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Christine Blanchette

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Run With It: proper footwear, goal setting, and the Vancouver Sun Run

New to running, but don’t know where to start? To begin, shoes are the most important equipment for a runner. Not wearing the right shoes could lead to injury. It’s best to go to a specialty running store to get the right fit for you. Also, clothing and socks are important to stay dry and warm while running in the natural elements. Don’t have a goal? Having a goal will help you make the right decision to find the proper program to suits your needs and lifestyle.

In our first episode of Run With It, a contemporary show on running/fitness and health, we speak with expert shoe fitter Andrew David and former owner of Rackets and Runners. He talks about proper footwear for beginner runners as well as socks, which are as important as the shoes you choose.

David also covers clothing tips on what you should wear in rain vs. colder temperatures. Current owner of Rackets and Runners, Vanda Borean, talks about her passion for fitness. Borean shares her knowledge of cross training and gives us some running gear tips.

Ever been to the Vancouver Sun Run? It’s the largest 10 km event in Canada. The Sun Run attracts thousands of runners and walkers each year to test their fitness level. It’s a cultural happening where the streets of Vancouver are shut down as a sea of runners make their way to the finish line.

Stay tuned for the second episode of Run With It!

Follow Christine on Twitter at @christineruns.

Follow Women’s Post on Twitter at @WomensPost.

The benefits of pool running

A few years ago, after tearing my hamstring in a race, I was unable to run for six weeks. I paid a visit to a physical therapist for treatment, who suggested I try pool running. At the time, I didn’t know much about pool running. My physical therapist, Dr. Eric Hoppe, said, “Everything about pool running duplicates running on land, with water providing equivalent resistance to arms and legs, simulating any running experience you do, from 100-metre sprint to 20-mile run.”

There are many benefits to pool running, the most common being the reduction or elimination of ground forces to reduce body impact experiences. Pool running allows a person to practice proper running mechanics and neuromuscular coordination of running in a more protected environment.

Mike Moon, an accomplished runner with 13 Boston Marathon finishes to his credit, is a certified coach at the University of British Columbia and author of the book, Deep Water Exercise for High Performance Sport. Moon has helped National Hockey League player Mattias Ohlund rehabilitate his injuries in the pool. He also helped master’s marathon runner John Moe to make the podium at Boston when he developed plantar fasciitis less than three months before the 2005 race.

Pool running her way to the Olympic podium was Lynn Kanuka, who won a 1500-metre track bronze medal in 1984 at the L.A. games. Kanuka, who’d suffered a stress fracture while training, began pool running on the advice of her pioneering coach, Dr. Doug Clement, making it part of her daily regime. To this day she still water runs regularly.

She suggests, “As long as your technique copies your walking or running form. A belt or vest so that you are comfortable in the water and able to stand tall, shoulders square, arms bent at 90 degrees, forward and back in a running form, legs in a nice wide range of motion, being sure to really pull with those hamstrings and extend toward the back to complete each step.”

She adds, “I trained super hard in the water, doing the exact workouts I would have done on land: for example 10 x 400m on land would equate to basically 10 x 1min. efforts in the water, with a one minute recovery–half what it would have been on land because with the water pressure your heart rate does not rise up as high, and the recovery is quicker.”

Follow Christine on Twitter at @christineruns.

Follow Women’s Post on Twitter at @WomensPost.

3 healthy meal ideas for busy women

Baking has never been healthier and easier. No one knows this more than former Olympian Diane Clement, who’s also an award-winning author of eight cookbooks. “Sunday is our family day, so I enjoy surprising them with one of my international menus and a favourite dessert,” says Clement.

Diane’s husband, Dr. Doug Clement, is a two-time Olympian himself and has also co-authored two of her lifestyle books. In Start Fresh, she shares some of her favourite dishes, beginning with Max’s branberry muffins.

Dessert

Let’s start with dessert. Why not?!

Max’s branberry muffins

Makes 1 dozen small muffins

Ingredients:

3/4 cup (180 ml) brown sugar
3/4 cup (175 ml) whole wheat flour
1/2 cup (125 ml) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (125 ml) whole wheat bran
1/4 cup (60 ml) wheat germ
1 tsp (5 ml) baking soda
1 cup (250 ml) blueberries, fresh or frozen
1/2 cup (125 ml) seedless raisins
1 tbsp (15 ml) orange zest
1 large egg
2/3 cup (150 ml) plus 2 to 3 tbsp (30 to 45 ml) buttermilk
1/4 cup (60 ml) vegetable oil

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C) and lightly grease a 12-cup muffin pan with vegetable oil. Mix together the brown sugar, whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, bran, wheat germ, and baking soda in a large bowl. Stir in blueberries, raisins and orange rind. Whisk the egg with buttermilk and oil in a separate bowl. Add to dry ingredients all at once, mixing well. Add 2 to 3 tbsp (30 to 45 ml) more buttermilk, if necessary, to bind the batter. Spoon 1/4 cup (60 ml) of batter into each muffin cup and bake about 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the muffin comes out clean. Serve immediately.

Per serving: 217 calories, 5 g protein, 6 g fat, 37 g carbohydrate, 5 g fiber, 114 mg sodium

Brunch

Spanish omelet and tomato relish, with a tuna olive tapenade appetizer.

Dinner

For a dinner party with friends, Diane suggests you start with Italian antipasto platter salad (from your local deli) featuring a mozzarella and fennel salad and a tuscan chicken and orzo entree. For dessert: Italian gelato, biscotti.

Diane says most recipes can be done in advance and the ingredients are available in food markets across Canada.

She adds, “We have a loyal following across Canada. From my first Chef on the Run, printed in 1982, to Doug and my first lifestyle book Chef and Doctor on the Run to our present Start Fresh lifestyle book,” and acknowledges her contributions to the culinary arts.

Little baseball hero uses arms to run bases

It was a field of dreams for 7-year-old Isaac Lill who used his arms to run the bases at the Albuquerque Isotopes opener minor league baseball game in New Mexico. It was on that special night, April 4, 2013, that the Isotopes invited Isaac and his family to the game.

Isaac was born with lumbosacral agenesis, a rare condition that affects the spine. This was a memorable moment for Isaac’s family to watch their son run the bases with such willpower and to receive a standing ovation from the crowd. Isaac enjoyed the moment while waving back to the crowd with baseball in hand that the team had given him. His dad, Duncan, held his little hero in his arms and despite his disability nothing could break this little boy’s spirit for his love of the game.

For this little baseball hero, it all began when he met Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp. It was while Kemp was in rehab with the Dodgers’ triple A affiliate in Albuquerque that he noticed 6-year-old Isaac race the team’s mascot around the bases between innings. “The Boy couldn’t walk,” Kemp told the LA Times, “he used his arms to get around the bases.” He asked to meet the boy after the game.

“This is the most incredible thing,” said his father. “Kemp (was) really making him feel special.” The pair formed a special relationship and on September 5, 2012, Isaac and his family were invited as special guests by Kemp to watch him play baseball at Dodger Stadium.

Isaac is a hero to many including the LA Dodgers. He is a testament that dreams can come true despite a disability. Kemp finds Isaac an amazing and inspiring kid.

From the Dodgers Twitter account:

Running hills training 101

By Christine Blanchette

I used to avoid hills like the plague. My legs turned to rubber while gasping like a fish out of water to the summit of what could only be described as Mount Everest II. It was far from an enjoyable experience but as I got used to running hills I began to appreciate what they were doing for my body. I developed stronger legs and became a stronger runner. Now, I run for the hills and enjoy it. Everest II, it turned out, was just about 600 meters long and not really that steep.

In a recent email interview with Dr. Jack Scaff, the Honolulu resident known as “The Father of Running” in Hawaii, he shared his expertise on hill training. In his book, Your First Marathon, the Last Chapter in Long Distance Running, hill training is covered extensively.

“Hill running is good strength training; however, it tends to be anaerobic,” Dr. Scaff said, “When one approaches a hill, run perpendicular to the horizon, shorten their stride and come off the backside of the hill or downhill using the same type of stride ―short steps going up the hill, the same short steps coming down, longer strides on the flat and no pounding at any time. While going up hill also remain upright and lean as little as possible into a hill. Swing your arms parallel to your body and not cross.”

He further comments, “Running downhill is a paradox since all the muscle can do is contract. As you run downhill, the muscle must relax at the same time while it is trying to contract. And of course this decreases recruitment as well as subjects the muscle to a greater potential for injury. There is another style of downhill running known as out-of-control or windmill running (which is what the arms look like) in which the individual runs downhill with terribly long strides, simply following through with longer and longer strides while going faster and faster. It’s effective but difficult to stop, dangerous and road rash is a certainty.”

More Tips:

1. How to run a hill: head up, pump your arms, lean slightly forward and run about 80% effort and jog or walk on the way down. Repeat six to 10 times.

2. Pick a hill suitable for your training. For average runners choose a hill that is about 90 seconds long.

Healthy meal ideas

By Christine Blanchette

With the holiday season finally here, former Olympian Diane Clement, anaward-winning author of eight cookbooks, says, “Sunday is our family day, so I enjoy surprising them with one of my international menus and a favorite dessert.”

Diane’s husband, Dr. Doug Clement, is a two-time Olympian himself and has also co-authored two of her lifestyle books.In Start Fresh, she shares some of her favourite dishes, beginning with Max’s branberry muffins.

Max’s branberry muffins
Makes 1 dozen small muffins

3/4 cup (180 ml) brown sugar
3/4 cup (175 ml) whole wheat flour
1/2 cup (125 ml) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (125 ml) whole wheat bran
1/4 cup (60 ml) wheat germ
1 tsp (5 ml) baking soda
1 cup (250 ml) blueberries, fresh or frozen
1/2 cup (125 ml) seedless raisins
1 tbsp (15 ml) orange zest
1 large egg
2/3 cup (150 ml) plus 2 to 3 tbsp (30 to 45 ml) buttermilk
1/4 cup (60 ml) vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C) and lightly grease a 12-cup muffin pan with vegetable oil. Mix together the brown sugar, whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, bran, wheat germ and baking soda in a large bowl. Stir in blueberries, raisins and orange rind. Whisk the egg with buttermilk and oil in a separate bowl. Add to dry ingredients all at once, mixing well. Add 2 to 3 tbsp (30 to 45 ml) more buttermilk, if necessary, to bind the batter. Spoon 1/4 cup (60 ml) of batter into each muffin cup and bake about 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the muffin comes out clean. Serve immediately.

Per serving: 217 calories 5 g protein 6 g fat 37 g carbohydrate 5 g fiber 114 mg sodium

For brunch: Spanish omelet and tomato relish, with a tuna olive tapenade appetizer.

For a dinner party with friends, Diane suggests you start with Italian antipasto platter salad (from your local deli), featuring a mozzarella and fennel salad and a tusan chicken and orzo entree. For dessert: Italian gelato, biscotti.

Diane says most recipes can be done in advance and the ingredients are available in food markets across Canada.

She adds, “We have a loyal following across Canada. From my first Chef on the Run,printed in 1982, to Doug and my first lifestyle book Chef and Doctor on the Run to our present Start Fresh lifestyle book,” and acknowledges her contributions to the culinary arts.

 

Marathon motivation

The marathon is considered to be, for many runners, the mother of all road races. For many it’s a big accomplishment, a commitment to train for the distance and often is a bucket list goal that, like an itch, is not going away until the proverbial scratch.

The inspiration of the marathon dates back to 490 B.C. where professional messengers, or runners, carried a lot more importance and prestige than they do today. Pheidippides was the legendary Greek messenger who was sent 26.2 miles to Athens to announce the Persians had been defeated in the Battle of Marathon. Having recently run back-to-back 140-mile mountainous treks to and from Sparta to seek military reinforcements, the run to Athens would be his last as soon after he died from exhaustion – and the world would never be the same.

These days running inspiration comes from within or from a local instructor, while others will try to emulate modern Olympic heroes. Here are a couple of recent quotes from running legends, each revealing their favorite marathons, to motivate you.

The world’s oldest marathoner, Fauja Singh, now 101, has run three different marathons– London, Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront and New York. Harmander Singh is his coach and translated via email, “He loved every moment of every run equally and he could not rank them as everyone was so nice to him wherever he went.” He continues, “About the three he said: ‘The London was my first and last marathon – it was also my home race. I set the fastest time and later became the first 100 year old in Toronto.’”

Running pioneer Kathrine Switzer was the first woman to officially run the Boston Marathon in 1967. “My favourite marathon is Boston, I’ve run it eight times and I plan to run it again in 2017, on the 50th anniversary of the famous 1967 race, my first marathon, where I encountered the Jock Semple incident (he tried to physically remove her from the course) and changed history. The reason I still love Boston the best is because of the tradition, the crowds who pack the route and understand the marathon, have grown up with it and view it as an annual rite of passage. Also, I love the undulating course. Lastly, I love how you have to qualify for (Boston).”

I hope the above quotes will motivate you the way they have for me. You may want to create a little room on the fridge door for this before you head out for your next run.

An update on Switzer: Kathrine Switzer will be appearing in the three-hour PBS/AOL landmark documentary, MAKERS–Women Who Make America, a compelling story of amazing women trailblazers.

 

4 ways to beat Jack Frost and stay active this winter

At this time of year, the chilly embrace of Jack Frost can feel as unwelcome as a wet blanket, eating snow cones on a frozen pond or a long hug from your great aunt that you haven’t seen since you were five. It goes against human nature to deliberately turn off the fireplace, get out of your comfy clothes and into layers of moisture wicking, water proof gear so you can venture outside to the bone-chilling tundra, of which only polar bears and ice sculptors are acclimatized.

Perhaps I exaggerate just a smidgen but no one should minimize how biting Canadian winters can be.  The trick is to take what Mother Nature offers and make the best of it by staying fit.

How do you break this cycle of not feeling motivated when winter has settled in across our Great White North with sub zero temperatures, and less sunlight? For some lucky mammals, they just hibernate.  For the rest of us, we need compelling reasons to push ourselves out the door to go for that run or walk, hike or skate.

Living in Canada winter can be, however, an enjoyable experience with the number of activities we participate in like tobogganing, building a snow man, igloo or ice cave. Take advantage of a winter sport or activity like hockey and this will help you stay in shape during the cold months.  Curling is another Canadian winter pastime which can lead you all the way to the Olympics if you’re good enough.

Winters are much more enjoyable when you’re dressed properly, which may be obvious to most but the ones who get sick or frost bite are still there to remind us. If you happen to be a fair weather runner like so many who love the summer sun, you may be pleasantly surprised to discover just how invigorating it feels to run on a crisp, cold winter day while getting your healthy dose of vitamin D in the process.

To help inspire you to get off your comfy couch and into the spirit of exercising outdoors, here are the top four ways to stay active during winter:

After each activity reward yourself by having a cup of hot chocolate or eggnog and then cozy up by the fireplace – the feeling being much more gratifying after a workout.

1. Build a snowman

Two women with a snowman

Building a snowman can be fun for the whole family. All you need is your imagination. The bigger the snowman the bigger the workout you get. According to sources, every hour you will burn 285 calories. This is based on a 150 pound person.

2. Shovel the snow

Mother and Daughter with Snow Shovels

Shoveling snow is a good workout activity and sometimes can be a chore. You can make it fun by having the family take part in the activity and having music play in the background. You will burn 273 calories per hour based on a woman who is 120 pounds.

3. Go snowshoeing

Woman Snowshoeing Past Forest

Snowshoeing – like cross country skiing – is a good cross trainer for running and an enjoyable outing for the whole family.  Hit the trails or slopes and enjoy Mother Nature at her best. You can burn 380-plus calories based on a woman who weighs 120 pounds. Cross country skiing can help you burn over 400 calories. Ice skating can be fun for the whole family and is great for your core and upper body. Many community centers have ice rinks while some families enjoy the convenience of having their own backyard rink, depending of course on regional climate.

4. Play some hockey!

Family playing hockey

Ice hockey is Canada’s sport and what better way than to participate in it and burn calories while having fun?

 

No matter which activity you choose, you can be sure to feel more alive afterwards. Whether it be from having a snowball fight to finding a good hill for spending the afternoon sledding, your fun will keep you fit. If you’re a runner, mix up your routine by doing some snowshoeing or winter hiking.

 

Follow Christine on Twitter at @ChristineRuns and YouTube at RunWithItCB1.

Check her out on the web at RunWithIt.ca