Tag Archives: training

Bizarre Weather Patterns

12 Feb

 

Vancouver has a pretty short span of what I would define as ‘winter’, e.g. temperatures below zero Celsius, snow, a general feeling of hope and despair… And then around this time of the year things start to look up. I don’t expect to see any more snow (although one year it snowed during Spring Break in April and I managed to maintain a week-long tantrum) and I hope the day will soon come for which I do not absolutely have to wear a scarf. In fact, I was warm enough on my run yesterday to take off my jacket. AND GLOVES. Holy eff, I know.

What the end of winter brings is a span of five months where the weather is completely unpredictable. We see sunny warm temperatures of 12 C plus one day and then thundershowers the next.

This means madness on my runs. I bring to you a brief description of the bizarre weather patterns I have come across in the past three weeks of running:

Suspicious Winds

What is a suspicious wind you ask? It is a wind that seems out of place. Maybe you’ve been running wind-free for miles and suddenly your hat gets blown off your head. This has happened to me. Perhaps you were cold enough to don ear warmers and gloves during your run and all of a sudden an abnormally warm wind caresses your face. This has also happened to me. It felt like an invisible giant was breathing on my face. This immediately grossed me out. Then I imagined that it was Hagrid’s three-headed dog Fluffy breathing on my face and I felt simultaneously better and more grossed out (giant dog breath smelling worse than giant human breath, in my mind).

Ugh now I'm imagining this creep breathing on my face. Sometimes I wish my imagination would stop for a bit.

 

Noticeable Temperature Changes

I should specify: noticeable temperature changes that are unrelated to elevation. There’s a trailhead near my house where I often park my car. Rationally, I am aware that the trail is well shaded and doesn’t get much sun. But on a sunny morning, to enter into a dark, damp, cold cave of rainforest foliage feels very ominous. I also find pockets of cold in between two small hills, which again creeps me out. And sometimes, running higher up the mountain results in warmer temperatures and this goes against everything I know about mountains. And I like to think I know a fair bit.

Come join us little girl! We won't dismember you or anything, promise.

 

Surprise Floods

I don’t know about you, but when I head out to run under clear skies and haven’t seen a drop of rain in days, I do not expect to come across newly established lakes on my regular trails. Nor does my dog, who tends to observe any sort of water with distaste (which explains the smell). Then we both end up muddy and wet and utterly bewildered as to how we got that way. I try to blame the beavers but it makes me feel racist because they’re definitely a visible minority.

Just dropping in for a bit, 'kay?

 

Opposite Day

Now I’m aware that weathermen and weatherwomen are not psychic; they make educated guesses based on years of data about what the weather’s going to be like. I don’t trust the seven-day forecasts or even tomorrow’s. But I do rely on day-of predictions. I figure that by six am the weather guessers have figured their shit out and can confidently tell me what the next couple hours will be like at least. And so I dress accordingly. This usually works out fine, except for the days when Mama Nature decides to be a dick and just throw out the exact opposite of what I’m expecting. I’ll wear three layers and leave two and a half hidden behind trees and hope that I remember to pick them up on my way back. I’ll hook a pair of sunglasses onto my fuel belt and wish I’d brought a poncho instead.

Give me a break once in a while, Mama! I’m just trying to enjoy the great outdoors. Maybe next time I’ll stay home and leave all my electronics plugged in and not separate my recyclables and pour chemicals into the ground water. How would you like that? All I’m saying is that I can fight back. Keep it in mind.

No no no I take it back! I'm sorry!

Tales of Toes

8 Jan

I had an absolutely ridiculous amount of time off for the holidays this year, nearly a month. I am not good with free time. I can handle about a day/ day and a half of not working or not going to school before I go mental. I hate just sitting around wasting time. This holiday was no exception. I’d get my run out of the way early in the morning and then have a huge gaping day of free time in front of me that I had no idea what to do with. This may sound appealing to many of you but I am the sort of person who needs to be doing something productive.

So I got some things done. Worked out some financial/government things that had been hanging over my head. Completed my application to my dream school with fingers crossed (UBC Sauder reps, if you’re reading this… choose me!). Finally got around to focusing on speedwork. And, most important, painted my nails. I painted them right up.

Ordinarily, this wouldn’t be worthy of a story, but having enough time to paint my nails and not have them get messed up when I have to do something productive was pretty exciting for me.

Also, this:

Happy Feet! Get it? HAPPY FEET.

Just kidding. I was going to attach a photo of the nightmare I found on my right big toenail. And then I decided I liked having people read my posts and didn’t want to scare anyone away.

I’ll put it this way: when I took the old nail polish off my toes, I originally thought I’d painted my big toe black and then covered it with the bright blue I thought I was removing. Nope! That would have been stupid! Turns out I jammed my toe somehow and it’s just black! Doesn’t hurt at all and hasn’t hurt in my recent memory, so I’m forced to assumed it happened on a long run somewhere along the way and the runner’s high allowed me to ignore it.

Either that or I’m just utterly insensitive to odd pains in my feet anymore. On second thought, this seems more likely. I’m sure I’ve just convinced a lot of you to take up running with these mental pictures! You’re welcome!

That’s my fun running story of the week. In terms of training, I’m just working on building up mileage and trying to get a better handle on pre-run meals because I’ve been losing steam a little more mid-run than I’m used to. I’ve started taking Gu’s with me for the long runs and trying to load up on more carbs the night before. Hopefully I’ll start seeing improvements soon! Any tips would be appreciated.

And hey, it’s the second week of January already! Good luck to everyone with resolutions! Sticking with it is the hardest part. Also, I’ve been thinking about getting into foam-rolling because of a tight hamstring. Any thoughts?

Happy trails everyone!

On Highbeams

20 Dec

So I’m back… to complain again. About drivers. Ohhh that’s right, again. I’ll be honest, I’ve got a little bit of hypocritical road rage; I really hate pedestrians (and slow drivers in the left lane) when I’m driving, and I really, truly hate cars when I’m running on the roads.

Actual photo: Me at the wheel.

I spend roughly half my training time on roads. I run on the road for two reasons: either it’s too dark to hit the trails (because whenever I run through the woods at night I become 100% certain that the Jabberwock is chasing me) or because my run is too long for the trails near my house. So pretty much, whenever I’m running on the road, it’s dark, especially this time of year. So I’ve made a lot of observations and built up a lot of anger. And running’s supposed to be therapeutic. Huh.

I’ve previously complained about drivers who don’t give a girl some space, but today I’d like to address a more universal problem: high-beams.

“Oh, high beams? That’s silly, I’m a very considerate driver, I always turn off my high beams when I see approaching cars.” This is what you’re thinking to yourself, I know. And this is why I hate cars.

What you never do (this I know for a fact due to vast life experience and all-knowing tendencies) is turn down your headlights for pedestrians. I wish to do my fellow road runners a favour and make a public service announcement that will reach approximately 23 people:

Runners and other pedestrians are roughly at the same eye level as those drivers you oh-so-considerately turn down your lights for. This means that we are equally blinded by your lights. Only we have a lot more to lose in a head-on collision with you. Namely our lives.

Not sure if jerkface approaches or I'm dead and Jesus is calling me home.

I realize when you drive past me in the morning that you’re in a rush, on your way to work or to drop the kids off at school or whatever. I totally understand. But my compassion ends when I trip into a ditch because my retinas are being flooded with your stupid headlights and I can’t see where the road ends and soggy hatred begins. This luckily happened to me during the early weeks of fall so I didn’t end up man-slaughtering anyone. However, I don’t think I can legally be held accountable for my actions if my face ends up being what breaks the ditch ice on a winter run.

So please, respect the people you’re sharing the road with. Because one day you may drive past me with your high-beams on and I may just snap. Nothing makes a girl believe she can run faster than a car like blind rage.

So that’s my newest pessimistic observation. This is all starting to make me sound pretty down on running but I really do enjoy myself 99.99% of the time. But no one wants to hear me wax poetic on how nice the winter sun is when it breaks over the tree-tops or how clear the air is in the early morning or how I saw a squirrel give another squirrel a nut and it was really cute. Good news is boring news. So enjoy my venting! Hopefully you guys have a better go of it on the roads.

Neither a glass half-full or empty kind of gal. Just wondering who drank my water.

I’m Back!

18 Dec

Hi so I’m not dead. I am, however, terribly sorry about being a horribly irregular updater of late. My excuses range from final exams and papers to just not feeling like it. But I’m back now and hoping to be a little more regular.

All wrongs are forgiven, I presume? Christmas puppies can heal all wounds.

I did manage to stick to my training, which I’m still somewhat surprised about. There were times I was so busy I forgot to eat but I never skipped a run! As you may remember, I’ve been in pre-training for my first marathon for the last five weeks. Tomorrow however marks the first day of actual training. I’ve been maintaining mileage at about 34 km a week for the past few months and now that average will slowly start to rise.

And, I officially registered for the Vancouver Marathon 2012! BAM. Honestly, I didn’t really realize that I had committed to running this thing until I had to spend $110 to register. So now it’s real. And oh my god, you guys, have you noticed HOW LONG a marathon is? It’s 42.2 kilometers! THAT’S A FAIR DISTANCE. I hadn’t really thought about the actual distance until I a) reviewed the course (which, for locals, starts at the Queen E park, passes through Pacific Spirit park and out around UBC, cruises through Kits and the Seawall, and ends at Canada Place. So yeah) and b) thought about where I could complete my long training runs. For example, the longest pre-race run I have to do is 38 km. That didn’t phase me until I realized I’d have to run across town, and back, and then across town again just to fit that distance in.

So I guess right now, in regards to running, I’m coming to terms with the actual effort I’m going to need to put into completing this goal. But you know what? I’m not any less excited to do it.

Stay tuned for more regular posts, and Merry Christmas to everyone! And if you don’t do Christmas, please enjoy not having to work and also not having to see family! The best of both worlds!

(I’m just kidding family. I like you guys.)

So You See a Road Runner

25 Nov

So I realize that joggers/runners are generally hated by the rest of the population. I can understand this. We’re up in your face with our fitness and sometimes our junk. Sometimes we have fit dogs that run next to us and look like maybe they think darting onto the road would be awesome. You have to slow down/ swerve to avoid us and who wants to do that, am I right?

What a douche. Hit him.

 

To quote a couple people:

“I don’t think jogging is healthy, especially morning jogging. If morning joggers knew how tempting they looked to morning motorists, they would stay home and do sit-ups.” – Rita Rudner

“It’s unnatural for people to run around the city streets unless they are thieves or victims. It makes people nervous to see someone running. I know that when I see someone running on my street, my instincts tell me to let the dog go after him.” – Mike Royko

 

So some people don’t like runners. That’s okay. I don’t like people who like Twilight. That’s just me.

But guys, that doesn’t mean I will run you down in my car if I see you reading Twilight.

I will, however, mock you mercilessly.

 

Okay? Is that alright with everyone? Do I sound like a normal person when I say that?

If not running people over because I don’t like what they’re doing is normal, there seem to be a lot of abnormal people out there.

So I almost got run over yesterday. Maybe you got that already. It wasn’t dark out, I was running against traffic so I knew the car was coming and they knew I was there.  There were no other cars coming the other way so swerving was an option. But instead this dude/dudette thought nearly clipping me in the shoulder with their side-mirror seemed like a better option. The mirror was literally so close to my arm I think I might have a wind burn.

You guys, I almost died. Before The Hobbit came out. It was a near-tragedy.

"No! We can't let this happen! To the wagon!"

Funny thing is, I didn’t really think about it until after my run. I just kept trucking. But I was sitting at home, knocking back a protein shake, when it occurred to me that I was nearly slaughtered by someone who either hates runners, hates me in particular, or is just straight-up a terrible, terrible driver.

So I thought it was my duty (as in, hopefully I’ll educate the masses so no one murders me) to give some tips on encountering runners in your car. So here goes:

  1. Just give them some space

THAT IS THE ONLY TIP. It should be common sense. Do not see how close you can get without killing them. That’s a horrible idea. If you can’t swerve around them for whatever reason, just slow down a smidgen.

Admittedly, there are some runners out there with bad road sense. I try to get off the road as far as possible when I see a car coming, to be considerate to the driver and to, you know, increase my chances of not dying. I run against traffic, unless I’m rounding a blind curve, when I go to the side with the best visibility. I wear lights and reflective gear at twilight and night. I listen to my music low enough to hear cars coming from a ways away. That is our responsibility as runners.

But some morons flail about in the middle of the road. I understand wanting to hit them. Probably they deserve it. Just don’t.

Finally, there is a bit of a note I wanted to add. Don’t slow down too much. It creeps me out. I don’t care if you’re being considerate, it makes me feel like you’re going to stop to offer me free candy to get into your windowless van. Moderate pace reduction is the key.

Who needs parents when there's a Hannah Montana-mobile?

 

Also, you guys! I was nominated for another reward which I appreciate so much! This time it’s the Versatile Blogger Award. Thank you to the inspirational Jenny over at The Running Thriver! Check out her story and the other blogs she nominated; all are excellent.

Here are the rules of this award:


Rules of the Versatile Blogger Award:

1.  Thank the person(s) who shared the award with you by linking back to them in your post.

2.  Pass this award to 15 recently discovered blogs and let them know that you included them in your blog post.

3.  List 7 things about yourself.

 

Please check back soon for my list of recently discovered blogs! I have to take some time to pick my favourites.

Happy trails everyone, and have a great weekend!

When to Run

25 Oct

So, maybe you’ve noticed, but I run pretty damn early in the morning. Early enough that if I were to be attacked by a mad dog and/or a herd of deer, no one would be around to hear my screams.

Shaking in my sneakers.

I should also note that even if I don’t plan on running, I still wake up at 5am. This is because I am a full-blown, 100%, chipper-without-coffee morning person. I wake up and do homework or laundry or whatever needs to be done because I’m most productive and efficient in the mornings. Plus, with that and a run out of the way, I don’t have to worry about getting anything done later. Although I do experience a strange boost in energy around 3 or 4pm, I am otherwise useless to the world past noon. Oh yeah, and I go to bed at 8. Clearly I’m the life of the party.

Wait, so not everyone feels like this in the morning?

But this is me. I am different. I am different than most people and that’s cool with me. However, I feel like I give off the impression that one has to run in the morning, which couldn’t be further from the truth. I just do it because I like getting it out of the way early… and because mornings are the only time I can manage to say my name with stumbling over the words. Mornings are my time. But they may not (and are probably not) your time.

When I first started running, it was mid-January and pitch-black til 8am. I also had to wake up at six anyway in order to get to school (long story short, my high-school commute was probably longer than your work commute). Running in the morning wasn’t a thing that even occurred to me. I ran when I got home from school, which was around 4:30. And it killed me. I was insane enough to want to finish the training program and the 10k race we were shooting for, so I kept at it. But after the race, I immediately stopped running. I just wasn’t enjoying it; I was already exhausted by the time I got home. Remembering that I still had a run to do nearly (and maybe did) drive me nuts.

Don't pretend you don't feel this sometimes. A thirst for human flesh I mean.

When I picked up running again last fall, I luckily had no obligations that required my leaving the house before 10am. So I did what felt natural, and ran first thing in the morning. And it didn’t suck balls, to my surprise. I loved it! I came home energized and with a feeling of achievement that stuck with me for the rest of the day. I’d finally found a way to enjoy running, which ended the feeling of having to go for that run. Now I wanted to.

The running-specific moral of this story is that in order to be a successful runner, and be more likely to stick to your training program and achieve your goals, you’ve got to work out a schedule that works for you. Running at 5 may be your thing, or maybe it’s something more reasonable like 8. Or you may want to do it in the afternoons or evenings when you’re home from school. You might be a total freak who goes to a 24-hr gym at 11pm to bust out a 10 miler. Whatever it is, you’ve got to fit your runs in in a way that works for you, no matter what time other people like to run.

This extends past what time of day to run. It’s also important to make sure your weekly schedule fits with your other obligations. This spring, when I began a half-marathon program, my long runs always landed on a Saturday. This was fine for about a month until I started working at 9 on Saturdays. I had to wake up at ridiculous hours (even for me) in order to fits the long run in before work, but for whatever idiotic reason I didn’t change my schedule. I had Tuesdays and Wednesdays off, why didn’t I do my runs then? Long story short, I was exhausted all weekend because I was stupid and didn’t adjust my schedule. Finally I got the hint this September, and now I do my long runs on Thursdays, when I don’t have to be at school til 1 o’clock. And it works a lot better.

So, in conclusion, don’t be stupid. If you want to be a runner, making running fit your life, not the other way around.

And because this post lacked any hilarious jokes about flesh wounds or habits of deer, here’s something for you:

Pictures of cats never fail.

Basic Running Gear

23 Oct

To begin with, I’ll let you know that I jinxed myself with that post about running while sick. The fates stepped in blessed me with a head cold so now I get to put all my advice to good use. Booyah.

But what I’d like to focus on now is basic running gear. I figured this was a good topic because so many running people like to debate the wicking abilities of different brands of tech shirts… and most new runners are still trying to figure out when cotton turned into a bad thing.

Oh yeah right. Awkward.

When I first started running, I wore an old pair of leggings (that boasted only three holes) and a cotton tank top. I had a fancy Lululemon jacket that I wore on top that had, until that point, never experienced anything remotely similar to exercise. My first shoes, as I mentioned before, were those Pumas that everyone was buying because they looked cool. Like most things that look cool, they didn’t work so well.

I’ve since upgraded once I learned what I needed and what I didn’t. So if you’re looking to get a new outfit for your runs, I’ve got some tips.

Tops:

Ladies, please disregard what everyone says about cotton. Yeah, it doesn’t breathe so well, and probably doesn’t look as cool, and when you sweat, it’ll show. But it’s cheap. As in free. Because I would bet a $500 Nike gift card that you have old cotton tshirts laying around that would be perfect to run in.

Possibly the most appropriate shirt I've ever seen.

So what’s all the noise about tech tops? Usually these tops are made of special fabric that wick away sweat, keeping you cooler and more comfortable. If you got the cheese, buy ‘em. But if you’re poor like me, just use the cotton tops. I do fine wearing them.

Gents… uhhhh… go for the tech top. Just do it. And invest in some Vaseline. All I’ll say is chafing. I’ll leave the rest to your imagination.

No I won't! You're welcome.

Bottoms:

Everyone seems to understand what to wear on their legs. Shorts for warm weather, leggings or jogging pants for winter. Ladies, please god, make sure your shorts aren’t too short. No one wants to see your junk, especially first thing in the morning. Same goes for guys actually.

Chances of junk showing must be equal to zero. Punishable by death.

I’ll admit that I tend to splurge on bottoms for running. I have a couple pairs of fancy shorts from Lululemon (sense a pattern here?) because I like the way they look.

They also have very handy pockets that I use for my iPod when it’s raining and for my gels. I’m also planning on buying a pair of their running leggings PURELY because they make me look buff. What? At least I’m honest. Here’s the link.

Miscellaneous:

And then there’s the rest.

Ladies, do yourself a favour and buy a good sports bra. Yes, they’re expensive. But your girls are going to hurt more than your bank account will. Mine is from Lululemon (duh) but they don’t actually make them any longer. I’d recommend hitting a sports store for a wider selection and cheaper prices.

What about rain? I live in a temperate rainforest. Rain is a part of my daily life. I wear a ballcap to keep the water off my face, and maybe a jacket if it’s raining hard enough. It’s an old shell of my mom’s that doesn’t fit either of us but I only use it when it’s really pouring.

That's what a raincloud looks like when it's feelin mean.

Socks? Wear the ones you have unless you’re running 15k or more, or if it’s especially hot and/or humid out. The distance increases rubbing and so does the heat and humidity. Rubbing equals blisters. Blisters equal pain (and unsightly flesh wounds that scar young children). If this sounds like something you want to avoid, buy a pair or two of tech socks from your local sports store. They’ll cost you $15 bucks a pair but it’s worth it.

For cold weather, I wear a thick headband that keeps my ears warm without making my head too hot. I also wear Lululemon gloves (god I have a problem) that boast handy pockets and finger holes.

What to do about hair? For the ladies and the male hippies only. I put mine in a simple ponytail at the back of my head and wear a Goody hairband ($5 for three) to keep the wisps away.

Of course, wear good shoes. I cannot emphasize this enough.

These things are going to be the foundation of your running. The main theme I’m trying to get across is that for most things, you don’t need to get the latest and greatest tech designs. Splurge on what’s important to you if you can. Otherwise, save the cash for race registration.

Wait what? They make you pay to run around in a giant circle, risking being rundown and/or mauled by the crowds? They make you pay $75+?

You'll pay for the mauling and you'll like it.

Yeah, life sucks.

On Dogs that Want to Chase Me

14 Oct

A runner's worst nightmare

This is a follow-up to yesterday’s post. Today let’s explore the dark side of the relationship between running and dogs. I bring this up because on my run yesterday morning, I got chased by a grand total of FOUR DOGS. Usually I attract maybe one dog who’s exploring his yard in the morning, but never four on one run.

Fences are very unpopular where I live, unless you have a nice garden and you want to keep the deer out. This means that dogs are free to roam their owner’s yard, the neighbours’ yards, and the road in front of the house. There was one German Shepherd when I was growing up that specifically came into our backyard every morning to drop a deuce. It was annoying at first, then funny, and then back to annoying.

This doggy freedom must be nice for the canines, but for innocent joggers that get lunged at as they run down the street, it can be a heart-pounding experience.

You should know that 99% of dogs that come tearing towards you screaming bloody murder in dog language (barks and growls, etc.) just want to check you out and be on their way. They’re protecting their territory, and once they know you’re not a threat, they’ll trot away. Alternatively, flopping down on the road for a belly rub is a good option. Even a dog that’s behind a fence will bark at you until you’re far enough away that they can smile smugly to themselves and pat themselves on the back for being so good at scaring intruders away.

So how do you avoid being torn to pieces by aggressive dogs? This is from my experience only so if you find yourself with bite marks… I’m sorry, please don’t sue. When I see dogs coming towards me, I follow a couple of steps:

  1. First, slow right the eff down. Stop moving, and let the dog come to you.
  2. When they’re close enough, greet them like you’re happy to see them. A few “hi puppy, good puppy” types of things are good.
  3. Let them smell your hand when they approach.
  4. Meanwhile, don’t look them in the eye, as this can be seen as a challenge.
  5. Pet them if you get the sense that it would be okay with them.
  6. When they’re finished with you, slowly continue on your way. Better to slow the pace than to lose a couple fingers or something.

Likely, at worst, you’re going have mud prints on your new leggings from an overeager jumper. Usually the dog will demand a few ear scratches and then flounce away, content to know that you are not a threat.

I don’t have any advice for actually mean dogs that actually want to kill you. My go-to instinct is to punch faces but I don’t know how well that works with dogs. All I can say is good luck.

On Dogs

14 Oct

Dogs are the best running companions. They don’t talk back, or try to persuade you to call it a day, and they’re always excited for a run even if it’s 5:15 am and they can’t see the nose in front of their face. However, there are some issues I’ve encountered when running with my dog that I thought I would share.

I am 100% a dog person. I love dogs. I will probably spend more time with your dog than with you. I have a little Boston Terrier named Ruby and she is the light of my life. She’s likely cuter than your first-born. Evidence:

This is her looking ugly. Her puppy face would melt the Arctic.

Of course, she requires exercise and so do I.  However, our preferred methods of exercise are too different to be compatible. Boston Terriers are small dogs, weighing about 20lbs on average. They also have short little mushed up faces and it’s adorable… but not very conducive to endurance running. This is one problem with having a dog as your running companion; like humans, sometimes they’re just not as fit as you. Ruby loves her walks and she loves to spend her time sniffing around at stuff, but if she tries to keep up with my pace, she can’t do any of that. By around kilometer 6, she’s done. I love her for trying and never complaining but I know she’d have more fun on a walk. And to be honest, waiting for her really slows my roll guys. So she gets left behind.

But, there is a vast variety of breeds that can not only keep up with you, they will outrun you and want more runs the second they get home. These include larger dogs like German Short-Haired Pointers, German Shepherds, any sort of retriever, Dalmatians, etc etc. Pointers are a personal favourite of mine:

They actually do this instinctually. Major pro; constant reason to laugh at them.

These types of dogs, with larger statures, hunting genes, and fully protruding snouts are, by my research, the best kind of breeds for running companions. Jack Russells as well, despite those little legs, are very good at keeping up.

But you know what’s best? Get a dog that loves you and needs a home… and train them! Of course a dog won’t immediately be able to run a 15 miler with you right off the bat! Could you pull that off without any training? Dogs, like humans, need to build up their endurance. Unfortunately, I never took the time to do that with Ruby and now it’s too late. Of course, I could go back to a run/walk program like I started with… but I don’t want to. And that’s that. She likes walking more anyway, and this way, I get a second workout.

The second issue is well, you know, whether or not the dog’ll stick around for the run. Other options include sprinting into the woods after a squirrel, lingering behind to sniff someone’s butt and getting lost, and following the tempting smell of that dog that passed that tree that one time.

This is a matter of training. Even if your dog is on leash, they can still seriously bring down a run by tugging on the leash, stopping unexpectedly, or lunging at other dogs. This is annoying and could actually injure you. If off leash and untrained… all hell will break loose and you know it. Thankfully my Ruby is an angel off leash and we live in an area that allows it. She sticks about twenty feet behind me and if she gets distracted, I can get her focus back on me with a simple whistle and promise of a carrot. I’ve run on the road with her on leash though and it sucked hard. She was weaving in and around me and I nearly tripped and took us both to an early grave. Rather than train her to better on leash… I just stopped taking her on the road. Lazy yes, but effective.

So if you want to take your dog with you, on leash or off, save yourself some misery and put in the effort to train him or her. Obedience classes are a must to learn the basics, and constant reinforcement is crucial. Do you remember your Canadian history? No? NOBODY DOES. Because we never practice it. So train and practice and you and your dog will have the time of your lives running together.

Happy training everyone!

The Running Club

12 Oct

Just a quick note today. I wanted to let you guys know about my running club and why if you run alone most of the time, you should look into forming one yourself.

My group is small; it’s just myself and two other ladies. I created the group for a number of reasons. First being, of course, that running alone every day can get pretty boring. Not only that, but the runs we do together give me some valuable socialization time that my schedule doesn’t usually allow. The runs certainly go a lot faster while we’re chatting too. Did you know that talking while running is a valuable tool in pacing yourself? You can tell when you’re working too hard because your friends are getting confused trying to decipher your meaning using your bursting words and gasping breath.

We try to run together at least once a week, but that doesn’t always happen. We do keep in contact during the week though about how our runs are going. The ladies I run with would be considered beginners, which is fine for me, because I can train them however I please and they can’t say anything about it. I set them up with the original Learn-to-Run 10k training program I used a couple years ago, and try to join them on their long run. I’m enjoying my position as coach because it means I get to talk about running at length and people actually care. They often call or text me with a question or comment about their runs and I try to help them out with my limited expertise. It makes me feel smart. I like that.

There are some downsides of course, especially with our different levels of experience. But it’s so much fun and worth it in the end. And, if you’re reading this and I know you and we live close to each other, let’s run together okay?

Happy training everyone!