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

Take Your Training Outside

June 30th, 2015


Happy young couple exercising outdoors, using a park bench to doIt’s time to take it outside; enjoy the summer, sunshine and blue skies! Why workout outside…why not?

Taking your workout outside mixes it up. It breaks up your routine. It challenges your body and mind while at the same time giving you a refreshing change from the interior of you gym or fitness studio.

Even better, you can accomplish multiple tasks and make the best use of your time by taking your workout to the great outdoors. How you ask? Well, let me tell you.

At the park with your children, don’t just sit there, get your workout on! Kids are playing in the yard, get on our there and workout! Take advantage of the gorgeous weather because we all know that it’s short lived.  Maybe your spouse is outside gardening, carry bags of dirt, lift potted plants and you can instantly join your spouse outdoors, even if gardening isn’t your thing.

Your strength training routine does not need to be difficult.

From push ups, squats, lunges, jumping jacks, tricep dips. At a park you can use what is around. Consider the bench or picnic tables as your multi-station because these items really are the best pieces of equipment. Step-ups, one leg lunges, push ups, tricep dips, jump ups (carefully), plank, knee tucks, leg lifts, squats, sit-ups, can all be done with a bench or a picnic table.

Once you establish your work out spot, you can turn your exercise program into an interval workout.  Pick a distance to run to from your picnic table or bench and between each sprint, perform 12 to 25 reps of one of the above exercises.

I know some of you will say you don’t like the heat,  the bugs or you don’t want people looking at you. Fair enough. But trust me, taking your workout outside challenges your muscles differently. It’s a great time to get creative or break out of a rut.

Outdoor Training Essentials:

Plenty of water

Bug spray

A mat or towel for the ground and your sweat

Sunglasses for two reasons: To keep the sun out of your eyes and so you don’t make eye contact with anyone.

I love taking my workout outside. I like to think it might inspire someone to go and do something active.

About Carrie Burrows

Carrie turned her life from around from being obese to being fit. She studied Kinesiology at York University after she began a journey from being 225 pounds as a teenager and decided that she would dedicate her life to helping others realize the benefits of being fit and healthy. She is the CFO (Chief Fitness Officer) of Health and Fitness Systems Inc. where she has helped turn the lives of hundreds of women and men around through fitness, nutrition and training programs she designs. Carrie runs and designs several boot camp-style fitness programs along with corporate fitness/wellness programs, and still finds time to take on personal training clients while raising her three children to be fit and healthy. She is an avid mid-distance runner who loves to book “racecations” while still chasing a faster minute mile. Carrie knows firsthand the two worlds of being unhealthy and fit and believes that, “Anyone with a goal, dedication and support can become who they want to be.”

Visit her website and follow Carrie on Twitter and Instagram!

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Couples In Training: Staying Strong Together

June 30th, 2015

Our Saucony #FindYourStrong athletes Shannon Penway and Joel Payeur update iRun Nation on their preparations for the 2015 Transalpine Run; a race that they will tackle in support of Team Finn.


The 2015 Transalpine Run is going to present a mix of challenges that will be the greatest we have faced together.

First there is the physical challenge of pushing your body to run for 270km, up and down the Alps. Strength and determination are required for the power up the mountain, while coming down requires technical footwork with coordination and high amounts of control.

Next there is the mental challenge of pushing yourself to keep going and not quit. Believe me, sometimes your brain realizes what is going on and questions your sanity in trying to run such long distances.

Finally, there is the emotional challenge of balancing the highs and lows that hit you when your body and mind are pushed to the limits. One minute we might be laughing and having a blast and then five minutes later one of us might be in tears crying and not even knowing why. It’s all about supporting each other through the thick and thin and making the best of these challenges to improve ourselves through doing the incredible. Luckily, the scenery is going to be pretty spectacular over there as we will be running through the Alps. Open skies, big mountains, beautiful valleys, forest and quaint towns all await our running feet.

As you can imagine, preparing for something like this is a feat in itself. We are training in several different ways. Joel has been increasing his long distance runs up mountains to prepare his body for the race while strength training in the gym five times a week. In addition to this he has been biking as well.

I am injured at the moment with a possible stress fracture or bad soft tissue damage in my shin so have been having to adjust my training schedule over the last month to avoid weight bearing exercise and sadly this includes running. It has been a rough emotional journey but one that will likely be good mental training for the race.

Fortunately, I have been able to maintain fitness and training with strength training, biking and swimming.  We will keep you posted!

#FindYourStrong with more motivational stories from our Great Canadian Seekers.

If you can’t take the heat, then get out of your sneakers

June 29th, 2015

You won’t see this sweaty cast seek shelter from the elements. Hot or cold, they all run to extremes and in extremes. But heat really ignites their passion and training. So take in their words of wisdom and stay safe when the heat is beating you down.

The Extreme Experts

Lisa TamatiAthlete, coach, motivational speaker

Chris KostmanUltra athlete, race director for Badwater Ultramarathon

Dean KarnazesEndurance athlete, speaker and best-selling author

Dr. Chris Milburn, Racer, ER doctor with part time practice in sports medicine, Cape Breton Regional Hospital, Nova Scotia

Jim WillettEndurance adventure runner, personal trainer and coach

 iRun: What’s your hot weather training look like?

mikscott9 copyDean Karnazes: I run in my big, puffy winter ski parkas to help elevate my core temperature. I also do sets of sit-ups and push-ups inside the sauna at the gym. I get some funny looks doing these things, but I can take the heat…

Lisa Tamati: It’s all about taking the heat! Preparing for a desert race like in Death Valley or the Gobi Desert or the Sahara, I run with extra clothes on and with a backpack if I’ll be carrying one during the race, and I’m in the sauna a lot too in the few months leading up to the event.

Dr. Chris Milburn: Here in Cape Breton I relish the few days that hit 30 plus so I can get out on the bike and/or run in the heat of the day. Rather than avoid the heat I embrace it and try to acclimatize to it, so I try to go in early afternoon or suppertime.

Chris Kostman: I live in Southern California, which is a desert unless you are at the beach, so I can heat train about two-thirds of the year outdoors. Right now I’m getting ready for the Hamptons Marathon in New York in September, and then the Badwater Presents Mustang Trail Race, an eight-day stage race in Nepal.

iRun: When did the heat catch up to you?

Dean Karnazes: In the Badwater Ultramarathon, a 135-mile race across California’s Death Valley in the middle of summer – the hottest place on earth! The first time I ran it, I passed out along the roadside at mile 78, severely dehydrated and electrolyte depleted.

Lisa Tamati: My hottest race was also the Badwater Ultramarathon. But my worst experience was running a 333 km nonstop race in Niger, one of the poorest and most dangerous countries on earth. An hour into the event food poisoning hit with a vengeance and I was vomiting and hit with severe diarrhea. The heat, the relentless wind, the violence in my stomach from eating bad goat meat all added up one hell of a miserable journey that lasted 222 km and 64 hours before my body gave up the ghost and I had to stop at one of the check points and call it a day.

Dr. Chris Milburn: I ran the Terry Fox 10K in Hamilton a couple of weeks after arriving from Cape Breton to attend school, nearly died, and finished in about 43 minutes. At that time I was running 35 to 36 minutes for a 10K. It was a great lesson in the importance of acclimatizing before your race.

Chris Kostman: In my second Race Across America (bicycle race), it was over 100 degrees every day, sometimes 110 to 120. It was absolutely brutal and not fun. I actually prefer racing in the cold. I’ve done seven human-powered races, on mountain bike or snowshoes, on the Iditarod Trail in Alaska in February.

Jim Willett: The Gobi Desert. March is the hottest race I’ve been in. It’s a six-stage race and by day four, which is an 80km day, it was pushing into the high 50s. I was having trouble keeping water down and I’m convinced the only reason I made it through was because I stumbled upon some locals picking cantaloupe – they happily shared some with me.

BigheadRun CTR2011iRun: Should you actually stay out of your runners if you can’t take the heat?

Dr. Chris Milburn: Don’t avoid it; embrace it! Research says that heat training is beneficial, similar to altitude training. If you are planning a race that may be hot, you must train for the heat.

Lisa Tamati: Get in those trainers and get used to it or at least get better at it. I am hopeless in the cold so I have been taking on challenges in the Himalayas and am planning on a 100 miler in the Antarctic. Don’t give up just because you aren’t good or particularly suited to something.

Dean Karnazes: Listen to everyone, follow no one. I prefer running outdoors with thick clothing on. Experiment to find what works best for you.

Jim Willett: You have to slowly build up your tolerance to the heat. It can be very dangerous if you’re not used to it.

iRun: What is your melting point?

Lisa Tamati: Well the top temperature was 57 degrees and that was literally like being fried in an oven – the temperature radiating from the road in that case was close to 95 degrees Celsius so the shoes took a complete hammering and ended up being like concrete.

Dean Karnazes: For me, the hotter the better. Beyond Death Valley, I’ve run in baking hot sand in the Sahara when temperatures were cresting 120 degrees, and that was challenging. But I loved every step of the way!

Dr. Chris Milburn: At some point it does become so hot that it is hard to dissipate heat effectively – probably around where air temperature matches body temperature 37 degrees or so. I’ve run in 39 and found that difficult. It’s still possible, but you sure won’t go as fast in those hot temperatures.

Jim Willett: As long as I go in to a race prepared, I’m usually able to cope fairly well. But I’ve been throwing up or have run out of water, and that can get pretty scary.

iRun: If you can’t beat the heat, how can you join it?

Dean Karnazes: Keep your skin cool by wearing arm coolers and calf-coolers and a protective hat. Keep your internal body cool by drinking cold liquids and chewing on ice. Put ice under your cap to keep your head cool. Wear moisture-wicking technical fabrics to help regulate skin temperature.

Dr. Chris Miburn: Train as much as you can during the hottest part of the day – it will feel awful at first but you’ll get used to it after a few weeks. In a race, use any cold water/ice at aid stations and get as many clothes off as is possible while still being socially acceptable.

Chris Kostman: Use a sauna or run on a treadmill in lots of clothing and a rain jacket. We have a how-to article on our website.

Lisa Tamati: Take a good quality electrolyte tablet like Endurolytes from Hammer Nutrition – not electrolyte drinks with lots of additive, flavourings chemicals and sugars. Get your electrolytes out of balance and you can die, get hyponatremia, have a massive drop in performance and hit the wall – or all of the above.

Jim Willett: Keep your core temperature down. Dump water on your hat and clothes – I’ll even put cold water down my shorts. Cover your neck. Run at a slower pace than normal. Find shade if you can.

Badwater 1iRun: What’s the thrill of running in extreme heat?

Dean Karnazes: Thrill? Who said anything about this being thrilling? It’s nothing but torture. That’s why I love it!

Lisa Tamati: Sure torture is part of it! I think it’s about pushing your limits – that’s the thrill. Finding out what you can achieve. About reconnecting with nature at its most brutal and surviving somehow.

iRun: How does the heat impact performance?

Dr. Chris Milburn: Medically, the heat will slow you down. Period. Doesn’t matter how fit you are, or how acclimatized to the heat you are. Personal bests will come in cooler temperatures, probably 5-15 degrees.

Lisa Tamati: You have to run slower, be more careful, pay constant attention to your hydration and even more to your electrolyte levels so as not to go down with the likes of heat stroke, exhaustion or a tetany seizure or even kill yourself.

iRun: Is there any adversity worse than heat, like storms, ice, hail balls, freezing temperatures?

Lisa Tamati: Oh heck, yes, give me heat any day in comparison to freezing, icy storms when you are wet. For that stuff, try out my Northburn event (160km ultra mountain run in New Zealand). It’s often freezing, hailing, sleeting and stormy as well as being hot at times.

Dean Karnazes: I once ran a marathon to the South Pole, the coldest place on earth, and that presented a whole new set of challenges. When it’s minus 40 degrees outside you have to be careful, but for you Canadians that’s just a normal day of running… so what am I complaining about.

Chris Kostman: Cold is actually more dangerous and injurious than heat, and there are far more extreme cold events than extreme heat ones.

Joel1iRun: A desert marathon versus an Arctic marathon – who’s the better athlete?

Dr. Chris Milburn: The better runner is the faster runner head-to-head in the same race.

Dean Karnazes: I think someone who runs in either of these conditions is unstable and should seek counseling. In fact, my appointment’s in half an hour so I’ve gotta run…

Jim Willett: I think we’re all a little crazy, in the best possible way. Any extreme temperature race is tough, and often it’s the same athletes doing both.

Lisa Tamati: Anyone running a marathon or beyond is a hero in my book.

Chris Kostman: Both extremes of temperature offer their own challenges. We’ve had athletes compete in winter races in January and then the Badwater 135 in July, but without fail, everyone always says that the Badwater 135 is the toughest race of all.


Feet, Don’t Fail Me Now: Training for STWM

June 25th, 2015

kaplanTwo weeks ago I was on my way to pick my kids up at daycare and I ran into a friend, giving it. He had a yellow bandana on, yellow tank top from the Chicago Marathon, and his tattoos were blazing. I was jogging, loping, thinking about other things. He was RUNNING. We looked like different species. Man, I thought, channeling When Harry Met Sally: “I’ll have what he’s having.” And then and there I reached a decision: I’m not too old to PB. I can and will train for a fall marathon. My fastest days are in front of me. I’m all in. Let’s go.

I had been on the fence about ever racing again. I’m 41. My kids are almost 2 and 4. I’m tired. I’m busy. I’m old. I don’t want to get injured. I’m trying so hard in every aspect of my life, do I really want to make running another thing that I’m working at? Can’t I just run lazy laps around my neighbourhood, listen to Paul Simon, and leave my watch in a drawer? Besides, I ran the Ottawa Marathon without racing. I went slow at the beginning. Had no finishing time in mind and, when pushed, thought I might do it in something like 3:45. I hadn’t been training, I’d been teaching a clinic and believe me when I say I had more burgers than bananas since the fall.

I loved running Ottawa. I gave out more high fives than the Pan Am games mascot and had the most drastic negative split of my running career—turns out, with people cheering on a beautiful day after a warm-up, I can still drag a 3:15 from my lazy bones and retire in good enough shape afterwards to catch a plane for Toronto and put my children to bed. Why not run that way all the time? Why risk life and limb when it will only change my time, at best, by 15 minutes and one second? My mind was made up. Chris McDougall, my running hero, the Born to Run guy, stopped racing. He told me that as a dad and an author in his 50s, he’s happy that he’s even running. Why wear a watch when you can count your blessings on a beautiful afternoon?

Well, when I saw my buddy, the reason became clear: he was having FUN! It’s fun to train, to be on a mission, to have a goal and to push yourself beyond where you’ve been before. It’s fun to hurt. It’s fun to struggle. It’s fun to improve, to try things, to eat more bananas than burgers and practice discipline. And guess what? When I saw Chris again in Toronto, when he had a new book to promote and we got to talking, he told me that he too was reentering racing! Curiosity had got the best of him. What is the most he could give?

And so now I’m two weeks into training with my buddy in the tattoos and yellow bandana. On our first week, we did mile repeats and last night we did 20K, with a negative split at my half marathon pace for the final ten. I’m currently batting 50% at reaching the target performances. It’s been awesome. Running paths that I’ve been on hundreds of times have become race tracks. My watch is again my best friend. It’s helpful to have a partner when you begin seriously training. No way I could push myself like we’ve been pushing on my own. And this guy’s tall, crazy long strides to take us out of the gate fast enough to reach split times. Also: so far, no injuries to report.

Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon is the first marathon I ever ran, back in 2009. I’ve done nine since, including one in Jerusalem. The fastest I ever ran one is 3:00:19, last year at STWM, for people who care about that. I thought that was as fast as I was ever going to do it. But you know what? It isn’t. Not even close. I’m dusting off my racing shoes and starting up this blog again. I’m back, as they say, in the saddle again.

It’s going to be so much fun.

Being Pan Am Amazing!

June 22nd, 2015

On July 10, the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games kick off in Toronto, taking the sporting world to the world at large. As a runner, what’s it to you? A chance to open up your repertoire to all new cross-training ideas! We asked Erin Karpluk, formerly of Being Erica and now acting in Rookie Blue, to turn eight great sporting events into exercises for runners. Step up your race game while watching the best athletes in the world!

By Anna Lee Boschetto

2015 RS iRun Erin Karpluk-26-2

Erin Karpluk is all in. When the actress, best known for her starring role on Being Erica, was approached by World Vision (an international advocacy organization working with children living in poverty-stricken communities) to run a portion of the BMO Vancouver Marathon in support of the charity, she knew she’d run the entire distance. “Running a marathon was one thing I wanted to check off my bucket list, so naturally I wanted to run the whole thing,” she explains.

Combining her experience with triathlon training, Karpluk realized she needed a solid training plan to get her across the finish line. So she looped back to her triathlon trainer, an old friend Paul Regensburg, who has also trained Canadian Olympian Simon Whitfield. As much as Karpluk focuses on her training efforts, she’s just as passionate about teaming up with World Vision.
What’s the best part of charity running? “When you can’t be there and help directly, it’s nice to know that in some way I’m raising awareness, helping people and putting out good vibes.”
With her work on Rookie Blue, a show Karpluk joined last season, keeping her busy, she doesn’t have her next race date set. In the mean time, Karpluk lent her athletic ability in demonstrating the training exercises based on the sports of the Pan Am Games.

Exercise program written by physiotherapist Lindsay Scott, follower her on Twitter @LindsayScottPT.

2015 RS iRun Erin Karpluk-4ROLLER—SPEED SKATING
Similar to a speed skater gliding on one leg, runners must be strongest when we’re on one foot. This is designed to strengthen your gluts, quads and balance as you power through a plane of motion that’s often weak in runners. Exercise: Do a lateral jump and reach your opposite hand to the outside of your planted foot. Complete 2-3 sets of 12 reps.

2015 RS iRun Erin Karpluk-23-2CYCLING
Cyclists depend on a strong, stable core to develop power through their legs. This exercise is designed to train you to effectively use your core, allowing you to become faster, have greater resistance, and avoid injury by improving your stability and generate power in your legs. Exercise: Lie on your back and draw your bellybutton to activate your deep core muscles. Bring one leg at a time into a “table top” position with your hip and knee bent to 90 degrees and your shins parallel to the floor. Place a hand on each leg, just above your knee. Apply slight pressure into your leg, while resisting any movement with your leg. Slowly extend one leg at a time, while maintaining slight pressure on your opposite leg. Return to the start position and repeat on the opposite leg. Complete 2-3 sets of 15 reps on each leg.

2015 RS iRun Erin Karpluk-12CANOE/KAYAK SLALOM
Canoeists must fight against rushing water to maintain a stable position in the boat. Runners can take a cue from these paddlers and maximize their efficiency by strengthening their core to fight rotational forces. By resisting the twisting motion of the band, you build strength in your core, and especially in the obliques. Exercise: Kneel on one knee with the resistance band anchored beside you with moderate tension. Maintain a strong core and neutral spine as you push both arms straight out in front of you, resisting the rotational force of the band. Complete 2 to 3 reps on each side.

2015 RS iRun Erin Karpluk-7RUGBY SEVENS
When a rugby ball goes out of bounds, teams line up and “boost” a teammate into the air to reach for the ball being thrown in. Practising this quick, explosive jump increases your ability to recruit more muscle fibres, which allows you to use oxygen more efficiently to fuel your muscles. Exercise: Lower down into a squat position, keeping your back straight. Jump up quickly. Focus on landing softly and avoid letting your knees collapse together. Complete 2 to 3 sets of 12 reps.

2015 RS iRun Erin Karpluk-15SWIMMING
For swimmers and runners, the muscles that make up the core work collectively to stabilize the trunk and provide added strength and efficiency to your arms and legs. This exercise is designed to train the core muscles in your lower back which are called into action as you pick up your pace. Exercise: Lie face down. Lift one arm and the opposite leg. Hold 3 seconds. Relax. Repeat on opposite side. Repeat 2-3 sets of 12 reps on each side.

2015 RS iRun Erin Karpluk-16SQUASH
There are three planes of motion in which the human body can move: the sagittal plane (forward and back), the frontal plane (side to side) and the transverse plane (rotation, like a golf swing). Squash players, who spend most of each match fighting for position, are strong in all planes of motion. Runners, on the other hand, are not. This will strengthen the lower body in all planes of motion. Exercise: 
1. Lead with your left leg as you do 5 lunges forwards, to the side, at a 45 degree angle half way between the side and straight back, then straight back. 2. Repeat 5 times in each of the four directions on the opposite side, leading with your right foot

2015 RS iRun Erin Karpluk-21-2GYMNASTICS
Have you ever looked at a gymnast and marveled at their arm strength? The upper body is often overlooked by runners, but it can make a huge difference to your performance. With every foot strike, your arms drive your body forward, saving energy for your legs and helping you to maintain proper cadence and rhythm. Exercise: From an elevated plank (arms straight with your hands on the floor directly beneath your shoulders), bend your left elbow, lowering down so your left forearm is on the floor. Do the same on your right so you’re now supported by both forearms. Straighten your left arm, then your right, moving back to an elevated plank position. That’s one rep. Complete 2-3 reps of 12 on each side.

2015 RS iRun Erin Karpluk-1BOWLING
Similar to bowlers who must maintain a strong single leg stance in a dynamic environment as they release the ball, runners maintain a stable position as they repeatedly move from one leg to the next. One of the most common underlying causes of knee injuries is weakness in the muscles that stabilize the hips. A strengthening program focused on the hip leads to reduced variability in knee mechanics – or less “wobble” at the knee. Exercise: In a single-leg stance, squat down and reach hands to three targets: 45-degree angle left, straight ahead, 45-degree angle right. Stand all the way up between each position. Complete 2-3 reps of 12 on each side.

Canadian girl gone wild in the French Alps

June 19th, 2015


iRun: Alicia, congratulations on your recent trip to the 2015 World Trail Running Championships held in Annecy, France. Can you tell us how you qualified for this event?

Alicia Woodside: In Canada, you can qualify for the Canadian women’s ultra team by running a sub-7 hour 50 miler. After that the selection happens based on the fastest times for the year. In my case, I ran the Elk / Beaver Ultras in 2014, which is known to be a nice, fast course. I ran eight laps around the lake for the 50 miler, and I was able to run half of it with my best friend Tara Berry, who was also running the 50 mile race. Although that’s eight laps around the lake, I was lucky to be energized by a whole crew of friends who helped me reach my goal. With their help, I ran 6:58.28, which was faster than I had ever run, and under the qualifying standard. Six months later, I was selected for the Canadian ultra-trail team, to run the course around Lake Annecy  in the French Alps.

iRun: This wasn’t the first Canadian team you have been a member of. Tell us about your previous experience in Qatar at the World 100k championships.

AW:  Running at the event was an amazing, inspiring experience, and it was an honour to share the course with the most talented runners in the world; runners like Ellie Greenwood and Max King. That was the cool part about the laps, in most ultras it’s rare to really interact with other runners as you get spread out and lost in the trails, whereas in this race, there was so much inspiration all around. Also, we rode camels before the race.


iRun: What was your favorite part of your race in France?

AW:I had a rough go during the race, but the lessons I took from it became part of a really positive experience. The tough parts of the run helped me figure out  why I love to run and where I want to get to. After the race, I realize that I love moving in the mountains, with great people, and I love that journey of growth.  I had to go through the bad day to be reminded that great things take time.

iRun: What was the toughest part?

AW: Trying to the pressure I put on myself before the race because I was running for a team. I spent most of the race trying to live up to some unreasonable demands and couple that with not eating enough to produce any positive thoughts led to my downward spiral.

iRun: How is your recovery going?

AW:  It was going really well until I did a track meet last weekend, that’s right, I ran the 400m sprint at the Jesse Bent Track Classic. My legs were fried on the back stretch, which was way too early. I guess I’m not a sprinter!

iRun: What’s next for you?

AW: I’m all about having fun this summer. I’m going on lots of adventure runs with Tara and the Bremner’s Team, I’m pacing my friend Kerry Ward in the Bigfoot 200 miles, and I’m likely going to attempt a straight-shot run of the 213k East Coast Trail with my good friend, Katie Wadden. Somewhere in there, I know I’ll return to the track to redeem myself after last week’s 400. On the other end of the distance spectrum, I will probably do my favourite (it begins with a pancake breakfast) 100 miler race in August, Cascade Crest 100.

You have a Girls Gone Wilderness event is this weekend. How is that event looking?

AW:  All I can say is that it’s a favorite location of mine. Picture a bus ride with good vibes and summer music, then a nice social hike, with a wilderness wine and cheese party atmosphere? We designed an event that we would love to go to and we think you’ll love it. Come play; you can purchase tickets here, and it’s good for you and a friend!

Looking for more motivation? Read additional #FindYourStrong stories here.

Island Running: Toronto Nike Women’s 15K Lives On

June 15th, 2015

By Megan Black

The spirit of the Toronto Nike Women’s 15km lives on in pictures. More 10,000 women braved tough weather conditions on Toronto Centre Island crossing the line on a course that had runners making track on Porter Airline’s runway, along the boardwalk and weaving grass, gravel and concrete. Amazing displays of friendship, perseverance and energy were in no short supply,  as runners pushed and cheered from start to finish.  And because you’re still shouting about #nikeTO on social media, we complied a gallery, featuring a snapshot of some of the best images captured by the runners and spectators who were there!


Be sure to check out the Nike Training Club App because we all know, there is no finish line!


Make your meals work for your run

June 15th, 2015

Logging upwards of 200 kilometres each week, Jean Paul Bedard  gives us the rundown on how his nutrition helps him keep training, racing and recovering.

You can put in loads of quality training runs, be kitted out in high tech running gear, but unless you nail down your nutrition, you’re destined to be disappointed with your race day performance and with your running in general. When I was new to the sport, I read every article I could get my hands on that discussed nutrition for endurance sports. It was a frustrating experience because there was little consensus on what the ideal running diet.jp4

Take your time to find what works for you. Now, with more than 100 marathons and ultras under my belt, I’ve finally figured out why there is such a lack of consensus among nutritionists. When it comes to endurance sports, every runner is different. So it’s up to each and every one of us to find what works. I typically run 170-210 km every week, all year long. For many people, that’s a crazy distance, but it’s something that I’ve gradually worked up to. Here’s a peek into my typical day’s food intake, and an overview of what I eat prior to and during a race.

I do all of my runs early in the morning, around 4:30, so that means I don’t eat breakfast before I head out on a 2 to 5 hour training run. Because I focus on long distances, I need to train my body to run on fat stores rather than on quick sugar sources.

On any run less than 25 km, I only eat one energy gel to fuel me, within the first kilometer of my run. I never run with sports drinks, and typically only use them in the second half of a marathon. On my long run every Sunday, I will take one gel every 30 to 40 minutes for the duration of the run. This is a critical component to get my stomach used to having this energy source for the marathon races.

Small snacks throughout the day, makes you less inclined to pig out at mealtime.My morning snack consists of 2 bananas, nuts, and a vegan protein bar. My lunch typically contains peanut butter, lots and lots of peanut butter. I have another afternoon snack consisting of a protein bar, humus on rice cakes, and some fruit.

Eat some protein as soon as you can when you finish your long run or race. My dinner is heavy in protein and rich in carbs! I eat more dinner than you can imagine! After dinner, I indulge my sweet tooth. I’m a recovering alcoholic, so my liver still craves that sugary goodness that alcohol used to provide. I’ve been known to eat 20 of my wife’s homemade oatmeal chocolate chip cookies in the evening—“Kids, don’t try this at home!”

Carbo Pasta Loading can be your biggest downfall. Try not to pig out on pasta the night before your big race. Keep your meal small, and if possible, eat dinner early the night before the race at about 5 o’clock. so that your body has the opportunity to process, food before you leave the house or hotel for the starting corral.

My pre-race meal is not really a meal at all. I either eat a bagel with peanut butter one side and jam on the other, or I eat a protein bar and a banana. It really depends on how my stomach is coping with the nerves. Otherwise, my breakfast every day, consists of one and half cups of large flake organic oatmeal, with brown sugar, dried cranberries, and almond milk.

On race day, always carry an extra gel with you. If you drop one during the race, you won’t need to panic. Also, I often hand this extra gel to another runner in the last few kilometers if I notice that he or she is suffering.

Looking for more motivation? Read additional #FindYourStrong stories here.

Nike Toronto Women’s 15K Kicks Off

June 13th, 2015

The Toronto Nike Women’s  weekend has kicked off! From Nike Training Clubs to the Nike Women’s 15km on Toronto Island on Sunday be sure to head down to the Toronto Harbour Front to check out everything Nike has to offer.
By Megan Black


Celebrating Nike’s Done By Dawn series, part of the brands promotion of women’s fitness, the Crystal Coliseum, a custom-built barge situated on the harbour front, is now home to the Nike Training Club studio. With stunning views of Lake Ontario, and Toronto Island, the studio will be offering over 30 different classes from HIIT to gym training. Workouts are led by the worlds best Nike Master Trainers and inspired by world renowned elite athletes, who will bring the NTC app to life!

We caught up with Canadian World Champion snowboarder Spencer O’Brien, and Nike’s first sponsored female snowboarder, to chat about off-season training. As part of her routine, O’Brien incorporates strength training and running along with interval training, HIIT and plyometrics. Throughout the summer, this Vancouver Island native focuses on explosive strength and speed for “quick, poppy legs”, a combination helps her edge out her competition at the world class level. When it comes to running, O’Brien opts for quick sub-hour sessions, “squeezing in running is great for cardio and awesome for when I’m on the road”.


Canadian snowboarder Spencer O’Brien (right) with iRun’s editorial assistant Megan Black.

As for apparel to support her workouts, the snowboarder gravitates towards vivid colours and prints – opting for Nike’s functional printed tights with mesh detailing. Check out Nike to see what this seasons styles have to offer!

Looking to train like a world champion? Try O’Brien’s exclusive Nike Training Club workout, called “Power Legs”, for a 15-minute leg workout that will translate to a stronger lower half both on and off the slopes.

Find out more about Nike+ events hosted by Toronto’s Nike+ Running and Nike+ Training Club by downloading the Nike+ City Pass.

Practise Pleasure, Don’t Practise Pain

June 12th, 2015

Chris McDougall, author of Born to Run, returns to history to explore man’s potential in an astounding new book entitled 
Natural Born Heroes.

By Ben Kaplan
Chris McDougall_Trail pose_03

On the morning I meet Chris McDougall in his publisher’s office, he’s nursing a shoulder injury. The night before, he’d hooked up with a local parkour group in Toronto and spent the evening jumping off walls and leaping through trees. “I suck at parkour and bashed the hell out of my shoulder, but what the hell?” says McDougall. “It’s good to be sore at 53.”
Parkour, a high-flying movement exercise designed to increase agility and efficiency, is featured in Natural Born Heroes, along with knife throwing, bear crawling and running 100 miles overtop mountains on a diet of plants. The book, a Gladwellian study of how the people of Crete resisted the Nazis, presents a new approach to healthy living gleamed from the behaviour of a few brave women and men. Like Born to Run, which sold three million copies and launched the minimalist shoe movement, it looks back to provide a way forward for how we can better live now.

Q) What I like most is the new book’s ethos—you present your heroes as outsiders, rebels and misfits. In general, is that what you like about running?
What I’ve learned about running—what I love—comes from the ultra runners and the trail runners and that’s simply this: running should not be a punishment or a chore, it should be something you love. I think that also applies to me, my approach to running and, incidentally, my work.

Q) I like this notion of “heroes.” In modern-day life, I feel like it’s more popular to self-identify as a poor schlub.
Turns out that being a hero isn’t something that you’re born with or not, but it’s more like the answer to a simple question: Am I being useful or am I showing off? What being a hero is all about is: let’s focus on the stuff that actually matters. We’re talking about practising functional fitness.

Q) How does this approach affect your personal training?
My normal run is down this dirt road and there’s a railing and I’ll do vaults back and forth, do some precision jumps. There’s a steep part of my trail and instead of walking it, I bear crawl it—bear crawl up the trail.

Q) That’s awesome. I’ve never bear crawled on a run and I’ve done 10 marathons!
I don’t have to, but why not? All these things—like, there’s a tree branch that hangs out where I run and I squat on top of the branch. Add variety and the run is done before you know it.

Q) What advice would you give a would-be marathon runner?
Be a little wild.

Q) You’re known now as the minimalist shoe guy. Tell me about your relationship with sneakers.
It’s strange to me. Remember, Nike came out with Free before Born to Run. They picked up on the fact that “stabilization” and “pronation control,” had crested and they knew there was no science behind it. Shoe brands had gone way out there with the Emperor’s New Clothes.

Q) Both books seem to have a ‘back to nature’ approach to running.
We’re naked animals in the wilderness and when we didn’t have any of this junk—mankind thrived! Is this junk actually helping? Usually it’s not. I’d gamble that the junk gets in the way of the skill.

Q) So talk to our runners: what’s not junk? What do we need?
Get back to skills. Functional human movements, things you think you know how to do. Can you climb a rope? Can you jump on a table? I think skills that are good for the whole body and especially things that incorporate four-limbed motion. We have four limbs. Yet we isolate them and only use two at a time?

Q) In the new book, you talk about “empathy as a survival skill.” Can you explain that concept?
It’s about perceptiveness. Compassion is all about being aware of your world. Realize you’re connected. We’re all connected and we should be useful and help.

Q) How is running useful?
It becomes a cycle of self-fulfillment. You go on a run, it feels good and makes you do it more and, with that good feeling, you do something good—the cycle rewards everyone from the runner to those they come into contact with.

Q) Tell us about Matthew McConaughey being cast in the Born to Run film.
He’s playing Micah, Caballo Blanco, our first connection to the Tarahumara people. With the film, I’m involved, though I didn’t do the script. They hired this big name screenwriter who does a lot of Hollywood films and we’re waiting on him and it’s driving everybody crazy.

Q) How come?
He’s postponing it and not finishing!

Q) Well, you got McConaughey. Gotta get it right.
I don’t know, man. It feels brutal. Get a move on! I feel like it’s payback for all the deadlines I’ve blown. Karma’s biting me in the ass.

Q) What do you eat to stay healthy, to fight karma?
I stay away from bread, rice, pasta, rolls—anything of a grain.

Q) And how strict are you with your diet?
Someone offers me a Subway sandwich, I’ll murder it. I’m not a purist, I guess.

Q) I love your outlook on life.
Have fun, have a good time. Barefoot Ted’s thing is practise pleasure, don’t practise pain—have fun and then you’ll want to keep doing it.

Q) What would you say to runners?
It’s not so serious. You’re not saving the world from evil. Have fun. If you’re having a bad day, stop and pet a dog. You’re just getting sweaty. Enjoy it, that’s what keeps you coming back for more.

Chris McDougall is the author of Born to Run and the new book, Natural Born Heroes, published in Canada by Knopf ($32).

Next issue: July 30, 2015
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