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Training Tips

Adjusting your race goals when things get hot

By | Racing Strategy, Training Tips | No Comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

Perfecting the taper

By | Scotiabank Vancouver Half, Training Tips | No Comments

 

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

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

Taper duration:

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

Training:

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

Distraction:

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

Nutrition:

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

Sleep:

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

Trust the taper!

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

Connected Fitness

5 ways Connected Fitness apps and products can elevate your training.

By | Eastside 10k, Training Tips | No Comments

Today’s running competition is fierce and becoming your best takes more than just training. In the past, knowing when to train and how hard to train was simply based on how you felt. Now, through connected fitness apps and products, technology can test your body and tell you when and how to train, how to set goals and track against them. You no longer have to write down how you felt after a long run, or time yourself or even track your distance – connected fitness products do this for you allowing you to focus on one thing, your run. Below are five ways that connected fitness can elevate your training:

  1. Set Goals and Smash Them

Connected fitness apps such as MapMyRun make it easy for you to set goals, track them, beat them, and set new ones. You can track time, cadence, duration, distance and splits, making it super easy for you to see how you are tracking against your goals.

  1. Know when you’re ready to push the limits

The new Under Armour Record-Equipped shoes will tell you whether or not today is the day to push your limits. Each Record-Equipped shoe has a chip that not only tracks your run, but analyzes the explosive power in your jump to tell you whether or not your body is ready to train. To perform the jump test, simply jump around before your run. After setting a baseline, your jump score will measure muscle fatigue and recovery rate to suggest how intensely to run. To learn more about the shoes and the jump test, click here.

  1. Track your route

No more Google maps, no more getting lost. Apps like MapMyRun, make it easy for you to track your route and your time. If you have smart running shoes, simply go out for a run and the GPS tracker in the shoes will track your route, time, stride length, and more. Even if you’ve left your phone at home, Under Armour Record-Equipped shoes will track and store your run data for up to five runs before needing to be synced.

  1. Stay connected with some friendly competition

There’s no better way to push yourself than a little healthy competition. If you can’t get out and run with your friends or crew don’t worry, connected fitness allows you to have an online community where you can share your routes and results.

  1. When to get new shoes

Running in a pair of worn down sneakers is a recipe for an injury, and knowing when your favourite pair has run its course and are ready to retire is tricky. Under Armour Record-Equipped shoes keep track of how far you have run and send you a notification once your shoes have reached the 650 km mark – that’s approximately 15 marathons. After 650 km, it’s time to ditch the shoes and buy a new pair.

UA Record Equipped

Running in the Heat

Tips For Running In The Heat

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

A Behind-The-Scenes Look at 3DRun Analysis

By | Training Tips | No Comments

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

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

WHAT IS A 3DRUN ANALYSIS?

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

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

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

PRESTON’S STORY

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

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

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

PRESTON’S 3DRUN ANALYSIS

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

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

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

MY RESULTS

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

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

ENTER NOW TO WIN A FREE 3DRUN ANALYSIS

What know learn how to improve your form? Like, comment, or share our Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram posts on 3DRun Analysis for a chance to win a free 3DRun Analysis!

To learn more about the Fortius Lab and 3DRun and Walk Analyses, visit their website and follow them @FortiusCentre

 

 

chafing

Chafing Prevention for Runners

By | Training Tips | No Comments

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

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

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

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

Advice From Your Local Running Store

By | Training Tips | No Comments

We’re fortunately to have some great independent running retailers in town, so we’ve decided to get some tips from them. Covering everything from shoe fitting to what clothing to wear, check back as we add a new feature each week!


The Right Shoe

Article courtesy of The Right Shoe

Your Right Shoe

“Your Right Shoe” Whether you are a marathoner or beginner, it is essential as a runner to be in the proper footwear. Matching a shoe’s properties with your running style and personal biomechanics will increase comfort, running efficiency, and contribute to decreasing the risk of injury.

When you have a standard pronation pattern you can run in a wide variety of shoes, but specialized neutral running shoes that offer optimal cushioning and support are most suitable, whether you’re a beginner or regular-marathoner. A neutral cushioned shoe lacks any additional stability, which promotes the natural motion of your foot. If you are a under pronator, (supinator) you also require a neutral shoe as you need a lot of cushioning to avoid impact injuries.

Both short and long distance runners would benefit from a more cushioned shoe. One of the more popular shoes in this category being the Asics GEL-Nimbus® 19, featuring the new FlyteFoam™ Technology, for optimal comfort and a responsive ride for the neutral runner, while a gradient jacquard-mesh upper is strategically tightened or loosened in zones to allow the foot’s natural motion. For the beginner, the extra cushioning will give optimal support as they build muscle strength. For the runner whose running in the upper end of 20 miles a week, a shoe with plenty of cushioning will act as a barrier between your body and the pavement, with more for your body to break down before it hits the road which gives your muscles a bit of a break.

However, some runners may like natural running shoes that provide a responsive feeling of ground contact. The Asics GEL-Cumulus® 18 shoe features rearfoot and forefoot GEL® cushioning for strike-specific shock attenuation to create smoother transitions. This shoe, among others in its category, are still considered neutral, and meant for a runner with a standard pronation pattern, but are just on a different level of cushioning, offering slightly less than shoes like the GEL-Nimbus® 19.

Now, what if you’re not a neutral runner or supinator? If your foot lands on the outside of the heel, and then rolls inward excessively, transferring weight to the inner edge instead of the ball of the foot, then you over pronate. If that is the case, the best shoe for you is one that offers more structure and support, referred to commonly as stability shoes. If you prefer a lightweight running shoe that provides a slightly more responsive sensation while running, try the Asics GT-2000™ 5, the shoe will offer optimal support without compromising any weight.

Or, for the higher mileage runner or someone in need of more cushioning can rack up the kilometers with the Asics GEL-Kayano® 23. Like others in this category, the shoe helps over pronators stay stable and comfortable over long distances with added cushioning technology, which helps the last mile be just as comfortable as the first.

The most important thing to remember when looking for running shoes, is what works for you. It is vital as a runner to have the proper footwear for your personal biomechanics and running style, as well as preference. Whether you are neutral, a supinator, an over pronator, someone who prefers less cushioning or more, the shoe needs to be right for you. How will you know the shoe is right for you? After you have visited your run specialist for their advice, do what a runner loves best—go for a run!


Fit First Footwear

Article courtesy of Fit First Footwear

The Importance of Accessories

As the sun starts to emerge and the temperature begins to climb, your running gear becomes more and more important. Hats, hydration packs, socks and other running accessories will play a big role in keeping you prepared and performing at your best in the summer months. Here at FitFirst Footwear, we offer you plenty of accessories from a wide range of brands to keep you comfortable.

To keep your feet cool and happy, consider a lightweight, moisture wicking sock that uses a polyester/nylon blend. Particularly with socks, avoid cotton as it can hold up to 5 times its weight in moisture and will put you at risk of blisters and overheating. The Asics Intensity sock comes in packs of 3 and is by far our best-selling sock for runners after a light feel at good value!

Running hats or other sun blockers are really important for summer races including the Scotiabank Vancouver ½ & 5k. Look for a hat that is lightweight and made of breathable fabrics to help stop the sun from affecting your performance. With mesh panels along the sides, Asics’ Mad Dash Cap has great ventilation and sweat-wicking ability. The gender-specific sizing and adjustable back make for a custom fit.

Finally, having a hydration strategy is extremely important while training in the summer months. Whether you choose a lightweight pack with a bladder, a running belt with bottles, or a hand held bottle solution, be sure to carry water and/or electrolyte drinks with you on your longer runs. The #1 challenge runners have is getting and staying hydrated which is paramount in avoiding muscle cramps, pulls and injuries!

Stop by the shop and check out our accessories wall to make sure you’re prepared for summer running in the lower mainland!


Rackets and Runners

Article courtesy of Rackets & Runners

Securing your Workout – 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 Rackets & Runners 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.

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The Right Shoe

Article courtesy of The Right Shoe

A Runner’s Closet

If you were to open your closet at this moment, what would you see? Would you see a line of methodically organized sweaters? Would you see your clothing hung carelessly, stuffed and sprawled across the bottom? Would see an old varsity jacket that smells, among other things, of pride? Would you see a dress that you bought but never wore? Would you see a row of quirky ties that your kids got you, and keep giving you, every year on the same holiday?

Or, would you see a runner’s closet?

A runner’s closet, looks like any other closet, with a few exceptions. While every wardrobe on the block is filled with cotton-shirts and balls of lint, a runner’s closet has technicality. The shirts, pants, and socks, to begin, are never cotton but instead a polyester technical fabric. Why not cotton? Picture this, when you get out of the shower, dripping wet in all your glory, you reach for your favorite cotton towel, right? That reliable towel that does a fantastic job sucking up all that moisture off your body—stays wet. You need to toss the cotton when running for the same reason, because once cotton gets wet, it stays wet, which can be uncomfortable in warmer weather and dangerous in cold weather. Your skin is also more likely to chafe if you’re wearing cotton, spend some time at a finish line of a marathon and you will see the evidence of someone who thought their favorite cotton shirt would carry them through the race. It’s not pretty. Depending on the season, a runner’s closet will alter slightly, a short sleeve will become long and shorts might turn into tights, but no matter the season a runner understands the necessity of proper, technical clothing for their sport.

In the spring to summer months, a runner is most concerned with the weight of their clothing. In the hot weather, you want to feel like you’re wearing absolutely nothing—without terrifying your neighbors. So, instead of becoming a nudist, a runner’s closet is most likely to filled with technical tee-shirts, a specific polyester spun blend to wick away the sweat and ensure that they stay cool while their body warms from the exercise. As an everyday running tee, a runner is looking for a tee that has a soft, lightweight woven fabric with a host of premium design features and contains sun protection, such as UPF. Depending on temperature and preference, you’ll want to pair the tee with either shorts, with lightweight, quick-dry woven fabric and a liner, or a capri tight. Again, no sweatpants, no cotton, just a technical fabric.

For the fall to winter months, the most common trend among runners and their wardrobe is the layer. Depending on the distance you’ll be running and the temperature outside, a runner may carry through their summer wardrobe with a technical tee-shirt and capri. If you’re running at a slower pace, running a longer distance, or just get cold, adding a lightweight long sleeve or even half-zip to your wardrobe is always a good idea. However, it is significant to remember not to overdress, no matter the temperature outside. If you are going to be running in the dark, it is vital to be as visible as possible with technical material that also offers reflectivity. For our Vancouver climate, it is always a good idea to invest in a breathable waterproof or water-resistant jacket, that offers some rain protection, but can also easily wrap around your waist.

So how can you make a runner’s closet your own?

Technical materials don’t stop at tops and bottoms, there are many varieties of polyester spun fabrics that can be found at your favorite running store. As a runner, it is important to feel the difference it makes in everything from socks on your feet to the hat that you put on your head – and everything in between. That’s how a runner does it, and that’s how you do it!


Check back next week when we talk to one of our other local retailers, or head over here to see how FitFirst Footwear helps you choose the correct pair of runners.

The Scotiabank Vancouver Half-Marathon & 5k is proud to be partnered with these fine local retailers!

The Right Shoe

Hydrating for the Heat

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As the weather improves, hydration becomes increasingly important.  During the winter months runners forget that even though it’s cold outside, they’re still sweating and losing water/electrolytes on their runs.  When spring and summer hits, our sweat loss is more apparent and makes people more aware of their rehydration tactics.

It’s hard to know how much to drink, when to drink what, and how to rehydrate appropriately.  Here are some tips to keep you on track:

  1. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty.  It’s important to continually sip water or another low-calorie drink options throughout the day to keep your hydration levels up.  Carry a water bottle with you wherever you go so you’re constantly getting fluids in.  Not only will it help on your run, it will keep you alert during the day and can help to avoid the mid-afternoon headache that can occur if you aren’t well hydrated.  Plus it helps your digestion, it keeps you moving when getting up to use the bathroom, and does wonders for your skin.
  2. Use your urine as your hydration indicator.  Keeping tabs on the colour of your urine sounds bizarre but it’s the easiest way to determine how hydrated/dehydrated you are.  The goal is to have a light yellow colour, kind of like the colour of lemonade.  It shows that you’re hydrated but still have electrolytes moving through the body (they cause the yellow colour).  If your urine is totally clear, you’re probably drinking too much.  If it’s a dark yellow, you’re probably in need of some extra fluids.  If it’s taking on the colour of iced tea, you definitely need some water as that’s a warning sign for dehydration.
  3. Drink before your run.  That doesn’t mean you need to slam a liter of water right before you step out the door, but use the 1-2 hours before a run to get in some fluids.  If you’re running as soon as you wake up, drink at least a glass of water before you run.  Your body will have been deprived of water while you’re sleeping, so it’s important to get something down to help the body function.  You’ll eventually figure our how much you can handle, but if your stomach sounds like a fishbowl with water sloshing around, you’ve probably had too much.
  4. During your run the amount you consume depends on how long you’re going for. If it’s a short run, you probably don’t need anything.  If you’re worried you might need something, choose a route with water fountains along the way.  If you’re out for a long run, you’ll need to have something along the way.  If the idea of carrying a bottle for the entire run isn’t appealing, choose a route with fountains, or convenience stores along the way to make a pit stop.  Water will help wash down any gels/chews you have to eat too.  If you’re not taking in any fuel, use a sports drink to make sure you’re replenishing both the sugars and electrolytes that are lost through your sweat.
  5. After your run is when you can focus on replacing what you lost on the run.  A good way of determining your water loss is by weighing yourself without clothes on before and after your run.  Drinking a litre of fluids for every kilogram that’s lost is a general rule of thumb.  You’ll likely drink more than the minimum required, but you’ll just pee out whatever your body doesn’t need. Be sure to add in some electrolytes to your water as it will help the body retain the fluid you’ve consumed.  Chocolate milk is a great post-run drink as it not only has sugars and nutrients that rehydrate you, but it also has protein in it that will help rebuild your tired muscles.

With these things in mind, still be cautious on long runs in the heat.  Try to get your run done in the morning to avoid the intense mid-day sun.  If you’re feeling sick, seeing spots, or feel like you’re going to bonk, just stop.  It’s not worth putting yourself at more risk than necessary.  Carry money or a credit card and a piece of ID with you in case of emergency so people can help you accordingly.

How to Choose Running Shoes

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Advice from FitFirst Footwear

These days, with thousands of different models of shoes on the market, it’s virtually impossible for consumers to keep up and select on their own the most appropriate brand and model for their individual foot type and function.

Inappropriate, ill-fitting, or worn out shoes can increase the chance of injury. As well, over time, shoes lose their stability and capacity to absorb shock, which can dramatically increase stress to your feet and legs. These added stresses could lead to blisters and calluses as well as contribute to lower limb overuse injuries causing heel, arch and shin pain. Foot shape is only one factor which determines the type of athletic shoes this is best for you.

FitFirst Footwear strives stay on top of the latest trends and technologies and are there to assist with fit and recommend the most appropriate running and walking shoe for your foot type. Whether you are training for a certain event, getting ready for summer activities, or working your way back from an injury, our store’s staff is here to help!

Shoes Matter:

  • Many studies show that our quality of life is directly related to remaining active, with a long list of benefits from preventing heart disease to improving mental health. Proper fitting and functioning footwear is crucial to maintaining an active lifestyle and preventing exercise related injury.

Fit Matters:

  • Poor fitting footwear is a primary contributor to foot and ankle injury and can exacerbate many common health conditions. Foot size, forefoot width and arch type are essential measurements in a proper footwear fitting. But there is more to know about ensuring an ideal fit.
  • Black toenails and foot cramping are often signs that your shoes are too small or too narrow. When running, the more distance you cover during individual runs or walks the longer you shoe needs to be.
  • When cross training and moving laterally, look for a sturdy shoe with a snug fit that makes the foot feel as though it is taped within the shoe.

Your Health Matters:

  • At FitFirst Footwear, we know an annual foot measurement, and attention to your changing health needs, make a significant difference in choosing footwear to keep you active and injury free. Whether you wear orthotics, have arthritis, diabetes, or experience changes in your feet during pregnancy, our team will provide you with the knowledge you need and a level of service and customer care that stands above the rest.

5 Tips for Setting Race Goals

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As a goal race approaches, it’s always a good idea to have a clear race objectives in mind.  But, how do you determine what’s a “good” goal to set?  It’s great to have lofty aspirations that might be slightly out of reach at the moment, but could be attainable if you’re patient.  But, it’s important to understand that a goal that’s too challenging has the potential to cause you to over train, push your body harder than it’s ready for, and leave you feeling defeated and dissatisfied.

Therefore, it’s key to set SMART goals: ones that are specific, measureable, attainable, relevant and timely.  Additionally, your goals should have a personal aspect to them to make them meaningful.

  1. Be specific. Having a generic goal like I want to run faster, or I want to run more is fine, but it doesn’t spark the fire.  Set some precise goals to help keep you on track.  If you want to run faster in a distance you’ve run before, set a goal that’s a few minutes faster and adjust your training to try and hit that goal.  If you’ve been training by solely doing easy runs, maybe set a goal that every Tuesday you’re going to do hill repeats, a fartlek, or intervals. Use a definitive target to guide you to reaching those aspirations.
  2. Be realistic. You know where your current fitness level is, and where it can be after months of training. If you’re sensible while establishing your goals, they will be more attainable. Jumping from a 2:30 half-marathon to a 1:30 half marathon probably won’t happen in a single build, but that doesn’t mean it will never happen. Chip away at your goals and re-evaluate after each new benchmark. Work on getting form a 2:30 half marathon, to a 2:25 and so on. Those smaller victories need to be celebrated as they’ll fuel the fire to keep training and hit the next target.
  3. Have a time element. Setting long term goals like wanting to qualify for the Boston Marathon by 2020 are great, but are so far away it’s hard to remain motivated for that long. On the other hand, setting out to beat your personal best in a race three weeks from now that you haven’t adequately prepared for isn’t a good idea either. Set goals that you can work towards and accomplish within 3-6 months. This allows enough time to build, focus, and keep the goal within reach.  Remember to set mini goals within that time frame too. At the end of each week, or every couple weeks look back over your training and see if you’re still on track to reach your main goal. Re-evaluate if necessary by either making the goal harder or easier depending on where your training indicates you should be.
  4. Keep yourself accountable and motivated. It’s your personal effort and dedication that is going to be the determiner of if you do/don’t achieve your goals.  If your work life is busy, set a goal to get your training done in the morning so if you’re kept at work late, you don’t miss a training session. Find people with similar goals and use them as support. Meeting up with a friend or group will hold you accountable too. Furthermore, tell your close friends and family your goals. By voicing what you want to accomplish, you will solidify your goal as people will become interested and will ask how your progress is going. They’re your support team, so use them. If anyone else asks what you’re working on and you’re reluctant to tell them, don’t be afraid to under-promise and then over-deliver.
  5. Make your goals personal. These goals are for you and you alone. At the end of the day, no one else is bothered if you missed a run; well they might be if you’re irritable as a result. No one else can set your goals for you either. Coaches will provide advice on what they think you can achieve and what it’ll take to get there, but you have to be the one buying in. Determine what you want to accomplish the most, and make the necessary lifestyle changes to make that dream a reality.