iRun because couch potatoes die young Cathy Andrew, Ontario

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

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

iRun to eat Maureen Tritscher, Alberta

iRun therefore I amDuncan Walsh, Nottingham, UK

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

iRun because I like buying running clothes Pamela Blaikie, Ontario

iRun for the fresh air and adrenalin Charlyn McGregor, Saskatchewan

iRun because iEat Sherry Maligaspe, British Columbia

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

iRun for overall wellbeingTrish McCourt, Halifax, NS

iRun all the livelong day Pierre Saint-Laurent, Quťbec

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

iRun because endorphins are freeCassandra Chouinard, Ontario

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

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

iRun to my happy place and some days itís very Doreen May, Alberta

iRun because somebody once told me I couldnít Heidi Abbey-Der, Saskatchewan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

iRun to stay ahead of the weight gainMyra Abstreiter, Alberta

iRun to prove to them that iCan Catherine Smith, Manitoba

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

iRun because itís better than almost everything else Nathan Carey, Ontario

iRun to feel great Kathryn Rachar, Saskatchewan

iRun because itís fun when itís done Sue Matte, Ontario

iRun to satisfy the irresistible urge Tim Nixon, British Columbia

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

iRun to unleash my inner athleteAdelle Densham, Avonmore, ON

iRun because I like buying running clothes Pamela Blaikie, Ontario

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

iRun for the individual pursuit Robert Pelletier, New Brunswick

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

iRun because itís like flying, only lower Glenn Johnson, Ontario

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

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

iRun because Iíve lost 80 lbs and running has become fun Cheryl Kelly, Ontario

iRun because iEat Sherry Maligaspe, British Columbia

iRun because I canít dance Mario Javier, Ontario

iRun because not everyone can Olivia Harvey, New Brunswick

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

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

iRun to inspire my children! Wendy Bowen, Manitoba

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

iRun so I can eat ice cream Sandy Bolan, Ontario

iRun but not enoughMichael Shaw, New Westminister, BC

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

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

iRun because couch potatoes die young Cathy Andrew, Ontario

iRun because endorphins are free Cassandra Chouinard, Ontario

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

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

iRun for meKiza Francis, Ottawa,ON

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

iRun because i love to Mirella Petriello, Ontario

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

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

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

iRun to someday win the race Lindy Dunlop, Yukon

iRun because itís cheaper than therapy Leah Boulter, Alberta

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

iRun because itís a great way to see the world Sherry Mahoney, British Columbia

iRun because food tastes better afterwards Patrick Houston, Alberta

iRun because iLoves my man Beverly Huang, Alberta

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

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

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

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

iRun because there is no finish line Claire Kilgour, Ontario

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

iRun to kickstart my day Sharon Strueby, Saskatchewan

iRun because it makes me feel powerful Sarah Kallaghan, Alberta

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

iRun at 50 years old because at 43 I couldnít Peter Cicalo, Ontario

iRun because I love the solitude Janene Tailleur, British Columbia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

iRun to challenge my perceived limitations Cassandra Williams, Ontario

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

iRun because it sure beats the bus Robin Robbins, Alberta

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

iRun because otherwise Iím grumpy Alexandre Charest, Quebec

iRun slowly! Jason Hoffman, Manitoba

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

iRun because it has saved my life John Marshall, Alberta

iRun because I liveGeorges Schneller, Laval, QC

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

iRun for me! Judi Wearing, Saskatchewan

iRun because walking is too slow Barry Knapp, Ontario

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

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

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

iRun because running is like breathing to Stephanie McEvoy, Ontario

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

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

iRun because it makes me whole Denis Ladouceur, Quebec

iRun slowly!Jason Hoffman, Manitoba

iRun to inspire my kids to tryGlen Johnston, Nunavut

iRun away from the abyss Charlene Thomas, Ontario

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

iRun because my heart tells me to William Martin, Manitoba

iRun so I donít say never ever again Linda Klaric, Manitoba

Cover photo from the current issue of iRun Magazine

Workout Wednesday

My Best Running Race

April 2012

Back to Table of Contents

Creative cross-training

Mix up your routine, add pep to your step

Runners, especially runners nursing over-training injuries, are often advised to try cross-training with cycling, swimming and yoga. iRunNation, let’s mix up that cross-training routine and get creative with a sample of some of the other fun and challenging activities that can also help you develop muscles that are underused in running.

Aerobic exercises, like running long distance, release energy slowly over a period of time. Anaerobic exercises, like strength training and short-distance running, are quick and explosive movements. Choose the activity that suits your training goals and ranks high on the fun scale.


Volleyball works both the anaerobic and aerobic energy systems. Good for both short-and long-distance runners, playing volleyball develops endurance and the ability to exert hard, short bursts of energy, while strengthening your hips, glutes, quads and calves, pecs, lats, deltoids and rotator cuffs.

It also helps runners avoid repetitive strain injuries (RSIs), says Marco Walker- Ng, a strength training coach for elite athletes. “When you do a different stimulus, you train your muscles a different way and take stress off those muscles.

Volleyball develops plyometric skills so you have more balance in your step when you run,” says Walker-Ng.

While playing volleyball is fun, it can lead to injuries when not done properly. “Striking a ball is a technical skill. If you know how to do it, great. If not, get some coaching or ask a friend who can show you to do it,” says Walker-Ng.


Zumba classes feature a spicy, hip-swivelling workout where African, Caribbean and Latin dance moves are combined with aerobics and fitness. According to Sarah Zahab, a kinesiologist, exercise physiologist and fitness instructor at Continuum Fitness and Movement Performance, “Before participants know it, they’re getting fit and their energy levels are soaring!” Zahab notes that Zumba benefits “include cross-training to help prevent overuse injuries, improved co-ordination and balance, increased cardiovascular endurance, addition of rotational movements, increased activation of various instrinsic muscles in the feet and, of course, having tons of fun!”

If a runner is injured, he/she should address the injury first. “If the working athletic/ physical therapist feels that adding Zumba would be beneficial and not aggravate the injury further,” says Zahab “Then it would be a great activity to try.”


In-line skating builds core and lower body strength. “Depending on their training goals, there is a large variety of what people can achieve with inline skating. If you want base stamina and cardio, you can go out and skate everywhere. Skating uphill is anaerobic and builds strength,&rquo; says Peter Wilson, president of the Ottawa In-line Skating Club.

Before getting into in-line skating 10 years ago, Wilson used to run marathons. But six weeks after putting on his skates, he got addicted to the speed and did an in-line skating marathon. “My first 10K in-line skating marathon probably took the same effort as a 10K run,” says Wilson who notes that in-line skating skills can be developed in one season.


Martial arts training is a great counter-sport for short- and long-distance marathoners because it emphasises flexibility and mental control, says Nick Castiglia, manager of Ottawa Academy of Martial Arts. “In running, your IT bands, quads, hams, glutes, hip flexors and lower back get tight. I train for marathons and everything I do in martial arts helps loosen and stretch those muscles,” says Castiglia.

Martial arts help him as he runs by improving mental control and breathing.


Fencing is an ideal cross-training sport for the sprinter. It requires a lot of flexibility, lower body strength, balance and stability, says Paul Apsimon, head coach of the Canadian fencing team. Apsimon says it is a dynamic sport incorporating lunges, squats, explosive and plyometric movements, while developing mental and physical toughness.

“Fencing is a version of physical chess. It is a thinking sport,” says Apsimon. Fencing matches last up to three minutes. The actions are explosive, aggressive and use 100 per cent exertion. Recovery times are worked in as you prepare for your next series of actions.

As a cardiovascular workout, Apsimon says fencing training is very similar to interval training. It consists of two to three hours of bouts and similar conditioning drills. A basic stance in fencing is a seated position, and novice fencers tend to notice extreme lower body fatigue within 30 or 40 minutes.


Strength training and conditioning can be very beneficial for building and maintaining muscles for running, says Shane Lakins, fitness coach for Queen’s School of Business in Kingston, ON.

“Most runners often avoid strength training because they assume that they will get big. You’re not going to get big unless you spend a lot of time lifting heavy weights,” says Lakins.

When runners do strength training, Lakins says they should use time—not sets and reps—as their guide. He uses Tabatas when working with runners, a type of circuit-training alternating between two exercises doing 20 seconds hard, 10 seconds rest, followed by another 20 seconds hard on different exercise. After four minutes, take a minute break and switch to another set and repeat.

Depending on the movements, most people, he says, are gassed after 20 minutes.

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