Lurching through Instagram – What’s the Shtick?

I don’t get the rhythm of Instagram.

I just started with Instagram and I quickly realized it was similar to Twitter but different enough that I still don’t understand what makes it tick. I was hoping to subscribe to some users and hashtags to get photos of trail running, and epic nature shots with runners. But on the official Instagram app you can’t subscribe to #hashtags. And the people you follow don’t necessarily post consistent themes.

And you can’t repost someone else’s stuff. So how does a newbie instagrammer get followers (if that is the point)?

Maybe I need a new app.

Does anyone have suggestions on some great running hashtags to search or users to follow? I have found #trailrunning #running and a couple others. And of course the shoe companies all have active accounts.

Other tips and tricks?

My free tip of the week (stolen off the internet) is this aritcle on how best to use #hashtags on any social platform.

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You will find me lurching (aka Jeff Galloway’s Run/Walk Method) through Instagram at @trail_runner_guy, and Twitter at @kwiens4

Only crazies do hill repeats in Haiti

You know the stares you get when you are doing hill repeats? Now imagine that in a country where no one exercises “just for fun”. Just eeking out a living with manual labor is exercise enough.

While in Haiti I ran up a 300m hill 3 times one day and 6 times the next. Of course I was gawked at by the locals. It seemed they went out of their way to come check out this crazy runner.  Why would a seemingly “rich” white man run anywhere let alone up a hill repeatedly? Surely I could find a better way to spend my time.

I enjoyed expanding their minds that being different is okay.

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Core at the beach

While on a work trip to Haiti I was not able to do much exercise let alone running. About a week in, I found some time right after breakfast (before it got too hot) to do some stretching and work my core a bit. It felt great to get those muscles moving a bit.

But it is frustrating not to be able to get it in. We seem to always be eating and not getting in any exercise.

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Places to run – Haiti?

Can I? Should I? Does anyone run in Haiti? It is too hot. There are no trails.  The traffic is too crazy. Can’t go out alone. Can’t speak the language if I get lost.

Last time I was in Haiti I ran 400m up and down the beach repeatedly just so I could stay in sight of the hotel. This time it doesn’t seem like running is much of a possibility. The highway is too busy to run on and the beach is only 50m long. Maybe I will have to get creative and just do core work.

If it’s not the traffic which makes it tough to run…

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… It’s the livestock that can be frightening.

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Stay tuned. This trip is 2 weeks long and I can’t go that long without running.

Cramming for the Hiatus

I am excited to be heading off on a two week trip to help in an orphanage in Haiti. I have done this kind of thing before and each time it is an amazing experience. However for my running addiction (and marathon training plan) this is hardly ideal. I rarely get much exercise while I am there. We tend to work too hard and long and the weather is too hot and humid for there to be much energy left at the end of the day. So I end up swimming a little but rarely running much.

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These bad boys on the loose would get me running, not matter the heat.

 

So my only partly successful remedy is to try to cram in a couple extra run sessions before and after I come back so as not to lose too much fitness.

Today I ran twice and both were hard runs. ,A couple days earlier, Saturday and Sunday, I did some tough runs too. When I come back I plan in a long run in the first day or two as long as my catch-up-with-life to-do list allows it.

So my theory is that as long as I don’t injure myself and I can jump back into my training plan without too much difficulty I can crank it up a bit for a few days to make up for missed key runs.

It is probably a good thing I don’t have a coach because I can’t imagine they would agree to this approach but as long as I don’t get carried away, it seems to work.

We are now off to the airport in a few hours. My legs will be happy for the break. And hopefully they will jump back in the game when I get back.

What? No coffee?

This week is my last week of coffee until May. That should be 10 weeks of being coffee free if I can stick it out.

I have done this ritual in recent years and it seems to work for me in the leadup to a marathon.

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It started when I heard that caffeine has a bigger kick on race day if you are not a coffee drinker normally. And I wanted a big kick. So that first year I stopped caffeine for 3 weeks before the race. Then of course I had a cup or two on race morning. Well it worked. I got the kick I wanted.

The next year my pastor challenged us to give up something during Lent (the 6 weeks leading up to Easter). Easter that year happened to be close to the race. Well, I have made it a tradition now to give up coffee for my spring marathons.

The first few days are not easy but I ease into it by drinking caffeinated tea instead. And the kick on race day? It makes you feel like a million bucks.

So there is my plan for getting and maximizing legal performance enhancing drugs.

But today is not quite the last day and neither is tomorrow so I think I will just have another cup of java right now.

Reading Too Much Is As Dangerous As Never Reading

Taken from Running is Funny as a parody of the hotly disputed study that claims that too much running is as bad as watching TV all day.

A new study shows that reading too much can be just as unhealthy as not reading at all.

Americans as a whole don’t read enough—at least that’s what the latest studies show—and so the message is clear: get more books, pick up a magazine, Let’s Read! Basically anything is better than sitting on the couch, watching TV. But how much reading is enough? That’s a hotly debated question for which experts still don’t have a satisfactory answer. But given that most of us are starting from a sedentary position, the assumption has long been the more the better.

But in a report published Monday in the Journal of the American College of Conclusion Jumping researchers from Denmark say that people who push their brains too hard may essentially undo the benefit of reading. Those who read more than four hours a week for more than three days a week had about the same risk of ignorance during the study’s 12-year follow up as those who hardly read at all. The link held even after the researchers accounted for potentially confounding factors such as age, sex, whether the participants had a history of lunkheadedness, or whether they smoked and drank alcohol.

Marott acknowledges that it’s also possible that some other behaviors or factors common to avid readers, such as their exposure to differing viewpoints, which can increase their risk of understanding, might be explaining their higher risk of headaches during the study. Other studies will have to investigate whether that’s the case, but in the meantime, Marott says “if you want to do something good for yourself, you don’t have to be extreme. Reading one to four hours a week for no more than three days a week at a slow to moderate pace is actually achievable. And that’s a positive take-home message.”

Read the rest of the parody here

Suburban bridges run

I was able to piece together a run that included 11 pedestrian-only bridges (and one tunnel) on my suburban Calgary run today. I guess all those million dollar bridges are useful to at least a few people. It was a point to point 36km very urban run. There was a lot of sidewalk and pavement running but I didn’t have to cross any 4 lane roads. Even though it got cold by the end, there were still lots of people out getting in their end of weekend sunshine.

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I love bridges.

Run happy!

Places to run – Bow River pathway network

Yesterday afternoon I stepped out for a mid-day run along the Bow River pathway network.

This popular loop has almost no elevation change and there are multiple places to cross the river to change the length of your run.

It is very well maintained through the winter. The city prides itself in having snow cleared off before the bike commuters every morning.

At 3:30 on a workday, the pathways were very quiet.  However in another hour the bike commuters will be fighting for space on the trail too.

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This bridge is almost never empty. Crowchild Trail pedestrian bridge
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Busy road beside the pathway along the south side of the river. Especially when the commuter traffic picks up in the afternoon.
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10th Street Bridge
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10th Street Bridge
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7.5 km with almost zero elevation change

Tweaking your marathon training plan

So, since the spring marathon season is nearly on us and many of us have picked a training plan and are at various stages of completing it (or attempting to), it might be a good time to analyze where you are at. Maybe your plan needs to be tweaked to better fit your actual running instead of your hoped-for quantity and speed of running.

An article that I found originally on the Boston Marathon website but is now relocated really resonated with me. It is the introduction to their marathon training plan but has great advice no matter which plan you are using. It has  some great descriptions of what every plan should include and some mile markers to analyze where you are at so you can tweak your plan to suit where you actually are.

You should regularly check your progress with your plan to make sure that you are at least doing the following (even when the weather and life gets in the way). But remain flexible and relax about it. This is not a perfect science.

– Simulate race conditions – but don’t actually race much during training

– Long runs – not too fast like most of us do too often to make up for lost running distance. SLOW down.

– Don’t do too much speed work like we are all tempted to do when we get excited about our goals (or think we are not fast enough for this stage of the training). But don’t forget about it either. At least once per week. Speed work at actual race pace, not much faster.

– Drills, strides, stretches – yup, everyone’s gotta do it, even if we detest it, or life gets in the way. But shorten it up if you have to.

– Be willing to change up the plan to match your life, not the other way around

– When it is time to taper, make sure you really taper, don’t just pretend. Take it much easier. This means less running based on what you actually ran in those last weeks, not what the plan says you should have run.

FULL ARTICLE HERE

Happy tweaking. Keep your plan flexible, because life happens to all of us.

And RELAX. A great race is not contingent on perfectly regimented training.

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