Sexton and Woodfine Claim Canada Running Series Titles in banner year

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By Paul Gains.

A twisted ankle meant a late start to the racing season but after claiming the 2017 Canada Running Series overall title, Leslie Sexton isn’t complaining.

The 30-year old from London, Ontario finished with 164 points, earned from her two second place finishes in the Toronto Waterfront 10k and Under Armour Eastside 10k (Vancouver) and then her command performance at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon where she was first Canadian and fifth place overall in this IAAF Gold Label race.

On top of the individual race prize money, she collects $3000 for the overall title and was somewhat surprised with how things turned out.

“I sometimes forget about it as you are always focused on one race or what is coming up next,” she reveals. “But it is something my coach and I try to target at the start of the season.

“We try to pick three races in the Canada Running Series and then do the (necessary) one out of province, the Vancouver Eastside 10k. So it was always something we planned to do. It’s kind of in the back of your mind when you are performing at a single event.”

Winning the Athletics Canada Marathon Championship in a time of 2:35:47 was a fine end to the season but has her thinking ahead, while paying off debts accrued while pursuing her running career.

“It’s the first year in a couple of years that I haven’t got ‘Quest for Gold’ funding, the Ontario provisional funding,” she explains. “So I had to make the dollars stretch further and watch the expenses. I tried not to travel too much for competition and really just focused on stuff where I was staying in province, for the most part.

“So hopefully that will bring up some other opportunities – having a bit more money for that. I am probably looking at the Houston Half Marathon next. I am not sure what I will get from the race because I am going in there kind of late. But if I have to put some of my own money into that, it makes it an easier decision now.”

Runner-up this year was Olympian Natasha Wodak of Vancouver, who earns $1,500 from her 149 points. Master’s competitor Lioudmila Kortchaguina of Thornhill, Ontario was an impressive third with 108 points. That rewards her with a bonus $1,000.

The men’s overall title went to Tristan Woodfine from Speed River Track Club in Guelph who won the Race Roster Spring Run Off 8k in Toronto in April, then finished 4th in both the Toronto Waterfront 10k and the Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon on back-to-back weekends in June. That earned him 116 points, twelve more than Toronto’s Sami Jibril who actually beat him at the Waterfront 10k.

Baghdad Rachem of Montreal finished 3rd with 70 points overall, and also won the Masters’ division with 120 points by virtue of being first Canadian Master at both the Toronto Waterfront 10k and the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon.

Woodfine was complimentary when speaking of his experience at the various Canada Running Series races.

“I wasn’t really planning on winning the overall title,” Woodfine says. “All (Race Director) Alan Brookes’ races are very well organized. and they provide a lot of support to the Canadian elite road runners. So doing his races is sort of a natural thing. That is why I ended up doing so many. It’s great to win the overall Series.”

With his focus, these days, on paramedic studies at the Ontario College of Health and Technology in Hamilton, the money will come in handy for tuition. He plans to return to the Ottawa Valley once he has graduated.

The Masters’ Women’s title was a tight contest between Vancouver’s Catherine Watkins and Lioudmila Kortchaguina, with Watkins triumphing in a battle of two outstanding 46-year-olds. The member of the BC Endurance Project finished with 150 points, just eight points more than her Ontario rival. Watkins’ performance at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon on October 22nd proved the difference. She collected a perfect 60 points by winning the Canadian Masters’ marathon title there. “I am extremely happy to have been healthy and strong this year and to have been able to compete in, and win the masters competition in the Series,” said Watkins. “The Masters running scene is extremely strong now in Canada and it is fantastic that the CRS continues to support those of us who continue to compete as we get older.”

While Canada’s Olympians and top distance runners lit up the front end of CRS 2017, the Series enjoyed a banner year throughout. Every one of the seven races sold out, with overall participation up 10% to 57,170. New sponsors like lululemon, Under Armour and New Balance brought great activation and fresh excitement to the existing blue-chip partners, and total fundraising grew by 11% to a remarkable $5,963,944 – that’s an average of over $100 raised by our charity runners for every Series participant!

Online registration at the lowest, ‘Early Bird’ pricing is already open for the 2018 Banque Scotia 21k, 10k et 5k de Montreal, plus both 2018 Vancouver events: the Scotiabank Vancouver Half-marathon & 5k, and the Under Armour Eastside 10k. Most other events will open on Tuesday, November 21st, all at You’re invited!


fortius vo2max testing

A Behind-The-Scenes Look at VO2max Testing

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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.


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.


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.


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.


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 @FortiusCentre


recovery properly after a race

How to recover properly after a race

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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.

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.

Run Barbados Marathon Weekend 2017

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 Come for the run, stay for the fun! 

Join Lanni Marchant and Natasha Wodak on our Canada Running Series road trip to Run Barbados Marathon Weekend, December 1st – 3rd 2017. Join “Betty and Veronica” in the 10K, on the beach, for a few easy runs, and out on the town! It’s the ultimate CRS year-end reward!

We strongly recommend calling today as space is limited and will sell out at the group hotel.

Trip includes:

  • Round trip airfare from Toronto or Montreal via Air Canada.
  • 7 nights (November 30th – December 7th) at the fabulous 4-star Bougainvillea Beach Resort on Maxwell Coast Road.
  • Studio Room CAD$1418.00* per person based on double occupancy.
  • Junior Suite CAD$1568.00* per person based on double occupancy.
  • Transfers between airport-hotel in Barbados.
  • Prices quoted as of July 20th, may be subject to change. Space limited. Book early!

There’s a race for everyone: 1 Mile, 5K, 10K, Half-marathon, and Marathon, spread through Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Race details:

Then it’s time for the beach! Don’t miss our photo gallery from last year’s tour!


To inquire about bookings, call Marge Folkes at Marville Travel 905-891-0111 or email

For inquiries regarding the races email with “Run Barbados” as the subject.

Race details:

Running & Beer

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

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

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

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

Jim Finlayson

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

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

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

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

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

Corey Gallagher

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

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

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

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

Feature Friday – Sports Practitioners

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We’ll be talking with various local Sports Practitioners over the next few weeks for our #FeatureFridays. This week, we’re talking to Chris Napier at Restore Physiotherapy – check it out!


Physiotherapists are highly qualified health professionals whose main goal is to help people get better and stay well. Using advanced techniques and evidence-based care, physiotherapists assess, diagnose, treat, and prevent a wide range of health conditions and movement disorders. Physiotherapy helps repair damage, reduce stiffness and pain, increase mobility and improve quality of life. Physiotherapy extends from health promotion to injury prevention, acute care to rehabilitation. Physiotherapists, put simply, are the experts when it comes to assessing and teaching movement.

At Restore Physiotherapy, we believe in one-on-one treatment time with plenty of time dedicated to assessing the injury to get to the root cause. This is followed by a comprehensive treatment program utilizing exercise, manual therapy, and movement re-education to improve symptoms and prevent re-injury. As a running specialist, I take a detailed history of the problem as the runner presents it (location/type of pain, duration, aggravating factors, etc.) paying careful attention to details about changes in training, footwear, surface, and other variables. Since most (or arguably all) running injuries are a case of “too much, too soon” any sudden change in one of these variables can present an opportunity for injury to develop.

A gait analysis on a treadmill is also an important part of the assessment of the runner to determine if biomechanical factors are involved in the manifestation of the injury. These risk factors may not be evident on a simple physical examination so a gait analysis is not to be left out. Running injuries often develop when tissues break down due to poor form or maladaptation to the stresses placed on them. While careful progression of training volume and intensity can prevent most injuries from occurring, runners are known to push themselves and train through early signs of injury. Poor biomechanics exacerbated by a state of fatigue can result in typical overuse injuries such as Achilles tendinopathy, patellofemoral pain syndrome, iliotibial band (ITB) syndrome, and medial tibial stress syndrome (“shin splints”).

When assessing a runner on the treadmill, I look for biomechanical risk factors ranging from a slow cadence and increased vertical impact force to poor geometry in the lower extremities at foot strike. Treatment may consist of correcting faulty mechanics (only if they are determined to be involved in the injury), changing stride characteristics like cadence or stride length, and strengthening the appropriate tissues to withstand the repeated forces of running. Throughout the treatment process, the gradual overload principle must be followed, being sure to increase overall workload by approximately 10% per week. Too much and the runner may break down; too little and the body will fail to adapt to greater loads.

Here are some tips on how to prevent the most common running injuries:

  • Identify any recent changes in your training (volume, intensity, surface, footwear, etc.) as most injuries are a result of “too much, too soon”
  • In the initial stages of injury, stop running if the pain changes your running gait or increases as you run. If you are able to run with mild pain, and without changes to your mechanics, it may be ok to continue running through the injury—consult your physiotherapist
  • Running is a one-legged sport: focus on exercises that improve eccentric control of the body over the stance limb (single leg, weight-bearing, dynamic, plyometric)
  • Have a gait analysis performed and correct any significant gait abnormalities with gait retraining if considered to be clinically relevant
  • If you’re starting to feel burned out—mentally or physically—take a week or two of easy running before a forced break due to injury occurs

Chris Napier
Sport Physiotherapist, Restore Physiotherapy
PhD Candidate (Biomechanics), University of British Columbia
Athletics Canada Physiotherapist

My decision to accept the opportunity to serve as the Director of Chiropractic Services in early 2013 for Fortius Sport & Health was an easy one.  Working as part of a team in a state of the art facility, where collaboration, integration, and innovation are the fundamental pillars is any sports practitioners dream.

As chiropractors, we not only evaluate and treat sites of injury but look at the individual as a whole.  We observe overall posture and alignment, as well as the quality of movement through sports specific actions to identify areas of dysfunction and get athletes back into the activity they love.


All sports expose participants to repetitive stresses due to the repetition of similar movement patterns over and over.  Running is certainly no exception.  Every step, depending on how fast one is moving, will impart forces of 2 to 5 times body weight into your structure.

Every runner will attest to the common aches and pains or injuries such as plantar fasciitis, achilles tendinitis, hamstring strains, or the ever present tight glutes. Helping you manage the forces associated with running is where chiropractic comes in.

Using manual therapy, we provide detailed treatment to involve myofascial soft tissue structures and joints in combination with traditional chiropractic manipulation, when necessary, to improve mobility and musculoskeletal function. In this manner we not only assist in resolving current injury but also look to improve performance and reduce future injury occurrence.


When we work to optimize posture, ensure muscle tone is well maintained, and joints are moving well, the body can more efficiently manage the repeated stresses associated with running.  Adding daily self-care (which includes strengthening and mobilization of the major muscle groups and joints) to your chiropractic care will help to keep you injury free and enjoying your runs.

There are a number of areas to address in our daily routines, and below are a couple of my favourite stretches (downloadable PDFs).


Fortius SportFortius Sport & Health is an integrated athlete development centre strengthened through philanthropy and focused on optimizing athlete performance for life. Situated just outside of Vancouver, British Columbia, it is home to a state-of-the-art training facility as well an integrated team of sport medicine and science practitioners.

At Fortius, chiropractors work with sport medicine physicians, physiatrists, physiotherapists, kinesiologists (hydrotherapy), massage therapists, optometrists, biomechanists, physiologists, strength and conditioning coaches and dietitians to deliver precise, customized treatment and training plans for athletes of all ages and abilities.

Our chiropractors collectively have provided performance and injury care across multiple sports, including NCAA Swimming, Olympic/World Championship level Track and Field, CFL and NFL Football, Ironman Triathlon and International level soccer.

Whether you’re a professional training toward a World Championship, your first 10km, or simply wanting to walk for health, we would be honoured by the opportunity to be part of your care team, assisting you in accomplishing your athletic goals.

Visit to learn more or to book an appointment today.

Feature Friday – March 3, 2017

Although Massage Therapy is a well embraced form of rehabilitation, its progression over the years from spa and relaxation work, to specialized therapies such as pre-natal or athletics, to being included in preventative medicine such as injury prevention, is an important awareness to have.

Many seek out an RMT when a problem arises, and of course, this is an appropriate time to get soft tissue work. Massage Therapy, however, can be used as a means to help prepare an athlete for competition, as a tool to enhance athletic performance, as a treatment approach to help the athlete recover after exercise or competition, and as a manual intervention for sport related musculoskeletal injuries (such as promoting tissue and system health before breakdown begins).

Getting injured is every active persons worst nightmare – it impairs performance, delays training and conditioning schedules during recovery, and they also hurt!. Many injuries, however, can be prevented altogether with the right rehabilitative care (in combination with a proper training program, nutrition and water intake, sleep, and equipment) and Massage Therapy can play an invaluable role! Soft tissue work such as Massage monitors muscle tone, helps to eliminate scar tissue, increases mobility, increases range of motion, reduces muscle hypertonicity, and promotes relaxation (that one is cliché but surprisingly valuable!). RMTs involved with athletics are also often competent with sport related taping, or have specialties such as Graston Technique or ART, which have traditionally been done by Physiotherapy or Chiropractic.

If you use your body on any kind of regular basis for sport, Massage and soft tissue work should be an integral part of your life, whether it be to take care of the big and small issues that get in the way of efficient and pain free movement, or to help you prevent those issues from happening in the first place.

Impulse Sport Therapeutics is a multi-disciplinary clinic with locations in West Vancouver, North Vancouver and Port Moody.

The 5 Worst Habits of Runners

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Runners are guilty for developing poor habits that they believe will enhance their training, but can actually negatively affect training and increase their risk of injury.  Here are some of the ones we see most often, and what you can do to prevent them:

  • Running too much.  More isn’t always better.  Runners make the mistake of ramping up their mileage too quickly before they allow their bodies to adapt to the training.  Overuse injuries are caused primarily from running more than the body can withstand.  Abiding by the “10% Rule” is the safest way to increase mileage; if you’re running 30km per week and want to do more, do 33km the following week and so on.
  • Hip/core work isn’t a part of the training program.  Another way of preventing injury is by incorporating a simple core and hip strengthening routine.  When injuries occur it’s typically from muscle weaknesses and imbalances that cause runners to compensate.  By adding hip and core exercises into your weekly routine, it helps to stabilize the leg with every stride, and helps to maintain good posture while running.
  • Running on the same route/surfaces.  Changing the variability of your running routes and surfaces can help to keep injuries at bay.  If you always run the same flat course on the road, it might be time to hit the trails.  Mixing up the surface you run on can help to strengthen stabilizer muscles in your legs and feet, and avoid overloading any other muscles.  Using softer surfaces like trails and rubberized tracks will reduce the impact on running on your body which is best when you’re tired, or needing a recovery day.
  • Skipping rest days.  Overtraining can lead to a multitude of problems from injury, increased risk of sickness, and loss of motivation.  Rest days are a crucial part of any training program as it allows the body to absorb all the work it’s done throughout the week.  If that day is skipped your body doesn’t have the time to rest and will continually breakdown until the point of injury.  Listening to your body is key to realize.  If it’s feeling unusually fatigued or if there’s any nagging pain, it’s probably time to take a day off.
  • Not wearing the best shoes for your feet.  Shoes are the most important tool any runner has.  If they are worn out, or have an improper fit, that can increase the risk of injury.  Shoes are typically good for about 300-500 miles, but after that the cushioning and stability starts to wear out.  If you’re unsure of what shoes are the best for you, head to the nearest run specialty store and have the experts help you figure out what you should be wearing.  They’ll provide a wealth of knowledge.
Training Partners

The Benefits of Training Partners

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Running, long distance running in particular, is the epitome of individual pursuit.  It provides a mental break from the hustle and bustle of the work day, a chance to tune in to what’s going on with one’s body, and has the flexibility of being done whenever one decides to lace up and go.  However, on the days where it’s hard to get out of bed, or find the motivation to workout, a training partner or group may be exactly what you need!

Running partners/groups help create a tight-knit community in a very individual sport. While it may not be possible to train with others all the time, when the opportunity presents itself to meet up with others to run, take it!  There are so many benefits to running with others:

  1. Accountability: It can be hard to find the self-discipline get out of bed for a 6am run, especially on cold, dark mornings.  The temptation of hitting the snooze button and going back to sleep in the lovely warmth of a blanket cocoon can be too enticing. Setting plans to meet a running buddy or group will ensure you get out of bed in time.  The accountability will reduce the chances of skipping a run, slacking during a workout, or cutting the run short.
  2. Diversion: When you’re running with a friend, it allows for mindless conversation.  The act of running side by side without the intimidation of eye contact, creates an environment where it’s easier to talk freely and openly.  Some of our closest friendships arise from spending hours pounding the pavement alongside, talking about our life concerns, daily happenings and experiences.  Not only do these conversations clear our minds of clutter, they also help the miles fly by.
  3. Variation: Running with a buddy can provide a wealth of knowledge.  Everyone has their favourite running routes and more often than not, they’ll be different than yours.  Not only can you learn new running routes, but they may have different variations of workouts that could enhance your training.  Providing insight to new recovery modalities, articles, recipes, problem solving techniques, support in personal anecdotes, and cool upcoming events are a few of the benefits of a training partner.
  4. Performance: When running alongside someone, it’s an instant motivator.  Training with someone who is slightly faster pushes you to work harder to keep up, which can improve your performance.  Be careful to choose a comrade who isn’t too much faster so you aren’t pushing too hard and putting yourself at risk of injury.  An even-paced partner is ideal as it’s easier to work off of each other.  Not every day is going to be a good day for both of you, so on the days you’re feeling sluggish, they’ll be there to help pull you through and vice versa.  Plus, they won’t let you slack during a workout when they know you should be there stride for stride.  Everyone loves a wingman.
  5. Safety:  Like the old saying goes, there’s safety in numbers.  This is especially true for runners.  On dark morning and evening runs, it’s always better to have someone with you.  There are too many times where runners go out by themselves with their headphones in and are completely oblivious to those around them, and the potential safety risks.  Stick to familiar routes during the times where there aren’t many people around and plan to run with someone. Also, if you fall or get injured, someone will be there to help you get back home safely.

Looking for groups to run with? Check out of Q & A sessions with of some of the Vancouver Run Crews for an idea of which group might be a good fit. also has a great list.