iRun because I cannot say no to a second slice of chocolate cakeEmily Shandruk , Vancouver, BC

iRun to stay fit and release those running endorphinsLiliana Plava , Calgary, AB

iRun because I want to qualify for Boston and raise money for charities near and dear to my heartChristine Gracel , Calgary, AB

iRun because it makes me feel good, allows me to spend time with my friends and gives me a feeling of accomplishmentHelen Kolodziejzyk , Calgary, AB

iRun but not enoughMichael Shaw , New Westminister, BC

iRun because I never thought I would be able toGary Morris , Winnipeg, MB

iRun to challenge myself, physically and mentallyKathleen Keenan , Brampton, ON

iRun because people around me inspire mePina Bevilacqua , Caledon, ON

iRun therefore I amDuncan Walsh , Nottingham, UK

iRun because I liveGeorges Schneller , Laval, QC

iRun to be free and enjoy our beautiful countryCheryl Carter , Clearwater , BC

iRun for overall wellbeingTrish McCourt , Halifax, NS

iRun because it makes me a better person, a better wife, a better mother and a better friendNathalie Joncas-Caissie , St-Antoine, NB

iRun because it makes me feel powerfulCarlene Paquette , Carp, ON

iRun because pecan pie, french fries and beer are chasing meTeresa Sterling , Ottawa , ON

iRun because it’s in meMichael Foley , Stittsville, ON

iRun because it reminds me that I am capable of so much more than I have doneJames Sauve , Ottawa, ON

iRun for meKiza Francis , Ottawa,ON

iRun to prove to myself I canLesley McGougan , Brampton, ON

iRun because all the ladies are chasing my sexy runner’s bodyChris Baker , Etobicoke, ON

iRun because I can and I’m gratefulTerry SanCartier , Gatineau, QC

iRun because when I run I feel most aliveMeghan Lynch , Ottawa, ON

iRun to unleash my inner athleteAdelle Densham , Avonmore, ON

iRun because it cleans up my life, because I drink more water, sleep better and eat healthier foodsRobin McIntyre , Ottawa, ON

iRun because of the peace and strength it brings meMichelle Jordan , Ottawa, ON

iRun because I need it to soothe the soul, keep me in shape and for overall wellbeingBeth Neil , Lombardy, ON

iRun because it is my tonic and my salvation Georgia Ioannou , British Columbia

iRun for relaxation and to motivate my two sonsKeith Bradbury , Newfoundland

iRun because endorphins are freeCassandra Chouinard , Ontario

iRun because somebody once told me I couldn’t Heidi Abbey-Der , Saskatchewan

iRun because couch potatoes die young Cathy Andrew , Ontario

iRun because it’s cheaper than therapy Leah Boulter , Alberta

iRun because I like buying running clothes Pamela Blaikie , Ontario

iRun slowly!Jason Hoffman , Manitoba

iRun because it gives me freedom to relax my brainMarie-Claude Gregoire , Nova Scotia

iRun because I learn more about who I am with every kmSteph Mansell , Quebec

iRun because iEat Sherry Maligaspe , British Columbia

iRun and run, and run, and run, and nobody can stop me Andrei Lucaciu , Ontario

iRun because the wall is meant to be broken Jonathan Bird , Ontario

iRun because it has saved my life John Marshall , Alberta

iRun for the challenge to go faster and farther Steven Matejka , Alberta

iRun to my happy place and some days it’s very Doreen May , Alberta

iRun because food tastes better afterwards Patrick Houston , Alberta

iRun because I can’t dance Mario Javier , Ontario

iRun so I don’t say never ever again Linda Klaric , Manitoba

iRun because it makes me whole Denis Ladouceur , Quebec

iRun because it gets my husband out there Tricia LaLonde , Alberta

iRun away from the negative and towards the positive Teri Lepard , Alberta

iRun because running is like breathing to Stephanie McEvoy , Ontario

iRun because I love the solitude Janene Tailleur , British Columbia

iRun for the moment when both feet are off the ground Catherine Anderson , British Columbia

iRun to someday win the race Lindy Dunlop , Yukon

iRun to stay ahead of the weight gainMyra Abstreiter , Alberta

iRun because otherwise I’m grumpy Alexandre Charest , Quebec

iRun because I get foot rubs afterward Kate Howerton , British Columbia

iRun because iLoves my man Beverly Huang , Alberta

iRun because not everyone can Olivia Harvey , New Brunswick

iRun to get to know myself, my strength and my spirit Lisa Groulx , Ontario

iRun whenever I feel the need to escape Iona Hillis , Ontario

iRun because it’s like flying, only lower Glenn Johnson , Ontario

iRun because it makes me feel powerful Sarah Kallaghan , Alberta

iRun because I’ve lost 80 lbs and running has become fun Cheryl Kelly , Ontario

iRun because there is no finish line Claire Kilgour , Ontario

iRun so my daughters know that they can, too Shelley Kirkpatrick , New Brunswick

iRun because it reminds me of how strong I can be Monique Lavoie , Ontario

iRun because it’s a great way to see the world Sherry Mahoney , British Columbia

iRun because my heart tells me to William Martin , Manitoba

iRun to prove to them that iCan Catherine Smith , Manitoba

iRun because it’s fun when it’s done Sue Matte , Ontario

iRun because I am not as clumsy I thought I was Hanna Baer , Quebec

iRun see where my feet will take me todayMegan Dolinskas , New York

iRun for the cool t-shirts! Pina Bevilacqua , Ontario

iRun because I want to be a role model for our six kids Catherine Empey , British Columbia

iRun to inspire my kids to tryGlen Johnston , Nunavut

iRun so I can eat ice cream Sandy Bolan , Ontario

iRun because I want to live to be 100! Colette DeJean , Ontario

iRun for health, i Run for life Pat Cheung , British Columbia

iRun because it gives my day a boost of energy Sara Campbell , Nova Scotia

iRun because it’s better than almost everything else Nathan Carey , Ontario

iRun at 50 years old because at 43 I couldn’t Peter Cicalo , Ontario

iRun because it is my tonic and my salvation Georgia Ioannou , British Columbia

iRun for relaxation and to motivate my two sons Keith Bradbury , Newfoundland

iRun because endorphins are free Cassandra Chouinard , Ontario

iRun because somebody once told me I couldn't Heidi Abbey-Der , Saskatchewan

iRun because couch potatoes die young Cathy Andrew , Ontario

iRun because it's cheaper than therapy Leah Boulter , Alberta

iRun because I like buying running clothes Pamela Blaikie , Ontario

iRun slowly! Jason Hoffman , Manitoba

iRun because iEat Sherry Maligaspe , British Columbia

iRun because I learn more about who I am with every km Steph Mansell , Quebec

iRun because it gives me freedom to relax my brain Marie-Claude Gregoire , Nova Scotia

iRun at 50 years old because at 43 I couldn't Peter Cicalo , Ontario

iRun because it's better than almost everything else Nathan Carey , Ontario

iRun for my heart, so it runs for me! Cathy Brzoza , British Columbia

iRun to inspire my children! Wendy Bowen , Manitoba

iRun because it sure beats the bus Robin Robbins , Alberta

iRun for the challenge and to remember to fully live Pascale Synnott , Québec

iRun to kickstart my day Sharon Strueby , Saskatchewan

iRun for me! Judi Wearing , Saskatchewan

iRun because it's a great stress release Brooke McKenzie , Yukon

iRun because i love to Mirella Petriello , Ontario

iRun because it helps me see things more clearly Jennifer Pitts , Ontario

iRun to eat Maureen Tritscher , Alberta

iRun to correct years of sedentary living! Mike Scott , Ontario

iRun away from the abyss Charlene Thomas , Ontario

iRun all the livelong day Pierre Saint-Laurent , Québec

iRun to challenge my perceived limitations Cassandra Williams , Ontario

iRun to maintain a strong physical and mental state Tammy Rainville , Ontario

iRun so that I can live longer and stronger Derek MacPhail , Ontario

iRun to feel great Kathryn Rachar , Saskatchewan

iRun because I like to be healthy Melanie Oickle , New Brunswick

iRun to eat more, especially sweet potatoe fries Joanna Skomra , Ontario

iRun for the fresh air and adrenalin Charlyn McGregor , Saskatchewan

iRun for the individual pursuit Robert Pelletier , New Brunswick

iRun to satisfy the irresistible urge Tim Nixon , British Columbia

iRun because I love the sense of accomplishment Amber Moase , Nova Scotia

iRun to challenge my mind, body and soul Sonia Mendes , Ontario

iRun because walking is too slow Barry Knapp , Ontario

Visualization: think strong, finish strong

October 28th, 2014

Physical training is only part of the success equation. For athletes, seeing is believing, and that means visualizing positive outcomes.

By Joanne Richard

The mind rules; experts recognize that it can be your greatest ally, or your worst enemy,
and negative thinking can stand in the way
of your personal best and sabotage your performance. “Visualizing and seeing yourself be successful is such an important aspect of individual people having great run performances,” says Barrie Shepley, co- owner of “But while most runners are out on the track, trails and treadmills four to five times a week trying to make their body faster, very few even spend five minutes a day preparing their most important organ—their mind—to go faster.”

According to Shepley, a former Olympic coach, mindset is the biggest difference between athletes who have great runs one weekend and average runs a few weeks later. “The old adage if you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re probably right, is so important when it comes to the power of the mind and achieving successful athletic performances.”

Mental performance consultant Alayne Hing agrees that believing it can be key to achieving it. “We take care of our bodies with nutrition, hydration, physical and even tactical training, but oftentimes we don’t prepare our minds. Anxiety, unexpected challenges, and not having a race plan can overwhelm a runner and result in a poor race outcome.”

Controlling our thoughts is as important as controlling our physical movements.
“A strong race plan, complete with many possible scenarios— blisters, poor weather, falling behind, number of competitors, cramps, chafing, course layout, unexpected hills, etc.— can prepare you to deal with these challenges effectively, without panic, and move on smoothly without having them impact your overall race,” says Hing, who is with the Canadian Sport Institute in Calgary and also runs Elite Edge, a performance company.

Professional athlete Lionel Sanders employs visualization in his daily training. “The mind is the most underrated aspect of training. A great deal of my training is mind training. I think
it is the most important aspect to athletic success.”

The 26-year-old Hamilton triathlete says that without a positive mindset, the race can be lost before you even start, especially if intimidated by competitors. “This is where I put visualization to use. Before I go into a race, I will have already won the race many times in my own head. That way, when I get there, I feel that all I need to do
is what I have already done hundreds of times in practice.” Sanders visualizes success throughout every run, swim and biking practice. He trains 28-35 hours per week on average, which includes running about 150K, swimming 25K and biking 450K for
a total of 625K over his training week.

Visualizing the finish line helped Sanders come up with the fastest run split in the Half Ironman Triathlon in Syracuse
 on June 21 by nearly
10 minutes over past champions. “He ran 1:09 for his 21K split off the bike—after 90K of biking and 2K of swimming. Most people, fresh from running a half marathon, go about 1 hour and
30 minutes to 1 hour and 50 minutes. So 1:09 off the bike is ridiculously fast,” says Shepley, who trains Sanders physically and mentally, and has coached hundreds
of people to national championship titles, as well as Pan American Games and World Championship medals.

For Sanders, thinking strong means finishing strong. When negative thoughts creep in, he replaces them with positive thoughts, such as, “yes, you can do this, just relax. In a race situation, I know these negative thoughts are sure to come, so before the race I like to think of a mantra that I will tell myself to stay as strong as possible.”

Failing to acknowledge that “the dark place” is sure to come, says Sanders, is a key mistake racers make. “If you are pushing your limits, you will most certainly encounter negative states of mind, as your body does not like to transcend its current limitations. Knowing this, you need to have a meaningful mantra in place to regain composure over yourself in the moment.” It has to be meaningful, stresses Sanders, otherwise it will be easily tossed aside when “the dark place” overcomes runners
with negative thoughts. Meaningful mantras allow athletes to push through barriers into places, both mental and physical, that they have never been before.

Throughout the day and before bed, Sanders visualizes as many different scenarios as he possibly can, along with the outcome that he would like to manifest in real life. “I try and add as much colour to the visualization as possible—for example, I try and see the sights, hear the sounds, smell the smells. Over time, I have been able to see myself in a particular scenario to such an extent that it gives me shivers down my spine.”

According to Hing, mental training is 
not something that is perfected overnight, but runners can increase performance dramatically with the right mental training and practice. “Since you can’t run all day, every day, why not get the reps in with your mind? Research shows that thoughts and images produce the same mental instructions as actions. “Essentially, we want to get in many reps of successful, vivid, first- person imagery to build and wear in the neural pathways of our brain so that during competition, our bodies are more likely to recreate what we have visualized,” adds Hing, whose company, helps both individuals and teams succeed
in their performance domain, whether they are amateur, Olympic or professional athletes.

Shepley adds that confidence in races comes from doing things in workouts that reflect what you want
to do in a race. “People often think that mental skills are only important during a race, but the reality is mental skills are critical in workouts to help you to take your fitness and experience to a new level during training so you can just repeat it during a big event.”

The 7 deadly sins of distance running…and how to avoid them

October 28th, 2014


The Smart Runner Workshop has been empowering runners
 with the knowledge they need to run smarter, faster and with less risk of injury for a few years. Founded by chiropractic sports specialist Dr. Dale Macdonald (who also co-founded the Stampede Road Race in 2009 with Jeremy Deere, co-founder and managing partner of Strides Running Store Inc. in Calgary), the workshop is based on peer-reviewed research from the global running community.


We had a long chat with Dr. Macdonald on the seven deadly sins of distance running, gathering together a Coles Notes version for you. Although some of this information may be old news to veteran runners, it still serves as a healthy reminder that positive acts of self-discipline can help runners of all abilities
 and experience to keep fire and brimstone at bay.

“Doctor, my knees and joints hurt from running.”
“Well, how old are your shoes?”
“I don’t know, two or three years old…?”

It’s easy to lose track of the days and Ks we log in our running shoes. But when things start to feel a bit off, look to them for the first line of offence. Changing your shoe could clear up your aches and pains almost immediately.

TOP TIP: “Most runners can get the most out of a comfortable neutral shoe,” says Dr. Macdonald. “And remember— you get what you pay for.” Don’t be afraid to spend a little extra on a shoe from a specialty running store—your best bet for quality footwear and advice.

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: working on your strength and flexibility is key to good running form. “Most running form issues are caused by inadequate strength,” says Dr. Macdonald. “Many of us sit at
a desk all day, causing our muscles to become stiff and lazy—which can lead to neurogenic reciprocal inhibition.” We had to google that one. It turns out “reciprocal inhibition” describes two opposing muscle groups working together to produce an effect, such as your stride. A muscle imbalance can inhibit this process. For example, tightness
of the hip flexors can inhibit the glutes, resulting in soreness and subsequently injury.

TOP TIP: Seek professional help with identifying weaknesses. Tight muscles need to be loosened before inhibited muscles can be strengthened.
our bodies can go into damage control mode, remodelling tissue in a less-than-ideal
way by artificially reinforcing muscle with scar tissue.

“Imagine an empty coffee mug,” explains Dr. Macdonald. “This represents a body devoid of repetitive strain. Then we begin to run too hard for too long without rest. Our body does not have enough time for true tissue repair and so it begins to create compensations. Unbeknownst to us these compensations start to fill the proverbial coffee mug.“Eventually the coffee mug spills over and the onset of symptoms begin,” continues Dr. Macdonald. “Runners are often surprised that the pain comes out of nowhere but in reality it’s been building up for quite some time.”

TOP TIP: “To drain the coffee mug you need to remove compensations—simply taking time off is not enough. Only treatment drains the coffee cup,” says Dr. Macdonald. “You’ll be back to running faster and with less risk of relapse.”

“There is a cost-versus-benefit to running,” Dr. Macdonald says. “Recent studies show that after three hours or more of running, the rate of muscle damage increases by 8 per
cent and your organs start to suffer.” Microscopic tears and bleeding can occur in your muscle fibres and cells as
a result of long periods of training. Research shows that degradation of muscle proteins is at its peak 24 hours after
a hard workout. If we don’t allow enough recovery time, our bodies can go into damage control mode, remodelling tissue in a less-than-ideal
way by artificially reinforcing muscle with scar tissue.
TOP TIP: Allow your body to recover properly. According to research, muscle protein re-synthesis peaks at 36 to 46 hours after a workout, at which time healthy tissue
is at its best. Don’t put excessive strain on the tissue before then.

Although weight-bearing exercises, such as running, can help to maintain or even increase bone density, research has shown that bone density in symptomatic runners with active shin pain is 12 per cent lower than in pain- free runners.

Wolff’s law, developed by German anatomist and surgeon Julius Wolff in the nineteenth century, states that bone in a healthy person will adapt to the loads under which it is placed.
In other words, if load increases, the bone will remodel itself over time to become stronger to resist the rate of loading.
However, ramping up too quickly doesn’t allow your body to adapt. By building up duration and distance progressively, you can maintain healthy bone density while avoiding soft tissue and bone-related injuries such as stress fractures.

TOP TIP: “Follow the 10 per cent rule,” Dr. Macdonald says. “Increase your distance or time by 10 per cent each week for three weeks, then hold at week four to minimize risk.” Repeat.

Chronic fatigue, poor sleep patterns, and tossing and turning at night could all be signs of overtraining, suggests a recent study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. Increased fatigue associated with longer and harder workouts is normal, but you should be aware of changes in sleep patterns
and a decrease in performance during workouts.

Also, knowing and monitoring your resting heart rate is a best practice when it comes to recovery. If in the morning following a long run you have a higher resting heart rate than usual, your body could still be recovering and you should adjust your workout schedule to prevent over- training or injury.

TOP TIP: “Simply, run
 when you feel good,” says Macdonald. Many runners start off tired but are reenergized after a short time on the run, so Dr. Macdonald recommends heading out for a 10-minute test. “If you still feel sluggish after 10 minutes, turn around and head home. There’s always tomorrow.”

It’s a truism among runners that a great diet cannot make an average runner elite, but a poor diet can make an elite runner average.Carbo-loading is key to maximal performance, yet many of us are still doing it wrong.Dr. Macdonald recommends the following guidelines for optimal pre-race consumption.

24 to 36 hours pre-race: exercise vigorously to bottom out your carbohydrate load
(for example, 5K speed work for a marathoner). A “glycogen window” exists for one to four hours after this workout. It is imperative that you consume adequate carbohydrates as soon as possible afterwards; use seven to 10 grams per kilogram as a guide. The rate of repletion is enhanced by the degree of depletion. Also, re-evaluate the “buffet belt,” as Macdonald jokingly calls the multiple-bottle fuel belt. Research shows we generally have enough energy storage for over an hour and half of running without needing to refuel. Over-consumption on the run is just
 as detrimental as poor pre-race nutrition—your performance can be affected by unnecessary weight gain over time caused by over-fuelling. On long runs, your system allows for sympathetic preference to skin and muscles, turning your stomach off and limiting digestion of the fuel being consumed.

TOP TIP: Test out your nutrition needs during your training runs. Simply start
 at a zero-to-low rate of consumption and build up, monitoring your performance throughout the process. Also worth noting: A 2010 study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise showed that simply sloshing (they call it “mouth rinsing”) a 6.4 per cent carbohydrate solution for 30 seconds followed by spitting it back out is virtually as good as ingesting it.

Dr. Dale Macdonald is a post-doctoral sport specialist in private practice in Calgary, Alberta. He is the director of Elite Sport Performance; a multidisciplinary sport injury practice in Calgary. Through,
Dr. Macdonald hosts an annual running workshop where he and his team of experts share the latest peer- reviewed research from the global running community with avid runners from across the country. Dr. Macdonald is a competitive 5 and 10km racer. He also races mountain bikes and go-karts!

A different kind of event report

October 27th, 2014


Even though I haven’t been training this season, I had a goal in mind. It was something I had been thinking about for a long time, and just never got around to it. As I was doing all of that not-training I thought, why not now? So I built up my mileage and it picked a date: the Saturday after my birthday. A goal-run for my birthday is nothing new – what can I say? It’s how I party.


So on Saturday, I laced up and headed out on my little self-designed adventure: to run the Elora-Cataract Trail from my home in Fergus, ON, to Holtom’s Bakery in Erin. The distance is roughly 36K of trail – which, in my mind, worked out well considering it was my 36th birthday. Keep in mind that distance doesn’t include from my house to the trail, or from the trail to the bakery at the other end – which becomes important later.

Grand River at Belwood Lake

Grand River at Belwood Lake

My husband, Steve, offered to meet me at a familiar place where the trail crossed the road – what would be about 20-kilometres in for me – just to make sure I was okay had enough fluid and gels to get there, and of course, he would pick me up at the other end.


I was in no rush, so I took my camera along, and set out at around 7:00 am.

For the next four hours, it would just be me, meandering through the countryside, putting one foot in front of the other.

And I have to say, that is kind of mind-blowing to me. Not so much the physical endurance part – I mean, yeah, it’s a long way, but all of you know from experience that you build up for that. You know every kilometre you put in, every blister, chafe-mark, and achy morning – there is no mystery; you know exactly how you got there.

But the mental part still impresses me. Four hours is a long time to be alone with your thoughts. There is plenty of time to get to know yourself – every crazy idea, dream and notion; all of the dark spaces, fears and doubts. There’s no way to quantify that stuff – it just is.


Interestingly enough, as I was trucking along on Saturday, I didn’t spend a lot of time in the dark spaces. I am guessing that it’s because there was no pressure. There was no giant clock over the finish, no time that I had arbitrarily set for myself to work towards. Nope, I ran all that way just for fun.

And it really was a lot of fun! I had only ever run the first 16 to 18 kilometres of that route before, so at least half of it was brand new – but the great part was, since it’s all rail trail, I didn’t even have to think about where I was going or worry that I’d get lost. I just ran. I made a point of looking around rather than zoning out, since I had no idea when I’d be out there again. I took pictures of the river, the leaves, fields, geese, whatever.


I remember the exact moment that it stopped being fun: when I hit 36.01 kilometres and stopped my watch and started to walk. Because it hurt. A lot. In retrospect, I am not as immune to the numbers as I make it sound, because if I had been smart, I would have kept running and not walked until I was only about 500m or so from the bakery – but 37.5 kilometres for my 36th birthday just seemed crazy. So it took me 20 minutes to hobble roughly 2,000 metres, all the while hoping Steve would read my mind and meet me with the car to drive the final stretch to the bakery.


But really, I am glad he didn’t, because now I can honestly say that I have gone from my front door to Holtom’s bakery entirely under my own power, using nothing but my own two feet.

And that’s kinda cool.


Medal: Fund Run4Bling. Because medal.


Like Nothing Happened: Krista DuChene

October 27th, 2014


First track workout in 6 months. Done! Felt great!

I sit at my computer, hardly able to articulate how I feel. It’s done. It’s over. Like nothing happened. For six months, I dreamed about writing this post. And here I am. The April 27 femur fracture and emergency surgery requiring one plate and three screws is now behind me. Done. And. Done.

Other than getting in my first rust-buster race in a few weeks, I have checked off all the boxes on the recovery to full-time training and racing transition plan:

First full run with no walk break. Done. August 24.
First full km at goal marathon race pace. Done. September 2.
First solid run of 20+km. Done. September 27.
First 100+ km week. Done. October 12.
First run with scheduled pick ups. Done. October 18.
First track workout. Done. October 23.
First week with my favourite 28 km road/trail route. Done. October 25.

I fully realize there is much, much more work to do in order to get back to a sub 2:30 marathon but like we have said all along, there is lots of time. No need to rush.

When speaking at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon expo with Silvia Ruegger, we were asked about how we were able to overcome our significant injuries and return to successful marathoning. Silvia, who did not run for 2 years, explained the importance of staying strong in other areas, i.e., hours of pool running and various methods of strength/cross-training, to which I completely agreed. I then spoke about how I compared this injury to another pregnancy. I needed to be patient, allowing my body to heal completely, knowing I would return with another strong passion to train and race like never before. You can’t bypass the last few months of a nine month pregnancy; I could not skip through the critical weeks of bone healing.

As for the numbers, Coach Rick and I are following the training and racing plan executed after my last injury, which was a gluteus medius strain and tendinopathy followed by a few broken ribs around the time of December 2012-February 2013. This time we planned twice as long to recover from my femur fracture as it was a much more significant injury. We will go back to what worked before, mainly similar mileage and workouts, and monthly races.

Comparing the six months, February-August 2013, prior to when I was in 2:27 shape for Worlds, I am now about a month ahead of where I was then!

In February 2013, I ran 50 km @ 4:22/km with my longest run of 9 km.
In October 2014, I ran 80 km @ 4:26/km with my longest run of 28 km.

I will again repeat with a distance of 8km as my first race back to get out the rust. Ideally I can hold on to marathon goal pace (3:30/km) but we have no high expectations. Running strong and steady with a solid finish is the priority.
I just finished two down weeks of 77 and 80 km, which was scheduled as a necessary recovery period before resuming 100+km weeks again. I get excited to look at the training and racing plan that is mapped ahead. As they say, “Onward and Upward”!



First track workout in 6 months. Done! Felt great!

3 of the most useful pieces of marathon advice I’ve ever gotten

October 24th, 2014


Since we’re in the middle of marathon season I wanted to share the three most useful pieces of marathon advice I have ever received. Now I know no one asked me, but this isn’t my advice, it’s advice I have taken and have (quite literally) gotten a lot of mileage from, so that makes it okay, right?

So without further ado:

#3. Surges

Late in the race, when your legs feel like they belong to the Tin Man and you just seem to keep slowing down, do between two and six surges between 15 and 30 seconds long. I know, it sounds like it will hurt – and it probably will. But I can’t understate how helpful this has been for me. It’s like a little shot of caffeine that wakes up sleepy muscles and makes goal pace feel so much easier.


#2. Don’t walk, run.SONY DSC

Late in a marathon, when it hurts as much to walk as it does to run, resist the urge to walk. Running will get you there faster, and let’s face it, if you are within seconds of your goal – or any round number for that matter – you will kick yourself for that extra walk break. Once you can use your legs again, that is.


And the Number 1 Most Useful Piece of Advice I’ve Ever Received About the Marathon:

Turn off your brain and run.

95% of the problems encountered during endurance events begin between the ears. Any that begin elsewhere are arguably exacerbated when you start thinking about them, dwelling on them, and letting them drag you down. So don’t think. Just run.


Bonus: Enjoy yourself. You have put in way too much time and effort to spend the race hating every second of it. Enjoy the weather, no matter what it’s like. Enjoy the cheers. Enjoy your strength. Enjoy the pain.

You’ve earned it.

25 reasons to be part of Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon

October 16th, 2014

Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon
is celebrating 25 years this weekend! Here are 25 reasons you need to be a part of the action that’s taking over Toronto on Sunday October 19, 2014.

1) With the home stretch updated this year, the marathon route offers nearly a clear straightaway towards the finish line.

2) As if running 21.1 kilometres isn’t enough, Michal Kapral is going for a world record in joggling—that’s running while juggling. If haven’t seen him in action, you need to.

3) NEW! From finding parking spots to avoiding road closures, Racepoint will provide support to runners, their cheering squads and non-runners by providing access to an interactive map that will keep everyone well-informed of those pesky race day details.

4) Every runner could all do with a little extra cheer, whether you’re running 5K or a marathon. With a dozen neighbourhood cheering zones at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, you’ll practically glide on the energy and excitement of the crowds.

5) Running your fifth STWM marathon? You’ll receive a commemorative beer mug as part of the STWM Stars Program. Complete ten marathons and you’ll be inducted into the new Platinum Club.

6) Whether you’re a local runner or traveling from around the world, your family and friends can watch the action unfold with a live stream via YouTube.

7) A group of torch relay runners will deliver the marathon flame to Councillor Mary Fragedakis, General Dimitris Azemopoulos, Race Director Alan Brookes and top athletes at the marathon flame ceremony.

8) Giving back to the community continues to grow as runners and non-runners alike offer support to a variety of local and national charitable organizations through the STWM Charity Challenge.

9) It’s almost Halloween, which makes running in a costume a fun way to participate, not to mention raise additional funds for charity with the Best Costume Contest.

10) Just when you think you can’t go on, you’ll probably spot a member of the STWM Dream Team. A group of 50 volunteers will be patrolling the final kilometres of the race and encouraging runners along the remainder of the course.

11) Hear the voices of experience and stories from the front lines in a panel that features runners and running experts including elite athletes, iRun’s very own Obsessive Runner, Andrew Chak and the STWM digital champions at the The Running, Health & Fitness Expo.

12) Each year the finisher’s medal features a Toronto landmark. This year, it’s Honest Ed’s, the city’s original bargain shopping destination.

13) It’s October and that alone makes it possible for perfect race day weather. Not too hot, not too cold and quite possibly this is also the last good weather weekend, before the rain-snow-sleet-rain mix kicks right in.

14) Engaging the running community, runners will unite on Saturday for the Running Room’s International Friendship Run with John Stanton.

15) After her gutsy completion of the half-marathon in the spring, Canadian marathoner and iRun’s Marathon Mom, Krista Duchene brings her running expertise to the commentator’s booth at this year’s marathon.

16) Breaking Silvia Ruegger’s nearly 30-year Women’s National Record last year, Lanni Marchant returns to the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. A repeat performance could happen.

17) Who will be first to finish? Find out if Eric Gillis will best Jerome Drayton’s 39-year-old National Men’s Marathon Record of 21:10:08 and claim a sizeable $39,000 bonus prize.

18) Making his debut at the STWM, Kelly Wiebe will be gunning to claim the title of fastest Canadian marathon debut.

19) With the graphic designs of this year’s souvenir T-shirts, you’ll be proudly sporting one in style post-race day.

20) From minimizing carbon and water foot prints to contracting with locally-owned business, this year the STWM organizers are working closely with Oregon’s Council for Responsible Sport to achieve their Green Certifications.

21) There’s no shortage of restaurant fare geared to carb-loading in Toronto. But the STWM has made it super-simple offering three convenient pasta dinners at BnB Toronto, Trattoria Mercatto and Tundra.

22) Friendly, encouraging and down right righteous runners, the Pacer Program powered by Brooks, is committed to getting runners across the finish line in an amazing time.

23) Experience the Running, Health & Fitness Expo, whether you’re running in the STWM or not, this is a free health and fitness event for anyone that’s interested in running and active living.

24) Featuring live bands and stage performances from Canadian and multicultural entertainers, STWM is proud to offer the most on-course entertainment of any marathon in the nation.

25) A spectacular field of international elite runners from countries including Belarus, Ethiopia and Kenya, adds to the speed and excitement for spectators and runners from start to finish.

You can still register for the events at the new registration kiosk at the Running, Health & Fitness Expo on Friday October 17 between 11:00am and 8:00pm OR Saturday, October 18 between 10:00am and 6:00pm. The Running, Health & Fitness Expo is held in Hall D at the Direct Energy Centre (DEC), 100 Princes’ Blvd.

Canadian ultramarathoner set to run 14 marathons in 14 days

October 16th, 2014

14 Marathons in 14 days

Coach and endurance athlete Michael Stashin and Sophie Rosa, a facilitator and health promotion consultant at Public Health Ontario,  have worked together to create the Fun2Run  program — a school age program designed to get kids moving.

By Lisa Georges

“Efficiency is a very sophisticated word for lazy,” says Michael Stashin, ultra marathoner and coach at,  jokingly about his running technique.

Lazy is not the first word that comes to mind when you meet Stashin. Earlier this year, he completed—and placed 2nd—at the Yukon Arctic Ultra, a 100 mile race that has been hailed as one of the toughest in the world, one of three that Stashin has endured. And starting today, October 16, 2014, Stashin will be challenging himself by running 14 marathons in 14 days in an effort to raise awareness about the national epidemic of childhood inactivity.

Studies show only a small percentage of Canadian school-aged children meet the minimum Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines. Working with the Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research Group (HALO) in Ottawa, Stashin has developed a non-competitive 6-week training program for kids called Fun2Run. The objective is to get kids active and build confidence in their abilities to run.

“The idea is to get kids running for fun and adventure”, says Stashin. The pilot program is currently running in grades 4-6, at St-Anthony’s school in Ottawa. The end goal is to complete the Ghost Run being held on the streets of Ottawa on October 30, a 5K adventure run that takes runners from one historically haunted checkpoint to another.

“Kids usually burst out of the starting gate at full speed and burn themselves out too quickly. Our focus is not on speed. We’re trying to teach the kids to take it easy, pace themselves and have fun along the way.”

So, how do you train for and pace yourself during 14 consecutive marathons?

“When I’m running long distances, I’m not thinking about getting somewhere. I’m only thinking of the next six feet in front of me.”

According to Stashin, you can only do so much training for multi-day events—you don’t build up to 12 or 13 consecutive marathons to run fourteen.

“When you run multi-day events, your body starts to adapt after a few days. The 1st and 2nd days are the hardest, but by the 3rd day your body starts to settle into it’s new job: running.”

Confidence in this thought is what keeps negative thoughts at bay and keeps Stashin going—and good technique, of course. Stashin’s runeffortlessly technique focuses on consciously relaxing the muscles in the legs and feet, using less energy and reducing impact. “Remember, I’m lazy,” he reiterates. “The easier I can make make it on myself, the better.”

Running in the moment is what Stashin will be doing from October 16-29, 2014. You can track his progress on the website, find out more about the Fun2Run program or donate to HALO through the CHEO foundation. Visit for more information.

Listen to Stashin as he talks about this latest adventure with Mark Sutcliffe on the iRun | The Running Show, Sunday, October 19 at 7am EST, on

MORE at Find out what other organizations are doing across Canada to get kids running!

Let the night move you

October 14th, 2014

Shorter days mean longer nights and that gives you all the more reason to check out these nine events that promise to have runners lighting up the night.

BY: Anna Lee Boschetto

Night Race
With a five- or ten- kilometre option, Night Race takes runners through city parks, including Vancouver’s Stanley Park (September 26). Here’s your chance to light it up with your fellow runners donning glow-in-the-dark gear. Sponsored by Energizer, each runner receives an Energizer LED Headlight and Brooks running shirt. Shine all night long with dates and city locations around the world.

Moonlight River Run
Held in the lovely village of Wakefield, QC (September 27) the 5K, 10K and 10 Mile courses take you along the scenic Gatineau River with live music at the finish. The Moonlight River Run raisesfunds for local and global charitable organizations like the Wakefield Emergency Fund and the Wakefield Grannies. An energizer headlamp is included with your registration.

Trek or Treat
This five-kilometre event held in Oakville (October 17) and Collingwood (October 18) Trek or Treat, Canada’s Original Nighttime Trail Race also includes a “Creepy Mile” that’s the perfect fit for Halloween. Although most of the course consists of crushed gravel and groomed trails, the Collingwood course does consist of some road sections. As expected with its Halloween-theme, costumes are encouraged.

Apocaypse 10K
Taking runners into a suspense-filled movie atmosphere in Montreal, The Apocalypse 10K (October 25) each year the event features a unique theme. For 2014, the race route will feature walking zombies and creatures of the night and event participants are encouraged to don costumes too.

Sight Night Run
Cue headlights for the Sight Night Run (September 13 in Edmonton, and November 15 in Calgary). As the sun goes down, sighted and visually impaired runners will hit the start in support of Alberta’s visually impaired. Featuring a five- and eight-kilometre fun run, race participants can further challenge themselves with a fundraising goal of $250 to score a free race entry.

Electric Run
Let the music move you and get your running groove on at the Electric Run. Bring your brightest neon running gear to this all-ages event which features a collective of light shows and pumped up tunes that creates a high-energy wonderland along a five kilometre route. With events in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton Winnipeg, Toronto, and Montreal, you’re sure to find race routes in your neighbourhood.

Mayo Midnight Marathon
Run in the land of the midnight sun, at the 20th annual Mayo Midnight Marathon (June 21, 2015) in the Yukon. Runners can expect cool, crisp weather conditions ranging from 20C in the evening to 10C by midnight, and staggered start times allowing for participants in all events to finish at the same time.

A Midsummer Night’s Run
Weaving through Toronto’s east end trails and waterfront, A Midsummer Night’s Run (August 22, 2015) is a family-friendly event that includes 30-, 15- and 5-kilometre distances. While this nighttime trail run will challenge runners through the intertwining trail system, they’ll bask in the moonlight at the glistening waterfront finish line. In addition, the event and fundraising which supports the Department of Rheumatology, Toronto’s SickKids along with a post-secondary scholarship fund for students with arthritis.

ElectroDash (September) is a five-kilometre fun run featuring an incredible laser light show. Runners will weave through an unforgettable course that cranks up the tunes along the route with all the neon excitement you can handle. Toronto’s unique event toured Canada’s Wonderland on September 5; find out more about the events in Edmonton, Ottawa, Calgary, Quebec City and Montreal

First run: Nike Air Zoom Structure 18

October 13th, 2014


This past week, Nike launched the 18th edition of its Nike Air Zoom Structure shoe that is designed to provide stability for runners that pronate (rolling your legs inward as you run). I had the good fortune to receive a pair and take them out for a spin.

Nike Zoom Air Structure 18 - Side Stacked

A New Shoe With a Comfy Old Feeling

The best compliment that you can give a new pair of shoes (presuming that you choose to address them) is to tell them that they feel like a comfy old pair. As I stepped into these shoes for the first time, they immediately felt familiar and comfortable. As I laced up, the asymmetrical Nike Flywire cables worked well to lock down the shoes to my feet. The toe box was just the right size for some breathability and splay while still feeling secure and snug.

Nike Zoom Air Structure 18 - Side 3:4

Detailed Looks With a Purpose

I don’t usually stare at my running shoes up close, but the intricate details on this shoe warrant a closer look. The engineered mesh surrounding the shoe is lightweight, breathable and articulates the amount of attention poured into these shoes. While a hot pink swoosh may not be my first choice, the colour combination of the shoe works well to give it a very modern look.

Nike Zoom Air Structure 18 - Flywife Closeup

Dynamic Support When You Need It

The crux of this shoe is its Dynamic Support system that uses three wedges of foam of varying densities to help prevent pronation. The lateral or outside foot area has lower-density foam (white coloured) to provide more cushioning which transitions to medium-density (black coloured) foam towards the medial or inside foot area. Just under the arch on the medial side is the third and highest-density foam (pink coloured) to provide you with pronation support when you need it.

Nike Zoom Air Structure 18 - Heel Closeup

A Snappy Zoom-Filled Ride

As I started to pick up the pace in this shoe, I began to appreciate its primary characteristic – responsiveness. The midsole contains a pressurized Nike Air Zoom unit that has tensile fibers that compress on impact and then snap back up to give you a bit of a “pop” up as you run. The toe off is quick and responsive and also contributes to the satisfying snappy feel of the shoe. Although these aren’t heavy shoes by any stretch, I do wish that they were a touch lighter just so that I could run even faster in them. 

Nike Zoom Air Structure 18 - Side and Sole Stacked

Like a Good Steady Friend

The Nike Zoom Air Structure 18 is like a steady friend who provides you with support when you need it. This is a friend that is very detailed, has a modern look, and has all the latest technology you could ask for. The shoe doesn’t get in your way when you’re running neutrally, but it does provide the support you need to get over your pronating ways.

Responsively yours,


Browse all articles from Obsessive Runner

Follow Andrew on Twitter: @andrewchak

Give kids a running start

October 10th, 2014


Fall is a great time to encourage your children to become more active. Whether kids get moving before, during or after school, this is the time to start building healthy habits that include an active lifestyle. There are a number 
of resources available to help parents and teachers initiate a running program in their schools and get kids running:

More than 18,000 young runners from nearly 270 schools and groups across Nova Scotia took part in the Kids Run Club program this year. Doctors Nova Scotia was the first medical association in Canada to offer a free running program to schools and sponsor events across the country, including the Youth Run at the Scotiabank Blue Nose Marathon in Halifax.

Inspired by Doctors Nova Scotia, the Alberta Medical Association Youth Run Club offers free resources, incentives and support through a Run Club Coordinator.

A large number of events across Canada include 1K and 2K kids‘ and family fun runs and many of the large events include kids marathons, including the Ottawa Marathon and Calgary Marathon— both sponsored by Scotiabank. This is a unique format that allows young people to participate in their first marathon. Kids start running or walking their marathons one kilometre at a time, completing 41K by the event date. On race day, the kids complete the last 1.2 kilometres of their marathon to the sound of cheering parents and spectators.

Girls on the Run, an international program has independent councils in both Ontario and British Columbia. Their mission is to inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum that creatively integrates running. At the end
of each season, the girls and their coaches complete a 5K event.

Next issue: November 18, 2014
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