Category Archives: Tips

Winter Running

It looks like winter running conditions are back after the freezing rain and snow we have received this week. I plan to continue my regular running schedule over the winter.

I ran regularly last year and did not find it too bad as long as I was prepared for the conditions. The most important thing is to dress warm enough for the conditions without putting on too many layers because you will get cold when you start to sweat. A toque and a warm pair of gloves are also important when it comes to staying warm in the cold weather.

A trick I discovered last year to help with footing in icy and snowy conditions is using screw shoes. I had an old pair of shoes laying around and went out to a hardware store and bought some screws after I found this idea online. I used my screw shoes when the sidewalks and roads were icy and covered in hard packed snow and found them to be helpful.

Of course while I do plan to continue running over the winter there are still days where I won’t run. This week I had planned two early morning runs but had to delay them to the evening because we received freezing rain overnight and the sidewalks were like a skating rink. I will also move my runs indoor to a treadmill when it gets too cold out (-30 and below).

Running with Music

I used to always listen to music on my ipod when running. I thought listening to music would help make the time go by faster. However, after my first marathon last year I decided to start running without it in order to see if it made a difference.

I now rarely bring my ipod with me when I run. I find that I pay more attention to my body during the run (my pace, any pain etc.) when I am not listening to music. I also like being more aware of what is going on around me when I run. If I ever find that I need extra motivation to help make the time go by faster I find a new route to run.

The funny thing is that now that I run without my ipod I still often find myself with a song or two stuck in my head while I run. Tonight it was Brother by Pearl Jam and Dying Days by the Screaming Trees. I must have listened to them on my ipod during the bus ride to work this morning.

9 Tips for Your Night Runs

I recently wrote about tips to stay safe while running in the dark. On a similar note, I came across this list of 9 tips for your night runs. With the days getting shorter it is something that is relevant for most runners.

The article mentions that it takes true dedication to go running when it is already dark out after a day of work. Currently, my running schedule has me running after work four days a week and I sometime find it difficult to force myself to get out for a run after work when it is dark, especially if it is particularly cold out or raining. I think what keeps me motivated to get out there is the knowledge that it is my only option unless I want to start getting up at the crack of dawn again and the motivation problem goes away as soon as I start my run.

I also try to keep myself visible by wearing bright colours, with reflective patches if possible and as previously mentioned I use these turtle lights for lighting (they can be set to flashing).

The article also recommends not listening to music which is probably a good idea in terms of preventing an injury or accident. I used to always listen to music but since I have stopped I enjoy the fact that I am more aware of my surroundings while I run, regardless of whether it is dark out or not.

Donating Old Shoes

I have posted before about how quickly I go through running shoes is one thing I do not enjoy about running. My shoes generally last about 700 km and I am at the point where I have to replace my shoes again. For me this means a new pair of shoes about every three months.

Fortunately gently used shoes do not have to go to waste. Here in Ottawa Sports 4 accepts gently used shoes and donates them to the Ottawa Mission. The Running Room also accepts gently used shoes to donate them to the less fortunate.

Vern over at Running Green also has a post about an organization that recycles shoes and donates them to needy people around the world.

Today’s Run with the Chariot

Today I ended up running 11 km with my daughter in her Chariot. With it starting to get colder and with the weather being more unpredictable it will likely end up being the last time I use the Chariot this year.

We had been keeping it covered in our backyard but now with us getting more rain and the occasional snow flurries recently I think the time has come to clean off the Chariot and store it inside for the winter.

I am not sure exactly how much mileage we put on it this year but starting in April my daughter often joined me for both of my weekend runs as I trained for the Ottawa Marathon in May and for the Prince Edward County Marathon in October. I think the farthest I ended up taking her was 26 km – since she was still asleep when I left the house for my longest runs I would run around the neighbourhood on my own to start and then loop back to the house to pick her up.

I would certainly recommend a running stroller for those with little kids. It is a great way to spend more time with them and your spouse will appreciate the extra sleep when you take off for a run with the stroller on a Saturday or Sunday morning!

Choosing your Race Strategy

The following article suggests that there are two strategies you can choose when running a road race. Either you race against other competitors or you race against the clock. My strategy is always to be racing against the clock and not pay attention to other runners during a race. I generally enter every race with a goal time in mind and race to at least match that time. As I have already mentioned, my next planned race is an 8 km race. Yesterday I ran an 8 km tempo run and gave myself an idea how quickly I can complete that distance. Next weekend I will be looking to either match or beat that time when I run the race.

The article also goes on to indicate that the best way to run your fastest time is to run an even pace. For example, if you start too slowly in a 5 km race you will not have time to make up the difference and if you start too quickly you will burn out before the end. Similarly, if you go out too quickly in the first half of a marthon the second half will be a struggle. At PEC earlier this month I ran the first half in 1:37 and the second half in 1:45. I think my splits may have been closer if not for the windy conditions experienced late in the race. Next time I will be aiming to run both halves of the marathon at a more even pace in order to maximize my performance.

Maintaining a regular running schedule when you have you kids

My daughter turned one today and it made me think about how things have changed over the last year since I have certainly been able to maintain a regular running schedule.

The biggest change for me in terms of my running has been in terms of how I manage my time. It has meant being more disciplined about when I go running by scheduling my runs when the opportunity presented itself. For me that resulted in many early morning runs and evening runs home from work.

The best change is that I now have a running partner for my weekend runs. I have been running with my daughter in her Chariot stroller as soon as she was old enough to ride in it. Watching and listening to her keepning herself entertained as I complete 20-30 km runs has made my longer runs more enjoyable and provided me with a nice change from my solo runs during the weeks.

Of course the most important element to being able to maintain a regular running schedule after you have had kids is a supportive spouse who supports whatever crazy ideas you come up with (running two marathons this year, bringing running gear on vacation, returning home from a vacation to New England via upstate New York so you can run the Boilermaker in Utica etc.) and who is at the finish line to support you at the end of every race.

Long Runs

Sundays are generally the day for my long run of the week. I thought this would be appropriate topic today since I recently came across the following article from Runners World.

The article outlines three different approaches to long runs. The traditional long slow distance run (lsd) where you maintain a steady pace up to a mile slower per mile than your goal pace, the progression run where you start slow and gradually get faster and the dress rehearsal where you insert a few miles at race pace towards the end of your run.

During my training for PEC I ran five 30+ km runs. I did the first couple of runs using the lsd approach. For the remaining runs I picked up my pace to my race pace or close to it with about 10 km left in the run. The approach seemed to work me as I was succesful in hitting my goal on race day.

Currently I am not training for a goal race and will probably return to the lsd approach for my long runs but once I start training for a marathon again, or even a half-marathon, I will likely return to the approach of trying to hit my intended race pace at the end of my long runs.