It’s Running Season – Tips for Injury Prevention

Spring has official sprung and the residents of Ottawa have definitely emerged from their homes, packed up their winter clothing and are sporting flip flops and shorts. It is that time of the year where all of the extreme runners, fair weather runners, first timers and weekend warriors start heading outside in their brightly coloured tank tops, running shorts and their newest pair of light weight running shoes.   As running season approaches and people get excited about moving, being outside and shedding the “winter weight” it is good to take a second just to go over a couple reminders to keep us all healthy, happy and injury free as we start to increase our kilometers, speed and endurance.

Running HappyKeeping your Body Happy during Running Seasons:

  1. STRETCH! I lead a run club for women in the summer months and this is probably one of my top struggles as a run coach. I can tell you to stretch and I can be there to make sure you you have a quick post run stretch, but once you get home I can’t make sure my runners are grabbing their foam rollers and going to town as suggested. So I beg of you please for the love of your joints, muscles, range of motion and injury prevention stretch! Get on your foam roller, find some yoga tune up balls, or follow a running magazine stretching sequence, no matter what JUST STRETCH! Our joints and muscles take a serious beating when we run so it is important to show them some love.
  2. Drink more than you think you need. This might sound like a real silly reminder but we don’t always feel thirsty. Maybe it was cool out or maybe it was raining, sometimes the weather surrounding our runs makes us feel more hydrated and in less need of water than we really are. It is important to consume water before and after your runs and to bring some along when running anything over 5km, ESPECIALLY when it is super warm out.
  3. Running gear can be cool, but it is also useful. I said it, running gear is cool, it is fun and gets me motivated to lace-up my shoes and hit the pavement. You don’t need fancy running gear to get out there, but things like a good pair of light weight socks, a running hat, a fuel belt for your water (see #2), a supportive/comfortable pair of runners and some light weight clothing will go a long way when running outside in the summer.
  4. Strength training. Chances are you may have picked up running because you are more of the endurance type, than the “let’s pick up heavy things and move them” type. However life is about balance and so is running. Similar to stretching you are much less likely to suffer an injury if you strength train regularly. I am not suggesting you go out and buy yourself a fancy pants expensive gym membership, however I am recommending committing to at least 2 strength training (with weights or body weight) workouts a week in addition to your runs, heck they can be after your run, right there outside in the sun. Focusing on building and supporting the muscles (think glutes, hamstrings, quads, shins, calves and core) involved in supporting your body during your running sessions.
  5. Turn your runs into learning opportunities.  As runners (new or veteran) there is a tendency to push through, because let’s be honest if we didn’t “push through” on a regular bases we probably wouldn’t last longer than 10 minutes. It is in our nature to ignore pinches, pains, and aches and instead wear them like badges. Feel free to continue to be proud of those sore quads after a good run or those tight calves as you roll them out on your foam roller (see #1), but be sure to take a step back and listen. Our society has gotten away from listening to the tips and clues our body gives us, we numb the pain with Advil/ Tylenol, we rub on joint relief creams and slap a brace on it, but don’t take the time to understand what our bodies are telling us. So if that heel, hip, knee or whatever hurts after your runs take stock, take a step back and figure out what your body is telling you.  Maybe you need to get checked out by a sports doctor, perhaps more stretching or more strength training is in order.  Regardless of what the “fix” is support your body instead of telling it what to do.

Now that you are geared up, stretched out, strengthened and hydrated lace up those shoes and get a nice run in.

Happy Thursday Everyone!

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Weekend Round Up – Parties and Friends

This past weekend has been great, and makes me all the more excited that today is still a part of that weekend.  Sure it is the last long weekend of summer but I think we went out with a bang so I am not disappointed.

My sister had been in town for a while and I was able to have her and my mom over for some breakfast before she took off to her next destination.  So I woke up bright and early and headed off to the gym to get a good workout in to start my day, and then quickly headed home to shower up and start breakfast.  It was just a short visit but it was nice getting to see her one last time before she headed out to say goodbye.  After my sister headed to the airport there wasn’t much time to be bummed out about it because my husband and I were hosting a birthday party for a close friend that evening.

Party Decor Collage

Camp Susan Collage

Last week it was my running buddy and co-coach for the Gingersneezes run club’s birthday.  So this weekend all the friends got together to throw her a fun backyard bash.  I really love planning parties so a couple months back I begged her to let me throw her a party once I got the go ahead I started pinning things on Pinterest like a crazy person.  I picked the theme of Camp and went about making the party more grown up than the 4-6 year old birthday parties I had been seeing documented on Pinterest. Once the idea was nailed down it was just a matter of picking the food.

Birthday Girl Collage

As I have been trying to incorporate clean and healthy eating into my life I didn’t want to go off the deep end and just serve junk food for the party (i.e. hot dogs and pre-made burgers) so I flipped through my cookbooks and did what I could to healthify some “traditional” camping food. Instead of serving hot dogs and hamburgers we served flank steak and chicken, instead of the traditional twice baked potato stuffed with butter and sour cream I used Greek yoghurt, and we made sure to have a wide selection of salads for everyone to fill up on.

birthday cake

All of that being said we did still have a cake, but it was a birthday and the way I figure it it is life and indulgences and treats are a part of that.  The menu was a healthy balance between health and indulgence and I think it went over well, and all in all I think the party was a hit (if I do say so myself). This beautiful cake was made by the talented Rachelle who makes one heck of a delicious gluten and nut free cake!  thanks again Rachelle.

After the party clean up took place it was time to relax.  I just finished my Power phase at the gym and my body has been screaming at me to relax a little bit more so I welcomed a day of laziness.  I went to the farmer’s market in the morning to stock up on food for the week and start my weekly meal prep, then later on in the afternoon I enjoyed the comical stylings of the movie “We’re the Millers”, which was hilarious.

I am excited to use today to get in a nice long slow run and then hopefully finish up the on-line portion of my personal trainer’s course, with a little time left over to relax some more.  I hope you are all enjoying your labour day weekend, and are all soaking in as much of the last weekend of summer as you can.

Happy Monday! 

One More Day Till the Weekend…

So this past week (heck couple of weeks) has been super hectic.   So unfortunately I am totally unprepared for the day’s post.  I attempted a stew and although it tastes good it isn’t much of a stew, it is more of a soup, I strongly contemplated sharing it with you as a soup but that just wouldn’t have been fair.

So today instead I am going to share my enthusiasm over accomplishing one of my larger goals!!! My exercise buddy and I finished our second running app.  After totally murdering the Couch to 5k app we had decided that we would start a Couch to 10k. Seeing we had already done some training to run 5k we found a comfortable place in the middle of the app to get started.  Our first run as I remember it was a little intense, we may have bit off more than we were ready to chew that day but instead of getting discourage we became more determined and pushed through to the end.
UntitledThis morning (it was really early) marked our last run of our 10k app, and it was the perfect day to do so considering it is really starting to get cold out there, it is definitely time to move the workouts indoors.  Three and a half month ago I was dealing with major knee issues and starting to run again, and now my exercise partner and I are banging out 8 and 10k runs like no ones business.

Now that we are forced indoors we have decided to work on speed so that come the summer we are running around the city like the Road Runner!!! I will keep everyone posted on how tempo training goes.

What goals have you set for yourself and smashed lately?

Hope everyone has a great Friday!!! I promise I will have food for you next week. 

Cutting out the Meat

This past weekend was absolutely gorgeous. I ended up spending the majority of my time out in the sun, well shade really I am a ginger and the sun does terrible things to my skin. But just soaking up the soon to be ending summer here in Ottawa was wonderful. Saturday we ventured out near the local arboretum for an afternoon picnic and Sunday was primarily spent on the deck finishing up a book from my favourit author, Douglas Coupland.

Untitled It is just wonderful to find such a serene place in the middle of the city.

Untitled

Now it is back to work and back to reality, but I am so thankful for such a warm boiling weekend filled with sun.

So today marks the beginning of my third week of the plant based eating challenge. For the past two weeks I have been eating strictly vegetarian during the week, and attempting to push it to the vegan side of things. I have found it extremely difficult to cut out eggs, and the occasional dairy during the adventure.

About midway through my second week I basically decided that vegan just wasn’t going to happen for me. I enjoy my whey protein shakes, and my hard boiled eggs, so I accepted that vegetarian was probably as good as I could give, but have still made a strong effort to cut out as much dairy from my life as possible. Dairy reeks havoc on my insides so it is really something I should be avoiding as much as possible regardless of any challenge/experiment I am doing. Besides failing at the 100% plant based eating, cutting out meat 5 out of 7 days a week has been a breeze.

I haven’t so much missed meat as I have missed the convenience of knowing I am for sure getting the protein I need, and the lazy factor of not having to think about where I am getting my protein in each meal.

All and all it has been pretty simple and very delicious so far. I love vegetables so getting to eat more of them isn’t really a big deal for me, and this challenge has pushed me to consume more fruit so it has been win win. I haven’t noticed a drastic change in my energy levels, but my skin has cleared up and is less oily, my eczema seems to be seriously under control, with the occasional outbreak on the weekend when I am way more lax about what I am eating, and overall my stomach is felling way healthier.

The weekly trips to the farmers market have definitely helped to get me excited about making 100% of my meals vegetable based because the produce are so fresh and flavorful, and basically I can’t wait to eat them every week. I am excited to get started on week three, and to merge this into a permanent life style as much as possible. Although I love veggies, and I am very much enjoying eating like this I don’t believe I would ever 100% give up meat, I love fish and the occasional steak so I don’t think I would be willing to give that up full time.

Have any of you been vegetarian, or attempted to drastically cut out meat for health/environmental/ ethical/ any other reason?

Happy Monday! Hope you are all having a great start to your week!

Sun Shine

As mentioned previously I take part in Parliament Hill yoga, it is an event put on by the Rideau Centre Lululemon, and if you have yet to try it and are in the Ottawa area at noon on a  Wednesday I strongly recommend you come one down.

Different yoga teachers from around the city donate their time to lead hundreds of people through a one hour yoga class. As the weather gets nicer more and more people show up and it is just incredible.

It is definitely the highlight of most of my Wednesday, and the perfect way to break up a work day filled with sitting in a chair and typing.

I think besides the general exercise and relaxation you get from yoga PH yoga is fantastic because it goes on rain or shine (no thunder showers of course that is just dangerous), so if you have never practiced in the rain I strongly encourage you to give it ago, it adds some new challenges but it is also cleansing (for the lack of a better word).

Here are some photos so you can see how it grows throughout the summer.

This is a picture of the first day of PH yoga…cold and threatening to rain – probably about 50 people.

1 yoga

Here is what it looked like today…917 people. Nothing like putting out so many good vibes all together.

PH yoga

all photos are courtesy of Lululemon Rideau Street Facebook page

 

Happy Hump Day we are almost threw the week. 

Return of the Outdoors

It is officially that time of the year again. Although it is still a little chilly out, mostly due to humidity, the return of outdoor activities is in full swing. Besides the regular running outdoors (which I started sometime ago) other activities are starting to come back just begging good weather to come back to our fine city.
Untitled The local downtown Lululemon puts on a weekily yoga on Parliament Hill every summer during lunch. It is an amazing way to break up the week and breakup your day. Particularly for extremely stressful days, there is nothing like getting an hour of outdoors time and practicing yoga on the grace with 100 other people.
Untitled The yoga classes are 60minutes long and taught by instructors from around the city. It is fun because from week to week the style is different and you get to test out different varieties of yoga that perhaps you otherwise wouldn’t have chosen to do had you been paying for it, oh did I mention these yoga sessions are FREE! Yes free, that isn’t a typo. If you have never practiced yoga outside I STRONGLY recommend testing these Wednesday lunch time sessions out if you are in the area.
UntitledHope you are enjoying this super awesome shot of my feet…it was taken while I was in downward dog…total talent on my part.
UntitledUntitledAnother outdoor activity I am taking part in is a kettlebell class and as promised note the photo above. Unfortunately, the kettlebell sessions only come in groups of four so they will be done soon, but it is another excuse for me to play outside. I mean who wouldn’t think swinging around ridiculously heavy medieval looking objects would be a good time, and then couple it with being outdoors and you basically have a party!

What is your favorite summer outdoor activity?

Happy Women’s Day!

Today is a great day (well windy and raining, but that just means melting snow), the weather is seeming to warm up and it’s Women’s Day! So time to remember all those amazing women of the past that have done so much for us, and remember that we too are amazing women. Not sure if anyone out there watches Parks and Recreation but…
treat It is time to get out and do something for you and appreciate the woman, lady, girl you are! Go on a run, go to yoga, make a healthy meal, buy that purse, those pants, or heck those socks do something for you today.

international_womens_day

I got started on Women’s Day early yesterday with treating myself to my first outdoor run of the season! I was worried that as usual the first outdoor run of the season was going to be brutal, because there is a huge difference between running on a treadmill and running on pavement,and I started to psych myself out.  But in order to keep up the positive attitude I went and purchased a new pair of running socks (they are probably by far my favourit running accessory). I also purchased an iPhone carrying case, but we will get into THAT later.

So feet tapped up to ward off blisters from my orthotics, equipped with my new socks and my outdoor running shoes (normally I wouldn’t bother but the chances of large puddles was astronomical), and I set off for what had planned to be a nice 3-4k run.

SEVEN kilometers later I was rounding back home and starting my cool down.  I couldn’t believe it 7k, without even trying, or noticing how far I had gone. I forgot how freeing and wonderful it felt to get outside and run, I can’t wait for more lovely days. I hope some of you were able to get out and enjoy some beautiful outdoor time yesterday.

Now on the topic of an iPhone carrier. I use my iPhone to track where I have run with iMapMyRun, and I often use couch to 10k in order to not have to think about my 10:1.  I normally just hold my phone while I run, but I am sure you are all aware of how annoying this can be. I am not a huge fan of the arm bands because I find they bounce around a lot and hit me, and well in the summer I develop the an unusual tan due to the strap.  I prefer something that can be securely clipped to my pants, it doesn’t move around too much, headphone wires can go up my back so I don’t get my hands tangled in them…there are just so many positives.  Anyways, I had lost my old one and was in need of a replacement. I bought something and well once I got home and got ready to test it out I found out that my iPhone didn’t fit.  So now I am back on the hunt. Does anyone out there have a good suggestion for an exercise case for the iPhone that I can attach to my pants?  

Anyways, hope everyone is having a marvelous Thursday, and hope you all have the chance to show a little extra appreciation to women everywhere today!