Why the Marathon?

When you mention running a marathon to a group of non-runners, they may shake their heads in disbelief and ask: “Why?”

There are many meaningful reasons that runners and walkers choose to tackle 42.2K. For some, it’s a “bucket list” item. For others, it’s a chance to mark a significant occasion like a birthday, anniversary or family reunion. It can be an ambitious challenge you tackle with a friend, or an exciting element of an overseas vacation. It can be a way to honour someone close to you or raise funds for a cause you care about. Continue reading “Why the Marathon?”

Summer Running FAQ

by John Stanton

It’s summertime, and the living is easy—but a casual approach isn’t wise when it comes to exercising in hot weather conditions. To help you stay safe in the heat, here are my responses to common questions about summer running.

How much water do I need to drink?
As summer temperatures soar, proper hydration becomes a top priority. You need to drink frequently before, during and after exercise. Plan to drink at least two cups (500 mL) of water in the hour prior to your run. During your workout, sip (don’t gulp) water every 15 to 20 minutes, and be sure to re-hydrate once your run has concluded. Don’t wait until you feel thirsty, because at that point you may already be dehydrated. For normal fitness activities, plain water is your most effective drink. For workouts or races over three hours, a sports drink can help replace lost electrolytes. Continue reading “Summer Running FAQ”

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”

Starting Out

by John Stanton

As runners, we all have to start somewhere. If you’re a beginner, your early experiences with a running or walking program can make or break your chances for success. Novice runners who approach their training with a “go hard or go home” attitude often experience overuse injuries or just plain discouragement. This is not the recommended way to begin a running program.

As with all fitness programs, start with a visit to your family physician. He or she may recommend that you start by walking or by following a combination walk/run program. Be patient and stick with it—in as little as 10 weeks, you can progress from couch potato to athlete. Just remember to commit to 10 weeks, not 10 minutes or 10 days. The lifelong benefits are well worth the investment. Continue reading “Starting Out”

A Multi-Goal Approach to Training

by John Stanton

To get the most out of your training, you should set an ultimate goal followed by several smaller goals to get you there. Your ultimate goal might be to run a particular race, but before that, you must first train consistently.

It can help to run some smaller, shorter-distance races as targets to test you along the way. Many runners will tell you that the real reward comes from the training, not the race itself. Continue reading “A Multi-Goal Approach to Training”

Dealing With Darkness

by John Stanton

In the winter, daylight is a precious commodity. Many of us experience the daily challenge of leaving the house when it’s dark and returning after the sun has already set. However, with proper planning and a positive attitude, you can maintain your fitness and still enjoy your training. Here are some suggestions to help you dodge the darkness.

Get out there during the day.
Take advantage of the daylight as much as possible. If your schedule is flexible, prioritize your run in the mid-morning or early afternoon. If you have a more traditional work day, try to run or walk during your lunch hour at least once a week. Exposure to natural light helps regulate your inner body clock and provides a bonus helping of vitamin D. Continue reading “Dealing With Darkness”

Customizing Your Training Plan

by John Stanton

How you train will influence your results, whether you are trying to maximize your potential or simply improve your overall fitness. Most programs emphasize structure, consistency and slow progression toward a goal. This requires a delicate balance of listening to your body and striving for continual improvement. Here are four considerations as you build your personalized training program. Continue reading “Customizing Your Training Plan”

Frostbite

Frostbite is nasty stuff. Once you have been frostbitten, you can be scarred for life and you can have permanent circulation problems in the affected areas.

You get frostbite when you have skin exposed to severe cold temperatures for a period of time (the amount of time depends on body type, size and other factors). Your body stops sending blood to that area to save the rest of the body. Once this happens, freezing is not long off. Continue reading “Frostbite”

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

by John Stanton

There’s “snow” doubt about it—running and walking are healthy activities that can be enjoyed year-round. If you’re a runner who is recovering from injury or seeking an alternative to running during the winter months, consider walking. Walking is a gentle and safe option for many athletes, since the impact force is little more than the body weight you carry when standing upright. Here are some of the benefits.
Continue reading “Walking in a Winter Wonderland”