wintertraining

Running in the Winter

Well hello there!

I hope you had a fabulous weekend! I had more a of a low-key one as I spent a lot of time getting writing done and spending time with friends and family.

Last week was my first training session with my new coach. It was a fabulous group of local athletes and the first session involved 1 minute repeats around sharp corners with a lot of ice.

It had me thinking about the safest way to train outdoors doing the winter because you are absolutely using more stabilizers in your hips than you would on a trail or dry pavement when you are running quickly on ice.

As an  outdoor runner, I prefer to run outdoors whether it is a sunny day or a snow storm, but that certainly finds me adjusting my training plans to ensure that I maximize the benefits while still allowing for unpredictable weather.

headband1. Dress for it.

I have a nice warm running jacket, winter running gloves and I just bought a great new running headband this weekend, because my old one just wasn’t cutting it anymore!

2. Get proper footwear.

I am anxiously awaiting my new pair of inov8 winter running spikes that I ordered last week. They are water resistant and have small spikes in the bottom of the shoe that grip ice and snow. Interval training will have nothing on me now!

3. Cross train with similar exercises.

We have had a fabulous winter so far with loads of snow. I have taken full advantage and have been outdoors trying out my cross country skies on lovely afternoons.

xcski

4. Be seen.

One thing I find I combat more than usual is the fading daylight. I try to wear light coloured clothing and reflective gear as the days are short and it often finds me training in the dark.

5. Stretch well post-run.

It is easy for your muscles to cool down quickly when you are training outside. I try to get indoors as quickly as possible post-run and begin a cool-down and stretching session to make sure I have a quick recovery and gradual cool down.

I have dealt with a bit of frostbite this winter, but other than that, training outdoors has been a great experience. I am aware of the fact that I will not be able to run as fast due to the cold air and ice and adjust my expectations accordingly.

It has been a great time for me to explore other forms of cross training such as swimming, snowboarding, yoga, biking and climbing.

What are your tricks for training outdoors during the cold winter months? 

genuine health

Genuine Health Giveaway – CLOSED

Hello there!

It has been a crazy week so far – it is the first week back to the regular grind and normal training schedule and I feel as if I have been playing catch up!

Now that I am back to my regular training schedule to prep for racing this year, it is more important than ever that my nutrition is working for me. I made this video with Genuine Health to show what supplements I use and when I use them.

A couple things. That smoothie? Make it. I just took one down and it is so, so delicious. Here is the recipe for you:

POWER SMOOTHIE

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– 1 cup frozen strawberries

– 1 banana

– 1 TBS of coconut oil

– 1 TBS of ground flaxseed

– 1 scoop of protein powder.

– 3 cups of spinach or kale

– 1 cup of almond milk

Blend and slam.

Also, what kind of person would I be if I wouldn’t share the wealth with you?! I’m giving away a package of ActivFuel for you to have pre- and during workouts.

I mentioned it a bit in the video, but here is a bit more information of what it does for you:

  1. Build & Prepare – with whey protein isolate and BCAAs
  2. Fuel – with carbs from organic agave, brown rice sweetener and organic beets
  3. Speed & Strength – with taurine and kola nut
  4. Rehydrate & Replenish – with electrolytes and coconut water
  5. Go the Distance – with creatine, rhodiola, vitamin B1, magnesium and Appleboost® Organic apple peel 

Breaking it down, this is what it does for you PRE-WORKOUT:

Increases energy – Branched Chain Amino Acids that support muscle synthesis and counter muscle fatigue are combined with carbohydrate sources such as sprouted brown rice syrup, agave & beet root to provide the body with slow burning carbs giving you energy to burn.

Improves endurance – All-natural caffeine from Kola nut, combined with taurine provide the body with both the mental and physical edge to go the distance.

I often will use the product during a workout as well. DURING YOUR WORKOUT:

Maintains optimal hydration – Vitally important electrolytes from coconut water + sodium and potassium ensure proper hydration throughout your whole workout.

Maintains stamina & endurance- Vitamins, minerals & phytonutrients have been chosen with the athlete in mind that work to nourish the body improving endurance, mental & physical stamina and help you push through your toughest workout.

Want to win a box of it? Leave a comment saying what sport you will be destroying with ActivFuel.

Want additional entries?

Like Laces and Lattes and Genuine Health on Facebook.
Like Laces and Lattes and Genuine Health on Twitter.
and don’t forget to tell me you did!

Draw will be made Wednesday, January 15.

Good luck and happy fuelling!

The Importance of Cross Training for Runners

It is easy to get caught up in your training plan and forget that you can do an activity outside of running. Tempo run on Tuesday, Hills on Wednesday, Long Run on Sunday, and on the list goes.

But what happens when you start feeling those niggling pains and muscle tightness? If you are anything like me, you continue running through them and assume that it is just a case of muscle development or slight soreness and not anything serious. The problem with running and running alone for your workouts is that you will have a higher likelihood of injury and burnout.

Enter cross training: by adding the right kind of cross training into your running program, you actually will become a stronger runner.

One of my favourite types of cross training is swimming as it is a non-weight bearing exercise, giving your joints a break and helping to develop core and upper body strength. Upper body musculature is something that is often neglected in runners, so…win for us!

Another option in the pool is deep water running. It is exactly what the name suggests, suspending yourself in the deep end of the pool and mimicking the motion of running without the joint impact. Coming from someone who did it while injured, it is a fabulous way to cross train if you are an injured runner, but possibly the most boring thing you can possibly imagine.

Plyometrics

Plyometrics are high intensity, explosive exercises such as jumping, bounding and hopping drills. These exercises help develop a runners strength, stamina, speed and range of motion. Because of the high impact landings, they are not suitable for runners with injuries but are fabulous for runners who want to develop overall conditioning.

Here is an example plyometric workout:

Cycling -

Whether you are spinning away indoors or ripping up a trail or highway outdoors, a bike is a wonderful, low impact exercise that provides a high cardio, low impact workout. Biking helps to develop quadriceps and strengthens the connective tissues of the knees, hips and ankles. Because it is a highly strenuous exercise, it is not ideal to combine a running workout with a cycling workout, but because you are a runner and will break these rules, do a run in a morning and a ride at night. (It works for me!)

What is your favourite cross training exercise? 

prerace

Pre Race Preparation for a Half Marathon

prerace

 

 

A half marathon is one of the most popular distances in the running community. 21.1 km is long enough to get into a running groove and feel a proper distance, but also short enough to be a good foray into the world of distance running and know that within a couple hours or less, it will all be over.

This week, I am going to take a look at the best ways to prepare for, run and recover from a half marathon.

Preparation is something that is vital to the success of a half marathon, and everyone has their own routine for prepping themselves mentally and physically. A few things that I have found to be helpful are:

Following a varied training program: Just getting out the door and running is only a piece of it. Playing with intervals, tempo, fartlek training and long, distance runs are important to your comfort level and success on race day. One thing that sometimes gets neglected but is vital, depending on the course, is hill training!

Train Smart: Think quality over quantity. Aim for strong and varied runs. Cross train and add plyometrics, yoga, swimming, cycling and any other sport that either strengthens or stretches muscles used for running.

Research the race: It is always helpful to have an understanding of the race atmosphere and a mental image of the race course. Arriving at a race and expecting a small, intimate, flat course and finding it to be a commercial, large, hilly course is bound to throw you off track.

Rest: This applies throughout your training program, especially the week before the race as you start to taper. If you are feeling the onset of an injury, shin splints or you are slogging through your runs, consider taking a couple extra days off. Signs of overtraining are lack of appetite despite an intense training schedule, insomnia and an increased resting heart rate (to name a few). Be aware of your energy levels and remember that time off is just as important to your running performance as pavement pounding.

A week or so before the race, begin tapering or decreasing your training intensity and try to stay off of your feet as much as possible the day before the race. Don’t wander too much around the expo, despite the temptation, and wear running shoes. If you are feeling anxious, go on an easy 5-8 km run to loosen up and keep your legs fresh.

Prepare your gear: The night before your run, lay out all the gear, GUs, watches, iPods, shoes, etc so that in the morning, all you need to do it wake up, hydrate and GO!

toad

Prep for Run for the Toad 50 KM a couple of years ago. I would NOT recommend this many gels and bars for a half marathon. P.s. GU Roctane is literally rocket fuel….

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Nutrition: Eat plenty of healthy carbs the day before such as rice and whole wheat pasta and try to avoid eating anything new. The goal is to have a happy digestive system the day of the race, so stick to the basics. The night before my half marathon this weekend, I had a dinner with a lean protein, plenty of vegetables and a couple slices of sprouted ezekial bread…it was just the morning of that I missed the memo and got it all wrong! (More on Wednesday…)

Trim your toe nails. Self explanatory and it will save you from losing toenails. If all else fails, Essie makes a fabulous black nail polish that I keep in my gym bag…just in case.

Plan to wake up early. There is NOTHING worse arriving to a race and feeling rushed. Take your time. I like to get up early, make a pot of coffee and sit and have devotions with a steaming cup and have a leisurely breakfast before heading out the door. Everyone has a different pre-race routine, but give yourself plenty of time to get through yours.

What am I missing? 

What half marathon have you run or are you running this year?

See you on Wednesday for a race recap and explanation of what to do race day.

 

banner-GG-Carriage-Ridge

The Definition of Insanity and other weekend adventures.

I just returned from a fabulous weekend away with my family.

We were all sitting around the table for dinner one evening and Max (my sister’s fiance) remarked how ridiculous it is that we need to drive 3 hours away in order to all be together as a family. We all agreed, but it is about being intentional with our time. That is why vacations are so important – to get away from the regular routine and to intentionally carve out space for your loved ones. I was only gone for 2 days, but I feel so much more refreshed than the average weekend.

We joined my father at The Carriage Ridge Resort where he had been staying all week.

banner-GG-Carriage-Ridge

In all honesty, I don’t have many pictures of this weekend because it was the furthest thing from my mind, but our rooms looked something like this:

room

We spent the majority of Saturday snowboarding.

Max & Megan - We talked lots of wedding plans this weekend!

Max & Megan – We talked lots of wedding plans this weekend!

LOVE these girls.

LOVE these girls.

hill

We didn’t really do all that much, which is the best part! I tackled more of my book. 

book

If you follow my Books I am Reading Board on Pinterest, you will know that it has been the last book up there since…Novemberish?

It has been a rough book to work through. Recently, I was lamenting it’s difficulty to a friend and she asked me if the reason if the reason I cannot put down hard books in favour of things I ACTUALLY want to read is a residual affect of my athleticism? The fact that I just do things over and over, even though they suck. (Which is mighty close to the definition of insanity, I may add). I think she is right, I feel a moral obligation to a book to finish it once I have cracked it’s spine.

I have to say, my efforts are being rewarded because at about 250 pages in, it is becoming fabulous. It has been one of those books from the beginning that I couldn’t give up on even though I didn’t know why. (Maybe because my English Major heart would be wounded by the fact that I gave up on a book that won the Booker of Booker prizes.)

Regardless, I read my book.

I had a race and a faux water aerobics class that left me and my siblings laughing so hard we were crying.

Outdoor portion of the pool!

Outdoor portion of the pool!

We ate some beautiful meals together.

We watched this movie and talked about it:

We fought a little.

And then we made up.

That is the beauty of family and why I am so proud to call them mine.

us

What did you do this weekend?

Are you one of those people that when you pick up a book, you HAVE to finish it? Or perhaps a tad more level? :P 

agag-cover

A Giveaway: Pave It Forward

Not too long ago, Pavement Runner decided that he had too many books. He bought a new one that was so great that he needed to share it and thus, the Pave It Forward Giveaway was formed. The premise is simple: win the book, read the book, review the book, and give it away to another blogger.

And what a book.

I was so excited to get my hands on As Good as Gold by Kathryn Bertine that I won from the giveaway on Angela’s blog. I knew that it would be an incredible story because of Kathryn’s interview with Angela, but honestly, I had no idea how much grit this woman was made of.

Here is a brief synopsis of the book:

Meet Kathryn Bertine, elite triathlete, former professional figure skater, and starving artist. Just as her personal and professional dreams begin to crumble in the summer of 2006, ESPN stakes her to a dream:  Take two years to make the 2008 summer Olympics in Beijing. As Good As Gold is the heroic, hilarious account of Bertine’s serial exertions in the realms of triathlon, modern pentathlon, team handball, track cycling, road cycling, rowing, open water swimming, racewalking, and—fasten your seatbelts—luge.
 
On her journey, the obstacles range from jet lag to jellyfish, flat tires to floundering relationships, repeated rejection to road rash. But, as time is running out, Bertine doesn’t sweat the small stuff, only the large—like scouring the globe for a tiny nation to adopt her, and pushing her body and mind as far as it will go. Maybe all the way to China.
 
Between harrowing, often laugh-out-loud episodes of triumph and humiliation, Bertine takes short “Water Breaks” to contemplate the ins-and-outs of fan mail, failure, rehydration, nasal reconstruction, and how best to punish steroid users. 
 
Kathryn Bertine swims, runs, and rides—and writes—like a champion. In As Good as Gold, Bertine proves she has something more valuable than an Olympic medal. She’s got Olympic mettle. When it comes to the human heart, she takes the gold.

Trust me, this is a book you want to read. Kathryn’s spirit and drive leaves you with the feeling of “well if she can do THAT, I can do something great too!”

Something great, like win this book!

All you need to do is answer this question in the comments:

If you could go to the Olympics for any sport, what would it be?

Contest winner will be announced next Friday.