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Christine Blanchette

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Should you go running with your dog?

On a typical morning before work, I am out the door by 5:30. The Vancouver streets are quiet and mostly deserted, except for a regular runner ahead of me with a frisky, four legged friend at his side. The pair always look happy, enjoying each other’s company on these cold winter mornings. They were like dance partners in perfect synch, running step for step. It made a delightful picture. A dog may be the most reliable companion to share in your running journey, because they are always ready when you are.

Does this image inspire you to run or walk with your dog?

There are many benefits to running with your dog, including keeping you both fit and enjoying bonding time with your favourite furry friend. They also provide comforting security, especially for women who run by themselves in secluded areas. But, before going for that run or walk with your wiener dog, dachshund, or pug, however, knowing the dos and don’ts of running with your pet could save you both a lot of grief and injury.

According to Vancouver-based veterinarian Dr. Kathy Kramer, you can’t just decide one day to go running with your dog. Owners need to be committed to their pet first. “Running requires training, since most dogs like to sniff along the way and get easily distracted,” she said. “Not every dog is cut out to be a marathoner.  Common sense dictates that while you may try to run with your border collie, you would leave your bulldog or Chihuahua at home.”

The best runners are athletic breeds, or dogs over 20 kilograms, Kramer explained. It’s important to do your research. For example, greyhounds are sprinters and not long distance runners while labradors, golden retrievers, border collies, and German shepherds may enjoy the freedom of a marathon. Larger dogs like great danes or mastiffs won’t enjoy running because it will put pressure on their joints.

Training for any distance requires following a proper program, and it is the same principle when running with your dog.

“Dogs also require conditioning like people do,” Kramer said. “A person would be crazy to start out by running 10 kilometres, so don’t expect your dog to do it!  The same wear and tear that affects a person’s joints will affect a dog’s as well. Acute injuries, such as soft tissue sprains or ligament tears can happen quickly.  As the dog ages, the percussive forces of running can cause arthritis to start at an earlier age.”

When you and your dog encounter someone on the trail, it is best to pull off to the side to let them pass without interacting.  A dog might be occasionally spooked and one should not assume others want your dog to greet them. People will feel safer when the lead is shortened.

Some smaller breeds will love running and some larger dogs would rather be couch potatoes. A good running companion depends on personality, stamina, and overall health. Dogs with high stress levels may not be able to run in the city.  Dogs that are prone to heart disease should be thoroughly screened for starting a serious exercise program.

It is also important to remember that dogs are stoic creatures who won’t show pain or discomfort until there is real damage. Heat stroke is the biggest risk during the summer. Dogs only sweat through their footpads and can easily overheat, even in normal temperatures.  Always have water handy for your dog anytime you run. If your dog is limping, call your veterinarian. Sprains or ligament tears can be very painful even though your dog is not crying out or will let you touch the injured limb.

There is some debate about the best age to start training your dog to run. Most dogs have finished growing by 16-24 months.  Kramer says if you start slow and on a soft surface, you can start to train the dog at around 12-18 months.

Will you try running with your dog this spring? Let us know in the comments below!

Nikki Scott turns to her passion for running to beat major health issues

Nikki Scott’s survival in 2005 was not guaranteed. A car accident resulted in a broken back and ribs, and a dislocated collar bone and sternum. A disc in her neck was herniated and both of her lungs collapsed. A serial marathon runner, doctors told her she would never be able to run again.

But against all odds, in 2008, she completed her first half marathon.

For most people, coming back from a debilitating accident like that in just four years would have been impossible. But Scott had to undergo a second incident in August of this year. The Surrey, B.C. native’s world would change again when she took a serious fall, resulting in a deep cut, a bacterial infection, and a subsequent battle to keep her limbs.

“A few friends and I were out for a run in Golden Ears (Provincial Park),” she said. “We had our route planned – but soon after we got started we came up on a bear so we quickly turned around and headed back to the cars. I turned to say something to my friend and I caught my toe on a rock and wiped out. I landed on my knees and when I flipped over to sit down, both of my friends kind of gasped. Sure enough, I had a huge, bloody gash and a great big skin flap flipped open on my knee.”

“I kind of panicked when I realized that I could actually see my kneecap in the bottom of the wound,” Scott said, adding, “We all took a deep breath and started going through the first aid supplies in our packs. Luckily we had water, gauze and antiseptic wipes so we cleaned it up as best we could, covered it in gauze and wrapped my knee.”

They headed to Peace Arch Hospital in White Rock where she got the wound cleaned up and stitched back together. She was sent home. Everything appeared to be fine.

However, the next morning, her entire leg was burning with pain. She was given some painkillers and antibiotics and sent home yet again. An hour later, she was heading to Langley Memorial Hospital by ambulance.

Scott’s leg was infected and the doctors started her with multiple IV antibiotics.

“Over the next four days, the infection raged and spread from my toes to my ribs. My leg and torso were swollen to twice their size. The pain was unbearable and they had to keep switching the antibiotics, but the infection wasn’t responding. By the end of the week my kidneys had also failed, so they sent me off to Surrey Memorial, labelled ‘loss of life or limb’ and I was admitted into critical care,” Scott said.

She was diagnosed with Cellulitis and spent the next 20 days in hospital before her wound responded to antibiotics. The wound, luckily, healed in about three months. Scott says the infection was “stubborn and resistant”, but she is starting to return to her regular life. A month after coming home she was able to ditch the crutches and start doing physical activity again. 

“I started doing very short, 30 second intervals of ‘running’ on the treadmill. Because of the atrophy in my muscles, I have been taking things very slowly so I don’t cause new injuries, but have been working my way up to longer intervals of running and walking.”

Scott found that being fit helped her on her road to recovery. “Having that background of setting goals and devising a strategy and a plan to get there has definitely helped me figure out what I need to do to beat this injury,” she says.

Surviving a major car accident and the slow recovery process taught Scott to listen to her body and following the leg infection she also had to take it slow and let the pain and fatigue levels guide her.

Scott, a mother of two young boys, has completed 20 half marathons, five full marathons, and four ultra-marathons. She is refusing to let physical setbacks keep her from continuing her running.

“I was determined not to let my car accident beat me or define me and it has been kind of similar following this infection,” she said. “My end goal is to get my strength back and be able to run distance again, so I’ve just been setting small, manageable goals.”

Recovery strategies are not one-size-fits-all, so consult your doctor about when you should resume training. Once you do, make sure refuelling, repairing and rehydrating are part of your workout regime to help you reach your goals.

Soccer players and distance runners share similar training

Over 28,000 fans attended the Canada vs. USA Women’s soccer game held at BC Place, Vancouver, BC. It was the largest crowd ever at a national women’s match.

After watching the game, I decided to revisit the similarities between soccer players and runners, specifically the need for athletes in both sports to move for long periods of time without rest. It could be argued that soccer requires more stamina than other team sports because 120 minutes of play, including overtime, is common before a shootout decides the winner.  By comparison, a regular season NHL hockey game is 65 minutes, including five minutes of O.T. before the shootout, and NBA basketball games are 48 minutes before unlimited mini-halves of overtime – rare in basketball – decide the outcome.  MLB baseball, with its superb athletes, does not operate on the clock at all, though a typical nine-inning game takes about two hours and 30 minutes to play, with mega-stops and delays added in.  Even the tiring effects of physical contact from football, hockey and basketball don’t balance because of rest time that’s built into the stoppages.  Soccer, which has its own share of contact, rarely stops play.

Runners, like soccer players, are challenged by speed and the need for stamina and endurance. A world class runner can complete a marathon between 125 to 130 minutes — roughly the time it takes to play a soccer match.

Soccer players do a lot of sprinting in addition to their constant running back and forth on the field. Overall, to be competitive and on top of their game, they need both speed and endurance.

Interval training for marathoners and running drills for soccer players helps increases speed and can benefit both athletes. Running downhill is good for developing strong quads.  Running uphill will increase lung capacity and stamina.  When you add strength, focus, and mental toughness to the mix, you get a clear picture of what soccer players and runners share every day.  All athletes need to stretch every muscle group before and after a workout or match.

As for where the similarities end, soccer players explode for bursts of speed, which requires balance, control, and strength. These factors are what separate the soccer platers from runners, who simply have to focus on a singular task. It’s a sport that is up tempo and uses considerable physical and mental reflexes…and lots and lots of running. I was incredibly impressed.

Photo credit:  D. Laird Allan

Vanessa ‘Van’ Piunno shares her passion for music and healthy lifestyle

Eighteen-year-old Montreal pop singer Vanessa Piunno is an up and coming Canadian artist who was recently named iHeart Radio Future Star for 2017.Known simply as ‘Van’ while growing up in Quebec’s largest city, she talks about how her passion for music began at age five and reveals tips on how to stay healthy on the road.

Q: Tell us about the music scene while growing up in Quebec?

A: The music scene has always been so vibrant here with a mix of French and English culture. So many bands and shows every weekend in the summer months. Great memories of me and my dad going to the local parks near my house and catching as many shows as we possibly could, which was always so cool. [It] really gave me a sense of the festive culture around us and it was the seed for me falling in love with music at such a young age. My dad was a musician and this was something we loved doing together, [it was] our thing.

Do have a favourite Quebec dish?

I absolutely love poutine. I think I crave it almost every day, is that bad?

Does being fluently bilingual give you an edge in the music world?

I hope so. Growing up I’d do a lot of shows in both English and French and in doing so, it definitely made me more comfortable on stage.

Tell us about your fans and how do you enjoy being on tour?

I have to say that I would rather use the word “supporters” than fans. I don’t know why, but that word fan always makes me feel a little weird! It’s so heartwarming to know that people love the material I put out, and seeing that people listen to my music or post about it and take the time to message me just gets to me every time. I always personally answer every message I get from my supporters. It’s the least I can do. As for being on tour, it’s been a dream of mine ever since I was a little girl. It still feels like I’m in a dream, weirdly enough. I’m doing things that I always hoped I’d be doing, seeing places that I never thought I’d be seeing and it’s incredible. I’m thankful every single day.

How do you follow a healthy lifestyle while travelling?

Most hotels we stay at have private gyms and so I usually work out for a few hours if I’m not doing any interviews. It’s a great stress reliever. As for food, when we are driving from place to place it can be hard to choose healthy options when we stop for a quick bite, so my tip is to grab nuts or a protein bar. It’s better for you and keeps you energized. I never eat anything sugary when I’m traveling because sugar is bad for your vocals.

What do you like most about performing?

I can just forget about everything. It’s like when I start singing, every worry or problem or just anything going on in my life just disappears. It feels so good to know that I always have this opportunity to be on stage and that’s how I know that singing is my true passion.

What is next for you?

I’m getting ready to hit the road with my band. We have a great band and it’s all so exciting and new for me. I’m still touring in Canada and visiting a bunch of new cities and places, which is always so exciting for me.

Do you write your own music?

Tino Izzo, who has written and produced for Céline Dion and many other amazing Canadian artists, is the main writer and producer for my upcoming album. For each of my songs we always make sure to work together to find the right elements that suit my style and something I can relate to. It’s always a blast when we’re in studio – we take the time to work on some cool new material. His two sons Max and Alex join me for acoustic live performances while doing radio tours across Canada and also co-produced a few of my songs. I can’t wait to release my first album in 2018.

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World Sight Day reminder for runners to get proper headgear

To get the most out of your running performance, you need to: wear proper gear, eat healthy, get enough sleep, and follow a proper running program to suit your fitness level. That takes care of the basics. Running and most forms of exercising may help maintain overall good eye health, but like our bodies, our vision is affected as we age. As we approach 40, it may be a challenge to see our fitness tracker or training watch clearly.

No doubt, it can be a frustrating experience.

Wearing reading glasses may help you see clearly, however multifocal contact lenses could be a better option for working out, especially when running outdoors in rain or snow. According to a study in the journal Age of Perception, 30 per cent of aging Canadians would rather wear contact lenses than glasses, 16 per cent would rather squint than wear reading glasses, and about one in five (19 per cent) agree they would or currently avoid wearing reading glasses because they would make them look older.

An eye condition called presbyopia often occurs around the age of 40 due to a gradual loss of the eye’s ability to focus on close objects. This affects nearly 1.7 billion people. The symptoms are eye strain, difficulty seeing in dim light, and problems focusing on small objects and/or print found on items such as fitness trackers and smart phones.

With World Sight Day coming up on Oct. 12, it is a good reminder to get an eye exam, become familiar with presbyopia awareness, and be updated on the latest eye care technology such as Alcon multifocal contact lenses for the aging eye. A new option has opened up for those who run with a smartphone or fitness tracker. Multifocal contact lenses allow Canadians to see everything near, far and in between. Alcon Dailies Total1® Multifocal contact lenses replace the glasses you would need to wear to see what is ahead while on a run or view your fitness device.

Running with a watch to keep track of your times is a good indicator of your overall health, but if you are struggling to see the watch you may have presbyopia. If you have noticed changes in your vision, visit your eye doctor to get a comprehensive eye exam. More information on the Alcon multifocal contact lenses can be found at LoseYourReaders.ca.

National Film Board launches artist Karine Lanoie-Brien Expo 67 Live

Always dreamt of reliving Expo 67? Until Sept. 30, as part of Montreal’s 375th celebrations, you can do just that! Step in to a unique film experience, with five-storey colourful images and spatial audio that will be projected on to four walls surrounding the Place des Arts. This is an innovative story telling at its best and created with more than thousand clips of archives.

Who is the mastermind behind it?

Meet Karine Lanoie-Brien, Montreal resident, the creator, writer and director of Expo 67 Live, an innovative film experience that recreates what the atmosphere would have been like at the 1967 Montreal World’s fair. Expo 67 is widely known as one of the most successful world fair of the 20th century. The theme — man and his world — was showcased through 90 different pavilions representing various countries around the world.

Lanoie-Brien began her career in 1997 as an animator and researcher in television. “I am excited about the launch and I want people to feel a physical or emotional experience from it,” she said.

This free event from September 18 to the 30th and will showcase four 27-minute screenings nightly.

I asked the humble artist if there is anything people should know about the screening prior to showing up. Her suggestion? Wear comfortable shoes!

The stage is set and the curtain is about to be opened in reliving Expo 67. There are still a few days left to see it.  It is a piece of history, a journey in time of the greatest moments of Expo 67 which the Lanoie-Brien notes actually all began in the 1960’s.

Will you venture out for this once in a lifetime experience? Let us know in the comments below!

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All sport bras are not the same

Fall is a great time to try a different activity. With mostly cooler, yet still pleasant, weather in September and October, the absence of summer heat will lure some from their air conditioned gyms back to the great outdoors. From team sports to running or cycling, investing in a bra for your chosen sport will give you the right support and confidence.

If you are a runner, you can complement your level of fitness by doing some cross training activities that I’ve listed below, along with some sports bra choices from Anita Active for each activity:

  1. If you have never tried kickboxing, it can be a great cross trainer for runners. It is good for your cardio and core. Cross training is an indoor activity that involves kicking, punching, stamina and agility. Anita Active recommends a maximum support sports bra, such as Air Control DeltaPad, a DynamiXstar Racerback Sports Bra, or the world champion Christina Hammer sports bra and Momentum Pro (available in November). I run in the Air Control DeltaPad and it offers not only support but comfort. It is a bra with style and you can wear it alone or underneath a top.
  2. Dance is also a good alternative to keeping in shape and there are many types of dance to choose from. Depending on the type of dance you are doing there is a large variance of impact, such as jazz, modern, ballet, tap, ballroom dancing, and hip hop classes. Anita Active recommends a firm, supportive bra such as Momentum or Air Control Sports Bra.
  3. If you are taking a spin class (indoor cycling) it doesn’t involve much up and down movement, however there still is some bounce. Make sure everything is secure with a bra that offers firm support and one that has high breathability because spin gets your heartbeat climbing and can be a very sweaty endeavour. A.A. recommends the Xcontrol Sports Bra and Extreme Control Sports Bra.
  4. Yoga isn’t as intense as a dance class or spin class but it’s still important to wear a sports bra. Look for a bra that moves with you. A.A. recommends the light and firm sports bra which is what I wear while traveling or in long-lasting situations, for a comfortable feel that will endure as long as I need it to.

Whatever sport or activity you participate in, it’s essential for good breast health to choose the right bra for your specific needs while ensuring that you get properly fitted.

Here are some tips to help take care of your bra:

  • Avoid wearing the same bra two days in a row.
  • Rotate between 3-4 bras. Keep them stored hanging or flat.
  • Get refitted every six months to a year.

According to Diane’s Lingerie, you should fit bra firm on the loosest hook, tighten as the bra stretches.

Coming up on October 1st you will have the opportunity to participate in CIBC Run for the Cure to help raise funds for Breast Cancer awareness.

Toronto – RUN START TIME: 10:00 AM

 

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BeautyMark co-owner Tayler Rogers offers skin care tips

A good workout can make you sweat, releasing toxins within the body. But, it can also have an effect on your skin. According to Tayler Rogers, co-owner of Beauty Mark, a trendy beauty boutique in Vancouver, following a proper skin health regime is critical for any athlete, especially if you are out in the sun.

In a Q&A with Women’s Post, Rogers offers her skin care tips for runners on the go.

Tayler Rogers, co-owner of BeautyMark

Q: Which skincare and make up products are best for a person who leads an active lifestyle?

A: I like to find multi-use products for people who are active and on the go for two reasons: one, you’ll get things done quicker and two, you’ll be more likely to actually use the products. For skincare some basics: SPF with moisturizer, a good face and body wash, and for makeup [use] waterproof mascara and tinted moisturizer.

I am a runner, what steps should I take to maintain healthy skin on a regular basis?

Sunscreen is a pretty obvious answer, but it is very important. Also, watch what time of the day you are out running. Try to avoid the peak sun times as you’ll be exposing yourself to the harshest sun. Something that has been really interesting this year is that it has come out how bad pollution is for your skin. It’s a major contributor to aging in the skin, so if you are out running in the city that is definitely something to consider. Adding a purifying mask or a powerful detoxifying ingredient like charcoal is something we really recommend. Tata Harper is an all natural line that has an amazing mask to use once a week. Midnight Paloma is from Vancouver and they have an entire line dedicated to charcoal! There are lots of options

What is the biggest skincare concern for women while working out and afterwards?

Breakouts would be the big one. If you create excess sebum while working out and don’t cleanse properly you will get breakouts. This isn’t just on your face, body break outs are very common too. It can be really difficult because different skin types that suffer from breakouts might not need a stronger ingredient to clean out the skin than others. Investing in a good quality wash and toner will help out big time with this. And always moisturize!

What are some quick makeup tips or ways to look fabulous after a workout?

Tinted moisturizer, mascara, brow liner, and a lip/cheek tint!

If the runner has problem skin like blemishes, what would you recommend?

Having a non-irritating breakout treatment is a great option. We have one from Tata Harper that you can wear underneath makeup or overnight. It’s non-drying (with) a lot of healing properties, as well as a break out treatment.

Tell us about BeautyMark and how your makeup/skin care products are different?

BeautyMark has been established since 2001 and we were one of the first small boutique skincare/makeup spots in Vancouver (note: it’s available online), so we’ve built up a really loyal clientele. We differ with our customer service in that we love working one on one with our customers, asking questions about what they are looking for. We love to provide an inviting atmosphere and (we know) it can be super intimidating to walk into a store with so many products! We source brands that follow our stores ethos. The store is cruelty free, there are no products that are tested on animals. We try to support local, Canadian made brands as well. All natural is a big thing too, clean ingredients that work are super important to us!

 

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Celebrating Women: Martha Lowry

Craft liquor is becoming a big business in Canada, with new distilleries popping up in big cities across the country. Despite the popularity gain, it’s still very much a male-oriented field, even in Toronto where is seems as though there is a beer or spirit festival every month. Meet Martha Lowry, the only female distiller in Toronto, who recently launched Mill Street Brewery’s first ever Small Bach Gin.

Women’s Post sat down with Lowry to talk about how her work with Mill Street and how she became a distiller.

Q: Congrats on recently launching the first ever Small Bach Gin at Mill Street Brewery in Toronto. Tell us what the process was like for you?

A: Thank you! I am very excited about the gin. The gin was a long time in the making with many test batches on my trial still. When thinking about how to make the gin I started by thinking about what botanicals I would want to use. Gin always contains juniper and typically has coriander. I knew I also wanted to include hops because they have so many different flavour possibilities. I was sure I could find one that would work with the bright and fresh gin I was dreaming of and I thought it would be a great connection to our brewing roots here at Mill Street. After I found my favourite hops I experimented with all kinds of botanicals, wanting to create something complex but not muddled. I settled on my ten botanicals after many trials and combinations of flavours.

You are the only female distiller in Toronto – how does make you feel and was it difficult to follow your passion?

It makes me very excited for the industry. I think we are only going to start seeing more women in distilling. I can’t wait for the day when I see a whole crew of women running a distillery. So far, I have been really fortunate in that I have, for the most part, been met with people who want to help me on my journey. Sometimes I get a bit of surprise, and not full understanding, but not too much has really stood in my way.

You are a handful of female distillers in Canada what would you say to someone who wanted to follow in your career footsteps?

Reach out to women’s industry groups and connect with as many women in the industry as you can. The women I know in the industry are amazing, strong, passionate, and we tend to look out for one another. Do a lot of research and reading, and tasting (the fun part)! Try to get yourself into a distillery to see it all in action and decide if it is something you love. There are a million different ways to get yourself into distilling. See what others have done and figure out if that is a path that can get you there.

What kind of skill set does one need to be successful in what you do?

One of the best parts and craziest parts of my job is that you are doing a million things at once. So you must be good at multitasking and prioritizing. A small distillery means that you get to do everything, which keeps it wonderfully fun and wonderfully busy. You must have a good palate and confidence to make decisions on product flavours. A love of people is a must. I work alone, but I am constantly interacting with the public on tours and tastings. A strong science background is necessary to understand distilling. Although I do know distillers who are more artistically-minded than science-minded and make great products. It’s all about the balance between science and art for creating flavours.

Tell us about the type of craft gin you make? Is it for everyone and which food pairings does it taste well with?

Mill Street Small Batch Gin is new distilled gin. It is smooth, citrusy, and fresh and a real crowd pleaser. It has the classic juniper, but it is dialled back to let the other botanicals shine through. This is the kind of gin that can convert gin haters. At first taste, the craft gin is very fresh, like zested citrus, reminiscent of lemon drop candies, accompanied by floral notes of violets and rose. The gin is smooth and sweet, with a top note of grapefruit zest. A peppery spice comes in the middle, along with a bottom note of angelica and hops giving an earthy, celery note. The juniper comes through as a fresh pine note and the gin finishes leaving a lingering floral note. The gin has ten botanicals: Juniper, Coriander, Citra hops, Lemon zest, Grapefruit zest, Angelica, Liquorice, Orris root, Rose petals and Grains of Paradise.

I would recommend pairing this gin with sushi, smoked salmon, waxy baby potatoes, grilled chicken, and soft cheeses such as buffalo mozzarella or goat cheese.

How did you come with the popular citrus flavour for summer?

I love a citrusy gin in the summer. All I crave are bright fresh flavours in the summer. I eat a lot of salads out of my garden in the summer, sipping a fresh bright gin alongside a caprese salad is probably my favourite summer evening.

Is there a typical day and what do you like most about your job?

I don’t have typical days. Which is one of the best things about my job. My favourite thing is definitely coming up with new recipes. I have a blast exploring flavours and running test batches through my lab size still. It feels like the world is your oyster when you are making something new.

When people ask you what you do as a career is it an unique title to have as head distiller?

It is. Often people do not know what “distiller” means. Most people assume it has something to do with beer, a fact that is confused by the fact that I did work as a brewer for a time. Being a distiller leads to many interesting conversations after the question “and what do you do for a living” at dinner parties.

What is next for you?

I want to keep expanding Mill Street’s Whisky program, putting down more barrels and playing with different malts and yeasts to create really unique casks.

 

 

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Try running gadget-less once a week

I was preparing for my usual morning run when I felt something was missing. I glanced at the broken watch on my bathroom counter before perusing the lily white stripe on my otherwise tanned left wrist, and I wondered whether or not to run without a watch or any gadget device. The watch was as much a part of my gear as shoes, shorts, and cap, especially now in this techno-driven world in which we reside. Without a watch or a Fitbit tracking device to keep tabs of my time seemed so untrendy.

I was so programmed to run with a watch or GPS that the notion of running watch-less had never occurred to me. How would I know how well (or how poorly) I was running? You can’t go from ‘A’ to ‘B’ without knowing how long it took to get there – or can you?

Under a clutter of fridge magnets is where I chart my daily workouts. With the evidence in black and white I noticed my times have improved. Sometimes it would take weeks for my times to improve significantly. Other times I might as well have been stuck in quicksand because the speed wasn’t happening. Always there was my ticking timer to tell the terrific (or terrible) truth.

On this day, however, I realized the sudden demise of my watch could be a positive thing. It just might alleviate a lot of pressure that had been building, allowing me to run more relaxed and in control, subsequently making the entire running experience more enjoyable. This is not to say you should never run without a watch — indeed, I look forward to getting a new one — but I won’t wear it every day.

My planned workout was going to be a fartlek session, which was always done with the aid of a watch. Fartlek is Swedish for ‘speed play.’ For the uninitiated, it means sprinting and jogging for various periods of time with various periods of rest following up. For example, you might sprint almost full out for 60 seconds, followed by 20 seconds of rest before sprinting for 90 seconds followed by 40 seconds of rest. It can be done on road or trail and has been accepted world wide as an important training tool.

I thought to myself, this would be mentally challenging doing a fartlek session watchless. I would run to the next tree or pole and estimate my time of rest between each hard effort. As I got into a rhythm, my running time wasn’t a factor in this workout now. It was just the trail and me running at my best.

After a 10 min warm-up, I worked out for approximately 20 minutes, followed by a 10-minute cool down. My familiarity of the route certainly helped in estimating the sprint and rest times. Without a watch I had to listen more to my body, which meant needing to concentrate on my breathing and overall running effort.

Feeling a sense of exhilaration as the pressures of time disappeared allowed me to relax and just enjoy the moment. Turning the last corner to home I thought of my broken watch and how much I had relied on it to get through my workouts. I didn’t really miss it on that day after all. Now, I have a new training goal —to run without a watch once a week and to rely more on listening to my body instead.

Essentially, what I learned from running watch-less is I can still perform well without knowing exactly how fast or slow I’m running. Next, I might run shoeless, but only on manicured grass and only in good weather conditions. A long sandy beach might be perfect!

 

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