Digital Champions

Digital Champions Blog: It Runs in the Family: Baby Knox

By | Digital Champions, Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon | No Comments
By Amanda Bond. 
Toronto August 3rd 2016.

I didn’t run last week.

I’m in week 8 of my fall marathon training and I didn’t even run once. I went swimming, and I went to yoga, and I went on lots of walks, but I didn’t run. I’m not injured, but I did spend lots of time in bed having naps.

Here’s the thing: I have a baby who just cut his first tooth, and the appearance of the second one is imminent. He’s sad and he needs cuddles and kisses and soothing. He needs to be held close. He only wants to sleep on me. During swimming he’s pretty much attached to me as it’s a mom and baby class, and at yoga it’s the same. I wear him when we go walking. But when we run he’s stuck in our jogging stroller, and last week that was something he couldn’t really deal with, so we didn’t do it. Could I have gone very early in the morning or late at night? Probably. But sleep is a loose term for us these days with his teething, so I prioritized taking naps whenever I could get them and running didn’t happen. He only gets his first teeth once.

Amanda Bond Blog PhotoRunning runs in our family, so to speak. My dad is a marathoner and I ran my first one with him. A couple of years back, I wrote about that. Since then, we’ve registered for a few races together, and one of those turned out to coincide with the first trimester of my pregnancy with Knox. As I was under doctor’s orders to refrain from strenuous physical activity due to a recent miscarriage, I dropped down to a shorter distance and walked the event with my sister and my dog Sam. My dad caught up to us just before the end, and we celebrate the photo above as my son’s first finish line photo.

It was a big deal. Knox has had a couple more finish lines since – once while I was about 6 months pregnant and I ran/walked a 5K, and once on the outside at the end of his first jogging stroller race, the Waterfront 10 in June (you can read a recap of that one here if you’re interested).

These are really special to me. I have been able to take something that has meant a lot to me my whole life – something that I’ve shared with my Dad since I was a kid – and share it with my own child. And while I won’t be running many more stroller races, Knox is helping me train for my fourth marathon, which will take place about a month before his first birthday.

Amanda Bond Blog Photo 3Marathon training with a baby has its pros and cons. On one hand, gone are the days of just putting on running shoes and going. Every run needs planning and packing. We don’t leave the house without Knox’s bag of things: diapers and wipes, soother and strap, easy stroller snacks, a sun shade, hat, sunscreen, a change pad and blanket, some stroller toys, a sippy cup and water, a change of clothes, a sling in case he needs to come out of the stroller. These are the basics.

I try to leave as he’s getting sleepy so that he’ll nap on the go. He’s come along for distances up to 16K and he’s a really good sport about it. When we stop at red lights, we take water and snack breaks, get some face to face time, and chat a little. If he’s awake while I’m running, we sing and I point out things to him that he may find interesting. I try to narrate what we see. I listen for signs that he needs a break. When he sleeps, I try to find that groove as much as possible, despite the fact that my arms aren’t swinging and my stride is different and I’m pushing a beast of a stroller with a baby in it around the city. Stroller running is a good workout, but it doesn’t allow me to run quickly. My legs aren’t used to running fast and during this cycle, they won’t be.

These are the realities: the missed runs, the forethought, the slow pace, the fact that any time I set out to run a certain distance, Knox’s needs come first and while I can maximize the chances that I’ll get the whole run in, I can in no way totally predict or account for the changing mood of a little person with a big personality and his needs. I used to run to relieve anxiety. Stroller running doesn’t exactly promote that kind of mental mood.

Amanda Bond Blog Photo 4But running with Knox has changed me in some big positive ways. I used to focus on very different things. I was a runner with a lot of technology – GPS watch and music and my phone. I used to check my pace constantly and this was a factor in my quitting road running in favour of trails for a while before I became pregnant – I would obsess over it and it wasn’t fun. If I was having a bad day, I would feel utterly defeated. This kind of thing was terrible for my mental health in general. Now that I run with a stroller, I don’t bother with things like pace because it’s irrelevant. I pre-plan my routes so that I know my distance and I leave my watch at home. I don’t run with music anymore because I listen to and talk with Knox. I feel much more present in my runs now. Stroller running has freed me from the numbers and the distractions that were such a big part of it for me before. And I mean, what run isn’t made better by seeing this little face?

As he grows, I’m so excited to learn what interests Knox; who he’ll be. He may or may not be into athletic pursuits at all, or running specifically; even if he is, maybe races won’t be his thing. And that’s great. Really, this training cycle is the only one I’m guaranteed to be able to share with him, because he kind of has to come along for the ride. And whatever he’s into, I look forward to telling him about the time marathon training was so easy for him that he did the majority of it in his sleep. There are photos to prove it.

About Amanda Bond: I’m Mandy and I’m a new mom. My son was born in November of 2015. After some significant time off of running due to a miscarriage, my subsequent pregnancy, and the birth of my son, I’m spending this year building back strength and endurance so that I can complete my fourth marathon. I’m also navigating my shifting priorities and how that has affected my relationship with running. As someone with a history of anxiety, depression, and anorexia, as well as active postpartum depression, I run mostly for mental health reasons. Though these days you can generally find me pushing a jogging stroller around the city, trail running is one of my true loves and I hope to run my second ultramarathon next spring. Connect with Amanda on Twitter and Instagram

Digital Champions Blog: Go Your Own Way(s).

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By Dan Grant.
Toronto July 27th 2016.

It took me a while to understand what it is about running I love so well. I had heard plenty of reasons I should love it, but nothing ever resonated.

I was a solo runner – and adamantly so – not because I had found the elusive high others hinted at. It was simply a means to escape and be alone with my thoughts, letting them run as far as they liked. Running was therapy, plain and simple. And that was enough.

Then, one day in 2014, in a bout of depression WinterBeerMileor desperation or maybe inspiration – I honestly don’t remember, just that my life needed a kick in the ass – I sent out a plaintive tweet in search of anyone who might want to join me for a 5k run to a brewery.

What has evolved into RunTOBeer taught me the beauty of falling in with like-minded runners. Until then, run clubs had never appealed to me, with their focus on results, photos and/or the latest branded merchandise. I just wanted to run and have beer.

That’s how I discovered others were looking for something similar. RunTOBeer might not be your thing (but there’s no cost and it does involve free beer… just sayin’), however I do believe there’s something more out there for pretty much everyone. If you’re not a beer fan, maybe you’re a foodie. Conquer the castle or cruise the beachOut at dusk or up before dawn. Or maybe there’s another concept just waiting for you to breathe life into. In the past couple years many other new packs have formed, built by and for people that love running their own way. And that’s beautiful.

Even if it’s working for you now, don’t get stuck doing the same thing until it grows stale. If you’re part of a group you love, try some solo runs as well. Mix it up with different crews. Try running in the snow. Sprint. Go somewhere you’ve never been.

Some (probably most) trials won’t be your thing, but what have you got to lose? You’re going to learn more about yourself, and you might just find something else you grow to adore.

One of the most gratifying aspects of RunTOBeer is that in two-and-a-half years we’ve never had to ask anyone to be less of a jerk. Runners are generally kind, supportive individuals. Give yourself a chance to learn from more of them.

For me, personally, I’ve learned I’m capable of going so much faster than I thought. Even though my thighs have always been bigger than my wife’s waist, I assumed I was only a distance runner. I never planned to enter a race shorter than a half marathon, because what was the point when I run lesser distances with RunTOBeer anyway? What would I gain by doing it in a more organized setting? Did I need another reminder I’m not speedy?

2016-07-02 | 2016 Pride & Remembrance RunThen I tried the Race Roster Spring Run Off. Then the Waterfront 10, then the Pride & Remembrance 5k. A couple weeks ago, while in Buffalo, I saw signs for a four mile race that same evening and entered on a whim. It turns out I’m hooked on something I always thought I’d be lousy at… and generally finishing in the top 15%! Who knew?

By placing myself in different situations I’ve not only become a much more well-rounded runner, but I’ve also found new connections to both introspection and community. I’ve become simultaneously more at peace and ambitious. I find myself endlessly inspired by other runners’ discoveries and enthusiastic about sharing my own (hence, bringing City Running Tours to Toronto).

If the role of a Digital Champion is to provide inspiration, the best advice I can share is this: give yourself the opportunity to inspire yourself. Explore what’s there for you. You wouldn’t have read this far if you weren’t curious, so go get it! It’s there for the taking. Play around, because running isn’t just running, it’s also beer at the finish line if that’s what you want. It’s the sun rising over the lake. It’s friends you haven’t met yet. It’s wooded trails with bird songs and the sound of your feet hitting the dirt. The possibilities are enormous, so go find out what kind of runner(s) you are. You won’t regret it.

About Dan Grant: If you’re running with me, chances are we’re finishing with a beer. The crew I co-founded in 2014, RunTOBeer, takes 100 or more sets of legs to breweries and craft beer bars a few times each month. Earlier this year I also brought City Running Tours to Canada and completed a 50k “beer run” to raise money for Northern Alberta wildfire relief. Check out my blog, From Pint A to Pint B, at Connect with Dan on Twitter and Instagram. 

*Photo Credits:
1. Header Image: STWM 2015 – Closing in on the finish line of the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon.
2. Winter Beer Mile with RunTOBeer co-founder Tej Sandhu – Ever tried a Beer Mile in Winter?
3. Pride and Remembrance 5k – I’m not sure the wig helped, but it was way more fun this way.

Crew Charity Competition at 2016 #Eastside10k

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VANCOUVER – July 25, 2016

Back by popular demand, this year’s event will again feature a Crew Challenge supporting our charity partners. There are some new components though, including cheer stations, costume contests, and more!

Also new this year, the competition will be between Charity Teams rather than individual crews and clubs. This means more crews can get involved to make a difference – your run crew just needs to decide which Charity Team it will be competing for. In the end there will be four Charity Teams, each team composed of multiple crews.

Charities which crews can compete for:

Outline of Competition for each Charity Team:

  • Average times for fastest five males plus fastest five females will set base score/time
  • Every runner counts – for each finisher, Team’s time will be reduced by 10 seconds
  • Fundraising – for every $100 raised, Team’s time will be reduced by 10 seconds
  • Additional time reductions can be achieved through the Head-to-Head Crew Event (details TBD – held on another date), Best Costume Prize, and Cheering Stations
  • Charity Team with the lowest cumulative time wins!


  • Crew/Club leader should email with their charity preferences (rank 1 to 4) and expected crew participation by August 5th – leaders will be given a discount code for their team.
  • After official Eastside 10k Charity is confirmed for each crew, they must set up a fundraising page at
  • Must commit to fundraising at least $50 from the crew to be eligible for the competitions.
  • Participants must designate their crew team by September 11. This can be done during registration, or by emailing before the deadline. Note that this team selection is by Run Crew / Club – your crew leader will notify CRS which charity your crew will represent.

Check out how last year’s challenge went down in these videos – part one | part two

Meet the Scotiabank Vancouver Half-Marathon Pacer Team: Christy Baker.

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By Scotiabank Vancouver Half-Marathon Pacer, Christy Baker.

VANCOUVER June 6th 2016. My first half-marathon was the Scotiabank Vancouver Half-Marathon in 2003. I had just moved to Vancouver and running was my way to get to know the city and meet new friends. Fast forward to 2016 and I have done this race 5 times and a total of 15 half-marathons, one full marathon and numerous trail races including Seek the Peak! I am happily married with two kids and life is busy, but running not only keeps me fit and healthy, it is my social outing with friends or my husband, hitting our local trails minutes away from my front door.

I know we all lead busy lives and there is a fine line between balance and chaos. I try to keep this balance by running early in the morning, on the weekend, during my work day or after my kids go to bed. I find half-marathon training works with my family life and it is not so demanding that it takes away from every day life and fitness activities.

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Training for the Scotiabank Vancouver Half-Marathon this year, I have recruited some friends to run the distance with me as I will be the 2-hour Pace Bunny. This will help me practice staying on a consistent pace because I am usually a fast starter and then need to dig deep the last few kilometers to finish! My half-marathon times have improved over the last three years and I am happy with my consistently finishing between 1:45 -1:48. I am looking forward to leading the 2-hour pace group and encouraging others to get a personal best or just finish their first half-marathon. I look forward to seeing you at the start line on Sunday June 26th and if you see me, please say hi! I love to chat when I run so let’s make this an awesome half-marathon!

Register to run the Scotiabank Vancouver Half-Marathon with Christy on Sunday June 26th. Sign up here.


On Being a Scotiabank Half Digital Champion

By | Digital Champions, Scotiabank Charity Challenge, Scotiabank Vancouver Half | No Comments
by Digital Champion Bradley Cuzen

When I did my very first Scotiabank race back in 2009, it was a 5K. It seems that the race wasn’t chip timed, so I have no idea how long it took me to finish. What I can remember – vaguely – is that it was a struggle. It was one of my first races ever. Fast forward to 2016, and I am proud and honoured to be a Scotiabank Half Digital Champion!

And what exactly is that, a Digital Champion? Well, we are a diverse bunch of runners – different ages, who run different speeds, at different stages in our running journey. But what we have in common is our love for the sport, and our enthusiasm for the Scotiabank Half and what it represents and means to us.

You can meet all of the Digital Champions – and Pacers – by dropping by the Canada Running Series West website here. Debra Kato and I especially look forward to representing this event with enthusiasm!

Charity Challenge

One of the things that makes the Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon & 5K a truly special event is the emphasis on fundraising for charity. Every year there are a number of featured charities, plus a list of over 70 charitable partners to fundraise on behalf of. Fundraising can be as much or as little as you want, either as an individual or as part of a team. And while the Scotiabank Charity Challenge is an awesome component of the weekend, it’s not an obligation – but for me it holds great value.

I had intended to sign up for the Scotiabank Half in 2012 – and actually believed I had – but discovered just days before the race that I hadn’t registered. I took it as a sign and gave it a miss.

In 2013, I was on the ball early and signed up in January for the Canada Running Series Combo – the Vancouver Spring Run-Off 8K (now the Modo 8K), the Scotiabank Half, and the Eastside 10K. At that point, the thought of fundraising hadn’t yet entered my mind.

BC Cancer Foundation

Late in March of 2013, life threw us a curveball. My mom ended up in hospital with a number of medical issues, and we soon learned that she had cancer. It would turn out to be late stage pancreatic cancer, one of the cancers with the lowest survival rates. Because it often goes undetected until it has spread, it is largely incurable. This turned out to be the case for my mom. I headed back to Ontario to spend time with her and my dad, but two weeks later on April 19, she passed away quietly in hospice.

We spent the next couple of weeks putting affairs in order, planning the funeral, saying goodbye. And then it was back to the real world. I felt helpless, a bit lost, angry and exhausted. Then I decided that the only thing I could do was try and do something positive – and that where the Scotiabank Half came into play.

BC Cancer FoundationDeciding to fundraise on behalf of the BC Cancer Foundation, I wanted to honour my mom’s memory. I committed to raising money to fight cancer – and to help fund the research that is still desperately needed.

That commitment has continued – in 2014 and 2015 – and I’m doing it again this year. My goal is to raise $3,000 and bring my lifetime fundraising total to over $12,000. You can visit my fundraising page here:

So no matter what your motivation – to run your first half marathon, to join a team, to fundraise for a charity that is dear to your heart – the Scotiabank Half & 5K is a race worth running! Want to sign up? Visit the website here.

Mary Alice Cuzen 1934-2013

Meet the Digital Champions of #ScotiaHalf

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by Digital Champion Debra Kato

This past weekend, was the BMO Vancouver Marathon. The Canada Running Series West had a booth at the expo, promoting The Scotia Half Marathon and 5K and their other remaining race for 2016, The East Side 10K.

On the first day of the expo, I saw Race Director, Clif at the Canada Running Series booth! In addition to seeing him at the races, race social evening runs, I’ve also volunteered for him at the races.

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I had the opportunity to volunteer at the booth on Friday with Race Western Operations Director, Tom, too!

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It was fun to promote this running series to the other runners going through the expo! I saw an old co-worker I hadn’t seen in over 20 years and a lot of other runner friends! Most of them plan to do the two races!

I met a couple of pacers in the Asics Pacer Team!

This is David Tam, who is the 2:15 pacer. He came by the booth today. This is from the Scotia Half website:

David is a photographer, an educator, and a father of two young kids. Running has always been part of his life from competing in track & field and soccer. He started running longer distances when he became a father and as a way to stay in shape. Now, he runs just for the pure joy of running, so if you join his group, plan to have a fun day! Slower the pace, the better the conversations.

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This is Mike Hsiao, who is a BMO Marathon Ambassador! He is the 1:45 pacer for the Scotia Half! He and I both ran the full marathon together this weekend, though he finished with a much, much faster time!

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He is also the founder and president of an 80 plus volunteer group, Race Force, who volunteer at different running events in our city! They really support the running community well!

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The Canada Running Series West races also attracts volunteers. These two BMO race volunteers are already signed up to volunteer at the Scotia Half!

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Here is my fellow digital champion, Bradley Cuzen! He is an accomplished runner who blogs, tweets and does other social media about his sport! We met through social media and have since participated in many road and trail races together and even ran a snow shoe race on Grouse Grind!

The #Scotia Half has been a race dear to his heart and he has raised thousands for his charity, the BC Cancer Foundation, in his Mom’s memory.

Connect with Bradley:

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We have both been big supporters of the Canada Running Series West races! We have both raced the #Modo8K, #EastSide10K and #ScotiaHalf before. We’re both wearing last year’s #ScotiaHalf and #Eastside10K shirts!

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It was nice to be both chosen to be the Scotia Half Digital Champions this year! We always have fun!

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Take a look at these past race medals and cool shirts! Had a great time promoting these two races today!

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Hope you sign up! Just 54 days to go to the June 26th event!


Rob Watson on “The Blowout Race”

By | Digital Champions, Modo Spring Run-Off 8k | No Comments
March 16, 2016 – Vancouver

Everyone participates in events their own reasons, and sometimes those reasons different depending upon what you want to get out of each event. Rob Watson (@robbiedxc) is off to the World Half Marathon Championships next week, but is also racing the Modo 8k this weekend. Why race 8k when you’re running a World Championship event the following weekend? Let’s let Rob explain:

I spend a lot of time running, and when I am not running I spend a lot of time thinking about running. Over the years I have developed some theories on this sport. Most are weird and don’t make sense, but every so often I think that I may be on to something. I have this theory about the power of the “Blowout Race” and why they are both awesome and necessary. So if you will, please lend me a few minutes to let me try to explain this to you. Ladies, Gents and everyone else. From the deepest corners of a runners mind. I present to you – The Blowout Race.

The Canada Running Series Modo 8k is just days away. I’m excited to get out there and give it a go in one of the better races that this city has to offer. The course is nice, the competition is solid and the vibe is always awesome. I wish I could say that I am coming in peaked, rested and ready to roll, but that is not the case. That is ok though, it’s all part of the master plan.
You see, not every race has to be a PB, you don’t have to have the blades sharpened and be rearing to go every time you toe the line. Sometimes you can run a race for reasons other than your time or place. I am running Modo as a “blowout race” before I head over to Cardiff Wales for the World Half Marathon Championships on March 26th.

What is a blowout race? Simply put it is a race where you swallow your pride, throw caution to the wind and just give it hell. The goal is to make yourself hurt and ride the redline for as long as possible.

Why am I doing this? Well I have to admit, this idea comes through personal experience of trial and error. There is no science to support my reasoning, just years on the roads and a whole lot of races in the legs. The basic idea is to teach the body to get used to that racing burn and manage pain.

Here is my theory. You can work away as hard as you want in practice, but no matter how hard you push, you can never truly run yourself ragged (at least I have trouble reaching that point). But in races, something clicks and I find that I can push myself just that much more. It is that feeling of absolute fatigue that I am aiming for come Sunday.

Again, Why? Well this is the part that I have a hard time explaining. I find that my body reacts well to that all out effort. When you force yourself to just dig that much deeper and grind that much harder something clicks. The body wakes up and kinda says “ok, so I guess I should get used to this” and then your suffer management score bumps up a notch or two- because when it comes right down to it, racing is all about managing discomfort and dealing with fatigue.

I find that after a race in which I blow it out I get a nice bump in my fitness and my training improves. Things that were challenging a week or so earlier are just that much easier. You may say “yeah, well obviously, that’s just how training works.” To that I say shut it, it’s more than that.

I put my blowout race theory to practice earlier this year when I ran the Pioneer 8km one week before the Houston Half Marathon- it worked like a charm. I went into that 8km with a plan to simply go for it. I felt great through 5km then spent 3km hurting pretty good. It was miserable-I was tired, achy and simply spent at the finish. Mission accomplished. The next week in Houston my body was ready for the race pain and I came through 8km faster than the weekend before and feeling just fine.

Anyways, so the Modo 8km is going to be my blowout race before the World Half Champs. I am going to get out there and just give it hell. Like I said before. the course is great, the competition is solid and vibes will be solid.

I reckon you should try the blowout sometime. It may sound unreasonable, but I promise that it is a real thing!

See ya Sunday!


Whether you’re looking for a blowout race before another big Spring event, running your first 8k, or just running for an excuse to have some beers at the post-race concert – we look forward to seeing you at this weekend’s Modo 8k. If you forgot to sign up, we added a few extra spots so grab one while you still can!

Taking Care of the Details: Tips from the Elites

By | Digital Champions, General, Modo Spring Run-Off 8k | No Comments
March 2, 2016 – by Chris Winter (@cwinter3) & Rachel Cliff (@Dangerous_Cliff)

Do you find yourself squeezing in workouts around the rest of your life – before work, during lunch breaks, and in the evening? While your workouts are important, it is also critical to take your recovery seriously: the small details of what you do when you’re not running have a bigger impact on your training quality than you might think.

The physical adaptions made to your training occur during rest and recovery, not during the training itself. If you continually neglect the recovery aspect of training you run the risk of burning out, getting sick or injured, and having poor workouts.

It can be tough to justify making time for recovery but, remember that if you’re able to stay away from the physio or avoid getting the flu, focusing on small details may actually save you time. Despite your busy schedule there are still a few ways you can sneak recovery into your day:

  1. Sleep – We’ve all heard that most of us don’t get enough sleep. Research suggests that you should be aiming for 7-9 hours at least each night. While this is true, it may not be possible for everyone; so it is important to make the hours you do get count. Here are a few helpful tips:
    • Establish a pre-bedtime routine. Do some foam rolling (more on this later), brush your teeth, crawl into bed, and read a book. Establishing a routine will help quiet your mind and prep you for a better night’s sleep. If possible, try and stick to a consistent wake-up and bedtime every day of the week.
    • Reduce screen time. Studies have shown that the light from your devices (phones and tablets) can greatly affect the quality of your sleep. It is recommended that you put your phone or tablet away at least an hour before bed.
    • Create a quiet and comfortable sleep environment. A quiet, cool, dark, and comfortable environment is crucial for the best possible sleep. Although this can be difficult to accomplish, especially when traveling, everything that can be controlled should be. Make sure the room is dark with a comfortable temperature (around 18 degrees C is optimal). It’s better to have the room slightly cooler than normal with enough bed covers to stay warm. Unwanted noise can be masked with a fan or ear plugs.
    • Avoid caffeine in the late afternoon and evening. This should go without saying, but caffeine is present in more than just coffee or tea. It’s also found in chocolate and ice cream which may keep you buzzing longer than expected.
  2. Nutrition – Most of us understand that nutrition is a critical aspect of training; in fact, we find it interesting that our diet is one of the first things people ask about when they find out that we are an elite runners! Nutrition can be a complicated topic and there always seems to be a new secret superfood or diet that promises to make you run faster for longer. One week a blog might be touting the benefits of a low carb diet, and then the next it’s telling you how teff flour is the secret behind the east African distance running success. We’re constantly bombarded with this as well, but, no matter what we’ve read, the following mindset always seems to hold true:
    • Eat a Variety of Foods. You generally can’t go wrong if you’re eating a little bit of everything (barring no food allergies!). Remember that different fruits and vegetables will contain their own profile of nutrients so be sure to mix things up; the general expression is “eat a rainbow every day”. Just because kale is a highly nutritious green leafy vegetable doesn’t mean you need to eat it with every meal! This would get pretty boring and if you eat the same item repetitively, you have less opportunity to consume other healthy fruits and vegies. The same goes for protein sources: if you had red meat last night, try eating fish or vegetarian chili tonight!
      Consuming a mixture of foods means you’ll benefit from getting a variety of nutrients and can stay two steps ahead of the curve: you can smile smugly when a new blog talks about beets being a super food, and you’ve been incorporating them in your diet for years. Similarly, there’s no need to panic if an article finding high levels of arsenic in brown rice comes out – unless maybe you’ve been having it for breakfast, lunch and dinner for the past year – if you’ve been consuming a wide variety of grains there is likely no cause for concern!
    • Remember, food is fuel. If you’re training hard, your nutrient demands are high and food is what powers you through your runs. First and foremost, each meal should include a mixture of meat (or a protein substitute), dairy, carbs, and fruit and veggies. Similarly, if you’re craving a snack use it as an opportunity to get some nutrients and protein in: hummus, crackers, and veggies are a great afternoon snack!
    • Everything in moderation. We strongly believe that there is no need to eliminate anything from your diet; runners can get into serious trouble if they try too hard to restrict “unhealthy” foods. We were both raised in households where we were always allowed cookies, but only if we had a piece of fruit first! Feel free to indulge if you’re craving cake, cookies or even beer and French fries, just do so in moderation and be sure that these “empty calories” don’t replace healthy foods.
  3. Self-Care – Don’t have time or money to spend visiting a massage therapist and physio each week? We’ll let you in on a secret… You don’t need to. While there are times it is necessary to seek out professional help, sometimes prevention is the best medicine and there’s a lot you can achieve at home to stop injuries from occurring all together.03-02-16-recovery
    If you can only buy two items our top tools of choice are a lacrosse ball and a good foam roller. The foam roller’s great for large muscle groups like the back, hamstrings, quads, calves and hip flexors. When rolling these areas out we start with the back and then move down from there, spending a minute or so on one area. For problem areas (like the glutes or a trigger spot on your back) the lacrosse ball is usually just the right size and firmness.
    Set aside some time a few nights a week (like while watching TV) to work on your problem areas and you’ll find you are waking up in the morning a lot less achy. Keeping this type of therapy as part of your regular routine will decrease your rate of injury and allow you to bounce back faster and stronger for your next workout.
  4. Don’t Be Afraid Of Rest – This can’t be stressed enough. Many runners like to take the approach of “more is better”, but this isn’t always the case. Sure there are times during a tough training block where it’s okay to be carrying a certain level of fatigue, but if you find yourself so tired that your quality sessions are being seriously hampered its time for an easy or rest day. Sometimes less is more! Our training moto is to make the hard days hard, and keep the easy days easy, which ensures we are ready to go on out quality workout days.

Final Thoughts

Nothing above should come as a surprise. Unfortunately, there are no silver bullets when it comes to running and training; it’s all about small incremental improvements that, when cumulatively added up, can make a big difference in your performance.

Happy Running!

Remember that registration closes on March 14th for the Modo Spring Run-Off 8k – don’t miss out!

How to Take Your Training to the Next Level

By | Community Leaders, Digital Champions, Modo Spring Run-Off 8k | No Comments

March is around the corner and race reason is officially upon us! We spoke with one of Canada’s top middle-distance runners, our friend Rachel Cliff (shown above at last year’s Modo 8k) and she’s given us some great advice on how to take your training to the next level!

February 22, 2016 – by Rachel Cliff (@dangerous_cliff)

Is the Modo 8km on your radar? If not, it should be! This year the run is held on March 20th and its route takes you along the stunning Stanley Park Seawall. With the days getting longer (and hopefully sunnier and warmer), what better way to kick off the beginning of Spring than with a great road race!?

With just a month to go, the next few weeks are very important. Even a good hard 3-week block of training (which still leaves time to recover before the Modo 8km) can have a huge impact on race day and the fitness gained can carry through to your other races later this Spring and Summer.

The mental approach taken to training can be as important as the work itself; here are 5 tips to help you maximize your training over the next month:

  1. Set Goals
    These two types of goals are equally important:

    • Outcome goals (i.e. complete a certain distance or run a particular time) – these should be established at the beginning of a training block.
    • Process goals (i.e. a number of minutes to run each week) which break the outcome goal into “bite sized pieces”- these can be re-evaluated on a weekly basis.

    Most of us are good at setting outcome goals, but as a runner you should create both. Without process goals you’ll never know whether you are on target to meet your final outcome goals. Design an appropriate training plan yourself or with a coach, write your goals down and glance over them often.

  2. Establish a Schedule
    At the beginning of each week outline your training and schedule time for it the same way you would for anything else. Scheduling is critical, especially at this time of year when motivation can be low and the Spring racing season may still seem far away.Schedule your runs at times that will least likely conflict with other commitments. Doing so means you’ll be less likely to cut your training short or miss a session altogether. Once your training session is scheduled, be committed and just accept whatever weather occurs at the time.
  3. Run With Purpose
    Before heading out have a quick pep-talk with yourself about what you want to accomplish on that run. This can be something very small like focusing on relaxing your shoulders, running a particular pace, or simply just having fun. Having purpose and focus will allow you to get the most out of each training run.
  4. Remember, Everything Is Important But Nothing Is
    Sometimes things don’t go as planned; you may roll an ankle, feel a new pain come up, or terrible wind may prevent you from hitting your goal pace. When adverse events happen, think big picture and long term. If something is hurting, get in to see a physio quickly and don’t be afraid to be pro-active with cross-training (I.e. elliptical, stationary bike, swimming) for a session– there’s no point getting seriously injured over one run. Similarly, don’t stress if you can’t hit your goal workout times, especially if the weather isn’t playing nice or you’ve had a tough day at work. The most important thing about training is to be consistent.
  5. Keep It Fun
    Enjoy your training and, if needed, mix things up to stay motivated: try a new running route or run with a friend. Some Spring days can be beautiful, but many of your runs may still be before sunrise or after sunset and in the pouring rain. Remember that no matter what the conditions, focus on the positives and be thankful that you’re outside exercising and breathing in clean Vancouver air.

Stay tuned over the next few weeks as we’ll continue to bring you training tips from some of Vancouver’s top runners! Remember that the final price increase for the #Modo8k is March 1st, so sign up soon to save!

Happy, Healthy, Hips

By | Community Leaders, Digital Champions, Modo Spring Run-Off 8k | No Comments
by Katherine Moore (@RunningIntoYoga)

You know you need to stretch, you think about it, you may even talk about doing it, however you never get around to it. I hear so many times “I am too stiff to do yoga”. It is like saying “I am too dirty to take a shower.”

Runners tend to have tight muscles due to the repeated action from running. Your hips can especially get tight over time. Whether you are a beginner or competitive runner you can benefit from a simple yoga practice. Yoga poses increase flexibility and also improves strength, stability and balance in the body.

All you need for a simple yoga practice is 10-20 minutes, your breath and an open mind. While doing the postures make sure you are aware of your body and breath. You want to focus on the breath keep it steady, smooth and slow this will help relax your nervous system and mind. To keep your joints and muscles safe you will be expanding and opening one area of the body while keeping muscle energy in another area.

Here are a few yoga poses you can do anytime to keep your hips happy, and healthy:

02-10-16-hips-anjaneyasanaLow Lunge – Anjaneyasana

Step right foot forward, stack the front knee over the front ankle; bring the left knee softly to the floor. Push the right foot into the floor and pull it towards the body, back knee pulls in energetically. This will help to lift the hips up and back. Keep your lower abdomen in and spine long. Shoulders stay on the back. You can stay on fingertips or lower down to hands or forearms. Keep the jaw and facial muscles relaxed. Breathe into your hips.

02-10-16-hips-lungeStaying in the lunge, walk your right hand off to the side, fingers face out. Move your hips forward and down, then reach back bending your back knee and see if you can hold your right foot in your left hand. You are off your back knee and more on the top of the right thigh. Spread the back toes and pull your heel in as you push it away. Shoulders stay on your back, abdomen toned. Keep both sides of the throat even and lean your head back. Breathe deeply.

Pigeon Pose – Eka Pada Rajakapotasana

02-10-16-hips-pigeonPlace your right wider than your right hip. Your left leg extends behind your left hip. Pull your legs towards each other and square your hips. Keep your abdomen toned and lengthen your spine. Keep your right toes spreading and your right inner ankle lifted. Breathe deeply.

Tree Pose – Vrksasana

02-10-16-hips-treeStanding on your left leg place your right foot on your inner left shin or thigh, above or below the knee. Push them together and lift up out of your waist and lengthen your spine. Keep your shoulders on your back and lift your chest. Breathe deeply.

Reclining Bound Angle – Supta Baddha Konasana

02-10-16-hips-suptaLie on your back and bring the soles of your feet together. Allow your knees to relax to the side and down. Relax the whole body into the floor. Close your eyes and breathe deeply.

Corpse Pose – Savasana

02-10-16-hips-corpseMake sure to lay in this posture at least for a few minutes to allow the body to absorb all the benefits. Relax, close your eyes and breathe deeply. This will rejuvinate your body, mind, and spirit.

Calmness comes with Quiet – B.K.S Iyengar

Check out some of Katherine’s other articles on how to incorporate yoga into your training schedule, then join us at the #Modo8k on March 20!