What is a #TweetUp?

When I tell people about one of my favourite subjects these days (tweetups), I usually get the same response: What is that?

So I thought I would answer it once and for all! Okay, maybe not but here is my version of the facts.

A tweetup is a meeting of Twitter folks. Yes, we actually meet in the same room and chat. And no, not just through our smartphones either!

When we started the Health & Fitness TweetUp late last year, all we wanted to do is get like-minded folks together. So far it’s worked wonders with two great installments already. More goodness to come!

I’ve been to a few over the past year and it’s always nice to meet folks in a different setting than online. Most of the time you start talking about the subject at hand but it always gets personal (in a good way) rather quickly. I’ve met some amazing folks at these and I still connect with them regularly.

I’ve also done some great networking at these sessions, especially since folks come together for a shared purpose. People used to meet in church and now they meet online. To me, this is just an evolution of it all…

For those in Ottawa and interested in checking one out, the next Health & Fitness TweetUp (#hftott) is on Tuesday, June 26 at Rama Lotus. See here for all the details.

There is also a tweetup for the Social Capital Conference (#SoCapOtt) coming up next week (Wed June 20) so there is no shortage these days…

Another great look at the barefoot vs shoe debate, this time on Podiatry Today. It seems everyone and their mother is getting involved.

Like I always say, as long as we’re actually talking about it, it’s all good!

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Is science flawed?

I must admit. I’m a geek.

I read a lot of articles, most of them on running, and most of them refer to studies. And some of them contradict each other. Interesting…

So is science flawed? How can midfoot striking be better for you and so can heel striking?

I think science is a lot like stats, you can almost make it say what you want. Do you remember all of the science experiments you did in high school. 10 teams or so followed the same steps but yet some got ridiculously different outcomes!

There are a few things that are close to gospel (gravity, osmosis, photosynthesis, etc) but every time you add human interaction it has potential to be flawed. It’s not because we are bad people (I truly think people are good) but rather biased beyond belief. This fact has been proven studies so there!

I still try to be aligned as close to science as I can in what I do but sometimes you gotta go with what feels natural. When both collide, it’s magic. Hence my love for ChiRunning!

I’ve been re-listening to Timothy Ferriss’ books (Four Hour Workweek and Four Hour Body) and through both, he takes a critical look at a lot of assumptions. A lot of the day-to-day principles we follow are not really scientific but people love something that sounds good.

I guess it goes back to figuring out what works for yourself. We’re all a walking science experiment with countless variables. So go out there and experiment and throw out all those assumptions.

And let me know what science is flawed for you!

Here is a good article from Running Times on foot strike since I know a lot of folks are worried about that. I guess that’s a by-product of science talking about how bad heel striking is…

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What is #minimalist running?

I often get that question so I thought I would provide a brief answer. In really short terms, it’s more than just the shoes!

One caveat, if you’re trying to adapt to a minimalist running style, make sure you take your time!

Until then…

Also, here’s a guide from the Washingtonian on the best minimalist running shoes out there. It interviewed a ChiRunning instructor from DC for it. Cool beans!

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Book review: #Unmarketing by Scott Stratten

Do you enjoy being marketed to or being beat over the head with marketing messages? I didn’t think so….

I recently finished the great book outlined above and it’s all about going back to basics in the marketing world. The concept is simple: Stop marketing and start engaging. And social media is a great place to do this. I also like that it’s very aligned with what I do these days and the Intersol way.

It’s such an easy read, it’s almost like listening to a conversation with Scott. Maybe that’s because he dictated most of the book…

He provides some great examples of companies doing it well and some doing it not so well, all the while injecting some humour and perspective. He also proposes some practical solutions to some common problems. Always helpful!

It’s funny, I’ve had the book for a while (even two copies for a bit) but I only got the urge to read the book after Scott’s keynote at MarCom in May. He was very informative and a great speaker but also funny as heck so that sealed the deal!

This book is great for small business owners and for folks trying to connect with stakeholders such as associations or NGO’s. I highly recommend it for anyone actually as you will probably get something out of it whether you are marketing focused or not.

Any good book recommendations for me now?

And here’s a great video  of ChiRunning founder Danny Dreyer running in all four gears (from slow to fast!) at the same cadence. I get a lot of questions about running at different speeds with the same cadence so I thought I would post this:

I know the concept is a bit different for newbies but it’s pretty cool once you can simply “tall and fall” to faster speeds!

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What kind of training do you do?

Does that training match up with your goals? Is it realistic? Does it take into account your lifestyle?

These questions have come up a bunch of times recently as people ask me advice on training plans for the summer racing season that’s upon us. I usually ask them about their goals and time limitations before giving any types of answer.

As one of my former football coaches always said “It’s not that practice makes perfect, it’s perfect practice that makes perfect!”  I find that to be very fitting these days as I praise functional and targeted training as much as possible.

I chat with folks and ask about racing conditions (time of day, temperature, terrain, etc.)  as I try to prepare them for what they will be experiencing when they are out there on the course.

As a continuous learner, I’m always taking training courses, fitness related or not. I recently took a “Train the Trainer” workshop from one of my Intersol colleagues and it got me thinking about how I teach and coach. I’m making a conscious effort to be as learner-centric as possible for the participants get the most of the sessions.

I haven’t really been practicing what I preach these days though. As I’m training for Tremblant 70.3 at the end of the month, I’ve been basically staying active and going through the motion. Granted that my priorities are not with setting PB’s in long distance triathlon these days, but I’ve been slacking a bit too much.

Are you in Ottawa? Interested in social media? Health and fitness minded? If you answered yes to all three of those questions then this free event might be for you!

We’re having out third installment of the Health & Fitness TweetUp hosted by moi (@_ECinc). We usually have a guest speaker, have some snacks and then just mingle with like-minded folks for the rest of the time.

Next TweetUp is Tuesday, June 26 at 7pm at Rama Lotus Yoga Studio on Gladstone. See the registration link for all the details.

*A TweetUp is simply cool folks coming together in real time. It’s almost like a networking event except with awesome folks and no awkward moments!

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In #Ottawa? Like #SocialMedia? #SoCapOtt might be for you!

I’m excited to be speaking at this year’s Social Capital Conference (aka SoCap). I went last year and I got to hear some cool stuff and meet some incredible folks. Not bad for an inaugural event!

This year promises to be even bigger, with some different streams and speakers.

Here are all the details for the conference:

Saturday July 21, 2012

Algonquin College
1385 Woodroffe Avenue
Ottawa, ON

See below for my speaker profile:

I love this talk as it merges my old world (10 years in public relations) with my new world (social media consulting/online collaboration/crowdsourcing).

And this is timely as Early Bird ticket sale ends today. Get them while you can!

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5 tips to enjoy #running and stay injury-free!

I’m on my way to Windsor this afternoon where I will be doing a talk tonight for the Running Miles group headed by Dr. Todd Small, an accomplished runner and triathlete.

Here is a summary of the five tips I will provide (minus all the hang movements):

1. Walk before you run: Running is a weight-bearing exercise so you really have to ease into it. If you haven’t run in a while (anything more than a few weeks), take your time getting back into the swing of things. You almost want to come back wanting more, not being exhausted and beat up. Your body will thank you in the long run!

2. Light n’ low (like the yogurt): One of the major problems with beginner runners is the fact that they don’t have much awareness when it comes to their form. They just go out there and run. Paying attention to your stride will automatically make you lighter on your feet. And you’re trying to get to the finish line so bouncing up and down is a bit counterproductive…

3. Swing & rotate: I know it’s a bit counter-intuitive but swinging your arms a bit more (to the rear) will actually help you relax your shoulders and the rest of your stride. If you can stabilize the shoulders, you can actually feel the effects of the hip rotation!

4. The more the merrier: Get some running friends. They become drinking friends. And you’re more likely to get out. You want to get out at least three times a week (four times is ideal) and good friends will help you do that.

5. Base before speed: I know most people want to go faster right off the bat but in my world speed is a function of form and relaxation. You can’t sprint a 5k. So work on your form and your base and relax. And watch your speed slowly creep in. Try it the other way and it’s a recipe for injuries. Trust me!

Unfortunately I can’t anticipate all of the questions but I can imagine it will be the usual suspects (shoes, shoes, breathing, speed and shoes)…

And here’s another great article by fellow ChiRunning instructor Mike Stashin on correcting overstriding, and thus heal striking.

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