Rainy Runs, Or, How To Be An Unstoppable Badass

Rain run

You can find a thousand reasons to not go outside for your run. The most common one I hear is “It’s raining”.

Now, I try as hard as I can to make this a judgement free zone. Do what you want, how you want to. But if truth be told, if you do not go for your run because it is raining, well then, I am judging you.

I do not care how sweet of a person you are, you are not made of sugar, and you will do just fine.

Plus – and this is really where it gets good – you will feel 50% more badass running any given route in the rain. Guaranteed.

It doesn’t matter how short, how flat, or how easy that route is. You automatically level up to 50% more badass-ery when running in the rain. It’s fantastic.

AND you get to be the crazy person running in the rain. The next day when you go into work, and everyone says they spent the evening inside, staring drearily out their windows, you can proudly announce “I went for a run.” They will all gape at you, but that is okay, because you got your run in.

Now, go for that run in the rain, you unstoppable badass.

And Happy Running!

 (Photo Credit: Antony_mayfield)

The Big News

Ireland

Alright you guys. I have some big news. Drum roll please……

I’m moving to Ireland. For a month. Maybe more. Don’t really know.

I’m going over for my company to work on a project, but I’m really really really psyched about the running part. That picture up there? That’s Howth, which is a neighbourhood of Dublin, Ireland where I will be living. Beautiful, right? I’m looking forward to running those trails and clocking some miles in a new country.

This will be to mildly offset the beer and potatoes I plan on consuming while I’m there. Everyone talks about the beer in Ireland, and while that’s great and all: POTATOES. (I should add here that I have been to Dublin before for work, and am also technically Irish in my ancestry, although my family has been in Canada for generations now, meaning it might just be in my blood to love the potatoes of Ireland).

Seriously folks, the potatoes in Ireland are fantastic. I know this sounds crazy, but just….listen to me on this one. I have honestly never had better potatoes than in Ireland. They are these fantastic little clouds of starch, regardless of the preparation. Nothing is more satisfying than that on a rainy day.

I’ll be posting while over there, so I look forward to updating you with my very own snapshots of the island. Expect to see shots of both the running trails and the potatoes.

Sláinte!! (and Happy Running)

(Photo credit: Roberto Taddeo)

Remember: We GET To Do This

When I first started, every run was a milestone. My longest run ever; my longest time running; my fastest km; my fastest mile; you get the picture. I went from barely being able to muster 1 minute of running/1 minute of walking for 30 minutes in a row to 10 minutes of running/1 minute of walking, all over the course of 8 weeks. I thought that was pretty awesome. I think that is pretty awesome.

Each time I would hit a new milestone, I’d say, Wow, isn’t it amazing that my body can do this. I am grateful for a body that is able to run and bike and dance (however questionably) and allow me to live my life without complaint. It’s a privilege.

In fact, running has become my way of celebrating the beautiful and capable body I have been blessed with. I’m not an especially healthy eater, and I could certainly stand to shed a few pounds, but running reminds me regularly to be mindful of the abilities of the body I have been given.

As I have continued to run, it takes longer and longer to hit the next milestone, meaning I am less likely to stop at the end of the run and go Wow because it is just a thing I do regularly. It is the norm.

On Wednesday of this week, I had one of those moments. Actually, I had more like one of those runs. About 1k into my tempo run I realized that my breathing was easy. My breathing had barely above the rate I would need to walk, and yet here I was, running what I thought was my tempo rate. I realized I could step it up and run quite a bit faster to achieve a proper tempo effort. That was pretty amazing.

As I was finishing my run, sweat absolutely pouring down my face and neck, I felt fantastic; I had a classic case of runners high. It’s the feeling every runner is chasing, if we are very honest with ourselves. We are all chasing the euphoria that comes with hitting a new goal, or truly enjoying our run.

During the day, I was wavering as to whether or not I should go. I remembered that I don’t have to run, but that I GET to run. Because of this beautiful, functioning, capable body that I have been given. Because I am able to celebrate that. And so I did, and as always, I’m reminded that

No one has ever really regretted heading out for that run.

So Happy Running.

Happy FRIDAY!

Happy Friday fellow Runners!

Stopped for a rest East of 3 valleys Gap Transcanada Highway

It’s Friday; wonderful, beautiful Friday. Rest day for me, so I’ll be doing, well, not a whole lot of anything. Reading, specifically my newest acquisition, Ultramarathon Man by Dean Karnazes, and heading up north. If you’re not from Toronto, “up north” is the standard term for going anywhere but the big city for the weekend (seeing as anywhere due south of Toronto technically takes you across Lake Ontario into the States). In my case, I’ll be going to Wasaga Beach for some quality family time.

While I’m there, I’m planning on getting in some good trail runs in the Provincial parks. Trail running is its own kind of beast, and not one that I get to tackle often living in the concrete jungle. Trail running forces us to break our stride and pacing, and therefore typically expends more energy. Trail runners tend to be stronger runners overall, as they are more agile and have stronger cores. That said, my times tend to go up (ahem, way up if I’m being honest) when I run trails.

Pictures will follow. How are you spending your Friday run? I want to hear from you in the comments.

Happy Running!

(Photo Credit: Thank You For Visiting)

The 10% Rule

10-10-10

Today is a easy steady run for me. It will be short, and as per my training schedule, is meant to add some miles to my legs. The problem is, I’m really hankering for a nice long run. A good 2 hours where I can go get lost, explore some new territory and really push my endurance. Where afterwards I can be so dead tired that there is nothing I can do but be happy and bask in the sweaty afterglow of a good run. I don’t get to do that until Sunday, which is when it is scheduled on my plan. I mean, I could head out for a 20k session tonight but that would be actually not help me to reach my long term goals.

…which brings me to the 10% rule.

The rule states that you should not increase  your mileage week over week by more than 10%. Going over this rule increases your risk of injuries from over-training. Especially when you first start, this is very difficult, but a stress injury can sideline you for days, weeks or months depending. Over-training injuries include stress fractures, iliotibial band syndrome (IBTS), shinsplints, plantar fasciitis, and the common runner’s knee.

Despite this knowledge, if you are really needing an extra couple of sweat sessions, try some cross-training that uses a completely different muscle group. Pilates and yoga are favoured by a lot of runners because they increases core strength and provides a deep stretch. Just makes sure whatever you do, you really are letting your primary running muscles rest.

Happy Running!

P.S The weekend is almost here!

(Photo Credit: Woodleywonderworks)

I Songza While I Run

Skullcandy Headphones

Among my running friends, the music we listen to, the playlists we create and the effort we put into finding that perfect mix is a subject of constant discussion.

Which is why, lately, I’ve been leaving it up to fate. Well, sort of. It would more accurate to say I’ve been leaving it up to the folks at Songza, and their delightfully surprising playlists.

If you’re not acquainted with Songza, it’s a website and app that provides streaming playlists for whatever mood you are in (from Energetic to Nocturnal) or activity you are doing (Girls Night Out? Lying Low on a Sunday Afternoon? Hanging out in the Man Cave?), as well as per the more traditional decades and genres. The possibilities are endless. And because Songza actually pays their staff to compile playlists, you end up with a good product.

And because Songza is an app, I can listen via my smartphone where I also track my run (with Nike+). Personally, the less stuff I can have strapped to my body when I head out the door, the better.

I tend to find a playlist I like and stick with it for a bit. Here are my favourite playlists for running, courtesy of Songza. Take a listen!

  1. Pick Up Your Feet
  2. Pop Kiss-Offs
  3. Beer in Your Water Bottle: Alt Rock Workout
  4. Guitars & PBRs
  5. Sunshine Indie Pop Workout
  6. Marathon Workout
  7. Massive Pop Hits: The Remixes

(Photo Credit: Brett Levin)