The Run Commuter

I just chanced upon a website and it has inspired me again to pick up commuting to work by running. I know it sounds like a crazy idea, but sometimes when you need to get all your mileage in on a busy week, these crazy ideas seem to crop up.

Many of the articles on the website are on the logistics such as the No Shower Cleanup – Mens Edition (lots of steps but it would seem to be very comprehensive and would leave no one guessing that you had just run to work). Unless you want people to know you ran to work, then you just have to skip a couple steps.

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And of course there’s women’s edition too but I don’t have an opinion on how well that one works.

There’s articles on how to get in the right frame of mind to run to work in the morning.

There’s how to plan a route which is important if you want to incorporate it into your training, or you want to skip the traffic fumes.

And of course there’s lots of advice and reviews on clothes, lights, backpack, bringing your clothes to work wrinkle-free, etc.

Check it all out at http://theruncommuter.com/

As this site says “Live to run, run to work

And we’ll see you (maybe) running on the road or trail commuting to work.

Another Sunny #Runch in Calgary

It felt like everyone had vacated the Calgary downtown towers at lunch today and were out for a run or walk. Me included. The pathways were packed. It’s great to see so many people getting some fresh air, stretching their legs, and getting energized for another afternoon in a cubicle again.

I sure needed the run. I had skipped two days in a row, even with the nice weather because of … well… life. Life just gets in the way sometimes.

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The economy is slow around here so many people don’t have the workload pressures they have in past years. So I guess that means more and longer lunch hour runs for a lot of people. It probably means longer lunches on the outdoor restaurant patios too, but I’m not in that scene. I just whiz past them.

It is a long way from spring yet, but the temperature was up, the sun was out and the ice along the river was melting fast.

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Looking at how many pictures I took on one run, I am now wondering whether it was a hard enough run. But it was a fun run, at least.

This weather, and the thousands of other runners are a great inspiration for the spring races coming up.

See you out there for a #runch sometime.

 

 

Not-quite-Spring-yet trail run

I can’t wait for spring trail running in the mountains so I gave it a shot today. And I discovered that although it was sunny and warm, it is definitely not fully spring yet. This is really not surprising for end of February, but it has been unseasonably warm lately, making it feel much more like April. The ice was treacherous and covered about 90% of the length of the trail, making it absolutely necessary to have yak traks or other ice grips. I had to really keep it slow and walk carefully on most of the up and downhills.

The other indicator that trail running or hiking in the mountains in February is not that popular (or not that safe) is that in two hours of running, I only came across one hiker and his dog. Otherwise it was a very quiet run. I love those quiet runs, but I was wondering if anyone would come across me if I ran into trouble. I was trying not to think about bears waking up from hibernation a couple months early due to the warm weather, or the warning signs about cougars, or the cliffs immediately adjacent to the trail. But alas, it was a quite uneventful run.

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This trail was the Montagne Trail, a single track rolling trail on the north side of Canmore, Alberta. It skirted above the golf course but stayed off the steep parts of Lady McDonald mountain. I will have to head back out here to do the Lady McDonald trail to the peak in the summer sometime.

From what I remember, I think this is a very popular trail in the summer. I have heard it mentioned quite a bit but this is the first time I have been here.

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I had a great view on this sunny day of the mountains across the valley beyond the town site. I was inspired to do some peak bagging just as soon as the trail conditions improve – which is probably not before mid-June.

Just as I got to the car, a storm blew in with new snow. Good thing I didn’t start half an hour later. It would have been pretty miserable. But maybe the trails will be in better condition by the time I have a chance to head back out there for another trail run. Either more snow, or no ice would be great, thank you very much.

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Maybe I will aim for the peaks when summer hits. They look enticing

Montagne Trail in Canmore, Alberta. 1 hour west of Calgary, just outside the Banff National Park gates.

11 km, 1:45 hours – This sounds slow, but the ice made it tough going.

There’s ton’s of trail running in the Canadian Rockies. Check out this post

 

When do You Wave?

Running etiquette usually involves acknowledging other runners. Everyone does it differently. But how do you do it properly?

Some people do small waves, some do big waves. Some flick their wrists. Some nod their heads. Some shout something cheery. Some mumble something under their breath. Some look others directly in the eye, and others do everything possible to avoid eye contact. Some smile.

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That all applies if you are running toward each other. But what if you are passing someone, or they are passing you? Wave as we’re passing? That can be awkward. Mumble something encouraging?

And how does a race situation change it? On an out-and-back race, rarely do the fastest runners acknowledge the rest of us coming the other way. But those not quite as competitive are more apt to be encouraging and friendly.

I have learned that runners definitely do not wave at cyclists. And if you are cycling, you do not wave at runners. This is especially hard to remember if you are training for a triathlon. Back when I was switching my running and biking every day and not fully conscious which sport I was doing that day, I occasionally had to swallow a wave (pretend there was a mosquito) to keep from looking foolish.

I suppose it is a cultural thing too. Different countries would develop different ways to appropriately acknowledge each other. It would be different for urban versus smaller town folks. City versus trail runners. I haven’t studied this in depth but I’ve passed a lot of runners. I’d love to know if anyone has any insight.

When I am doing my speed work I am more focused and less likely to acknowledge others. When I am on a lonely trail I am more likely to acknowledge someone than when I am on a busy urban pathway.

Does anyone have any rules of etiquette to share around?

Which are the friendliest cities to run in?

Should I Run Today? – Decision Tool

To run or not to run today, that is the question.

Have you ever had trouble deciding if you should go for a run? Well you aren’t alone. We all have those indecisive days.

Introducing this FREE simple tool to help you decide if you should run today.

Just input 7 factors including the weather (from “perfect” to “hurricane”), how you feel (“not feeling it” to “awesome”), how long ago your last date was, and the importance of the other things you could be doing instead of running.

The tool makes the decision for you.

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Bonus feature: This tool can be used as ammunition to prove to your loved ones that yes indeed you do need to go on another run. “It says so, right here”

And it is fast enough that if you are lying in bed at 4:30AM trying to decide whether to get out on that run, you can find out in mere minutes before your brain kicks in.

So why not get started with these 7 simple questions.

Step 1) Click here to enter the decision factors.

Step 2) Come back to this blog page and refresh this post to find out below if you should run today.

We can’t leave these important decisions to our own hapless selves. Let a computer do it for you.

When is Too Sick to Run?

Flu season is awful. And we are in the middle of it, at least in our part of the world. If you’ve stayed healthy this far into the winter, there’s a pretty good chance you are not going to make it much further before hitting the meds and taking a few days off.

What do we do when we are trying to get all our training sessions in but sickness is threatening to derail the training. We are all worried about lost training days, especially the closer it gets to the event. And this time of year there are so many people ramping up their training for spring races.

Around here, the weather has been unseasonably warm for several weeks now, and the sun is inviting me to get outside as much as possible. But two days ago I woke up with a low grade fever and sniffles. It slowly got worse and today I am taking the day off work. I haven’t run in several days, even though my legs are aching to get out there. And my training has had a rotten start to the year so far. So I need to hurry up and get on with the regimented training. The pressure is on.

How do you decide whether to run or not?

Everyone has their own line in the sand when to cancel that run. The answer is not a simple one and can often be influenced by how critical a particular training run is to our running goals.

Here’s the rules of thumb that I try to stick with for myself, but aren’t necessarily true for anyone else.

Don’t Go – Throwing up, fever, coughing, dizzy. Take meds, go to the doctor, stay in bed. No brainer!

Go Anyway: Technically sick but…  “Just” the sniffles, foggy brain, low energy, “just” feeling rotten. Sometimes a short run will temporarily improve things a bit.

If it is not obvious whether to go or not, my rules:

  • if the cold is neck and above, get on out there. The fresh air does most of us a lot of good.
  • If it a lung / chest cold, better stay home. Don’t be coughing up a lung on a run.
  • Any level of fever – Stay home!

Remember that a few days (or even two weeks) of not running is not going to reduce your fitness. It may eat away at you psychologically but it is far better to get better first so you can put in solid training. A return to solid training after a few days off is way better than mediocre training when you’re feeling rotten.

Get better, and train on.

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What are your criteria on when to cancel that scheduled run?

 

Pre-Turkey Run

Is there a better way to start off Christmas Day than to go for a run? After presents and waffles, of course. And definitely before (not after) the turkey.

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We might still head out to go sledding before dinner, but in case we don’t, at least we got some brisk winter air in with the run.

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We were pleasantly surprised at the amount of snow this Christmas.

Just a short run, from the grandparents place. But the roads were very quiet and the few other people walking were all in a good mood.

Merry Christmas!

Icy Wipeouts are Not Cool

The worst part of the wipeout was the new hole in my hard-earned Vancouver Marathon gloves. I worked hard for those gloves this spring and now one of them will have to be turned into a rag (or hung with my medals as a trophy 🙂 ).

It happened on the icy sidewalks in the dark with only 20 meters to go before home. I was momentarily distracted by the neighbours putting up their Christmas lights. I hit a crack in the sidewalk and didn’t lift my foot enough. I went down hard.

I banged my wrist and my knee but I bounced back up again pretty fast. Before I even hit the ground, I think I was shouting at the neighbour that I was okay before I even knew if I was okay or not. (We accuse our daughter of giving the same sort of pre-assurances.)

Now, the next day, I am barely bruised, but it could have been worse.

There is no reason to be trashing myself in December. December is for taking it easy and recovering from a long summer of running, not for healing from scrapes and bruises.

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It’s not always pretty

Getting in a daily run during a run streak is not always prerty. Sometimes you need to pull out all the stops just to get it in.

Like yesterday.

My daughter needed to be at school extra early so I didn’t get a morning run in.

I didn’t remember my running shoes (or winter running gear) so I didn’t get a lunch run in.

I had to be home early so we could leave right away for our evening meeting, so I couldn’t get a pre-dinner run in.

We would be home after 9:00 and I didn’t want to run in our neighbourhood quite that late.

We got to our evening meeting 10 minutes early which was just enough time to squeeze in a 2 km run. But I only had my work shoes (Vibram insoles though), work shirt and heavy coat.

But I ran anyways.

And my daughter came too. But her “formal” evening shoes were bright green running shoes. It’s not fair that I can’t get away with that.

It wasn’t long enough or fast enough to really get all sweaty. But we did get it done.

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It’s not always a great run, but it was a run, and runs have benefits.

Run streak day 18 (23 to go)

Running at the Library

The number of running books at our local library is amazing. It looks like every topic under the sun is covered.

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This is either an indication that runners like to write, or runners like to read about running. Maybe both.

The number of blogs dedicated to someone’s training and exploits (like this one) tells me people love to share with the world about this hobby / addiction.

But obviously people (like you) like reading blogs and websites to learn about running or just to share in someone’s experiences.

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And then there are the books/ blogs that inspire us to do more, become greater, experience more. And those that help us explore far flung places and races we never dreamed of before.

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All in all, this sharing of experiences and training tips is a great thing, both for the writer and the reader. Our community knowledge grows and we all become better for it.

Let’s keep it up. Join in and tell us about your running.