at it. I’d rather see if I can get under 4 seconds than nurse one. So the waitress would leave and my boys would be ready, and I’d train there in the pub, getting down to 3.37 seconds once, confirmed by the backup timer. We’d only be there for an hour or 90 mins and I’d drink two beers in that time, and they’d be in my hand for less than 10 seconds. It helped having the stage. I wanted pressure on me. I wanted to have the possibility of being ridiculed if I screwed up and spat it out my nose, and so the pub was ideal. I was preparing for the big races. Never had the urge to run after, though. Not on those nights at the pub.

I don’t really fall on either side of the pro/con argument. Clearly I’m not contra beer and, more generally, drinking, but I don’t drink much. I like the environment mostly for the socials. I know alcohol can interfere with recovery and sleep, but I also know keeping the governor on too tight can have the same detrimental effect.


Corey Gallagher

I’ve always thought of myself being a beer connoisseur. I love trying new beers everywhere I go. One of my favourite winter celebrations is our Winter Beer Mile (we also hold a summer one) here in Manitoba. My first one was in 2006, during my first year of university. Every year after CIS championships the team would host an underground beer mile. This time conveniently fell around by birthday, which is on St. Patty’s Day, so it was a fun way to celebrate with everyone.

The only draw back being, its March in Winnipeg, which means there was also a fair amount of snow to shovel.   We would gather the team on a Friday night, hang out and shovel the track for hours. We would then wake up the next morning a bit rough around the edges, and dreading what we were about to do. My first beer mile were terrible, I ran around 14 minutes and was definitely penalized for not holding down my contents.

I’m happy to say things have greatly improved since then, and I look forward to our Winter Beer Mile every year.  Since my first year of university, our Beer Miles have grown beyond just the team. We get all types of people coming out (family members, friends of friends etc) as it’s a great fun and active way to bring people together over beers.

I always look forward to enjoying a casual beer once Beer Mile training is done. Nothing beats a nice cold beer after a hard workout or long run. However, during training I don’t allow myself any casual sipping beers, I practice chugging with everything.

New Years Resolutions from Elite Runners

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We’ve rung in 2017 and, like every runner out there, our Canadian elites are writing their own running- and personal-related resolutions.  Here’s what they had to say:

Rachel Hannah:

1 – Doing my Physio ‘homework’ (hip drills) to prepare for the biggest Running ‘exams’ (goal races)!  I will take 20min a day to work on new hip drills to strengthen core muscles to help align and take load off repetitive-use soft tissues as my mileage increases in the new season.

2 – Taking more opportunities to connect with my new nephews (Cohen 2.5 years and Oliver 2 months old).  While they live in BC, we can connect through digital and also when races take me that way.  Family is important to me and I cherish the chances to get to see the new things they come up with each new day as they grow up so fast.

Erin Burrett:

1 – After a few injuries, I need to focus more on the little aspects of running (recovery, nutrition, hydration etc). I seem to
set this resolution every year, so hopefully this is the year I make it a habit and stick with it.

2 – Big life changes with regards to employment and my personal life in 2016, means I will spend 2017 focusing more so on myself. This means being happy, healthy and spending less time worrying about what others think.

Natasha LaBeaud Anzures:

1 – My running-resolution is to keep up with the little things that make a big difference including: staying positive, regular visits for physio, and focus during drills.

2 – My husband, Marco Anzures, and I cofounded the youth running non-profit organization 2nd Recess that teaches kids 4-13 about healthy habits through running.  We have multiple locations in San Diego and have a 2017 goal of reaching more locations in the area so that more kids can access the program, while also having more adult running workouts at the same time as kids’ practices so that parents can stay fit too!

Catherine Watkins:

1 – To ensure I continue doing my activation and strength training exercises to stay healthy for 2017 and so I can get back out to what I love… racing !

2 – To keep my girls healthy and active with fun activities together.

Dayna Pidhoresky:

1 – One of my running goals this year is to remain uninjured and run consistently throughout 2017.  To accomplish this we are trying something new — taking 1 day off running each week (cross-training only).  We’ll see how this goes.  On a similar note, I will try to not stress about the mileage number at the end of each week. . .

2 – In real life, I’d like to read more.  I got through a good amount of books this past year but I know I can do better!

Kevin Coffey:

1- I am not going to stress the small stuff on race day.  It’s important to just to play the hand that is dealt that day.  If the weather is off, so be it.  If I miss  a bottle, so be it.  And so on and so forth!

2 – Take time to make more calls back home to friends and family. Texts are great but calls are better!

Krista Duchene:

1 – Embrace change and keep learning. Make easy runs easier and hard runs harder to achieve personal best at 40!

2 – Give more into cooking for my family. Try new recipes while continuing to keep nutrition, cost, and packaging in mind.

Dylan Wykes:

1 – Focus on sleep and good nutrition. Two things that easily get lost in the shuffle these days 😉

2 – Find some balance. Kids, wife, running, coaching, drinking beer… sometimes it’s hard to know where to focus my time and energy!

Trevor Hofbauer

1 – Stretch more.  This is often an area I tend to overlook/ignore and the body is showing signs of neglect in the stretch department. If I can stretch one minute for every minute of running, I’ll be a happy camper.

2 – None as of right now. The move to Guelph just took place, so I need time to get comfortable and will evaluate myself as time passes.

Sabrina Wilkie

I don’t make new year resolutions but I do set goals throughout the year. Here’s the latest goal…
Since my husband Mark works full-time, I’m in school full-time and we have a toddler to look after, finding time to run/train is challenging. Our goal for the winter is to “run commute” to work/school to get in our off-day runs/mileage and once a week take a couple of hours to ourselves to do a workout.

Life is pretty hectic these days so I find running helps me clear my head and recharge.

Rachel Cliff

1 – to make it a priority to do strength/core work and rolling out/stretching every day. I’m hoping to run more half marathons and 10k’s in 2017 which means I’ll need to be much more proactive about these things to avoid injury.

2 – to be more organized with my leftovers and grocery shopping so I stop throwing out so much food!

10 tips for 10km – Dylan Wykes

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Dylan Wykes, winner of the inaugural Eastside 10k and coach at Mile2Marathon, gives us 10 tips for this year’s event. Check them out!

  1. Be prepared for race morning: Leave nothing to chance. Know what you are going to eat, know how you are going to get to the race, know where you are gonna stash your gear. Arrive early, no need for added stress on race day, you are there to compete and perform. Unnecessary stress will affect your performance.
  2. Warm-up: For some this is a 20min run and active strides. For others this is a 5min walk and some stretches. Either way, get those muscles loose and ready to go, it’ll help avoid injury and have you primed to perform.
  3. Find your place: Get on the start line and line up with people whom are at your same level. A 45min 10km is a great accomplishment, but you probably shouldn’t be lining up at the very front- you will get pulled out too hard and you will impede faster runners. Also, if you wanna run 35min get yourself to the front- if not you are gonna spend too much energy passing people and you may be trampling over slower runners. Be smart here.
  4. Get off the line: The 1st km of this race is the fastest. You will feel fresh and there is a nice downhill. If you are several seconds faster than your goal pace do not worry, get the 1st km in and then settle into your race.
  5. Settle and Flow: From 2-6km you should relax and find your flow. If you are pushing too hard at 3km you are gonna be suffering hard by 8km. Have your goal pace in mind and focus on maintaining that effort and rhythm. Being 5 seconds too slow is fine as you can make up time with a strong last 2km, but being 5 seconds too fast can be disastrous as when you blow up you’ll be giving time back in chunks.
  6. Enjoy the Scenery: The Eastside 10km course takes you on a tour through one of Vancouver’s most beautiful and culturally rich neighbourhoods. Appreciate the city and take it in. We live in a really friggen cool city.
  7. Find a Group: There is power in numbers when it comes to racing. Working as group can help a lot. A group can pull you along, you can fight the wind together and you can thrive off the positive vibes that come from sharing a common goal. Find a friend and roll together.
  8. Focus: This is racing, it is supposed to hurt! Your legs will burn, you’ll fight for breath and you’ll wanna stop. You trained for this. Focus on your goals and stay positive. The pain of racing is brief, but giving up will sting for a whole lot longer.
  9. Bite your tongue and give’r: Ok, you got to 9km. Time to get going! This is where you put your head down and give it hell. Dig deep and push. Give it everything you have until you cross that finish line.
  10. Reap the spoils: Congrats on finishing the Eastside 10km! Now enjoy yourself a bit- go get brunch, drink a beer or just do something to spoil yourself. You have earned it!

More info on the Eastside 10k can be found here.