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Training Tips

Proper sports bra fitting

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

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

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

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

Support & Shape Bras

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

Compression and Full Motion Control Bras

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

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

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

ideal workout

When’s your ideal workout time?

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It’s hard to say when the ideal workout time is.  It’s a personal preference, but any option has it’s advantages. Some people can’t fathom rolling out of bed, into their running shoes and heading out the door before they’re truly awake. Others can’t imagine running in the heat of the afternoon, or in the darkness of night.  What works for one person, doesn’t always work for someone else. It comes down to running when it works best for you, your schedule, and your mind. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of each time of day:

Morning runner:

Getting out of bed and going out for a run straight away is great for several reasons.  If you have a high-stress job that doesn’t have a clock-out time, running first thing in the morning will help you avoid missing workouts after work.  It can help boost your focus for the day, and kick-start your metabolism. Furthermore, it can lead to making healthier decisions throughout the day as you’ll have started your day on a high note. In terms of the run itself, there are usually less people out and about early in the day, so you won’t have to battle crowds on popular running routes in your city.

The downsides to running in the morning are due to our body’s physical state.  Body temperatures when you wake up are lower than later in the day. As a result our muscles, tendons and ligaments are colder and need some extra time to warm up.  If an adequate warmup isn’t done, it increases the risk of injury. Additionally, lung function is poor due to the lungs being more constricted and inefficient bringing oxygen in after a night’s sleep your. The inefficient oxygen intake makes hard efforts can seem more difficult early in the morning.

Afternoon/evening runner:

Working out later in the day allows the body to get moving and have the blood flowing through your muscles, ligaments and tendons. The body is a fine-tuned machine, that varies the amount of circulating hormones depending on the time of day.  In the afternoon/evening, testosterone levels are higher.  Thus, the afternoon is a great time for any strength or power workouts. In addition, cortisol (a stress hormone which aids in the storage of fat and reduction in muscle tissue) levels decrease throughout the day. Lower cortisol levels help to gain muscle mass.  Post-work times are typically safer to be out in too.  More people are doing post-work errands, or their own workouts, so areas are more populated and safer to run through.

Despite all the great things the afternoon has to offer, there are downfalls.  Leaving workouts to later in the day are seen to be easier to miss.  After a long day of work, when energy is low, it’s easy to lose motivation and opt out of a workout.  Especially in jobs that don’t have a set end time.  If you get caught up in a project, work later, and end up fuelling improperly, it’s not surprising if a workout gets missed.  There are no real physical downfalls, only psychological.  So if your will power is high and you prefer the evening routine, you’re good to go!

Whatever time you decide on, it’ll be the best time for you and your schedule.  There are pros and cons to any situation, just do whatever gets you into your shoes and outside!

Race day etiquette & pacer information

By | Eastside 10k, Training Tips | No Comments

Race day is the most exciting part of any training build.  After months of workouts, long runs, and mentally preparing for a race all seems worth it when you finally get to pin your race bib on, and accomplish your goal.  To make a race the best experience possible, there are some race etiquette tips to keep in mind for the big day.

Before the race:

  • Read the website, entry form or other race information before contacting the race directly. All of the race details you need to know are probably there.
  • Respect entry restrictions. Check if the race permits wheelchairs or baby joggers, imposes a minimum age, or has time restrictions.
  • Pay attention to packet pickup hours. Do not show up at other times and expect to receive your race packet/number.
  • Carefully check your information at packet pickup. The time to correct any errors such as age, gender, or misspelling of your name is BEFORE the race.

Race day:

  • Keep your race bib visible. Pin your number on the FRONT of your shirt or outermost clothing. Announcers, photographers, timers and medics use it to help identify you.
  • Start in the correct corral. There is a reason why races ask for your predicted finishing time.  Slower runners and walkers should move into to the later corrals as their race bib indicates to avoid any congestion for faster runners trying to pass by. Arriving early doesn’t mean you can start at the front of the race. If you want to switch corrals, there are usually spots at package pickup to request that change.
  • Don’t make a fence.  It is incredibly frustrating to try and pass a large group of slower individuals who take up the entire width of the street during a race.  If you’re in a large group, respect other races, and stay two abreast.  If you’re walking, please remain behind the runners to avoid obstruction.
  • Pass on the left, stay to the right. If you’re speeding along, pass runners on their left. If you need to slow down, move to the right to allow others to easily pass. The first mile or so of a race can be crowded and sometimes you need to weave to pass people.  Just be aware of those around you.
  • Don’t stop dead in your tracks. If you need to stop for any reason move to the side.  Whether it’s an untied shoelace, your walk/run program, or an urgent phone call, don’t stop dead in your tracks. Look around, move to the side and slide back into the race when you’re ready.
  • Be mindful before taking mid-race photos. Many runners love documenting their journey, especially since selfies have become all the rage.  These are great mementos, but please step to the side when taking them. The last thing you want is another runner plowing through you and your phone shattering on the ground.
  • Don’t tune out. Portable headphone devices for iPods, MP3 players, phones etc are discouraged for your safety and the safety of others.  Blasting music in your ears can block out any verbal warnings/directions or sounds of vehicles/participants along the course. Be aware of your surroundings for your own safety, as well as for respecting others.
  • Be aware of other runners at water stops. If you’re skipping the water, run straight through the station and don’t crowd where the water is located.  If you need to wet your whistle, minimize congestion by grabbing quickly and move to the side once you’ve passed the water station volunteers before slowing down.
  • Listen to your body. If you’re not having a great day and decide to drop out, tell someone.  Sometimes race day doesn’t go as planned.  If you need to drop-out, be sure to tell a race volunteer so no one is looking for you afterwards.
  • Run through the finish line. Hundreds of runners are coming through behind you, so move towards the medals and snacks to avoid congestion in the finishing chute.
  • Share the post-race goodies.  After a race, the first thing runners see are the food tents.  While you’ve just burned a lot of calories during the race, remember that everyone else in the race has too.  Take one of each thing to allow every runner to replenish their energy once they cross the finish line.

Pacers

Many races have a group of volunteers that run the race to help others reach their goals.  These pacers, sometimes known as pace bunnies, are a valuable tool for staying on target for your goal.  When following a pacer, always keep an eye on your own time as well, just in case.  At the Under Armour Eastside 10k, there are 15 pacers for a number of race times.  The pacers will have matching pacer kits on, and will hold a sign with their designated pace time on it.  Hop in to whatever group matches your personal goal and let the camaraderie of others help pull you along!  The pacers will be as follows:

  • 45:00 = Lucas & Tibor
  • 50:00 = Alan & Fergus
  • 55:00 = Kenny & Shannon
  • 60:00 = Karl, Mark & Andy
  • 65:00 = Kelsey & Olivia
  • 70:00 = Erika & Evgeny
  • 75:00 = Fiona & Maryam

 

10 tips for 10k

10 tips for 10k

By | Eastside 10k, Training Tips | No Comments

Dylan Wykes & Rob Watson, two of the coaches at Mile2Marathon, gave us 10 tips for this year’s Under Armour Eastside 10km and how to prepare for the 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, and know where you are going to stash your gear. Arrive early, as there’s no need for added stress on race day; you are there to compete and perform. Unnecessary stress will affect your performance. Oh, and bring lots of dry clothes!

2. Warm-up:

For some this is a 20 minute run and active strides. For others this is a 5 minute walk and some
stretches. Either way, get those muscles loose and ready to go, it’ll help avoid injury and have you
primed to go when the gun sounds.

3. Find your place:

Get on the start line and line up with people at the same level, or pace as you. A
45:00 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 will impede faster runners. On the other hand, if you want to run 35:00 get yourself to the front, otherwise you are going to spend too much energy passing people and trampling over slower runners.

4. Get off the line:

The first km of a race is always fast. You will feel fresh and frisky. If you are several seconds faster than your goal pace do not worry, get the fist 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 going to have a bad time- both literally and figuratively. 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 Under Armour Eastside 10km course takes you on a tour through some of Vancouver’s most beautiful and culturally rich neighbourhoods. Appreciate the city and take it in. We live in a really special place.

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, and you can lock in and roll. Find a friend and roll together… until 9km, then all bets are off!

8. Focus:

This is racing, it is supposed to hurt! Your legs will burn, you’ll fight for breath and you’ll want
to stop. You trained for this. Focus on your goals and stay positive. The pain of racing is brief, and that post run beer/brunch tastes so much better knowing you earned it.

9. Bite your tongue and go:

When you get to 9km it is time to get going! This is where you put your head down and give it hell. Dig deep and push, and when you are 400m out it is time to empty the tank. Give it everything you have until you cross the finish line.

10. Reap the spoils:

Congratulations on finishing the Under Armour 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 Under Armour Eastside 10k can be found here.

fortius vo2max testing

A Behind-The-Scenes Look at VO2max Testing

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HOW A VO2MAX ANALYSIS CAN HELP RUNNERS OPTIMIZE THEIR TRAINING

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.  They offer support in injury management, injury prevention, and optimize performance for athletes and active individuals.

WHAT IS A VO2MAX ANALYSIS?

A VO2max test is a more scientific look at an athlete’s physical capacity for cardiovascular fitness.  It’s a rigorous incremental exercise test performed cycling or running that informs the athlete about the maximum amount of oxygen the body can consume to produce energy. This is directly related to performance. The faster oxygen can be delivered to your muscles, the faster you will be able to run at a much less given effort.  Lots of data is found in the VO2max testing, including various heart rates and speed/power levels.  These can be used to set appropriate training zones that can be applied to everyday training.  From the zones, the athlete will be able to train at heart rate specific intensities and paces, giving them more bang for their buck in each session.

At the end of the testing, the practitioner explains their findings and how the athlete can utilize this data for even more effective training. The test provides valuable information about one’s current aerobic fitness. This can used as a baseline for your training and allow you to set new goals. When returning for a re-test, you can then see how effective your training plan was.

Preston, a runner of only three years, undertook the challenge of going through two of the tests that Fortius offers: a 3D gait analysis and VO2max test.  He then shared his experience with our readers.

PRESTON’S STORY

prestonOver the past 3 years my fitness goals have shifted dramatically. My journey started 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 cardiovascular fitness, 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.  I did it (barely) in the spring of 2015. I ran my first half-marathon 2 months later.  With a goal time of 2 hours, I missed it by a few minutes. I had enjoyed the training and knew was able to break the 2-hour mark at another race later in 2015. By the end of 2015 my times plateaued due to inexperience or knowledge of how to train for speed. I knew I enjoyed hitting the pavement and I ran frequently throughout the week. However, most of my half marathon times over the next 8 months remained consistently around 2 hours.

I met my coach from Mile2Marathon in the summer of 2016. At first, I didn’t know what I was in for. Who knew 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. Additionally, I’ve reduced my recovery period after long runs significantly.

PRESTON’S VO2MAX EXPERIENCE

vo2max testing prestonI’ve seen VO2max testing done before in movies and on TV so I had a good idea of what I was in for before arriving. But, it’s different watching something versus doing it yourself. My experience scuba diving was definitely helpful as the mouth piece used in the VO2max felt very similar to the regulator I use when I scuba dive. Being comfortable with the mouth piece attached and your nose plugged can take some time. The staff were great about ensuring a comfortable fit and I found it easy to adjust to after a few minutes.

As the treadmill speed and incline increased minute by minute I found myself pushing. I was curious to know what the last 3 years of work have done to my body. I wish that I had done one of these tests before I started getting fit so I would be able to more accurately measure my progress. Each stage felt harder and I dug deeper until I eventually reached my limit. The treadmill began to slow to a stop leaving me gasping for air.  As the mouthpiece was removed and we waited for my results.

A bump in the road

Since I work in IT, I took being told that my results had not been recorded by the computer as a funny IT joke at first. I am very familiar with technical issues and while it wasn’t a joke, manual records had been kept of my heart rate information when the computer’s VO2 data wasn’t recorded. Thankfully there was a verification phase that I could do to recreate and verify the results from the first test. I took a few minutes to catch my breath, my spit valve was emptied from the mouthpiece and I was hooked back up to the machine for round 2. The second time around the VO2max was definitely harder than the first but I was warmed up and had a better idea of what I should expect which helped me hit the exact same speed, incline and max heart rate as my first run. It was an incredible feeling and validates that I really did find my personal max during this test.

Knowing that 3 years ago I struggled to complete the grouse grind in 2.5 hours and was winded walking up a single flight of stairs it was a really proud moment seeing my results. Seeing the tangible impact of hundreds of hours on the elliptical and treadmill, countless runs through Vancouver in the cold, wind and rain and the time spent doing hill repeats in New Westminster were all worth it. Now I have a number that I could put next to all of that effort, at least until I go back and do even better.

Learn about Preston’s 3D Gait Analysis experience.

ENTER NOW TO WIN A FREE VO2MAX ANALYSIS

Do you want the opportunity to test your exercise physiology like Preston?

Like, comment, or share for a chance to win a free VO2MAX Analysis!

To learn more about the Fortius Lab and VO2max Analyses, visit their website at

http://www.fortiussport.com/Lab @FortiusCentre

 

lanni goal setting UA

Setting goals like an Olympian: Lanni Marchant

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

Setting Goals like an Olympian: Lanni Marchant

under armour lanni

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

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

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

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

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

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

To read the complete interview click here.

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

recovery properly after a race

How to recover properly after a race

By | General, Training Tips, Uncategorised | No Comments

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

Immediately after:

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

Within one to two hours

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

24 hours after:

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

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

The week after the race:

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

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

Workouts to get you out of a training rut

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

Find a group

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

Group fartlek

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

Be a broken record

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

Go up and down a ladder

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

Race!

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

Rest

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

benefits of track work

The benefits of hitting the track

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

Learn to pace

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

Improved running economy/efficiency

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

Mental toughness

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

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

Dressing for the heat

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

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

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

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

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

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

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