Helium and belly buttons

We all need to work on our running form. I’ve heard this advice a bunch of times.

Imagine a helium balloon attached to your head pulling your head up. Imagine being taller. This will help you run more straight up and keep you from hunching over.

Imagine a string tied to your belly button pulling you forward. This will move your hips forward and your shoulders back.

Depending on how good your imagination is, this can work well to improve your form and make your running more efficient.

Practice thinking about this a couple times in a bunch of runs and you should start to change your running gait for the better.

But don’t let your imagination get too carried away – who knows what would happen.


Lung-Bursting Runch

My plan, which I am so far adhering to, called for a 35 minute tempo run. Ugh, I hate tempo runs.

My plans went awry last night so it didn’t happen then, and this morning it was too dark with too much ice to go fast on the sidewalks. This evening we are having company, so I had to do it during the day today. I couldn’t put it off. But it was a nice enough afternoon, so I gobbled down my lunch at my desk, waited an hour for it to settle, and went out for a late running lunch (#runch).

I only noticed one other later runch-er out there. Not even anyone along the river by downtown. That seemed odd. Where is everyone? Actually working?


1 km warmup, 1 km faster, 1 km really fast (huffing and puffing), 1 km slightly slower (legs still burning), 1 km really fast (huffing and puffing), 1 km slow, 1 km cool down. Whew! Recover at my desk.

I only do this lung bursting stuff once per week, and each time I am really glad when it is over.

Till next time.

Where is the end?

Build confidence, relax more

4 quick tips to build confidence and relax in your training runs.

Tip #1 Run with your middle finger touching your thumb. This little trick prevents your fists from clenching and your shoulders from tensing up. Shake your arms out once in a while when you feel yourself tensing up. Relax and run easy. This running thing shouldn’t be stressful.

Tip #2 Most of your runs (80%) should not be faster than the speed at which you can still maintain a comfortable conversation with your running partner. A strong running base is built on many slow kilometers, not on a few hard runs. Stay relaxed. This running thing is supposed to be fun.

Tip #3 Near the end of the run speed up for 30 to 50 meters (then slow down to catch your breath). This gives you the confidence that you really can run faster and that you have been saving your speed. It also helps builds ultimate speed. Do this maybe 3 times. This builds confidence.

Tip #4 Make sure to really slow down for the last km or so. Besides being your cool down this tricks your mind after the run into thinking that the run wasn’t so hard after all. Sounds weird but it works for me.

Bowmont Park, Calgary.


Amazing running weather

I shouldn’t have to dodge that many people on the city pathways in January. I have come to expect this in June when anyone and everyone is enjoying the great outdoors after a long winter. Then we all for sure need to be very aware of who is on the pathway with us. But this week has had amazing weather and with it so many recreational users of the pathways.

We are all sure to grumble next week when the temperatures return to normal. But at least the pathways will be quieter.

Seasons of River Ice

Out my backyard and down the river bank trail for 100m, I get this view everyday on the way to the bus stop.

Shouldice Bridge crossing the Bow River.

December 2014 to January 2015.

Stay tuned for an updated gallery as the season changes into Spring, Summer and Fall again.

Big weekends

It was a big weekend of training again.

Saturday I hit my fastest 5k since April. It helps that the morning board meeting was long and frustrating.

Sunday I hit my fastest 21k in 6 months. An action packed audio book helped on this one.

Sunday morning included 3100m (1hr 20min) swimming. Longest swim in several years. My daughter (swim partner) wouldn’t settle for doing less. Good thing I didn’t have to stack chairs after church today. My arms would have fallen off.

Sunday afternoon included a 1.5 hour family walk in the sunshine. I will blame this one on my wife who loves soaking up the sunshine and my camera happy daughter.

Trail running in Calgary

This training season is heating up. Two more big weeks then it will be a step back week.

I am feeling good so far considering it is only 13 weeks before my next A race  – Vancouver Marathon.

Unfortunately I cannot sleep in tomorrow. Work calls. But my legs will be taking it much easier tomorrow.

Best of the Best

And now for a recap. Here’s the bestest of the best posts of the last few months. Well, at least they were the most popular.

#1 How to Cross a Creek (or NOT!!)

10849939_10152489114680334_1560160055020379127_n     Jeronimo!

#2 Trail Running in the Canadian Rockies

Floe Lake     Dog Lake

#3 Two Months of Running Bridges

Calgary Peace Bridge running
Peace Bridge – Nov 2014


Fullerton Loop - Dec 2014
Fullerton Loop – Dec 2014

#4 Screw Shoes – It’s the Cat’s Meow!


Habits of Highly Motivated Runners

Solid habits are important to engrain if you want to become a great runner, or at least a consistently improving runner.

I found this great article on some important habits to concentrate on and some great tips on how to get there.

Some examples are:
– Become a morning runner
– Eat your vegetables
– Sit less
– Eat breakfast
– Get enough sleep
– Unplug once per week

Habit #12 – Sit Less


Habit #1 – Become a morning runner


Habit #2 – Regular Strength Training (In Random Locations to keep up the regularity if you have to)


But how do you make these habits stick? How do you get over the hurdles? Read on and then share your experiences. Let’s all become highly motivated runners.

Full article from Runners World here

Firing up my core

Besides all the very fun and sometimes extreme cross training my family does that I wrote about yesterday, I do have a more set round of “boring” cross training that fits into my routine. Maybe it is better just called “exercise” but the purpose is to make my running stronger so in many definitions this would be called cross training.

Sunday mornings is my swim date with my daughter. We have been doing 2000 meters in an hour and it has been wiping me out so it is definitely working. But she is getting so much stronger in swimming and is aiming for a minimum of 3000 meters and maybe much more in one workout. It’s not fair that she refuses to do this alone and so I am forced to do the whole distance too. But my swimming is getting stronger and I am using muscles that have been dormant for a long while. This is especially good for my core and arms which receive minimal attention otherwise.

Weekly Swimming


One of my more dull and painful routines is pushups or burpees several times per week. I don’t do a whole workout, just a bunch of those horrible exercises. It is not fun but it works for core strength.

One too many pushups!


I have always done a lot of biking, and in the last couple years I have biked to work for probably half the year. The winter weather is not conducive to that right now but come March I will be back at it.

And then there is the regular stretching of mostly my quads and hamstrings after most of my runs.

The goal of all this is to improve my running. If this age thing is going to catch up with me it is going to have to work very hard for it.

But if you’re into much more fun cross-training ideas, read yesterday’s post here

Cross training should be fun – really fun!

Cross training is anything that is gets your muscles and lungs going that isn’t the same old thing you are training to do anyway.

As runners, we can’t only JUST run to stay fit. We need to stretch ourselves and experiment a little to remain balanced athletes.

Here’s some ideas to try out some new muscles, and become more of a rounded athlete and to have a whole lot of fun at it.

There is the standard cross-training – biking, swimming, yoga, pilates, weight lifting. But that can get boring. Change it up a little.

Try a triathlon
Take your family skating
Take whatever nature gives you and go with it. This is hardly your standard cross-training but a fierce snowball fight will leave you exhausted. Just what you’re looking for, right?
Full day hike
Climb a tree. Most of us would be pretty exhausted climbing any tree.
Wrestle your kids – You’ll be wiped for the whole evening.
Go biking with your kids
Random stretching in random locations.
Geocaching. You can do a lot of hiking to get to some of those geocaches.
Try out a new sport – why not try wheelchair basketball?
Tobogganning. In case you’re new to this, the hard part is carrying the kids sleds back up the hill.
Swimming for fun! Or just learn to swim better. Or to try a triathlon
Learn to play tennis.
Community sports – join a soccer or softball team.
Extreme hiking!
Extreme planking in random locations
REALLY extreme hiking!!

Well you have just seen what my style of cross training is even if you don’t agree that it is the best kind for you.

Just get out there once in a while and make sure it is NOT running. And have fun at it. A lot of fun!

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