A Change for the Better

by Shane Dixon

If anyone tells you that running will change your life, you should listen, because it’s true. I’m living proof.

Throughout most of my life, the bulk of my time was spent going to the gym, lifting weights, and, like most younger men, trying to become bigger and more muscular. I often neglected the importance of cardio activities, and instead focused mostly on weight training. During this period of my life, I also enjoyed Toronto’s night life, and spent many nights going out to bars and binge-drinking with friends. Partying served as the perfect outlet for me as I was unhappy with parts of my life, miserable with my sales job, and chose to drown my sorrows with alcohol. Continue reading “A Change for the Better”

Arthritis and Running

We’ve invited readers to send in topic suggestions for this column, and we received this question from David: “Is it possible to run or jog when one has a chronic and painful condition of the knee, like arthritis?”

To begin, there are many causes for “arthritis.” I’m using quotation marks since the patient has to be satisfied that the diagnosis of arthritis is correct in the first place. Arthritis of the knee should definitely be confirmed before any alterations of activity or lifestyle are made. Continue reading “Arthritis and Running”

Eating Well as a Vegetarian Athlete

by Lisa Podlecki

Athletes may choose to eat vegetarian or vegan for a variety of reasons, such as environmental considerations, animal welfare, personal preference, and/or religion. While eating a well-balanced vegetarian diet can have a number of positive health outcomes—including lower risk of heart disease, diabetes and hypertension—athletes may also believe that becoming vegetarian may be a way to lose weight, improve their performance and help with recovery. As with any diet, cutting out a particular food group can result in insufficient calorie and nutrient intake, which may lead to potential nutritional deficiencies and decreased performance. With the proper guidance, however, vegetarian athletes can be just as strong and healthy!

Continue reading “Eating Well as a Vegetarian Athlete”

I Did It!

by Alice Bohlen

I never really considered myself a runner or someone who has the “running bug.” But, all of that changed when I volunteered at the legendary Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend in 2015. The people were cheering, upbeat music was playing and there was a lot of diversity in the crowd. It was the hidden community of running that I always seemed to be drawn to. So, two years later, on the occasion of Canada’s 150th anniversary, I completed a 10K race with my cousin. In this first run, the thing that made the biggest difference for me was the atmosphere. It certainly was the best source of adrenaline that I could have.

Continue reading “I Did It!”

Lake Maggiore Marathon

by Karen Warrendorf and Steve Mattina

A playground for the rich and famous, Lake Maggiore in northern Italy is a truly stunning place to visit. On the south side of the snow-capped Alps, Lake Maggiore (meaning “major” or “large”) is the second largest lake in Italy. Since the climate is mild year-round, the area is filled with Mediterranean vegetation and provides ideal conditions for running. In November 2018, we had the good fortune to travel to Lake Maggiore for the Sportway Lake Maggiore Marathon. We flew to Milan Malpensa Airport and with an easy drive of less than an hour, we arrived in Stresa. Continue reading “Lake Maggiore Marathon”

Ready to Race

by John Stanton

If you’re intimidated by the idea of entering a race, don’t be. Race weekends are designed to offer something for everyone: runners and walkers, young and old, beginner and experienced, elite and back-of-the-pack.

Registering for a race will boost your motivation and provide you with a tangible, time-sensitive goal. Your training runs will have a renewed sense of purpose. Racing improves your form and helps you learn to run more efficiently in an uncomfortable zone. Think of it as speed work in disguise! Continue reading “Ready to Race”

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Running…But Were Afraid to Ask

In running, there are plenty of unexpected little things that can pop up on a training run or in a race. If you’re wondering about something, ask—no matter how silly or embarrassing it may seem. I enjoy meeting runners at race expos and answering quirky running questions, such as:

How do I get rid of a side stitch?
Typically, the dreaded side cramp or “stitch” is an indicator that you’re running too fast or too far for your current level of fitness, causing your diaphragm to work too hard. To alleviate some of the discomfort, ease up on your pace, stay relaxed, and concentrate on pursing your lips and exhaling fully with each breath. Continue reading “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Running…But Were Afraid to Ask”

The Science of Injury Invariability

by Dr. Reed Ferber, Ph.D. CAT(C)

In my last article, I described how rotating multiple shoes and engaging in cross-training activities are both strategies that reduce your risk of injury, based on increasing the variability in the loads being applied to your body. Here, we’ll continue this discussion and give you some strategies to help reduce your injury risk based on biomechanical research.

My research group first introduced the concept of stride-to-stride variability as an indicator of a running injury nearly 10 years ago. We showed that when a runner has reduced gluteus medius muscle strength (the muscles on the side of your hip), your knee is not properly controlled when you run. Subsequently, the weakness leads to increased variability and an unpredictable running pattern. For example, the knee might slightly collapse outwards during one footfall and inwards for the next. However, once those muscles get stronger, a more predictable pattern and reduction in stride-to-stride variability occurs, so your body knows what to expect during the next footfall. Continue reading “The Science of Injury Invariability”

A Life Sentence

I could not tell you the exact moment, event or even potential series of events that led to the extreme shifts in my mood. I can only tell you that there was a time in my life that I spent many a day and night contemplating death. It went on for years. I was unreliable, sad all the time, and absolutely without any energy. It had been too many days, weeks, months and years of the same thing that I had lost any hope that I would ever wake up feeling any better. Not being here seemed like the best option. As a result, I ended up hospitalized after a deliberate overdose, at age 27. To say that the whole incident was completely terrifying would be an understatement. I was lower than low.

Continue reading “A Life Sentence”