Thursday, 24 April 2014

Virtual Run Date - Regina

Hi runners! After a bit of a hiatus, I am so happy to share the third post in the Virtual Run Date series.

Meet Erin!
Hi all! I’m Erin from Running Tall and I’m currently running and living in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. It’s a prairie city where it’s 30+ in the summer and -40 in the winter (Celsius!). Classic Canada, right?

If I were visiting your city, where would we go on a run?
The prettiest and most popular running route in Regina is definitely the path around Wascana Lake, a manmade lake in the middle of the city. Once around the lake is about 5km but it also hooks up with a city wide trail so you can get your long runs in too.

The city even clears the path in the winter so you can safely run year round.  Love hitting the Wascana Lake trail with my favorite running partner – my chocolate lab Sadie.

Where should I stop for a pre-run coffee?
My favorite coffee spot is Brewed Awakenings, mainly because they are one of the only places in town that offer almond milk. I love a good vanilla almond milk latte! 

Where is the best spot for a post-race brunch?
My brunch heart belongs to Fresh & Sweet! It’s a local downtown breakfast and lunch spot that serves up some amazingly creative sweet and savory dishes. It was even recently featured on the Food Network Canada so it’s kind of a big deal ;)

I forgot my shoes/gels/running socks… where can I get some new gear?
Stick with the tried and true – The Running Room

What is the must-run race of the season?
Definitely has to be the Queen City Marathon that happens here in early September. We’re a small enough city that this race sells out and still feels nice and intimate. You can do a 5km, half, full, or full relay and it’s even a Boston Qualifier. Pretty legit! I'm running the half for the second time this year and looking to PR – fingers crossed! 

Is there anything else you would like to share to rep your hometown? 
I’m pretty freaking proud of the hardiness of Regina runners! Like I said, it gets COLD here in the winter and there will always be some runners out there killing it in layers and a full face mask in the dead of winter.

Connect with Erin

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Injury Update

I haven't run in 11 days. Three chiropractor appointments and two physio sessions later I feel a bit better! I also went to a Moksha class to stretch things out and spent an hour on my bike doing some light spinning.

I asked today if it is normal to take this long to heal and I think the Chiro may have thought I was a bit crazy. I apologized for my impatience. My physio also calls me Dr. Google and told me I will only increase my anxiety by looking up all the things this pain could be.

I am trying to be patient and a bit more forgiving because this body has been through a lot in the past 12 months.  I also underestimated the effects of relaxin and the fact that nursing Weston would increase the length of time my body produced it.  On the one hand this can cause pelvic instability, but it can also make you more responsive to chiropractic care.  If you want to read more about running while breastfeeding this article has some good info.

I am remaining optimistic and hopeful that in the next week or so this injury will be behind me and I will be on my way to happy running again. My plan for rehabbing includes:

  • Orthotics (I was able to see my foot scan and how different each of my feet are during my walking gait on the scan - it looked something like this)
  • Some serious core stability work. I have weak glutes. Admitting it is the first step.
  • Starting from scratch and not jumping ahead on run training even though I feel like I could.
  • Paying MUCH more attention to form during all activities and exercises. (i.e. my sagging lower back during a burpee probably isn't ideal).
  • Yoga 1x a week. I am happier when I do yoga too which is a pretty good side effect.

On the plus side, with all this down time I have finally finished my case study! I just have a few more edits before sending it off and then I can start my case study with a real client!

Hope you had a wonderful Easter!

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

When Pain Means Stop

I guess I should have knocked on wood when I wrote the injury prevention post, or maybe paid a little closer attention to my bodies signals.

It looks like I will be off running for a while. I have an L5/S1 disc bulge which is causing some serious secondary muscle pain. The thing is, it wasn't really a gradual build.

Last Thursday I went for physio to see about the apparent diastatsis recti I have (only 2 fingers BTW which isn't really that bad). I don't know if the manipulations there awoke a sleeping giant, but 3k into a friday run I had to walk. 500m yesterday I had to walk again, this time in tears.  I have never had running pain like this. It is not the gradual build kind, it is the kind that flares with your first step and screams STOP!

After an 8am chiropractor appointment, things look pretty bleak for the rest of the month.  I went to a new chiro and he used the tens machine for about 15 minutes to get the muscle to release followed by some pretty uncomfortable ART. I don't have serious nerve pinching which is positive.

Here are a few things that may be contributing to this issue:

  • Pregnancy obviously had more impact on my pelvis than I first thought.
  • Weak gluteal muscles from the first two months of caring for a newborn and couch time breastfeeding.
  • Running with the jogging stroller because it is so different form wise.
  • Some weird stretches I did last week that I saw on 
I feel frustrated and a little sad because I really have been conservative with my mileage, backing of when I felt sore and generally following injury prevention protocol. 

Please cross your fingers for me that this heals quickly! Any suggestions are welcome. 

Friday, 11 April 2014

New Shoes!

Have you heard of

I discovered the site recently (during my many hrs of internet browsing while Weston naps) and made my first purchase today. What did I buy? New running shoes of course!

I have been really wanting to test the new Skechers running shoes and when a $40 off promotion popped up today I couldn't resist.

I ordered the new GoRun 3 in silver and lime green.  The runner's world review seems very promising and when I used the Runner's World "shoes like mine" advisor it suggested that the GoRun would be pretty similar to my beloved Saucony Kinvaras.

Here is more info on the shoes from the Skechers site and a pic of the shoes I chose.

Also, did you know that Skechers brand ambassador is Meb Keflezighi?!? That's right. "Keflezighi wore them while winning the Olympic Marathon Trials in January 2012". My new running shoe motto just might be "What's good for Meb is good for me". 

This post is in no way sponsored, but when I made the purchase I did receive a coupon code for friends and family to receive $50 off their first purchase! $50!! So if you are in the market for a new pair of shoes or some Friday afternoon retail therapy here is the link:

Have you run in Skechers? What are your initial thoughts on the shoes?
Do you own more running shoes than you probably need?

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Spring Clean Me!

It is Spring. Our days are full of planning gardens, rubber boots splashing in puddles and spring cleaning. We moved into our housing in July so this is our first spring here an admittedly, there isn't a ton to do. However, there is some room for spring cleaning in our day to day living.

Here is my Spring Rejuvenation Plan

Drink Less Coffee
I for one have slid down a slippery slope of post pregnancy coffee consumption from one Tassimo pod a day to two, then maybe a decaf latte later and sometimes a diet coke. (in case you are wondering, even decaf coffee has a little bit of caffeine and is highly acidic).  I am going to follow Kris Carr's 11 Tips to Kick Your Coffee Addiction (again) and will be drinking a lot of green tea!

Goal: Switch to half caff coffee for remainder of April (baby steps!)

Get Cooking
I am not eating well. I am not eating junk food, but I am not really taking time to cook either.

Goal: Dedicate every Sunday as new recipe day!

Stretch Daily
I am not taking time to stretch. As a new mom, 90 minute yoga classes became almost impossible so I just stopped all together. I need to do better.

Goal: I am going to reactivate my yoga online subscription so I can do 30 minute or even 45 minute (gasp) classes at home.

Read More
I need to read more. Don't get me wrong, I read blogs and articles all day long. Mostly about sleep training, sometimes about baby food and the odd one about running. I need to read books! I downloaded some new ones:

Goal: Read at least one book a month

This one is new for me but it is something I really want to try. Ever since I read The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari I have wanted to learn to meditate. I have no excuses except it kind of scares me. I know I have an overactive, wandering mind and I struggle to sit still for any length of time. All signs that I probably need a meditation practice in my life. 

Goal: On April 17th I am going to attend this Monthly Group Meditation session.  I missed the March class, but I really would like to take it in the future.

Are there any areas in your life that need some spring cleaning?
Do you meditate?

Monday, 7 April 2014

Weekly Workouts (March 31 - April 6)

Monday, Mar 31 - 60 minute HIIT
Tuesday, April 1 - OFF
Wednesday, April 2 - 4km Stroller Run
Thursday, April 3 - 30 minute walk with Weston in carrier
Friday, April 4 - 60 minute HIIT
Saturday, April 5 - 6 km run (avg pace 5:25)
Sunday, April 6 - OFF


  • 2 runs! Not exactly meeting my goal of three but I am on track this week because I ran today : )
  • Running on pavement is 1 billion times easier than running on ice and gravel (especially with the running stroller).
  • I reread Crazy Sexy Diet yesterday because I have plans to clean up my act. I also bought some spirulina. I am crediting it for my stellar run performance today. It certainly wasn't due to being well rested : )
  • J has an injury to his lower leg. It is pretty serious because he can't run for two days (eye roll).
I posted this on twitter but want to share it here too for some Monday motivation:

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Running 101 - Injuries

It has been a while since I did a running 101 post, but I thought this topic might be fitting as J is experiencing a nagging injury as he trains for an upcoming half marathon.

In my coaching program, we focus more on injury prevention, as we aren't qualified to diagnose or treat injuries. That said, there are some common injuries that we can definitely take note of, make referrals to specialists and amend training programs to allow for recovery.

As a runner, chances are you have had some sort of injury at some time. I know my running group regularly talks about our aches and pains and have at times been sidelined by injuries. My laundry list includes IT band syndrome, shin splints, piriformis syndrome and a stress fracture, all of which could have probably been avoided.

There is no single reason for injury, but there are a number of contributing factors that will increase a runner's susceptibility:

Foundation Factors
A triad of muscle weakness, poor flexibility and biomechanical issues often lead to running injuries. To address these areas you should include the following training elements:

  1. Strength Training - A well rounded strength training program could be your biggest ally in injury prevention.  For example, I have a very weak glute med which causes a whole host of problems. Regular exercises (from my physiotherapist) include clam shells, hip hikes, and stability ball bridges. Here is an example of a strength training routine designed for runners. The only caveat here is to make sure you are performing exercises with proper form.  An improperly executed squat cold put undue stress on your knees causing more harm than good!
  2. Joint Mobility Exercises - Foam rolling & stretching are a must! Here is more on foam rolling. There is still some controversy over whether stretching is more beneficial before or after running, how long to hold stretches and whether stretches should be static or dynamic. I think this is one of those grey areas where if you find stretching helps you, by all means continue. If you think it is contributing to running issues (i.e. I believe pigeon pose causes me more harm than good) go with how you feel. *note: if you have been advised to stretch by a health practitioner follow their advice and protocol.
  3. Assessment of Running Technique - stride length, cadence, and arm swing are just a few areas where a properly trained athletic therapist can assess your technique. I can give you a great example of areas where I have problems. Last year, when my coach video taped my running technique I could finally see what he meant when he said I was "spilling my guts". I allowed my lower belly to loosen which I later found indicated I wasn't firing my transverse abdominus right. I have also seen people with a side to side arm swing, shuffle or hunched position that can affect their mechanics and lead to injury. If you can, go for an assessment. The video is a little embarrassing but so worth it! I think we have all seen some version of this photo making the rounds:

Training Factors
How many of you know someone who signed up for a race on a whim, ran their heart out, and could barely walk for two weeks after. While extreme, this is an example of what happens when you don't allow for proper training and adaptations.  In fact, one study found that 60% of running injuries are caused by doing too much too soon.

As a coach, it would be my job to monitor how you are responding to your training program and add in components that can address foundation factors. We can incorporate hills for strength training and a regular stretching regime for flexibility.

Proper route selection may also help. If you are always running the same loop on the same camber, it may explain why you are having knee pain. The trail camber will cause a shift that changes your biomechanics and calls on weaker stabilizers to balance your hips or other points in the kinetic chain (there is a much better explanation here).

Running Shoes
This probably seems like a very easy fix. There are generally three types of running shoes: motion control, cushioned and neutral.  A proper running analysis will help determine what kind of shoe you need based on whether you are a pronator, supinator or neutral runner. I think running shoes deserves an entire post so we will talk more about that later. The general summary is, make sure you are running in the right shoe for your food type and PLEASE don't run in your cross trainers from the gym. If you are interested in reading more on foot mechanics, this article is very helpful.

Later this month I am attending a seminar on injury prevention so I should learn a few new things to share. If you have questions specific to this post (I know it is lengthy) please feel free to ask and I will do my best to answer them. Also, if there is a topic you want to discuss please let me know!

Saturday, 5 April 2014

5 Months

Five months! How can my little baby already be five months old? You have changed so much this past month and it is so exciting to see your little personality emerging.

You are almost 16 pounds now and have your Aunty's grey eyes.

You can roll both ways like a pro and are just itching to move around more. Be patient Westie, there is plenty of time to start crawling.

You will fall asleep on your own sometimes, but much prefer to be with mommy or daddy. We are working on that.

You started solids! Your favourites seem to be the oat cereal and pear. We haven't tried much yet but you are really enjoying your meal times in the high chair.

You babble away and smile at other people to make there day!

Love you so so much!