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7 tips for amazing running form

Marathon runners need to have perfect running form

For the average short distance runner, 10k or less, they are comfortable with completing their run, often without too many injuries. However, as a short distance runner begins to transition into longer distance, for example, moving into half or full marathon distance, running form becomes paramount. The longer the distance, the more imperfections in running form can cause injuries. The Running Room’s John Stanton offers runners these awesome 7 tips for amazing running form:

1. Stay Upright

Good running posture is simply good body posture. When the head, shoulders and hips are all lined up over the feet, you can move forward as a unit, with a minimum amount of effort.

2. Chest Forward

Many runners let their chest sag into a slouch. In such a position, the lungs can’t maximize their efficiency. Before starting your run, relax and take a deep breath, which moves the lungs into an efficient position. After you exhale, maintain the chest in this beneficial alignment. The most efficient way to run is to have your head, neck and shoulders erect. When you run leaning forward, you’re always fighting gravity.

3. Hips Forward

One of the most common errors is letting the hips shift back and the butt stick out behind you. Taking a deep breath often pulls the hips forward and into an alignment that allows for easier running.

4. The Foot Plant

There is a difference between what should happen and what you may be able to control. First, let your training buddies at the Running Room fit you with shoes that are right for you, since modern training shoes are designed to accommodate biomechanically different feet. Then, just start running! Your personal stride is the result of your shape, your physique and the strength and balance of your muscles below your waist. Please don’t try to change your foot plant as you train: you will not be running naturally and you are likely to cause more problems than you solve. Changes to your gait only happen as a result of longer-term changes elsewhere. As you gain fitness and strength, you may notice that many irregularities resolve themselves. If you do have a problem that continues to affect your activity, you may have to seek the advice of a therapist or coach to address your particular situation.

5. Arms

Arm position can vary widely from one runner to the next. In general, the arms should swing naturally and loosely from the shoulders. Staying relaxed will prevent the arms from being carried too high, which will expend more energy than needed. Your hands should never cross the centre of your chest.

6. Stride Length

As a coach, my experience has shown that as runners get faster, their stride length shortens. Leg turnover rate, or the cadence of the runner’s legs, is the key to faster and more efficient running. Staying light on your feet with a more rapid leg turnover rate will keep many of the aches, pains and injuries away.

Sprinters have a high knee lift. Anyone running more than a mile needs to minimize knee lift. If your knees go too high, you are overusing the quadriceps muscles on the front of the thigh. This overstriding leaves the runner with sore quadriceps at the end of the run. Keep your leg turnover light and rapid—more of a shuffle than a sprinter’s stride.

Stay relaxed with a low, short stride. This will prevent tightness in the shin, behind the knee or in the back of the thigh. Kicking too far forward tightens up the lower leg and hamstrings.

Do short accelerations while staying light on your feet. Keep your foot strike quieter with each stride, keeping your foot close to the ground to prevent any excessive bouncing.

7. Head and Neck

Your torso will normally do what your head is doing. If you are dropping your head down, your torso will probably follow and lean too far forward. Keep the neck and shoulders relaxed. Try not to hunch your shoulders, which will cause undue fatigue to that area. Your eyes should be looking about 20 to 30 metres ahead of you.


Running Form

Running Form“You’re looking good” is a frequently heard call from the sidelines. But go to the finish area of a local road race to watch the lead runners come in. It is always apparent that in the lead pack, as in the whole pack, there are some runners with great-looking form and some with ugly form. John Stanton, founder of the Running Room, encourages people to look past each runner’s form and instead notice the degree of relaxation. The lead runners are certainly fast but they also maintain a relaxed form, even under race conditions.

If you go down to a local track, the number one thing you will hear during a workout is: “Relax.” The coach will be making all kinds of points, but the basic message to the runners—no matter how hard they are pushing—is to relax. Runners pushing too hard see their form falter.

Here are some of the most common problems as well as some tips on how to improve them.

  • Over striding: Increase the rhythm of your arm swing and concentrate on shortening your swing. Shorten your reach with each foot stride forward keep your turn over rate quick.
  • Tightness in Shoulders: Learn to relax the palms of your hands. Your fingers should be loose, so make sure you do not grip a fist as you run. Cup your hands with your thumbs on top.
  • Knee Lift: Your knees should be lifted just high enough to clear the ground. Too high a knee lift wastes energy
  • Arm Carriage: Holding the palms of your hands inward and slightly upward will keep your elbows near your sides. Your arm swing should be in the general area of your heart. Increasing your arm swing can help improve the turnover rate of tired legs.
  • Too Much Bounce: Look at the horizon and concentrate on keeping your head in the same plane. Do some accelerations with an increased body lean. Focus on lower knee lift and try to think of reaching with your arms rather than pumping them.
  • Perfect Form: There really is no perfect form. The important thing is to stay relaxed, stay rhythmic and push hard. Much of your running form is a gift from your parents, but you can make the most of your gift with some attention to fine tuning your individual form.


8 Autumn Travel Tips

A sunflower sparking in the sun after a fall rainAutumn has to be one of the best times of the year to travel. The kids are back in school, which means that there aren’t families travelling, and that means deals, deals and more deals! Not only that, the highways are less packed, hotels and resorts offer fantastic get-away packages, the golf courses aren’t as busy, and it’s way easier to find a camping spot.

Traveling in the autumn months is a lot of fun, especially on road trips. Here are a few things you should keep in mind when planning your autumn travel getaway:

  1. Pack layers. The mornings are often cool and damp. Bring along an layer that you can wear in the morning to fend off the early morning dampness. By late morning you won’t need it, but you’ll appreciate it when you first get up. It’s also good to have a jacket or heavy pull-over for when the sun goes down. It gets cold quickly.
  2. Grab an umbrella. The clouds are settling in and you never know if it’s going to be rain or not. Have a pocket umbrella with you for fall rainstorms, especially if you’re going out sightseeing for a few hours. It beats being stuck in wet clothes.
  3. Book online. If you are planning a fall getaway, check the hotel and resort websites directly. They often have last-minute getaway packages at deep discounts, especially mid-week. There are get deals, often stay two nights and get the third free, or similar.
  4. Head to the hills. Well, maybe not to the hills, but certainly head to the forest or wooded areas to see the spectacular colours nature has to offer.
  5. Celebrate Oktoberfest. Many communities will be celebrating the German tradition of Oktoberfest. Try to get to some of these fantastic events featuring beer, sausage, and other German traditions.
  6. Pack a camera. This should go without saying, but really, pack a camera. You should always have some kind of digital camera with you, whether it’s a DSLR or a pocket point-and-shoot, to capture the memories. Smart phones are great for shots on the go, but you’ll want to remember your getaway in higher resolution.
  7. Watch the weather. Check the local weather the night before and the morning before you go. You might find that it’s unseasonably dry, cold, or wet. You might have to do a last-minute re-pack based on the forecast.
  8. Be aware of local restrictions. Fishing, hunting, harvesting, and even campfires could have local restrictions. Always check before heading out to make sure your back-country adventure is open and allowed at the time of year, and you have the right permits.


9 tips for healthy summer travel

9 summer travel tipsSummer travel season is upon us, and many guys have already planned the exciting getaways that will highlight their summers. You want your hard-earned vacation to be a trip to remember, and you want the memorable parts to be the wild times, the beautiful sights, and the awesome connections—not the sickness that kept you chained to the hotel bed or within shouting distance of a bathroom the entire time you were away from home.

A few simple tricks can help you stay healthy and enjoying every moment of your vacation:

  1. Plan your snacks. Whether you’re traveling by car or by plane, bring some pre-packed snacks along with you. They’ll be healthier than anything you’ll find along the way, and it’ll be cheaper. Save your money for the souvenirs!
  2. Drink tons of water. If you’re walking around, outside of your normal environment, and especially if you get a bit of “intestinal distress” when you travel, it’s easy to dehydrate. No good!
  3. Instead of coffee, make the switch to tea for your trip. Mint tea especially is hydrating, refreshing, and helps with digestion.
  4. Keep a granola bar or other portable snack on you, in case you get hungry—especially at attractions or other spots where snacks aren’t easily accessible.
  5. Fried foods smell great, but they can upset your stomach incredibly quickly. Just say no.
  6. Even if you’re not normally concerned about anti-bac gels and wet wipes, vacation is a good time to be extra careful. Out of your environment, you’re exposed to germs that your body has fewer immunities too, and that can get nasty fast.
  7. Emergencies happen, even on vacation. Keep your insurance or health care card with you at all times, just in case. When traveling in the US, make sure you see if there are doctors or hospitals in that area that take your insurance, just in case you fall and break a leg. Also make sure you have more than adequate insurance; out-of-country medical bills can add up quickly!
  8. If you saved money on your accommodations, and then arrived to find that the four star review was dramatically overstated, or if you’ve come in from an extra dirty adventure, don’t be afraid to ask for fresh linens and new towels.
  9. People hook up on vacations, and that’s fine, but do make sure to practice safer sex; protect yourself to avoid saddling both yourself and your partner with consequences down the road.


Don’t be a dumb-ass. Navigating the airport like a pro.

Listen up people. It’s time to talk about getting through security at airports. Yes 9/11 was almost 13 years ago, yet y’all still seem to have a hard time understanding how to navigate an airport and get through security. For frequent travellers, it’s a breeze, but the rest of you clearly need some tips and advice.

  1. While packing, if you know you have checked baggage, automatically put all your liquids, creams and gels into that checked bag. You don’t need them in your carry-on. No exceptions!
  2. Get to the airport early and be organized. If you’re travelling internationally, pre-print all your flight itineraries, hotel confirmations, transportation details, and other travel documents. Keep them in an easy-to-access place in your carry on, just in case you need them at customs.
  3. Never follow someone through an airport, assuming they are going to the same place that you want to go. Always read the overhead signs, they’ll clearly point you in the direction you’re headed, whether it’s to security, the washroom, your boarding gate or the baggage carousel.
  4. When going through security, remember, laptops get their own bin, and in a separate bin place everything else. This includes your wallets, keys, jewelry, belt, passport, shoes, jacket, etc. Knowing you have to put all this stuff into a bin, prepare as you approach your designated security lane. It should be a fast, smooth, and efficient process. No one wants to wait for you because you have to untie your shoes and remove your belt before you go through the metal detector.
  5. For efficiency, if you have multiple bags and bins, place your miscellaneous bin first, followed by your laptop, and then other bags. When you get to the other side to claim your items, you can be putting on your belt, your jacket and placing items back in your pockets while the rest of your bags clear the x-ray machine.
  6. As you move down the security line, have your boarding pass ready to present to the security agent. They need to validate your boarding pass before your items are x-rayed. Take your boarding pass with you to the metal detector.
  7. Be efficient in the metal detector line-up. Make eye contact with the TSA members, and be ready to pass through when you’re called. You should not be having conversations while in line. Just be quite and proceed in an orderly fashion.
  8. As soon as your through the metal detector, move to the conveyor to begin collecting your items. Be as fast as possible, and remove roller bags and backpacks from the conveyor as they come out. This makes room for the bins and bags of other guests behind you, so they don’t have to wait as long. If you have footwear that needs to be laced up, grab all your items and move to an area away from the conveyor belt.
  9. If you’re going through customs, have your passport out with your boarding pass tucked into the photo ID page. Have your travel information clearly memorized – where you are going, your return date, where you are staying and the purpose of your trip. There’s no need to be nervous. Customs officials may ask additional questions and have the right to search any and all items you’re bringing into the country, including bags, laptops and cell phones. This also includes random swabbing of any articles to test for drugs.
  10. Note the boarding time of your flight. Go directly for security / customs to your boarding gate. Confirm the boarding time, flight number and destination. It could have changed from the time you check in at the airport to the time you arrived at the gate. Once you have confirmed, then, if you have time, you can go get duty free (if applicable), a coffee, snack, or charge your phone.
  11. When boarding, listen to the agents. They will call out the boarding of the flight in a prescriptive order. In the US, first and business class board first, and then economy class is boarded, first by window seat numbers, then middle seats, and finally aisle seats. For instance, if you’re in board group 3, you’re in economy window, and if you’re in board group 5, you’re in economy aisle. Don’t mess with the system! If an aisle passenger boards early, they’ll just have to get up to let the person in who has the window and middle seat, which makes it longer to board the aircraft, and honestly, we all just want to get there faster, so board by group please!

What are your pet peeves or advice for air travel? Leave your thoughts and comments below.


Runner’s Little Secret: Running Gels

PowerBar Running Gels

With weight loss, gym workouts, and everyday exercise, the secret to complete health is eating healthy. But when runners get together, there’s something far more important than good nutrition alone. That’s because endurance athletes need more than good nutrition.

Marathon runners rely on sports nutrition such as blocks, jellies and, primarily, running gels. Using nutritional supplements while gives runners a competitive edge and lets the body perform to its greatest potential.

Gels are a quick energy nutrition supplement. Gels are one of the most trusted and valuable sources of nutrition for runners while running. Gels replenish the large amounts of electrolytes, which the body loses from intense sweating, and glycogen, from the carb-burning exercises.

Runners should consume a gel with 500ml of water every 40 minutes on long distance runs. Drinking water helps the blood absorb the nutrition quickly and efficiently.

The ‘fast-energy’, easy-to-consume gels are the ideal concentrated source of carbohydrate that will improve performance during intense athletic exercise. Try out as many brands as you like while training; it’s not training if you aren’t improving and discovering how to help your body be better every time.

One of the most popular gels is the PowerBar carbohydrate-electrolyte blend. This specific mix of glucose and fructose is proven to increase performance by 8 percent during events that require strong endurance. The new tangerine flavor has more electrolytes, especially important to use on longer runs.

New to running? Make sure you know which food groups to eat before, during and after a run.

 


Hill Training: How to Ace Your Pace

Hill Training

Photo credit: Running Room

When preparing for a marathon, running continuously at the same pace can be difficult, which is why hill training is a necessity. Hill training can improve speed, endurance, resistance, and strength, but only if pace is a priority.

It’s best to warm up with stretching and shorter runs before taking on a hill. When you’re warmed up and ready, begin your training at the bottom of a hill.

Hill training works up to 20 percent of your upper body strength; use your arms to lift you up the hill as your feet launch you forward. On flat stretches your arms should be at a 45′ angle, and your hands should rise with the hill’s incline as you run up one.

As the hill steepens, continue running at the same pace you would if on a flat track. Pump your arms to the rhythm of your legs and take shorter strides, never decreasing speed.

If you feel yourself slowing down, pump your arms faster. Continue pumping your arms faster as you reach the hill’s peak to prepare to increase your pace for the flat top of the hill and the downward slope that comes after.

When travelling downhill, lean slightly forward to allow gravity to make keeping your new pace less difficult on your body.

Pacing a hill isn’t as simple as setting your mind to it. Here are a few tips to make beginning your training easier:

  1. The best hills for training are about 400 meters in length and have an 8-10 percent incline.
  2. Keep your breathing relaxed.
  3. Push your chest up and out in front of you.
  4. Keep your eyes on the top of the hill or the horizon ahead to help your body feel as though you’re running on a flat surface.
  5. Don’t look down. Looking down restricts the airflow through your neck, collapses your lungs, and reduces the efficiency of your arms to propel you uphill.

Most importantly, the body needs healing time to adjust and grow stronger. Hill training will never be easy the first time, and you should always give yourself two days of less intense training after a day of hill training.


Get a better nights sleep

Marathon Runners Need Extra Sleep

Having trouble sleeping? It’s a common problem for a lot of people. A warm glass of milk and a hot bath are the typical tricks to help get to sleep quicker. For people who have trouble getting a good night sleep, try some if these other tricks:

1. Tart cherry juice

3. Lower the room temperature

4. Eat a banana or oatmeal

5. Drink a protein shake

6. Lavender aromatherapy scents

7. Merited down everything on your mind so you can forget about it.

8. Masterbate or have sex

9. Play white noise from an app

10. Get black out blinds and stick to calming colours.

 

Things to avoid:

1. Citrus soaps

2. Loud music

3. Exercise within 2 hours of bedtime

4. Alcohol or drugs

5. Heavy meals

6. Stressful conversations and situations

7. Red meat

8. Screen time for an hour bed

9. Do not read, watch TV, study, or do any other waking hours activities.

10. Bright colours, mirrors and metallic.


Running Safety Tips

Running Safety Tips

Photo credit: Running Room

Many new runners under estimate the importance of taking precautions when going out for a run. While a lot of these running safety tips are common sense, they can help you avoid getting injured and will help you stay safer. Safety is the responsibility of the individual runner. Your life could depend on it.

  1. Always carry a photocopy of your ID and your health card. If you’re ever in an accident this will help people know who you are. Keep it in a ziplock bag along with any medical conditions or allergies, and your emergency contact information.
  2. Dress to be seen. Choose to wear bright coloured clothing with reflective strips. Wear a blinking red light on your back to so people behind you can see you, and use a headlamp to illuminate your pathway and for others to see you coming.
  3. Bring your smart phone with you in case of an emergency. An emergency could be your own injury, an injury of someone else, an accident, a fire, or worse.
  4. Bring cash. In the ziplock bag with your ID, include $5-$20 in cash. This can come in handy in case you run out of energy and need to take a cab back or need to purchase some fuel on route.
  5. Run against traffic so you can see on-coming vehicles and bicycles and they can see you. Run along the sidewalk or shoulder of the road.
  6. When running in groups, stay in single file, especially so vehicles can pass and on bridges.
  7. It’s ok to run with music, just wear one ear bud and keep the music low so you can hear what’s going on around you.
  8. Stick to well-marked trails and paths and avoid unfamiliar areas. You can cover a lot of ground while running and getting into the wrong area can be dangerous.
  9. Make sure someone knows your run route, when you are leaving, and when you are expected back. If you aren’t back in a reasonable amount of time, at least people know where to start looking for you.
  10. Avoid acknowledging strangers or people who call out threats. Just keep on running. By stopping or engaging in communication it provides the opportunity for the issue to escalate into verbal assaults, a physical attack or more. Just ignore them, keep your distance, and stay focused on your route.


Winter Running Tips

Yak Trax

Photo courtesy of the Running Room

Goodbye fall running season… hello winter! Winter running is completely different, especially when snow, ice, and cold temperatures are involved. But don’t let those deter you from going out. Some of your best running days can be on a cold, crisp day, with lots of fresh air. Be prepared by following these winter running tips from the gang over at the BMO Sunshine Coast April Fool’s Run:

  • Stay comfortable with gloves, hats and layers of clothing that can be taken off or put back on easily
  • Shoes become inflexible and rock hard in the cold weather; be mindful of your aches and pains. Take a non impact day or two to compensate for your footwear shortcomings
  • Make sure you are seen. Reflective gear is a must; the days are short and dusk comes on in minutes
  • Warm up slowly avoid the strains right out the door i.e. huge hills or the need for speed.
  • Aggressive solid rubber tread works great in snow but is terrible on black ice.  Softer blown rubber shoes with lots of little cuts like a modern winter tire work best in icy conditions. Don’t want to purchase a different shoe for conditions? Chain up with Yak Trax.

Insiders running tip: Instead of wearing too much to avoid being chilly as you head out the door, throw your inner-layer running clothes in the dryer or place them on a warm radiator just before putting them on. By the time they cool down, you’ll be warmed up enough not to notice.


5 Awesome Fall Running Tips

5 Awesome Fall Running Tips

Photo credit: Running Room

It’s the time of year that you’ll find yourself wanting to spend a few extra minutes in bed in the morning, cozy underneath the warm duvet, or putting on a comfy sweater to wear to work just to keep warm. Don’t say bye-bye to your summer beach body and all the work you’ve put into toning up and working out! Fall is a great time to get out and run! Why? The cooler air means you won’t be as hot when you run and you don’t have to layer up as much as you do in the winter. Here are 5 awesome fall running tips:

  1. Layering. Layering is a great way to get outside, even on cooler mornings or evenings. You can start bundled up and as you body warms up, within just a few minutes, you can always shed a layer. It’s ok to wear a long-sleeve shirt out of the house and then take it off and wrap it around your waist.
  2. New Music. There’s lots of great music coming out on the top 40 all the time. Load up your iPod and run to the beat. You’ll be amazed at how you get lost in listening to music that the time will pass quickly.
  3. Hydrate. While the weather might be cooler out it’s important to remember to constantly hydrate. The human body will sweat when exercising, even when it’s cold out. If you need some extra motivation, buying a new water bottle is always helpful!
  4. Rock the Socks! You don’t have to bundle up completely. Instead of dragging out the heavy winter tights, go for a pair of knee-length running socks. They will keep your calves warm. Also try other accessories like a headband and running gloves to stay warm and dry.
  5. Warm Up. Don’t just get outside and go for a sprint. Warm up your muscles and let them adjust to the cooler weather. Start with a light jog and move up to a run pace. It’s better than risking getting an injury.


Runners are the worst dressers, ever!

2013 Surrey International World Music MarathonIt’s no secret, most runners don’t spend a whole like of time or energy on their fashion. Runners are perceived as being pretty cheap, but it’s not a cheap sport at all. A pair of shoes are $150, technical shorts start at $50, and a water belt can be as much as $125. Runners spend a lot of money on their gear, because it’s incredibly important, but they don’t pay a whole lot attention to fashion. The truth is, runners are the worst dressers, ever!

When the temperatures drop to below four degrees Celsius, runners will change from wearing shorts to wearing running tights. Just so we’re all clear, it’s a huge faux pas to wear a pair of shorts over top of your tights. It looks ridiculous. Guys, it’s time to get over your insecurities.

It’s not OK to wear a race shirt from 2006. It’s 2013. That race was seven years ago! It’s time to retire that shirt. Race shirts aren’t made to train in for years and years on end. They collect odours that won’t go away no matter how many times you wash them. Plus, it looks ridiculous to wear a dated shirt.

Black shorts and tights. Simple. Stop buying ugly coloured tights with awful prints and patterns on them. You might think they are unique, or cool, but they are pretty gross. Stick to neutrals and instead get a bright coloured shirt.

Back to shirts, don’t get the shirts with dumb sayings like “Running Sucks” or “I run to eat”, especially if you’re overweight. They aren’t funny. Like the above point, stick to shirts that are bright, solid colours. At least having a shirt like that is practical on cold, wet, dark, rainy nights because it’ll stand out.

If you have the choice between a lime green shoe or a navy blue shoe, in the same size, style, and model, always choose the brightest colour. Shoes should be a pop of colour. No one likes a boring white shoe with silver reflective tape. Yawn.

Try to avoid getting stuff that everyone else has. Running Room water belts aren’t cool! Get something run from Nike, North Face, or Camelback. Your wardrobe should have a variety of sizes and styles, depending on the length and type of run. One water belt will not do it all.

Now, it’s time for you to get up from your computer and to a careful check of all your running gear. Throw away all your old running shoes that you now use to mow the lawn, get a bag going for the Salvation Army, and be honest with yourself on all your other gear that is just old, smelly, dated, or falling apart. Plus it’s a good way to get ideas for a Christmas list!


How To Travel Like a Pro

Times Square New York

If you are just starting to get out to see the world there are lots of little things you can do to make your trip go smoother and make it more enjoyable. Travel should be fun and enjoyable, and with these quick tips, you can travel like a pro!

You get what you pay for – pay a few extra dollars to stay in a hotel that is near good restaurants, nightlife, attractions, or whatever the purpose of your trip. You’ve only got so much time when travelling, and time is money.

If you’re hotel comes with complimentary breakfast or afternoon happy hour – stock up! It can help cut down the daily meal budget.

Don’t upgrade to a kitchenette unless you’re on a long stay. Do search for rooms that have mini fridges to keep small pack items like yogurt and water cold. Most people don’t buy food locally and make it themselves – it’s faster and easier to go out and eat. If health is an issue, most restaurants are flexible enough to make a meal to your dietary requirements.

There’s no need to bring your shampoo, conditioner and soap. These three essentials are provided by all hotels. If you forget your toothbrush or toothpaste, and other common toiletries, the front desk usually has supplies you can borrow.

Bring an  empty plastic bag to put your dirty laundry in. It’ll help keep you organized by separating out your clean from dirty clothes. If you’re on a longer trip of five or more days, reduce the amount of clothes you are bringing by pre-planning. Experienced travellers research where they can do laundry at a local laundromat; it’s quick and easy to do, doesn’t take a ton of time, you’ll have fresh clothes along the trip, and you don’t have to pack as much. Traveling is also a great time to shop because you can get fashions that might not be available in your area, so you can add to your wardrobe throughout your trip.

Drink tons of water. Hydration is important. If you’re out and about for the day and nature calls, you can usually sneak into a hotel lobby bathroom. Just be respectful.

Make a small purchase with the store logo on it. Carrying it will make you look more like a local. Don’t take a backpack and carry a camera around your neck or hold a map non-stop… it makes you an easy target.


10 Helpful Tips to Improve your Running Routines this Fall

100_2396Autumn is a great time to get out and run. The temperature is cooler, the leaves are tuning colour, and people are back into their routines. Here are some helpful tips to improve your running routines this fall:

  1. Register for a race. It’ll keep you motivated and help you stick to a training schedule.
  2. Set a goal. Perhaps you want to improve your half marathon race time, speed up your tempo runs, or increase your distance. Make it measureable, time-bound and attainable.
  3. Try to add 10 minutes onto your morning run. It won’t hurt too much to get up 10 minutes earlier to get in a bit extra on your run.
  4. Push yourself a little bit harder to run just slightly faster on your tempo runs. This will pay off in dividends.
  5. On hill training days, see if you can add just one more hill onto your training. Hill training is strength, and strength is key.
  6.  Motivate yourself by getting some new shoes, running shirt or shorts. You’ll be surprised how you’ll want to get out running just to wear whatever new items you buy.
  7. Download new music and create a new running playlist. It’ll keep you going. Remember to include some of your past running favourite too.
  8. Get out and run through areas you’ve never been before. It’s fun to discover new places and see things from a different perspective.
  9. Mix up your running routine with other cross-training activities including biking, swimming, yoga, strength training and rowing. Variety is key.
  10. Experiment with different types of running nutrition. There are all kinds of nutrition available, from pre-workout drinks to gels and bars. Training is perfect time to see what works for you and how your body reacts.

What gets you motivated to get out and run in the autumn? Leave a comment on this blog post.


Advice For Hooking Up

IMG_1022_smGay men hook up. A lot! It’s reality. Hooking up is no longer taboo or much of a secret. In fact, most gay guys talk about hooking up regularly with their friends. They compare notes, share stories, and tell every single dirty detail. It’s what gay guys do.

If you’re newly single, just coming out, or looking to improve your record, here is some key advice for hooking up:

  1. Always have at least one face photo, one body photo, and one cock photo before you meet up to avoid disappointment.
  2. Always shower, trim, shave and douche before you head out.
  3. Get their phone number in advance so you can text while on route so they don’t bail on you and say “oh I fell asleep”.
  4. Leave your wallet at home cause you aren’t paying for services rendered
  5. Don’t wear a belt. It makes things complicated and wastes precious time.
  6. Bring a safe-sex pack including condom and lube. Safety first.
  7. Put your phone on silent and leave it in your jacket or hoodie when you arrive.
  8. Eat gum on the way over and spit it out before getting to the front door. Fresh breath is important.
  9. Wear slip on shoes for a quick getaway in case it’s a bad meet-up.
  10. Never wear watches or jewelry – it can scratch, get stolen or left behind. No point in losing your favourite accessories, right?
  11. Always wear nice underwear, but never your best, in case it gets left behind or he wants to keep it.
  12. Don’t wear socks with holes in them; that’s an instant turn-off.

Hopefully these tips help improve your hook-ups. Do you have any tricks of the trade? Share them on this blog post. Helping others is important, right?

 


Tips for Running in the Rain

Running Tips for Beginners

Welcome to autumn! The weather is noticeably cooler, the days are shorter, and there are more and more days of rain and inclement weather. That shouldn’t stop you from getting outside to go running, in fact, you should enjoy running in the rain! Here are some great tips for running in the rain.

Dressing for wet weather is really important. Remember that running shoes have a short shelf life, meaning you need to replace them often. Only run in shoes that were made specifically for running. They will have built-in technology that pushes water out of the inside of the shoe, which will leave your foot dry. You should be able to run right through a puddle, completely soaking your foot, and within five minutes have a completely dry foot again. This is the test of a good running shoe.

Select clothing that is made from technical fabrics. This is incredibly important. Remember, cotton is rotten! Socks are probably the most important because you don’t want to end up with blisters from the material rubbing against your shoes. Shirts and shorts should also be technical fabrics to avoid painful chaffing. Technical fabrics also dry quickly, which mean that your body will stay warm and not cold and clammy.

Along with the rest of your essential running gear, to keep your hands warm, get a pair of running gloves. There are many different kinds to choose from. Most are made from synthetic material. For the days that it’s really cold and wet, get yourself a pair of sanitary food prep gloves to wear overtop of your running gloves. It’ll keep the cold wind and water off your hands and allow them to warm up again.

On rainy days it’s always recommended to wear a hat. A good running hat will keep the rain from hitting your head directly, which will instantly cool you down and drip down your face. By wearing a hat, water will drip off, avoid water hitting you in the face, and keep your body temperature warm.

When your done running remove as many layers of wet clothing as you can and replace with dryer layers. Very carefully stretch your muscles. Don’t stretch too much or too hard because your muscles will cool down quickly and you’ll be at risk of an injury. It’s best to get into a tub of hot water with Epsom salts or go to the steam room at the gym to bring up your body temperature and allow your muscles to relax.

Do you have any tips for other runners on rainy days? Share your tricks and ideas for other runners in the comments section below.


10 Awesome Tips for People New to Travelling

5 Great Ways to Ruin a Vacation

Travelling can be a ton of fun. If you haven’t done much travelling or are just starting to explore the world, here are 10 awesome travel tips for people who are new to travelling.

  1. Understand Needs vs Wants. If you need something along your journey you either buy it, do without, or figure out a solution.
  2. Social Skills. You meet a lot of people when you travel. You break down barriers and learn how to talk to new people, find common interests quickly, and build relationships.
  3. You’ll Never Be Alone. When you travel people always want to help and make sure you are comfortable. From giving directions to suggesting places to go, people are genuinely caring and want to help others. Go ahead, make some new friends while you’re at it!
  4. Romance. Whether it’s one night of passion or something that turns into a life-long relationship, sexual encounters happen quite frequently while travelling. Some people you’ll keep in touch with, others are just there for the moment of fun.
  5. Try New Things. From local cuisine to an outdoor adventure, travel is all about discovering new things. Some of your discoveries may change your life, others will inspire you, and there will be some things you’ll wish you would never have done, but it’s all part of the journey. It’s part of defining who you are.
  6. Go With the Flow. Travelling definitely teaches a person to be less stressed and to take life easier. While you can plan right down to the detail, things change while out on the road and you can’t predict that. You learn that you need to be responsive and reactive.
  7. Traveling Is No Time to be Cheap. When you’re in the moment, just do it. You’ll never get a chance to go back to that store to buy that item, or to try that local food later on, or to go on that excursion the next day. You have to live in the moment and do it. Don’t let your pocketbook dictate what you can and can’t do. If you are, why did you even bother to travel? Just stay home if that’s the case. Travel is about adventure and trying new things. That costs money and it’s well spent too!
  8. Be Wise With Your Money. While the point above is true, you also don’t want to go overboard. Remember that when you get home you still need to pay off the credit card. Be reasonable. There are lots of little things you can do to save a few dollars and cut corners when travelling.
  9. You Don’t Need A Guidebook. It’s really helpful to put together a loose itinerary for your journey, but don’t plan it down to the minute detail of what you’ll be doing. It’ll just frustrate you if you get off plan and you could be missing out on very cool things that you discover while on your journey. The locals will tell you what’s good, so get advice from them.
  10. Relax. Traveling can be very stressful. If something comes up and takes your journey off plan, just go with the flow. It’s totally cool just to enjoy a day at the beach, sleep in at the hotel, or decide to opt-out of a planned adventure. It’s your holiday, so do what you feel like doing. Just don’t let something like jet lag slow you down.


10 Quick Running Tips

10 Quick Running Tips

Photo credit: Jay Minter

Whether you are just starting out as a runner or you’ve covered hundreds of kilometres of asphalt, here are 10 quick running tips…

  1. Relax Your Grip – Your hands should be nice and relaxed, not in tight fists. You should be able to hold a potato chip in your hand without breaking it while you run.
  2. Front to Back – Your legs move front to back, and so should your arms. Many inexperienced runners seem to have the idea that arms go side-to-side – bad! Get full momentum by moving your arms in the same direction as your legs!
  3. Run at Lunch – Give running at lunch a try. In the winter it’s the time of day with the most sunlight. You can also get a quick break for work and it’s a great way from eating a bit lunch.
  4. Stay Motivated – The best way to get motivated is to join a running club and to sign-up for a race. The race part will keep you focused on a goal and a running club will keep you accountable to your training.
  5. Technology Not Required – While heart rate monitors, GPS, calorie counters, pedometers, and tons of other gadgets and apps area available, they aren’t required. Just listen to your body and enjoy your run. Your body will tell you when it’s ready to go or ready to slow.
  6. Enjoy Food – Yes, runners need to enjoy food, and a big variety. Try at least one new healthy food a week. Pick a different vegetable or fruit from the produce section. Maintaining a well balanced diet is important.
  7. Stretch It Out – After any run, even just a few kilometers, it’s important to stretch. You never know what muscle is going to start aching because it was over worked or didn’t cool down properly.
  8. Bath Time – Relax in a hot bath with the magical healing powers of Epsom salts. The naturally draw out any toxins from the body, help muscles heal, and it’ll help increase blood flow to your aching muscles.
  9. Enjoy a Massage – Massages are great after a run because it helps stretch out the muscles and re-align them. IT bands are a common complaint, but the upper body and feel also need the touch of a talented sports massage therapist who can do wonders. Besides, isn’t that what extended medical coverage is for?
  10. Get Some Sleep – Sleep is incredibly important. It helps the body recover and heal. Training while the body is exhausted just burns calories but doesn’t help the body become stronger, which is the whole point of training. So go to bed early, sleep in, or take lots of naps. No matter how you do it, just find the time to get some shut-eye.


Runners, Stop Over Doing It!

Running Tips for BeginnersWhen people first start getting into running they make a lot of mistakes. It’s because they don’t have the knowledge or experience, and they jump in wanting to give 110%, when in reality that’s not what they should be doing.

It’s great to be excited and motivated to start running. Perhaps you’ve set some goals, signed up for a race, are part of a corporate healthy living challenge, or a fun competition with a friend. Whatever your reason, there are some things every beginner runner needs to keep in mind.

Most people give up on running within a couple of weeks because they are in a lot of pain. There are a lot of contributing factors that can be attributed to this pain.

Poor running shoes are the most common problem. People have a strange misconception that it’s ok to put on the shoes that have been in their closet since high school and to go for a run. Nothing could be further from the truth! Shoes, specifically running shoes, only have a shelf life of 500 kilometers. For a serious marathon runner, this means they are going through a pair of shoes every two or three months, and for casual runners once every six months. Shoe support breaks down quickly, especially from running, which can cause your gait (running form) to go out align, resulting in injuries.

New runners are so excited to prove that they can run 5, 8, or 10km in one go, even if they haven’t run in months or years. This just sets you up for failure and injury. It’s better to start off on slower, shorter runs and gradually work your way up in both speed and distance. Ramping up too quickly in either can lead to incredible pain, uncomfortable injuries, and resentment for the sport.

To get the most out of your running experience, start off by purchasing a new pair of shoes that have been carefully selected for your particular foot, and increase both speed and distance over a period of time. It’s recommended to join a running club, which have beginner and learn-to-run programs to help you ease into the sport and are designed to help you reach your goals.

Following these few tips will ensure that you’ll have an enjoyable beginner running experience and put you on the path for success for long-term running enjoyment! Most importantly, enjoy each run and remember at the beginning and end of each run of why you decided to hit the pavement. Keep this motivation front of mind and you’ll be set!

Happy trials!


Top 5 Tips for Beginner Runners

Tips for beginner runners

Photo credit: Jay Minter

Being a runner doesn’t mean you have to be training for a half or full marathon. You may choose to start running because you want to lead a healthier lifestyle, to loose weight, have a friend who runs, or want to train for an upcoming race. Whatever your reason for deciding to start running, you’ve make a great choice. Here are some common tips for new runners, just like you, to help you get out and enjoy the experience:

  1. First and foremost, go to the Running Room and get new shoes. No, you can’t run in the shoes you’ve been wearing to the gym for the last two years or had in the closet since high school. The folks over the Running Room will assess your body and movements, called a gait analysis, to help determine the right shoes for you.
  2. Start off slow. Don’t try to run a full 10k on your first run. It’ll lead to injuries and a lot of sore muscles. Download a 10k training program and stick to it. A good training program has three types of runs to build a solid foundation of running. Each type is done once a week:
    1. Strength training (hill repeats)
    2. Speed work (fast runs at a short distance)
    3. Endurance (slow runs for a long distance).
  3. It’s important to pay attention to nutrition and hydration. Before a run have a banana and yogurt. It’ll help fuel your run. Afterwards have a protein shake and a bagel to help your body recover. Always take water with you and have a sip of water every 10 minutes of running.
  4. When out for a run, don’t expect to run the entire time. Even experienced runners don’t run non-stop on long runs or races. Start off by running for 3 minutes and walking for 1 (called a 3-and-1 or 3:1), then move to a 5:1, and eventually get to a 10:1. It will take time to get there, so be patient.
  5. Enjoy doing something you love. Running outdoors is amazing because you get to see new parts of your neighbourhood that you might never have seen before and you can get lots of fresh air and feel good about it. If you find at any time your body hurts, it’s because you’re either running too far or too fast too quickly and not easing into your training, you aren’t running with good form, or you haven’t followed step 1 and got proper running shoes on.

If you are just getting into running, or even thinking about it, and you have questions, leave your questions and comments on this blog post.


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